And Finally Brands & Merch Business News Digital

LimeWire founder “NOT THRILLED” about brand’s revival as an NFT marketplace

By | Published on Thursday 17 March 2022


The return of LimeWire made headlines last week, but not everyone is excited to see the old file-sharing brand back in the, er, limelight. Not least original LimeWire founder Mark Gorton, who is “NOT THRILLED” about the prospect of the brand he built around the file-sharing network he shut down over a decade ago being revived as an NFT marketplace.

It apparently took Julian and Paul Zehetmayr – the two entrepreneurs behind the new NFT business – a year to secure all the necessary rights in order to be able to go public with a new product called LimeWire. But one person not consulted about that new venture during that year was Gorton.

He tells Torrentfreak: “I was not approached about this NFT project, and I didn’t hear about it until the public announcement. I am NOT THRILLED about an unrelated group of people using the LimeWire name. Using the LimeWire name in this way creates confusion and falsely uses that brand that we created for purposes for which it was never intended”.

Former LimeWire developer Zlatin Balevsky adds: “I think it’s a bit risky to say that LimeWire ‘is back’, the NFT project has got nothing to do with the original”.

Of course, you could say that the decision of the Zehetmayrs to go out of their way to acquire the LimeWire brand for their NFT start-up is slightly odd, given that – while it’s a high profile digital music brand of old – it is best known for its time as the music industry’s enemy number one.

Perhaps aware of that, when announcing their LimeWire NFT marketplace last week, the Zehetmayrs were keen to talk up the music industry figures they have on their advisory board, while insisting that their new business will be working with artists to help them capitalise on the NFT boom.

But attempts to build a legitimate business under the LimeWire name have a rocky past. When the original LimeWire company attempted to do just that – and despite having an apparently compelling product – the legit LimeWire service never got off the ground, because by that point the major record labels had already resolved to sue it out of business.

Nothing suggests just yet that the majors will have any reason to want to sue the new LimeWire (there are plenty of other NFT platforms more obviously drawing the attention of lawyers), but if you want to breed goodwill, maybe using a name with such a controversial history isn’t the best way to get established in the music community.

I guess the industry did embrace the legit music service that bought itself the Napster brand. Though, it has to be said, using the legendary Napster name on a download and then streaming service didn’t exactly help that company dominate in the legit digital music market.

Now, securing the LimeWire name did get this new NFT marketplace lots of press coverage last week, and much more so than the other music-centric NFT start-ups already operating. But whether that translates into long-term interest – from industry or fans – remains to be seen.

The launch of the new LimeWire is discussed further in this week’s edition of our Setlist podcast.