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LimeWire settles with publishers

By | Published on Wednesday 9 March 2011


The US music publishers have reached an out of court settlement with the company behind now defunct file-sharing service LimeWire.

As previously reported, the music publishers entered the LimeWire legal battle last year once it became clear the file-sharing service was likely to be forced out of business by the US courts, who ruled that the Lime Group were guilty of contributory copyright infringement. Although it was the record companies that had fought the LimeWire battle on behalf of the wider music industry, the publishers figured that if there was liability for infringement on the file-sharing firm’s part then they were due damages too, given the copyrights that exist in the songs they own had been infringed as well as the rights in the sound recordings the record companies represent.

But on Monday that particular strand of LimeWire litigation came to an end when both sides submitted papers to the US courts asking for the voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit. The terms of the out of court settlement between LimeWire and the publishers are not known, though according to the Hollywood Reporter all parties will cover their own legal fees.

The music publishers might want to make sure they get any damages payments quickly, before their sister companies in the record industry push the Lime organisation into bankruptcy (probably) with their own billion dollar damages claim. That is likely to come to court in May, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope of an out of court settlement just yet.

While, in the end, the once bullish LimeWire folded pretty quickly once the US courts had finally found in favour of the record industry, shutting up shop at the end of last year, the Lime Group’s lawyers do seem to have found some fighting spirit for the pending damages court battle.

They are currently trying to get access to internal documents from the major record companies which, they say, will show the record industry has consistently exaggerated the tangible cost of file-sharing and undervalued the benefits – ie the idea that some people use file-sharing platforms as a preview service, and then buy the music they like from licensed download stores.