LimeWire Legal Situation: LimeWire File Sharing Shut Down Permanently

Six months after being found guilty of massive scale copyright infringement by a federal judge, LimeWire has been ordered to discontinue its file-sharing operations.

The Manhattan District Judge Kimba Wood ordered the shutdown of the website, which effectively prohibits searching, downloading, uploading or file trading of their software, and blocks unauthorized music file-sharing.

In 2006, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit against LimeWire. Four years after, the said judge found LimeWire guilty of charges and its founder, Mark Gorton, liable of inducing users into violating copyright laws. The judge indicates that irreparable damages have been caused by the company due to massive illegal distribution. Total estimated damages are still not known, but RIAA has won the battle against piracy for this round.

LimeWire Shutdown Notice

Since their shutdown, the website is inaccessible except for the notice posted indicating the court order and that “Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal”.

On the other hand, LimeWire is hopeful that their parent company is unaffected by the injunction, and that the order is only applicable to LimeWire.

In order to continue the LimeWire community going, there have been multiple LimeWire forks. In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a legal copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software. Free and open source software is that which, by definition, may be forked from the original development team without prior permission without violating any copyright law.

List of LimeWire Forks

  • LimeWire Pirate Edition (now known as WireShare)
  • FrostWire
  • LionShare
  • Credence

LimeWire Pirate Edition

On November 10th 2010, a secret group of developers called the “Secret Dev Team”, led by Meta Pirate, sought to keep the service running by releasing the “LimeWire Pirate Edition”, a program that some say is better than LimeWire. It appeared on several torrent websites. This software allowed the installation of this free LimeWire version without any toolbars (including the previously bundled toolbar), advertising, and any dependencies on the LimeWire LLC server system. They also unlocked the features that were previously only found in LimeWire PRO.

There was a rumor that a LimeWire development team member developed LimeWire Pirate Edition. To quell these rumors, LimeWire LLC released this statement: “[LimeWire is] not behind these efforts. LimeWire does not authorize them. LimeWire is complying with the Court’s October 26, 2010 injunction.”

LimeWire Pirate Edition is now hosted on the open source hosting website SourceForge, however, the name is now changed to WireShare due to concerns over the LimeWire trademark. WireShare can be downloaded for the Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX (Mac), and Linux platforms.