LimeWire is shut down, file sharing persists

LimeWire has been forced to stop squeezing revenues from the music business.

The Web site was ordered to shut down on Oct. 26, after a New York federal court judge ordered a permanent injunction against the well-known file-sharing site.

Founded by Mark Gorton in 2000, LimeWire has faced legal altercations with the music industry for the past four years.

According to judge Kimba Wood, music industries “have suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable harm from LimeWire’s inducement of widespread infringement of their works.”

From 1999 to 2009 U.S. recorded music sales fell from $14.5 billion to $7.7 billion. File-sharing Web sites such as LimeWire and Napster became increasingly popular during this time period, and the suspected cause for such a dramatic decrease in revenue, as stated by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), an organization whose mission is to help the music business thrive.

“I am absolutely happy when something that is destroying the industry is shut down,” said Serona Elton, assistant professor of music business and entertainment industries. “Illegal downloading is wreaking havoc in the music industry; the consequences are dire.”

The RIAA released a statement on Oct. 26, announcing that the court will conduct a trial in January in order to measure LimeWire’s effects.

“For the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and Gorton have violated the law,” said RIAA, according to The Wall Street Journal. “The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that LimeWire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely.”

LimeWire also posted a notice on its Web site announcing that it was under court order to cease music distribution.

“We are extremely proud of our pioneering history and have, for years, worked hard to bridge the gap between technology and content rights holders,” said George Searle, LimeWire chief executive, according to The Wall Street Journal. “However, at this time, we have no option but to cease further distribution and support of our software.”

Although many opt to download music off  illegal sites without a second thought, the RIAA said, “piracy is bad news… when you go online and download songs without permission, you are stealing. The illegal downloading of music is just as wrong as shoplifting from a local convenience store- and the impact on those who create music and bring it to fans is equally devastating.”

Even though illegal music downloading is losing the U.S. economy 71,000 jobs a year, legal music downloading seems to be the direction the industry is headed.

“Clearly all of the downloading has immensely affected the music industry, but the old way of doing business wasn’t going to last forever,” said Lolo Reskin, owner of Sweat Records, an independent record store in Downtown Miami. “Sales are down and CDs are going the way of the dinosaur.”

Luke Blanco, a musician from a local band, agreed and believes legal downloading is practical.

“As a musician, it affects me in more ways than one. I can’t hope to make money the way people have in the 20th century,” said Blanco, singer and guitarist of local band Courtesy of Paco. “On a happier note, I can distribute my music easier. There is no middleman for an independent musician, and the Internet is a great medium for file-sharing.”

Legal downloading options online are not limited to one source.

“Legal downloading is a very good thing,” said Elton, who also established Cane Records as a self-sustaining student-run record company at UM. “It basically lets you make more music portable than ever before.”

Despite LimeWire’s shutdown, many believe illegal downloading is still growing in popularity and will continue.

“I don’t think that LimeWire/FrostWire being shut down is going to change too much as people will switch to a different method,” Reskin said. “Do you see anyone still mourning Napster’s demise? Not so much.”

Although not many admitted that they illegally download their music, others argued on behalf of legal music downloading.

“I too hope to one day become an artist. When I was younger I also frequently used LimeWire because it was a free and easy way of getting the music that I enjoyed listening to. I could not afford it,” said sophomore Janmarco Santiago, a music engineering major at UM. “But as I got a little older and I started getting more serious about my music, I realized that as an artist, although what I want is for people to listen to my music, I still want to benefit from the sale of my music. If not, I would’ve chosen another career.”

The RIAA claims that according to the global music trade body IFPI, now more than 10 million licensed tracks are available on over 400 different services worldwide. Basically, there is no excuse for illegal downloading.

“I feel that if you are interested in an artist and his or her music you should be willing to buy the music rather than just downloading because by buying it you are supporting that artist you claim to appreciate,” said Chris Hernandez, a freshman and musician. “Downloading an artist’s album is essentially stealing their product, and stripping them of recognition.”

Stephanie Parra may be contacted at

Alternative options

To read more about what the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has to say about piracy and illegal downloading, visit