By Emily Gray
Limewire, a popular filesharing network, recently shut down due to copyright infringement. After a four-year legal battle with the United States Music Industry, U.S. Judge Kimba Wood, from a federal district court in New York, ordered the shutdown Oct. 27.

Limewire launched in 2000 by Mark Gorton. The network allowed users to engage in filesharing.

“I used Limewire because it was free, I just think it’s stupid to pay for something on iTunes if I can get it somewhere else for free,” sophomore Matt Jones said.

Most users of Limewire uploaded and downloaded copyrighted materials. Copyright is a document that grants exclusive rights to publish and sell certain works, whether those works are literary, musical, or artistic.

Copyright infringement is the direct violation of the rights secured by a copyright and the Acceptable Use Policy, which are a set of rules applied by an owner or manager of a network, website, or large computer system that places restrictions in the ways the network may be used.

On average, there is a $6,000 fine when engaging in uploading or downloading copyrighted music. Last year, a whole group of students from Virginia got arrested for illegally using Limewire to download copyrighted music.

“They tend to go more harshly on teenagers with the fines. They decide that the teens are intentionally distributing the music, so the teens get fined and they go after their parents, which is called vicarious law,” Stephanie Poe said.

When downloading or uploading copyrighted material illegally, one will risk legal action. Punishments may range from warnings and the removal of the reference used to receiving a fine, going up to millions of dollars. Depending on how severe the act is, one may even receive jail time.

“We do not think of it as stealing, but it’s not different than walking into FYE and stealing a CD without paying. You just stole their music,” Poe said.

At least 20% of the population used the popular sharing site. Those who answered a recent survey were questioned about their use of Limewire. 40% of students surveyed said that they used Limewire, and of those 40%, most answered that they were unaffected by the shutdown, and that Frostwire was the best alternative.
Frostwire was developed in 2005 by Limewire users who were concerned over rumors that Limewire might be placing licensing restrictions on filesharing.

“I used Frostwire for the first time the other day and it’s just like Limewire and I think I’ll just use it from now on because it’s also free,” Jones said.

Limewire itself is completely legal, however distributing copyrighted materials is illegal. On their website, Limewire clearly warned users not to share or download copyright protected items. The website also states to only use Limewire to publish and distribute one’s own work.

There is also a warning that some files shared may infect one’s computer, for it has been said that Limewire can give one’s computer a virus

“We have to realize that this will happen to all filesharing sites, “ senior Raul Rivera said.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Wow I didn’t realize you could get jail time for this. Plus the fine is crazy high. That seems a little harsh since no one is actually being harmed. Although if I was the one being ripped off I guess I would want them to face some legal consequences.

  2. I’m glad their shutting the site down; artists loose huge amounts of money due to sites like these. But I hate how the RIAA charges insane amounts of money to teenagers for copyright infringement; thousands of dollars for one song is just ridiculous.

  3. I’m pretty much split between this decision to shut down limewire. On one side, I do see where the major loss of revenue by the artist is a problem, but at the same time I was a big fan of the file sharing network. I think if a deal could’ve been worked out between major recording artists and limewire the network would still be up and running. It is pretty dumb to shut it down though, that just lays the foundation for other file sharing programs to be created; (I.e. Frostwire).

  4. This was bound to happen. Sites like this one promote illegal behaviors and that needed to be stopped. However, I wonder how this precedent will effect other sites. If the government can shut down this site, who is to say that they can’t shut down others.

  5. i knew this would eventually happen. i never really liked lime wire anyways. it caused alot of problems on my computer and it didnt always have good quality music. id rather pay for quality especially if it means saving me money on computer repairs.

  6. To be honest, i’v never used limewire because when you download or upload copyrighted material illegally, i feel vonurale to getting caught. I guess it’s a bitter/sweet victory. On one hand, the access to free music is gone, yet on the other hand, Limewire can give one’s computer a virus.

  7. I used Limewire once and it gave my laptop a virus and messed it all up. Inever went to that site again. It is really hard to believe that copyright laws are so harsh when it doesn’t seem like stealing at all, to me. maybe I was lucky to get a virus because I might have downloaded music and not realized I was doing something illegal. Why do they even let businesses exist that are illegal?

  8. I agree with Malikah that this was bound to happen and that it was only a matter of time, thieft will not go unpunished forever. Hopefully this shutdown will awaken students to the dangers of illegally downloading music.

  9. I tried Limewire once, but it really messed up my computer. I stick to iTunes now, and I’m glad I do. Getting in trouble with the law over music really isn’t worth it. Also, I don’t have $6,000 ready to spend; I’m not taking the risk.

  10. I never really heard about limewire, but im glad that it got shut down. Getting that music for free was and is illegal. When people work hard, like the artists who create the music, should get compensation. By downloading music for free you are basically taking money away from the hard working people.

  11. I agree with Malikah; we all knew limewire was going to get shut down sooner or later. It is not fair to steal money from artists who work so hard producing their music. It is also sad because Limewir could be used for many legal things, but now it has to be shut down completely.

  12. To be honest, I used to use LimeWire but after my friend downloaded a virus onto my computer which caused it to crash and lose all my music on my iPod I never downloaded LimeWire again. I am actually quite happy LimeWire got shut down. The down side to it being shut down was now I cannot get files from friends who produce music unless they gave it to me on a usb drive.

  13. I’m glad Limewire is gone. Promoting stealing is bad no matter how many people are doing it. It’s actually worse BECAUSE so many people were using it. Still, most people will just find another site and won’t have learned a single thing from this.

  14. I definitely agree with the fine and potential jail time for using limewire. File sharing music is stealing. You are stealing the music someone makes for a living and they are making less money because people are illegally acquring their misuc for free. If someone get’s fined, they shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

  15. I used Limewire when it first came out to get my music. But after about a year my computer got a really bad virus infected my computer and caused me to get a new one. After that, I never downloaded Limewire to my computer again in fear of getting another virus. I think it is a good thing that Limwire is shut down. It could possible stimulate the economy by forcing people to actually purchase their music rather than easily download it for free. It’s not right and it should come to an end.

  16. I used limewire but now that I look back, I could have also bought the songs. Limewire never gave my computer a virus but it would effect my internet connection. This will force kids to buy music and actually support the artist.

  17. To be honest, I know a lot of people that freaked out when they heard the limewire was shutdown but I feel that if you really “need” music you can always listen to the radio.

  18. I think that because of file sharing sites like limewire, the music industry is collapsing. Now, dont get me wrong, I dont feel as if the music industry will ever come to a complete end. I do, however, feel as if sites like this are making it harder for artists to make a living and also making it harder for up and coming artists to get exposed.

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