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Music labels fire on LimeWire

Court documents ask file-sharing service to do more

After a federal judge ruled last month that LimeWire was responsible for copyright infringement by its users, major record labels are seeking a permanent injunction that threatens to greatly curtail the file-sharing service’s activities.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Friday, the 13 labels say the injunction is needed because LimeWire “does not appear to have done anything to change its illegal ways.”

The injunction would call for LimeWire to take a number of significant steps that include curtailing existing software and tracking down music that is already out there.

Specifically, they are asking Judge Kimba Wood, who granted them summary judgment last month, to order LimeWire to cease further distribution of its LimeWire client software so no “new infringers enter the LimeWire system”; to “implement all technologically feasible actions” to curtail “continued infringements through the millions of legacy copies of the LimeWire Client that have already been distributed”; and that the company report on the technological changes to its software to make sure it meets the requirements of the injunction.

Rather than leave it up to the record labels to trace infringing copies and then give LimeWire takedown notices, they are asking the burden be placed on LimeWire. They call for the company to halt infringing file sharing through means such as disabling search functions and providing users with erase mechanisms, as well as deploying content filtering. And they ask that new versions of its software be submitted to the court — and the labels — for “evaluation and effectiveness” before they are implemented.

LimeWire boasts of having the most popular peer-to-peer file- sharing applications, with more than 50 million unique monthly users and about 5 million active users at any given moment. In her decision last month, Wood said that there was “overwhelming evidence” that LimeWire “engaged in purposeful conduct that fostered infringement.”

Also found liable for the “inducement of infringement” was Mark Gorton, its founder and chairman.

Wood has scheduled a status conference in the case today.

A LimeWire spokeswoman issued this statement: “We are looking forward to an opportunity to address the court for the first time in two years, and show that as a matter of fact and law there is no support for this motion. We have not wavered in our commitment to working with the music industry and look forward to the prospect of moving forward. We want to license music and settle the dispute through a business arrangement, rather than a legal one.”

The labels, through the Recording Industry Assn. of America, have not indicated how much they are seeking in damages.

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