File-sharing service LimeWire has been forced to close after a US judge decided it was guilty of inducing copyright infringement and indeed of infringing copyright itself.
LimeWire was targeted by a Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawsuit brought in 2006.
In May this year U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood decided to side with the RIAA and also decided LimeWire's founder Mark Gorton was personally liable for infringement brought about by users sharing files. The judge has now granted a permanent injunction forcing the service to stop operating. A notice on the site reads:
"This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal."
The poor "Plaintiffs have suffered—and will continue to suffer—irreparable harm from LimeWire's inducement of widespread infringement of their wires," the judge wrote in the injunction (pdf).
In a statement, LimeWire said it was "disappointed" with this turn of events.
"We are extremely proud of our pioneering history and have, for years, worked hard to bridge the gap between technology and content rights holders. However, at this time, we have no option but to cease further distribution and support of our software, it wrote.
"It’s a sad occasion for our team, and for you – the hundreds of millions of people who have used LimeWire to discover new things.
While we have enabled open sharing and discovery for the past decade, LimeWire is mostly the product of the people who used it. You made LimeWire. Thank you for letting us be part of that. Your support and enthusiasm has fueled everything that we do.
During this challenging time, we are excited about the future. The injunction applies only to the LimeWire product. Our company remains open for business."
The outfit said it would soon have a new sort of service up and running.
"We remain deeply committed to working with the music industry and making the act of loving music more fulfilling for everyone – including artists, songwriters, publishers, labels, and of course music fans.
Our team of technologists and music enthusiasts is creating a completely new music service that puts you back at the center of your digital music experience.
We’ll be sharing more details about our new service and look forward to bringing it to you in the future."
A jubilant the RIAA said it will be back in court early next year, cap in hand, hoping for ridiculous sums as compensation