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Limewire founder settles copyright suit with RIAA

Limewire founder Mark Gorton has agreed to pay the RIAA $105 million settle a five-year dispute over file sharing.

Limewire, which was once the casual pirate's weapon of choice when it came to downloading music, movies and software without paying for the privilege, was shut down last year after a judge ruled that the P2P outfit had 'intentionally encouraged infringement.'

Despite the size of the settlement, Gorton must be breathing a massive sigh of relief as the RIAA and its Big Music sponsors were pushing for the maximum penalties allowable by US law which could have amounted to around $1.4 billion.

Obviously delighted at having put paid to the last of the profit-making P2P pioneers, the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol crowed: "We are pleased to have reached a large monetary settlement following the court's finding that both Lime Wire and its founder Mark Gorton are personally liable for copyright infringement. As the court heard during the last two weeks, Lime Wire wreaked enormous damage on the music community, helping contribute to thousands of lost jobs and fewer opportunities for aspiring artists."

It's a common refrain from those supposedly tasked with protecting the interests of struggling artists by massive recording companies, but some might be interested to know how much of the £64 million settlement will make it into the pockets of down-at-heel musos.

According to Torrent Freak: a big fat zero. "The RIAA isn’t sharing any of the ‘damages’ with the artists, to reward them. Despite presenting thousands of artists as victims in the case, none of them are expected to see any of the settlement money in their bank accounts anytime soon," the site reported today, quoting RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy who said: "Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs."

Although the official Limewire software - which allowed users to share their music collections with others connected to a constantly changing ad-hoc network - has been effectively banned, a bootleg version of the application with all of its file-sharing functions very much intact is currently available from your favourite depository of dodgy downloads.

A quick Internet search for 'P2P software' will also unearth a plethora of Limewire pretenders waiting in the wings, although today's settlement may make those seeking to profit from piracy think twice.