The company that operates the LimeWire file-sharing software continues to maneuver in an effort to save the company from a potential court-ordered closure but time is slipping away.
Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood handed a major legal victory to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which filed a copyright lawsuit against the Lime Wire company in 2006. She ruled that Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton are liable for copyright infringement.
Lime Group and Gorton could be required to pay hundreds of millions in damages and legal experts say the music industry now has the means to force the service to cease operations. On Wednesday, attorneys for Lime Group filed a motion with the court asking Wood to reconsider her decision, according to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Lime Group lawyers wrote that the judge made numerous errors in her decision, such as finding that Gorton received a direct financial benefit from the copyright infringement. She also "failed to consider whether Lime Group had the ability to supervise the particular Lime Wire actions," the lawyers claimed in their filing.
Lime Group’s filing is standard operating procedure for companies in this kind of situation. It’s the legal equivalent of football’s “Hail Mary” pass. The RIAA could ask the judge for an injunction to force a Lime Wire shut down at a hearing Wood scheduled for June 7. Legal experts have said that Lime Group’s chances of keeping the doors open are slim at best.
In addition to the 12th-hour court filing, Lime Group has also reached out to some of the four major labels in an effort to negotiate a deal that might save the company, according to multiple music industry sources. This too is a long shot.
“Lime Wire’s decision (to set the site’s filter to off) was a conscious design choice, the direct result of which was a failure to mitigate infringement.”
“(LimeWire managers) could have made the hash-based content filter mandatory for all LimeWire users, or made ‘on’ the default setting, so that a user’s file-sharing activities would be subject to the filtering process unless he affirmatively deactivated the filter. According to (the company’s) expert Steven Gribble, (the company) chose to set the filter to ‘off’ because it wished to provide users with ‘enough flexibility to enable, disable, or configure filtering.’ (Managers’) decision was a conscious ‘design choice,’ the direct result of which was a failure to mitigate infringement.”