By now you would have already learned of the demise of popular file sharing software LimeWire. Yes LimeWire is shut down, even for LimeWire Pro users.

For those of you who are not sure what LimeWire is, it has nothing to do with telecommunication company LIME. LimeWire is the world’s most popular peer-to-peer sharing platform that enables any and everyone with a computer and internet connection to share files such as music, software and video. With LimeWire, Donovan in New York can remotely access Brian’s computer in Kingston and download the latest Vybz Kartel track. Easy Cheesy and free.

LimeWire was which was initially launched 10 years ago by founder and CEO Mark Gorton as a simple file sharing platform on the Gnutella network. But LimeWire has since mushroom into a global file sharing giant that angers record labels to the extent where they spend the greater part of the last decade fighting the company in the courts.

Why the shutdown?

For many years the music industry battles LimeWire services in an effort to have the company close down its operations. Record labels complain bitterly of loosing millions of dollars in revenues from lost royalties due to LimeWire sharing services. Until last week the Recording Industry Artists of America (RIAA) scored its first major victory against LimeWire.

On October 26, 2010, Judge Kimba Wood, a US federal court judge, issued an injunction forcing LimeWire to prevent “the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality” of its software. A trial investigating the damages necessary to compensate the affected record labels is scheduled to begin in January 2011. As a result of the injunction, LimeWire 5.5.11 and newer have been disabled using a backdoor installed by the company. However, version 5.5.10 and all prior versions of LimeWire remain fully functional and cannot be disabled unless a user upgrades to one of the newer versions.

What the ruling means for the music industry?

It is still not clear yet as to whether the ruling will impact the music industry in a positive or negative way. Certainly one would think that this spells victory for musicians, but don’t start to celebrate just yet.

Despite the ruling, many users will still continue to use FrostWire and BitTorrent to get their free music. There’s still ways to get it, it’s just harder for those who aren’t as computer savvy to figure out and find.

Additionally, a few days after LimeWire shut down nearly all alternative file-sharing applications report a massive increase in downloads, most likely from LimeWire refugees. On the one hand the developers of LimeWire’s competitors are pleased with the additional users, but some of them are also slightly worried about what the RIAA’s next move will be.

Video sharing giant YouTube is also another heaven for piracy on the internet; tech savvy internet users are already turning their attention to extract music files from videos.

There are several alternatives to LimeWire individuals can used, its just that the not so tech savvy folks will find it a little harder to discover these ways and means. All said and done, free download of music is not only illegal but bad for the music business. It cost money to produce music; hence musicians and record label need that royalty, so go on over to Amazon and iTunes and spend a few bucks to get your favourite new dancehall track.

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