Hollywood studios latest to sue LimeWire

With a frown on his face and holding his head in his hand, LimeWire founder Mark Gorton appeared depressed last May as he sat in a New York courtroom.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had already won its copyright case against Gorton and LimeWire, the once-popular file-sharing service, and the parties were back before the judge to determine how much in damages he owed the four top major record companies. On May 12, he agreed to pay the RIAA $105 million.

But Gorton's pain didn't end there. Ever since, he's been under siege by different … Read more

Music industry zeros in again on LimeWire

LimeWire is far from finished with compensating the music industry for years of inducing copyright infringement, according to legal claims made last week by a group of independent record companies.

Merlin, a trade group that represents more than 12,000 indie labels and such artists as Arcade Fire, Neko Case, and Carla Bruni, has claimed in a lawsuit that Lime Wire, the company that created the now defunct LimeWire peer-to-peer network, broke a promise made in 2008 to compensate them for the millions of music tracks that LimeWire users pirated via the site.

According to legal documents filed last week with a New York federal court, Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton agreed to pay Merlin members an amount that was in line with whatever Lime Wire ended up paying to settle with the four major music labels. In 2007, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music accused the company of cashing in on a service designed to help people pirate music.

Last year, a federal judge agreed with the labels. She ruled that Lime Wire and Gorton were liable for copyright infringement and ordered the LimeWire network shut down. Two months ago, Gorton agreed to pay the majors $105 million to settle. Previously, Gorton paid the trade group representing music publishers a sum that topped $12 million, according to music industry sources. And there are other music-industry entities that could possibly press claims against Lime Wire that are still unheard from, such as the American Association of Independent Music. … Read more

What's driving rise in music sales?

Album sales edge up 1 percent for just the first half of the year and suddenly it seems everybody in the music industry is giddy.

That's likely due to the fact that since 2004, all the news about sales has been bad, bad, bad. Consider that the music industry hasn't seen growth since George W. Bush was preparing for a second term as president, the Boston Red Sox were breaking the curse of the Bambino, and Mark Zuckerberg was founding Facebook.

Last Wednesday, research firm Nielsen SoundScan announced that the industry recorded a 1 percent increase in overall … Read more

Exclusive: Top ISPs poised to adopt graduated response to piracy

Some of the country's largest Internet service providers are poised to leap into the antipiracy fight in a significant way.

After years of negotiations, a group of bandwidth providers that includes AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are closer than ever to striking a deal with media and entertainment companies that would call for them to establish new and tougher punishments for customers who refuse to stop using their networks to pirate films, music and other intellectual property, multiple sources told CNET.

The sources cautioned that a final agreement has yet to be signed and that the partnership could … Read more

Was Napster or iTunes more influential?

As Amazon, Google, and Apple appear to be leading digital music in the direction of the cloud, it seems a good time to look back at some of the most influential online music services of the past.

Some people might argue that the modern digital music era started with the launch of iTunes. Others will say the birth of Napster kicked it off. The truth is two years before Napster launched in 2000, there were plenty of companies jockeying for dominance in online CD sales as well as downloads.

They were competing in nascent Internet radio or trying to create … Read more

Silver lining for music fans in Lime Wire case

Fate smiled on Mark Gorton this week.

The founder of file-sharing company Lime Wire agreed on Thursday to pay $105 million to the Recording Industry Association of America to settle a 5-year-old copyright case. Sure, that's a lot, but consider that the settlement figure is equal to only 7 percent of the $1.4 billion the RIAA sought.

This is likely the final chapter for LimeWire, after 10 years in operation. The two sides agreed to settle a year to the day after U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Gorton was liable for willful copyright infringement. Later, Wood ordered that the LimeWire peer-to-peer network be shut down. The financial agreement between Gorton and the labels came amid a jury trial to determine how much Gorton would have to pay in damages.

For fans of cheap, easy-to-obtain music, a few modest reasons for hope sprung up during the two-week-long damages trial.

Edgar Bronfman, CEO of Warner Music Group, one of the four largest record companies, said under oath that he supported the unbundling of music. You might be saying to yourself: "So what?" People have had access to unbundled music for a decade now, thanks to services like iTunes and, yes, LimeWire. All I can tell you is that there are plenty of decision makers at the labels who believe the industry won't recover until consumers are buying albums again. … Read more

Opening the book on Chrome (week in review)

Google grabbed the news spotlight this week as it hosted its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, but nothing shone as bright as its Chrome browser and the Chrome-based laptop the company introduced.

The Chromebook, touted as an always-on and always-connected computing experience, will be offered by Samsung and Acer starting June 15. The Samsung Chromebook will go for $429 in the U.S. for the Wi-Fi only version and $499 for the 3G version. Acer's Wi-Fi only Chromebook will cost $349.

The devices will be sold in the U.S. by and Best Buy. … Read more

Lime Wire settles with RIAA for $105 million

Having facilitated the mass piracy of billions of songs over a 10-year period, Lime Wire founder Mark Gorton and his file-sharing company have agreed to compensate the four largest record labels by paying them $105 million.

As first reported by CNET, Gorton's lawyers closed in on a settlement agreement today after meeting this morning to hammer out a deal.

"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," said Mitch Bainwol, chairman of the Recording Industry … Read more

In Lime Wire trial, sounds of discord (roundup)

A year after a judge found Mark Gorton liable, a jury is now deciding how much the founder of Lime Wire must pay in damages for willful copyright infringement.

Lime Wire settles with RIAA for $105 million Mark Gorton, creator of the LimeWire file-sharing system, agrees to compensate the four largest record labels for facilitating the mass piracy of billions of songs over 10 years. (Posted in Media Maverick by Greg Sandoval) May 12, 2011 3:51PM PDT

RIAA, Lime Wire close to settling copyright suit Lime Wire, the file-sharing service found liable for copyright infringement last year, could pay … Read more

RIAA, Lime Wire close to settling copyright suit

Lime Wire, the company that helped people obtain perhaps billions of songs illegally, is close to forking over a "significant" amount of money to settle a copyright suit filed against it by the Recording Industry Association of America, sources close to the discussions told CNET.

The two sides were still negotiating this morning, but a deal could be finalized as soon as today, the sources said. They didn't specify the exact settlement figure and cautioned that the talks could still break down.

Should a deal be finalized, it would put an end to a 5-year-old copyright case and close the book on Lime Wire, the company behind the peer-to-peer system of the same name that the big four record companies alleged cost them billions of dollars and thousands of employees their jobs.

After a U.S. District Judge found Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton personally liable for copyright infringement and ordered the company to cease operations, the case then moved to assessing damages. Over the past two weeks, a jury in Manhattan was hearing evidence in the case as they determined what amount Lime Wire and Gorton would have to pay. If they found he deserved to pay the maximum under the law, Gorton could be required to pay as much as $1.4 billion.

Ethan Smith at The Wall Street Journal reported that the sides have held three settlement meetings without securing a deal. The talks began in earnest yesterday, said the sources who spoke with CNET.

Gorton was in a precarious legal position.The jury tasked with assessing damages was often reminded by Glenn Pomerantz, the RIAA's lead attorney, that Gorton had already been found liable of willful copyright infringement by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. … Read more