By Richard Menta 10/26/10
After 10 years it looks like it is the end of the line for the P2P entity known as LimeWire. Today the U.S. District Court in New York issued an injunction ordering Lime Group to immediately disable the LimeWire application's "searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality".
Lime Group is already complying with the order. The P2P client is no longer available from the LimeWire web site. The site itself has no other functionality other than a legal notice announcing the injunction and links for media and customer service contacts. In a statement the company said. While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward. We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future.
The next stage of the case, coming in January, will be to determine what monetary damages the company should pay. Additionally, the plaintiffs will seek to convince Judge Kimba Wood to pierce the corporate veil and hold LimeWire founder Mark Gorton personally responsible for financial damages.
Limewire was far and away the most popular P2P client following the demise of KaZaa and the original Napster. In our April, 16th 2008 article Top P2P Applications: 1.6 Million PCs Rank Them, we posted the hard numbers.
In September of 2007 LimeWire was found on 17.8% of all the PCs polled that month (also referred to as the attachment rate). With regards to market share - counting only those users with at least one P2P application on their systems - LimeWire held a 36.4% share, meaning one out of three P2P users has LimeWire on their system.
This brings up a key point. While Lime Group will no longer be allowed to update and distribute the LimeWire client there are literally hundreds of millions of PCs that already have some version of the application on them. These millions of clients will remain in the wild and will continue to work with the decentralized Gnutella network. That makes the demise of Lime Group moot as far as curtailing file sharing goes, at least in the short term. In the long term users have shown in the past that they will freely moved from client to client. Any of several BitTorrent clients look like the most likely replacement, though users may also flock to FrostWire, a spin-off of the original LimeWire.
Meanwhile, Lime Group spokeswoman Tiffany Guarnaccia stated that the Limewire Store will continue. She also made note that the company will continue with it's plans to launch a legal cloud-based service. No due date was offered for the service, which is dependent on whether Lime Group can survive the damages phase of the trial.