Next Limewire to Block Files

By Jon Newton 9/25/05

When the US Supreme Court ruled anyone who distributes a device “with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," LimeWire headed for the hills.

Lime Group chief executive Mark Gorton said it “appeared too difficult to meet the implied standard for inducement” and that the court had “'handed a tool to judges that they can declare inducement whenever they want to”.

Jon Newton

Since then, there’ve been a number of interesting changes to companies which could be said to comprise the independent corporate p2p community, but all attempts to find out what was happening with LimeWire meet with a stony “No Comment”.

However, it seems Gorton had decided discretion was the better part of valour, anticipating the project would eventually be attacked and deciding to protect the code.

We’re told he was personally targetted by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and consequently, LimeWire developers were instructed to come up with a solution that didn’t involve going to court.

The result? Code incorporated into LimeWire installers which means people will be installing a program that won’t share audio files unless the files are licensed.

Part of the code allows people to attach Creative Commons licenses to their files, and to verify that the people who attach the license are accountable, as far our correspondent was able to tell. Unlicensed audio files won’t show up in shared folders, and will be invisible to search requests by the newer clients.

Wanted: Older versions of LW
As soon as people realize that using or connecting to a LW version above 4.9.29 gets them into a controlled network, they'll ask ‘where can we get an older version’ " - posts steif on the Gnutella forums, going on:

We should share the installers that will help users remain freely connected.

(ultracross: ) 4.9.30 is already controlled by fewer ultrapeers, so I will participate only in a network of 4.9.29 Ultrapeers or earlier. I plan to ask for vendor/version blocking to help keep a free and open international network.

When the network consisted of 150K users, this still allowed much development to continue, and there is still lots of work to do before Mark Gorton's vision of an open and free network is realized.

gnutella is far from dead: we should encourage and facilitate those interested in F/LOSS to only use 4.29 and earlier. This will preserve the current network and provide an option to the controlled network.

Personally, I like the idea of ridding the network of all that audio crap Vive la texte et les images! Pardon my French.

LOTR: currently only audio files will be affected, but the code is ready to not share other extensions too. As far as I'm concerned, that's not the issue. It's that LW has been pressured into allowing the RIAA to exert influence over material and people outside of the USA. What hackers! "All your files belong to US " Yeah right.

So: can you experts tell me this? Will sharing my 4.9.29 Pro.dmg be any use to other OS X users? I'm currently sharing LimeWire 4.9.29jum431 OS X (magnet available on request).

et voilŕ responds:

I'm beginning to think that's worse that if LW shuts its doors... As FOSS, LW will be worked on anyways, while now the LW infected with the CC branch will destroy Gnutella as users will continue to dl it until Gnutella is to ill to be usable in any way.

Here is my foreseeable scenario:

LW implements the CC branch with no sharing of unlisenced stuff. LW 4.9.31 is released in the wild and “LW is signaled through the update mechanism. One week later, already 25% of the nodes do not share anything over Gnutella. People begin to notice file availability decreases. Not so long after, files become so scarce that remaining sub 4.9.31 nodes are filled with requests and do not send results anymore to searches. UPs are sending searches to the highest TTL nearly everytime, making dynamic querying inefficient because of overloaded UPs with search traffic. This means the search horizon will go down many times too.

After 3 weeks, many people will already find other P2P because they work better. In three months LW use base will go from 2.7 mill simulateneous users (trap_kaw crawler) to less than 500,000. By then, many Gnet apps will ban LW because of the leeching. The only major Gnutella app then will be Bearshare with its dead development! (but still the best Gnet app by far anyway).

Alternatives? Well since Gnutella will be illed, Gnet alternatives are not a very good thought. “Multinetwork apps neither. Edonkey and Bittorrent are the only good network alternatives right now.

We didn't get a response from LimeWire for an update on this.


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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