The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has won a 4-year battle to stop LimeWire from distributing music illegally to millions of users across the world.
LimeWire is a file-sharing program owned by the Lime Company. It is well known for its ability to allow the public to share the latest music with other users for free.
The company published a press release which said: "It’s a sad occasion for our team, and for you – the hundreds of millions of people who have used LimeWire to discover new things."
The company has already informed it users of its intention to release a new program that abides by the law. Before that is possible they will have to fight a legal case in January which seeks to place a bill on the company for the money that has been lost through piracy.
A blog on the RIAA website said that; "for the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and its operators have violated the law, and in doing so, enriched themselves immensely."
Despite the controversy a sister program, FrostWire has been running since 2004. It was set up by members of the LimeWire open source community as a response to increasing legal pressure on the Lime Company. The program is almost an exact copy of its counter-part and is as of yet, unaffected by the law.
Nevertheless many people have decided to start paying for their music, one KU student said; "It was a useful site that allowed music to be enjoyed by millions, but now I get all my music from iTunes."
The difficulty met by the legal system is not the software itself, the problems stem from what they are being used for. This has proved to be very difficult to moderate, at present a tick-box is the only means to stop people from misusing the software. It asks the user to confirm that they will not use the software to break the law.
With other file-sharing websites and programs are emerging on an almost weekly basis it seems that it will be a while before governments can completely crack down on copyright infringement.