The four year legal battle between major music labels and file-sharing site LimeWire has finally come to an end. Approximately 50 Million people used the site monthly, according to LimeWire. This accounted for 58 percent of the people who download music in 2009, according to an NDP Group survey.

In addition to the trading of music files, digital copies of television shows and movies were also shared by means of the site.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 26, 2010, LimeWire users were greeted with a legal notice superimposed on the file-sharing website’s homepage.  The notice stated that the site was under a court ordered injunction and was ordered to stop distributing and supporting its file sharing software.  It went on to say that “downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.”

As with Napster and Grokster, LimeWire was found to be liable for enabling widespread copyright infringement. In her ruling, Federal Judge, Kimba Wood ordered the company to disable “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” of Lime Wire’s software.

Still to come, the Court is scheduled to decide early next year just how much LimeWire, its parent company, and it founder Mark Gorton will be required to pay to compensate for the infringement.  According to Judge Wood, the potential damages are “staggering.”

Photo (c) 2011 Heather Wells