A coalition of eight music publishers sued file sharing P2P site LimeWire for copyright infringement today, according to the National Music Publishers Association. There's more here than just a lawsuit against LimeWire, though.
NMPA is going after LimeWire, its founder Mark Gorton, the parent company Lime Group, as well as a few high level employees of LimeWire. They filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. They're calling it "copyright infringement on a massive scale." Blood is in the water, and the sharks are circling LimeWire.
“Operations like LimeWire must understand the songs that make their illegal venture lucrative don’t appear out of thin air,” said NMPA President and CEO David Israelite.
“Behind every song is a vast network of people – a songwriter, a publisher, a performer, a record label. They have robbed every individual in that chain by selling their site as an access point for music and then refusing to properly license the music.”
NMPA will pursue $150,000 for each song that worked its way through the LimeWire P2P ecosystem, which could easily top out in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The lawsuit includes big and independent label publishers, and includes major labels EMI, Universal, Sony and Warner/Chappell; as well as as independent publishers MPL, Peermusic, Bug and Richmond Organization.
The most important thing to remember here is that the lawsuit against LimeWire is different and in addition to the copyright infringement and inducing copyright infringement suit won by the The Recording Industry Association of America against LimeWire last month.
This all happens as LimeWire is trying to convert itself to a legal music service. We've seen this strategy in the music business before ... big label music with deep pockets throws down a humongous lawsuit on a music service like LimeWire trying to go legit, in a move to gain equity or part ownership of the service. LimeWire surely doesn't the money to pay off two lawsuits in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars, so LimeWire will be forced to offer ownership stakes to the RIAA and NMPA in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. This one ain't over yet ...