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LimeWire Settling Lawsuit for $105 Million

While Google currently faces shelling out $500 million to the Justice Department for advertising illegal pharmacies in its ad network, the operators of LimeWire have finally agreed to end a federal court trial over copyright infringement by paying $105 million to thirteen record companies. These include Arista, Atlantic, BMG Music, Capitol, Elektra, Interscope, Laface, Motown, Priority, Sony BMG, UMG, Virgin and Warner Brothers.

"Lime Wire and its founder, Mark Gorton, are pleased that this case has concluded," according to their law firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, which announced the settlement.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan shut down the LimeWire peer-to-peer file sharing service last October after ruling that parent company Lime Group and Lime Wire LCC had in fact wrongfully assisted users in acquiring music illegally. Once the service was shut down, there was a question as to how much the company would have to pay, as the damages would have exceeded $1 billion USD based on 10,000 recordings released since 1972.

A jury trial regarding the actual monetary damages began last week.

Wednesday during the trial, Warner Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman admitted that he was frustrated that LimeWire wasn't shut down or converted into a legal music service after the Grokster ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2005. As previously reported, the ruling declared that companies could be sued for copyright infringement if they "distributed services designed to be used for that purpose, even if the devices could also be used lawfully." But it's unknown why it took more than 5 years to shut down LimeWire.

"It's devastating, frankly," Bronfman admitted.

Naturally the RIAA is ecstatic despite the long wait. "We are pleased to have reached a large monetary settlement," RIAA Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol said in a statement, calling the settlement a victory for music providers that "play by the rules."