LimeWire’s in Trouble
According to the NYT, LimeWire is being sued for copyright infringment. Duh?
Limewire was one of the main file-sharing services that popped up after the fall of Kazaa and Napster that allowed for users to share free videos and music over the Internet. So it is no wonder why they are being attacked by legal means by a big coalition of music labels in order to give them a swift kick in the pants.
However, that isn’t the only side of the story: the big coalition of music labels includes the oligarchy of companies that have come to take most of the market share in the recording business. They have started to assume more and more power as small labels are imploding from lack of sales.
Labels tend to, when it is possible, make an outcry about file-sharing by using the judicial system to get press and instill fear appeals within the media and the public. This is to discourage others from file-sharing, giving them the idea that it is unethical and wrong.
But what might be more unethical is this big coalition has been ripping of customers with their high profit margins gained on the music they record and sell that is, coincidentally, intellectual property of an artist, who only recieves a portion of those sales.
So in the end, who is at fault? Limewire, who sets music free to be consumed by the masses and abuses recording labels’ work? or Record Labels, whose barriers were broken down by the ability to set music into a free-flowing space?
Companies seem to be in trouble for copyright infringement if they are seen to be encouraging stealing. That seems to be a fine line. Isn’t the program itself encouragement enough? Users need little push from industry sources to rip music. Like we can all see, there is a clear divide between the industry and the consumer now, and the consumer seems to act upon their own will more freely: so they often download because, well, they have the choice to.
And one more thing: This goes to show that the judicial system isn’t the best avenue to take if you want real change in this predicament: “Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said the ruling showed how slowly the court system moved compared with the pace of change on the Internet.”