Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Going, Going: LimeWire Shutters Online Store, Too

LimeWire, the high-profile file-sharing company, more or less shut down in October, following a federal court ruling. But there are bits and pieces of the company still up and running.

Not for much longer, it seems. The company is also closing its online music store at the end of the year. And I’m told that it has essentially abandoned efforts to launch a new, legal music service that it had spent much of the past year building.

A sign on the Web retailer’s homepage tells customers that it’s no longer accepting new payments, and the company has told vendors via email that the store will shutter on Dec. 31. (You can see a copy of the note at the bottom of this post.)

LimeWire hasn’t responded to my request for comment. And it’s not clear why the company is closing up the shop, because in this case, LimeWire shouldn’t be dealing with any legal issues. LimeWire operated the store the same way that Apple’s iTunes does–it took product that music labels (not the big ones, but small independents) wanted to sell and delivered it to customers.

Meanwhile, people familiar with the company tell me that it has also stopped pursuing plans to launch a new, legal music service that had been building throughout 2010.

As recently as October, the company had been talking up the prospects of the new service, and had invited me to see a preview of it even after the court ruling that shuttered its illegal file-sharing service. But LimeWire later rescinded the invitation, and said that its lawyers had advised it not to discuss the new service.

My hunch is that LimeWire is stripping down all of its remaining assets in advance of January court proceedings. Those are going to determine how much the company owes the major music labels that successfully sued it for copyright violations.

LimeWire had already laid off at least 30 percent of its workforce following the October court ruling.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik