Music publishers now take aim at LimeWire

File sharing company LimeWire was targeted with another music industry lawsuit, as eight music publishers have taken aim at LimeWire.

Specifically, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)–which includes EMI Music, Universal Music, Warner and Sony–want “equitable relief and damages” related to LimeWire and its ability to promote piracy.

“The pervasive online infringement facilitated by LimeWire and others like them has consequences for everyone in the music chain,” the group said in a statement.  “Operations like LimeWire must understand the songs that make their illegal venture lucrative don’t appear out of thin air.  Behind every song is a vast network of people — a songwriter, a publisher, a performer, a record label.”

In early May, it was discovered LimeWire could be in legal limbo after the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won a copyright lawsuit.

A month later, the RIAA asked U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood to consider closing LimeWire down permanently — but a final decision wasn’t made.  Even so, Judge Wood upheld the RIAA’s arguments, saying LimeWire didn’t try to use any anti-piracy measures to prevent users from downloading and sharing copyrighted content.

Shortly after, a lawyer said LimeWire could be on the hook for $1.5 trillion for 200,000,000 cases of copyright infringement.

I believe all of this legal turbulence just brings LimeWire one step closer to shutting down.  I’m doubtful the company can keep its program available when the RIAA, music publishers and similar parties want the service shut down.

Despite the threat of lawsuits, company closures, and legislation limiting file sharing, peer-to-peer piracy is expected to grow over the next four years.