The four largest recording companies claim in court papers that Lime Wire, the company behind the LimeWire file-sharing service, has thumbed its nose at a court injunction that requires the peer-to-peer network be shut down, CNET has learned.
"Defendants have demonstrated in no uncertain terms that they either will not or cannot do what the injunction commands," wrote lawyers working for the Recording Industry Association of America.
The RIAA, the trade group for the major labels, asked the court yesterday in a 20-page document to appoint a "receiver" to ensure that Lime Wire complies with the injunction issued last month by U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood in the Southern District of New York. After hearing evidence presented by the RIAA, as part of the group's federal copyright complaint filed against Lime Wire in 2007, Wood ordered the company to disable "the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading...and/or all functionality" of the LimeWire software.
Lime Wire appeared to take LimeWire offline a day after Wood issued her order. But on November 9, TorrentFreak, a blog that covers online file sharing, wrote that LimeWire was back "good as new. Not only has a secret [development] team reanimated the hugely popular client, but they have also made a few significant changes which make it better and more streamlined than before."
In court documents, which were heavily redacted, the RIAA claimed that someone launched the site, Metapirate.com, and started providing users with links to download "the LimeWire Pirate Edition." The RIAA said the site was created by someone "either formerly or presently a Lime Wire employee."
The RIAA has requested that Lime Wire assist with an investigation into the identity of the person calling himself or herself "Meta Pirate."
In response to questions from CNET, a Lime Wire spokeswoman said company managers don't know the identity of the person or persons behind Meta Pirate. She issued this statement: "Lime Wire is complying with the court-ordered injunction. We have informed the court we are not involved in the distribution of LimeWire Pirate Edition [and have not] used the name Meta Pirate. We have issued a cease and desist letter to the hosting company of LimeWire Pirate Edition and have asked that others comply with the injunction."
The trade group defended its request by saying that a receiver is appropriate even if it is found that Metapirate is not in any way connected to Lime Wire.
"The appointment of a receiver does not depend upon the defendant willfully violating the court's orders," the RIAA wrote. "A receiver may be appointed where defendants 'have demonstrated either their inability or unwillingness' to comply with the court's orders."
Update 10:56 a.m. PT: To include statements from Lime Wire.