LimeWire: Will users turn to legal alternatives?

Following the death of notorious filesharing service LimeWire, killed by the United States courts after a four-year legal battle against the Recording Industry Association of America, its legal rivals are beginning to voice hope.

Following the news, the Guardian suggested that the shutdown would be but a “temporary inconvenience for filesharers”, and that the tens of millions of users would simply find somewhere else where music is free at the point of access. One astute commenter called it a “pyrrhic” victory for the industry.

On Friday, we hear from Steve Purdham, the outspoken chief executive of UK music streaming site We7, who argues that those accustomed to downloading copyrighted content must be educated into the benefits of the lawful alternatives.

“It’s a huge positive for the music industry that LimeWire has been shut down,” he said. “But what we don’t want is for the site’s users to simply move on to the next illegal peer-to-peer sharing site that grabs their attention.”

Mark Mulligan, a music analyst Forrester Research and another candid opiner, says it’s not that straightforward.
“It’s not about the technology, it’s a paradigm shift [...] The reason they fileshare is not because they love the way the technology works, it’s because it’s easily accessible content which is free,” he told the Guardian earlier this week.

‘Fans don’t like paying for music’
“The simple fact is that the vast majority of music fans don’t like paying for music—and that’s even more pronounced in the filesharing community.”

But what the analysts aren’t taking into account, Purdham reckons, is the plague of viruses and malware often passed around peer-to-peer filesharers. With legit streaming services, that danger is eradicated.

“Consumers need to be more aware of the viable and legal options available and with piracy still rife, there is clearly still a level of education to be had,” he said. “The massive growth of LimeWire demonstrated the demand and desire of people wanting to consume music digitally. Now that great legal services are in abundance such as We7, and Pandora, consumers don’t need to run the risk of downloading from illegal filesharing sites.

“LimeWire had its day; there is no longer justification for a service which doesn’t respect artist rights in today’s world.

“To keep generating the music we love, artists need to be paid. People want to support the music they care about ... The issue of piracy is one created by the music industry itself. To solve it, we need to stop demonising consumers and create a sustainable business model that can work for everyone.”

  • At the time of writing, it appears that the industry body spearheading legal assaults on illicit filesharing, the RIAA, has been knocked off the face of the internet in an apparent retribution attack from online activists Anonymous. It’s the second time in as many months that the RIAA website has been targeted. -
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