As mentioned in Robert Kolick’s post from November 3rd, LimeWire, once the most popular peer-to-peer file-sharing program on the ‘net, was ordered to shut down via an injunction issued by Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District of New York.
Just a few weeks after LimeWire closed its doors, a new version, “LimeWire: Pirate Edition” surfaced online. Developed by a purported “secret development team”, the new edition first appeared on a website created by a hacker who goes by the name MetaPirate. LimeWire was able to obtain a court order requiring MetaPirate’s site to shut down, but the software continues to circulate via torrent networks. The Pirate Edition presents a classic example of the “whac-a-mole” problem that plagues the content industry’s quest to stop internet piracy and online copyright infringement.
The new, unauthorized edition is being touted as an improved version of the former program. This pcworld.com article notes that the creators of the Pirate edition removed all dependency on the LimeWire LLC servers, disabled remote settings, and activated features previously only available on LimeWire PRO (a version which, for a one time charge, removed advertising and offered increased search and download capabilities, among other offerings).
The identities of MetaPirate and/or the Pirate Edition creators have not yet been revealed, but speculation pegs the release as the work of either a present or former LimeWire LLC employee. Limewire has disclaimed any involvement, posting a notice on its website homepage that also asks that the pirates cease and desist any use of the company’s software, name, or trademark. In communication with tech news site Arstechnica, MetaPirate maintains that “the monkeys who created LimeWire Pirate Edition are not associated in any way with Lime Wire LLC.” The RIAA obtained authorization for discovery of MetaPirate’s identity, as well as a host of documentation from LimeWire about past and present employees, that it hopes will shed some light on who is behind the leak.
It is unclear how the release of the Pirate Edition, and the subsequent investigation into the party responsible, may play into the outcome of the impending trial for damages in the LimeWire case. The company is, at present, cooperating and working diligently on its own to uncover the source of the bootlegged version, but if signs point to LimeWire’s involvement, it could mean bad news.
Note: The title of this blog post comes from MetaPirate’s tagline for LimeWire: Pirate Edition.