Lime Wire, music publishers settle copyright case

NEW YORK Tue Mar 8, 2011 12:34pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The operator of LimeWire, a once-popular file-sharing service shut down last year for copyright infringement, has settled a lawsuit brought by music publishers.

The settlement with Lime Wire LLC covers more than 30 publishers, including units of EMI Group, Sony Corp and Vivendi SA. The terms were not disclosed.

These publishers also dismissed claims against New York-based Lime Wire's founder, Mark Gorton. The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again.

"A settlement was reached," a spokeswoman for the National Music Publishers Association said. "The parties worked hard to achieve a settlement that is a good result for all involved."

Joseph Baio, a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, declined to comment on the settlement.

Music publishers sued Lime Wire last June, after U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood found the New York-based company wrongfully assisted users in pirating digital recordings. Wood shut down the service in October.

Thirteen record companies are still pursuing copyright litigation against Lime Wire, seeking possible damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The companies include Arista, Atlantic, BMG Music, Capital, Elektra, Interscope, Laface, Motown, Priority, Sony BMG, UMG, Virgin and Warner Brothers, court records show.

A trial in that case is scheduled for May 2, Baio said.

Record companies own copyrights to recordings, while publishers can own copyrights to the songs themselves.

The publishers' case is EMI April Music Inc et al v. Lime Wire LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-04695. The record companies' case is Arista Records LLC et al v Lime Group et al in the same court, No. 06-05936.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Andre Grenon)

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