Lime Wire has finally settled its long standing lawsuit with the recording industry as Mark Gorton, the software-network’s creator, agreed to pay $105 million for willful copyright infringement. The conclusion of this drawn-out case has several implications with regards to piracy and the future of music on the web.
During the trial, the issue of unbundled music arose, with some record labels claiming that since fewer consumers are buying full length albums in lieu of obtaining a few choice tracks, the music industry is finding it difficult to financially “recover”. On the other hand, spokespersons for other labels claim that if consumers are able to obtain only the songs they want, it would foster a greater sense of satisfaction and eventually lead to more purchases and greater profit for record companies. While these views are simply opinions that aren’t backed by facts, it appears as if consumers benefit more from unbundled music, regardless of the debate.
Furthermore, the conclusion of Lime Wire’s trial can also impact the issues concerning the legality of Google’s upcoming online music storage cloud, Google Music (Beta). The haze that surrounds the legitimacy of this service has the recording industry, lawmakers and consumers scrambling on how to define the legal parameters of purchasing and sharing music over the web.
Of course, this is still without mentioning the fact that there are various peer-to-peer resources online that provide consumers access to obtain music and other forms of media “illegally”. However, without any solid factual evidence on how piracy directly affects the music industry, consumers and record companies alike will simply have to accept the fact that music is meant to be shared, whether through “legal” means or not.
To read a re-cap of the Lime Wire trail, visit C-Net’s coverage here.