LimeWire, one of the world's most popular peer-to-peer filesharing websites, has been shut down after a four year legal battle with the US music industry. A federal court in New York issued a "permanent injunction" against LimeWire late on Tuesday, ruling that the platform intentionally caused a "massive scale of infringement" by permitting the sharing of thousands of copyrighted works by its 50 million monthly users.
The court also ruled that LimeWire should "use all reasonable technological means to immediately cease and desist" copyright infringements still taking place through applications already downloaded. The site's popularity is reflected in a survey by NDP Group, which found that LimeWire was used by 58% of people who have downloaded music from a peer-to-peer network in the year from May 2009.
Earlier this year, LimeWire planned to release a service called Spoon, which would allow users to legally purchase copyrighted tracks. The deal fell through, however, when record labels were told that the site would need at least a year to migrate illicit filesharers to the new service. The company reinvented itself as a legal download service in 2004, later launching what it claimed was "the world's largest and most comprehensive MP3 store", before unveiling a "freemium" model similar to that of Spotify last year.