The developers of file-sharing software LimeWire have been decreed to be liable to 13 major record companies for infringing their copyrights in a landmark ruling.
Manhattan Federal Judge Kimba Wood agreed with the 13 record companies that LimeWire's parent company Lime Wire LLC and its founder Mark Gorton should be held liable for copyright infringement.
LimeWire has been operating since 2000 and has over 50 million monthly users.
RIAA happy with ruling
The original lawsuit dates back to August 2006 when the 13 labels - Arista, Atlantic, BMG Music, Capital, Elektra, Interscope, LaFace, Motown, Priority, Sony BMG, UMG, Virgin and Warner Brothers - sued Lime Group.
"The evidence demonstrates that LimeWire optimised LimeWire's features to ensure that users can download digital recordings, the majority of which are protected by copyright, and that LimeWire assisted users in committing infringement," Judge Wood decreed.
Mitch Bainwol, Chief Exec of The Recording Industry of Association of America (RIAA) said in a statement following the ruling:
"The court's decision is an important milestone in the creative community's fight to reclaim the internet as a platform for legitimate commerce.
"The court has sent a clear signal to those who think they can devise and profit from a piracy scheme that will escape accountability."