The popular P2P program which was finally shut down yesterday was a mine of pirated, illegal and malicious content.

LimeWire, the banned peer-to-peer file sharing application, was a pioneer in its field. Launched in May 2000, it enabled millions of users to download an unimaginable quantity of almost exclusively unlicensed content (I can't work it out but it's somewhere up there between an exabyte and a zettabyte). But few in the know are mourning its demise, even if it comes at the hands of the sometimes reviled RIAA.


LimeWire, you see, despite having the most complete feature set of any of the major Gnutella clients, was not a piece of software that engendered much love from software experts. Sure, it was hugely popular. But with network-specific software, popularity just breeds popularity: it is not a sign of real objective quality.

In its early days, LimeWire was bundled with spyware. It quickly became one of the most important vectors for computer virus infections on Windows machines. At one point, around 30% of files shared on the Gnutella network were infected with malware. The only major successful viral assault on Macs was also launched via LimeWire. Recent attempts to sell a 'Pro' edition of the open-source program upset many users too.

And then there is the pirated and objectionable content. I'm aware that I'm going to sound like some sort of arch-conservative writing this, but the truth is that LimeWire users, when not downloading trojans, were generally downloading shoddy cam versions of films currently showing in the cinema. Or pornography, some of it illegal. The LimeWire user forums, when they were still up, were full of users worried about having downloaded illegal material: it seems that this was quite a common problem.

In many ways, LimeWire is a relic of an age that is passing. There is evidence that the popularity of P2P is waning in Europe, and that many US users are happier to use NetFlix or Hulu than bother with illegal downloads. As people get used to safe, affordable or even free streaming services, the popularity of illegal downloads will continue to decline. This initial 'Wild West' era in internet history won't end soon but its days are certainly numbered.

I don't think for a second that we're approaching a time when we'll have a risk-free internet. But I do think that the internet is getting safer and that this is a good thing. LimeWire was a program that was rotten to its very core and that promoted the dissemination of malware, illegal pornography and pirated content of insultingly poor quality. The internet is evolving. LimeWire was a dinosaur. Its demise shouldn't be mourned.


  • A.Burton |

    I use to have LimeWire but lik you say it was a terrible problem and full of malwear,it was a pain, it promised the world took your money then forgot you. I for one won`t miss it. RIP.

  • Felipe |

    No big deal.....remember NAPSTER? wreacked some havoc when shut down...the same now,

  • Kevin |

    Eventually all pay for P2P applications will fall foul of the law. By charging they are deemed to be providing a service that includes illegal downloads, in fact these services only attraction is just that. The majority of so called illegal downloads are done via other means that has no one entity that can be held responsible. No matter how many P2P providers the RIAA and it's counterparts close down the record industry is still fighting a losing battle. Just look at the number of artists that are abandoning record companies and recording and distributing their product over the net. Many give music away as a way to attract fans to live performances. The record companies are losing their control over the industry and it is control not royalties that have them worried. I predict that within the next ten years there will not be any major record companies left and it will be their own doing

  • Scott |

    I agree with Kevin on this, but not all of the consequences he mantioned are a bad thing. Major record labels are slowly killing the music industry, and they can't even see themselves doing it, because of their uncontrollable greed for money. For every album sold by an artist/band on a major label, the artist/band gets a stupidly small percentage of the money made, which is then split down even further between band members, so they get a tiny amount of money from major labels, and they hardly have any say on what material they can release, as the label can, and often does, forcibly change their style because they think it won't sell as well. Independant labels, on the other hand, are brilliant for artists, mainly because most of the money made goes back to the artist, as all they have to pay for is recording and distribution. Without major record labels and their corperate twats running it, small bands would get the recognition they deserve, yet don't get because of their small pay-roll and lack of influence in the music industry.

    hmm...rant over, methinks.

  • alex |

    i loved limewire n who rele gives a damn bout da law. i miss it

  • SteveNtexas |

    Easy for you to criticize it but for many it worked fine -what alternatives did you suggest? What motivated you to write this- a payoff from the music industry?

  • Tom Clarke |
    Tom Clarke

    @SteveNtexas For alternatives, you can check out our other post on the subject here.

    As to what motivated me, no I am not some kind of undercover agent for the RIAA or any record label. I simply do not like - and never liked - the insecure nature of LimeWire and the Gnutella network. I'm not against all P2P, and I understand people's reasons for downloading copies of movies and music. But as it gets easier to obtain media online legally and at little cost, I feel that such networks may well be on the way out.

  • freedom |

    first of all if its not a big deal that limewire shut down,then why are we in here talking about then, well guess what people like free stuff maybe they are getting a little tired of the company's of this country that ran it to bankruptcy and governments that sits on its ass and does absolutely nothing about it.limewire was a refuge from money hungry greedy company's that hard earned money from people who put them in business in the first place,you want to spend your money on some mp3 or movie at a wholesale price go for it but don't punish those who cant.the company's and the government has done enough damage its about they concentrate on something like putting back to work and stop laying them off so they can enormous amounts of profits for the son-of-bitch sitting on yacht in Caribbean wonder if he going to get his morning cocktail.so go ahead be pround they shut it down

  • Susan J Pethtal |
    Susan J Pethtal

    I've been paying for Limewire for over 4 years now! And I always respected any notifications that stated a song may not have permission to download. Now when I went to complain about my direct on line payments, I discovered I didn't have a license # or whatever, and I had upgraded 3 Times. Once, on my 2nd upgrade it said it was for a life-time membership. The second time it was supposed to be an improved version, when it fact, it was awful. It showed a lot less music, and I hated the layout, and I didn't share peer-2-peer. It seemed to have a mind of it's own. Harder to locate music, most of which was you had to use a special downloaded player for. This ws for certain songs that granted certain permission. WMF, or WDF or what-ever. I just remember it wasn't MP3 songs. Finally I was able to successfully download the Now I've player, and some songs played. Others, it just did nothing. Now I can't access any of my songs that I didn't have down loaded to my I-tunes. And I'm afraid to look on there and see if their even still there! If not I think we need a class action suit, because I want my money refunded for all 4 yrs! I couldn't believe they said they had no record of my name! When they'd e-mail notifications of up coming new versions! This is very upsetting to me! I do not know about malware problems as I play a lot of games and utilize facebook and other social networks that are terribly guilty of third party intervening and this happens frequently. What i want to know is how honest, hard paying customers who abide by their rules can be compensated for our losses, and still access the music we purchased that is legal. I've been so shook up over this since hearing about a week or so ago. My husband told me he heard it on the news one night after I tried to access it for me & my grand-daughter to listen to music. She loves to sit in my lap and listen to the music. We'll play Yo tube videos, but many of them are phony, or Joe Blow's doing their version, or lousy quality one's and no lyrics sung, just words listed in scroll mode. So, we don't listen to Yo tube often at all. but I could always count on my Limewire. And having paid almost $100.00 or more after upgrading, and having been billed monthly for at least the first couple of yrs, I don't even know anymore, I have no idea, except to get all my bank records from several different banks that I'd utilized over the last 4 yrs and get my records to see how much they charged me total! Does anyone know how we can get our money refunded and what they plan to do with legit customers who abided by their rules? Thanks - You! Sincerely, Susan Pethtal

  • Susan J Pethtal |
    Susan J Pethtal

    In added response to my questions, I know at first I was billed $14.99 a month I believe. Then a year or so later it said for an additional 30-40.00 you could obtain a life-time membership. I never noticed if that was billed to me monthly. I never looked at my statements. I'm always in the negative by the end of the month so I don't want to see them. I only make 620.00 a month. I'm disabled, and this was one of the few pleasures I had access to. Then after having to change accounts several times for too many over-drafts, they upgraded me to their first version of Pro. Which is the one I detested! I never would upgrade to the last! But, as for music like Kid Rock or some of other favorite artists, I'd actually go to Amazon.com or on E-Bay and buy 2nd hand excellent condition CD's for as little as 1.99 and up to 19.99! I respect my favorite music artists, but some songs are very hard to find, and that was why I adored Lime Wire. I could find an old song from the 60's or something without going to Amazon.com and purchasing a whole CD for one song! Please, if you know how I can correct and be compensated for my losses, please give me some feed-back! Thank you all again! sincerely, Susan Pethtal

  • allan |

    I got limewire pro for free by downloading it through limewire, now thats pricelesss. i bet some1 is going to say i deserve a cookie.

  • archie |

    what do we use now. I could find all of the "really different" music on Lime Wire. WHAT DO WE USE NOW TOO FIND THE MUSIC CHOICES WE LIKE?

  • Davien |

    i personally think that the internet should be lawless not to the point of selling slaves via internet but the law should be after more important things but problem is the bureaucrats have nothing better to do than go after people that pirate because they think that were bad people when in truth a lot of people pirate because of money issues like the poor man who steals his loaf of bread or they do it because they hate demos and buy whatever it is they pirate after they give it a good try if not they get rid of it then there is the people that the government should go after that have no lives except to make the rest of us look bad but i digress limewire will not be missed in my eyes it was nothing more that a mere pawn of the pirates but no pirating is bad and i do not condone it but i can agree with it sometimes also they should not be after pirates but instead just monitor the internet for the bad crimes such as drug dealings and sex trafficking and then going after them because these companies were so called "stealing" from have so much money and even if we were to actually "steal" from them which i might add pirating is not for stealing implies the loss of something of someone to the gain of someone else does not occur for it is nothing more than a mere copy of what was initially bought in the first place so technically the product was paid for

  • Manny |

    Davien (post just prior to mine),

    -- Are you like 9 yo? Cuz that post, by far was the longest, hardest-to-read run-on sentence that didn't even qualify as a sentence because it contained ZERO PUNCTUATION! It was full of run-on sentences that weren't sentences. It was so difficult to read. You not once used capitalization of letters, no beginnings of sentences or beginnings of new thoughts could be identified visually. -- Do you always write like that? If so, it's horrible, hard to read, & just plain lazy. STOP DOING THAT. Learn to write correctly so people can read your post.

  • Immo |

    Allan you deserve a cookie man for downloading Limewire Pro through Limewire itself! Limeception.

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