Spotify and Apple Music might be the go-to streaming platforms right now, but in the early 2000s it was Limewire.
Launched in 2000 by Mark Gorton, a former Wall Street trader, it was by far the most famous and notorious file sharing platform that allowed people to access millions of songs, videos, images and free software. Sometimes illegally.
There’s no denying that millennials loved Limewire.
In 2006, LimeWire had four million daily active users with simple navigation: search and click. That being said, there was almost no control and users could access random servers around the world. It opened up computers to viruses and hackers – every download involved the gamble of killing your PC.
By far the worst thing about Limewire was the risk of unwittingly being in possession of illegal content. And while Limewire was trying to filter out some content, innocent users were uploading an album that might open to something much more sinister.
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For example, Matthew White admitted to looking for a Girls Gone Wild clip (a perfectly legal act) but instead found himself opening child pornography, in accordance with The Chetson Firm. He deleted the file instantly; however, a year later, FBI agents showed up at his home to search for his computer.
LimeWire was forced to close after a long legal battle in 2010 when creator Gorton was charged with copyright infringement.
In 2006, the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) attacked the platform and claimed that each copyright violation had cost them $150,000. They wanted Limewire to pay $75 trillionan amount that a federal judge called “absurd”.
The case ended with a $105 million settlement between the CEO and the record companies outside of the courts.
Lime wirehas since relaunched with a Gen Z twist, combining crypto with millennial nostalgia.
For legal reasons, the platform will not return as the early 2000s hacking icon that millennials know and love. Instead, it leaves illegal file sharing and PC viruses in the past and is reborn as an NFT market.
Users will create, purchase, and trade music-related non-fungible tokens (NFTs) such as graphics, merchandise, songs, and exclusive backstage experiences.
Austrian brothers Paul and Julian Zehetmayr are well aware of the controversial links to the name. Still, they aim to bring the platform back to life with security features such as anti-money laundering checks and monitoring activity from accounting firm EY.
“The benefits definitely outweigh any controversy,” they said. Bloomberg.
Plot? You can join the Limewire waiting list here.
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