Lime Wire Requests Jury Trial in Music Publishers' Infringement Lawsuit

Lime Wire LLC, the operator of a file-sharing website that a judge said infringed copyrights on recordings, requested a jury trial in a separate lawsuit filed by music publishers.

Lime Wire, based in New York, denied the accusations of copyright infringement made by publishers including Warner Music Group Corp. in an answer to their complaint filed today in federal court in Manhattan.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ruled in May that Lime Wire was liable for inducing copyright infringement on 30 recordings by allowing Web users to share them without authorization by record labels. The publishing companies, which collect royalties for songwriters, sued a month later.

“They seek to claim copyright or intellectual property rights as to works that are in the public domain and therefore not protected,” Tonia Ouellette Klausner, a lawyer for Lime Wire, said in one of the 23 defenses listed in today’s filing.

In the record labels’ case, Wood set a January trial to determine monetary damages. The labels also seek a permanent order to shut down Lime Wire’s site and a freeze on the assets of its founder, Mark Gorton.

The publishers represent the four largest record companies, Warner, Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd.’s EMI Group and Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, as well as smaller independent companies.

“Thousands upon thousands of American songwriters have been harmed by the illegal activities of Lime Wire,” David Israelite, the president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to their day in court.”

The publishers’ case is EMI April Music Inc. v. Lime Wire LLC, 10-04695, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The labels’ case is Arista Records LLC v. Lime Wire LLC, 06-05936, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

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