Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and other movie and TV studios asked a federal judge to rule that the file-sharing website Lime Wire LLC and its founder, Mark Gorton, induced people to illegally download shows and films without payment.
The companies, which also include Viacom Inc. (VIAB), News Corp. (NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox Film and Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros. Entertainment, are seeking the same judgment a federal court granted to the music industry against Lime Wire in 2010, according to a court filing in Manhattan yesterday.
“Users by the tens of millions were attracted to LimeWire to access -- for free -- infringing copies of virtually any type of copyrighted content,” the entertainment companies, which sued in February, said in yesterday’s motion for summary judgment.
The plaintiffs said U.S. District Judge Harold Baer should find Lime Wire and Gorton liable for inducement of copyright infringement without a trial. TV shows such as “South Park” and “Desperate Housewives” and movies including “Avatar” and the “Harry Potter” films were among the material allegedly infringed, according to the filing.
Lime Wire developed peer-to-peer software that allowed users to share digital entertainment files on their computers with other people over the Internet.
“Gorton directed and benefited from Lime Wire’s inducement of infringement,” the entertainment companies said in the filing.
Gorton operates Tower Capital Research LLC, a New York- based hedge fund that trades securities based on mathematical algorithms it developed. Gorton said today in a phone interview that he hadn’t seen the motion for summary judgment and couldn’t comment on it.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in May 2010 found Lime Wire and Gorton liable for inducing infringement of copyrights for recorded music. The site was shut down by an October 2010 court order. Lime Wire settled with the recording industry for $105 million in May 2011 during a trial in Manhattan to determine damages.
In the new case, the parties were unable to reach a settlement, according to a docket entry in September.
The case is Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. Lime Wire LLC, 12-0818, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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