A file-sharing network claims to go legitimate, offering only properly licensed files. Does anyone not see through this tired old ruse, which surely dates back almost a decade to the first incarnation of Napster? For LimeWire, one of the last networks to still keep going, it's a measure to keep the RIAA's legal hounds at bay. How? By launching a LimeWire store that will offer legal music downloads. No doubt this show of good faith is an attempt to sidestep its current legal dispute with the record industry, which is seeking $150,000 for every song downloaded over the network. Scott Gilbertstein of Wired News points out that this "is probably more money than the U.S. GDP." But think of all those starving recording artists!
Despite its foray into legitimacy, Limewire hasn't announced explicit plans to shut down peer-to-peer file sharing. And it will face the same problems as the reborn Napster in persuading users loyal to its brand, accustomed to getting music for free, to pay up. At this point, there are plenty of options for buying music; people use LimeWire because they don't want to pay. "It's legal to buy music through our store," says CFO Jesse Rubefield. "That's a reason to do it." Uh huh. Tell that to everyone on PirateBay.