Now what happens? After the summary judgment against peer-to-peer file-sharing service LimeWire for copyright infringement, that's the big question.

If the RIAA pursues its request for an injunction, LimeWire will almost certainly shut down. If the RIAA seeks and is awarded monetary damages—estimated to be in the hundreds of millions—LimeWire would likely lack the resources to convert to a fully legitimate service, and the shutdown will be permanent.

Neither LimeWire nor the RIAA are yet tipping their hand as they prepare for a June 1 hearing to resolve the outstanding issues in the case. In the meantime, the Internet is full of comments, theories and opinions on the matter.

All Things D:
"What does this mean for the music industry? Assuming Wood’s ruling stands, this one will definitely feel good for the labels, and it would have been a very big deal had they lost. But it certainly won’t help them in fighting less formally organized P2P services or those set up outside the U.S."

"It is obviously a fairly fatal decision for them," said Michael Page, the San Francisco lawyer who represented file sharing service Grokster in the landmark case, MGM Studios, vs. Grokster and also represented Lime Wire's former CTO in the company's most recent copyright case. "If they don't shut down, the other side will likely make a request for an injunction and there's nothing left but to go on to calculating damages."

NY Times:
“If you’re coming real close to flying the Jolly Roger as a business, you can expect to be in legal trouble,” says Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Professor Zittrain said that the ruling did not appear to consider the technology itself as illegal, only the promoting and encouraging of illegal uses of that technology, which is consistent with the precedent established by the Supreme Court’s Grokster opinion.

Canadian Recording Industry Association:
"This decision is a huge win for artists and everyone involved in music, across Canada and worldwide," said CRIA President Graham Henderson. "The ruling kicks another leg out from under a major source of pirated music in Canada."

"With over 50 million active users -- the majority of which download music -- LimeWire has the kind of clout that could do significant damage to the music industry's bottom line. After all, if that many users are accustomed to downloading their favorite songs for free, why would they want to pay for music after the industry has effectively shut down their favorite service? If nothing else, the RIAA knew where 50 million people were allegedly downloading music illegally. As it works towards shuttering the service, it could have 50 million people stealing tracks on different services across the Web, thus making it harder to stop piracy."

Barry Sookman
“The case is significant for a number of reasons. LimeWire is one of the biggest remaining P2P networks still operating in the U.S. Others were either shut down after litigation or, like BearShare and eDonkey, went out of business after reaching settlements with copyright owners. The case also demonstrates the effectiveness of US law in being able to shut down sites and services that are used predominantly for infringing purposes. The case follows other similar US rulings including rulings in the Napster, Aimster, Grokster, and Isohunt cases… The decision will likely have positive benefits in Canada as LimeWire is a popular p2p technology used for music sharing in this country. The ruling may result in a shift in downloading habits of millions of users who had relied on LimeWire to get music for free, to paying services.”

Reaction from BigChampagne CEO Eric Garland, sent by e-mail to
"Napster. Scour Exchange. Audio Galaxy. iMesh. WinMX. Aimster. Ares. Morpheus. Kazaa. Grokster. eDonkey. Shareaza. Over the last decade, these software applications and countless others were used by tens or even hundreds of millions of people to exchange tens of billions of songs without permission. Today, even Napster is at best a mole hill in the vast landscape of music piracy. Now there are new names (BitTorrent, Rapidshare, MegaUpload, BeeMP3, and the list goes on and on). These too will fade in time and be replaced. This much is certain: whatever we think the significance of Limewire is today, we will think less of it in six months, much less five years. The music industry's mantra: 'We win, we celebrate, we live to fight another day.'
Case law: very significant.
Public relations/public awareness: significant.
Global war on piracy: less significant."