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Limewire has been locked in a copyright battle with the big record labels since 2006. In May of last year, the peer-to-peer file-sharing service effectively lost its case when a federal judge ruled it was liable for copyright infringement. A month after that key decision was handed down, a large group of music publishers piled on, filing their own lawsuit asking Limewire to pay them damages, as well. Now Limewire has settled the lawsuit brought by those publishers. Its main battle with the record labels rages on, however, and a trial over how much damages Limewire will have to pay those companies will happen later this year.
The reason that the music publishers were able to bring their own case is that music recordings generally have two separate copyrights-the copyright in the composition and the copyright in the actual sound recording. Several of the music publishing plaintiffs are connected to the record label plaintiffs, so Limewire is in the odd position of having reached a settlement with Universal Music Publishing Group, for example, while it’s still being sued by Universal Music Group. Terms of the settlement with the music publishers were not disclosed.