Why the Apparent Decline of LimeWire Means Continued Growth for P2P File-Sharing Networks

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Following last week's ruling by U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood that "LimeWire's users commit a substantial amount of copyright infringement", Tiversa, the leader in Peer-To-Peer (P2P) intelligence, has fielded a number of questions regarding the future of P2P file-sharing networks, the impact this ruling has on the future of P2P and specifically what observations can be made.

"We are seeing law enforcement, government agencies, and information security and risk professionals take notice as P2P use often leads to data loss and adversely affects an organization's information security initiatives."

Last week, in a 4 year-old case brought by The Recording Industry Association of America, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood ruled that "LimeWire's users commit a substantial amount of copyright infringement". Also stated was that the Lime Group (parent company of LimeWire), "has not taken meaningful steps to mitigate infringement." 

In subsequent days, Tiversa, the leader in Peer-To-Peer (P2P) intelligence, has fielded a number of questions regarding the future of P2P file-sharing networks, the impact this ruling has on the future of P2P and specifically what observations can be made. "As the first high-profile P2P case since the 2005 Grokster ruling, it has certainly peaked interest from more than just the entertainment industry and consumers. We are seeing law enforcement, government agencies, and information security and risk professionals take notice as P2P use often leads to data loss and adversely affects an organization's information security initiatives," said Robert Boback, Tiversa CEO.

In today's world of open communication, one of the greatest challenges privacy, information security and risk management professionals face is how to provide open and direct access to information while protecting sensitive and confidential documents. Tiversa has seen millions of individual records and sensitive files inadvertently being shared on P2P networks across many applications. This type of confidential information is continuing to be exposed by organizations, their agents, key suppliers, and trusted partners. 

Points of Impact regarding the recent LimeWire ruling:

1. P2P file-sharing networks are enormous and will continue to thrive
2001, the end of Napster. 2005, the fall of Grokster. 2010, LimeWire faces closure (as reported by the media). This story sounds familiar. P2P isn't going anywhere. In fact, Tiversa's research and recent trend analysis reinforces the notion that the file-sharing community will continue to grow. While many file-sharing applications operate overseas and simply aren't concerned with U.S. regulations, P2P will continue to be a disruptor for the music and entertainment industry. For the security, privacy, and risk sectors, P2P file-sharing will continue to present a broad spectrum risk to organizations of all shapes and sizes. 

2. LimeWire has been on the decline
There's been a noticeable migration of users from LimeWire to other applications, such as BearShare, FrostWire, MP3 Rocket and others over the past few years. This ruling will only accelerate that migration because people still like the notion of 'free'. If not LimeWire, then users will use something else. With over 220 P2P software applications available to internet users, an alternative to LimeWire will not be difficult to obtain.

"The information being shared across these networks is staggering. In a typical day, Tiversa might see the Protected Health Information (PHI) of tens of thousands being disclosed by a hospital or medical billing company, a Fortune 100 company exposing patent documentation or M&A strategy, or  the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of an organization's global workforce being exposed through a third-party payroll provider," says Boback.

Tiversa's latest research reinforces warnings aired in recent media reports, as well as, growing concerns voiced by Congress in new legislative initiatives aimed at protecting consumers from sensitive data loss. The apparent closure of LimeWire will only shift the user base to other applications on the network in the ever-evolving cycle of free music, movies and software that we call P2P. Unfortunately, songs and videos are not the only files available for search and download. 

About Tiversa
Tiversa provides P2P Intelligence and Security Services to corporations, global law enforcement, government agencies and individuals based on patented technologies that can monitor over 450 million users issuing 1.6 billion searches a day. Requiring no software or hardware, Tiversa detects, locates and identifies exposed files in real-time, while assisting in remediation and future prevention efforts.

For more information, please contact Tiversa at (724) 940-9030.

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Scott Harrer
Tiversa
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