I’m heading up to Midtown in about 5 minutes to meet with the LimeWire legal team to prepare for tomorrow’s deposition in the LimeWire case (Arista v. LimeWire). The discovery phase has taken forever, so oral arguments have yet to be heard. I have no idea what to expect, as I’ve never given a deposition before. As I understand it, though, the intent of the deposition will be for the prosecuting attorneys to ask as thorough questions as possible to dig up any potential new angle against my former employer, LimeWire. I’m of course bound to tell the truth, so the more thorough their questioning, the more advantageous it is for them.
That said, there’s not much to hide. As I’ve always maintained, we intended LimeWire as a general tool for distributing information. We always wished users did not download and share infringing, but that soon became the dominant use.
The more tragic story is this: p2p is the most efficient and cost effective way to distribute large files around the Internet. If you have no money and you want to be heard, p2p is your best option. Sure, companies like Joost and Move do a great job distributing video, but they do it for the Viacoms and ABCs of the world. If you have no money, you’re out of luck, accelerating the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy few. Instead of talking about the democratizing potential of p2p, we’re in court discussing how much one rich guy should pay another rich guy.
That said, we cannot truthfully claim that LimeWire in practice has been a tool for massive democratization of information exchange. I think that’s partially due to the lack of emphasis on publishing original content. There’s more focus on media consumption than on media production. That’s one of the many shortcomings in LimeWire and p2p generally we’re addressing with LittleShoot, in addition to a completely different legal approach using the DMCA safe harbors.
To learn more about the LimeWire case, this is a thorough if somewhat legally technical description.