LimeWire developers are working of code modifications that will prevent users of future versions of the popular P2P client from sharing copyrighted works. Future versions of the software may check to see if material presented for sharing is copyrighted before blocking sharing if no suitable license can be found, Slyck reports. Users would still have the ability to trade their own work or files they have permission to distribute via a Creative Commons license.
According to Slyck's secret squirrel, a Limewire beta tester, the feature is ready to go and developers are simply waiting on a decision by Limewire chief Mark Gorton to integrate the feature. The development work follows pressure from the recording industry on Limewire threatening legal action unless it clamped down on illicit file trading.
The current version of 4.9.30 discourages - but does not actively prevent - the sharing of copyright protected information. For example, users have to promise not to use the software to share copyright protected works when they download the software.
Limewire is one of the most popular Gnutella clients with two million or more simultaneous users. If barriers are erected to file trading many of these users will likely use earlier versions of the software or else switch to alternative Gnutella clients.
No-one from Limewire was available for comment on this story at the time of going to press. ®