Limewire to close legal business too

Just weeks after closing down its file-sharing site after a four-year legal battle, Limewire has announced that it is shutting its legal online store too.

It has already stopped accepting new customers, but says that existing customers can sign in to redeem any song credits they have left. The store will close down altogether on December 31, as will the company’s office in New York.

In October, Limewire was ordered to shut down its peer-to-peer service after a long legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Judge Kimba Wood slapped a permanent injunction on the company ordering it to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software.

However, the company had hopes that it could still stay in business. It had already opened a legitimate online subscription service offering music from independent labels, and said it planned to expand this with the inclusion of content from major music publishers. The US-only store offered songs for as little as 27 cents each.

Limewire had been talking to all four of the majors involved in the RIAA about the online store. However, it now seems that perhaps they weren’t generous enough in victory to agree a deal, at least n ot on terms Limewire could afford.

There’s one more hearing in the RIAA case scheduled for January, when damages will be set. The fact that the company is now effectively closed may affect the amount that gets awarded. The RIAA says it’s seeking $1 billion.