updated 11:10 am EDT, Wed October 27, 2010
LimeWire admits installing secret isolation code
LimeWire late Tuesday said that it had secretly installed a 'cut-off' switch in its peer-to-peer client to accompany the court-mandated withdrawal of its app. After a rumor from PCMag, company representative Tiffany Guarnaccia acknowledged to CNET that a summer update had given LimeWire the ability to isolate clients from the Gnutella network, rendering the app useless. It had also changed its update policy to both patch automatically and to refuse to open if a user wasn't running the latest version.
Until the new confirmation, LimeWire had said it was conceding to music label demands to prevent file sharing as well as downloads of the app, but it hadn't said how this would work. The company couldn't shut down the peer-to-peer Gnutella network itself as it runs independently of any one program.
The company has been eager to get away from RIAA scrutiny after it was found responsible for contributing to music piracy. Although it had allegedly been aware that its service was used mostly for illegal copies of music, the company had turned around and said it would launch a new, legal music service instead. Its details aren't known, but it's believed to be called Spoon and was planned with a promise to the RIAA that users would be forced out of peer-to-peer to steer them to the paid format.
Company officials wouldn't confirm the new service's details.