The LimeWire name brings back many memories for many early adopters of P2P file-sharing. The popular application shut down well over a decade ago but according to many mainstream news outlets, it’s making a comeback as an NFT marketplace. In reality, this new project has nothing to do with the original LimeWire, whose founder Mark Gorton is not happy with the confusion being created.
This article was written by Ernesto Van der Sar and originally published by Torrent Freak.
In a world that’s dominated by viral social media posts and catchy headlines, branding is everything.
Controversial statements and recognizable names are a great way to gain visibility. This attention can then be monetized.
Last week we noticed that one of the most iconic file-sharing brands was making headlines once again. According to numerous news articles, LimeWire is making a comeback as an NFT marketplace.
There was no shortage of attention for this news, which was repeated in hundreds of media outlets around the world. Below are just a few examples of the headlines that crossed our radar.
– Former file-sharing site LimeWire to relaunch as NFT marketplace – CNBC
– Limewire is back from the dead – and it’s selling NFTs – Metro
– LimeWire is going from P2P to NFT as it plans a comeback in May – Business Insider
– Piracy Icon LimeWire Is Coming Back, But As an NFT Marketplace – Vice
– LimeWire Will Be Resurrected as NFT Marketplace – CNET
– LimeWire is relaunching…as an NFT marketplace – Mashable
These are great headlines but they also lack some nuance. The new LimeWire project has absolutely nothing to do with the team that originally developed the file-sharing software. They just happen to share the same name.
Several of the articles mention that the NFT project “bought the rights to the company” or “LimeWire’s assets and all current business activities” but that seems to be an overstatement. Or at the minimum; a confusing way to describe the situation.
LimeWire Founder Not Thrilled
The original LimeWire company, called Lime Group LLC, was founded by Mark Gorton who also acted as its CEO. We initially assumed that he had been alerted in advance to the LimeWire comeback but that’s not the case.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Gorton says that he had never even heard of this NFT project before it hit the news.
“I was not approached about this NFT project, and I didn’t hear about it until the public announcement,” Gorton tells TorrentFreak.
There was probably no legal obligation to inform the former LimeWire chief. The original trademarks have expired and the NFT website uses a new logo, so they can use the brand. However, Gorton is not happy to see the name used in a way that deviates from its original purpose.
“I am not thrilled about an unrelated group of people using the LimeWire name. Using the LimeWire name in this way creates confusion and falsely uses that brand that we created for purposes for which it was never intended,” Gorton says.
The new LimeWire does have at least one asset that previously belonged to the original LimeWire team; the Limewire.com domain name.
This domain wasn’t purchased from Gorton. Until a few months ago it was owned by former LimeWire developer Zlatin Balevsky. He picked it up when it was set to expire a few years ago and forwarded it to his new application MuWire to gain some eyeballs.
Last year, Balevsky sold the domain name to Julyan Zehetmayer, the founder & co-CEO of the LimeWire NFT marketplace. Zehetmayer wanted to buy all digital assets, but the developer never owned anything aside from the domain.
It’s clear that the original LimeWire team is not eager to endorse the NFT platform and Balevsky believes that it’s a bit much to claim that LimeWire is making a comeback.
“I think it’s a bit risky to say that LimeWire ‘is back’, the NFT project has got nothing to do with the original,” he says.
NFTs for Newbies
While not all LimeWire veterans are excited about the planned launch of the NFT marketplace this May, the new LimeWire can’t wait to get started. With their project, they hope to make NFTs more accessible, by simplifying the technology and allowing credit card payments.
The LimeWire brand was chosen because the platform plans to strongly focus on digital collectibles in the music space. However, instead of sharing content for free, artists will be properly rewarded.
“On LimeWire, the artist always receives the majority of all earnings, retains full control and ownership of their content and is entitled to receiving royalty payments even when their collectibles are traded further down the line in the secondary market,” ‘new’ LimeWire CEOs Julian and Paul Zehetmayr inform TorrentFreak.
We also asked about the old LimeWire assets that were acquired. Unfortunately, however, the company could not share any further details on that.
“We cannot disclose specifics about the acquisition, but we can say that it was quite a lengthy process last year to acquire all the assets, put them all together and conduct the necessary due diligence to get the brand back to market.”