The file-sharing network LimeWire - which is currently being sued by several major record labels for allegedly contributing to copyright infringement - has signed a deal with Comedy Central Records that will make it easy for users of the peer-to-peer application to find and buy legal versions of comedy videos from Lewis Black, Mitch Hedberg and others.
LimeWire opened a download store in March, but until now it has consisted primarily of content from small record labels and independent artists. The addition of licensed content will make for an interesting test: Are LimeWire users willing to pay for content that they like, provided it's easy to do so? Or are they dedicated to pirating it, no matter what?
Jack Vaughn, head of Comedy Central Records, told Fortune magazine that the network doesn't like piracy, but that it is looking for ways to expose its content to as many new audiences as possible, and LimeWire fits that bill: "We looked at the LimeWire Store, and we said, 'Are they going to pay? Are they going to pay on time, and are they going to expose our artists to a new audience?' The answer was yes."
Whether this attitude shift will help the P2P network in its fight with music labels over the copyright-infringing content on the system remains to be seen. In an unrelated move, the co-founder of the Kazaa P2P network is also trying to help such networks go legit by creating software that helps direct file-sharers to legal alternatives.
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