December 22, 2007 | By Fred von Lohmann

LimeWire on 1 in 3 Desktops World-Wide

Digital Music News and BigChampagne report that 36.4% of all PCs world-wide have LimeWire installed, based on system scans of 1.6 million machines.

This is worth noting for at least two reasons. First, it reminds everyone that when it comes to digital music, the main event is still P2P file-sharing, as it has been ever since Napster's debut in 1999. The entire apparatus of "legitimate" online digital music stores (like iTunes) remains just a drop in the bucket. And the entertainment industries still haven't taken any meaningful steps toward a collective licensing solution to monetize P2P, as we've been urging since 2004.

Second, this is yet another empirical nail in the DRM coffin. The Darknet remains robust and generally accessible to mainstream computer users. So long as consumers continue to have simple, easy ways to share digital content, once DRM has been stripped from a file, the now-liberated content flows freely. In other words, all it takes is one leak (and DRM always leaks). And in a world with easy sharing, fans don't need to bother with DRM-cracking tools, which means the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions really aren't doing any good (but continue to do plenty of harm).


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