The Infamous 2009 LimeWire Pizza Fiasco

July 1, 2009 – the day the music wars started in earnest. Last night the guys from Dovecote Records, a small music label based in New York, were hanging out at their local bar. Employees from file sharing startup LimeWire showed up to have a party. There was confusion over the ownership of some pizza, and a riot almost ensued.

From the Dovecote Blog:

Woman: “Who the FUCK are you? And why are you eating our pizza?”

Kosuke and Paul look confused.

Kosuke: Are you joking? Is this a joke?

Woman: No this is definitely NOT a joke. I want to know who you are and why you’re eating our pizza.

Kosuke: Well our friend came in and told us there was free pizza at the bar. We are. So. Sorry. It was a misunderstanding.

Woman: (with unbridled entitlement) This is a company party our CEO is here and you STOLE our pizza. Are you from out of town? Because let me tell you, NOTHING is free in New York City. Nothing is free… well maybe except for the condoms in Times Square.

Paul and Kosuke continue apologizing. They offer to pay for the two slices.

Woman: (didactically snobbish) We don’t want your money. No. Enjoy the pizza, but you can’t steal other people’s things. You can’t take what’s not yours

Again the duo continues their apologies. Kosuke tries to turn the situation around and befriend them.

Kosuke: What company do you guys work for?

Woman: We work for Limewire.

Kosuke’s eyes go wide. Anger festers in his pupils.

Kosuke: Oh ok. Well I work at a record label so fuck you. You’ve stolen from us enough. (Bites pizza. Begins to walk away.)

Then things really got out of hand. One of the Dovecote guys grabbed a whole pizza and tried to run away with it. A Limewire engineer pursues and pours beer on him:

Paul’s anger builds. He stands up. Puts his bag on runs out the door, taking an entire pizza box with him. Matt T., a software developer at Limewire, tries to stop Paul by grabbing him and pouring beer all over his shirt, backpack, laptop, and pants.

We usually side against the labels on just about everything, but in this case we’re with Dovecote. Limewire is a mess and everyone knows it.

Whatever happens in the future with the battle between users and labels, we know one thing. July 1, 2009, the date of the Infamous 2009 LimeWire Pizza Fiasco, was when it wasn’t just about words and lawsuits any more. On that day, the music wars turned humorously physical.