It's an impressive statistic when you think about it. This is higher per-seat penetration than Firefox, Windows Vista, or a host of other big name applications that get alot more attention from the press and industry.
The report noted that market penetration this year compared to last year however only grew by a scant 2.3%. Whether this is due to market saturation issues, or the legal climate of late is hard to discern. Still with numbers like that, it's no wonder the RIAA is hounding Limewire LLC like there's no tomorrow. That is one heck of a "captive market" they don't want competition from.
It is becoming increasingly clear however that the industry is beginning to wake up to the futility here, what with EMI and a few other labels beginning to distance themselves financially from the RIAA and the IFPI, Warner's DRM free deal with Amazon, so on and so forth. We doubt the RIAA has the support of it's label partners to the extent of being able to sue a third of the earths PC users. The labels are slowly beginning to see how fruitless that tactic is, and we doubt they'll support pouring what's left of their dwindling margins into that money pit.
The fact that an estimated third of the pc connected human race is technically breaking the law is the big statistical "WOO HOO!" here, but hardly the real issue being dealt with. The real battle is about who's in charge. And it's safe to say that individuals using Limewire, and Limewire LLC itself, are the ones holding the cards that count.