Major Labels and Kazaa Settle
The IFPI and RIAA, representing the major record companies around the world, have reached a global out-of-court settlement of international litigation with the operators of the Kazaa peer-to-peer (P2P) network. While the amount has not been disclosed officially, its been reported that Sharman Networks, the creators and distributors of Kazaa software, will pay more than $115 million in compensation to the recording industry. According to Wired, Sharman Networks will also make a smaller payment to the motion picture industry, and claims the payments have almost been completed, prior to the announcement of the agreement.
As part of the agreement, Kazaa will also introduce filtering technologies in an attempt to ensure that its users can no longer distribute copyright-infringing files.
At one point, Kazaa was one of the world’s most popular peer-to-peer networks for the illegal trading of music and movies, and at its peak had 4.2 million simultaneous users worldwide. In May 2003, Sharman Networks declared Kazaa the most downloaded software ever, at 239 million downloads.
News of the agreement was greeted with mixed reactions from the file-sharing community; many feel that the settlement is a case of “too little, too late,” as Kazaa’s time is largely seen to have come and gone, with filesharers moving on to other networks and technologies, such as Bit Torrent. While Kazaa was once a robust network–the largest of any fire-sharing community–that number has been cut in half by the chilling effects of lawsuit campaigns by the RIAA, and Kazaa losing popularity due to a lack of updates to the software and the FastTrack protocol it is based on.