Kazaa Bandwidth Capped Downloads

Dennis Faas's picture

If you share files online the Internet (trading MP3s, movies, software), you have undoubtedly already heard of Kazaa -- maybe even Kazaa Lite.

In a nutshell

Kazaa uses its own P2P (peer to peer) technology which allow users across the Internet to share files online. The last time I checked, there were about 2.2 million users online Kazaa, sharing some 5 million files.

That's a lot of files.

I'm not going to get into the complexities of how things work, because I've already discussed that in a previous issue of the Infopackets Gazette. Kazaa is free software which gets its funding from the Spyware / Adware / Scumware that it installs on your system.

In turn, this extremely annoying software can:

  • Kill the overall health of your computer, including: sucking back all your processing power, or cause the system to crash constantly. I've heard *many* horror stories about scumware that Kazaa employs that does not uninstall cleanly -- forcing users to reinstall Windows altogether;
  • Install Adware: Provide Pop-Up ads 24 hours a day, seemingly out of the "blue";
  • Install Spyware: Monitor what you do online (spyware) and send this information to a central database so that it can be used "appropriately" to send you advertisements in email (or ground mail). Example: Let's say you decide to surf barbie.com (while Spyware is installed on your machine)... 2 days later, you get barbie.com offers in email. Coincidence?

Recently, Kazaa Media Desktop v2.0 was released

I personally use Kazaa Lite 1.7.2 because it doesn't contain all that scumware that I just finished talking about -- although, I do get the occasional popup ad -- but, I have popupstopper v2.6 (free) installed on my machine and it blocks the ads for me. The only thing that would make me upgrade my Kazaa Lite 1.7.2 to v2.0 (full of Spyware goo-goo clusters) would be if my hacked 1.7.2 version of Kazaa (Kazaa Lite) stopped working. I think that pretty much speaks for anyone who uses Kazaa Lite.

All the sudden, my download bandwidth appeared to be capped?

I fired up my illicit version of Kazaa (Kazaa Lite 1.7.2) today because I needed to search for a file. I noticed that all my search results were listing "bandwidth" at a maximum of 75. I checked my downloads and they were all transferring at no greater than 4k a second. That is extremely slow (about a 56k modem connection) -- considering that I have up to 300k/sec with my cable modem.

Did Sharman Networks finally put an end to Kazaa Lite?

Since Kazaa Lite isn't exactly a "legal" representation of Kazaa, I thought maybe Kazaa Lite finally had the carpet pulled from beneath them. I got on Google and did some soul-searching on the topic. I didn't find anything about Kazaa Lite suffering from any bandwidth issues. I didn't see anything on Kazaa's main web site that was basically forcing people to upgrade.

So what gives?

I installed Kazaa Lite 1.7.2 on my other (networked) Windows 98 machine -- just to make sure that Windows XP wasn't causing my problems (although, Kazaa Lite 1.7.2 worked flawless before this happened). Anyway, the same results occurred on the other machine.

That left me with two theories:

  • My Internet connection (cable modem) was to blame -- not likely, considering that files which were being listed in the search result did not exceed the magical number of 75;
  • Kazaa Lite 1.7.2 was somehow being "capped". If you read my article on Kazaa Lite, you would know that Kazaa Lite shares the same network (FastTrak) as Kazaa does.
  • I suppose...

    In all probability, all Sharman Networks needs to do in order to stop hacked versions of Kazaa from being distributed (used) would be to compare the current running version number of the Kazaa client at the time a connection is made to the Kazaa network. From there, the network (Fastrak P2P software) could deny bandwidth / service to those clients using anything other than that "latest" version of Kazaa.

    It's just a thought.

    This would essential force users to dump 1.7.2 and install "latest and greatest" v2. I noticed whenever I get a popup, it has the version number attached to the Window -- that would coincide with my above thoughts.

    I cautiously installed Kazaa Media Desktop v2 on my Windows 98 machine in hopes of increasing bandwidth

    Things went smoothly.

    I decided to read the License Agreement before I agreed to install Kazaa v2 on my machine. I knew that the license agreement would most likely have some tidbit (shoved deep, down in the agreement) about the Spyware that comes bundled with Kazaa (especially with previous versions).

    I thought I'd share some snippets / comments of my own with regards to the license agreement present in Kazaa v2:

    The official statement and end of Kazaa Lite?

    " 3.2 Except as expressly permitted in this License, you agree not to reverse engineer, de-compile, disassemble, alter, duplicate, modify, rent, lease, loan, sublicense, make copies, create derivative works from, distribute or provide others with the Software in whole or part, transmit or communicate the application over a network. " " 7.1 Sharman reserves the right to run advertisements and promotions on the Kazaa Media Desktop

    7.2 By accepting the terms of this License, you agree that we have the right to run such advertisements and promotions without compensation to you. " (no -- all that $$compensation$$ goes to Sharman Networks)

    " 9.1 During the process of installing the Software, you may be offered the possibility to download or install software from third party software vendors pursuant to licenses or other arrangements between such vendors and yourself ("Third Party Software"). In the event you do not wish to download this THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE you should uncheck the appropriate boxes. "

    I especially enjoyed the tidbit that is displayed on the Install Window during the Kazaa Media Desktop v2 installation:

    " Sharman Netorks LTd does not condone activities and actions that breach copyright owners. As a Kazaa Media Desktop user you have agreed to abide by the End User License Agreement and it is your responsibility to obey all laws governing copyright in each country. "

    Basically -- they are aware of the repercussions of sharing illicit files, but they leave it up to the good moral standards of people across the world to keep things from "getting out of control". That reminds me, have you ever visited the Black Market in China?

    After installing Kazaa Media Desktop v2 on the Windows 98 machine

    Long story short: the bandwidth "caps" were still showing up, even with Kazaa v2 installed. So, I'm just wondering if this is a temporary "problem" that is being felt across the Kazaa Network? Probably.

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