Kazaa to Pay $100 Million, Convert to Legal Downloading

Dennis Faas's picture

As peer-to-peer file sharing programs are coming under fire abroad, as the American courts are taking a chunk out of one of the Internet's biggest download networks.

As of Thursday morning, Reuters has announced that Sharman Networks, owners of the file-sharing web site Kazaa, have reached a legal settlement with a conglomeration of music industry representatives.

The result will see Sharman pay EMI Group, Universal Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Music a combined $100 million in compensation. In addition, following in the footsteps of the original bad boys of file-sharing Napster, Kazaa will be forced to commit to legal downloads. (Source: zdnet.com)

In recent years, peer-to-peer downloading programs like Kazaa have come under intense scrutiny. Although sometimes defended by popular musicians, such networks are being methodically euthanized by music industry moguls.

This is hardly Kazaa's first foray into the court system, either.

In November 2004, it faced prosecution by Australian courts, who at that time estimated that Kazaa's global members were downloading an estimated 3 billion songs a month. At that point, Sharman Network lawyers compared the downloading to VHS and Beta recording -- tactics that allowed it to survive in the United States. That luck appears to be wearing out. (Source: cbc.ca)

There is still a long ways to go for the music industry if it hopes to completely stamp out illegal downloads. Kazaa, like Napster, was long past its prime when the courts finally dropped the axe. Popularly known for its infection of Spyware and viruses, Kazaa has long given up the peer-to-peer title.

Still, the end could be in sight. Legal downloading programs, like iTunes, are extraordinarily popular, and may culturally wipe out illegal download programs faster than the music industry's lawyers.

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