By: Spacelab Research Staff
In the latest installment of the "lookin' out for #1" saga, KaZaA has saved its own skin by coming to an agreement with recording industry groups the RIAA and IFPI. KaZaA owners Sharman Networks have payed out $115 million to settle a dispute with the groups, in addition to agreeing to be a future online seller of music. They'll also start using copyright-filtering tools to make sure that unauthorized music isn't being shared.
The propaganda from all sides makes no mention of what could happen to the individual users of KaZaA, leaving the door open for the RIAA and IFPI to go after anyone still dumb enough to use the software to trade files without buying them.
The music industry will get another P2P thorn out of its side, and Sharman Networks will get the lawsuit monkey off its back. The group that has probably benefited the most through the entire story is the dynamic duo of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who originally created the FastTrack Network that underlies KaZaA. This is the decentralized network technology that we always hear about.
Zennstrom and Friis sold their stake in KaZaA when the legal thing started to heat up, and went on to start Skype, the internet telephone company, that they sold to e-Bay for billions of dollars. A report in Reuters says that the two contributed to the $115 million settlement, so they might have cleared themselves of any legal tie downs to KaZaA's past. They've gone on to bigger things though, with the selling of Skype and their much-rumored new project called the Venice Project, which supposedly involves the distribution of video on the Internet.