Kazaa is currently the most popular software for file sharing. In addition to being available under the Kazaa name, its software is licensed to MusicCity and Grokster. It is much more decentralized than Napster; in theory, users are put in touch with each other directly, with no central servers maintaining a database of users or shared files.
On Thursday, a Dutch court ordered Kazaa to stop users of its software from sharing copyrighted songs. The first response from its attorney was that Kazaa was powerless to comply; the design of the software gave it no way to track users or shared files. But earlier today the CEO gave an ominous telephone interview, saying that “[w]e will evaluate what the judge said and make some changes to the site.” No information yet on what that meant, or whether MusicCity will be affected, but I fear the worst.
Kazaa is also being targeted by the copyright police in several other pending lawsuits brought by the usual players – the RIAA, MPAA, and National Music Publishers Association.
Back in October, The Register noted that an internal RIAA memo had fingered Kazaa’s parent company as the potential weak link that might settle or change its software to avoid liability. Looks like they called it right.