The world of file sharing changed significantly today. As described in this article, there’s been complicated relationships between the three main players for the last few months. Three services – Morpheus, Kazaa, and Grokster – were all basically using the same software (referred to as “FastTrack” or “Kazaa”). Morpheus was distributed from a web site named www.musiccity.com. When you used one of those programs, you searched the file libraries of everyone using any of the three services.
Today Morpheus/MusicCity is a separate service with new software. Kazaa and Grokster are still out there and it will be tempting to use them while Morpheus goes through its inevitable growing pains. But Kazaa and Grokster are square in the sights of the record industry dealing with ongoing litigation – and they proved in the last few days that they have the power to shut down the system if necessary. The record industry smells blood.
The new Morpheus software, on the other hand, brings Morpheus into the Gnutella open source network – which means it is truly decentralized. Unless there are some surprises about the way the program works, then users will truly be sharing with each other and the Morpheus company will have no ability to shut down or interfere with the file sharing. If so, that’s a much thornier problem for the record industry – there’s no one to sue except millions of individuals. Watching this shake out promises to be interesting.