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Kazaa file-sharing app can be legally distributed, court decides
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: MusicDish- March 28, 2002

The distributors of Kazaa and FastTrack - the network architecture for file-sharing services Kazaa and Grokster which let users DL text, music, movies and other copyrighted material - aren't liable for copyright infringement, the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam has ruled.

This reverses last November's verdict from the District Court of Amsterdam in favour of the Dutch performing rights organization Buma/Stemra, which had sued Kazaa. Moreover, the higher court decided, Kazaa can distribute its software.

"This is not only an important victory for KaZaA, but for the entire Internet," said KaZaA BV CEO Niklas Zennstrom.

But the victory may be somewhat pyrrhic.

Founded in 2000, KaZaA BV launched the KaZaA Media Desktop and operated the web site, both sold to Sharman Networks Ltd in January 2002. KaZaA BV licenses its products, of which more than 110 million copies have been downloaded, to Sharman Networks Ltd and Grokster Ltd (, which together make up the world's largest peer-to-peer (p2p) platform.

"I have received this verdict with mixed feelings," said Zennstrom. "Surely, it comes too late for KaZaA BV. Hopefully, organizations such as Buma/Stemra will come to their senses and stop these legal battles against peer-to-peer file sharing technologies."

Kazaa says the Court of Appeals decided: "KaZaA rightfully appeals the ruling of the District Court, where it stated that as a preliminary issue KaZaA acts contrary to copyright law. In so far as any infringing use is being made by the means of KaZaA, these acts are committed by its users, not by KaZaA."

"We are stunned by the verdict," a Reuters story has a Buma/Stemra spokesman as saying. Reuters said the group plans to appeal.

Related News from Mi2N:
» KaZaA Beats Music Industry

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