If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Another Angle
Last year, Sharman Networks loaded its Kazaa with adware, spyware and Altnet, a distributed computing program placed secretly on users' machines. This meant KaZaa automatically, and secretly, made anyone who dl'd Kazaa a part of a distributed computing scheme they'd never asked for, let alone authorized.
"KaZaa sells space on YOUR hard drive for those annoying, privacy intruding little programs who wish to use your information and resources to make a buck of their own," as Rich Menta wrote here,, going on:
"We call programs placed on your system without your consent or knowledge viruses."
p2pnet also carried a story slugged Can I borrow your computer while you're asleep, please? which outlined how Kazaa users, "who presently hook and swap free digital files, will now also be offered links to songs hawked by the labels - both in the form of links on kazaa's home page and results with gold icons that are displayed with normal search results - for which they'll have to pay."
Now Kazaa and Altnet - whose web page these days boasts of, "Integration of innovative Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies" - are at it again, apparently.
"Later this week, Kazaa parent Sharman Networks and Altnet will jointly release a new bundle of file-swapping software that will include components of a new high-security peer-to-peer network and a program that will pay users to be a part of it," writes John Borland here in CNET news.
"The idea, says Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister, is to harness the computing resources of the tens of millions of Kazaa users to distribute authorized files such as games, songs and movies. Giving people an incentive to host and trade paid files could create a powerful medium for distributing authorized content and could diminish file-trading networks' role as hubs of online piracy," he said.
He also quotes Phil Morle, Sharman's director of technology , as saying, "Altnet's Peer Points is like the spell checker in Microsoft's Word. It's an integral part of the program that you can choose to use or not."
A new version of the Kazaa file-swapping software also is expected to launch this week, says John, "including better antivirus tools, Web browsing features and content 'channels' and the ability to find up to 1,000 results per search."
Remember when file swapping was a way for people to share?
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