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Weiss waits for Kazaa raid findings
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2004-02-16
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StreamCast ceo Michael Weiss is still waiting to see if the Australians delving into Kazaa's business affairs following last Friday's raid will unearth evidence to prove something he suspects - that Kazaa is in fact a centralized p2p file-sharing network controlled by Sharman and able to track users' identities.

He bases at least part of his belief on the fact that Sharman was somehow able to cut off 28 million Morpheus users in February 2002.

Streamcast once licensed a p2p client developed as KaZaA by Holland's FastTrack.

Then in January, 2002, Sharman bought Kazaa BV's the technology assets so Kazaa could be packed with spyware packages, suggested an InfoAnarachy posting at the time. This strategy would have fallen flat if other incarnations of the same application came without spyware.

But miraculously, Morpheus users were loped off the FastTrack network and Kazaa went on to become one of the most widely used, and one of the most detested, p2p apps around.

It's never been properly explained how the Morpheus users were disposed of, but Streamcast accused it of deliberately locking Morpheus users out.

For its part, Sharman claims this had to do with Streamcast's failure to pay licensing fees to Kazaa BV.

A sharman Networks lawyer yesterday dismissed Weiss' musings as "fantasy."

"Kazaa Media Desktop is a decentralized software application," Sharman attorney Lawrence Hadley is quoted as saying in an IDG News Service report here.

"Kazaa has no central servers that have anything to do with searching, indexing or downloading functionality."

But Weiss is sticking to his guns and if he's right, his 'centralization' theory will bounce back sharply onto Sharman which claims it can't be held liable for illegal file-trading activity in part because it doesn't have direct knowledge of, or control over, file-trading activity on its network.

Last week Morpheus 4.0 was released - on the same day Morpheus' owner, Streamcast, commenced battle with Hollywood, together with rival commercial p2p app Grokster.

The latest Morpheus allows users to have simultaneous connectivity to users of iMESH, eDonkey, Overnet, Grokster, LimeWire, Gnutella, G2 - and Kazaa - through M4's single 'Super' application, says Streamcast.

Sharman considers the new version of Morpheus an "illegal, hacked version of a FastTrack application" and is looking into options to address the problem, including legal and technical options, Hadley told IDG.


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