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Confidential Kazaa Documents Revealed in Court
February 2, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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It appears that Sharman Networks has suffered a setback in its ongoing litigation with the Australian music industry. Ok, painting Sharmam's legal situation with such a broad term may not reflect the entire situation. Specifically, Sharman Networks this week suffered a very embarrassing setback against the music industry.

According to a court reporter from Apgmag.com, Sharman Networks and Altnet attempted to preserve the confidentiality of 30 documents. These documents included contracts, emails and very revealing internal memos. While the legal contracts between Sharman and Altnet are fairly standard, the internal manifesto written by CTO Phil Morle clearly indicates that Kazaa was in serious trouble from its competition.

FastTrack, the network that Kazaa connects to, is terribly outdated compared to eDonkey2000 or BitTorrent. FastTrack’s file-identifying (hashing), searching, network architecture and Windows-only nature makes it an easy target for competitors. Although the P2P community has long recognized this, few knew Sharman Networks’ CTO Phil Morle readily admitted to this.

From Apcmag.com:

True p2p apps such as eDonkey are devaluing FastTrack and “biting at out heels” says Morle. Others are creating plug-ins that let users get on FastTrack without the need for Kazaa. “We need to move fast with next generation technologies to beat this commercial threat.”

“Our competitors (notably eDonkey and Morpheus) are taking risks legally, but delivering compelling consumer solutions. We need confidence in what we do and must take similar leaps of faith. EDonkey is not yet being sued and is in a strong position to out-innovate us.”

Negating the "anti-spyware" propaganda on the Kazaa.com website, Phile Morle clearly states that the adware laden Kazaa Media Desktop has been a detriment to its success. Exposure to other non-spyware applications such as Ares, WinMX, various BitTorrent clients, e-Mule, etc. gives users little reason to stick with the FastTrack network. Morle explains:

“We need to be careful with user resources. Most obvious is in the adware we add to their machine upon installation. This software slows down users’ machines and can affect other activity such as browsing the Internet (as we have seen with PerfectNav). It is reasonable that we show ads in order to create our free software, but I do not believe it is reasonable to place a user in a position where this free software will also make their machine sluggish. Consider how many people that work for Sharman Networks and its partners that hate installing Kazaa on their machines. ”

As one reads the article from Apcmag.com, it becomes obvious why Sharman Networks did not want this image-damaging information exposed. In addition, Sharman did not want the purchasing contract of Kazaa released. According to the Apgmag.com, Sharman purchased the rights to Kazaa for approximately $1,000,000. What a rip-off.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
FastTrack :: Kazaa
Legal/Courtroom :: Developer Lawsuits

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