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Judge delays his decision on FastTrack P2P case

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 03 Dec 2002 2:50 User comments (3)

Judge delays his decision on FastTrack P2P case In a surprise move, federal court Judge Stephen Wilson, delayed his decision on FastTrack P2P case where both parties -- RIAA and MPAA and two of the FastTrack P2P software vendors, Grokster and Streamcast (owner of the Morpheus) -- are seeking for summary judgment motions before the case goes to an actual trial.
The third FastTrack company, Sharman Networks, the owner of the Kazaa and the owner of the FastTrack technology, didn't attend to the court hearing, because the court still has to decide whether the U.S. court has jurisdiction over the company or not. Sharman Networks has headquarters at Australia, is incorporated in small island of Vanuatu and doesn't have any servers in the U.S. soil.

Basically in the hearing both parties referred to a famous P2P case of Napster -- copyright owners' lawyers stating that FastTrack operators are identical to that of Napster and "FastTrack companies" arguing that because they don't operate any central servers (unlike Napster did), the Napster ruling doesn't apply to them.

Judge basically stated after the hearing that he is not ready to issue summary judgments at this point and needed more time to determine if the case should go to trial or not. Also, he probably needs time to determine whether or not the Sharman Networks should be included to the case.

More info:

Houston Chronicle

(please note, most of the external articles confuse Grokster and Kazaa happily in their articles, so ignore those parts -- at least we've got the facts correct ;-)

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3 user comments

13.12.2002 3:44

I've occasionally run Kazaa_lite at college where it displayed something between 5 - 12 users online. It was days where there the college had problems with its internet connection. Any searches I had done returned very few results or 'No matches found' instantly, meaning that what ever nodes it was connected to and searched had to be local. Later on, the number of users online suddenly shot back up to several million. After seeing the above likely means that Kazaa is a decentralised network. I'd be interested on how it finds out the IP addresses of its peers. ;-)

23.12.2002 5:50

FastTrack's technology has been documented pretty well over the years and if I recall correctly, the client itself includes huge list of "supernodes" IP addresses that it first tries to connect to in order to retrieve the list of other supernodes from the supernode it managed to connect to and then gets the connection across the P2P network up and running. Supernodes are simply users who have enough bandwidth and fast enough computer to act simultaneously as a client and a server and those supernodes are being assigned "on the fly" by the software itself unless you check the box "don't act as supernode" off from your Kazaa/Grokster settings.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

34.12.2002 5:30

Tricky case. These companies donīt stand by and watch when people swap illegal files, they donīt control the service liek Napster did. But they sort of help people brake the law by providing them with the means to do so, the application itself. The united states cannot sue Sharman networks, arenīt involved with the US. This will be a even harder decission then with the Napster-case.

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