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Witnesses claim Kazaa can filter its network

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 02 Dec 2004 11:07 User comments (9)

Witnesses claim Kazaa can filter its network Recording industry brought in several witnesses today in closely watched trial that is taking place in Australia where the worldwide record labels have sued Sharman Networks, the parent company of the P2P network Kazaa. Witnesses were brought in to show that Sharman can, despite its claims, monitor its network and what material is shared through it.
The issue, whether Sharman is able to effectively control its network, is crucial for the outcome of the trial, as if judge finds that Sharman in deed can control its network, but has failed to do so, it might be considered that Sharman has infringed record labels' copyrights.

However, the witnesses brought in by the recording industry were focusing on the fact that various types of "sniffers" -- basically modified Kazaa clients that condone searches across the network for specified word, phrases and names -- can be used to find out whether users are sharing illegal material or not. The claim is obviously true, as anyone can go to the network and do searches, download the files found by the search and check whether the files are what they claimed to be in the filename. But does that mean that the network can be controlled by the Sharman or not? As such monitoring would rely purely on filename recognition and continuous external monitoring, it is hard to see whether this is the case.

The biggest difference between Kazaa (and also all the other modern P2P networks) and the legendary Napster is that all the searches, file requests and other activity were, in Napster's case, passed via a central server, controlled by Napster itself and the modern networks use decentralized approach where none of the user queries and file download requests pass through the network's central server -- as there are no central servers in decentralized P2P networks. So, Napster could easily tap into its network and control it, but as users' clients negotiate directly with other users' clients in decentralized model, it is impossible to control what users do in the network without changing the whole network's structure back to a centralized model.

During the court hearing today, judge dismissed various Sharman's witnesses who were brought in to provide evidence that the network can be used for legal purposes. Judge simply said that he agrees with Sharman's claims that the network can be used for legal purposes as well, but stressed also that the trial is not about whether Sharman's application can be used for legal purposes, but rather whether Sharman has willingly and knowingly contributed to copyright infringements by operating its network.


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9 user comments

12.12.2004 12:22

I thought a judge ruled that P2P companies were not liable for what people shared. Or was that a U.S. ruling?

22.12.2004 13:57

yup, that was the U.S ruling.

32.12.2004 13:59

Guess that would not effect a lawsuit in Australia then, maybe thats why its taking place there.

42.12.2004 15:02

So this is not really about P2P in general....just whether or not Sharman actively distributed copyrighted material

52.12.2004 18:44

This whole "Sue P2P Users" thing is a bit iffy, as no company has taken this to such ridiculous levels.

63.12.2004 9:57

THe RIAA members and their various flavors are trying to get a toe hold on the P2P issue so they can squash the p2p networks and control the distribution channel again. Nothing but money hungry SOB's is what they are.

73.12.2004 10:25

Um i have always supported Kaza p2p network till i switche dto Kazaa-lite. It already happened what ir happened with napster later on we will see depriment cards on the gas stations that says download 3 songs plus one free of Kazaa networks what a shame Anyways i want to see what will happen now with Kazaa-lite Maria=)

84.12.2004 7:57

Hey Maria, long time no see =D If what you say will happen, it would be a fucked-up Corporate's uptopia dream we would live in.

Everyone is entitled to their own true opinion. Either respect that or don't.

97.12.2004 19:52

Screening other people's files? isn't that an invasion of privacy? Furthermore, how will these "sniffer" clients work? Sounds dodgy. It is possible to simply bypass these. Modify every client? This can probably be cracked. Sounds fantastical? Look at Kazaa Lite or the no-Cydoor cracks for Kazaa. I hope Sharman thinks of this.

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