Napster versus Kazaa, what’s different


By now all must be aware that a US court ruled that providers of certain P2P sharing services (e.g., Grokster, Kazaa) are not liable for copyright violations by individuals that use their service, so long as they are not directing users to the content. This will get the music and movie industry’s knickers in a twist. Either way, this problem is not going away anytime soon. Expect US Supreme Court to get in on the action, and also the Congress, which gets enough lobbying dollars. Tough luck! Since most of these services are based in places which are difficult to pronouce, forget finding on the map. It could be difficult to administer and enforce new laws.

Fans of Napster 1.0 must be thinking, what’s all this ruckus about. Why did they shut down Napster and let these more filthy rivals get free. After all it was the same Appeals Court that ruled against Napster and essentially shut it down a couple of years ago. The difference is pretty basis: Napster was sending users to the content, while Kaaza etc. don’t do that and thus cannot proactively prevent piracy from occurring. I think the RIAA and its goons would be going after 12-year-old girls for a near foreseeable future, sending tiny tots to jail their mission in life. (Actually I am all for prosecuting music pirates, except RIAA sometimes acts so dumb.)

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