Makers of Kazaa Are Suing Record Labels

By | September 24, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Turning the tables on record labels, makers of the most popular file-sharing network are suing entertainment companies for copyright infringement.

Sharman Networks, the company behind the Kazaa file-sharing software, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday accusing the entertainment companies of using unauthorized versions of its software in their efforts to snoop out users.

Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network. The lawsuit also claims efforts to combat piracy on Kazaa violated terms for using the network. Entertainment companies have offered bogus versions of copyright works and sent online messages to users.

Sharman’s lawsuit also revives its previous allegation that the entertainment companies violated antitrust laws by stopping Sharman and its partner from distributing authorized copies of music and movies through Kazaa.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson rejected those claims in July but last week allowed Sharman to try again.

The Recording Industry Association of America called Sharman’s “newfound admiration for the importance of copyright law” ironic and “self-serving.”

Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group declined comment on Sharman’s latest lawsuit.

Earlier this month, recording companies sued 261 music fans, claiming they were illegally distributing hundreds of digital song files apiece over the Internet. The industry trolled file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and downloaded song files from users’ computers.

Once the industry determined a downloaded song file was a copyright work, they issued subpoenas to Internet access providers to find out who was behind the account used to log onto the file-sharing network.

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