I’ve just learned the most shocking thing. Apparently people have been using Kazaa – sorry, that’s KaZaA – for downloading illegal music. And I really feel for parent company Sharman Networks on this one. They were just trying to make the world a better place. All they did was set up a perfectly innocent system that let people trade legal files by the enormous number of worthwhile recording artists who are happy to receive no payment for their work. And pirates went out and took advantage of their generosity. So now they have to pay US $100 million to the fatcat recording companies. Honestly, where’s the justice?
It’s almost as unfair as nasty ‘privacy’ experts naming the helpful software they bundle with it as spyware.
And sure, you might cynically allege that Sharman’s software is so dodgy they can’t even distribute it in its home market of Australia due to a court order (try to download it and you’ll see). You might argue that they saw a niche after Napster was shut down and cynically exploited it to earn millions by hiding dodgy software on their users’ computers. But that would be nasty of you. Not as nasty as profiteering from a massive international network trading in stolen music, of course. Hypothetically.
I’m just glad my friends at Sharman happened to have $100 million lying around that they could use to settle with the record companies. Wow, there’s a lot of money in facilitating completely legal file sharing, wouldn’t you say?
Like Napster, they will now become a legal download service. So everyone will be happy – except the pirates who will suffer the minor inconvenience of having to use a slightly different filesharing system.
There aren’t many bonzer Aussie software companies, so I reckon we should look after the ones we’ve got. You know, Advance Australia Filesharing and all that. So I want to help clear KaZaA’s name, and reverse this unfair perception that it was all a front for piracy. Post-Napster, it was the net’s biggest file-sharing service for some time, so there must be some readers who used the software before it was blocked. So tell us – what stuff did you download? How successfully did you resist the temptation to download free music from the world’s best known performers when there was legal music by artists you’d never heard of on offer?
I have every confidence that our anonymous stories of KaZaA usage will be overwhelmingly honest, and prove once and for all that no-one used this system in any dodgy way whatsoever. Let justice be served.
PS I’ve copied the KaZaA logo here without their permission. I hope they aren’t too annoyed. After all, as the page says, “Sharman Networks Ltd does not condone activities and actions that breach the rights of copyright owners”.