Tag Archives: File sharing networks

Kazaa Gets Tough — On Copyright Infringement

The irony is not lost on those writing about it: Sharman Networks, owner of the music-swapping program Kazaa (a Napster imitatator) is closing down Kazaalite K++, a version written by other folk that was designed to do what Kazaa does without all the spyware and adware. They complained about it infringing copyright, or something.

The irony continues: Although the main download site is down, users can apparently still obtain copies via the Kazaa network: In other words, use the Kazaa program to find the ‘illegal’ version of Kazaa to download music (illegally).

What strikes me is on the discussion sites (here’s Metafilter and Slashdot), you realise just how many other similar programs there are to Kazaa, or Kazaalite. I guess online music swapping in one form or another is going to continue as long as there are clever programmers out there.

File Sharers Beware

 File sharers beware: there’s nowhere to hide, even in supposedly ‘anonymous’ filesharing networks. The NewScientist.com news service reports that Japanese police have arrested two people suspected of distributing pirated films and computer games through a program called “Winny”, which is meant to hide the identity of a user from everyone else on the network.
 
It is unclear how the two suspects were traced but their arrests have raised concerns about the security of the Winny network. According to the Japanese Association of Copyright for Computer Software around 250,000 regularly use it to trade files. Interest in anonymous file sharing networks has grown rapidly since the US music industry began taking legal action against individual users as part of a controversial attempt to stamp out illicit online music trading.
 
This is the first time anyone has been arrested in relation to use of this type of secretive trading network. The most popular file-sharing networks provide little or no secrecy for users who can easily be traced through their computer’s internet protocol (IP) address.

News: Spying On The Internet

 Sometimes I wonder what the Internet is going to look like a year down the track. Spam, viruses, and now the RIAA are changing the landscape. Here’s what : network spying. ZDNet reports that the University of Wyoming and a company called Audible Magic are developing technology that looks inside students’ file swaps for copyrighted music, with an eye toward ultimately blocking the transfer of such material.
 
Audible Magic’s technology specialises in identifying songs by their digital “fingerprints”, or acoustic characteristics. By joining up with a company called Palisade which provides network-security technology, the joint product is designed to intercept all traffic on a network, make a copy of it, and then make a running examination of that copy for items such as Kazaa or Gnutella traffic. When it finds digital packets originating from file-swapping software packages, it will compare the contents against Audible Magic’s database of fingerprints. If it finds a match to a copyrighted song, it will stop the transmission of a song in progress, even if some of the file has already been transferred.
 
The software is aimed at networks like universities and ISPs, who can of course refuse to install it. But what happens when the music business starts sueing them, as well as end users?