The makers of Kazaa media software, the program facing legal action from the RIAA, have caught the Recording Industry Association of America and a number of entertainment companies by surprise by suing them for copyright infringement.
Earlier this week Sharman Networks, the distributors of Kazaa, accused the RIAA and several entertainment companies of violating its copyrights by using the unauthorized Kazaa Lite in order to discover the IP addresses of alleged music downloaders. According to Sharman Networks, the RIAA used Kazaa Lite at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., earlier this year in order to demonstrate what types of files were being shared.
Sharman Networks has been trying to stop the distribution of Kazaa Lite claiming its existence constitutes a breach of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
Sharman Networks' newfound admiration for the importance of copyright law is ironic to say the least, the RIAA statement says. Too bad this self-serving respect stops at its headquarters' door... and doesn't extend to preventing the rampant piracy on their networks or lifting a finger to educate their users about the consequences of illegal file sharing.
Alan Morris, Sharman's executive vice president, read the statement and replied, It's ironic that somebody who's suing 12-year-old girls for copyright infringement themselves blatantly disregard copyright laws, who's being more ironic?
Morris commented on the use of Kazaa Lite during the congressional hearing, they are using a hacked version of our code. That's a straightforward Digital Millennium Copyright Act violation.
The lawsuit however, is not limited to the RIAA using Kazaa Lite. According to Morris even if the RIAA used the original Kazaa Media Desktop software to track users, that would represent a violation of the software's end-user license agreement. Kazaa Media Desktop's license agreement prohibits users from monitoring traffic or making search requests in order to accumulate information about individual users.
The license also prohibits users from transmitting, accessing, or communicating any data that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other proprietary rights of any party. The RIAA claims that Sharman Networks is not enforcing that part of the license agreement.
The Sharman Networks counterclaim, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that companies within the music and movie industries have conspired to keep them from offering licensed content over Kazaa.