Kazaa to compensate music industry with £61million

Kazaa_1What happens when you help millions of people to steal music? Well, if you’re Kazaa, you get stung with £61million that’s what. Sherman Networks, the Australian owner of Kazaa software, is to hand
over the sum as part of a deal that will include the installation of
filters on new versions of the package to prevent users from sharing
copyrighted music and images. Basically, they have to cough up what is owed to the industry and go legitimate.

Kazaa has been downloaded by nearly 400million people, and has been a constant thorn in the foot of the entertainment industry. Kazaa allows users to link up with other music ‘fans’ (fans surely don’t want to steal from their fave bands?) from anywhere in the world
and swap files without fee. Under yesterday’s
settlement, Kazaa will have to use "all reasonable means" to discourage
online piracy. It will stop supporting existing versions of its
software and will negotiate licences with entertainment companies to
distribute content legitimately.

The deal was struck by the IFPI,
a London-based anti-piracy body that represents 1,400 companies in the
recording industry in 70 countries, including heavyweights such as EMI,
Warner Music and Virgin Records.

"Kazaa was an international
engine of copyright theft which damaged the whole music sector and
hampered our industry’s efforts to grow a legitimate digital business,"
said John Kennedy, chief executive of the IFPI. "It has paid a heavy
price for its past activities."

Sharman has argued that its software is not unlike tape recorders or
a photocopier and that it cannot police illegitimate use. Of course, when people tape an LP from their friend, it cannot then be distributed to millions of people around the world, unlike Kazaa, which could, in theory, provide millions of people the chance to have an album that has only been legitimately bought once.

This marks a big victory for the industry, and with a begrudging sigh, the peer-to-peer sites now have to play ball… or pay up like the rest of us.

Mof Gimmers

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