“The dalliance with Kazaa seems risky, given the network’s reputation for promoting piracy. But to Microsoft, the projects serve a legitimate purpose: to show the entertainment industry how the anti-piracy features of Windows Media 9 might tame the file-sharing beast.”
Kazaa, for those who don’t know about it, is the latest in peer-to-peer file sharing. Load up the Kazaa application on your PC, type in a few words (“Bruce Springsteen”) and find anyone out there who has any media files relating to The Boss.
It is a relative of Napster, in that it serves a similar purpose: to ease the sharing of content by thousands of users. Where Kazaa is different is that it supports non-audio files (video, standard documents, etc.). In addition, the company behind Kazaa was incorporated in an attempt to shield it from much of the same litigation that ultimately crushed Napster. (Originally a Dutch company, Kazaa folded and reincorporated as Sharman Networks – in the island nation of Vanuatu.)
In any event, it’s awfully interesting to see Microsoft lend credibility to what many had seen as a haven for illegal file traders, porn swappers and music pirates.