RIAA tries to bring Kazaa to US court

— 4:09 AM on November 26, 2002

While the RIAA has been successful in effectively killing off Napster, Kazaa has proven a tougher target because it's headquartered in Australia and incorporated in Vanuatu, an island nation in the Pacific. The complex legal wrangling necessary to prosecute an offshore company under US law has kept the RIAA's lawyers at bay so far, but that could all change if a judge decides that Sharman Networks, Kazaa's parent company, has enough business contacts in the US to be sued there. C|Net reports:

The Kazaa case itself may not lead to a sweeping legal precedent, however. Jurisdictional arguments rise and fall on whether a company has sufficient contact with United States residents to make it liable under U.S. law. However, in Sharman's case, the company itself has a contract with its peer-to-peer technology vendor, Blastoise, which says that disputes should be litigated in Los Angeles court, according to a record industry attorney.
Sharman Networks has apparently renegotiated that contract to have any disputes settled in a UK court rather than in the US, but that might not phase the judge hearing the case. Of course, Sharman Networks has invited copyright holders to sue it in Australia.

If the RIAA fails to bring Sharman Networks to justice in the US, it may choose to pursue other means for disabling or otherwise hindering P2P networks like Kazaa. I've got no problem with the RIAA, MPAA, or others seeding P2P networks with junk, but things could get a lot uglier than that.

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