Is anything not legal in Holland?

— 12:00 AM on February 24, 2003

So ZDNet has this interesting story about a possible new player in the file-sharing wars. The company calls itself The Honest Thief, and is based in the Netherlands. Why? Because of a court ruling that said that Kazaa "was not responsible for the illegal actions of people using its software."

The decision is being appealed, but in the meantime, the company is preparing to license its software and provide legal advice to others with regard to file-sharing activities. The founder of the company "[hopes] The Honest Thief will become to file sharing what the Swiss are to banking." Well, you've gotta have goals.

Although I'm not sure how wise it is to set up shop while the ruling is still under appeal, the case just illustrates the problems that record companies are facing when it comes to P2P file sharing programs. Two of the bigger ones are the differences in copyright law between different countries, and the fact that every time they stamp out one company (<cough> Napster <cough>) a couple more spring up to take its place.

Of course, they could always come up with an online model of their own, charge a fair, equitable price, and pay the artists a fair share of the money.... riiiiiiight.

One interesting tidbit in the article was the fact that Kazaa has been downloaded 192 million times. Even with many of those likely being "repeat customers" and upgrades, that's a pretty healthy number.

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