Kazaa fesses up, limewire next?
July 27, 2006 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Well, the makers of Kazaa just paid out a decent chunk of change to recording industry in a settled lawsuit. My question is -- how come limewire/morpheus are still ok? Kazaa news link: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-Downloading-Music.html

They (limewire/morpheus) seem to have been around longer than Kazaa even and from what I know you can still can get pretty much any song you want from limewire. I get my music from Itunes, but I know some teens who still use limewire like crazy. Is this battle going to keep playing out -- new file sharing service popular until lawsuit, file sharing makers settle, new service arises? I would think BitTorrent is ok since it's use is sort of more complicated and slower for a tons and tons of people to understand.....
posted by narebuc to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Well, I'm not sure how limewire/morpheus work, but that article said that Kazaa ran its own network for users to connect to. From what I recall of the limewire/morpheus days, there were tons and tons and tons of different servers out there that you could connect to. Am I wrong? Was that a different service? I always thought that as long as you had a centrally-connected service for people to connect to (like Napster did), you were drawing a fairly big bullseye on yourself. And I'm kinda surprised that Kazaa had such a setup.
posted by antifuse at 8:42 AM on July 27, 2006

It's funny...I was actually wondering about this this morning: Is Limewire regarded as legal? If so, why?
posted by NYCinephile at 8:47 AM on July 27, 2006

The Gnutella network by design has no central authority (tracker) that you can sue and shut down. I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA has sued individual Gnutella users though. It's not regarded as legal, just harder to shut down.
posted by kindall at 8:55 AM on July 27, 2006

There is nothing illegal about Gnutella. It is a protocol than can be used to share arbitrary files with other people. Much like ftp,http,bittorrent and smb.

That being said, it is possible for people to use it in illegal fashion to violate copyright restrictions. To use a silly analogy: guns are not illegal, but it is usually illegal to shoot people with them.

I haven't used Limewire or any other Gnutella software in ages so I don't know what is out there on those networks, but I do know that there is plenty of content distributed legally via bittorrent and other peer to peer filesharing networks.
posted by thedward at 10:48 AM on July 27, 2006

Kazaa pretty much admitted that it could shut down its network (FastTrack) anytime when it locked out the other programs that hadn't paid for FastTrack licenses (notably Morpheus, which then switched to the Gnutella network). Kazaa has also broken old versions of its software to stop people from getting around its spyware. Kazaa has the full capability to pull the plug.

It's central control that is the issue here: Kazaa made itself visibly the central authority, while Gnutella (which Limewire and Morpheus both use) is a completely open protocol with no control. If you wanted to write a Gnutella client tomorrow, it would be a matter of just downloading an explanation of protocol spec from someone (not sure there's even an official one, since it was leaked originally and has since been extended by everyone and his dog). Once you know what to do, you just write the code -- no license fees to pay and keys to be sent like there are for FastTrack.
posted by reklaw at 11:16 AM on July 27, 2006

Look at it this way.

Say they shut down a porn sitecalled "underageporn dot com" for illegal content.

Your question is something like asking "they shut down underageporn dot com, how come Internet Explorer is still legal?".

The first is a service on the internet from which you can get illegal content. The second is a program you can use to get an infinite variety of things, legal or otherwise.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:39 PM on July 27, 2006

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