The new Kazaa
To a file-sharer, Kazaa will not even be a shadow of its former self, this still-popular service that was once No. 1 but long ago overtaken by eDonkey and BitTorrent. A federal judge in Australia has ordered Kazaa’s parent Sharman Networks to add to the software “filters aimed at preventing users of the software from swapping copyrighted material,” the Associated Press reports. What that means, probably, the AP says, is a filtering system that “will include 3,000 so-called keywords, most likely the names of popular recording artists.” Sharman is also required to urge users to download this new software. I suspect they’ll also have to provide some sort of incentive for users to download software that blocks the free-though-illegal music a lot of them are looking for. Otherwise, the new Kazaa probably becomes a marketing or sampling tool for artists spreading the word about new releases and, for users, another way of seeking out indie music (competing with the likes of MySpace.com and CDBaby.com). Meanwhile, there’s nothing stopping the millions of people with the old Kazaa software on their machines to keep file-sharing as usual.