Australian Ruling In Kazaa Case Means Almost Nothing Right Now

from the in-case-you-were-wondering dept

Over in Australia, a judge has ruled in the recording industry’s lawsuit against Kazaa coming up with a decision that in some ways is quite similar to the way the US Supreme Court decided Grokster, but in other ways quite different. The basic ruling is that Kazaa and associated executives and subsidiaries authorized copyright infringement, but didn’t commit it themselves. That’s something like the “induced” test of the Supreme Court, but not exactly the same. However, the ruling also said that Kazaa needs to add filters to stop unauthorized songs from getting shared. This sounds exactly like what a US court determined four years ago in the case against Napster — which didn’t exactly help at all (or… um… work). It just made people move on to other file sharing apps while proving (once again) that filtering doesn’t actually help much. There are some other oddities in this decision, and from the quotes and discussions being passed around, it sounds like the judge himself couldn’t really decide what he wanted to do. No matter, of course, as the case is going to be appealed and so it will be quite some time before any decision is made. In that time most users will have moved on far past Kazaa — which isn’t considered one of the top file sharing apps any more anyway. So, the recording industry’s attempt at playing whack-a-mole continues, but the moles keep popping up — and there are more of them, they’re faster and they’re harder to spot. So, despite the claims from the recording industry that this decision is a “win” for them, it’s hard to see this as anything but an indication of just how screwed up the recording industry really is at this point. It’s more than five years into the age of file sharing and digital distribution of music, and the industry is still playing this tired old game of suing users and whacking file sharing networks, which just pushes the file sharing further underground and makes it that much more difficult for them to get back any semblance of control over the market.

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