Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Some Of That $2.6 Billion May Go To Pay Some Legal Bills For Skype's Co-Founders

from the come-visit-the-US... dept

It's been pretty common knowledge throughout Skype's history that founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis were unable to come to the US, due to recording industry lawsuits about their involvement with Kazaa and the core FastTrack software beneath it (yes, by the way, that's why if you ever went to a US conference where Zennstrom presented, he did so remotely -- over Skype). It started about three years ago, when the entertainment industry filed lawsuits against Kazaa (and others). Zennstrom and Friis had set up Kazaa in an extremely distributed manner, and while they proceeded to sell off most of it, the rumors were that they still retained some ownership (and even loaned the money to the eventual buyer, Sharman). Unfortunately, most of these stories were mostly whispered around, rather than written up. However, with eBay's $2.6 billion buyout of Skype, some reporters have realized that, perhaps, this story is quite relevant. It tells how the two founders started Skype while basically running around Europe hiding out from entertainment industry lawyers -- and then, when found, basically ignored the various legal actions against them. While the article tries to paint the two as somehow not being "worthy" of admiration or money, it's not as if the RIAA that was suing them has a squeaky clean history either. No matter how you look at it, it seems like $2.6 billion can pay for some pretty high powered lawyers to sort this all out.

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