Thursday, December 02, 2004 Daily Dispatch (opinion) - KazaaGate Day 1

There is a trial in the Sydney Federal Court which is being intensely watched in the US by the computing community.

The issue at hand is: Sharman Networks has beeing distributing a piece of software that allows users to share their files with one another. This widely used software has been used to share, among other files, music which has been ripped from CDs. The Australian Records Industry Association (ARIA) is bringing a suit against Sharman Networks (more exact details when I find out), basically to stop this piece of software from infringing on copyrighted works.

Copyrighted works aside, there are quite a few legitimate applications that could run on a file-sharing network.

a) File backup
b) Sharing work documents (like a network drive)
c) Medium for small software companies to distribute "shareware"
d) Medium for unknown artists so that their works can be sampled. (see the Creative Commons License)
e) Political messages

It would be a blow to the smaller technical community if this type of software is ruled illegal, just because a lot people are doing illegal things with it.

Australian PC magazine maintains a daily blog about the trial progress. However, it is not legal reporting, and readers may find the tone rather flippant. Please email me if you find other sources.


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