Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Open Letter About the Kazaa Settlement

My editorial opinion:

I have seen reports that Kazaa has entered into a settlement with the RIAA, under which it will seek to sell "licensed" RIAA music throught p2p technology.

The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

I am assuming that the settlement does not in any way affect the thousands of lawsuits against Kazaa customers. If that is so, it's wrong.

Many of the fine people who are being terrorized by the RIAA are in this mess because of Kazaa, and a settlement which gets Kazaa off the hook with the RIAA but doesn't do anything for the good folks who took Kazaa at its word, is not something I find comforting in the least.

I would have thought that Kazaa would have done something to end the reign of terror against its customers.

If the settlement doesn't provide for the cessation of RIAA litigation against Kazaa customers, and if Kazaa will be working with the RIAA to sell licensed distribution, I would call upon all members of the public to boycott the 'new Kazaa' to the same extent that they are boycotting the RIAA.

And I would call upon all defendants in RIAA cases, who are being sued because of Kazaa, to consider -- if they have the means to do so -- cross suing Kazaa.


Keywords: digital copyright online download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs


StephenH said...

I think it is sad that RIAA sued KaZaa. What they should have done, and they could have done this from the beginning of P2P was simply license their music, which would have benefited both artists and consumers. Even from the very beginning of Napster, the P2P companies were in front of the labels and congress saying just license us the music, we will pay for it. The labels said no, and then their litigation lead us down the path we are on today, which is tragic. I personally think RIAA was responsible for this big mess. Some of the key mistakes are as follows:

* Refuse to license content to P2P companies and consumers

* Insist on DRM, when MP3 was the consumer accepted standard in terms of format.

* Alienated the public

* Originally suing Napster and Scour out of business allowed decentralized networks to take off, leaving very little control or room to develop a good payment system for artists

* Insulted consumers with a fear campaign by threating and suing them for more money than they have, while at the same time working to block P2P acccess in college dormitories

* Use extreme anti-innovation technology policies, and lobby congress to make unauthorized innovation illegal, especially creations by small scale developers that use music or video content in new ways.

* Made no attempt to work with the public on issues involving music, and work toward a productive, long term solution

eclectica said...

Since the settlement indicates a collusion between the RIAA and Kazaa, the actual terms of the settlement as well as the nature of the relationship between the two groups should be known to those who were Kazaa users and are defending themselves against the RIAA lawsuits. It is a piece of evidence which is relevant and is needed for their defense.

raybeckerman said...

Interesting point, eclectica.

CodeWarrior said...

Kazaa was an experiment in the same way that Napster was, and they both met the same fate...they were sued out of "real" egalitarian legitimacy, into becoming the prostitutes for the recording industry.

My view is simple. I do not advocate any cross complaint against Kazaa, but I do advocate the following.

I have been a digital consumer advocate for a couple of years now, an admin at and have several sites of my own (just google "codewarriorz").

I advocate a TOTAL boycott of any and all "legal" music services, including but not limited to the "new" Kazaa, iPOD services, Wal-Mart downloads, and any other service SELLING downloads of tunes from RIAA associated artists.

I used to be a great customer, as far back as I can remember, buying vinyl, 8-tracks, CDs, etc. I have never purchased a music download, and will never purchase such.

When the "sue your customer" scheme arose, I quit purchase of RIAA affiliated tunes. I became an active, proponent of boycott of the RIAA recording companies and their toadies.

The RIAA has lost a customer for life from me, my family, and my friends. They will lose more than that, because I hate the RIAA and everything they stand for, and thus, not only have they lost me as a lifelong customer, but they have earned an enemy for life. 50 million people, who do not buy just two downloads at a dollar a piece, will offset this 100 million dollar deal. At one point, it was estimated that there were 60 million customers of Kazaa.

Two tunes NOT downloaded by each P2P user would be 120 MILLION...20 million more than their little settlement.


raybeckerman said...


The only thing I don't understand about what you said: why not cross-sue against Kazaa?

They get people into this mess, make a bundle by doing it, and then enter into a settlement that gets themselves off the hook and does nothing to help their defenseless victims?

Best regards,