Monday, August 09, 2004

Kazaa's Revolution

Kazaa, the well-known hawkers of the Kazaa Media Desktop software, came up a while ago with their "Revolution" campaign. You can see it here.

While Sherman Networks pretends that their software is built for entirely legitimate purposes, we all know for what people use Kazaa Media Desktop. They use it to download songs for free, and burn them to CD (or transfer them to a portable digital music player).

What does Sherman Networks say Kazaa is used for?
You can publish your self-authored content. Just place your photos, book, articles, art work or independent films in your Shared Folder and users worldwide will be able to find and download them.
Supposedly. Who does Sherman Networks think they are fooling? I don't know what percentage of the media on Kazaa's network is original content. There might be some there. But out of the 60 million users of Kazaa, I doubt any of them downloaded Kazaa to download independent films.

Kazaa's software and propaganda encourages people to "share" large numbers of files. See here for example. The ability to "search more" is given starting at sharing 51 files. Further sharing of files is encouraged and rewarded up to 1000 files. I'd be surprised if there were 1000 legitimate files on Kazaa in the first place.

Enough about the users of Kazaa. Sharman Networks knows that the real threat to their business are the RIAA and MPAA. Back to their Kazaa Revolution page:
This Revolution can benefit everybody. So why are they trying to stop it?
Why are they trying to stop the revolution toward total anarchy? Well, it seems that Sharman Networks knows. Here are some of my favorite quotes from their propaganda:
[Movie producers] are concerned that peer-to-peer will reduce their control over every step of this process. This is because peer-to-peer is a market driven by the people.
Every market is driven by "the people". The traditional way of distributing movies into movie theaters has always been, and today continues to be, driven by the people. What Sharman Networks really means here is that it's driven by "the people"'s desire to get free stuff. It's been proven that this mob action has taken control out of the hands of the owners of the media, drastically violating their rights to distribute their content in the way they see fit.

Everyone knows that Kazaa's network and software are used to pirate movies, music, and software. But can Sharman Networks do something about this? They can, and do. They have "premium" content which can't be distributed for free, through partnerships with small-time media companies (most often, pornography producers).
It’s easy to set up a “digitally rights-managed” account that lets artists decide how they want their fans to experience their work. They choose the length of free trial, determine payment criteria and wrap their files in digital protection.
So, if media owners partner with Kazaa, then they can have control. Otherwise, Kazaa removes, by force, that control from them. This is just plain extortion and blackmail on the part of Kazaa. Either partner with them, or your content will be all over the Internet, in the hand of millions, distribution driven entirely by "the people".

It would be extremely technologicaly feasable to have an "opt-in" network, where legitimate content alone is on the network. But then, almost nobody would use the network and software. That wouldn't be good for Sharman Networks' greed.

It's not complicated. It's not like Sharman Networks spins it. It's pretty straightforward. Sharman Networks creates an entire mechanism through which millions are allowed and encouraged to steal intellectual property, on a scale far beyond any other stealing mechanism in history. Then, they say that their network is built for legitimate purposes, even though their entire user base is entirely built around the completely unrelated function of downloading ilegitimate files. Then, they blame the media owners for being behind the technological curve for not partnering with Sherman Networks, and all but say that unless media owners partner with Kazaa, their content will be freely stolen by a mob of "the people".

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