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Swapping Places

Kazaa sues record industry for copyright infringement. The file-swapping service says investigators used an illicit version of its software to hunt pirates

The latest lawsuit in the ongoing war between the record industry and downloaders of free music was filed Monday in federal court, though it appears to have been filed in Bizarro World. This time, it's Kazaa suing the labels for copyright infringement.

Last year, the industry sued Sharman Networks Ltd., the offshore company behind the file-swapping service, for allegedly allowing and profiting from piracy by letting users copy songs and movies without paying for them. According to the Los Angeles Times, Monday's countersuit by Sharman accuses the entertainment companies of infringing its copyright by using ''Kazaa Lite,'' an unauthorized, advertising-free version of its software, to hunt for pirates among Kazaa users. The countersuit also accuses the labels of antitrust violations (colluding to make their songs unavailable on the network) and violating Kazaa's terms of use by posting bogus files to foil downloaders.

Responding to the suit in a statement, the Recording Industry Association of America said Sharman's ''newfound admiration for the importance of copyright law is ironic, to say the least.''

Originally posted Sep 24, 2003
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