Against All Odds

Two local promoters come together; Kazaa cooks up response to the majors

Although Kazaa's argument that RIAA's lawsuit should be heard in Australia, not the U.S., failed miserably, Kazaa didn't take the ruling lying down. In late January, the file-share company countersued, accusing the RIAA of unfair competitive practices.

Kazaa is taking the position that it's trying to build a legitimate business model, and that the industry's real agenda is to keep the entire pie for itself. While most of the files that pass through Kazaa unquestionably do so without copyright protection, Larabee says Kazaa has any of six options to track and manage the content that passes through its servers it would like to bring to the negotiating table. One of those options is to create a compulsory licensing system – monitor the songs being traded and make payments to artists. Napster proposed that and got blown off.

But unlike Napster, Kazaa won't go down without at least waging an aggressive legal fight of its own. Larabee says she expects the court fights to drag on through the expensive discovery phase all year – at least. The RIAA is expected to respond to the counterclaim next week.

This'll be a fight to keep an eye on.

Got a problem with Kick & Scream? Let's hear it. Contact the author at his online address: christopher.oconnor@newtimes.com.

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