Kazaa given deadline to alter system

An Australian court has given file-sharing network Kazaa until December 5 to either filter copyrighted music from its system or shut down, music industry officials said yesterday.

The imposition of the deadline follows a ruling in September by the judge in Sydney that Kazaa users were breaching copyright and that the network's owners had to modify the software.

Other global peer-to-peer (P2P) services, which distribute data between users instead of relying on a central server, also have come under fire from courts in recent months.

Kazaa's operators, Sharman Networks, had appealed the judgement. But according to music industry trade group IFPI, the Australian court said that to avoid complete shutdown Kazaa must, as a first step, put in place a keyword filter system within 10 days.

Sharman Networks had said it could not control the actions of an estimated 100 million users.

"It's time for services like Kazaa to move on -- to filter, go legal or make way for others who are trying to build a digital music business the correct and legal way," IFPI Chairman John Kennedy said in a statement.

A growing number of legal online music services such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes, Napster and RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody have grown in popularity over the past year as a new generation of P2P services like Mashboxx hope to offer the advantages of file-sharing without infringing on copyright.

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