KaZaA ruled perfectly legal

Too much too late

The Dutch courts have dealt a blow to copyright fascism by ruling that KaZaA can't be punished simply because its software might be abused. A previous ruling against KaZaA won by Dutch copyright enforcement syndicate Buma Stemra has been overturned on appeal.

Much of this is irrelevant in practical terms since KaZaA was sold last year to an Australian company, Sharman Networks. But it is a development worth noting as Europe comes under increasing pressure from Uncle Sam to conform to American standards of copyright reverence.

A Buma Stemra spokesman said he was "stunned" by the decision, and indicated that the organization might appeal to the Dutch High Court.

Meanwhile, the state of P2P services continues to deteriorate. Napster's buyout deal with Bertelsmann is now on hold due to petty internal squabbles; and Grokster and Morpheus face extinction in the US courts at the hands of the litigation-happy Recording Industry Ass. of America and Motion Picture Ass. of America later this year.

We'll take our good news where we can find it, even when it's more theoretical than practical. ®

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