Kazaa coder sues Sharman Networks

It's my code and I want $25m

Sharman Networks, owner of the controversial P2P utility Kazaa, today found itself facing yet another legal fight centring on copyright ownership.

But this time the tussle is not with its old sparring partners in the music or movie industries, but a Romanian programmer who claims he wrote the code Kazaa is distributing.

And the programmer, one Fabian Toader, wants the US court to grant him $25m in damages, AP reports.

Toader says he wrote portions of the Kazaa Media Desktop application while working as a freelance in 2000. He was hired by Dutch firm Kazaa BV, which sold the rights to the software to Sharman Networks in 2002.

The programmer says he never signed a contract with Kazaa BV. The result, he claims, is that he owns the copyright to the KMD code, not Sharman.

Toader is no stranger to Sharman. It sued him last August, claiming he had attempted to blackmail the company. Sharman was granted an injunction against Toader. Sharman said his contract with Kazaa BV clearly states who owned the code he wrote - and it wasn't him. Sharman dubbed the latest suit a "shakedown effort".

In a statement, Toader said: "Sharman has made millions using my software. I just want to be fairly compensated for my contribution."

Toader now no longer works in his native Romania as a freelance, but is a Microsoft employee living in Redmond. ®

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