Feeds

Skype racketeering case dismissed

But Steamcast vows to continue litigation

3 Big data security analytics techniques

One of the longest running feuds in the P2P business has taken a new turn after a judge dismissed a racketeering case brought by Streamcast Networks against Skype.

Streamcast, which develops the Morpheus P2P software, has long maintained that it had rights to the FastTrack/Kazaa P2P software engine on which Morpheus is based. FastTrack was created by a number of developers, including the two founders of Skype, who Streamcast says illegally transferred the technology to Sharman Networks in 2002.

Streamcast filed suit against a number of parties, including Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, Sharman Networks, Joltid (developers of FastTrack/Kazaa), and others under the RICO Act in January last year.

The suit claimed that Zennstrom and Friis also developed Skype's VoIP technology for Streamcast and took it with them, illegally profiting from its use.

A Federal Judge in Los Angeles has decreed that Streamcast failed to prove its case and dismissed all claims against Skype and the other defendents.

The feud dates back to the turn of the decade, when in a bid to evade lawsuits from the RIAA and MPAA, P2P operators took their companies offshore, making an assessment of the true ownership of the assets difficult. Sharman Networks was created in Australia in 2001 to acquire Kazaa. Months later, Sharman blocked Streamcast from using Kazaa, hitting the latter's Morpheus network.

In 2005, Skype was acquired by eBay for $2.6bn. The same year the Supreme Court made an ambiguous ruling in MGM vs Grokster that prompted a number of P2P companies to close down and make peace with the litigants, the RIAA and the MPAA. Streamcast has developed a new network for "authorised content", but continued to defend the legality of Morpheus for another year, until last September.

Proving a case under RICO is difficult, as it requires the plaintiff to prove "a crime within a crime". The act was introduced to combat Mafia racketeering and extortion, and is typically successful in cases involving violence.

Nevertheless, Streamcast has vowed to continue its ligitation. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.