Feeds

Skype racketeering case dismissed

But Steamcast vows to continue litigation

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.