Skype and KaZaA named in Morpheus suit
By Matt Whipp
Posted on 28 Mar 2006 at 13:01
Skype and KaZaA are among defendants named in a suit brought by peer-to-peer specialist StreamCast Networks.
StreamCast Networks, maker of the Morpheus client, names Skype and KaZaA and the founders of both products, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, in the first four defendants. Also included in the list are companies that helped develop the software and the FastTrack peer-to-peer technology underlying Skype and KaZaA, including Joltid OU and BlueMoon OU.
StreamCast Networks also uses FastTrack technology to power Morpheus, and relationships between it and KaZaA have been frayed ever since the latter grabbed the limelight after Morpheus was briefly shut down in 2002.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court's Central District of California (Western Division - Los Angeles) alleges violations of the RICO Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, brought about in the 1970s to combat the Mafia.
From publicly available information it remains unclear exactly what allegations are being levied against the defendants. But these days the RICO legislation has broader applications and if successful can have lucrative results, with awards of three times actual damages, plus costs and attorneys' fees. And although it has been fettered with stringent requirements, using RICO against Skype, recently bought for $2.6bn by eBay, must remain an attractive prospect to a company already at legal odds with the moneyed movie and record industry.
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