Kazaa almost on the ropes, but does it actually matter now?

The Kazaa / Sharman Networks case is edging towards a conclusion, with the defence lawyers making their final arguments. Although it’s too early to call, a small detail probably betrays which way the judge is leaning: when Sharman’s lawyer suggested that they couldn’t be held liable for copyright infringement because their end user license agreement stated that it was not permitted, the judge grinned and asked whether it was “unduly cynical” to assume that most people don’t read software licensing agreements.
It is so far beyond reasonable doubt that it doesn’t need questioning, that Sharman knew full well that their network was primarily being used as a network for sharing illegal content, and as certain that they knew it when they bought the technology/network (it had already become established when they bought it from a firm of Dutch software programmers). What is less certain is whether it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt in legal terms. The irony is that even if it is, the party’s already happening elsewhere. Just as with the original Napster, the music industry has finally managed to bring Kazaa to heel once it has stopped being the focal point of file sharing activity. The same lesson applies here: software developments always move much, much more quickly than legal process (both in courts and parliaments) which is why it can only ever be one small part of an overall integrated strategy.