Kazaa improves software and signs Tiscali deal

Sharman Networks yesterday released the latest version of Kazaa, its popular peer-to-peer file-swapping software, and announced a...

Sharman Networks yesterday released the latest version of Kazaa, its popular peer-to-peer file-swapping software, and announced a deal with a major European Internet service provider (ISP) that may serve to raise its legitimacy level.

The latest version of Kazaa offers the ability to share playlists, which can be downloaded as a collection. It also offers Web search through the Kazaa interface, user file integrity ratings and integrated antivirus protection, as well as music content from online music community cornerband.com.

Frequent Kazaa version 2 users will be rewarded with a higher priority status in download queues.

A Kazaa Showcase feature links users to premium content available on the Altnet network, which recently put its micropayment system in place, allowing users to buy music, video and software.

Sharman Networks' deal with major European ISP Tiscali involves advertising Tiscali's broadband service to its legions of users, in exchange for getting paid a small "bounty" when users sign up with Tiscali.

Tiscali is based in Italy but has operations in 15 countries, including the UK, France and Germany.

"We feel very strongly about the significance of P2P as a driver of broadband adoption and appreciate that it is a priority in these countries," said Sharman Networks spokeswoman Kelly Larabee.

While the music industry continues to battle file-swapping services such as Kazaa because they allow users to trade copyright-protected works, ISPs have recognised that they can gain users from media delivery services. Kazaa claimed users have downloaded more than 120 million files from its network to date, and have racked up considerable time searching through their available content.

The new software and ISP alliance should place Kazaa in a strong position among P2P service providers. According to the latest Yankee Group research, US users alone are expected to download 7.44 billion audio files from unlicensed file-swapping services in 2005.



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