Kazaa Rises from the Dead as Fully Legal Site, Holds Tight to DRM
Published Jul 20, 2009The popular file-sharing service Kazaa re-launched today, with one major adjustment: it is now totally legal.
For a monthly $20 charge, users get access to the site's music (over one million tunes from the four major labels as of now) and ringtones. Kazaa is also working with Hollywood to offer downloadable movie content and plan to bring on music from independent labels, reports Billboard.
All of which sounds great, but, sorry, Canadians, so far Kazaa is only available in the U.S., and Australia is set to be the next country that will have the download service, says Billboard.
The move to go legal came about after Altnet, Kazaa's Australian-based parent company, had to pay $100 million in damages in 2006 to major record labels after a lawsuit. Now, though, the tracks downloaded from the new, too-legit-to-quit Kazaa include digital rights management and will only play on assigned PCs and will not be transferable to digital music devices. Yes, that's right, according to Billboard, you won't be able to play songs downloaded through Kazaa on your iPod. (Seriously, didn't Kazaa get the memo?)
The Billboard story quotes Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister as saying that at Kazaa's peak of (illegal) popularity, the site had "tens of millions" of people using it. He's confident they can get the big numbers again, even as a paid service.