Kazaa's on going trial in Australia is revealing many hard facts that might shock the file sharing generation. Kazaa are currently being prosecuted for copyright violations by a variety of media companies. Prof. Leon Sterling from the University of Melbourne made an appearance in court today, providing evidence against Kazaa. He asserted his belief that although Kazaa might be usable for other purposes, its prime purpose was as a music file sharing tool.
Prof. Sterling said that P2P user statistics are "capable of being collected and reported to a system operator in the same way as statistics about the usage of a single Web site are able to be collected and reported". He commented further that "Kazaa Media Desktop [KMD] could easily collect statistics that could be gathered at supernodes if it does not do so already".
Logging user's activities is certainly not a new concept. Most sites log details about their user's visits for statistical purposes. However, as the Kazaa case is making clear, the information could be used for much more devious purposes. As Sterling is highlighting at the trial, it would not prove difficult to log what users download, as well as log information (like MAC addresses) that uniquely identifies users. Doing this would allow copyright owners to prosecute individuals for piracy. If the ruling does turn out against Kazaa, expect to see logging of user activities as part of the judgement.
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