How come Kazaa is still around?

I want to keep this within the limits of this board. I know the policy about filesharing, but my question is not about that.

Napster was shot down pretty quickly. Its use was obvious and they folded after the lawsuit. So how come Kazaa is still around. Obviously it exists primarily to enable filesharing. The music and movie industries know what’s happening.
So why haven’t they been shut down? How do they avoid the fate of Napster?

If I’m not mistaken, Kazaa is a breed of peer-to-peer filesharing programs that does not require a central server, as Napster did. No central server = no quick, easy way to shut it down.

Its few offices are also outside the US, IIRC.

Kazaa has been taken to court. I believe it was found that mearly providing the software that enables illegal file sharing is not itself a violation of copyright law(or something like that, do a google search on Kazaa & court, learn more than you ever wanted to know).
Found one link:,aid,91744,00.asp

Kazaa is owned by Sharman Networks, which is based in some small Pacific island; they also have offices in Australia. Short of diplomatic pressure or sending in the Marines, there is nothing the US government can do about them.

Magayuk got it.

Kazaa is still around because they provide a legal service. Just like a gun manufacturer isn’t liable for people who use guns to commit crimes, Sharman isn’t liable for people who use Kazaa to violate copyrights.

Napster was shut down because they permitted copyright violations to take place through their own servers. Kazaa, on the other hand, doesn’t pass any copyrighted information or indexes of copyrighted files through Sharman’s servers. Sharman may know that some people use Kazaa to violate copyrights, just like Smith & Wesson knows that some people use guns to commit murder, but (like the gun maker) they don’t know which individuals are committing crimes and they have no control over it.

Kazaa has been deliberately (well, they would claim it’s not deliberate, so I guess I’ll label that as my opinion) set up to be very hard to shut down. The legalities of who owns what and where they all are are rather tangled, from what I’ve heard, and they use a lot of countries that cater to companies wanting to protect their assets from legal challenges. Not to mention that the technology itself is hard to shut down, as has been mentioned. I’d hazard a guess that this is one reason why the RIAA has changed its focus from shutting down the technology to going after the users.

Not to mention that merely shutting down Sharman wouldn’t do a single bit of difference apart from the fact that no future versions of Kazaa come out (unless they make it open source). Anybody can still grab a copy from a friend and use it to download music.