Sharman Networks, owner of the controversial P2P utility and search engine adware distributor Kazaa, today found itself at the other end of the copyright ownership battlefield. Instead of trouble over swapping or “pirating” files and information, Kazaa instead is accused of using the code of Romanian programmer who claims he wrote the file swapping program Kazaa is distributing.
According to wire reports, the programmer, Fabian Toader, wants a US court to grant him $25 million in damages. Toader, a Microsoft employee, says he wrote portions of the Kazaa Media Desktop application while working as a freelance in 2000. He was hired by Dutch firm Kazaa BV, which sold the rights to the software to Sharman Networks in 2002.
The programmer says he never signed a contract with Kazaa BV. The result, he claims, is that he owns the copyright to the KMD code, not Sharman. Toader added “Sharman has made millions using my software. I just want to be fairly compensated for my contribution.”
Kazaa’s revenue structure is based on paid subscription services and a free service which distributes Claria GAIN Adware and Search Engine Keyword AdWare which must be seen by the user in order to use the Kazaa service. For example, when a free Kazaa user searches on Google for a popular search term, they are more than likely to be served multiple popup and targeted ads which display an advertiser who’s product is relevant to that search term.