Its software was used by millions of people for years. The software was bloated with advertisements and often unwanted extras, but the concept was simple: enable people across the world to share multimedia files in a peer-to-peer environment, a practice the recording and motion picture industries saw take its toll on their bottom lines.
Now, Sharman Networks Limited, producer of the once-massively popular Kazaa software, has finally settled its lawsuits. At a cost of over $100 million according to I4U news, the future of Kazaa looks dim and almost certainly and strictly legal, according to CNN.
The Recording Industry Association of America celebrated the court decision as a victory for all. As stated in a press release, RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol is especially happy:
“This is welcome news for the music community and the legal online music marketplace…The winners are fans, artists and labels and everyone else involved in making music.”
As late as the 1990’s, popular music ranged from $18-$20 per album and $20 was the standard for a VHS movie, to say nothing of the starting prices for DVDs.
Today, movies are much less expensive than previously and even music prices have come down significantly. Is this just another market trend? Why were people so drawn to free, illegal movie and music downloading? The question is self-answering: free.
Nonetheless, the era of quick, free, illegal and inconsequential downloading is coming to a close in the United States. Consumers are left wondering what will come next?