Does Kazaa even have an off switch?

by Gordon Mohr

Related link: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-8022666.html?tag=mn_hd



A Dutch court has ordered Kazaa to prevent its service from being used for copyright infringement, or shut it down, within 14 days (above URL). But could Kazaa comply even if they desperately wanted to?



If previous coverage of the underlying FastTrack technology is correct, the system has no facilities for blocking certain files nor strict dependence on any fixed server. There is effectively no "off switch" to be thrown.



Even if Kazaa the company and all of its servers were to disappear, Kazaa the software would keep working, as long as it can keep finding other compatible software to contact. As the client apparently remembers dozens (if not hundreds) of its recent peers, there is usually good chance, even after weeks of inactivity, of restoring connection to the general mesh upon restart.



What can you do when a court orders you to do something
technically impossible?



I suppose the court could more specifically order FastTrack to offer their customers a "downgrade" of the client, to a newer, tamer version -- but which users would embrace that offer?



This genie isn't just out of the bottle, the bottle's
broken, and the genie's had baby genies, and... er, well, they're not going away.