The world's largest Internet music-trading service launched a $1
million advertising campaign Tuesday designed to rally the public
to pressure lawmakers and the entertainment industry to embrace
digital file sharing as a legitimate distribution tool.
The campaign is the latest push by the Kazaa file-sharing service
and its parent company, Sharman Networks, to counter a
multi-million-dollar legal and lobbying effort launched by music,
software and movie firms convinced that peer-to-peer (P2P)
services are a major source of online piracy.
The ads invite readers and Kazaa's estimated 60 million users to
"join the revolution" by proclaiming their love of Kazaa to
"politicians, journalists, record labels, movie companies and
friends." They also exhort the entertainment industry to embrace
the "revolution" or get left behind as technology passes them by.
Sharman Networks's Nikki Hemming said that the campaign will
feature three ads scheduled to run in several widely read
newspapers and magazines including Rolling Stone, the Wall Street
Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and
The campaign follows Sharman Networks's backing earlier this year
of the Distributed Computing Industry Association, a group formed
to lobby Congress on the merits of file sharing. It also is the
latest step by Kazaa to cast itself as the way that the music
industry should sell its products online.
Entertainment industry officials were unimpressed with Hemmings's
attempts to redefine Kazaa.
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) spokesman Rich
Taylor dismissed the campaign outright. "Kazaa is a service that
is preying on copyrighted works, and no amount of advertising can
change what you see when you go online there," he said. The MPAA
estimates that file sharing has cost the film industry more than
$1 billion in the last year.
Until the file-sharing companies filter copyrighted works, there
won't be much ground for discussion, said Recording Industry
Association of America spokesman Jonathan Lamy.
Gigi Sohn, president of Washington, D.C.-based civil liberties
group Public Knowledge, said it will be hard to rally millions of
people to support something that they know in their hearts is
But Hollywood and the recording industry deserve their share of
the blame for the ongoing problem, she said, because they seem
unwilling to understand why millions of people use file sharing
as their only way to get music, legally or otherwise.
Sharman Networks is the primary backer of the Distributed
Computing Industry Association (DCIA) which starting in July
tried to break that stalemate. The group has gotten the ear of
several prominent file-sharing critics, including Senate
Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), but there are no signs
that it has been able to change entrenched industry perceptions.
If anything, the DCIA has caused trouble for Kazaa because it is
butting heads with P2P United, a rival lobbying group formed by
several of Kazaa's competitors, including Grokster, Morpheus and
These other networks have responded bitterly to Sharman
Networks's decision to pursue its goals without them, especially
because Kazaa with its 60 million users brings more clout to the