In a memo composed by the legal team of the Recording Industry Association of America, leaked to dotcom scoop, the RIAA's plans to attack peer to peer networks are made clear. The first targets of the RIAA will be FastTrack, the developer of the Kazaa peer to peer networks, Music City who run the Morpheus system and Grockster.
FastTrack is the Netherlands based software company that developed the software code library used to create the KaZaA peer-to-peer networks. KaZaA was the first application to use the FastTrack code. FastTrack later licensed its code to MusicCity (MusicCity dubbed its system Morpheus) and Grockster. The principals behind FastTrack are Niklas Zennstrom and Janis Friis- - Two young technology developers who are primarily interested in the development of their technology and who have privately funded their operation. MusicCity is being run by Steve Griffin, but with heavy influence by Timberline Venture Partners, the independently managed Northwest Affiliate of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Timberline owns 65% of MusicCity and is very involved in running the company.
It is clear from the memo that the RIAA will attempt to prosecute FastTrack on vicarious infringement charges, which means that the company is not doing enough to stop illegal file transfers. However, in a document, such as the leaked memo, in which the most common phrase is "we do not know how it works", it becomes clear that proving the existence of supervision of the network will be difficult.
The whole process, including the apparent leak of the memo, seems to indicate an attempt by the RIAA to intimidate FastTrack in order to settle out of court with them.
If FastTrack has the resources and decides to fight back, then the RIAA will have a very difficult and long battle ahead of them, but one which they are determined to pursue.
(A link to the full memo is available from the download section of this article.)