Kazaa secret command unlocked by court

A secret command that showed the number of connected users of the Kazaa file-sharing software was demonstrated to Federal Court on Thursday.

Under cross examination orders from the record companies, Sharman Networks chief technology officer Phil Morle entered the command "kazaa.exe /_kmdcounter" on a court laptop with the Kazaa software.

The court display unit then showed a list of statistics on how many computers were connected to Kazaa.

Morle said he had never seen the command before, but knew it had been developed by Sharman programmer Rob Sanders.

The secret command would only work with Kazaa 2.6, the court heard. It could not be accessed with Kazaa version 3, released last week, according to senior counsel for the record companies, Tony Bannon.

However, Morle said the data displayed on the court monitor was freely available to Kazaa users.

"They are the same statistics a user can see [on the Kazaa Media Desktop]," Morle said.

"They could write it down every five seconds.

"This is a very administrative, unimportant piece of software."

The secret Kazaa program was previously known only to Sharman employees for taking a snapshot of user activity, he said.

The court monitor showed the laptop could send the statistics to Sharman servers in Denmark, claimed Bannon.

Sharman has denied the existence of any central Kazaa servers. The record companies have argued that any central servers would mean Sharman may be able to monitor the system, and know of copyright infringement.

"Didn't you say earlier that Sharman doesn't have any servers in Denmark?" Bannon said.

Morle said he had. A Sharman employee had been instructed months ago to move all the Web servers from Denmark, he said.

Morle said he had been unaware one server had remained.

Bannon claimed this server could count statistics reports sent by computers running the secret Kazaa program.

This was incorrect though, according to Morle. If many computers sent such reports to the server, it would crash, he said.

The software was only developed by a junior programmer who was "eager to please", Morle said.

In proceedings this morning, senior counsel for Altnet, Steven Finch, said the Denmark server could not even receive the statistics.

The Denmark server returned several "Object not found" responses, he said.

"If you look at the responses from Denmark, isn't it clear it doesn't know what to do?

"The evidence would be if the Denmark server talked back, but it doesn't."

Justice Murray Wilcox said it was clear Kazaa could send statistics for the number of users online at one time.

However, "There's no evidence before the court that anyone at Sharman is able to monitor what users have in their shared folders," Justice Wilcox said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steven Deare

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?