StreamCast sues Kazaa, Skype: here's my take

As fellow VoIP blogger Andy Abramson reports, it has been revealed that back on January 20, Morpheus peer-to-peer technology developer and provider  StreamCast Networks, filed a RICO suit against Skype Technologies SA, Niklas Zennstrom, Janus Friis, and BlueMoon OU (the company that reportedly did a lot of the development work on Skype) alleging RICO violations. The case number is U.

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As fellow VoIP blogger Andy Abramson reports, it has been revealed that back on January 20, Morpheus peer-to-peer technology developer and provider  StreamCast Networks, filed a RICO suit against Skype Technologies SA, Niklas Zennstrom, Janus Friis, and BlueMoon OU (the company that reportedly did a lot of the development work on Skype) alleging RICO violations.

The case number is U.S. District Court's CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (Western Division - Los Angeles) CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:06-cv-00391-FMC-E.

The docket case dated January 27 indicates "1 COMPLAINT" against defendants Kazaa BV, Joltid Ltd, Joltid Ou Blastoise Ltd, Bluemoon Ou, LA Galiote BV, Indigo Investment BV, Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc, Sharman Networks Ltd, Kevin Bermeister, John Does 1-10 inclusive, Skype Technologies S A, Niklas Zennstrom, and Janus Friis.

I think it is important to point out that because Kazaa and several associated entities are mentioned before Skype (which is mentioned last) it appears at first glance this matter may be not so much be a dispute between Morpheus and Skype, but Morpheus and Kazaa, which Skype executives Zennstrom and Friis founded before they launched Skype. To reinforce that impression, I point out that eBay, which owns Skype, is not mentioned in the suit.

Andy thinks a key reason why eBay was not named was to allow for a settlement between the named parties- a settlement that could get far more elusive if a publicly held company such as eBay was named as part of the suit. 

That doesn't lessen the potential impact of this suit on Skype, however. Skype uses some of the P2P technology found in Kazaa (now owned by Sharman Networks, also based in the suit) and the association between the two businesses goes deeper than the fact that the same execs founded both companies. 

Also, it could be that StreamCast feels the practices that have led to these controversies were in force years before eBay acquired Skype- making eBay's now-ownership of Skype irrelevant to the gist of this lawsuit.

This morning, Andy also mentioned that he had read what is likely to be the 30-page copy of the suit itself.

"First off the plaintiffs appear to be charging the defendants with 11 causes of action," Andy notes, "and have asked for both a TRO (temporary restraining order) and relief by the courts largely surrounding who should own the FastTrack P2P technology and how allegedly it got to who ended up with it and other requests for relief.

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