The history of P2P file sharing service Kazaa (which actually started life as “KaZaA”) is known to most of us born in the eighties or before, and consists mainly of copyright related lawsuits and adware-ridden software.
The gist of the story can be found on its Wikipedia profile, but what many seem to forget in present times is that the service is still around, serving users an unlimited amount of (licensed) songs for a $20 monthly subscription fee.
Recently, a Symantec security program apparently identified the Kazaa desktop client as high-risk, flagging the software as adware. This prompted Brilliant Digital Entertainment, the company that operates Kazaa, to issue a special notice / consumer alert to its customers.
And it isn’t pulling any punches.
While boasting about the fact that Kazaa is now a legitimate business offering over one million fully licensed tracks to its customers, Kazaa claims Symantec for the second time in recent weeks incorrectly identified it as being high risk. As a result, the company says, a subset of users were unable to use Kazaa because Symantec’s security software flagged it as adware. Some of its users were apparently “sufficiently spooked by Symantec’s unilateral action” after those warnings that they followed its advice to remove Kazaa.
In an angered statement, the company adds:
Symantec had justified turning off the music for some of Kazaa customers by flagging files in the Kazaa music plug-in application as high risk due to the files being used for serving advertisements. As a result Kazaa customers or subscribers running Norton AV are having these files stripped from the application which prevents them from using the service.
Symantec’s error, hot on the heels of a similar mistake against Spotify, highlights the potential for anti-virus companies to do more harm than good in the effort to displace pirate operations from the on-line marketplace.
After the Spotify incident (Symantec classified the music streaming service as a Trojan about a week ago), the security software company apologized on Twitter. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle this notice from Kazaa.