KaZaA, like its sister programs Morpheus and Grokster, is based on technology from the Dutch company FastTrack. Unlike Napster, which allowed users to share music files through a directory that resided on its own computers, the FastTrack technology uses a distributed network, with no central servers to shut down or restrict. "It's not even clear to me that the judge's order is feasible," says Aram Sinnreich, analyst at Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. "Unlike Napster, there's no centralized information server, so there's no switch you can flick to stop people from sharing."
Sinnreich says the new generation of distributed file-sharing programs may be beyond the scope of litigation. "It is possible for a copyright to be violated, without there being a single individual or company responsible," he says. And technological solutions aren't any better. "The only way to stop it would be to monitor all consumer Internet activity, and that would be a clear violation of privacy." The solution, says Sinnreich, is for companies to attract consumers to a legal alternative by offering things like guaranteed file quality, ease of use, and rapid transfers. "They need to build a better mouse trap," he says. "We don't see this as an impasse."