Users who could understand file-sharing had a lethal and potent software at their disposal, which would get them everything that they wanted without paying a penny in the process (of course, not considering the Internet access charges). Suddenly, everything was on Internet.
You want Windows XP, connect and download it. You want Shrek the movie, connect and download it. You want Sheryl Crow’s music, connect and download! Everyone had everything and the share and share alike adage was catching on like bushfire. What also got Kazaa going was a deluge of Web sites that were dedicated on making Kazaa the only place to get software and other stuff. Links on these websites could be clicked on and would be automatically added to the software saving users the pain of sifting through junk results thrown up by the internal search in Kazaa. Nevertheless, there was an inherent problem that users were not aware of and which became public only later.
The Kazaa client that users installed in their computers had a spyware that would pass on personal, sensitive information to Sharman Networks. When this became public, there was a huge public outrage and people suddenly started using alternatives such as iMesh, Grokster and Kazaa Lite K++. While iMesh and Grokster were similar software using the same network, Kazaa Lite K++ was a hacked Kazaa without the spyware and all the modifications which made it one of the best P2P clients ever.
However, there was one problem. Sharman Networks quickly made this software illegal and users using this software started getting low results and download speeds were capped making it excruciatingly slow for users of Kazaa Lite K++. However, other software such as iMesh and Grokster kept users enticed and downloads all over the planet reached a peak in 2003 with over 140 million PCs connected to the network at any given time using one or the other version of software. Other than the spyware issue, there were many other issues plaguing Kazaa users. Primary amongst these were the fake files that people started getting after finishing a download.
Other issues included viruses and spyware planted in downloaded programs which only became evident after programs started malfunctioning or the system started misbehaving. There was no solution for this and the only solution was to download and scan and check all software.Music companies by this time were hopping mad and soonenough, they started closely monitoring the FastTrack network,which is being carried on even at this point in time. Eventually, music companies started flooding the network with fake music files with authentic tagging information to discourage downloads. Software companies followed suit and the legal battle ensued.
The battle rages to this day with the recent MGM versus Grokster case, where the Supreme Court ruled that Grokster was actually violating copyright laws and issued an order against it. Soon enough, users started trying other software, which included
eDonkey and the recent BitTorrent.