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Kazaa's a drag at its own company

Exec reveals why employees "hate" installing the P2P software and how rivals are well-positioned to "out-innovate us."

Employees at peer-to-peer provider Sharman Networks "hate" installing the company's own Kazaa software because it has ill effects on their computers, according to an internal document written by Sharman's chief technology officer.

The document, entitled "Kazaa Technology 2004" and written by Phil Morle, says that Sharman needs to be careful about installing too much adware on a computer upon the installation of Kazaa. The document is part of a bundle for which a request for confidentiality was rejected this week by Justice Murray Wilcox, the judge overseeing a copyright trial against Sharman in Australia.

The adware "slows down users' machines and can affect other activity such as browsing the Internet," Morle wrote. "We are also adding increasing p2p networks to the users' machines. These are good value to users but they use more resources and create confusion for users as to what resources they are sharing and where this can be controlled."

These two issues could be reasons why Kazaa manages to "lose users by over-stepping the mark," the document said, adding that the company should take into account how many employees at Sharman refuse to install the peer-to-peer software.

"Consider how many people that work for Sharman Networks and its partners that hate installing Kazaa on their machine," Morle wrote.

Record labels Universal Music Australia, EMI, Sony/BMG, Warner, Festival Mushroom and 25 additional applicants are suing Sharman and associated parties--including Brilliant Digital Entertainment, Altnet and Sharman CEO Nikki Hemming--over alleged music copyright infringement made through the Kazaa software.

The Australian record companies assert that Sharman misrepresented the situation when it claimed that "the performance of a personal computer will not be, or is unlikely to be, noticeably affected by its functioning as a supernode for the purposes of the Kazaa software."

Morle's document also stated the company's awareness of the legal risks involved with the technology.

"Our competitors are taking risks legally, but delivering compelling consumer solutions. We need confidence in what we do and must take similar leaps of faith. eDonkey is not yet being sued and is in a strong position to out-innovate us," Morle wrote.

Kristyn Maslog-Levis of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.