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Kazaa retuning promises faster downloads

The new, paid version of the music service's P2P software lets subscribers download files from up to 40 sources at a time.

Developers of Kazaa, the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing software, on Thursday launched its updated, paid version, Kazaa Plus.

The new version of Kazaa Media Desktop is being published by Avalon Online Distribution, a Luxembourg-based subsidiary of software publishing company Titus Interactive Group. The advertising-free version is available globally for $29.95.

Sharman Networks, which developed Kazaa, launched a free version of the software in February that included advertiser-paid, copy-protected search results.

Kazaa is in the thick of a legal offensive the Recording Industry Association of America has launched against file-sharing software. This week, the RIAA filed papers in a federal court in Washington, D.C., in a case relating to file swapper "Nycfashiongirl" who allegedly shared more than 900 songs online, many of which the swapper downloaded through Kazaa or Napster.

Kazaa Plus offers enhanced search, enabling people to start searches that run every 30 minutes for a 24-hour period that could yield up to 9,000 results. Customers will be able to download files from up to 40 sources at one time, up from only eight in the advertising-supported version. The update also includes enhanced virus protection.

Avalon will provide customer e-mail support for the fee-based version.