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StreamCast names Skype, Kazaa in lawsuit

The owner of P2P application Morpheus is suing over the technology underlying Skype's Net phone software.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

StreamCast Networks, creator of the Morpheus file-swapping software, has filed a lawsuit naming Kazaa and Skype Technologies, among others, as defendants.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, claims that StreamCast owns the technology underlying Internet-calling provider Skype's software. Also named as defendants are Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who are also the developers behind the Kazaa file-swapping software. StreamCast and Kazaa have argued in the past over software licensing fees.

"We have filed a suit alleging RICO and other claims, and we intend to litigate it aggressively. At this time, we have no other comments," Charles Baker, the lead plaintiff attorney representing StreamCast, told CNET News.com.

RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. While the full complaint has not been made available on the court's Web site, Skype and Kazaa are respectively named first and fourth as defendants in the case, indicating they have a significant role in the suit.

"Skype does not comment on ongoing or pending litigation," Skype spokeswoman Erica Jostedt said.

eBay, which acquired Luxembourg-based Skype for $2.5 billion in October 2005, was not named in the suit, and the company could not be reached for comment. Representatives from Kazaa and owner Sharman Networks could not be reached.

Baker said the case has recently been reassigned to U.S. District Court Judge Steven V. Wilson. Wilson is the same judge who presided over the MGM Studios vs. Grokster case concerning peer-to-peer technology that ultimately went to the Supreme Court. Baker went before Wilson in that landmark case as the lead defense counsel for StreamCast.

Other plaintiffs in the StreamCast case include Joltid, Joltid Ou Blastoise, Bluemoon, LA Galiote, Indigo Investment, Brilliant Digital Entertainment, Sharman Networks, Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister and several "John Does."


Correction: This story misstated the name of an attorney representing StreamCast Networks in its suit against Skype, Kazaa and others. Baker's first name is Charles.