Kazaa Ordered By Australian Court To Block Searches

Via Russell Beattie, Search terms on Kazaa to be blocked from ZDNet Australia has the rather disturbing order of an Australian court telling Kazaa that it must not allow searches on certain terms, such as artist names.

Let's be crystal clear about the order. It is not about removing pirated music (which is difficult because Kazaa doesn't host files). It is preventing people from searching for these words at all. Record companies will provide the list.

The reason that is is disturbing is the thought of such an action being applied to other search services. What if some company convinced a court that web search engines like Google and Yahoo were providing links to copyrighted material? Could that company then prevent people from searching on things like "madonna?"

I suspect a key issue in all of this is the fact that it could be argued that those searching for artists by name on Kazaa could be shown as being very likely looking for pirated music. But the idea of censoring what people are allowed to search for at all just feels like a step too far.

Techdirt has some additional coverage here and points out the same thing happened to Napster back in 2001. PC World also has coverage here.

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Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

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