Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Skype Founders Charged With Racketeering

It's fairly well known that Skype's founders won't come to the US for fear of lawsuits arising out of their part in building Kazaa... but it looks like they may now have another lawsuit on their hands as well. Andy Abramson gets credit for the big scoop of the weekend, discovering that Morpheus maker Streamcast has now sued Skype and its founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis under RICO laws, which are more commonly used against organized crime groups. It's not all that common for RICO violations to be charged between companies, but it does happen (recently a few times against the recording industry, for example). Abramson has all the details, which Om Malik summarizes as being all about the money -- basically saying that Streamcast is pissed off that Zennstrom didn't sell them the Kazaa technology, before spinning it off to Sharman Networks. Streamcast says that the their own deal included a "right of first refusal" should Zennstrom sell the technology to anyone else. Streamcast also claims that the basic Kazaa technology is part of Skype.

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