Kazaa Uses RIAA Victim Jammie Thomas in PR-Campaign

After the malware infested P2P client KaZaa sold its legacy, the new owners converted it into a legitimate business selling their music subscription service to the public. However, in a recent press release they quote a hacker who committed suicide, warning Kazaa users that the RIAA might come after them nonetheless.

kazaaaarghAfter the P2P application Kazaa died, the brand name was taken over by Brilliant Digital Entertainment (BDE) who are now offering unlimited DRM-infested music downloads for $19.98 a month.

BDE doesn’t want to limit their service to music downloads though, and they recently introduced a groundbreaking new feature.

According to the press release issued yesterday they are about to “shake up the online media industry.” Their masterplan? They will implement new technology that will allow their users to share photos, videos and even documents with each other.

This announcement is indeed quite a shocker. However, the press release has more surprises in it, such as the following product endorsement (or warning) by a ‘web hacker’ named Jonathan James.

“Jonathan James, Web Hacker spoke of the endless possibilities the software provides to the Kazaa community. “They are going to come at you like they came at ‘tereastarr,’” the press release reads.

First of all, it is kind of strange to include an endorsement from a seemingly unknown hacker in a press release. This aside, the statement doesn’t make much sense at all to those who have never heard of ‘tereastarr,’ and even less sense to those who do.

As P2P blog points out, ‘tereastarr’ was the Kazaa username of Jammie Thomas who was slapped with a $1.92 million verdict in her case against the RIAA last month. Thomas had been found guilty of sharing 24 songs using Kazaa, and was fined $80,000 per track.

Not really the sort of person you want to refer to in a press-release to ‘promote’ a product, unless you want to imply that the people who use your legal service might face such fines as well. The strangeness doesn’t stop there though.

The quote attributed to Jonathan James is in fact a quote from Jammie Thomas’ lawyer Joe Sibley who used the one-liner in her trial.

To make things even more disturbing, the web hacker Jonathan James most likely refers to Jonathan Joseph James, a convicted NASA hacker who ended his own life last year at the age of 24. Again, not an ideal person to quote and a particularly unhelpful image to paint when promoting a product.

The sentence has now been removed from the original press release indicating that Kazaa indeed regrets publishing this fabricated and insulting quote. Nevertheless, it can still be found online on several sites that copied the original release.

So what happened here? Did Kazaa think it was funny to put the names of Thomas and James in its press release? Have they lost their minds completely? We sincerely hope that this wasn’t intentional and that they’ve been pranked by some wannabe PR-agency.

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