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Kazaa most downloaded program

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Most downloaded program on the Web?
Kazaa: 230 million downloads and counting

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) --Sharman Networks said its Kazaa file-sharing software was on track to set a record Friday as it becomes the most-popular free program on the Web with over 230 million downloads.

By hitting that total, Shaman said Kazaa would surpass the popular ICQ instant messaging program, owned by CNN's parent company AOL Time Warner.

Kazaa's growing popularity comes at a crucial time for the music industry as it battles file-swapping services in court and tries to develop commercially viable online music services.

Who's counting?
As of late Thursday, the Kazaa Media Desktop application -- a file-sharing software that has drawn the wrath of the music industry by enabling its users to swap songs for free -- had been downloaded 229,150,955 times, as measured by, which is owned by CNET Networks Inc.

Sharman said by midday Friday it expected Kazaa would top the record set by ICQ. As of Thursday, ICQ has been downloaded 229,363,307 times, according to

A Sharman spokeswoman said Kazaa has been receiving an average of 366,000 downloads per day, whereas the ICQ application has been receiving an average of 50,000 downloads per day, as measured by

Record labels going to court
This week, media software maker Roxio bought struggling online service Pressplay, launched by Vivendi Universal and Sony. Apple Computer recently launched its own online music service, which analysts say has been a standout success in the struggling sector.

Record labels suffered a setback in April when a federal judge ruled song-swap networks Grokster and Morpheus should not be shut since they do not control what is traded on them.

Kazaa, which is involved in a separate lawsuit with the recording industry, also distributes licensed files, including music, movies, games and software through a partnership with a company called Altnet.


Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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