Dutch online file-swapping service KaZaA has temporarily suspended downloads of its client software pending a ruling by a Dutch court on 31 January, according to an announcement posted on the company's website.
The announcement did not specify the nature of the ruling expected from the court.
In a situation very similar to that endured by Napster, in November, a Dutch court ruled that KaZaA would have to make it impossible for users to share copyright-protected material using the KaZaA Media Desktop, or pay a fine for each day the software remains unchanged.
KaZaA, however, continued to make its client software available for download, saying in December that the company was holding talks with Dutch music licensing body Buma/Stemra. It has now suspended downloads.
KaZaA Media Desktop is a peer-to-peer (P-to-P) file sharing application that allows users to search for and download files, such as MP3 files, over the internet.
To date, more than 30 million copies of KaZaA Media Desktop have been downloaded, KaZaA said. More than 1.1 million copies have been downloaded during the last week, it added.
Despite the suspension of KaZaA Media Desktop downloads, the company has not announced plans to disable existing copies of the software, hinting that users will continue to be able to swap files.
Unlike the original file swapping service run by Napster, KaZaA does not rely on a central server to let users search for and download files.
KaZaA Media Desktop is instead based on P-to-P technology developed by Amsterdam-based FastTrack that allows users to search the hard drives of other KaZaA users.