December 29, 2003, 11:26 AM — Look out Recording Industry Association of America. Web surfers wanting information about the KaZaa peer to peer (P-to-P) file sharing program pushed the software to the top of Yahoo Inc.'s list of the most popular search terms in 2003, beating out media heavyweights such as Harry Potter and Britney Spears, Yahoo said on Monday.
The annual report lists the top 10 most frequently searched-for terms on Yahoo's search engine over the entire year and is one measure of consumer interests and trends, Yahoo said.
KaZaa was followed by searches for fictional character Harry Potter, of book and movie fame, in the second spot, and U.S. television show "American Idol" in third place.
The popular file sharing application, which is owned by Sharman Networks Ltd., has been a focus of media attention since the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) took steps earlier in the year to crack down on illegal music file sharing.
The RIAA issued subpoenas to Internet users who exchanged songs using KaZaa and other applications and demanded that Sharman and other companies take more responsibility for the illegal swapping using their P-to-P software by filtering copyrighted content and making it harder for users to unknowingly share documents and music files using the software.
In November, KaZaa announced a US $1 million advertising campaign to encourage P-to-P users to demand that entertainment companies begin licensing content to KaZaa and other P-to-P vendors.
With the exception of KaZaa, entertainment dominated the rest of the top 10 list for 2003, where newcomers such as hotel heiress and celebrity Paris Hilton joined perennial entertainment favorites such as NASCAR, Eminem and the WWE (World Wrestling Entertaiment).