Reformed pirate sues over nicked ideas

An Australian man who was forced a few years ago to pay $150 million for music piracy is now suing some of the world’s biggest tech companies for patent infringement.

Kevin Bermeister was successfully sued back in 2005 by the music industry over his file sharing service Kazaa. It was claimed at the time to be the world’s biggest ever P2P file sharing network for unmonitored content.

Now, though, he’s chairman of PersonalWeb, which is suing

Google, YouTube, Amazon, EMC, VMWare, Dropbox, NetApps, NEC and Caringo – in an east Texas court, natch.

“PersonalWeb protects its proprietary business applications and operations through a portfolio of patents that it owns, and we are actively pursuing licensing and participation in the operation of businesses that use these patents,” says Michael Weiss, CEO and president of PersonalWeb.

The patents concerned cover cloud computing, distributed search engine

file systems, and content addressable storage. They are used in PersonalWeb’s Global File Registry, which as a poacher-turned-gamekeeper, Bermeister and his team have been marketing to ISPs and law enforcement as a tool against online piracy and child porn.

If Bermeister’s successful, he could win back a lot more than he lost in the Kazaa case. And PeronalWeb’s pretty cconfident, in the case of Google at least – it claims the company actually cited PeronalWeb patents in several of its own patent applications.