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eDonkey Succumbs! RIAA wins again!


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peterb_66x92_str.jpg Last week, prominent P2P network eDonkey announced it was settling a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America for $300 million and closing up shop forever. Users who clicked a button to update their eDonkey2000 software reported the "update" initiated an uninstallation of the product. Visitors to the eDonkey Web site are now greeted by an intentionally blunt message advising surfers they are not anonymous online (and playfully proving it by displaying visitor IP addresses).

Only a month ago, we learned that former top file-sharing program Kazaa settled with the RIAA for $115 million, and that current top P2P application LimeWire was being sued for an estimated $476 million. The LimeWire case is expected to go to court next month.

The demise of the original Napster file-sharing program marked an immediate rise in decentralized peer-to-peer networks. Now it seems that U.S. copyright law and other influences are causing file sharers to drift toward the non-node-connected BitTorrent protocol, which allows users to download one file from multiple sources simultaneously. The legality of various BitTorrent software and "tracker" sites is still undecided, but a recent partnership between Warner Bros. and BitTorrent indicates the technology is integrating with mainstream Hollywood.

It appears as if the one-two punch of suing individual file-sharers and the companies that develop peer-to-peer technology may have ended the long reign of conventional P2P networks. What do you think?

Peter Butler

Senior Editor, CNET Download.com

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