Crackdown spurs P2P shift 01/09/2005
TRAFFIC to the popular file-sharing network BitTorrent is migrating to a new network called eDonkey in the wake of a crackdown on piracy, a recent research has revealed.
Popular movies like Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith have surfaced on BitTorrent before they appeared in theatres.
A study by the Cambridge-based internet analysis firm CacheLogic found that eDonkey is now roughly on par with BitTorrent in the US, China, Japan and Britain.

It is the dominant peer-to-peer file-sharing network in South Korea, which has the world's highest percentage of high-speed internet use, and also in Italy, Spain and Germany.

"This is almost assuredly a result of the increased legal action toward the once-ignored BitTorrent - a game of P2P hide-and-seek," CacheLogic chief technology officer Andrew Parker said.

Last year, BitTorrent was consuming up to a third of the internet's total bandwidth as users traded huge movie and television files. Hollywood struck back with a slew of lawsuits to shut down web sites that provided "tracker" links, which tell the network where to look for files.

The US has also seen a surprising return to popularity of the Gnutella file-sharing network, which had faded after an earlier crackdown by music companies.

"Gnutella was once seen as dead so may be off the radar," Mr Parker said. "It's proof that legal pressure from industry groups results in the mass migration of file sharers to an alternative network, whether old or new. This cat and mouse game will continue."

About 60 per cent of the internet's total bandwidth consists of P2P traffic, the CacheLogic study found. P2P, which sends data from user to user, is often difficult to shut down because networks don't rely on a centralised server to distribute data.

In a precedent-setting ruling earlier this summer, the US Supreme Court ruled against P2P firm Grokster. The court ruled that Grokster could be held liable for the movies and music traded on its network because the company's intent was to encourage copyright infringement.

But any hopes from Hollywood that the Grokster ruling would result in less P2P traffic have not been fulfilled, according to CacheLogic.

"The Grokster case did not result in a rapid decline in P2P usage," Mr Parker said.


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