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Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Hollywood Hails Shutdown of eDonkey Server

Swiss and Belgian police have shut down a major component of the eDonkey file-sharing network, used mainly to trade copies of copyrighted movies and music, the Motion Picture Association said on Wednesday.

Razorback 2 was the biggest server on the eDonkey peer-to-peer (P2P) network, which transfers data from user to user. Razorback2 was the number one eDonkey peer-to-peer server facilitating the illegal file swapping of approximately 1.3 million users simultaneously. Razorback2 was operated as a commercial enterprise indexing over 170 million files including millions of copyrighted movies, software, games, TV programming and music with international and U.S. titles. The site was regularly used by people located all over the world, with the vast majority of users based in Europe.

Music companies have blamed P2P piracy for causing a drastic downturn in sales, and Hollywood is trying to prevent a similar impact on the movie business.

"Swiss authorities arrested the site's operator at his residence in Switzerland this morning and searched his home," the MPA said in a statement. "At the same time, on the authority of a local magistrate, Belgian police seized the site's servers located at an Internet hosting centre in Zaventem near Brussels."

As of last year, eDonkey was estimated to have up to 3 million users spread over 100 to 200 servers. Razorback2 was the most popular server, used by about 1 million users.

While the music and movie industry have had a string of successes in their fight against online piracy in the last year, raiding P2P servers and winning judgements in court, in many cases users merely migrate to a different network -- a pattern than has happened many times since the original Napster service was shut down.

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