P2P indexer arrested, server shut down, but eDonkey brays on

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P2P indexer arrested, server shut down, but eDonkey brays on

Brussels (Belgium) – A somewhat dramatic statement released yesterday by the Motion Picture Association, the international body of movie studios for which the MPAA is one affiliate, proclaimed that Swiss officials arrested the proprietor of one of P2P service eDonkey’s major indexing servers, dubbed Razorback 2.0. But the MPA statement yesterday had many news services posting the story that eDonkey itself was shut down, as opposed to what the MPA characterized as “the number one eDonkey peer-to-peer server facilitating the illegal file swapping of approximately 1.3 million users simultaneously.”

Even that characterization may be a bit over the edge, as eDonkey users apparently did notice service troubles yesterday, that due to the nature of P2P communications, were by some accounts resolved within a day.

A list of the world’s major eDonkey and eMule P2P servers, updated automatically every six minutes, reveals 257 active eDonkey index servers throughout the world. Razorback 2.0 remained the fifth largest on this list, apparently servicing approximately 355,000 users, even though the server itself was reportedly seized in a raid outside Brussels. Without using eDonkey itself, our own tests showed the Razorback 2.0 server to be responding to IP signals, although its indexing service has been reported offline by eDonkey users reporting on Usenet newsgroups. Such users are currently suffering from the inconvenience of having to switch to Razorback 2.3, Razorback 2.4, or any of the 90 other eDonkey indexing servers which can reportedly service 50,000 users or more.

“By shaving the illegal traffic of copyrighted works facilitated by Razorback2,” MPA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman stated yesterday, “we are depleting other illegal networks of their ability to supply Internet pirates with copyrighted works which is a positive step in our international effort to fight piracy.” However, at least one Usenet user reported eDonkey traffic returning to its usual 3.5 million user count (which the MPA actually understated) by 1:00 am Eastern Time yesterday morning; and the P2P news site Slyck reported that eMule traffic (the open-source derivative) had increased this afternoon to an unusually high 4.1 million users, perhaps in response to today’s news. Meanwhile, the Swiss Web site for eDonkey2000 was unresponsive today.

An archive of open-source discussions among the developers of P2P software such as eMule, whose messages were dated 2004, indicated that Razorback 2.0 and other servers managed a multitude of different P2P clients simultaneously, with eDonkey a very small minority. Since the creation of the eMule project, designed to create P2P clients under an open-source license compatible with eDonkey and other networks, a handful of offshoot P2P protocols have emerged, whose varieties are as decentralized and hard to pin down as the networks themselves. The eDonkey client, by comparison, is sold for $19.95 per unit.

Slyck’s columnist today is praising one of the underlying indexing protocols of the eMule system, called Kademila, for demonstrating that its decentralized approach to indexing could indeed pick up the slack when a major server in the network goes dark.

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