Music Business Knocks A ‘Million’ File-Sharers Offline In eDonkey Crackdown

The music industry has taken legal action to shut down seven German servers powering the eDonkey P2P file-sharing network. In a rather triumphalist emailed press release, the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an umbrella for record labels, said it had embarked on a “new front” in its fight against piracy, winning seven injunctions in a variety of regional courts in Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Leipzig and Frankfurt against the DonkeyServer network.

Indeed, this is a particularly aggressive strategy, following the recent shut-down of all French eDonkey servers and action against some in Holland. The IFPi claimed eDonkey’s global user base “has been reduced by more than a million … in the last few weeks … knocking an estimated third of users off the network” – and it will continue taking action, including prosecuting individual uploaders.

Heise Online: “Because eDonkey servers do not themselves offer files for sharing, the copyright owners bringing the action have based their argument on the legal construct of liability for impediment.” The owner of the server network claimed to have installed filter software that would have prevented illegal file-sharing ahead of the injunctions.

Like any P2P network, eDonkey file transfer not centralised, but that hasn’t stopped the music business going after elements of the network. Last year, the developer of one popular client, eDonkey2000, agreed to pay $30 million and stop making the software in response to a Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawsuit). Kazaa last year coughed up $100 million and promised to go legit and Limewire is opening a legitimate music store, too.