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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 August 2005, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
File-sharers move from BitTorrent
Computer user
Peer-to-peer accounts for a large chunk of internet usage
File-sharers have moved away from the popular BitTorrent system following legal action, say experts.

Instead they have moved to another network called eDonkey, showed a study by internet analysis firm CacheLogic.

It found that eDonkey has become the dominant peer-to-peer file-sharing network in countries such as South Korea, Italy, Germany and Spain.

The study seems to suggest that the legal action to stamp out file-sharing is meeting with limited success.

BitTorrent alternatives

The movie industry started targeting the operators of BitTorrent networks themselves last December.

It has filed numerous lawsuits against BitTorrent server sites which linked to copyrighted material in order to undermine the ability to swap content.

History is repeating itself. File-sharers moved from Kazaa to BitTorrent and now to eDonkey
Andrew Parker, CacheLogic
The action resulted in the closure of some high-profile BitTorrent sites but appears to have had mixed success in stopping the widespread trading of films, TV shows and music.

While the use of BitTorrent has fallen, file sharers have moved to an alternative network called eDonkey.

This is a decentralised file-sharing network, where files are not stored on a central server but are exchanged directly between users based on the peer-to-peer principle.

In countries such as the UK, Japan and China, eDonkey was as widely used as BitTorrent, found CacheLogic.

In others like South Korea, it has become the most popular way of swapping content.

Cat and mouse game

"History is repeating itself," said Andrew Parker, CacheLogic's chief technology officer. "File-sharers moved from Kazaa to BitTorrent and now to eDonkey."

Screengrab from LokiTorrent website
Some high-profile BitTorrent tracker sites have been closed down
"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.

In the US and Canada, there has been a surprising resurgence of the Gnutella file-sharing network.

It was one of the first P2P services to be targeted by the record industry but has since faded into the background.

"People are migrating to Gnutella as the attention of the record and movie industry is elsewhere," said Mr Parker.

"The conduit is irrelevant. People are after content. This cat and mouse game will continue."

According to CacheLogic, 60% of the traffic on the internet by the end of 2004 was made up of peer-to-peer activity, though it does not have a breakdown of how much of this is copyrighted material.

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