Reports from Reuters today of the demise of P2P file-sharing networks WinMX and eDonkey appear to be only half true. While WinMX.com does seem to have disappeared, eDonkey, which accounts for more shared files than any other network today, may still be up and running. The P2P network moved its offices from New York to New Jersey a year ago and this migration looks to be the source of some of the confusion.
Web site Slyck News reported that eDonkey’s offices are indeed open for business. Slyck attributes WinMX’s demise to a business decision, but others link it to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that P2P networks are responsible for illegal downloads that take place using their software. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has followed that decision with a campaign last week of cease-and-desist letters to seven P2P network companies.
P2P Lives On
But even if the RIAA has managed to shut down both networks, one analyst said it just doesn’t matter.
“Does this mean the end of file-sharing? No, no and no,” Mark Mulligan, research director at Jupiter Media, told TechNewsWorld. “File-sharing is never going to go away. File-sharing will get less mainstream in the long term, but it will always be there.”
Mulligan said initial data from a European survey by Jupiter Media actually indicates an increase in the amount of file-sharing. The industry must find ways to take advantage of the technology, not just battle P2P networks, he argued.
“The challenge for the music industry is how to continue to push [file-sharing] to the margins and fill the void with legitimate services, which of course suggests a big opportunity for free legal services, but that is another debate,” Mulligan said.
Russ Crupnick, president of NPD Music and Movies Business, said that people are well aware that what they’re doing is illegal, but they’re proud of the behavior and he believes it will never go away completely.
“We’ve got to promote legal alternatives,” he said. “Reality is, you’re never going to eliminate it completely, but there could be consequences.”
He said that NPD research shows that about one-third of the recording industry’s loss of revenue can be directly attributed to file-sharing, but he also said that the industry must do a better job of offering a better online experience.
In the meantime, another P2P network, Grokster, is in talks with Mashboxx, a legal P2P network endorsed by Sony. Grokster, along with StreamCast Networks’ Morpheus, were on the losing side in the June Supreme Court case. Grokster had argued that file-sharing had legal applications and the company could not be held liable if people used it for illegal purposes. Former Grokster CEO Wayne Rosso founded Mashboxx last year.