File swapping shifts up a gear

A new generation of peer-to-peer tools is finding its groove on the Internet, spelling tougher times ahead for movie studios' attempts to quell online piracy. Going by names like eDonkey and BitTorrent, many of the latest generation of file-swapping tools have been designed specifically to increase the efficiency and speed of transfer for large files such as movie files. Some of these tools have been in development for several years, but are just now reaching the critical mass needed to make a dent in the file-trading world. Some in the copyright community say these new tools are finally starting to rival the piracy potential of the post-Napster generation of swapping services.

"We see people downloading like crazy," said Mark Ishikawa, chief executive of BayTSP, a Los Gatos, Calif., company that monitors file-swapping networks for movie studios and record labels. "eDonkey is passing Gnutella, and is even on its way to passing FastTrack." FastTrack is the technology behind Sharman Networks' Kazaa and Grokster.

File-swapping tools such as Kazaa and Streamcast Networks' Morpheus are still enormously popular--indeed, on Friday, Kazaa passed ICQ instant messaging software as the most-requested technology ever on Download.com, a software aggregation site owned by CNET Networks, the publisher of News.com. Kazaa has been downloaded more than 229 million times, according to that site. The new generation of tools has been designed much like the old, by individuals or small teams of programmers working to correct the perceived shortcomings of earlier software.

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News source: c|net

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