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Wanadoo Netherlands has suddenly dropped Joltid's PeerCache, software designed to reduce costs of network traffic by caching frequently traded files within file-swapping system such as KaZaA, saying “it was only an experiment”.

It seems that Wanadoo's parent company in Paris became a little too anxious about copyright liability. In a corporate statement describing the experiment a couple of weeks ago, Wanadoo underlined that it didn't want to encourage “infringements on copyrights”.

Peercache is built to work for FastTrack, one of the most widely used P2P protocols. Wanadoo's Dutch subsidiary was one of the first ISPs to work with the software. It cached 0.8 terabyte of frequently asked files (albeit not in any recognisable form) on local servers, thereby reducing the volume of international traffic by 25 per cent or more, according to Wanadoo business development manager Lammert van Raan.

Wanadoo Netherlands believed the cache was legal, saying that several countries had amended their copyright laws to permit temporary caching and that caching only impacted the load on the ISP's network.

Joltid founder Niklas Zennstrom, who co-founded KaZaA, also defended Peercache. He emphasized that caching internet traffic has nothing to do with “encouraging the use of P2P software for illegal purposes”.

The IFPI, the trade association representing the international recording industry, didn't agree. It said the word “caching” doesn't mean that the service is automatically excused from copyright liability.

A couple of weeks ago Joltid announced that three major service providers in Europe have licensed its Peercache technology, but these partners have not yet publicly disclosed their association with the company. According to Zennstrom more than 20 ISPs are still evaluating the product. ®

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