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MS invokes DMCA to stop SP2 file sharing demo

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Legal threats have stopped P2P activist group Downhill Battle from continuing to offer Windows XP Service Pack 2 through BitTorrent.

Downhill Battle set up the SP2Torrent.com site to illustrate how file sharing technology can help distribute large files as an alternative to centralised distribution. It offered the 272MB file designed to allow SP2 to be installed on a network of multiple machines, not the smaller file for installing SP2 on single machines, due to become widely available from Windows Update today.

Microsoft lawyers were not amused and within days issued takedown notices against SP2Torrent.com and a second site (which linked to a torrent file on another server), citing the the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Downhill Battle has fought the DMCA before, but this time around it is complying with Microsoft's request. The group reckons the demo has already served its purpose.

In a statement issued on Friday, Downhill Battle said: "At this point I think we've made a pretty good case for the helpful role p2p can play in distributing major software releases, and so, for the moment, we've taken down the BitTorrent links. The site has been a huge success in demonstrating P2P technology - we've had over 100,000 visitors in the past few days."

Visitors to SP2Torrent.com are being redirected towards Microsoft's official SP2 download site. Meanwhile, searches on BitTorrent reveal that Windows XP SP2 continues to be available.

Microsoft's actions have shut down one high profile server; but it is naive to think that people will stop exchanging the file through unofficial channels. ®

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