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WinMX and eDonkey: offline, doors closed

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The "darknets" were looking a even darker today. WinMX spent the day offline and eDonkey has closed its New York office, Reuters reports. Both P2P file sharing networks WinMX and eDonkey are bearing the brunt of increased pressure on companies who encourage copyright infringement.

While the US Supreme Court's June Grokster ruling was widely misinterpreted in the popular inkies as signaling the death of P2P technology - it actually bounced the major issues back down to the lower courts - the Court nevertheless frowned on companies who encourage infringement.

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," wrote Justice Souter.

Last week the RIAA sent seven letters to the networks, reportedly including BearShare, LimeWire and WinMX. WinMX was offline most of Wednesday, and Reuters also reports that eDonkey's New York office is closed.

Earlier in the week Mashboxx was said to be in talks to acquire Grokster and turn into a non-infringing, legal network. Mashboxx's Wayne Rosso was briefly President at Grokster.

It's clearly too early to say if eDonkey is a dead donkey. But with Mashboxx and "MSPs" gearing up to offer walled garden file sharing, and Ian "Freenet" Clarke promising new, untraceable P2P by the end of the year, the stage is set for the next act. ®

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