Napster Shutdown Pumps Up Other Sites

BOSTON (07/28/2000) - Popular file-sharing site Gnutella got inundated with traffic being detoured from the pending silencing of Napster Inc. and had to shutdown for an hour Thursday.

But as quickly as it went down, the peer-to-peer file sharing network was up and running again.

"The site is back up," Gnutella's Web site declared after the service was briefly brought down by a flood of users . "Sorry for the downtime. We want to take this time to thank www.WeGo.Com for their support. We have maxxed their bandwidth. With a flick of a switch WeGo.Com was able to get us back up and running in less then (sic) 1 hour."

A federal judge Wednesday ordered an injunction requiring Napster to shut down its file-sharing of copyrighted material while a lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is pending. [See, "Napster Served with Injunction" July 26.] The ruling sparked an exodus of Web traffic to other file-sharing sites, such as Gnutella, Scour Inc., Freenet, Napigator, Spinfrenzy.com and others.

Napster says it has more than 20 million users, and they now are fleeing to alternative sites, seeking MP3 files. Gnutella and Freenet are services that allow de-centralized, one-to-one file sharing, eliminating Napster-style, server-based trading.

Users of these services contend, in postings on the various sites, that the lack of a central server will make it more difficult for a shutdown similar to Napster to occur. Thus far, no lawsuits have targeted these services.

With users abandoning Napster for other services, the Scour Web site reported an 80 percent increase in traffic on Thursday.

Scour, however, also is facing its own legal battles as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the RIAA and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) are alleging the Beverly Hills, California, company is allowing copyright infringement to occur.

Peer-to-peer Web site CuteMX stopped giving public access to its file-sharing technology on Thursday, pending a review of the developments surrounding the Napster litigation.

"We believe this is the proper thing to do given the confusion over this technology," said Sandra Poole, president of GlobalScape Inc., which owns the site.

Gnutella can be accessed at http://www.gnutella.wego.com/.

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