WinMX Shuts Down After RIAA Threat

UPDATED The RIAA's latest attempt at curbing illegal peer-to-peer downloads appears to be working. On September 15, the group sent out cease and desist letters to seven undisclosed P2P networks. As of Thursday, it had appeared that at least two of them have now closed their doors.

According to reports, WinMX has ceased operations, and its Web site, winmx.com, has gone offline. The offices of another file sharing service, eDonkey, were reported closed by Reuters, although its Web site remained online Thursday and sources say the company known as MetaMachine simply moved locations.

The same letters were also sent to other P2P operators such as BearShare and Limewire, however both networks appeared to be operational Thursday morning.

The RIAA said at the time of the cease and desist letters that after the Grokster ruling companies had "ample opportunity to do the right thing," and continued to operate "at their own risk."

Since modern P2P networks often have no central location, it is near impossible to completely them shut down. But in some P2P structures, by removing a node that assists in indexing what is on the network, usually called a "supernode," download capabilities can be severely crippled.

Industry insiders expect additional networks to shut their doors to shield themselves from legal action. Others may opt to attempt to go legal, as Grokster is apparently doing.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mashboxx was in talks with the embattled P2P network over a possible purchase, a move that could be seen as an attempt to keep the service alive.

Mashboxx CEO Wayne Rosso declined to confirm to BetaNews whether or not talks with Grokster had indeed taken place. "But we at Mashboxx are very happy to private label our application to any company that meets our criteria," Rosso acknowledged.

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