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Raids Close eDonkey File Sharing Server

Coordinated police raids in Belgium and Switzerland have shut down eDonkey‘s Razorback2 server and resulted in the arrest of the server’s Swiss owner.

The Razorback2 server maintained an index to over 170 million pirated files, according the a statement (PDF) from the Motion Picture Association (MPA). Unlike many file sharing servers, Razorback2 was operated as a business which earned revenue through advertising and donations. According to the MPA statement, the site operator was arrested at his home, while the servers were seized at a hosting facility in Zaventem, Belgium: Zaventem is also home to the Brussels International Airport.

eDonkey is among the largest remaining file-sharing networks worldwide; not surprisingly, much of the material carried on eDonkey is pirated music, video, movies, and pornography. Recent research into the use of file sharing networks shows the number of eDonkey users has been climbing, and the system has become the dominant file sharing network in Spain, Germany, Italy, and South Korea.

“This is a major victory in our fight to cut off the supply of illegal materials being circulated on the Internet via peer-to-peer networks,” said MPA CEO Dan Glickman. “By shaving the illegal traffic of copyrighted works facilitated by Razorback2, we are depleting other illegal networks of their ability to supply Internet pirates with copyrighted works which is a positive step in our international effort to fight piracy.”

However, the decentralized nature of most file-sharing networks makes it difficult to assess the impact of Razorback2’s seizure on the overall system. Messages posted to eDonkey discussion forums indicate the number of people using eDonkey had returned to normal levels within a few hours of the seizure