Supercharged college P2P network closes

I2Hub, a file-swapping network piggybacking on the Internet2 research network, posts its own epitaph.

A file-swapping network that let college students download movies and music at blazing speeds on the Internet2 research network has closed its doors, the latest casualty of entertainment industry legal pressure.

The i2Hub network emerged in early 2004, taking advantage of the supercharged network that connects college campuses to let students trade files at speeds far faster than is possible on the ordinary Internet.

But the service, which had also expanded into less controversial legal territory such as textbook exchange and dating, had increasingly been a target of record labels and movie studios cracking down on piracy. Individuals using the network have already been sued for copyright infringement, and i2Hub itself was one of a handful of networks threatened with potential legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America in September.

I2Hub founder Wayne Chang declined to comment on the network's closure, citing potential legal concerns. Visitors to the service's Web site on Monday found a nearly blank page with the terse message: "R.I.P. 11.14.2005"

The entertainment industry's legal hand was bolstered this summer by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said peer-to-peer networks could not encourage or "induce" piracy in any way without risking legal liability.

Executives at MetaMachine, the company that distributes the eDonkey file-swapping software, the most popular such peer-to-peer network in the world, have said they plan to change their business into a paid music download service.

Grokster, the file-swapping software company that gave its name to the Supreme Court, also shut down last week after a settlement with the RIAA and Hollywood studios.

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