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Clogger of P2P networks to shut down

Overpeer, a service that flooded file-swapping networks with fake music and videos, is closing its doors.

A leading service that attempted to dissuade people from using file-trading networks like Kazaa, by planting millions of fake files online, is being shut down.

Seattle-based Loudeye said Friday that it is shuttering its Overpeer division, effective immediately, in an attempt to bolster the parent company's bottom line.

Executives did not immediately return a request for comment. However, in a filing with federal regulators in November, Loudeye said the Overpeer division had seen declining revenue through much of 2005 and that a major client had dropped its services at the end of the second quarter.

Overpeer rose to prominence in 2002, at the height of the Net's love affair with peer-to-peer networks, offering record companies and movie studios a way to discourage would-be file-swappers looking for hit music or films.

The company used banks of servers around the world to plant false files, so that when a file-trader downloaded the latest Matrix movie, for example, it would often turn out to be garbage data, or an advertisement.

Over time, peer-to-peer networks added features that let users rate files or otherwise make better guesses about the authenticity of downloads. In its financial filing, Loudeye--which purchased Overpeer in 2004--said these tools had diminished the effectiveness of its offering.

The company is seeking to sell the Overpeer assets, it said in a statement.