Anti piracy organisation wound up

One of the shadowy companies that engaged in the war against the illegal p2p networks has closed down. LoudEye Corporation has announced that it has closed down the Overpeer ‘content protection’ subsidiary in order to ‘to focus its business and reduce its cost structure’.

It has been well known for years that both the MPAA and the RIAA employed companies which engaged in ‘dirty tricks’ on peer to peer web sites such as flooding them with worthless MP3s or even, it has been rumoured, funnelling adware onto the networks.

However, this year’s Supreme Court ruling against Grokster has signalled the end of the most prominent file sharing networks. As a result, the big music and movie companies are no longer employing companies like Overpeer to disrupt the p2p networks. Recently, similar ‘content protection’ companies like MediaSentry and MediaDefender have been sold.

Overpeer worked by saturating p2p networks by offering dummy versions of illegally swapped songs and videos. It claimed that in an average month it registered over 25 billion digital download hits against its servers, effectively blocking the illicit reproduction of copyrighted material across 150 million unique user sessions.

At the beginning of the year, Overpeer was found to be flooding Kazaa and other p2p networks with fake audio files. Although they seem to be popularly downloaded tracks in fact, they only played a fragment of the song or ran a message warning against piracy. The file then popped up a window offering the downloader a chance to buy the tune.

The practice not only disrupted the file sharing networks, it allowed the music industry to claim, with good authority, that the p2p networks were riddled with adware.

Announcing the closure of Overpeer Mike Brochu, Loudeye’s president and chief executive officer said, ‘We continue to focus our business on growth opportunities with digital distribution. Our actions to exit content protection services will substantially improve our go-forward cost structure.’

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