As LimeWire Shuts Its Doors, Other P2P Clients See a Surge in Usage

Less than a week since LimeWire was ordered to shut down its operations, almost all other major file-sharing applications are reporting a massive increase in downloads, arguably from those displaced LimeWire users.

A New York district judge last Tuesday issued a cease-and-desist order, demanding that LimeWire immediately close its doors. And while LimeWire has said it has plans to institute a redesigned service, based on legal and licensed music subscriptions, it seems like many of the site’s users may have gone elsewhere for their torrents, rather than waiting for a revised version of what was once the most popular file-sharing app.

TorrentFreak reports that it has spoken with a number of developers from P2P services, all of whom have seen a “huge boost in download numbers following Tuesday’s verdict.” No developers were willing to go on the record and give TorrentFreak the raw data – for fear, no doubt, of incurring the same wrath of the courts that LimeWire has received.

The exception is BearShare. Much like LimeWire, BearShare was once a Gnutella-based application. But in May 2006, BearShare was ordered to pay $30 million in settlement with the RIAA. Following that decision, BearShare altered its offerings via the Gnutella framework, limiting file-sharing. And its current iteration is, as the site proclaims “100% legal.”

Despite these restrictions, BearShare has seen a 780% increase in US downloads since Tuesday. And it reports its daily US downloads went up from 8000 to 62,400. The company does not say, however, whether or not these new sers are actually paying for their downloads. (That is, I believe, what the RIAA believes will save all those poor suffering record labels.)

Even though the LimeWire alternatives have seen an influx of traffic over the past week, the fallout from last week’s decision – and the still-to-come decision regarding the dollar figure attached to the judgement – remains to be seen as to how it will impact file-sharing services and users.

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