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What Happened to the WinMX P2P Network?

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Question: What Happened to the WinMX P2P Network?
WinMX was one of the early peer to peer file sharing client programs available on the Internet, starting in the year 2000. WinMX became its own closed P2P network in 2001. At one time, WinMX boasted a community of more than 1 million subscribed users. Newer, more technically advanced P2P networks later eclipsed WinMX in popularity, but WinMX remained a viable service all along. Where does WinMX stand today?
Answer: On 20 September 2005, the owners of winmx.com shut down their Web site under legal pressure from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Spurred by an earlier Supreme Court ruling against [link=/od/p2ppeertopeer/g/bldef_grokster.htm]Grokster, RIAA sent warning letters to WinMX and other popular P2P services the week prior.

As winmx.com hosted the primary WinMX host cache, its demise meant WinMX clients could no longer connect to this P2P network.

WinMX - Help to Restore the Network

Within a few days of the site shutdown, technically savvy WinMX users identified several patches and workarounds to help restore WinMX client connections to the service. Two patches are currently the most popular:

Future of WinMX

While these patches have kept WinMX operational for now, the future for WinMX remains bleak. Being a closed P2P network, no alternative clients exist and no WinMX client source exists to make future versions of the software. It seems inevitable that the entire WinMX network will close sooner or later.

Users who had abandoned WinMX years ago have expressed surprise that WinMX is still a viable service. While several popular P2P networks exist, threat of future legal actions against these other services make the future of mass, free media file sharing on the Internet uncertain.

WinMX Alternatives
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