LOS ANGELES — The i2Hub college-based file-trading network shut down suddenly Nov. 14, apparently the result of ongoing legal challenges by the music and entertainment industry in the wake of the Grokster Supreme Court ruling. The i2Hub Web site now simply reads “Remember i2Hub” with “RIP. 3.14.2004 – 11.14.2005” below it.
i2Hub was a file trading application that ran on the advanced Internet2 network established on college campuses nationwide. The Internet2 network is a closed system available only to university users, and supports file sharing and downloading at speeds much faster than even broadband public networks.
The i2Hub service took advantage of these speeds as a broad file-sharing application that included not only music and movies, but also dating services, textbook exchanges and other legitimate student uses.
However the RIAA took issue with the service earlier this year, filing 405 individual lawsuits against students at 18 campuses. “Through the use of a file-sharing application known as i2Hub, Internet2 is increasingly becoming the network of choice for students seeking to steal copyrighted songs and other works on a massive scale,” wrote the RIAA in a statement at the time.
The RIAA also has sent letters to college administrators urging them to place restrictions file trading activities. Most recently, Vanderbilt University began blocking such file sharing programs as Gnutella, eDonkey and DirectConnect, before the latter went dark. Officials said these services ate up more than a third of their Internet2 bandwidth.
Several state university systems, such as the University of California, have formed deals with music subscription services such as Napster, Cdigix and Yahoo. The deals offer students a discounted or subsidized monthly subscription fee in an effort to drive them away from file sharing programs.
According to a June survey by the Business Software Alliance, more than two-thirds of university students said trading music online was not unethical or illegal.
i2Hub founder Wayne Chang has not made any public comments about the closure.