File Sharing

Peer-to-Peer file sharing became a prominent problem for the entertainment industry many years ago with the use of a famous file sharing web site called Napster. Additionally other prominent sites popped up such as,, and Today, sites such as and are more prevalent.

The original issue for the music industry involved users using their computers to connect to the peer-to-peer network and making their music and movie files available to others connected to that same network. For example, a user logs on to the peer-to-peer network and searches for a particular song. In turn, the network searches through all logged on computers and displays who has it. The user initiates the download and a copy of the song is transferred to their computer. If a user's computer holds songs that others want, the same process is repeated in reverse. This is the file sharing process. The network makes everyone's files available in order to share. The potential for viruses and other forms of malware from this activity is a major concern since users literally download files from unknown computers. In fact, some files are simply viruses disguised as songs or movies. Many times entertainment companies purposely dump placebo files in the mix to cause frustration and prevent users from downloading the real thing. It is illegal to copy or share copyrighted material over the Internet.

A friend who worked in the file sharing prevention industry many years ago told me he was surprised how many people played ignorant about what is copyrighted and what is not. His statement was "If it is not a home video of your family or a song you recorded yourself then it is probably copyrighted and you shouldn't be sharing it. In addition if you're not paying for it, and you can download it onto your computer for free, your copy is most likely obtained illegally." This is the bottom line.

The federal government has worked with music and movie executives to create new ways to crack down on illegal file sharing. Many legitimate websites like Apple ITunes have been created that charge a fee to download music that is paid to the appropriate party. Obviously the free sites are still attractive and the apparent anonymity of the Internet makes it seem okay for many people.

Here are some additional web sites with information about File Sharing:


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