Legal and Copyright Issues of P2P File Sharing

by Barbara J. Feldman on June 2, 2008

There are plenty of legal and copyright issues of P2P file sharing. P2P file sharing is a way to share music files, game files, movie files and even other software files between computers. Because of how the many types of files are shared there are legal and copyright issues that are associated with P2P file sharing. Copyright issues could be the most problematic for P2P file sharing networks. Legal issues are increasing yearly with more and more people using the P2P file sharing networks. Here are some of the most common legal and copyright issues of P2P file sharing.

Copyrights are not new to anyone who reads, listens to music or likes movies. There are copyrights on just about everything: books, music, tires and even straws. The basic definition of copyright would be that a copyright is the legal right of a creative artist or publisher to control the use and reproduction of their original works. When you ask someone for the copyright you are asking them if it is ok to use their original work for yourself. Sometimes this may come with a fee and other times the copyright is just granted to you with some terms that need to be adhered to.

Copyright issues of P2P file sharing are most commonly problematic for music files that are shared on the P2P file sharing networks with movies gaining in copyright problems. The music that most people are downloading or uploading on the P2P file sharing networks are most likely copyrighted by the musicians, production companies or other creative artists themselves. When you are giving or getting the music files without paying for them you are most likely breaking copyright laws unless you have specifically asked the musicians for the copyrights of those songs. Jail time, very stiff fines or both can be made for anyone caught sharing files without permission of the original artists for any piece of work.

Some of the legal issues that have become associated with P2P file sharing besides copyright issues can also include identity theft and pornography or other illegal files. Identity theft is quickly becoming one of the biggest problems that is associated with P2P file sharing. Identity theft can happen on a P2P file share network when you are not using firewalls and other safety features to protect your personal files that are on your computer. People can find personal items about you that have been stored on your computer and then use that information to secure them credit. At the worst they can find your bank account information and use that without you being aware of it.

Downloading of illegal files like pornography is also a legal issue associated with P2P files sharing. You may not realize that you have downloaded the illegal pornography until it shows up on your computer. Most cases of illegal pornography downloading is done when the file attaches itself to a file you did request. Both are downloaded onto your computer without you realizing the pornography was there. These become legal issues when you become accused of something you did not intentionally do.

To avoid copyright and legal issues of P2P file sharing you will want to be careful. This can be done by paying attention to the copyrights of any of your files and either gaining the copyright or not sharing the files. You can also use firewalls on your computer and the safety precautions that are on most P2P file sharing sites. This will help you not become a victim of identity theft. Use precaution anytime you are on a P2P file sharing site to avoid copyright and legal issues of P2P file sharing.

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Feldman, Barbara. "Legal and Copyright Issues of P2P File Sharing." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 2 Jun. 2008. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1388/legal-and-copyright-issues-of-p2p-file-sharing/ >.