File sharing networks, or P2P (peer to peer) networks, have made it easier than ever for music and movie lovers to download their favorite movies and songs for free. People can simply download free file sharing software, then search for songs, movies, videos, and other media clips and then download them onto their computer, often in a matter of seconds. This eliminates the need for purchasing entire CDs.
Popular free file sharing software
There are many types of file sharing software and networks that can be downloaded for free on the Internet. Some of the most popular and more commonly used ones include:
•Limewire. Limewire is free and one of the more popular file sharing programs. Users download Limewire and then search its public folders for a variety of media, including MP3s, documents, software, videos, songs, and more.
•Kazaa. Kazaa was one of the original popular free P2P networks and does the same thing most other free sites doâ€”users search public folders, where you can upload or download media.
•BitTorrent. Another popular P2P network you can download for free, giving you access to a wide range of songs, games, software, and various types of media.
Free file sharing risks
People like free file sharing software for a number of reasons, mainly because it’s free and it’s easy to use. Users don’t have to buy an entire CD for just one song, nor do they have to spend large amounts of money if they are avid music fans. Instead, they download songs and videos to their computers in a matter of seconds.
But there are risks associated with free file sharing software, including:
•Copyright infringement. Many people have been fined for illegally downloading music and other media. These people are tracked through the free, although illegal, file sharing networks they use.
•Damage to computer. While many free file sharing networks are now free of spyware, adware, and other types of malware, there is still a high risk of damage to your computer because publicly shared files aren’t necessarily safe. So the network itself may be deemed safe, but the files don’t always come from secure or virus free places.
Is free file sharing software worth it?
Free file sharing software has risks with it, but it can be worth it if you take the proper precautions. This includes:
•Make sure you are downloading legal software. Not all file sharing software is legal. Do your research and make sure the free software you are using is in fact legal. When in doubt, avoid the free software and stick to legal, fee-based downloading software. It’s a small price to pay.
•Have up-to-date antivirus protection. Because of the high risk of inadvertently downloading spyware, malware, viruses, and other things that could harm your computer, make sure you have an anti-virus and firewall software installed, and update it regularly. This can help protect your own files and information, and also protect others by making sure you are not sharing infected files.
•Make sure you aren’t unknowingly sharing files. You could automatically share your own files illegally if you are still connected to a free site. Make sure you completely uninstall any illegal free file sharing software you may have from your computer.
Free file sharing software can be worth it if you are careful to only download legal software and take steps to protect you files and your computer.