If you’re like seventy five percent of college-aged people in the United States, at some point you’ve probably downloaded music from the Internet, also known as P2P file sharing. But this type of sharing, while definitely popular, is not always a good idea.
What is P2P file sharing?
P2P (peer-to-peer or person-to-person) file sharing is basically sharing files like music or videos on personal computers. Typically, those who participate in P2P file sharing both provide files for others to download by uploading them onto their computers. They also download the files of others who have uploaded music and videos onto their own computers.
However, you don’t need to upload anything in order to participate in file sharing or to download, or receive files. You can simply get onto a P2P network or site and begin downloading others’ files. Many times, however, networks will make it so your own files can be uploaded by others.
You can download and upload through webhosting sites, which is very popular because it allows you to do so privately.
P2P file sharing has become immensely popular in the past decade or so. Rather than purchasing entire CDs or paying for songs, people can download music for free that belongs to other people.
Pros of P2P file sharing
P2P file sharing has both advantages and disadvantages. The following are some of the pros of P2P file sharing.
•Less expensive. Many P2P file sharing is free (although the legality of this is questionable), making it an attractive option for people who don’t want to spend money for an entire CD just to get one song. P2P file sharing allows users to pick and choose their downloads. Even the legal fee-based versions of P2P file sharing are less expensive as well.
•Efficient. P2P file sharing is fast and easy. People who want to download legally such things like Windows updates and the like can do so quickly, as P2P files take these large files and make them more manageable, allowing for faster downloads.
Cons of P2P file sharing
Before you participate in P2P file sharing, consider the cons as well.
•Not always legal. While there are legitimate sites for legally exchanging files, many P2P sites have come under fire for sharing music and videos illegally. Downloading music, videos, and so forth (depending on the site) is often in violation of copyright laws, and many people have been prosecuted for downloading files illegally.
•Copyright laws. Most artists make royalties off of sales that come from purchasing CDs, videos, and so forth. However, with a surge in P2P file sharing, sales have plummeted, which has angered many artists who make their livings from royalties of CDs, etc.
•Spyware. Many P2P networks, once downloaded, are filled with spyware and malware. This can slow down or even crash your computer. If you are going to download music or other files from P2P networks, especially free ones, make sure you have a good anti-virus, firewall, and spyware software installed to protect your own files and information.
P2P file sharing can be a great resource for downloading a wide range of files, from music to computer updates. However, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons before participation.