P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks are some of the most popular websites visited today, particularly among high school and college aged students. In fact, 75% of college students and over 75 million people last year alone say they have downloaded music, videos, software, or other media from P2P file sharing sites.
The start of P2P file sharing can be traced back to Napster, a site that was started by college students and at the peak of its popularity in 2002, roughly 85% of college students had utilized Napster at some point. This was also the beginning of the Recording Industry Association of America’s involvement in file sharing sites. Eventually Napster was shut down.
Since then, a number of new sites have opened. The following are some of the most popular P2P file sharing sites now:
BitTorrent. Currently the most popular and also considered the best of the P2P networks, BitTorrent allows users to download the BitTorrent client than access software, music, games, videos, and more. More than 70 million users upload files on BitTorrent. It has a number of advantages that make it popular, including being open-source and advertising free, meaning no one profits from itâ€”it is a true P2P network. In addition, it is also free of adware and spyware, making it safer for your computer.
Limewire. Limewire, also free, is a very popular program. You can either download the free version or pay a small fee for the “upgraded” version. Limewire is popular because it is so user friendly; search by artist, title, or keyword, and many different files will come up to choose from.
Morpheous. Morpehous is popular because it allows you to search a wide range of P2P networks at once instead of just one. Morpheous has some useful features, including one that helps you know whether the file you are about to download is copyright protected, which is useful to avoid illegal downloading.
Kazaa. One of the original P2P networks, Kazaa was under attack for a number of reasons, including copyright violations and a wide range of malware and spyware found on computers. The latest version only allows users to download material that is not copyright protected.
BearShare. BearShare is also popular, and has a free version and a fee-based version. The majority of BearShare’s files are audio files? Many people like BearShare because it also doubles as an instant messenger.
A word of caution
Many people who use file sharing networks have been fined thousands of dollars for copyright violation. Make sure you are downloading music and files legally from these networks, or you could be at risk for copyright infringement and heavy fines. At the same time, make sure your computer isn’t automatically enabling you to upload your files without your knowledge. Make sure you do your research to know which files allow you to download and share files legally.
You should also make sure you have antivirus and firewall software installed and run updates regularly. While many P2P networks are free from spyware and other attacks themselves, they do not guarantee the safety of the files that are uploaded from other people’s computers.
P2P file sharing networks are a popular way to download and share music, movies, audio, and other information. The above are a few of the most popular and trusted file sharing networks.