File sharing

File Sharing is the practice of making files available for other users to download over the Internet. File sharing occurs over Peer to Peer, P2P, networks where people download and upload files such as songs, pictures, movies, etc. Some popular websites are Bearshare, Ares, Kazaa and many others. Bittorrent is a great website that deals with everything. File sharing websites have movies, shows, mp3s, etc.

Napster was one of the first file sharing websites which started all of the ones that are used today. There was a lot of controversy with this service. It all started when musicians started to see that their music was being pirated. After several lawsuits against this service, they were shut down in July 2001 and payed a $26 million settlement to music creators and copyright owners. After that they became a subscription service and they are to this day.

This video explains P2P (peer to peer) and how it works. The video has no sound, but watch closely it is a really great explanation of how P2P works.

Photo Sharing is the publishing or transfering of a user's digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others (whether publicly or privately). Smugmug is a perfect example of a photo sharing website. You not only share photos on these sites, but you create photo albums and purchase photos.

Video Sharing is a website or type of software that a person can distribute their video clips. The most popular one is Youtube, but there are many others out there that are just as good. Most sites are free, but there are some that can cost money.

Music Sharing is a program, software or website that you can use with file sharing to get audio downloads for free. Although they are free, that does not mean they are legal. Be sure to always use proper discretion when downloading music to avoid legal repercussions. Music downloading can be used in many different ways; they can be taken off websites that people from all over the world have been posting on. They can be taken by a program that is free off-line, which is all P2P file sharing programs. One good example of a music sharing program is Ares. These programs can also be taken from one another with a direct file transfer with the music inside of the file.

File sharing brings risks associated with computer viruses. Also very important is that sharing files can also be illegal and you need to carefully read copyright notices. gives a lot of information on how to protect yourself from certain networks and how to use them safely. To learn more so you understand what can happen check out this video.

Downloading music illegally is wrong, and can get you into a lot of trouble, as you have seen in the video above. We encourage you, even though we know most of you won't, to download music that you have paid for because as much as it may see like a simple crime that everyone does, it can turn into something greater and you could end up in a lot of trouble. Listen to Weird Al.

Checking with yours schools AUP can be a safe way to keep yourself out of trouble when it comes to music and any other file sharing. Restrictions are put out there to be followed not to be broken. Even though it might seem like a simple crime that everyone is doing and you won't be the one caught, it still is not right and you can still get in trouble. Restrictions do not stop at high school. For example, UConn (University of Connecticut) Information Technology Services says it’s going to in effect ban all p2p file sharing programs. This will prevent students from file sharing illegally within the schools network.

So despite what others might say:

Always, always follow the school rules.

Last updated Dec 12, 2008 11:00 am

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