Business

The Dangers Of File Sharing

During the late 1990’s Shawn Fanning, a college student at North Eastern University and amateur computer programmer, devised a way to allow computer users to share their MP3 music files with one another. He created the file sharing network, Napster, and started a firestorm of controversy over intellectual property rights. Napster users were able to place their entire music libraries available for sharing and obtain hundreds of music, video and software files entirely free of charge. Napster ushered in a generation of rampant software piracy perpetrated by college students, kids and everyday people.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) immediately recognized the potential lost revenue from file sharing and sought legal action to put a stop to the widespread infringement. Napster was one of the RIAA’s first targets and after battles with Metallica, Dr. Dre and Madonna, the network was shut down for its role in facilitating copyright infringement. Peer-to-peer file sharing did not end with the Napster shutdown, however. The publicity of the fight between Napster and recording artists only caused more users to join Napster. In the wake of the shutdown, numerous copy-cat networks came into existence offering essentially the same services as Napster, but maintain some legal immunity from copyright litigation because these decentralized networks never actually have possession of files or compile lists of their users. The RIAA has sought to shutdown such programs like Limewire and Kazaa but has not been entirely successful thus far.

While the primary targets of the RIAA’s initial efforts to stop file sharing were directed against peer-to-peer sites themselves, the RIAA has filed over 20,000 lawsuits against individual computer users for their downloading and distribution of music, video and software files. Thus far the RIAA has managed to settle with over 2000 of the defendants in these suits. Many critics of the RIAA’s tactics have pointed out that the number of lawsuits filed is a tiny fraction of the total number of users on peer-to-peer networks. The RIAA has countered that the purpose of these suits is deterrent in nature. The effectiveness of these lawsuits and anti-piracy advertising campaigns is debatable as current data indicates that the majority of people who want to trade copyrighted material on the internet are still able to do so with impunity. The low prices and relative ease of pay sites such as I-Tunes and the now legal Napster, has offered a more effective and reasonable alternative to file sharing. Statistics indicate that the number of legal downloads has grown steadily in the past few years.

Peer-to-peer users should beware of all the dangers inherent in file sharing. Much of the most flagrant copyright infringement on file sharing sites has been perpetrated by young people. The RIAA specifically targets college internet networks in their efforts to stop file sharing. Most adults abstain from file sharing but parents should know that they are liable for whatever files their children illegally download. In addition to legal ramifications, parents should also let their children know that illegal file sharing is stealing and should not allow such a precedent to stand with their child. Downloading files also comes with the inherent risk of downloading a computer virus, worm or any other invasive agent that can cause damage to expensive systems and steal data, which can lead to identity theft.

It may seem convenient and fun to get free music or movies online, but the dangers you face during file sharing makes in not worth the risk. For a safer alternative, purchase your movies and music from legal websites that charge a minimum amount for the music downloads on their site.

The data room services are managed by the cyber experts in this field as it is their job to keep data safe and secure from hackers/external penetration.

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