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Computer Newbies forum

General discussion

P2P networks

by wa_bksound / November 7, 2008 11:11 AM PST

Hello all. I needed some help on clarifying P2P networks. The last time I tried a P2P network was about 5 or 6 years ago, when there was a lot of illegal copyrighted files being downloaded on those type of programs. I got scared off of P2P programs, like many, after finding that these often put malware/spyware on your computer, and also that the feds could possibly be knocking on your door one morning (although probably not for a smaller user like me). My question is, are P2P networks nowadays different? Are programs like Limewire, Gnutella, and BitTorrent 100% legal, or is there still some gray area there? Have they been changed like Napster? Recently a family member and I have been arguing over whether or not they can use a P2P program I found on their computer. It is in another language, and I notice that they can download pretty much anything they want, movies, songs, etc, for free. That makes me wary. NOTHING is free, and I'm afraid of the computer getting spyware, malware, etc. BUT, if everyone is doing it, and I even saw a positive review of Limewire here on CNET, is it safe? Are my experiences on P2P outdated? Are P2P clients and downloading pretty much anything now just normal?

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Generally, They Aren't Safe & They're Not Legal..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 7, 2008 11:24 AM PST
In reply to: P2P networks

"Are programs like Limewire, Gnutella, and BitTorrent 100% legal, or is there still some gray area there?"

Generally, those downloads are illegal..That's not to say that there's nothing legal on such sites which can be downloaded from a P2P file sharing program (businesses use Torrents to pass around large files from time to time), but the primary reason for using such is to download copyrighted movies, music, and other files.. Doing so, in most countries including the U.S., is not legal..

Not much has changed over the years.. In fact, the "powers that be" may be more aggressive in tracking down and pursuing legal recourse on violators because they've received a fair amount of success in their court cases.. And just as before, there's a lot of viruses and spyware that's included in those downloaded files..

As always, file sharing programs require you to share files with the rest of the're downloading files from an unknown person in an unknown country with unknown reasons for offering you the files..

Now it's your choice on how to proceed.

Hope this helps.


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Yes I agree with Grif
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 8, 2008 6:29 AM PST
In reply to: P2P networks

"if everyone is doing it" is not really a reason for using P2P. Firstly, not everyone uses them. I don't. And secondly, if those others are using P2P to downloaded copyrighted or pirated music, movies and/or software, then no amount of argument they give will make it legal.

Nothing much has changed n the last 5 years. Downloading illegal material is still illegal. What has changed, as Grif said, is that the authorities have managed to win some high profile court battles against individuals who are sharing pirated and copyrighted files.

I expect more such prosecutions in the future.

Also, we too often see the horror stories of computer systems trashed by viruses and other malware installed through infected files downloaded via P2P. There is still a lot of it out there.

Finally, other language or not, Copyright is accepted internationally. Downloading files using a P2P program coded in another language makes no difference.


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by wa_bksound / November 8, 2008 11:52 PM PST
In reply to: Yes I agree with Grif

Thanks for the replys. That's what I thought. I haven't used P2P for a long time now and I've never had a big problem on my computer.

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