"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 world...AND...you'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.
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 Are my experiences on P2P outdated?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?