At the time of this writing, it can easily be observed, in any public place in developed countries around the world, the impact file-sharing has had on the consumption of music and other media. All it takes is for one to watch passerby's, at a busy school or a mall, and surely he or she will see at least a dozen people with headphones plugged into their ears; listening to their favourite music – most likely in MP3 format. All this: Thanks to file-sharing networks. The advent of file-sharing networks, such as Gnutella and Napster, has changed the way people use and obtain digital media forever.
File-sharing networks, such as Kazaa, Morpheous, eDonkey, the first napster, and Limewire, are just the tip of the iceberg. While you can easily share your music, videos, software or text files over these file-sharing networks, there are some notable websites that can be considered as file-sharing networks in and of themselves. Consider Youtube.com and Break.com; these websites rely on content uploaded by users. One may find original content made by users themselves, but also to be found on these websites are pirated material; just like peer-to-peer (p2p) networks.
The scope of this webpage-based article also includes a review of legitimate disseminators of copyrighted material such as music and movies – such as Apple's iTunes. Of course, in talking about the differences between the legitimate sources of entertainment material and the p2p networks, legal issues surrounding the act of sharing copyrighted material over the internet is given a certain degree of attention, as well as other legal issues in other areas of the topic.
In the plethora of information the viewer of this work will encounter, it is hoped that by the end of reading, he or she will have a more enriched view of the phenomenon of file-sharing networks over the internet.
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