Downloading Movies, Games & Music Online has really taken off from the early days of Napster and is now a mainstream feature of a lot of peoples Web experience but if you are new to it it can be bewildering and, lets be honest, there is always that nagging doubt about the legal side. This series of articles looks at what is involved, how to stay legal and how to protect your PC / Network from potential virus threats.
How does it Work?
Well, there is now a very large collection of file sharing networks on the Web, which allows millions of users to share files. They are often called peer-to-peer or P2P Networks for short. These files can be anything – text files, music files, movie files, games, demos, covers, pictures, art, software but most people use these networks for sharing music, movies TV shows and games.
Most of you will have heard of Napster, the most infamous P2P network. Napster started up to allow college users to share the MP3 files but soon became a network of several million users swapping files across the Web. However, Napster used a centralized server to catalogue the files and users and was eventually sued (twice) by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and was forced to shut down. (It has since been re-launched as a pay-per-month music-subscription service).
A new breed of P2P networks emerged that didn’t make use of a centralized server. With no centralized server, there is no single point that can be forced to shut down so the new P2P file sharing networks are now much more resistant.
Is it Legal?
Well,its a murky and controversial issue, so here’s my attempt to explain it: It is perfectly legal, in the same way as e-mailing is perfectly legal and surfing the internet is perfectly legal. However, distributing copyrighted material by any means is illegal. However, despite being illegal, the simple fact of the matter is that it happens all the time, especially over P2P networks. It is estimated that billions of files are being transmitted over the networks every day. There are also a lot of non-copyright files being transmitted. Is there any way of knowing what’s copyright and what isn’t before downloading it?
You just have to use your best judgment. You must download and share your files responsibly.
Make no mistake, P2P networks are now here to stay. And it’s up to the music and movie industries to embrace this new technology and find innovative ways of preventing music/movie piracy. My next article provides tips on how you can best use the great software out there to join in!
PS. If you are interested in downloading movies, games or music I review the best software available at reviewblaster.com
David Brown is a big time movie, games and music fan and welcomes your opinions on the best that’s out there. Please check out my blog Review Reality and post your opinions.