Peer-to-peer file sharing
Users can use software that connects in to a peer-to-peer network to search for shared files on the computers of other users (i.e. peers) connected to the network. Files of interest can then be downloaded directly from other users on the network. Typically, large files are broken down into smaller chunks, which may be obtained from multiple peers and then reassembled by the downloader. This is done while the peer is simultaneously uploading the chunks it already has to other peers.
File hosting services
File hosting services are a simple alternative to peer-to-peer software. These are sometimes used together with Internet collaboration tools such as email, forums, blogs, or any other medium in which links to direct downloads from file hosting services can be embedded. These sites typically host files so that others can download them.
Downloading Without Paying: Why is it illegal?
When a movie or song is produced and marketed, everyone involved in the process has monetary gains from the sale of that product. Therefore, that product is protected by copyright law so that it cannot be copied, reproduced or resold without their permission. If you did not pay for a song, movie or other media file that has a copyright, then downloading that file is a crime. Likewise, distributing a copyrighted media file, whether via electronic or non-electronic methods, without the express permission of the copyright holder is also illegal. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Who’s Watching?
The two primary groups that police the downloading of music and movies are the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). These two groups constantly monitor downloads and websites for copyright violation. They tend to pay close attention to colleges and universities. When they see that a song or movie has been downloaded illegally, they notify the school who then takes steps to internally identify the person who downloaded the file. There can be serious legal and financial ramifications to illegal downloading.
At Webster, Information Technology (IT) receives infringement notifications from the RIAA or MPAA. IT immediately makes a copy of the logs which enables activity to be traced back to a specific Internet port. Each port is associated with a person. Once the person has been identified, the information is turned over to the governing body for that individual (such as the Dean or Associate Dean of Students if the person lives on campus) for disciplinary actions.
Consequences of Illegal Downloading
Legal & Monetary
Most of us don't have over half a million dollars lying around the house. But, if you download files which you have not paid for or share files without the permission of the copyright holder, you just might have to pay that much.
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, distribution of copyright materials is punishable by law. Those found guilty of copyright infringement may face the following penalties: Up to five years in jail
Fines and charges of up to $150,000 per file
In addition to any other charges that might be brought against you, the copyright holder can file suit, which can result in legal fees and damages that must be paid.
Recent cases have resulted in judgments against the person distributing the files for up to $80,000 per file. Here are some examples: "A federal jury on Friday concluded that a 25-year-old college student must pay $675,000 — or $22,500 for each of the 30 songs he was found liable of infringing" (Wired.com). In Minnesota, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a single mother, was fined $80,000 for each of 24 songs, resulting in a total of $1,920,000, almost 2 million dollars.
Effects of file sharing
In an article released by Management Science in September 2007, it was found that file sharing decreased the chance of survival for low ranked...