The Correct Way to Use P2P

The legality of free p2p file sharing software has always been in question, and the p2p networks (see; Piratebay) have been in the news again recently: when are they ever out of it! I have made my views known about those that make a fortune from us while breaking the law themselves with their drug-taking and other anti-social activities, but what exactly is the legal situation? Peer to peer file sharing is not illegal. That is fact! A few friends sharing files online between themselves is no more illegal than them swapping CDs or DVDs. Where the confusion arises is the scale. At what scale of sharing does it become illegal, rather than just people swapping their belongings.

It is certainly illegal when individuals, or even companies, download material using p2p software in order to create CDs and DVDs for sale in the same way that is was illegal for these same people to copy audio tapes for sale. That is understandable and nobody could realistically condone such behaviour. It is no illegal, however, for you to allow others to copy files from your computer as long as you are not doing so for gain. However, if these files are copyrighted, it is illegal for the copier to copy them. There appears to have been a distinction made between downloading other’s files and swapping their physical hardware. In other words, you can give your friend your Elton John album in exchange for his Prodigy album, but not for you to download a copy of his album, and he yours.

If used properly, peer to peer file sharing and downloading can be used to the advantage of the artist. Rather than complaining that high school kids can make better use of the internet than them, media moguls should waken up and realise that the second decade of the 21st century is only 3 years away while they are still living in the 20th.If they are unable to use modern technology to their benefit, then they should not castigate those that can.

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