ISP Review - The Future of P2P File-Sharing

Investigation of the problems associated with P2P File-Sharing

The Future of P2P File-Sharing
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : June 1st-2003 : Page 1 of 5

"Long before the advent of affordable hi-speed broadband Internet access, MP3 allowed even some of the slowest dialup users to download hi-quality music"


Both old and modern networks alike are based on the principal of being able to share information between computer systems. The Internet, a form of national wide-area networking, was developed to extend this capability and ultimately went on to encompass the world.

Through this medium ordinary people were granted the ability to surf a global database of information and communicate with others, no matter how distant they might be. It therefore came as little surprise that developers should seek to expand this ability.

Today the modern Internet allows its users to communicate and share information in ways that had previously only been dreamt of. Surfers can talk live with people from around the world, exchange files, setup websites and so much more. The community is vast.

Sadly it’s this very freedom that has also helped to spur on one of the most controversial online activities; peer-2-peer (P2P) file-sharing, specifically the abuse of it for exchanging illegal content and its effect on UK ISPs.

History

Several years ago a team of exceptionally clever ‘MPEG Group’ developers invented the MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3), a name that many will associate with the most common and widest used forms of audio and music compression standards.

Long before the advent of affordable hi-speed broadband Internet access, MP3 allowed even some of the slowest dialup users to download hi-quality music from the Internet. Where as before a single 4 minute song might have been up to 30Megabytes in size (WAV), now it could be reduced to a meagre 3Mbs or less!

It wasn’t long before an underground of Internet users adopted this clever new technology as their standard of choice for sharing music via e-mail attachments and IRC. It soon spread to newsgroups and inevitably found its way onto websites, all under the nose of an otherwise unaware music industry.

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