When the Internet first began, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) was the most popular way to share files. This procedure allows a user to give and take files from a server called ARCHIE, using an anonymous screen name. In 1995, free Homepage file sharing became a more popular way of sharing files. This method allows users to upload the files that they choose to allow others to download. A few years later, in 1997, IQC messenger came into the picture, giving users an easy-to-use option for file sharing.
In 1999, Napster was born and file sharing as most know it evolved. The term peer to peer or P2P was brought by the onset of Napster. It simply refers to the same-level relationship that users share. Napster’s peer to peer file sharing has a greater capacity than other file sharing programs and allows peers to download music, videos, games and other entertainment media as well as expensive computer software. Napster allowed people to share files with millions of users from around the world, where other programs were limited in this aspect. Because Napster was used mainly for downloading copyrighted material, it faced many problems and is no longer free to the public. However, this application opened the doors for a new method of file sharing and other applications have followed. Most of these programs are allowing illegal downloading of copyrighted material, but newer sites have complied with the law and allow users to download material at a set price.
This site provides information on the history of peer-to-peer, the risks involved with peer to peer including the consequences of downloading copyrighted files and legal ways to download media entertainment and software.
created by Amy Appleton 2003
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