Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Uploading

Peer-to-peer (commonly called p2p) file-sharing programs (e.g., BitTorrent, Limewire, etc.) allow network users to share files with each other without going through a central server. This distributional architecture provides a way to distribute content among a large group of users who each contribute some of their bandwidth and storage space. It is an ideal mechanism for small organizations to distribute their content to a large group of users without the expense of operating a centralized distribution infrastructure.

Users of p2p software must take great care configuring their software and selecting content to distribute (upload) or consume (download). Most p2p software automatically shares content that is downloaded and possibly other data on the user's file system. Users may end up distributing content that is protected by copyright or their personal data. They may consume enough bandwidth distributing content that they will face penalties from their Internet service provider.

Some material available on p2p networks is not the content it claims to be and, may contain viruses or other malware. Some p2p programs make it difficult for the user to disable sharing or know exactly what data are being shared.

If you use p2p software, keep the following in mind:

  • know what you're sharing.
  • know when you're sharing.
  • be careful with executable content you have downloaded.
  • read the license agreement that comes with your p2p software.

For more information about p2p software, see the following links: