There are a lot of companies of the internet that offer “unlimited movie” downloads, or “millions of songs for free”, through a system called file sharing (or P2P – peer to peer).
The way that file sharing works is that you use the company as a portal, to connect to another users computer – the user has the file that you want and starts downloading it. If you allow, your computer is also available for any software, movies, music (or indeed any file) that you have on it. You don’t need to make your computer available (and don’t – unless you have something to share).
Is file sharing legal? It is a question that is immediately brought to the mind of many consumers as they browse the site. The simple answer is yes – file sharing is legal. But wait…. don’t go jumping in – there are limitations.
File sharing can be used to share a file you have full resharing rights to. This may include: ~ A piece of software, music, or movie that you created (and haven’t sold the rights to) ~ Freeware (software, music, or movie that is freely available over the world) ~ A document that you (or your members) have written, and have agreed to its distribution. This is great if you’re looking for free articles and free research documents.
File sharing is not legal if you are looking to upload, or download a full version movie, software or any media file that is not readily available for public download (i.e. is not free).
So… basically file sharing is legal – but don’t buy into a service expecting to get well known media (for example – if you’re downloading the Movie Titanic – you can be sure it’s illegal). There are thousands (millions??) of musicians, authors, filmwriters, software developers etc. that are willing to let you use their programs for free, for a number of reasons (such as they’re new & want to get their names out there, they want someone to trial their stuff & give honest feedback, they want to get a piece of demo/free software out there so that people buy the full version).
Remember Doom? Probably the most popular software gaming program of all time – why is that? Because they offered a good portion of it for FREE – loads of people used it, loved it – and went out and bought the full versions (and doom2, doom95, doom3 etc…) & the full version became very popular and worth a huge amount of money to the company – they even made a movie out of it.
This little experiment showed the world just how much free software/music etc. is worth & there is now loads of it in existence.
And don’t go thinking there are only trials available for download. Quite contrary there a thousands of full version, freely available products.
Why would you pay for a portal? Simple – 1) You have all the files in the one place. 2) You have access to some files that aren’t available on the internet. 3) You have more security (over the free p2p networks), as the paid services generally offer some form of protection from viruses/spyware.