File Sharing

File sharing has become a widely discussed and contested topic since it first reached public awareness in the late 1990s, largely because of its central role in a number of prominent disputes surrounding copyright and Internet law and policy. It is generally associated with the unlicensed downloading of commercial music, movies, and software, but it is also a term used to describe a broader family of technologies that offer communicative affordances between peers in a digital network. This entry discusses the history of file sharing, as well as its technological, economic, legal, and social impact.

History and Technological Impact

The technological impacts of file sharing are most visible when considering the various architectures and protocols that enable it, their implications for network traffic, and the affordances they ...

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