What are the pros and cons of file sharing?
Again, file sharing is not itself illegal, as long as you share what is yours and what is not copyrighted by other people or by a company. Part of the answer that It depends on what you share. If, for an example, you like to share your photo album to your friends, it is legal. If you have a project to share that will allow your classmates, colleagues, or people with the same interest in working on your project, it is not illegal to share your work or source code. Most files that can be legally shared have licenses that detail what can be done and cannot be done.
The pros of file sharing is the ability to collaborate using collaboration tools such as e-mail, blogs, or any applications which allow a direct download from the person or computers hosting the files.
There are companies who benefit greatly for having the ability to share their files:
- Software developers who want to share their files to testers- it allows them to get free feedback and receive bug or error reports.
- Recording company and its registered distributors who allow the use of file sharing are giving their customers a preview of the songs they want to hear before buying. It benefits also the buyers of music because they don't have to purchase the whole CD or album. There is now an option to choose only the songs that you like to purchase.
- People at work and school also benefits in sharing files. It allows their colleagues and classmates to work on their project at work or at school. An example is the people who are involved in Open Source projects.
- Individuals also benefits in sharing their files via home networks or by sharing their personal files to their family or friends.
What about the cons of file sharing?
When you download files from people that you don't know or from the untrusted source, there is a risk of downloading viruses, Trojans and other types of malware. Some end-users are confident in illegally downloading files if an antivirus program has support to scan the connections and the files, using a P2P application. They don’t realize that their private information is at risk, in addition to facing the law if their ISP has determined that their customer is using the internet connection illegally.
If you will share your files by allowing the P2P applications to open your computer or a folder to other users in the P2P network, you are at risk to sharing your personal and sensitive information.
If you are using a computer at work to share or download files to untrusted source or people, you are putting the whole computers at work at risk. You might be leaking sensitive and private information that your boss will never share with his permission.