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Different Types of Person-To-Person File Sharing

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/14/2008

There are enough methods of file sharing to meet any of your needs. And even more importantly, it is still illegal to download copyrighted material, so any state and federal laws still apply to torrent downloads.

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    P2P

    Person-to-Person file sharing has been a hot button computer issue since Napster first made music downloading a suburban staple. Now there are a variety of more advanced programs and methods that allow file sharing to happen on a more convenient level. Though some are better known than others, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

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    Kazaa

    One of the most common file sharing programs is Kazaa, which follows in the vein of Napster. With this you simply run a search for different types of files and the program searches through the library of other Kazaa users. It will then show a whole number of files that contain the search keywords and you can pick the one you would like to download. It then downloads from the user that is holding the exact file you have selected. What is nice about Kazaa is that is shows you the file type, size, and speed of the user from which you will be downloading.

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    Soulseek

    One program that operates in a similar way is Soulseek, but it offers its own set of advantages. Soulseek users are asked to keep their files organized in labeled folders so that browsing for things like entire music albums is much easier. You are able to find specific users and browse their libraries, and even make them your friend so that you can communicate and share files. This is what Soulseek is known for and they encourage this by creating chat rooms based on file preferences where you can enter and find likeminded people to download from.

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    Bit Torrent

    Bit Torrent is now taking the reins of the person-to-person world because its method is much quicker than the regular programs. What this method requires you to do is download a Bit Torrent client, then go to websites where you download a Torrent file. This file then downloads bits of the actual files you are downloading from a variety of people, getting the final product to you much quicker. This can be less convenient because it requires you to find good websites that have a lot of the sort of files you are interested in, but in more recent years many specialty Torrent websites have sprung up.

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    The Future

    The technology is still developing and there are new ways being conjured up every day. Your needs will often govern what methods you will take for file sharing, and it can be as simply as using instant message programs or email to share files with your friends.

    Still, do remember it is illegal to download copyrighted material, and state and federal laws apply to torrent downloads.