peer-to-peer network

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peer-to-peer network

[¦pir tə ¦pir ′net‚wərk]
A local-area network in which there is no central controller and all the nodes have equal access to the resources of the network.

peer-to-peer network

(1) A network of computers configured to allow certain files and folders to be shared with everyone or with selected users. Peer-to-peer networks are quite common in small offices that do not use a dedicated file server. All client versions of Windows, Mac and Linux can function as nodes in a peer-to-peer network and allow their files to be shared.

Files and folders can be configured to allow network users to copy them, but not alter them in their original location, which is a common safety precaution. However, files and folders can also be assigned a "read/write" status that allows either selected users or all users on the network to change them. See share. See also grid computing.

(2) Using the Internet as the world's largest file sharing network. Originally for music files, and subsequently for videos, this type of sharing was popularized by the famous Napster service as well as Gnutella (, Grokster (, KaZaA ( and others. Users upload copyrighted songs to a central server, a group of servers or to selected user computers, and people download the files that are available. Almost every song ever recorded has been uploaded to some music sharing venue.

In 2003, Napster was resurrected into a legitimate service competing with other online music stores such as iTunes ( and Yahoo Music Jukebox (formerly MusicMatch) ( Although Apple legally sold more than a billion songs from its iTunes music service in 2006, it was estimated that more than 15 billion copyrighted songs were illegally shared or downloaded from websites in that same year.

File sharing systems are architected in different ways as outlined in the following illustrations. See Napster, KaZaA, BitTorrent, dark Web and P2P TV.

References in periodicals archive ?
As record labels launch subscription sites, online music swapping is at an all-time high.
The music swapping web site Napster was forced to temporarily shut down on 2 July following problems with its filtering software.
I watched with bemusement recently as a California judge ordered the music swapping site Napster to cease operations, pending the outcome of the RIAA's lawsuit.
Many of the laptops go unprotected for the entire summer -- students use them for emailing, chatting, gaming, and music swapping -- and they come back loaded with viruses, worms, and spyware.
That's the train of thought that has led to the music industry taking Internet music swapping head-on in a titanic battle of wills.
Napster didn't kill the music industry, RIAA consumer lawsuits will not put an end to online music swapping and Steve Jobs may be onto a good thing the numbers this report has gathered prove all that.
All the studios have been pushing hard to develop Web and cable video-on-demand services to avoid the threat of a service like Napster, which shook the recording industry by providing a free music swapping service.
com, music swapping software was found on 20% of over 15,000 workplace computers.
The music industry is stepping up its crusade against Napster-style music swapping with a plan to place stringent controls on compact discs.
We created a free version of our Kid Defender program specifically to help parents protect themselves and their families against potential lawsuits that might be triggered by their children's online music swapping," said Dean Chang, President and CEO of Actiontec Electronics.
On the other hand, in the US there are surveys which suggest that the decline in CD sales is down to the whole on-line music swapping movement.
The need to control children's music downloading behavior was highlighted by this week's announcement that the Recording Industry Association of America is suing 261 individuals -- including a 12-year-old New York honors student -- for illegal online music swapping and threatening penalties of as much as $150,000 per song.