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 and P2P TV.

References in periodicals archive ?
org has detailed information about music file sharing, though slanted toward their standpoint,
The music business has lost billions of dollars because of music file sharing on the Internet," he said.
Ever since the birth of Napster, music file sharing has been wildly popular--especially at universities.
The survey also concludes that streaming services reduce the extent of illegal music file sharing.
Estimates suggest that around 15 per cent of file sharers are responsible for 75 per cent of all illegal music file sharing.
Music file sharing, for example, might increase social welfare even if it hurts the current music industry.
The report highlights Brilliant Technologies soon-to-be-launched legal P2P music file sharing service, Qtrax.
The solution automates and enforces anti-virus, anti-spyware, Microsoft security patches, illegal peer-to-peer music file sharing, and bandwidth consumption policies.
One plus for carriers is that streaming is not subject to the same Digital Rights Management issues involved with music file sharing.
Whether it is tracking unwanted activities such as gaming, music file sharing, or instant messaging, the functionality in Campus Manager will help customers enforce specific network policies to ensure that clients on the network do not abuse such services.
Among its distinctions, the PachyDRM code was used for the world's first commercial deployment of legal peer-to-peer music file sharing on mobile phones in Canada, and it has been selected by Access Media as the basis of legal, protected digital content distribution in China.
Certainly illegal peer-to-peer music file sharing continues to plague the music industry, but that's only part of a larger story" said Russ Crupnick, vice president of The NPD Group.

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