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 ?
This week's lawsuits have made the public acutely aware of the potential consequences of music file swapping, including the fact that the music industry is not reluctant to target children," said Dean Chang, President and CEO of Actiontec Electronics.
25 /PRNewswire/ -- TechTV, the cable network available to over 40 million subscribers in the US, will present an in-depth, two-hour special on the debate surrounding music file swapping.
Also new to this week's list is KaZaA (#37) another music file swapping program that has popped up to fill the Napster (#9) void.
If Internet search activity is any indication, Web users want their music and their football as the music file swapping favorite KaZaA and the NFL hold the number one and two positions on this week's Lycos 50.
Morrow said P2P computing is too widely thought of by the general business community as something as simplistic as music file swapping and he hopes that the Working Group can be the conduit to show that P2P opens brand new doors for resource-saving, cost-effective information processing and sharing.

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