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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
During the communication stage, the hosts will send a large number of UDP packets to connect with several computers, one connection per peer, so a host using P2P software to issue a number of communications packets should have almost the same number of IP addresses and port numbers.
Arguments for MGM: Grokster encourages people to use P2P software. Grokster makes money by selling ads seen by people using its program.
Critics say the proposed law is too broad, and could be used to sue software distributors such as CNet, which offers P2P software on its site.
After the Napster ruling, P2P software vendors tried to reduce their copyright exposure by limiting centralized facilities and controls.
The key to the deployment of the CintoA platform will be using the distribution platform of the Morpheus software which, to date, has been downloaded nearly 70 million times and averages 4.5 million unique users daily, making it the most popular P2P software product.
Endeavors' Magi P2P software enables individuals or groups to find, share and act upon information anywhere and at anytime by making the power of a Web server available on any networked or Internet-enabled device.
The partnership will use Mass Mosaics p2p software and the 1000 collaborative economy visionaries at the festival to bring resources together for personal and collective benefit.
The letters state, "It is your responsibility to protect such information from unauthorized access, including taking steps to control the use of P2P software on your own networks and those of your service providers."
However, this logic changed with the judgement on the (secondary) liability of P2P software providers for copyright infringement.
P2P software does contain default security settings to protect specified files, but they can be easily overridden.
The persons who were retained met our criteria of duration and intensity of use of P2P software (as well as some technical criteria): they had been using such software for no less than one year, rather intensively (at least once a week, and 17 among them had been using it continuously).