File sharing, put simply, is the process of making available and distributing files via the internet. Many freely developed applications have been made available that simplify this process, providing the ability to easily search for, download, and upload any piece of digital content imaginable. These applications are commonly referred to as P2P or peer-to-peer applications as they allow individuals (peers) to directly connect with other peers to share files. By themselves, such applications are useless; a central network must be available that allows each peer to see one another. These networks are typically hosted or paid for by the developers of the P2P application. Although P2P networks are probably the most common and accessible to the average internet user, there are a host of other applications and/or methods that provide the same services a...
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