19 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 423
Peer-to-peer file share networks are an alternative to traditional
internet sharing networks. Instead of the traditional method of storing
information on a central server, peer-to-peer networks facilitate the
connection between users who make content available directly to other
users on the network. This facilitation has made the sharing of larger
files of information faster and easier. Unfortunately, it has also made it
easier for internet pirates to illegally download and distribute copyright
protected works. Copyright holders first brought legal action in the
1990s against file sharing networks, like MP3.com and Napster, whose
purpose was to illegally store and distribute copyrighted material.
Copyright holders were generally successful in shutting off these file
sharing networks; however, the result was more savvy file sharing
networks that did not explicitly store and distribute the copyrighted
materials themselves, and instead left the capability of that kind of use
for the users of the network.