Lab – Researching Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Answers

Last Updated on February 1, 2019 by Admin Lab – Researching Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Answers

Lab – Researching Peer-to-Peer File Sharing (Answers Version – Optional Lab)

Answers Note: Red font color or gray highlights indicate text that appears in the instructor copy only. Optional activities are designed to enhance understanding and/or to provide additional practice.


Part 1: Identify P2P Networks, File Sharing Protocols, and Applications

Part 2: Research P2P File Sharing Issues

Part 3: Research P2P Copyright Litigations

Background / Scenario

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing is a powerful technology that has many uses. P2P networks can be used to share and exchange files, and other electronic materials.

The use of P2P networks to upload, download, or share copyrighted material, such as movies, music, and software, can violate the rights of copyright owners. In the P2P file-sharing context, infringement may occur when one person purchases an authorized copy and then uploads it to a P2P network to share with others. Both the individual who makes the file available and those making copies may be found to have infringed the rights of the copyright owners and may be violating copyright law.

Another problem with P2P file sharing is that very little protection is in place to ensure that the files exchanged in these networks are not malicious. P2P networks are an ideal medium for spreading malware, such as computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs.

In this lab, you will research available P2P file sharing software and identify issues that can arise from the use of this technology.

Required Resources

Device with Internet access

Part 1: Identify P2P Networks, File Sharing Protocols, and Applications

In Part 1, you will research P2P networks and identify popular P2P protocols and applications.

Step 1: Define P2P networking.

  1. What is a P2P network?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    A P2P network allows each computer in the network to act as a client or server for the other computers in the network. This allows shared access to various resources without the need for a central server.
  2. Identify at least two advantages that P2P provides over client-server architecture.
    In P2P networks, clients provide resources, which may include bandwidth, storage space, and computing power. This property is one of the primary advantages of using P2P networks because it makes the setup and running costs small for the original content distributor. As nodes arrive and demand on the system increases, the total capacity of the system increases and the likelihood of failure decreases. If one peer on the network fails to function properly, the whole network is not compromised or damaged. In contrast, with a typical client–server architecture, clients share their demands with the system but not their resources. In this case, as more clients join the system, fewer resources are available to serve each client. If the central server fails, the entire network is taken down. The decentralized nature of P2P networks removes the single point of failure that can be inherent in a client-server based system.
  3. Identify at least two disadvantages of P2P networks.
    A P2P network is decentralized, which makes it difficult to administer. Security is difficult to implement and maintain, which allows for the possibility of copyrighted material and malware to be transmitted over a P2P network.

Step 2: Identify P2P file sharing protocols and applications.

  1. Identify at least two P2P file sharing protocols used today.
    Answers will vary, but can include: Ares, BitTorrent, Direct Connect, FastTrack, eDonkey, Gnutella, MANOLITO/MP2PN, OpenNap, 100BAo, Aimster, Applejuice, Freenet, GnucleusLAN, GoBoogy, KuGoo, OpenFT, MUTE, Soribada, Soulseek, and Xunlei.
  2. Identify at least two popular P2P file sharing applications available today.
    Answers will vary, but can include: ABC [Yet Another Bit Torrent Client], Ares Galaxy, Azureus, BCDC++, BearShare, BitComet, BitSpirit, BitTornado, BitTorrent.Net, DC++, eMule, G3 Torrent, Gnotella, Gnucleus, Grokster, GTK-gnutella, iMesh, Kazaa, LimeWire, Mactella, mIMAC, MLdonkey, Morpheus, Napigator, NeoModus Direct, onect, Overnet, QTorrent, Shareaza, uTorrent, Warez P2P, and WinMX.
  3. What P2P file sharing protocol is attributed to producing the most P2P traffic on the Internet today?____________________________________________________________________________________
    Answers may vary, but after the demise of LimeWire most of the P2P traffic is likely from BitTorrent. As of January 2012, BitTorrent was utilized by 150 million active users (according to BitTorrent, Inc.). At any given instant, BitTorrent has (on average) more active users than YouTube and Facebook combined. This refers to the number of active users at any instant, not the total number of unique users.

Part 2: Research P2P File Sharing Issues

In Part 2, you will research P2P copyright infringement and identify other issues that can occur with P2P file sharing.

Step 1: Research P2P copyright infringement.

  1. What does the acronym DMCA stand for and what is it?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is an actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. This law passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998.
  2. Name two associations that actively pursue P2P copyright infringement?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have instituted legal actions against a number of P2P file sharing sites and individuals.
  3. What are the penalties for copyright infringement?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Penalties, both civil and criminal, can be severe. Civil penalties may include actual damages and profits, or statutory damages (maximum amount of $30,000 per work that is infringed). The court can also award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and increase the damages in the case of willful infringement (maximum amount of $150,000 per work that is infringed). Criminal penalties can include fines and imprisonment.
  4. What are the file sharing copyright laws in your area? Are they more strict or less strict than those in other areas of the world? How aggressively do enforcement agencies in your area pursue those who share copyrighted material?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Answers will vary depending on locale.

Step 2: Research other P2P issues.

  1. What types of malware can be transported through P2P file sharing?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Answers may vary, but can include: adware, computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, and worms.
  2. What is Torrent poisoning?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Torrent poisoning is the act of using the BitTorrent protocol to intentionally share corrupt data or data with misleading file names. The practice of uploading fake torrents is sometimes carried out by anti-piracy organizations as an attempt to prevent the P2P sharing of copyrighted content and to gather the IP addresses of downloaders.
  3. How could identity theft occur through the use of P2P file sharing?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    If the P2P client software is incorrectly configured, it may provide access to the personal information and files stored on your computer.

Part 3: Research P2P Copyright Litigations

In Part 3, you will research and identify historical legal actions that have occurred as a result of P2P copyright infringement.

  1. What was the first well-known P2P application that specialized in MP3 file sharing and was closed by court order?____________________________________________________________________________________
    Napster was originally released in 1999 and then closed by court order in July 2001. It was co-founded by Shawn Fanning, John Fanning, and Sean Parker. At its peak, there were 25 million users, 80 million songs, and the system never crashed.
  2. What was one of the largest P2P file sharing lawsuits ever?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    In May of 2011, the law firm Dunlap, Grubb, and Weaver (U.S. Copyright Group) sued 24,583 BitTorrent users for sharing the film titled “Hurt Locker.” The case was the largest BitTorrent lawsuit.


How can you be sure that the files you are downloading from P2P networks are not copyrighted and are safe from malware?


There is no absolute assurance that P2P files are free of malware and not copyrighted. Use P2P file sharing applications at your own risk.