“File Sharing” became hugely popular shortly after Napster came online in 1999. While there were such online services before, they were not user friendly. Napster and others that soon followed made it easy to become part of the “sharing” community.
These networks are actually known as “peer-to-peer” networks. That means that the shared files actually remain on the user’s computer but are indexed by the service. When someone wants that file shared by the other, they open a two-way connection between their computer and the sharer’s computer.
When you open your computer up to receive files from another user’s computer, you are also opening it up to viruses, spyware and malware that may be present on that sharer’s computer. As an example, Limewire was very popular over the last several years, and many used it to share music, games and software.
In my experience I have never seen a computer with Limewire installed that did not have virus infections!
That is why the software, games and music received through sharing services are not free. Someone has to pay to clean those virus infections—not to mention the aggravation virus infections can cause.
Limewire has been shut down for quite a while, but as usual, others have cropped up; ShareBear is one that I have seen lately. Just like Limewire, it too allows virus infections to be downloaded with the files you actually want.
So many times I have been asked how to safely download music for iPods and such. I recommend Amazon, Walmart and other online vendors who actually store the files on their server; these are much safer sources than any file sharing service. They generally charge around $1 per song, but that’s a great deal considering you are not downloading viruses with your other files.
So hopefully you can see why file sharing services are not free and neither are the files you receive through them. If you have further questions feel free to contact me at AOITS.com or 678-388-9882.