Whether you’re old enough to remember Napster or you download movies from torrent sites, file sharing in P2P (peer-to-peer) applications is omnipresent. Many people think that downloading copyrighted music, movies and even books is a victimless crime, but the FBI takes pirating very seriously. On top of that, when you connect to a P2P network, you’re opening yourself up to strangers being able to view and download your personal files.
P2P programs allow a user to connect to other computers and download files to their computer—or allow others to do so. They can designate specific folders or allow access to the entire computer.
P2P software isn’t illegal on its face, but there are still significant dangers associated with using these networks. Read on to learn more about what risks there are when using P2P software in Lubbock, TX.
Copyright infringement claims
It is a crime to download copyrighted material using P2P software—as much as you might want to have a pirated copy of the latest Star Wars movie, it could cost you a lot more than a DVD. Some companies pursue legal action against violators, which includes a minimum $750 fine per copyrighted item—so, for example, that 16-track Lizzo album you illegally downloaded could cost you $12,000, plus legal fees and other associated costs.
Risks to your computer and personal information
Of course, sharing copyrighted information (and getting caught) is just one facet. You can also find yourself accidentally downloading and sharing a lot more than you bargained for:
- Malware: The internet is full of viruses, spyware and other harmful software—whether it’s someone who wants to steal your personal information to sell via spyware or who wants to disable your computer, rendering it useless, the fact is that P2P software opens you up to a lot of risk. To combat this, install a reputable security program that can scan files for malware before you use them.
- Pornography: Surprise! It’s a lot of naked people doing things that you weren’t expecting! Some pranksters rename pornography to look like legitimate shows or movies. If you have children—or just don’t want to accidentally open up an adult video when you thought you were downloading an episode of “Tiger King”—then only use P2P software with people you know and trust. (And, of course, don’t download copyrighted material.)
- Personal files: Finally, be very careful when deciding which folders to share. If you choose the wrong one, you might accidentally share that unfinished novel you’ve been working on since college—and that’s the best-case scenario. At worst, your personal information could be downloaded and exploited without you even realizing it.
If you’ve experienced legal issues thanks to engaging in P2P software risks in Lubbock, TX, get in touch with The Law Office of Rob Biggers. Our team is dedicated to fighting for your case, and we bring our West Texas values to the table in everything we do. Call us today to schedule a consultation—we look forward to discussing your situation with you.
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