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Computer Science Coursework Merit Essay: The Social Aspect of Computing --- How has the online sharing of information, such as film and music, changed western buying habits?

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Introduction

How has the online sharing of information, such as film and music, changed western buying habits? Record shops, cinemas, radio stations, video rental stores and even libraries are losing customers to the global trend that is OIS (Online Information Sharing - the official MPAA and RIAA term for internet piracy). It once used to be a common sight to see small record shops filled with teens picking their favourite artists' new records from the well stacked shelves, paying at the desk, discussing music with others and making new discoveries. It was not uncommon for people to buy or rent VHS tapes or sit at home listening to the radio. Piracy of course was alive here, the market for pirate radio, pirate tapes and pirated videos was enormous, the difference between then and today? Equipment. Nearly every person below 40 has a computer in MEDCs and also has the knowledge to 'share' everything they want from their media collection with others. The most significant difference between the days of pirate radio and the days of worldwide networking is that you no longer need to know how it works to do it; millions of parents mindlessly expose their young kids to P2P networks such as KaZaA and LimeWire which are full of adult content, viruses and include open chat programs which might allow sexual predators access to their children. The first consumer P2P (peer-to-peer) ...read more.

Middle

In efforts to decentralize and avoid federal prosecution, modern networks designed for file sharing are de-centralized, often encrypted and use proxies to disguise IP addresses, for these reasons modern networks make it much less likely for a user to be discovered and served with a court order or other legal reprimand. A de-centralized system does not have a server which holds the files but instead a server that indexes a list of all available files rather than storing them. Most modern p2p systems also use (as mentioned previously) a process of encryption and proxy servers to make them untraceable. The servers often do not ask uploaders and downloaders of content to register accounts as they have previously done, this prevents user name linking: a process that the CIA reportedly used wherein they would search a napster username through a series of websites trying to gain personal data on a pirate in order to find and prosecute them. Another security feature of modern P2P protocols is the streaming swarm structure which works on a 'rarest first' basis, splitting files into multiple 'parts' and downloading these parts (to be reconstructed into a usable file on the leech (downloading) computer) rather than an actual file. As none of these individual parts is usable as the intended finished product on it's own Swedish law allows the redistribution under it's own piracy laws - for this reason, the most prolific pirating groups are based in the country. ...read more.

Conclusion

Back in the early 1980s, piracy (albeit not online) was rife amongst office workers and the computer competent, these early criminals would exchange software through floppy disk and share records between each other. As the 90s started and the first networks were being created within offices, the stealing only increased as files could be copied between computer terminals via cable rather than by hand. Now, with the age of the internet: it is estimated that over 300 million of the world's population routinely steal information and data over the internet with millions more borrowing DVDs and books from each other, whether or not these people are stealing more or less because of the internet is unquestionable, with our ability to access millions and millions of people we are able to share and steal far more than we previously could have done and this only provides incentive to give and take more than we would normally have done in a spirit of world community that is evoked by groups that exist in this sphere such as piratgruppen and the piratbyran. ?? ?? ?? ?? [1] English Wikipedia 18:06 - 18:09February 7th 2008 Pages on: Peer to peer file sharing, torrent, napster, audiogalaxy, warez, piratbyran or piratgruppen all saved complete to maintain coherence throughout the essay [2] Piratgruppen.org, Piratbyran or The Pirate Bay Blog, all saved complete to maintain coherence throughout the essay as of 18:17 - 18:23 February 7th 2008 Page|1 ...read more.

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