The term "file sharing" is described as the act of distributing or making available digitally stored material (e.g., music, movies, software) to other users on the Internet. File sharing technologies are not in themselves illegal, but what you share may be.
These are some common peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs that use the BitTorrent protocol:
Other P2P file-sharing programs are:
More than half of people at UC San Diego who received a copyright violation were not aware their P2P file sharing program was running or distributing copyrighted files. Although some try to disable the sharing feature, most still receive a copyright violation notice. With BitTorrent clients, there is no way to disable the file sharing feature. In fact, once you start downloading using a BitTorrent client, you are already at risk for receiving a copyright violation. Attempting to turn file sharing off does not guarantee you will not receive a copyright violation.
With the number of copyright notices increasing, attempts have been made to "mask," or hide your identity online to avoid receiving a violation. While technologies such as IP blocking (Peerblock) and onion routing (Tor) have become available and can protect your identity, they are often difficult to correctly configure and do not guarantee protection from being identified by a copyright agency and receiving a copyright violation.