File sharing refers to the practice of distributing or providing access to the digitally stored information like multimedia in the form of images, audio, and videos. It can also be document or electronic books or computer programs. File sharing can be implemented in several ways. The usual methods used in file sharing are transmission, storage and dispersion that includes manual sharing utilizing removable media, World Wide Web based hyperlinked documents, centralized servers on computer networks and the use of distributed peer to peer networking.
With the advent of technology, file sharing is made easier and faster. People nowadays rely on internet and electronic gadgets to gather information.
Peer to peer file sharing is a type of file sharing wherein users can use software that connects in to a peer to peer network to search for shared files in the computers of other users that are connected to the network. This means that, when you wanted to access or to get a copy of certain file you can download it directly from other users on the network. In cases of large files, the files where broken down into smaller chunks of files and can be obtained from multiple peers and then reassembled by the downloader.
There is also this file hosting services. File hosting services is considered as an alternative to peer to peer software. This type of file sharing is usually used together with the internet collaboration tools such as forums, blogs, email and other medium that are link to direct downloads from the file hosting services can be embedded.
The legalities of this file sharing have been controversial. Since documents, files and information are accessible via online, many people or companies have filed lawsuits against it. One of the most controversial is the case between MGM and Grokster wherein the case has reached the Supreme Court of the United States. The usual cases involved copyright laws and the likes.
File sharing is not really illegal even though if the works being shared are covered by copyright. Remember that content in the public domain can also be shared freely. But distributing, copying and downloading files without permission of the copyright holder are considered illegal. Let us take an artist for example, when an artist released a song or movie, their product are protected by copyright law. Therefore this copyright abstain other people from copying or distributing the products without paying for that copyright.
File sharing is indeed good as long as you are using it the right way without violating the rights of others.