Although traditional network file systems like Network File Sharing (NFS) provide a reliable way for users on a Local Area Network (LAN) to pool and share data, Internet-wide file sharing is still in its infancy. Software developers and researchers are struggling to find new ways to reliably, efficiently and securely share data across wide area networks that are cursed by high latency nodes (also known as slow servers). A decentralized network has no central authority, which means that it can operate with freely running servers alone (peer-to-peer, or P2P). Much of the current research into file sharing focuses on systems like this. After the failure of commercially-oriented networks such as, Napster and Morpheus , demonstrated that centralized and purely multimedia-based systems were not made for long-term use by the general Internet public.
Building a useful file sharing network is no small task, but an effective system will be a great accomplishment for the modern Internet. The huge amount of accessible data (already into hundreds of terabytes on existing networks) and enormous transfer capacity at little or no cost to users demonstrates the value of such a system, which may soon become a core Internet technology in the World Wide Web. Such large, anonymous networks are natural for the Internet, as they demonstrate the epitome of pooling resources to benefit all of its users.
"There are about 900 million files available to download from peer-to-peer networks online for free,"" according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). There is no possible way to have control of where the files go. So why would anyone try to control it now? Although P2P file sharing is highly despised by many artist, it is the most popular online activity. Fred Von Lohmann, legal representative of Morpheus , a popular P2P file-sharing program said, "The current way companies try to enforce copyright violations is ineffective.