I love how folks find the necessity to defend this crap. Here is the truth:
It isn't the protocol or program, it is what is done with said protocol or program.
If I am using the protocol or program to share my family photos, content I own or created, no issues. Using the program or protocol to share other people's copyrighted works: issues. There is no defense or excuse for sharing the property of others without permission, profit or no profit. It lowers us to the level of the money-grubbing companies who screw us and that need to get with the times. Personally, I have pride and PAY for everything I own or want. If I cannot afford it, then I don't need it. Guess I had better get to work and save some money. I am not going to be a lemming and try to be cool, get free stuff, and defend something that is wrong even over being illegal.
I wholeheartedly agree y0himba. I love the argument that companies should "Go after the user not the software" when the software, like it or not, is primarily used for piracy. Bit Torrent has many legit uses and is used by corporations across the world to help ease their bandwidth usage. Blizzard uses it for patch and game distribution, Microsoft for product distribution, quite a few movie companies use it for digital distribution of their products to the movie theaters, etc. Limewire, over the entire history of which I have seen the product, has not had a single legit use. Every person I've ever heard mention the product has referenced it in terms of piracy.
As the old saying goes, "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck...it almost certainly is not a horse". The whole "Hey, there is a linux distribution being shared on there so this service is legit" argument is tired and old. If I place a Linux distribution on an ftp server along with every current Microsoft product (including keys), that does not make the ftp server legit even if I start the ftp server only hosting said Linux distribution. The primary purpose of said FTP server is for piracy of MS products, not linux distribution.
There are some genres of music which get little to no airplay on mainstream commercial radio. If you happen to come across a song or two somewhere and want a starting place as to what to investigate, you may have a difficult time coming up with a list of artist names, and an even harder time knowing if any of the names you do come up with are worth bothering to investigate further. Any P2P network that includes chat
is probably one of the best research tools you will ever find. What better way to explore what is available in these genres than by talking
to the fans of the genres directly.
You don't have to share or download a single file to discover how useful it really is. Just pop into any chatroom advertising that genre as it's main topic of interest and start talking to people.
And speaking of not using a P2P application in the traditional way or for its "designed purpose", in its hayday, WinMX had close to 3000 chat rooms. That's 3000 rooms where people talked about all kinds of stuff, much the way people chat on IRC. In fact, one of those chat rooms was mine, hosted on software that couldn't share files, couldn't up/download files. It was nothing but a chat server...and most of the people in my chat room used chat-only clients that also couldn't share or up/download. In fact, quite a few WinMX plugins and applications that had nothing to do with the file sharing aspect of the network were developed by people from my chat room. They collaborated and worked on them together in my chat room. (my chat room was primarily about programming and had nothing to do with file sharing)
But the RIAA didn't care that this P2P network was also the home for a decentralized chat network that supported free speech in a way that no other network could (not even any existing IRC network). It was the chat that ultimately saved the network. It was the chat that made it worth saving, and the users that remained truly believed this and it was their whole reason for not giving up or giving in without a fight. It wasn't about files...it was about friends, it was about saving the chat rooms they called home.
Today there are around 800 rooms left on WinMX, nearly all of them hosted with 3rd party software incapable of transferring files, covering a broad array of topics and languages, many of which would be considered taboo on a lot of centralized networks. There is no censorship here...each room host sets their own rules for what is and isn't allow in the room they host on their own PC with their own bandwidth. There is nobody in charge at "the top" to say any topic is off limits...nobody to say you can't use certain language...nobody to ban you from the network if they think your user name is profane...nobody to ban your room from the network if they think your topic is too over the top. It's free speech at its finest.
Yes, there is still file sharing going on, still piracy, but a lot of expressions of free speech that are worth protecting, too. If you kill the network, you won't stop people from sharing files or downloading stuff...they will just do it somewhere else, use another way. What you do manage to stop is people from communicating with each other, you suppress the free flow of thoughts, ideas, and information, you cause friends to lose touch with each other....you kill a vibrant social community that is just as legitimate as any other online social community.