Odds are, most people have at least one illegal copy of a song, software, picture or movie somewhere on their hard drive and we are all familiar with P2P (peer to peer) services thanks in large part to Napster. There are a few sites that are thriving in this world of copyright crackdown and moral policing.
Two that most are familiar with, Limewire are popular, but they are not the only services available. Morpheus has made a name for itself as a legal alternative but I find their selection small and the service not at all useful. As with most P2P sites, Morpheus relies heavily upon Top 40 songs, and the fact that it is a legal alternative means that your selection is controlled by the label (or other releasing agency). If you want a copy of Madonna’s new song, this may be the place to turn.
For entire programs or just cracks, I have had great luck with Limewire. The interface is really user friendly and the connection speeds are usually reliable. The best download time I have found is after 6 PM. You may find complete packaged software that is zipped on this website, but I have found it easier to download each piece as I need it. This saves bandwidth, and makes it easier to steer clear of viruses.
Another service, Grokster, has proven successful and the interface is easy enough to use. The connection speeds I have found to be unreliable, though, and have also been plagued with corrupted or incomplete files.
The final site I have experience with is Bearshare, which should be avoided at all costs. Due to small selection, long download times and poor interface, it makes downloading a pain and frustrating due to the large amount of incomplete and corrupt files.
There are many choices out there for downloading. Whatever your decision, be it legal pay sites such as itunes, or cloak and dagger sites such as Limewire, be sure to have a firewall active and up, have your virus definitions updated regularly, and keep the downloaded files separate from other files until you know they are safe. This makes clean-up and identification easier. For more info on P2P software, visit one or all of the following links.
Click here for Part I of ‘Net Pirates.