Sample Research Paper on Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Networks

Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks have gained wide popularity for being an alternative to client-server computing. As the name suggests, a P2P is a network structure that allows two or more remote PCs to share resources without necessarily having to go through a distinct server (Vassilakis & Vassalos, 2009). Although they have become the subject of heavy criticism from right holders over sharing of copyright material, their potential use for legitimate purposes cannot be overlooked. P2P networks have and are being used legitimately by universities, government agencies, libraries and individuals for sharing of academic and research material, personal data and news articles (Passmore, 2005).

While P2Ps were primarily purposed for reducing bandwidth loads for content distributors and reducing the possibility of server overloads for significant events (Passmore, 2005), many users have abused them for illegal purposes. Download and sharing of copyright content over P2P networks amounts to infringement of the copyright law. Copyright content refers to files and data that should not be stored, transferred or shared without the authorization of the owner. Since some P2P applications make it easy to download and transfer these files, the majority of P2P users have engaged in the sharing of copyright material which directly infringes on the US copyright law. A number of companies involved in P2P networks have, however, escaped scot-free for copyright accusations on account that intent to violate the law does not necessarily create liability.

A perfect example of such is the MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. case (Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, LTD, 2005) where the accused could not be convicted since they lacked the power to obstruct the sharing of copyright material on their network. Free download of music and video is wrong since it violates the copyright law and culminates as a criminal offense and also denies the owners the opportunity to use their artworks as a source of income (Giletti, 2012).


Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, LTD, 125 (2754 2005).

Giletti, T. (2012). Why pay if it’s free? Streaming, downloading, and digital music consumption in the “iTunes era”. Houghton Street, London : Media@LSE, London School of Economics and Political Science (“LSE”).

P2P blow for copyright holders; (2004). Managing Intellectual Property,  1-12. Retrieved from

Passmore, D. (2005). Impact of P2P on networks. Business Communications Review, 35(5), 14-15. Retrieved from

Vassilakis, D. K., & Vassalos, V. (2009). An analysis of peer-to-peer networks with altruistic peers. Peer-to-Peer Networking and Applications, 2(2), 109-127. doi: