With peer-to-peer networks like Napster, Kazaa and Limewire boasting easy downloads of commercial material, some music artists and executives are pulling their hair out trying to slow down the file-sharing craze.
The original incarnation of Napster was one of the biggest players in the file-sharing game, but they were nearly destroyed by lawsuits brought against the owners by the RIAA.
Most file-sharing programs connect you with several users at the same time to increase download speed and reduce the bandwidth usage for any one person who is hosting a file.
In the mid-1990s, file-sharing websites like Napster appeared on the net and exploded in popularity as users logged on and traded music with one another free of charge.
Originally, WinMX was one of the few alternatives to Napster and until September 2005, it was the oldest free file-sharing network around.