Investigating the User Behavior of Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software

Shun-Po Chiu, Huey-Wen Chou


In recent years, peer-to-peer file sharing has been a hotly debated topic in the fields of computer science, the
music industry, and the movie industry. The purpose of this research was to examine the user behavior of
peer-to-peer file-sharing software. A methodology of naturalistic inquiry that involved qualitative interviews was
used to collect data from 21 university students in Taiwan.
The results of the study revealed that a substantial amount of P2P file-sharing software is available to users. The
main reasons for using P2P file-sharing software are to save money, save time, and to access files that are no
longer available in stores. A majority of respondents use P2P file-sharing software to download music, movies,
and software, and the respondents generally perceive the use of such software as neither illegal nor unethical.
Furthermore, most users are free-riders, which means that they do not contribute files to the sharing process.

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