Peer-to-peer communication really hit the big time around 2000 with a service called Napster, which at its peak had over 50 million music fans swapping music, in what was probably the biggest copyright infringement in all of recorded history (Lam and Tan, 2001; and Macedonia, 2000). The idea was fairly simple. Members registered the music they had on their hard disks in a central database maintained on the Napster server. If a member wanted a song, he checked the database to see who had it and went directly there to get it. By not actually keeping any music on its machines, Napster argued that it was not infringing anyone's copyright. The courts did not agree and shut it down.
对等通信真正引起人们关注的是在2000年的时候，当时一个称为“Napster”服务在頂峰时刻有超过5千万的音乐迷在交换音乐。这也许是有历史记载(Lam and Tan, 2001; and Macedonia, 2000)以来最大的侵权事件。这种交换音乐的思路非常简单，成员们把他们硬盘上的音乐注册到一个中心数据库，这个数据库存在Napster的服务器上。如果成员想听一首歌，他可以查找数据库看谁有这首歌，然后直接去那儿下载。由于事实上Napster的机器并没有保存音乐在，所以他们认为并没有侵犯任何人的版权。但法院不接受这种说法，最终还是关掉了Napster。
However, the next generation of peer-to-peer systems eliminates the central database by having each user maintain his own database locally, as well as providing a list of other nearby people who are members of the system. A new user can then go to any existing member to see what he has and get a list of other members to inspect for more music and more names. This lookup process can be repeated indefinitely to build up a large local database of what is out there. It is an activity that would get tedious for people but is one at which computers excel.
Legal applications for peer-to-peer communication also exist. For example, fans sharing public domain music or sample tracks that new bands have released for publicity purposes, families sharing photos, movies, and genealogical information, and teenagers playing multiperson on-line games. In fact, one of the most popular Internet applications of all, e-mail, is inherently peer-to-peer. This form of communication is expected to grow considerably in the future.
Electronic crime is not restricted to copyright law. Another hot area is electronic gambling. Computers have been simulating things for decades. Why not simulate slot machines, roulette wheels, blackjack dealers, and more gambling equipment? Well, because it is illegal in a lot of places. The trouble is, gambling is legal in a lot of other places (England, for example) and casino owners there have grasped the potential for Internet gambling. What happens if the gambler and the casino are in different countries, with conflicting laws? Good question.
posted on 2006-04-12 12:39 我的翻译博客
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