The early days of file-sharing were done predominantly by client-server transfers from web pages, FTP and IRC before Napster popularised a windows application that allowed users to both upload and download with a freemium style service. Record companies and artists called for its shutdown and FBI raids followed. Napster had been incredibly popular at its peak, spawning a grass-roots movement following from the mixtape scene of the 80's and left a significant gap in music availability with its followers. After much discussion on forums and in chat-rooms, it was decided that Napster had been vulnerable due to its reliance on centralised servers and their physical location and thus competing groups raced to build a decentralised peer-to-peer system.
This left a large divide in the music community with many casual file-sharers left without any good alternatives due to the sudden shock of a cancelled service. As their friends and colleagues peaked at digital music and made plans to change their lives to cater for a personal torrent network, record labels and rights holders held no option but to rally against this new system and have it shut down. The major labels such as Universal, EMI and Sony were at the forefront of the efforts against P2P and the US Government had been working to compromise any activities that could be seen as a threat to intellectual property. The result was the evidence of a decade of hard work being wiped out overnight. For any system without record companies and governments interference, the future was uncertain. d2c66b5586