MP3 sharing.

Last week we discussed the theoretical uses for file compression on the Internet and to take this one stage further, this week we will put this technology to use by looking at a off-shoot of it which has caused quite a bit of controversy in the media lately - MP3’s.

For those of you who missed Click last week, I’ll quickly explain that MP3’s are very tightly compressed music files which can be downloaded off the Internet at the rate of approximately one track every 25 minutes.This system has been open to abuse with many people downloading commercial MP3’s which is obviously a breach of copyright laws; very much like making a copy of a mates new album onto cassette.I would just like to disassociate myself from this as the advice given in this article is only to be used for the downloading copyright free songs such as those produced by mainly unsigned artists.

The most effective way to search for MP3’s is by using a MP3 sharer. These programs work on a method that everybody who uses one has the option to share the music currently on his or her computer to the remainder of the community that are currently running the program.If you can imagine that one hundred thousand people use the program then that same number of people have the option of sharing their files with the general public, assuming each person has 100 music files to share then you can soon see that this amounts to 10 million files shared across the network.

The MP3 sharing program just sits in the background keeping a constantly updated database of who is connected to the network and what files they have chosen to share with the rest of the community.This database can then be searched by a single user for any particular song that he or she requires, then, once a suitable match is found the music file in question can be transferred straight from the computer that holds the file to the computer that requests the file.This is done completely free of charge while the chosen MP3 sharing program acts as an intermediary between the two computers conducting the transfer.

There are dozens of programs available for MP3 sharing, the most popular until recently was Napster.Unfortunately, due to countless court hearings against the program for breach of copyright this program has been forced to remove many of the MP3’s available to it’s users by means of a system designed to detect the transfer of copyrighted material.This has had the side effect of the exclusion of much un-copyrighted material from the service.It is still worth a look at however and is available free of charge from

One of my favourite programs at the moment is called WinMX and is the one that I’m quickly going to look at today.One of the main advantages is that it isn’t subject to any of the restrictions that have been placed on to Napster due to the nature of the system which actually makes it impossible to regulate or shut down – Remember however it is illegal to download copyrighted MP3’s in any case.The program is free to download from and once installed it allows you to search for music, videos, pictures and program files from the hard disks of people currently connected to the WinMX servers.

The program itself is fairly easy to use; the main trick you’ll quickly pick up is being able to determine who you would be best off downloading from when you do a search for a song that returns many results from different users. Obviously since you are downloading straight off someone elses computer it would help if they had a fast connection to the Internet in order to be able to send you the song you requested.

Another impressive feature of the program is the ability to be able to decide which songs you want to share with the other uses and it is even possible to ask not to allow anybody to download off of your hard drive.You are also able to chat with those people that you download or send MP3’s to and the program includes a function to be able to create a library of all the songs you’ve downloaded.

If you are lucky enough to be furnished with a CD writer then you would be able to copy the songs on to CD using a separate piece of software in order to play them in the car on the way to work or for use on your home stereo.

I recommend that you download WinMX or one of the similar programs just to see what you think of the MP3 sharing revolution; you may be able to find some interesting new music completely free of charge.

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.