Next to spam, file swapping is probably the most talked about dilemma facing the IT and music industries as well as computer users themselves. And according to research firm Gartner the problem is now spreading to corporate networks, as employees use their free time to download copyrighted music and video.
The Riaa (Recording Industry Association of America) has filed lawsuits against individual P2P (peer-to-peer) users and has issued letters to the FTSE top100 companies alerting them to the growing problem.
The association has also been granted the power to obtain IP (internet protocol) addresses in order to track users of file-sharing networks leaving corporations with nowhere to hide.
Gartner's latest news flash warns corporate networks that they may be "liable for copyright infringement" if they are found to have "knowingly allowed their employees to download and trade online music using public file sharing applications".
A survey released yesterday by Canadian analysis company AssetMetrix found P2P applications were present in 77 percent of 560 corporation's networks across a broad section of industry sectors. Some companies have P2P applications on as many as 58 percent of their PCs, highlighting the global problem of file swapping.
Gartner has advised its clients to enforce and specific ban on online media content applications and to implement additional network security measures that identify and block P2P traffic.
But many companies feel overwhelmed by the threat and do not have the technical capabilities to block such activities.
Security company Akonix Systems' solution is its so-called Enforcer software which helps corporations track P2P usage. The software tracks activity in the network perimeter and alerts the administrator. More information about the product can be found at www.akonix.com.