As most of the public now know, the recording industry has lately filed civil suits alleging copyright infringement against hundreds of individual defendants across the country, many (I think most) of them college students and campus hangers-on. Hundreds more such suits are said to be in the offing. The nature of the infringements? Peer-to-peer file sharing via the Internet: a kind of piracy, to use the term favored by the industry, or downloading, as it is generally thought of by the students themselves - but from either perspective, the practice of recording music from the Net while making it available in turn to others, using any of a growing number of computer programs designed to make the practice work.
David L. Lange, Students, Music and the Net: A Comment on Peer-To-Peer File Sharing, 2 Duke Law & Technology Review 1-9 (2003)