Is UseNet safer than Peer-to-Peer / Bittorrent?

Question by Nadine: Is UseNet safer than Peer-to-Peer / Bittorrent?
I don’t like to use peer-to-peer or bittorrent platforms to download tv or music because in the process of providing an upstream, my IP is visible and I could potentially be busted for distributing copyright content.

Therefore I prefer to download via UseNet (NNTP).

Two questions:
1. Are my assumptions above sound?
2. Any experts out there can confirm that NNTP is a safe way to go since it involves only downloading what is already out there without having to share back?


Best answer:

Answer by Smiddy
Here’s a couple excerpts from

“Usenet’s alt.binaries set of newsgroups is essentially a file sharing service using Usenet’s messaging service for transport. Users settled on a common structure for exchanging files: the subject line contains the file name and a description of the file, and the body of the message is a binary file coded into ASCII or whatever character system that part of the network is using.

I’ve been using Usenet since before Napster was even thought of. All I ever really use it for is the alt.binaries groups and the program I’ve been using to get binary files tells me that I’m averaging about 3.75 GBs of downloads per day lately. Thanks to Usenet I’m knee deep in just about any kind of media I could want: Kung-fu movies not released in North America and episodes of Macgyver and Red Dwarf that don’t air anymore. I can watch my favourite music videos any time I want. If I miss Friends or Survivor… I’m not worried because I know I’ll be able to get it from Usenet and watch it at my leisure. It’s freed me from the tyranny of the television networks; but it doesn’t seem to get as much press as this new-fangled peer-to-peer business. Is there a good reason why?…

“On Usenet files are not stored permanently, and in many cases are only available for a week after they have been posted; you cannot ‘search’ for a specific file you are interested in. However, you can make a request to the appropriate newsgroup, and if another user of that group has that file and is willing to upload it, they will do so. The process is slower on Usenet than it is in peer-to-peer because it relies on human interaction. Someone will actually have to read the request and then manually begin the uploading process. The delay between making a request and actually receiving files could be days or weeks depending on a few variables. Hopefully anyone answering your request would notify you ASAP via email. However, an advantage of this process is that all the users of the newsgroup will benefit from the request because they will all see that post and those who are interested in it can download it. In this way, someone using alt.binaries.horror could discover a new horror movie they’d never heard of because someone else requested it….

“Each system has it’s own deficiencies and advantages. However, after examining these applications, I find it amazing how similar a protocol from the early 80’s is to a brand-spanking-new killer app. They both generally provide the same services, but are from different eras entirely; Usenet obviously patterned on traditional ‘client server’ models where large mainframes did all the footwork for weaker, slower terminals and P2P comes from the current distributed ‘servant’ model where every node is both server and client. Even more amazing is the fact that Usenet isn’t even a file sharing protocol; it has only been adapted to that use by the user community. It was designed from the ground up as a discussion system and, believe it or not, is still used as such. User’s just started attaching files to messages and came up with some standard subject line policies to identify attachments and it became a file sharing utility just as powerful as current P2P systems.

The biggest advantage of P2P, and the reason it gets all the attention, is general ease of use. You want something, you type it in and hit enter and that’s pretty much it. Usenet will probably remain restricted to more proficient computer users because of it’s slightly tougher learning curve and less intuitive and less user friendly interface.”

Hope that answers your question 🙂

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