Peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing became popular in the late 1990s, when Napster allowed music files to be shared between users. Since then, internet users have turned to more modern services for sharing and downloading files. However, P2P sharing still exists, and many people share files this way.
For this reason, some people believe that peer-to-peer sharing child pornography is a secret method to perform illegal activity. That could not be further from the truth. P2P sharing images containing minors involved in sexual acts could lead to you facing charges of child pornography.
What is Peer-to-Peer Sharing?
Peer-to-peer sharing is when you connect two or more private computers to a central server to share files. Millions of people have used P2P networks to share files. By 2004, an estimated 70 million people had used a P2P network to download music, videos, games or other files at some point in their lives.
P2P sharing lost its popularity when more advanced services became readily available, but people still use P2P networks today. Many users do so because they have a false sense of security when using P2P networks, believing that their data is private since the files are shared only between the computers on the network. Unfortunately, this is not true.
Is P2P Sharing Private?
The fact that P2P sharing is private is one of the biggest reasons why people use it, but it is a myth. In fact, a federal judge ruled in 2013 that there can be no expectation of privacy when using a P2P network.
In the case, three men who were charged with child pornography crimes argued that law enforcement had illegally searched for data shared on a P2P network from their computers and used it as probable cause to obtain warrants to search their computers. They claimed this violated their Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
However, the court disagreed, ruling that the defendants had given up their privacy when they shared the data publicly over the internet on a P2P network.
This ruling shows that you could be charged with violating child pornography laws for sharing pornographic material involving minors over the internet. You could face serious federal child pornography charges because you shared the data over the internet.
What Happens if You Share Child Pornography Over Peer-to-Peer Networks?
If you distribute, download or share child pornography over peer-to-peer networks, you could face serious criminal charges. The penalties you face will depend upon how you are charged:
- If you are charged with child pornography possession under PC 311.11, you face up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
- Distribution of child pornography is a felony offense under PC 311.1(a). This crime is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Distributing child pornography for commercial purposes carries up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 under PC 311.2(b).
- Advertising child pornography is a felony offender under PC 311.10. This crime carries up to four years in state prison and fines of up to $50,000.
If you are charged with a federal child pornography crime, you could face up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Speak to an Experienced Child Pornography Lawyer at Wallin & Klarich
If you are facing child pornography charges after sharing files over the internet, you are facing severe consequences. That is why it is important for you to contact an experienced child pornography attorney immediately.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable criminal lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing child pornography charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich child pornography lawyer available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our office at (877) 4-NO- JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation now. We will get through this together.