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Basic data

developer Musiclab, LLC.
Publishing year December 4, 2000
Current  version 12.0
operating system Microsoft Windows
category peer to peer
License proprietary
German speaking Yes

BearShare was a closed source P2P - file sharing client, the DRM was acquired -Music and also restricted MP3 files could be exchanged. The current version offered by Musiclab LLC is BearShare 12.0. The older program versions come from the company Free Peers and do not restrict their use.


BearShare was until 2006 a popular swap meet with Gnutella network and was obtained from Free Peers, Inc. developed. Like LimeWire , it allowed the rapid exchange of smaller files. The peer-to-peer software that implemented the Gnutella protocol allowed its users to share files directly from user to user and to find existing files globally. It ran under Microsoft Windows and was available in three versions:

  • BearShare Pro was a paid, ad-free version. The proceeds generated in this way were not passed on to the rights holders of the files made available.
  • BearShare was a free version that installed adware . Deleting these program parts is difficult.
  • BearShare Lite was a free, ad-free version with less malware and limited scope.

BearShare and LimeWire were the most used clients for the Gnutella network for a while and drove its further development. In a court case, LimeWire was ordered to integrate filters into the software. After the waves of lawsuits against private exchange users and because of the installed spyware, the number of users fell steadily. That is why the unrestricted and ad-free file sharing client FrostWire was developed from the LimeWire source code, which was disclosed a long time ago, and was not developed by a company, but by an online community . Another trend is to use several networks in one client, such as in Shareaza .

After a lawsuit against a record company, development was stopped in 2005. After several lawsuits, an agreement was reached with the Recording Industry Association of America on May 4, 2006 , in which BearShare pays the music industry $ 30 million. As a result, the software company was taken over by the competitor Musiclab LLC, which offers the fee-based exchange platform iMesh . After iMesh and BearShare reached an agreement with the music industry, the use of Bearshare is now under the supervision of the rights owners. As a result, the BearShare 6.0 version was created.

The new program is characterized, among other things, by the fact that the exchange rules can be influenced by the rights holder and the purchase of music is possible. This is why the new system is also called “legal P2P”. If a user tries to download copyrighted files free of charge, the message “copyrighted” is displayed and a further transfer is prevented. BearShare is no longer a pure Gnutella client, but is controlled centrally. BearShare hardly differs from iMesh in this version, the only noticeable difference is a different graphical user interface of the program. From version 5.1 BearShare contained further adware and connects to an iMesh server. BearShare 6.0 can be described as an interface to the iMesh music store.

Today's unofficial forerunner versions (BearShare 5.x) use the Gnutella technology used by various file sharing sites, with which central filtering or regulation of the entire range is not technically possible. Due to the decentralized and self-organizing architecture of the Gnutella network, the older BearShare versions of the old operating company Free Peers that are already in circulation can continue to be used without restrictions and independently of the current, server-supported version 6.0. However, they are only offered on smaller niche sites because they have been replaced by the current version of the current download portals at the pressure of the new operating company.

Since the release of BearShare 6.0, BearFlix , a legal P2P file sharing program , which specializes in video files, has also been available on the Internet and as a full version (both in English). The design is that from version 5, only under the categories there are different video formats such as mpeg, avi or wmv.

Version 7, which was released on October 27, 2008, offers unlimited downloads and iPod support.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Bearshare gives up and pays 30 million to the music industry ., May 5, 2006