The term leech (from the English leech, leeches, suckers , transfer: parasites ) is very often in relation to certain file-sharing users ( FTP server , file sharing ) in Internet use. In this context , leechers are users who only want to download data and are not prepared to upload their own in return or to make their own files available to other users for download (seeden - from the English seed, to seed: Saat , to sow ).
Leeching also poses a threat to the usability of file sharing sites. If only a few users are ready to make their data and their upload capacities available to other users, a file sharing system according to the current design cannot function properly.
In German-speaking countries, users of mailboxes (BBS) were referred to as suckers who hardly uploaded programs themselves , but mainly occupied the few telephone lines that were too small for downloading . This mainly affected the proliferation of public domain software in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Another resource conflict related to the increasing use of the boards , where mainly text communication took place, and personal messages (later e-mail). To exchange these text messages, access to the limited telephone connections in the mailboxes was also required. Both conflicts were dealt with by vacuum accounts or fixed upload / download ratios and were part of the functionality of the mailbox software.
Many internet users do not offer other internet users any files to download for fear of legal consequences. However, since the so-called second basket of the 2007 amendment to copyright law, downloading a file that is obviously illegal and made publicly accessible has been prohibited in Germany (Section 53 (1) sentence 1 UrhG ). In Austria the legal situation is unclear.
Current German case law assumes that only the holder of the distribution rights may publish a work with impunity. In addition to the consequences of criminal law, there are also civil law possibilities to sue people who make files available on file sharing sites for damages.
In the BitTorrent network
The term leeching can have a completely different meaning within the BitTorrent network. Seeders are the people who have already fully loaded the file, and leechers are the people who are currently downloading the file - and usually uploading it at the same time. However, the word leechen is also used here in its actual meaning, i.e. for users who only download and upload (almost) nothing. Therefore, most of the time people are asked to set the upload as high as possible to keep the torrent alive.
In computer games
In computer games, leech refers to people who benefit from the skills of their team or group (either to win or to get more resources) and who contribute much less than their allies. Leeching occurs especially in first-person shooters or role-playing games . In special role-playing games, however, leeching is part of the game, which also helps group members to an advantage. (see also computer gamer jargon )
- For example EuroMail (Version 3.08)