It long been known that the digital availability of content is the single best way to combat illegal P2P file sharing, otherwise known as Internet piracy. Even so, Apple still believes that P2P file sharing still has value, and has patented a new way for users to legally share their files with each other by acquiring a valid content license.
Little over a decade ago Apple revolutionized the music industry with its iTunes store, allowing people to purchase digital copies of their favorite music. With iTunes, Apple offered pirates a legal option, but the company still sees value in “sharing” music and other media with friends and family. In fact, the company was just awarded a patent that makes it possible to license P2P sharing. Titled “decoupling rights in a digital content unit from download” the patent describes a system where users can freely share music and videos with each other. Instead of getting the actual file from iTunes or other stores, users would only need to obtain a license.