Cornell university researchers

Cornell University researchers are working hard to ensure P2P systems work as they should. Assistant professor in Computer Science, Emin Gܮ Sirer, for instance is working on various programs such as Credence, which he hopes will counter P2P pollution.

He’s also spotted a serious vulnerability in the Limewire P2P program, which runs on the Gnutella file sharing system and triggered Limewire to send out a patch to its approximately 35 million users.

Maybe this is a naive question, given the sheer number of users out there, but what are Cornell researchers doing improving systems that are commonly used to propagate copyright material illicitly across the net? Are there actual legitimate reasons why people would be using Limewire and other P2P software? Presumably, business users and academics wishing to share their information would do so through an intranet, ftp, or by email, rather than allowing all and sundry to access their files through a P2P network.

I could understand it if the academic community were working with the copyright holders on techniques to prevent copyrighted materials being propagated in this way, but this seems to be an odd way to spend research funds, or am I missing something here?