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The paper has two objectives. The first is to study rigorously the transient behavior of some peer-to-peer (P2P) networks whenever information is replicated and disseminated according to epidemic-like dynamics. The second is to use the insight gained from the previous analysis in order to predict how efficient are measures taken against P2P networks. We first introduce a stochastic model that extends a classical epidemic model and characterize the P2P swarm behavior in presence of free-riding peers. We then study a second model in which a peer initiates a contact with another peer chosen randomly. In both cases, the network is shown to exhibit phase transitions: A small change in the parameters causes a large change in the behavior of the network. We show, in particular, how phase transitions affect measures of content providers against P2P networks that distribute nonauthorized music, books, or articles and what is the efficiency of countermeasures. In addition, our analytical framework can be generalized to characterize the heterogeneity of cooperative peers.