A system for electronic file collaboration among multiple users is implemented using command messages transmitted on dedicated network channels established between conference participants in a peer-to-peer architecture with total autonomy from a central server. The system employs owner-in-control methodology to allow direct transmission of copies of documents among participants by permission, and to prevent storage of copies of documents used in a conference by participants. Mark-ups, additions, and other actions occurring on a conference document can only be saved by the document owner. An advanced viewer engine is provided for reading, displaying and manipulating electronic data in texts, tables, vectors and 3D model formats, as well as common raster images. A proxy module allows data transmitted through IPFW routers or firewall devices with sufficient authentications and security measures.