Is Downloading MP3 From File Sharing Programs Legal?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

File sharing programs such as KaZaa, Ares, iMesh and Limewire have never been more popular. They are pretty controversial as well. You may have heard of the countless lawsuits against them by music records companies and the MPAA. So is downloading MP3 from these programs legal?

How Do File Sharing Programs Work?

Modern file sharing programs connects users directly to each other allowing them to share and download files. They are also called P2P, or peer to peer programs. Unlike old file sharing programs such as Napster who ran all connections through their servers. That is also why it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly who is downloading what.

File sharing programs by themselves are not illegal. In fact, they are legitimate uses for it. For example, it is used by academy institutions and universities to exchange research data and cross learning. They are also used by musicians and artists to showcase their talents by distributing their music free through file-sharing networks.

Many people are confused as to what is legal to download and what is not. The problem stems from the fact that it is so easy to download illegal MP3 and other illegal files from these file sharing networks that people often do not know they are actually violating copyright laws.

They do not have sufficient knowledge of copyright laws. Current copyright laws allow an individual to rip MP3 provided he or she has brought a copy of the CD. However, he or she cannot give, sell or upload MP3 to others. Beware due to MP3 piracy, record companies have recently developed technologies that do not allow you to rip mp3 from CD. Add to that, they are dozens of websites on the internet proclaiming to be able to download mp3 and movies legally when they are not!

How to determine whether you can download MP3 legally?

Technically, any MP3 posted on file-sharing programs without the permission of the artist is illegal. Most commercial MP3 on file sharing networks are illegal, so my advice would be to avoid them altogether.

There are a few reputable MP3 download sites on the internet you can trust. The most famous of all is itunes from Apple. Napster has a subscription service per month that allows you to download more than two million mp3 legally. Technically, you do not own the mp3 so do not give, sell or upload to file sharing networks. For more information on where you can find more free legal mp3, you can visit my blog.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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