The Arguments Regarding Illegal Music Downloads

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In the UK in Feb 2011 a court case investigated the claims by two intellectual property solicitor firms, ACS:Law and MediaCat that 24 people had been illegally downloading movies and music. The individuals had been identified by their IP addresses and sent letters by the aforementioned companies claiming that they were to be pursed for illegal downloads.

Judge Birss questioned the fact that just because an IP address had been identified did it give grounds to accuse anyone related to the IP address? There are various reasons for this, one being, who said the person that owned the computer with the IP address was the one that was actually downloading copyright material?

There could have been an unsecured network so someone else could have been using the connection, Iíve seen people hanging out of their bedroom windows accessing other peopleís wireless connections myself and what is to say someone did not pull up in their car and access another personís unsecured network.

If you allow someone to borrow your internet connection and they use P2P software then download copyright material then you are not to blame for their act or are you?

Since the court case the two companies have ceased trading and investigations are taking place as to whether the accused should take action against the firms. It seems to be an increasing grey area and in order to try and create clarity the Digital Economy act which has a three strikes rule and which means that you will be contacted with warning letters or emails to say that their internet account has been found infringing copyright thought they do not enforce liability, it is a prevention and reduction measure.

This court case has highlighted how firms such as ACS:Law have chased web users with letters telling them to compensate their clients for copyright infringement when the accused have no clue as to the illegal file sharing that has been taking place.

If you want to download movies legally then there are sites which can help you do this. You pay a fee for a legal movie download or music and it does not infringe copyright. There are also places on the web where artists are happy to promote their music for free and therefore allow you to download their track or tracks for free and again this type of download is not illegal as you have the artistís permission to do this.

Peer to Peer (P2P) download software in itself is not illegal but the way you use it can be deemed illegal. For example some P2P sites charge a subscription fee and you can then access another memberís hard drive and access their movies and download them to your PC. That is deemed illegal.

This would only be legal if the movie produced is one which is available for free legal download and part of the marketing strategy is to plug the movie on the internet for all to see for free.

The question of whether it is legal or not to download music or movies puts the web user in a difficult position if they are not thoroughly clear on how it all works.

Even if you understand copyright and recognise the copyright symbols, if the symbol or text is missing who is to say that someone has not removed it so that you believe it is free. There are a lot of illegal sites on the web that want you to infringe copyright and pretend to be legal so that you come back to their site for more.

Many people are interested in downloading free movies and music for free because it is so expensive to pay for them. They are prepared to do this illegally and infringe copyright. If that is the case then they are liable to be prosecuted. In the UK, the three strikes rule applies, where you will be warned that they know you are infringing copyright and then you have to sort out whether it was you who performed an illegal download or not.

In the USA, apart from prosecuting individuals who download illegal material, they are going for the websites which they believe are infringing copyright. The COICA (Combating online Infringement and Counterfeits Act) bill was approved in November 2010 and this means that the American Government will have the power to make websites disappear if they are believed to be promoting illegal downloads.

If you are not sure what you are doing on the web then take a look at Online Free Movies for advice on how to download online music and movies legally, and further information on the legal issues surrounding this subject.

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