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Information Technology Services

Five Myths About Downloading Music and Movies Illegally from the Internet

See also UCLA version:  http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/col/bruinsuccess/02/0401.cfm

  1. There can't be anything wrong with it because so many people do it.
    The majority of entertainment files shared on file-sharing Web sites are protected by copyright, which means downloading these songs and movies is theft and a violation of U.S. copyright law. The music and film industries have begun to assert their copyrights with increasing aggressiveness. You can't download copyrighted works without putting yourself at risk, unless the download is explicitly authorized by the copyright holder.

  2. I won't get caught.
    The music and film industries monitor downloads from major file-sharing Web sites, like KaZaa, and they can trace them to individual student accounts on campus. At Boston College, students have received notices of copyright violations from attorneys representing the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and major motion picture studios.

  3. Even if I do get caught, nothing will happen to me - BC will be held liable.
    The law says that it is individual Internet users - not their Internet service providers (ISPs) that are liable for illegal file downloading. Additionally, the College views this behavior as a violation of the College's computing policy and students are required to go through the appropriate College disciplinary process.

  4. If it were illegal, peer-to-peer and file-sharing Web sites like KaZaa, Grokster, and Morpheus wouldn't be available on the Internet.
    Most of these file-sharing websites are able to exist because they shift the liability for illegal downloading from their network to individual users. Legally, they are just the pipeline by which any computer files, including legal files, can be traded, so they are not liable under the law for their individual users' behavior. Other peer-to-peer website networks avoid legal prosecution by basing their corporate headquarters outside of the U.S., leaving their website subscribers vulnerable.

    Once you subscribe to a file-sharing software site, like KaZaa, not only do you have access to download files from other KaZaa users, but they have access to files on your hard drive. This can result in your sharing hundreds to thousands of files with other users, often without your knowledge, if you are not careful when configuring your computer. By subscribing to any of these peer-to-peer or file-sharing Web sites, you put yourself at risk of legal prosecution whether you are actively downloading files or not.

  5. What's the big deal? It doesn't hurt anybody.
    According to the RIAA, online piracy has cut into national music sales by nearly a third since 1999, sending recording and film revenues into a downward spiral, which hurts everyone in the industry, and can hamper the development of new music, films, artists and talent. And once caught downloading illegal files, the individual downloader faces damages resulting from the legal and disciplinary process.

("Top Five Myths" adapted from http://www.messiah.edu/etc/downloading.html)