What is Illegal Music Downloading?

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Downloading Music

For a few years, it probably felt like you had a special secret: you could download music for free from the Internet. Now, the record industry has uncovered the “secret” of illegal downloading, shared by you and millions of others, and it is not happy. Fortunately, if you know where to go, you can avoid getting sued and still find plenty of music online. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

What is Illegal Music Downloading?

The film “Empire Records” might give you the impression that stealing music can lead to a job at a hip record store. But these days, if stealing music leads to a job, you’ll be spending most of your salary on fines owed to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Protect yourself by learning the ins and outs of illegal downloading.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • In addition to suing users, the RIAA is also asking ISPs to collect a “piracy surcharge” from their users to compensate for illegal downloading.

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Legal Music Downloading Sites

The dangers of illegal downloading might frighten you into digging up your old cassette player or scouring thrift shops for a turntable, but try not to panic. Take a deep breath and put your headphones back on; there are plenty of sites where you can still download music with the blessing of the recording industry and the law.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Beware of sites like MPFree. It promises free downloads, but if you read the Membership Agreement you’ll find that to earn free music, you must respond to pitches from advertisers and recruit new members.
  • The findingDulcinea Music Web Guide and Radio Web Guide both offer suggestions for purchasing and listening to music online. Or check findingDulcinea’s Netcetera section for the biweekly “Playlist” column, where you’ll find music recommendations and tips for listening online.

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Community Links in Downloading Music

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