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.
- Don’t think you can get away with it: the RIAA is suing regular people like you over illegal file sharing. To understand the nature of these suits, read “The RIAA vs. John Doe, a layperson's guide to filesharing lawsuits” on the Digital Music Weblog. The Washington Post also reports on some recent suits in an article, “Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use.”
- In addition to suing users, the RIAA is also asking ISPs to collect a “piracy surcharge” from their users to compensate for illegal downloading.
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.