Legality of downloading music

My daughter is using LimeWire to download music for free. Is this legal? I also wonder if there are viruses attached to some of what she’s putting on the computer.

If it’s popular music (as opposed to some garage band) then yes, it’s illegal. I’m not certain exactly with Limewire as to viruses, but it’s pretty possible you’re getting a lot of them.

The viruses I got from using LimeWire ate my hard drive, cost me about a hundred dollars to replace it. This was 5 years ago, I’d only had my computer about a year and didn’t realize the lack of legality to sharing files.

A couple of years ago, the Recording Industry Association of America was suing individuals who were using peer-to-peer software to download music, and getting settlements of thousands of dollars. I don’t know if they’re still using that tactic, but your daughter’s downloading could cost you a lot. And there’s also the spyware that comes with many of these programs.

I’ve done a bit more reading and Limewire claims not to include any bundled software, but she could be getting malware from the downloaded files.

No, they weren’t. They were suing people who were UPLOADING music. (I.e. “sharing” with a few million of their closest friends).

The problem, of course, is that many of the peer-to-peer sharing programs do just that: share. So if you’re downloading, you’re likely uploading your library as well, possibly without realizing it. I don’t know anything about Limewire, so I don’t know if this applies here or not.

None of which negates the fact that copying copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder (except for some fairly limited exceptions) is illegal in most countries.

The virus thing is clearer. Again, I don’t know about Limewire, but in my experience, a computer with Kazaa (which was popular with the teens in the last few years) on it is a computer with viruses on it.

If it’s similar to other filesharing programs, the folder that music is downloaded to is also the folder that others can upload from.

Just to reiterate: It is possible, but extremely unlikely, your daughter is only using the program to download music which the original copyright holder has given permission for distribution.

Probably she is downloading music which she does not have permission to download. This is illegal.

There are other, legal venues one may download music from online, but they generally cost money.

It is IF you set it to be. On most such programs, it is possible (and trivial, in terms of difficulty) to download stuff without uploading stuff.

And even some of those that cost money are, at the very least, questionable. There are pay-per-song websites operating out of Russia that claim to be legal, but that the recording industry insists have not paid for the rights to distribute their music.

Sorry for posting a third time in a row, but i forgot…

Re viruses.

Google “limewire virus” and you’ll find that viruses are a constant threat on these networks.

I’m surprised that no one has stepped in to correct this yet. Regardless of whether you’re talking about popular acts, garage bands, or the latest underground sensation, all that matters (at least in the US) is whether the copyright holder has given you the right to download (i.e., copy) the music in question without paying. If so, it’s perfectly legal; if not, it’s a crime under our current laws.

I did.

Guess my reading comprehension’s off. My bad.

I gather what was meant by that is that a garage band looking for publicity and an audience would be more likely to allow their music to be downloaded for free.

I read the RIAA sued someone the other day and they didn’t even own a computer. But to answer your question, chances are it’s illegal.

What 11811 said. It’s much more likely that any small garage band’s music that’s on one of these networks is there for promotion and as their consent’s given, it’s legal. You’re right though, I wasn’t clear earlier, and it’s true it might be pirated.

One easy way to find out if a music site is legal is to see if any original music from the Beatles is available. If it is, then the site is definitely illegal.

Paul and Yoko would never agree to allow downloading of the Beatles’ music.

Limewire has been around for several years, but is enjoying a bit af a resurgence these days.
I work on comps part time and lately have had several newer users say “Wow check this out, you can get free songs” :rolleyes: I explain to them the whole p2p thing, and advise them are they doing an illegal and risky thing.

The new versions of LW have a screen on install that says something like "
Will you will be using this software to d/l stuff illegally? YES/NO. New users seem to think clicking NO make it all cool.

Also, IME experience fixing computers, Limewire users VERY often download worms/trojans. I see the win32 alcan.a worm and its various deriviatives constantly from Limewire, and it is a major PITA to completely remove, barring a reinstall.

If your daughter is a teenager, she is most assuredly using LW for illegal d/l’s.
Turn her on to itunes or something, and explain how copyright works, you know fight some ignorance and do a little educating, but don’t get pissed when she says “Well Mom, now I need an Ipod.” :slight_smile:

I want to make the somewhat picky point that not only is downloading music without permission illegal, it’s unethical. I’ve known some struggling musicians, and it’s equivalent to stealing the Rolodex from your boss when you change jobs. The entire business is based around the contacts and clients, and replicating that database is directly trying to ruin the entire mode of business.

All the artist and record companies have is the ability to sell the recordings and license the tunes. Downloading the songs for free hurts the artist and the label, and it’s not a good argument that “they can afford it”.

I only use Limewire to find small videos and check out bands. If I like the band, I buy the albums, and I always end up deleting the downloaded songs regardless.