Internet Piracy is a controversial legal matter that should be studied more in-depth if you plan on downloading or distributing media online. We have all heard of Pirates of ancient times that violently captured ships on the open sea. This is a label that you do not want to be associated with or face serious charges, fines and even jail time.
In modern times, Piracy is used to describe someone that willingly infringes on the copyrights of another person’s work for commercial purposes. It is important to note that the law generally only considers piracy in commercial cases, but there have been situations where people have been criminally charged for distributing copyrighted work for free.
One such case involves a woman that downloaded a song using a peer-to-peer network, but the software was setup to load each time her computer started up. The peer-to-peer software would then seed the music file and it was downloaded by other users hundreds of thousands of times. The record label that owns the copyrights to the downloaded song sued the woman and she was forced to pay a fine by the courts even though she unknowingly distributed the file.
It some countries, you are legally allowed to create a digital copy of your purchased media like CDs, DVDs and other formats. The problem lies with distributing the copied work. Also, you might have to prove later down the line that you purchased the media that you copied.
There used to be a law that may be still in effect where you could download copyrighted work for educational purposes, but it had to be deleted within 24-72 hours. This policy could vary depending on your jurisdiction. Most Copyrighted work can be used for Parody or Educational purposes but most be cited unless otherwise stated.
There are very few peer-2-peer networks where you can download media from other people, and it is generally a good idea to stay away from them. You run the risk of getting your account suspended by your internet hosting provider, malware and viruses from bad software and even legal trouble.
The past few years peer-2-peer networks switched from direct downloads to torrent files. This was a small file that you downloaded and it connected you to users where you could download the media you were seeking like movies and songs. The websites that hosted these torrent files got around copyright laws because they didn’t actually host any copyrighted work. However, several of these torrent sites have been sued and shut down so once again peer-2-peer file exchange has been attacked by large media companies.
It is recommended to not download or share media files or MP3’s if you want to stay out of trouble. If you want to download a song without paying for it then you can try searching on Youtube and downloading the song using a Youtube convertor. If you can’t find the movie or song you are looking for by searching Google or YouTube then most of the time you will run into spam, adware and scams.