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Legal Music Downloads

For years many people have been under the impression that it is legal to download music no matter where it might be found on the Internet. The widespread popularity of file-sharing software contributed to this belief, as the ability to connect directly to the computers of others without having to go through a major Internet server gave the false impression that hundreds of songs could be had legally. People were just sharing songs among friends, after all.

When record labels began to prosecute successfully those who had been downloading copyrighted works on these file-sharing programs, it soon became clear that there was, and remains, a difference between illegal and legal music downloads. Artists and production companies alike do not take kindly to people getting personal copies of their songs without paying for it, so if you are looking for music, you must take care only to access legal music downloads.

No one should think that the record companies will only go after those users who have downloaded hundreds or thousands of songs onto their hard drives. There have been several cases where people with just a few songs have been prosecuted. The fines for conviction can be quite high, even into the tens of thousands of dollars. Jail time is even a possibility.

College students should note that just because they are able to access the Internet through their schools, the songs they are trying to access are not necessarily legal music downloads. Most universities have policies in place that can lead to the suspension or even expulsion of those who download music illegally on campus, and campus IT departments are watching to make sure all music downloads are legal music downloads. After all, the school does not want to be financially liable for the illegal activities of its students, and they will do whatever is necessary to keep the record companies from going after them.

Legal music downloads are not terribly difficult to find even with all of the problems that illegal music downloads have caused over the years. Make sure you are on a reputable website that clearly states -- any music downloads are legal and approved by the artist and record company. That is the best way to make sure you are doing things above board and you will have nothing to fear when you go online to find free music to enjoy at home or elsewhere.