Free Music and Videos?


Every month we have to reload computers with all of their software (a time consuming and expensive operation) due to viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs (“malware”) that have infected computers through "free music" and “free videos” which often come through programs called peer-to-peer file sharing programs.  "Limewire" is one of the most popular.  Even if you have a good anti-virus program, loading a file sharing program on your computer is like locking your front door and then leaving your back door wide open.  if you find that someone in your household has more music or videos than their budget would allow, check for file-sharing software like Limewire, Bearshare, Bittorrent, Azureus, The Pirate Bay, Frostfire, and others.

Music belongs to all who are responsible for creating it:  lyricists, composers, publishers, arrangers, musicians, etc.  They hold the right to make copies of the music and violating their copyright may subject you to as much as a $5,000 judgment per song.  The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has further information on its website which I highly recommend reading. 

In addition, to the legal problem, the “free” songs acquired this way may contain viruses and other malware that will require reloading your computer.  One study showed that approximately 30% of randomly downloaded songs from Limewire contained malware.  Some of this malware can copy your files and send them to an unknown location.  Do you really want to take that chance?

So what should you do?  If art and honesty are important to you, use legitimate pay-for-use websites to acquire music and videos.  Some of these are Amazon, Lala, Itunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Emusic.  All of these except Itunes allow you to legally download songs which will play on any music player.  Lala lets you listen to an entire song or album once for free so you can determine if you like it.  I use Amazon and Lala.  You can check out any of these websites without paying a cent.  Most songs will be in the $1 range, some higher, most lower.  If you are paying pennies per song, you are not using a legitimate website and the artists are receiving no money. 

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