File Sharing

Although peer-to-peer (p2p) file-sharing applications, such as KaZaa, BearShare, LimeWire and Morpheus, can be used for legitimate purposes to share files, they are typically used for the illegal piracy of music, videos, and games. If you participate in this kind of file-sharing, you should know:

  • File-sharing may put your personal computer at risk. When you install file-sharing software on your computer, you are opening your computer up for others to access files. If you are not careful, you may be opening up access to personal folders and inadvertently sharing information on your hard drive, such as email messages, photos, medical information, tax returns, and other personal documents. In addition, some file-sharing software may also install spyware that sends personal information to third parties without your knowledge and/or monitors your browsing habits. This can not only lead to identity theft, but it can slow your computer down to a crawl.
  • Music, videos, games, e-books, and images are copyrighted materials. Copyright law protects the value of creative work. If you reproduce or distribute someone's creative work without authorized permission, you are stealing and breaking the law, and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages. Do you think you can't get caught or that if you do get caught, it's no big deal? Visit some of the websites below to learn about copyright law.

Real-World Examples

  • Watch the Campus Downloading video
  • Jury awards $675K in Boston music downloading case - USA Today - 08/03/09 - article
  • Woman fined to tune of $1.9 million for illegal downloads - CNN - 06/18/09 - article
  • Online music trial - CNN - 07/31/09 - video
  • Music industry settles famous downloading lawsuit - Fox News - 03/03/09 - article

Movies

  • Movies Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) - If you download a movie from an unauthorized source or sell counterfeit DVDs on the street, you are a movie thief. Learn about the consequences and where you can go to legally download movies.

Music

  • Music United - A recent study found that music piracy causes a $12.5 billion economic loss every year and approximately 71,000 lost jobs in the US. Learn about the law, why you shouldn’t do it, and how to reset or un-install your peer-to-peer software to keep it legal.
  • Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) - The RIAA is a trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. RIAA members create, manufacture, and/or distribute 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the US. To support their mission, they work to protect intellectual property by fighting piracy online and on the street.

Peer-2-Peer File Sharing

Software

  • Business Software Alliance (BSA) - You know it’s wrong, but do you know the risks? Find out the ways in which you may get duped, burned, bounced, booted, or busted when it comes to sharing or downloading software illegally.
  • Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) - All software comes with a license agreement that states the terms and conditions under which the software may be legally used. Licenses vary, so how do you know if you are installing a legal copy. The software industry loses about $12 billion in revenue every year to software piracy. Learn about piracy and the consequences of participating in it. Find out what you can do if you think you inadvertently purchased a counterfeit copy.
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