How Copyright Ingringement Affects You (As A Sharer)

by Barbara J. Feldman on May 31, 2008

Sharing files on the Internet has become a popular method of obtaining music and other media files. So popular, in fact, that over 75 million people a year turn to P2P (peer to peer) file sharing networks for their music.

With P2P file sharing networks, computers can connect to a P2P network, including popular ones like Limewire, Kazaa, and BitTorrent. From there, users can download and upload, or share, files with other people connected to the network around the world.

While many people see this as a great way to share and download music for free, not all realize that more often than not, sharing and downloading files from free networks is usually illegal as it violates copyright laws. In recent years, many people have been prosecuted for thousands of dollars for violating these copyright laws.

These copyright laws don’t just apply to those who download the music either. Sharers can also be in danger of copyright infringement. As a general rule, the following activities, if done without permission of the copyright owner (which could be a record company, artist, or other) consists of copyright infringement:
•Copying and then sharing music, movies, media clips, or any other copyrighted material through P2P networks
•Downloading anything you don’t own a copy of already (this can include software and movies in addition to music)
•Sharing anything you don’t have permission from the owner to distribute or share
•Sharing or posting things to your website or other networks for download by others

Any of these activities can put you at risk of copyright infringement, and you could face fines of thousands of dollars.

Protecting yourself

The following are some ways you can protect yourself from copyright infringement as a sharer:

•Limit your sharing to legal sites. If you are uploading music as a sharer, make sure you are only doing so on legal, legitimate P2P networks. Oftentimes, you will have to pay a fee, but a few dollars a month is nothing in comparisons to thousands in legal fees if you were to be prosecuted and fined.
•Careful when you download. You should also make sure you are downloading from legitimate sites as well, as many networks automatically access your computer and make it so you can share your music if you are connected to the network.
•Don’t share music unknowingly. Some people don’t realize that they are sharing music. check your computer to make sure you aren’t unknowingly sharing music or other media files. •Uninstall all of your P2P programs, which may have enabled your computer to share music, and then run an anti-virus to get rid of spy and malware.

In order to be truly safe against copyright infringement laws, the only way to know you are completely protected against the threat of fines and copyright infringement is to make sure you never share any type of copyrighted material. If you frequent P2P networks, however, this is not always easy to do.

The above tips will help you to avoid copyright infringement. Make sure you educate yourself about what constitutes copyright infringement, because simply not knowing there was a law will not keep you protected. By knowing this, and by researching and making sure you are only using legitimate sites and for P2P sharing, you can avoid being affected as a sharer by copyright infringement.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How Copyright Ingringement Affects You (As A Sharer)." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 31 May. 2008. Web. 18 Jul. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/410/how-copyright-ingringement-affects-you-as-a-sharer/ >.