Technology has opened up a world of opportunities. Music, movies, TV shows, books, photos, articles and more are available at our fingertips. These file types are excellent sources of entertainment and business, and oftentimes, they are shared online between several different individuals. Online file sharing services are tools that allow you to send and receive these large files quickly and easily. But without proper care, you can violate copyright laws by sharing digital copies of these files if they are copyrighted material.
What is the Copyright Law?
Copyright is defined as the exclusive right to make copies of another individual’s work, such as printed words, images, audio and so forth. Copyright law states that this work is the creator’s property and cannot be shared, reproduced, performed, etc., without his or her permission. Under this law, it is illegal to download or share any type of materials that have copyright protection.
Many individuals who hold ownership will place a copyright notice on their work. This lets others know that there is ownership for that material and that they must seek permission before using it. The copyright notice contains three main elements. First, there will be the copyright symbol, ©, followed by the year it was created and the owner of the work. However, keep in mind that the copyright notice is not required, so not all copyrighted works will contain it.
Illegal File Sharing
With the latest technology, sharing copyright material can happen without much thought. Copyright infringement occurs when any type of copyrighted material is shared, reproduced, distributed or performed without proper permission. For example, the sharing of music illegally is a serious problem that the music industry is currently facing. The sharing of audio files is a simple process, and many online companies make access to the audio files effortless. With just a few quick downloads, thousands of individuals share copyrighted audio files all over the web in violation of copyright laws.
P2P File Sharing
P2P file sharing, or peer-to-peer file sharing, is one of the fastest ways many individuals receive shared files. However, this is also one of the most risky because all shared and downloaded files are traceable. P2P file sharing is the downloading of P2P software, which connects your computer to other computers through the internet who are using that same type of software.
There are many risks involved with using this type of file sharing. For example, viruses, malware and other dangerous files could attach themselves to these files and install on your computer, causing harm to your system. You also set yourself up for hackers and spyware, which can go through the P2P connections and gain access into your personal and financial documents.
How to Avoid Legal Issues
Just because copyright infringement is a serious problem, it does not mean you can’t send and receive files. There are a few smart steps you can take to ensure that you stay within the law and keep your computer and your data secure. First, always make sure that you use RIAA-approved options for downloading music. Apple iTunes, Rhapsody, Y! Music and amazonmp3 are just a few reputable options that do not violate the law.
Also, make sure you know exactly which folders and files you are sharing online. Online file sharing sites make sharing files easy, but this technology can also be abused. Know which files are in your folders to send, and know what each file contains before you download it to your computer. You don’t want to be in a messy situation because of a small careless action.
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