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File Sharing and Copyright

Downloading or distributing copyrighted material without explicit permission from the copyright owner is against the law.


  • Avoid using peer-to-peer and other file sharing software. » Learn more
  • Use Legal Alternatives: including pay-per-song, subscription, and streaming. Note, free doesn't mean illegal, and not all paid services are legal.
  • Disable outbound sharing - If you still use peer-to-peer or other file sharing software, configure it to NOT automatically share the files on your computer. If configured improperly, malware (viruses), spyware, or identity theft could await you. » Learn how
  • Loaning your computer - If the machine connected to the network is registered to you, you'll be the one contacted during an incident.
  • Ask - the software company in question, the RIAA, a lawyer, or contact us. We're not lawyers, but we'll give you our best opinion.
  • ******Find out if you're sharing - Use the Personal Software Inspector tool to learn what types of software you have on your computer, and what it's doing. *******
  • Educate yourself - Learn how peer-to-peer (P2P) software works and how the software can be used to illegally pirate music and movies by infringing on copyrighted works, and then avoid it.
  • Recognize the Difference - Services that provide music legally will not usually have confusing warnings like this one telling you how to use their software legally. Legal sites should also have documentation available proving that their service doesn't violate copyright.
  • Get permission to share - Confirm that the distributor of a file you are interested in downloading has permission from the copyright holder to distribute it.


Sanctions for Copyright Infringement