The music industry was revolutionized by two major events, the first was the development of the MP3 format, and the second was the advent of P2P software like Napster. The easy availability of P2P software meant an internet user could easily download thousands of songs without having to spend a single dollar. Napster was just the beginning of the file sharing revolution (although Napster is now a legal music service), today there are P2P software available which allow users to download and share music files. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that P2P software like Kazaa and eDonkey are illegal and using P2P networks to share music is more often than not, a copyright infringement.
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is a fierce opponent of music piracy, and is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to find internet users that are using illegal P2P software. Every year, the RIAA settles thousands of copyright infringement lawsuits. However, there is software available which enables users to download MP3s legally without breaking any copyright laws.
Here are a few tips to help you download free legal music. The easiest way to find free music is by visiting an artist's or music group's website and downloading music from the 'downloads' section. Most artists and music groups allow visitors to download music and music videos from their website free of charge (you might have to become a member first).
Another way to download free legal music is via online music stores; most music stores allow users to download popular music tracks as 'samples' for free. There is also specialized software available that allows users to search and share music that has been legally downloaded and is free to distribute. You can also use search engines like Google and Yahoo to find free MP3 files that are free to download. There has been considerable criticism of P2P software but not all P2P software is illegal and there are paid services that charge a small fee to give users access to P2P networks. The legality of the software and websites mentioned above has been questioned, but software like the one available on unlimiteddownloadplace.com is still one of the most downloaded software on the internet.
There is no law prohibiting the downloading of P2P software and this is why P2P software is perfectly legal and readily available online. It is important to understand that as a user, you are obligated to respect the various copyright laws that apply in your country. In essence, the onus of using P2P software judiciously lies with you and not with the website that is offering the P2P software. If you are downloading P2P software, make sure you understand the legalities and copyright laws involved. Also remember, that not all websites claim they are allowing you to download free legal music.
If you are not sure if the music you are downloading is legal, get in touch with the website that you downloaded the software from or better still go through the 'read me' file of the P2P software. Why P2P software is popular Many critics believe that P2P software will spell the end of the music industry and that P2P software should be banned altogether. The truth is that P2P software has only become popular because the cost of legal DVDs and CDs is very high. If the music industry and organizations like the RIAA would have come up with a method that allowed people to buy music cheaply earlier (online MP3 stores), the problem would never have occurred in the first place.
By the time the music industry had woken up to the reality of MP3 music, P2P software like Kazaa had already established itself. Many people still use online MP3 stores like iTunes as they are a great way for people to download music legally.
Juan uflerbaumer is the author of this article on download music online. Find more information about downloading musichere.