How to Enjoy Copyrighted Materials Responsibly
LimeWire, BitTorrent, and Other P2P Software
The highest court ruling says that just because software has the potential to be used illegally, that does not make it illegal.
The illegal behavior when using P2P software is downloading copyrighted music, movies, books, software or games that you do not own and then sharing them with your friends. So, when you download and share copyrighted material without the express permission of the copyright holders, this is where the behavior becomes copyright infringement.
Be Careful, Be Smart
There are P2P programs such as LimeWire, AresWarez, Mp3 Rocket and many others that will allow you to purchase a version of their software. Do not be fooled into thinking that because you purchased the software that the the copyrighted material you access using the program is legal. It is still illegal to download or share copyrighted material, whether you purchase filesharing programs or use the free version. Purchasing filesharing programs does not change the fact that you do not have the rights to download music, movies, software and/or share the copyrighted material without the express written permission from the copyright holder(s).
Make sure to read carefully the software agreement on the filesharing program you purchase in order to ensure that the company that distributes the program has the right to also distribute copyrighted material.
Avoiding DMCA Violations
Since files distributed over P2P networks are primarily copyrighted works, you are taking a risk of receiving a DMCA notification of copyright infringement for downloading material from these networks.
To avoid these risks, there are currently many "authorized" services on the Internet that allow you to purchase copyrighted works online - whether music, ebooks, or motion pictures. By purchasing works through authorized services, you can avoid the risks of infringement liability. This also will help to limit your exposure to other potential risks, such as viruses, unexpected material, or spyware, which are abundant in file sharing networks.
Legitimate Providers of Copyrighted Material
There are many Internet-based services that provide legitimate access to copyrighted material. They have contracted with the copyright holders to allow them to provide the material at a discounted or per piece price. Many of the services are also based on monthly subscriptions. It is the responsibility of the user to identify the legitimacy of a service.
We've assembled a list of possible legal music and video sources for you.
Using Copyrighted Material
There may be times when you find it necessary to use copyrighted materials. You must secure permission in writing to use the material from the copyright holder. If you know the copyright holder, you may contact them directly. If you are not sure about the ownership of the copyrighted material, you can request the information from the United States Copyright Office.
This page is maintained by the Department of Infrastructure Engineering's DMCA Compliance Team