Are You Using Your Downloaded Music Legally?

Generation X can remember the days when their favorite tunes were recorded by turning their cassette player upside down on their Panasonic AM/FM clock radio. When played back, no doubt they heard their parents calling them to dinner or Rover barking in the background while The Charlie Daniels Band sung about the devil going down to Georgia. Flash forward to today when background noise isn’t an issue and any song you can imagine is available digitally at the click of a mouse. The media has changed over the years, but the rules haven’t. To what extent does your $1.29 allow you to possess and use a song from the soundtrack of your life?

When music is not paid for through the proper channels, this deprives those within the industry of their livelihood needed to pay for their jobs. This affects the standard of living for them and their families. In addition, if the music doesn’t meet the financial markers set within the artists’ contracts, it affects investment in not only those artists’ future endeavors, but the industry overall.

So what is allowable and what is not?

Allowable:
• Music may be downloaded from the artist’s authorized site
• Music can be copied onto another medium (cassette, CD-R’s, digital tapes, portable music player etc.) once you’ve purchased it but only for non-commercial purposes

Not Allowable:
• Music downloads from pirate sites or peer-to-peer systems
• Distribution of copies of downloaded music or uploaded on peer-to-peer systems to others
• Using copyrighted music in a public forum, such as a webpage, without permission from the artist or his/her company

If you need copyrighted entertainment material for other than personal use, contact the management company for the artist to find the correct channels to do so. Keep in mind that the penalty levied against you for pirating is far steeper than paying the cost of purchasing the music and getting permission in the first place. If you are an artist with creative media to protect, a media user, or have been accused of pirating media, give us a call for further information.

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