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

File Sharing @ MSU

Additional Information

How do I use digital music and movies legally?

To use online media files legally, you must ensure you are obtaining two things legally:

The software needed to play the file is like a CD or DVD player. You buy the player separately from the CDs or DVDs, which you are responsible for legally obtaining.

Getting media files online is like buying CDs or DVDs from a department store. The music company that produces the media distributes it to a department store. As a consumer, it is your responsibility to determine whether the store is a reputable one selling a legal version of the media.

When evaluating Internet services to decide if they provide legal music and movie files, look for statements that they have obtained the copyright permission of the artists or company representing the artists. If you don't see this information, be suspicious; send a message to the providers asking if they have obtained permission from the copyright holder to sell or distribute these files.

Note: Some Internet services (such as KaZaA and mp5networks) claim to provide unlimited downloading of files using their legal programs. While this statement is true, it is misleading. Although having a program such as KaZaA is completely legal, if you read carefully you will find that the subscription fee you pay is for program support and ad-free searching only. This does not give you legal permission to download and share any file available, even if the software makes it easy to do so. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that the files you are downloading and sharing are legal copies.

If you want to purchase access to songs or movies, you must find a service that has negotiated copyright agreements with the companies representing the artists.

Some legal means of getting digital media are listed on the "Legal Alternatives" page.