/ September 4, 2008

How to Download Free Music, Without (Definite) Legal Consequences

The New York Times gives lovers of free music the world over some insight into how they can pursue their passion legally. Where legal precedent exists, and regulations have been imposed, even a small volume of free downloads can be incriminating. The law, however, is slow to adapt to the rapid technological advances sweeping the internet music industry. As one veteran of the business explains, the legal regulation surrounding free music is a “swirling cesspool.” But, if you pay attention to news from the courts, you can easily take advantage of the legal grey areas to enjoy your music, free of charge. Currently, fair use of copyrighted material, including music, allows consumers to copy songs for personal use only; this renders the copying of CDs into your iTunes or your Mp3 player perfectly legal. Many artists and companies also give away free music downloads. For instance, Starbucks will hand you a code for a free iTunes giveaway with your morning coffee. Another option is to take advantage of the Creative Commons, where artists can choose to share songs for specific purposes, ie, only for personal and not commercial use. Finally, a dubiously legal option that will probably keep users out of harms way is to record songs directly from internet radio sites. Legal experts disagree as to whether the practice is legal, giving consumers some cover for now. Some sites to check out are nuTsie and Pandora.

Source: The New York Times

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