This service is no longer live but has been archived for information purposes only. Click here for more info.

Illegal downloading

Sure, music and movies are expensive—especially for students. But before you download the latest Top 50 hit, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Submitted 4/29/2006 By rachelhiggi Views 73844 Comments 17 Updated 1/18/2007

Photographer : George Lucchese

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is the term given to any idea that is legally protected. The ‘idea’ can be anything intangible—a song, poem, movie, invention or theory, for example. Intellectual property is protected by copyrights, patents and trademarks.

The Napster case

Napster was the world’s first software that allowed users to share and download music and movies for free. It quickly became massively popular, and in 1999, Napster creator Shawn Fanning was sued by several record companies. Napster shut down in 2001, and restarted in 2002 as a subscriber-based network.

So, what’s wrong with downloading my favourite movies, TV series or music?

Every song you hear on the radio, movie you see in a cinema or show you watch on TV is protected by intellectual property. Music, movie and TV series downloading (or piracy, or file sharing, depending on how you look at it) is illegal according to Australian law. If you’re caught with any illegally downloaded files or software that can be used to download files, like Kazaa, Bearshare, Limewire or Morpheus, you can be fined up to $60,500 or spend up to five years in prison.

A statement from the big guys

The Australian Recording Industry Association has issued a statement regarding music downloading, stating that it injures many of the people involved in the music biz:

“Unauthorised uploading or copying is not free at all—it is the musicians and the people who invest in the music who are paying the price. The artists, first and foremost, the labels that have invested in them, the publishers who manage the copyright of their songs and the thousands of people involved in the many different areas of the music industry are all affected. Downloading and burning without permission doesn't fairly reward the efforts of those who create, develop and record music, and who depend on it for their livelihood.”

To see the entire statement, go to

How do I know this?

Vives, L, ‘The pros and cons of downloading music’,IESE Business School

Australian Copyright Council, Infringement: actions, remedies, offences and penalties, pdf/infosheets/G063.pdf

Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia, Intellectual property

Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia, Napster

Discuss Now

Post Comment 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

RSS Comments

lamfkelly 20-Oct-2008

Illegal downloading and downloading in general (especially music) takes not only money from an artist but there credit, expression and freedom.
Downloading music wether illegal is a very narrow minded and quick fix approach for a world thats lost all appreciation, instead of having a physical record to hold and fall in love with each track, a single song will be downloaded. when an artist creates a record it is a moment of time and thought in which lissteners can relate to, if a song relates to the masses it will sell well and that song be listened to and owned by millions of people without giving respect or credit to the artist. When theyre efforts have been compiled into an album to sit down and get lost in it is a thing of beauty which only music can do, it can create feeling and expression in people which no other medium can. But now in the age of mindless hits and ignorance for money this is dying.
it has been raised about the expense of enforcing laws that are in place about illegal downloading and were the prioritys of the the arts is, but to say why spend money on helping the arts when there are starving people is ridiculous comparisons cannot be drawn and must be kept seperate.
And the issue of money? can you pay for the background of your life?
A soundless life is worhtless but a sountrack to a life is priceless.



toldandretolddotcom 20-Jul-2008

I think the main problem with stealing music or sharing music is a personal one. If you download lots of music it causes the music to lose some of its value. Instead of being a work of art it becomes just something to listen to while you are doing the dishes.



Secret 15-Jan-2008

I'm confused about the whole P2P thing (Shareaza, Limewire etc). How are they not illegal? Or are they? But then what about RapidShare - sites where someone can upload a song for anyone to download. Are they legal?



petr 11-Jan-2008

Peer to Peer movement is important step beyond the old paradigm or 'property ownership'. It is not about stealing but about sharing. It is about undermining the ideology which says that if you have money you can buy ideas, cultural artifacts and art itself.

If is inevitable that the underground movement which is mostly represented in the mainstream media as criminals and 'hackers' will become more prevalent to promote open source and Peer to Peer creativity and at least digital community once we lost the physical one.



Honey 17-Aug-2007

Starting from the days of Napster, the battle for copyright infringement has been a heated debate. Big, commercial music records have been against the idea of music sharing due to profit losses. However, in a recent article published in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Universal Music (one of the big record companies who were against downloading music) will be testing to sell digital music from certain artists for a limited time. Contradictory? I think so.The trouble with copyright infringement is that it limits creativity. The problem is that creativity is often influenced by other ideas which have been seen or heard before. Music itself is a perfect example for this. Music is categorised into genres and from genres, they branch out into sub-genres. That means that music and artists grow from the influence of one another rather than from the individual themselves. Therefore, can it be argued that copyright infringment only benefits profit-driven organisations? Maybe it's time that the old business model should be thrown out and made way for fast growing technology, then maybe the law would be more sympathetic towards consumers too.