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Legal alternatives to illegal file sharing

There are many legal alternatives to pirating music and movies. Pay services are becoming increasingly common and unlike illegal file sharing, they won't get you in trouble.

Legal Alternatives

When you download or share copyrighted material without the owner's permission, you are breaking the law. But there are many legal alternatives that allow you access to songs and movies. To avoid being prosecuted or sued for copyright infringement and to support the artists you love, you should explore the legal alternatives available on the Internet.

Illinois State's BirdTrax Website

Check out the BirdTrax website at http://www.birdtrax.ilstu.edu/ for a comprehensive list of legal alternatives to illegal downloading. BirdTrax has information on legal access music, movies, and TV shows. Made possible by the Digital Citizen Project, it has been said that BirdTrax is "the most complete and fully-explained list of legal, quality media available."

Pay per Song, Album, or Movie

Many online services allow you to download and pay for individual songs, albums, or movies. Most online marketplaces like this allow you to purchase music and video without restriction. In other words, you can play the song or movie you purchased on any device.

However, you may encounter retailers who use Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a means of restricting access to the music or movie you purchased; this is a way of preventing illegal file sharing. Music and video with DRM can only be played on authorized devices and cannot be shared with others.

Subscribe to a Library of Songs or Movies

Instead of paying for each song or album individually, some companies operate using a subscription model. By paying a monthly fee, you gain access to a vast library of songs or movies.

One disadvantage of subscribing to a service like this is that once your subscription ends, you lose access to the library of songs and movies. However, some subscription services also allow you to purchase songs or movies too, so you won't necessarily be without your favorites, even if you decide to cancel your membership.

Use Free Services

There are also many free services available on the Web, which offer access to music, videos, and television. Free online radio stations and other multimedia sites allow you to enjoy a wide selection of music and video. 

Do What Works for You

The number of legal alternatives to music and movie piracy is growing every day. You need to explore these alternatives and find a solution that works for you. If you are someone who downloads music and movies illegally, your actions may eventually catch up with you.