We all know music is important. But with more music available than ever before, downloading tracks illegally from your favourite artists is a crime and does not support them!
Piracy isn't just limited to dodgy DVDs. Even though downloading tunes from the internet can be a great way to buy your music, if you're getting it for free you might be committing a crime.
What is piracy?Piracy is the name given to the illegal copying and selling of DVDs and CDs. Many people see it as a crime which doesn't really matter because it doesn’t hurt anyone, but this is not the case. Money generated by piracy can be used by criminal gangs to fund the sale of drugs and guns.
If you buy an illegal copy, the quality of the recording is usually really bad. If it's a DVD, the picture will be grainy or change to black and white at some points, while the sound quality will often be muffled and very quiet. You won't be given a receipt so if it doesn't work, you won't be able to get a refund or an exchange.
DVDYou might come across illegal pirate copies of DVDs or CDs in markets, car boot sales or online auction sites. They’ll be cheaper than they are on the high street, but will probably have been recorded on a camcorder at the back of a cinema or downloaded illegally from the internet.
Sometimes they are easy to spot, as they're not sold in a plastic case. But other things you should look out for include:
- if the film has just been released at the cinema, any DVD of it will definitely be illegal
- if the DVD packaging has any foreign languages on it, or if the description or cast list doesn't match the film you're buying, it's probably been produced on someone's home computer
- if the cover of the DVD doesn't have a film certificate on it that you recognise, such as 'PG', '15' or '18', it's likely to be a pirate copy.
Illegal music downloadsDownloading music directly to your computer or MP3 player has grown in popularity. It's cheaper and you can choose to pay per download or a standard fee every month gets you a certain number of tracks.
There are now lots of different sites where you can buy music online or get some legal downloads for free, but there are users of other sites who are breaking the law by using file-sharing networks to share copyrighted music.
Although file sharing or peer to peer (P2P) networks can be used legally to share photos you've taken, or music and video files you've produced yourself, you should not use them to download songs by your favourite artists for free, as they'll be copyrighted.
If you're caught illegally downloading copyrighted music or video from the internet, you could be faced with a fine costing you thousands of pounds.
Copying CDsIf you've bought a CD, you can lend it to your friends if they want to listen to it.
However, it's illegal to make copies of CDs and give them to your friends or to sell pirate copies of CDs for a profit.