Music downloads are a relatively new way of obtaining songs and music albums. Rather than purchasing a hard copy of the song, such as a CD, cassette tape, or vinyl, the consumer downloads a digital copy, usually through the Internet. Music downloads have made music mush more available, as well as affordable. Online companies can provide otherwise hard-to-get records, often at discount prices (due to less packaging costs).

On the other hand, the invention of music downloading has also created many legal issues, especially with regards to copyright and royalties laws.

Are Music Downloads Illegal?

Music downloads are not illegal, so long as the consumer pays for the music they are buying and the provider is licensed to distribute the song(s). Recordings cannot be bought, sold, or copied without the consent of the copyright holder. Most purchases are made through credit card transactions completed online as well.

However, there are many, many websites that distribute songs in a way that is unauthorized and therefore illegal. Such websites cost consumers, artists, and music producers large losses due to illegal downloads.

Are There any Legal Consequences for Illegal Music Downloads?

Yes, illegally downloading music can result in legal consequences like:

  • A civil lawsuit from the copyright holder, resulting in damages to pay for losses caused by infringement
  • Criminal penalties (fines)
  • In serious cases, jail time can also result

In serious cases of infringement, fines ranging up to the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars have resulted.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Music Downloads?

Music downloads are still relatively new, and so are the corresponding laws. You may need to hire an intellectual property lawyer if you have any questions or are facing any legal issues that involve music downloads. Your lawyer can help when it comes to explaining the laws, and can also represent you in court during any trial meetings.