Is This MP3 Download Site Legal?

Finding cheap mp3 downloads is a concern for people who love music, and love playing it on their mp3 players. If you download music files for $1 or more apiece, the expense can really add up. It's the reason why many people choose illegal downloading sites, where pirated music is dirt-cheap. But with the threat of lawsuits hanging overhead, music lovers must make the choice between cheap and legal. If you find a great bargain online, but are not sure whether the mp3 store is selling music legally, this guide will help you stay within the law.

First, determine the company's country of origin, and make sure it's the same country you live in too. Many illegal sites operate out of Russia and Latin America, where they the laws are more lax, or not strictly enforced. But if you are located in the US, Canada, or the UK, you are subject to stricter copyright laws when purchasing music online.

Next, investigate whether the mp3 store pays royalties to the artist. You can find this information by contacting the company, or by reading forums for bands and artists. Try an Internet search for "[name of mp3 store website] royalties.". If the store has a reputation for not paying royalties, it's not legal.

Look at the price and see if it's too good to be true. Many mp3 downloading sites have tempting offers of songs for $0.10, or offer you tons of free downloads after you purchase a certain number of songs. Any mp3 store that sells music so cheaply should be suspect. If they can sell it so cheaply and still make a profit, the store is probably getting the music illegally.

The typical price of a single song file is around $0.80-$2 or £0.30-£0.80 depending on the store and the music. Whole albums cost more. Mp3 prices that are far cheaper than this are likely illegal.

Examine the red flags and download wisely. If you have doubts, pay the higher price and only download from stores that you know are legal.

© Had2Know 2010

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