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Friday, September 17, 2004

Legal downloads

Kid file-sharing is problematic for parents, there's no doubt about it. Even if our kids have figured out how to avoid the viruses, spyware, and porn readily available on the P2P networks (see "File-sharing realities"), there's the ever-present issue of illegal music. Fortunately, Jon Pareles of the New York Times clears up the legal question for us: "Downloading music from the Internet is not illegal," he writes, despite the message we're getting from the RIAA and its thousands of lawsuits against file-sharers. What is illegal, as found in "the fine print of those lawsuits," Jon writes, is "unauthorized distribution: leaving music in a shared folder for other peer-to-peer users to take." What's also great about this article is that Jon goes on to list nearly three dozen sites offering free, unqualifiedly legal music - from musicians' own sites to collections of classical, reggae, alternative, Iraqi, Asian, Brazilian, folk, and electronic music, to name a handful. There's so much wonderful, completely legal music for all tastes out there on the Web. For more on all this, see today's issue of my newsletter.


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