General Question

writerini's avatar

Is it illegal to download torrent files of cd's?

Asked by writerini (148 points ) June 27th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

4 Answers

ccatron's avatar

if you don’t already own the cd it is

jlm11f's avatar

yep it’s illegal. chances of getting caught with torrents are slim, but still present.

jballou's avatar

@ccatron It doesn’t matter if you own the CD or not, downloading copyrighted material is illegal. If you own the CD, it just makes it harder to prove that you pirated its contents, but that doesn’t change the fact that you did.

That being said- downloading a torrent file of CD’s is NOT necessarily illegal. There are plenty of legitimate uses for torrents and plenty of CD’s that aren’t copyrighted or licensed under creative commons. If you’re talking about a commercial music CD, then yes- odds are the content is copyrighted, and thusly illegal, but for the strict answer your question is it depends

Maverick's avatar

It also depends where you are and the laws that are applicable to you. There is a heavy US bias on the internet, and the US laws are quite draconian concerning copyright. They’ve also been working very hard, thanks to heavily financed US lobby groups, to export their heavy handed laws all over the world. So, if you’re in the US probably anything that you would want to do with music – whether you own it or not – is illegal. In the rest of the world, it depends how successful the US has been at strong-arming them into enacting DMCA-type legislation.

In Canada, for instance, it is generally accepted that it is legal to download music (Canadians pay a levy on all blank media for this right) and its a grey area as to whether or not its legal to upload it there. However, the Americans have been applying a lot of pressure there and currently Canada is contemplating new copyright laws which are far stricter and more anti-consumer than even the American DMCA (if you can conceive of that).
Overview of the new Canadian Copyright Bill C-61
How the US got its Canadian Copyright Bill

So, the bottom line is that you need to check for your area. There is a quiet war being waged all around the globe over copyright right now (spearheaded by large US corporations) and it is certainly worth finding out more about your rights and what you can do to protect them.

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