General Question

krazed's avatar

Is p2p illegal?

Asked by krazed (21points) August 22nd, 2007 from iPhone

I don't know to download Limewire or not because I heard it was illegal. Is that true?

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7 Answers

mirza's avatar

The concept behind file-sharing is totally legal - but at the same time sharing copyrighted material is illegal. For now, its not totally illegal (if it would then it would have been shutdown by now).

The argument for limewire goes like this

* Limewire says its legal because technically its just a "file sharing" service and it is not held responsible for the files that are downloaded onto the system. Only the users are responsible. That's why when you download songs from Limewire, it's legal for them, but NOT for you.

* If you are not paying some sort of fee to download, it is illegal.

* Don't be fooled by the fee you pay to use the pro version of Limewire. The artists of the songs you download don't get a penny of that! ("LimeWire offers two versions of the software: LimeWire Basic which is free of charge; the other is LimeWire PRO which costs a small fee, features faster download speeds and better search results, including up to 6 months of free updates and customer support via email.")

* Even if you download a coyrighted song for your own personal use, it's still illegal. Perhaps one could skate around the issue if they already own a legal copy on a CD, but then why download it if that's the case. Any fees paid to Limewire are for purchasing the software and that's it.

* Lime Wire is not illegal software. All it is is file sharring. However many people abuse this by sharing songs without the copyright. For example if you have produced a song, then share it on Limewire, anyone else can legaly have it for free. But when you haven't made it, but an artist has, who has copyright on that song (which they all do) downloading that song without permission from the producer, it is totaly illegal.

* Basically, yes, downloadig music from any free service is probably illegal. You may be paying Limewire for the software, but that's just for the software, so the money goes to Limewire, you are not paying for the song. To be safe, do not download music for free. If it's free, nobody has paid the artist.

* Downloading songs and other copyrighted material is illegal, but if you wanted to share a music file of you singing or playing an instrument, then that is perfectly legal.

* LIMEWIRE IS ILLEGAL! Although with Limewire you will probably never get caught, if you even bring your computer in for a repair and a worker sees the program or any music you downloaded from Limewire, he is ordered BY LAW to tell his boss, and you will get a fine (I had to pay like 200 dollars.) It's not pretty. Although we all want Limewire to be legal, it isn't.

* The Limewire software itself is not illegal - that is why the site is still up and why you can still download it. However - if you donwload a song from the program and you do not pay copyright on it then that is illegal. Songs from the 1950's or before are legal to download because their copyright has expired. Anything from after that is illegal to download. However - you are all going to do it anyway so this just makes you aware!

* Downloading songs on limewire is illegal and always has been. However, as for the legality of the program itself, its confusing. The program is legal, but I believe I read somewhere that the supreme court recently ruled that file sharing services can be held accountable for sharing music.

* Is Limewire illegal? No It is not. It CAN'T leagally be held accountable for what it's users do. Let's put it like this. A major virus takes out the whole internet. But when they trace the source, it leads to runescape servers for example. Runescape is an online game that gives its users access to its servers, kind of like limewire. Now are the people owning runescape responsible? Nope, but its users ARE. Same thing with limewire. My advice to you, do not use it to access "free" music, or "free" programs...images...and so on and so forth. I have had my fare share of songs i got from limewire and if I could, I would return them to the artists and companies that worked hard to make them.

* Here is some info regarding P2P software and filesharing. If people would just take the time to read the fine print. I've visited the websites of a few popular filesharing software distributors and looked for disclaimers, TOS, End User Licenses, etc. I have only quoted bits of relevent information to give you an idea of what to expect. For more detailed info follow the links I've provided or visit the sites yourself for the full text. Continue reading to see what I found.

* Congress has not yet passed a law which makes file sharing illegal. File sharing is all Limewire is. You give access to your computer and thousands of other people who in turn give you access to their computer in order to share media files.

* Limewire itself is legal. Downloading any copyrighted song that you do not pay a royalty fee on is illegal and is stealing, unless the artist has given his/her permission to do so. The legality of most P2P sites is questionable at best. Will you be prosecuted? More than likely not, but the question of legality is another matter. This entire issue has not been resolved as of yet. Could you be prosecuted? Possibly. It is your choice. Agree or disagree, this is how a friend of mine who is a lawyer explained it to me.

* It's been said again and again. Yes, LimeWire is legal. But not everything you choose to do with it is.

* Legal if for personal use and it does not require a license to play music.

Perchik's avatar

@mirza, I'm not sure I follow your argument because I can cite many times when you said limewire is illegal or limewire is legal.

I will however answer the question.
P2P is perfectly legal, if you are downloading anything that is not copyrighted. Therefore limewire is perfectly legal, if you are downloading anything that is not copyrighted.

mirza's avatar

@perchik - the whole point of the argument was to show both sides of the controversy

on a side note, limewire is rumored to go legal within the next few years - more like a napster

rockvj's avatar

The content is illegal, not the method of distribution.

gambleAway's avatar

But mirza, is Limeware legal? :D

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Response moderated (Writing Standards)

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