P2P music downloads are legal, eventhough there are some controversy with most of the file sharing sites. Legitimate online music stores like iTunes are legal and, therefore free from copyright issues. You can legally download music from these stores, but the download fee is around 1 dollar per track. Here, we are checking some alternative legal and cheaper music stores.
File sharing is used to access and share digital files such as audio, video, images, etc. P2P file sharing is a form of file sharing which allows users to download MP3 music using a file sharing software. File sharing sites allow users to share files with each other. There is no central server to store these files, but every user's computer is like a mini server in the network. You can allow other users to download any of your files and they can share any files they want with you.
Using P2P programs to download and distribute copyrighted music, movies and games without permission is illegal. Purchasing membership with P2P sites does not give you license to download or share copyrighted music files. Normally, P2P sites are known to be copyright infringers as users can access and share even copyrighted materials. You may think it's great that you can get free p2p music downloads, but you can be caught and fined for downloading illegally.
I've found 2 legal P2P music file sharing websites which even RIAA recommends. One is Bearshare and the second is iMesh.
These sites are operating based on the "fair use" provisions under the copyright law. Unlike, other P2P sites, these two websites will not allow copyrighted files to download to the user PC and so you can download all their music tracks without fearing any RIAA lawsuit. Music file sharing is not illegal as long as you obey all relevant copyright laws.
Below are more information on BearShare and iMesh P2P music file sharing sites:
BearShare offers free p2p music files in the MP3 format and paid music downloads in the WMA format. It also includes some social networking features. It has around 20 million music files in its store. The free p2p music download content is shared by users and is automatically verified by BearShare not to infringe copyrights. This verification is done by acoustic fingerprinting. Also, BearShare allows only music and video files to be shared.
iMesh is the first RIAA approved P2P music file sharing site, allowing users residing in the United States and Canada to download their favorite music. They have a monthly premium subscription and a "To Go" subscription. Music files under "To Go" subscription can be copied to all portable MP3 players. Also, they have a pay per song model to purchase tracks for $0.99 each. It has around 11 million tracks in its store and you can use their 14 days free Trial to check the site's features. In addition to paid music, iMesh allows all users to access non-copyrighted music and video files for free.
Enjoy music from your favorite musicians. Select your favorite country or genre of music and listen to free online music.
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