Q: Is Ares P2P illegal?|
R: No. File sharing applications, in and of themselves, are not illegal; they are simply technologies that enable the sharing of computer files. However, as with many technologies, people can use file sharing applications in ways that are legal or illegal.
Files containing copyrighted works, such as popular games, movies, music, and software, may be uploaded and downloaded from the Internet using applications such as Ares P2P without proper authorization. Such actions can be violations of copyright laws and subject the user to criminal and civil penalties.
Title 17 of the U.S. Code includes stiff penalties for copyright infringement, including significant fines and in severe cases even jail sentences. All P2P users are urged to respect copyright laws and to learn more about them.
The basics of copyright law
Whenever someone creates something that is original and expressive and fixes that expression in a way that lets you read, see, hear, or perceive it, federal law gives the creator a copyright in that work. For example, if a musician writes or records a song, the law grants the creator a copyright as soon as it is fixed on paper or recorded to a CD, audiotape, or digital file.
The length of a copyright is generally the creators lifetime plus 70 years. During this time, he or she is the only person authorized to do any of the following with that work:
Copyright attaches to a work from the moment the work is fixed. It doesnt matter whether or not the copyright holder registers her work with the federal Copyright Office or puts any kind of notice or symbol on those works to show that they are protected by copyright (such as ©). You should assume that any music, movies, or software shared on file sharing networks have copyrights, unless you clearly know otherwise.
- Make copies of it
- Distribute it publicly
- Make derivative works based on it
- Perform it publicly
- Display it publicly
- For sound recordings, perform it publicly through digital audio transmission
How do I avoid copyright infringement?
Read more about copyright laws at the following websites:
- Ensure that Ares P2P is not set to share the files you have on your computer. If it is set to share files, ensure that you have explicit permission from the copyright holders for sharing all of the files accessible to Ares P2P.
- Ensure that the distributor of a file you are interested in downloading has permission from the copyright holder to distribute it.
- For your own protection, you should assume that you do not have permission to download or distribute a file unless you have proof to the contrary. So, before you download a file, research if it is legal for you to do so. For example, check the Web sites of the musicians, record company, or movie studio involved to see if they allow distribution of their materials in this manner. When you purchase music, movies, games, etc., read the license carefully to learn if you have permission to convert the material to other formats for your own use, and whether or not you can share the material with others.
- Keep up to date on the debate over intellectual property rights legislation, and ensure that your voice is heard by your local legislators if you have an opinion on current laws and proposed changes.
- Fair use may apply in some situations. Be careful not to assume that your use is "fair." Fair use depends on balancing the four factors: the purpose, nature, amount and market effect of the work.
Crash Course in Copyright
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Recording Industry Association of America
U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE
World Intellectual Property Organization
P2P industry associations:
Distributed Computing Industry Association
P2P forums and discussion boards:
Unite The Cows
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