It's all over the news these days. Download music from the Internet and you could be sued, fined, and/or go to jail. The truth is free music downloads, done correctly, are completely legal.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) aggressively prosecutes copyright violators. And well they should - it's piracy plain and simple. But there are millions of free mp3 downloads legally available. RIAA doesn't want you to know this and wants you to believe any music downloads you don't pay for are illegal.
You'll quickly attract RIAA's attention by using file-sharing services like Kazaa and Grokster. The technology is not illegal (yet), but using it to share downloadable music is at best a grey area. And make no mistake, RIAA can and will find you!
How do I get Free Downloadable Music without breaking the law?
First understand the difference between restricted and unrestricted copyrights. Nearly all songs have an artist or record label copyright. Many copyrights restrict gratis downloads. But many musicians want to share their music at no charge through free downloads.
Why, you might ask? Some are unknowns looking for exposure, but many famous musicians know it's in their interest to offer free downloads. It inevitably leads to more CD, concert and merchandise sales. Plus it boosts their image and popularity.
Most music download services offer a free trial period when you can download songs at no cost. Cancel before the trial ends and the songs cost nothing. Of course they hope you'll stay and pay the monthly membership fee, which in reality is a cheap way to expand your music collection.
Study the membership terms as some sites only allow use of the downloads while you are a member. In addition, a "free music" search will lead to sites - by or for musicians - that offer mp3 downloads for free.
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