Music, Content Downloading and File Sharing Guidelines

Information on Legal downloading

Common Myths About Sharing Copyrighted Material

MYTH:  "I've done this since I was in High School and there was never a problem with it."
TRUTH:  Downloading copyrighted material without having paid for it and sharing that material is illegal as it is in violation of copyright laws. Although a user may have engaged in this activity in the past without an issue does not make it legal, it simply means that the user has not be caught.

MYTH:  "I paid for Limewire PRO, so now it's legal since I'm paying for my file-sharing program"
TRUTH:  This is a completely FALSE assumption that some users make. Paying for a the program itself simply disables the pop-ups and advertisements seen in the program version that is available for free. The downloading and sharing of copyrighted material is still illegal as you are not paying for each file that you have downloaded.

MYTH:  "This isn't illegal, everyone I know does it."
TRUTH:  Downloading copyrighted material without having paid for it and sharing that material is illegal as it is in violation of copyright laws. Although a user may have engaged in this activity in the past without an issue does not make it legal, it simply means that the user has not be caught.

MYTH:  "My ISP doesn't have a problem with it."
TRUTH:  The ISPs do have issues with file sharing and must respond in simliar fashion whenever they are notified that illegal file sharing is occuring on their network. Typically, ISPs will send a certified letter to the user which the user must sign and return stating that they will disengage from this practice or risk losing their service.

MYTH:  "I let someone else use my computer and they downloaded the file so I can't be held liable."
TRUTH:  You are the owner of your computer. Therefore, the machine and it's contents are your sole responsibility. If you allow another user to use your machine, you should know exactly what they are using it for and why. Failure to know what is on your machine could lead to files being shared illegally without your knowledge. However, you will still be held accountable as the files are in your possession on a machine that you own.

MYTH:  "I downloaded the files over a year ago, I can't get caught with them now."
TRUTH:  The legality of the files on a machine will never expire. Therefore, if a file was obtained and shared illegally in the past, and that file is again being shared across the Internet, the activity is in violation of existing copyright laws and the user will be held liable for sharing this material illegally.

Take a moment to watch this video on Campus Downloading!

Listen to your Music legally

Information on Legal downloading


Choose the legal alternative
that's right for you:

Information regarding suitable legal music downloading alternatives is posted below. You will see a link to the legal music-downloading site, a brief description taken directly from the site, as well as a link to each service's FAQ page. Look through the options and choose an option that suites your music downloading needs.

iMesh - legal P2P program with Premium service option
"Is iMesh Free? Yes it is. You can use the software to download music and video from other peers. The Premium content (identified by Golden Stars in search results) requires that you subscribe to iMesh Premium."
iMesh FAQ

MySpace Music - create your own playlist social networking site w/ purchase option
"What is MySpace Music? MySpace Music has alwyas been a core component of MySpace and it's just received a major revamp. The new and improved media players on artist and user profiles now feature not only the songs you've already come to know and love, but also unlimited free streaming of a host of previously unavailable music from your favorite artists... Furthermore, for those wishing to take their music on the go, you'll be able to purchase mp3s of your favorite songs, which are playable on all digital media devices, including the iPod. "
MySpace Music FAQ - free site offering user-levels for more content
"Is there a charge for does not charge for any service. However, if you follow a supplied link, you may be charged by an outside company. Always exercise caution when supplying credit card numbers and be aware if you are entering into a paid transaction." FAQ

Rhapsody - unlimited listening subscription service ($12.99/mo. and $14.99/mo. plans)
"Rhapsody is a digital music service that lets you listen to whatever you want, wherever you are - without paying per track. And Rhapsody membership plans start at less than the cost of a CD a month, so you can listen to as much music as you want without limits."
Rhapsody FAQ

Napster - unlimited listening subscription service ($12.95/mo. and $14.95/mo. plans)
"Everyone who signs up for Napster is a member. The features you can access in Napster depend on the type of membership you have. Each membership type can be accessible through both the Napster software and the Napster web service."
Napster FAQ

eMusic - per download subscription service (30, 50, and 75 downloads/month plan choice)
"eMusic is a digital entertainment retailer focused on serving customers aged 25 and older. The service offers a vast selection of independent music and audio books in a universally compatible file format at great value. eMusic is the world’s largest retailer of independent music and the world’s second-largest digital music retailer overall, with more than four million tracks from over 40,000 independent labels and nearly 5,000 titles from top audio book publishers."
eMusic FAQ

Pandora - free streaming music and social networking site
"Create your own personalized radio station with Pandora. Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you enjoy music you already know, and to help you discover new music you'll love. It's powered by the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken, the Music Genome Project: a crazy project started back in early 2000 to capture the complex musical DNA of songs using a large team of highly-trained musicians. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we'll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the musical universe. You can listen to Pandora on the Web, Pandora on the Go, or Pandora in the Home."
Pandora FAQ


For additional legal music sites, including independent musician downloading pages, album purchase pages, etc. please visit the RIAA's website for Legal Music Sites.

For additional information and questions regarding legal music downloading, please contact the Shippensburg University Student Help Desk (717-477-4357 or