Illegal Downloading


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You see a song you like on a peer-to-peer online network, so you download it and enjoy it whenever you want to for free. But if you download copyrighted music or movies without the permission of the owner you can face federal charges.

If you are arrested on a copyright infringement offense, a determined federal prosecutor will work hard to build a strong case against you and you can face expensive fines. You will need a strong and knowledgeable defense.

Copyright Infringement

It may seem unfair that you can’t download music and movies, when digital information of all kinds is so freely available online. However recording, publishing and movie-making companies devote considerable resources to their work, and musicians, writers and actors contribute creative talents.

All of them want to be compensated for their time and efforts. And they can be very aggressive about stamping out illegal downloads.

For example, the Recording Industry Association of America scrutinizes the Internet every day, looking for music uploaded to websites. When they find it, they are quick to have the songs removed.

Federal Copyright Law

A copyright owner’s rights are spelled out in the Copyright Act of the US Code. The copyright owner has exclusive rights to reproduce their copyrighted work and distribute or sell copies.

Under federal copyright law, it is illegal to:

  • Download copyrighted music or movies from a website or online forum
  • Email copyrighted music or movies to other people
  • Post copyrighted items to a website or forum so people can download them for free

If you download items illegally, the copyright holder can sue you in a civil court. You can also face federal charges. Under federal copyright law, you can be fined $750 to as much as $30,000 for each item you downloaded. These fines can add up to extremely high sums. If, for example, you downloaded a dozen songs and your penalty is $10,000 for each one, you can be fined $120,000.

How A Lawyer Will Help

When you are up against a federal computer crime charge, you will be facing inflexible laws and a determined US prosecutor. You will need an attorney who can help you determine all of your options and achieve the best outcome for your circumstances.

United States Code

Read more about federal criminal offenses in the United States Code.

Questions? Contact us today.

If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.