We all know the common phrase “sharing is caring”— many of us even try to live by this expression. We share laughs in the locker room, ideas in our workplaces, stories at dinnertime, and occasionally, gossip; we also share the cyber world.
As we flip between social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, and content sharing platforms like Reddit and Sound Cloud, we often have the option to share music and movies…but this “sharing” comes at a cost.
Though not seen on high-profile crime shows or national news channels, illegally downloading music or movies is indeed a punishable crime. Let Bryan Coulter, a criminal defense attorney in Lafayette, Indiana detail how your life could be impacted if you’re accused of illegally downloading content.
Artwork is Work
Whether it’s the latest movie or catchiest new song, everyone involved in the creation process (actors, producers, directors, lyricists, etc.) is entitled to monetary gains from their work. If a piece of work is copyrighted, it cannot be downloaded or distributed without explicit permission.
So what’s a copyright?
A copyright protects any form of intellectual property—which can cover anything from a movie to a book to a song. This means that only the creators of the copyrighted content have the right to distribute and sell their work.
Just as you wouldn’t go into a store and put a CD down your shirt, you cannot download a copyrighted CD online for free…
But just who exactly monitors this downloading activity?
The Watchdogs of the Industry
To help monitor the online piracy of music and movies, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) monitor downloads and look for copyright violations.
When you have illegally downloaded a movie or song, you may receive a copyright infringement notice on your computer. This notice serves as a warning to end all unlawful downloads. If you continue to download copyrighted content, you could be sued for copyright infringement or even receive jail time.
It Was Just a Couple of Songs, Are the Consequences Really That Serious?
Though sharing is encouraged (especially on the internet) the sharing or downloading of copyrighted material can lead to serious penalties.
You can expect these consequences for illegal downloads:
- Potentially pay up to $150,000 for every file downloaded.
- You can serve up to 5 years in jail.
- The holder of the copyright can file a lawsuit, which would bring other fines and legal penalties.
- Your computer can get viruses from unsecured file sharing websites.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney in Lafayette, Indiana Help Me If I’m Accused?
Everyone makes mistakes—especially something as seemingly innocent as downloading a music file or movie. If you have been accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material, you need expert defense in your corner. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Bryan Coulter is an expert in offering local, criminal defense. Bryan will effectively represent you in court and walk you through the whole process—clearly navigating you through the trial. For more information on how Coulter Law Office can help you, get a free consultation today!