Advice from Spalding CAB on using material you find on the internet.

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There are rules about copying other people’s material that you find on the internet.

It’s very easy to make copies of materials on the internet. But remember that images, text and audio or video clips belong to someone. There are rules about copying other people’s material. These are called copyright laws.

If you copy other people’s material from the internet without permission, you’re breaking the law. This is called copyright infringement. You could be taken to court, fined and sent to prison for breaking copyright laws.

You’re allowed to download for free music that the owner has given permission for anyone to use. This music is not protected by copyright laws.

There are special websites that contain this music. Or you could visit the website of the artist or band whose music you want to download and check what’s available for free. Some websites contain a mixture of free music and music that you have to pay for. Other websites just include music you must pay for. Make sure you read the conditions before you sign up to one of these websites.

You may be allowed to store on your computer or download to your digital audio player music that you’ve already bought as a legal music download. This will depend on the conditions of sale. You are not allowed to store music that you bought on a CD onto your computer, or copy it to your digital audio player.

It’s against the law to download music which you haven’t bought or don’t have permission to use.

It is also against the law to ‘fileshare’ (upload music to share with others using the internet) if you don’t have permission from the copyright holder. If you illegally download or fileshare, you can be traced through your IP address. You may receive a warning letter from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). At present, they have no legal powers to disconnect you for illegal downloading or filesharing. However, they may ask you to pay compensation. You should get advice if this is the case.