Downloading Safely

File-sharing websites logo

The ability to download music and films on demand and share information is a great benefit of the internet, but keep the following information in mind. Check the sites that your children are using as the film and music industries monitor the internet for people downloading illegally and you’ll be held responsible for any illegal downloads your children make. By downloading material from illegal sites, children risk downloading viruses or spyware at the same time. They can also be downloaded from emails, pop-ups or sharing files as well as USB drives and connected devices. Bloatware, trojans, malware and worms can also be downloaded. These can do anything from taking control of your computer to slowing your device down. Phishing and pharming are ways of getting hold of private information, either by sending emails pretending to be a genuine organisation such as a bank or building society or sending you to copies of genuine websites. File-sharing websites usually need special software. If your children are using one to download illegal material , you may find a related icon on the desktop. Talk to your children about how to download safely and legally, and help them understand why it’s important to keep the computer free from viruses. Make it clear that it’s illegal to download most films and songs without paying for them. Research any download site your child is using and check it’s legal and trustworthy. Point your children to secure sites where they can buy music and films, such as iTunes or Amazon. You can limit the amount they spend by getting them gift cards for a particular sum. Look into services such as Spotify or Netflix which allows unlimited streaming.

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Legal issues relevant to file sharing

P2P technology

 

The legal issues in file sharing involve violation of copyright laws as digital copies of copyrighted materials are transferred between users. The application of national copyright laws to peer-to-peer and file sharing networks is of global significance. Peer-to-peer (“P2P”) technology allows people worldwide to share files and data, and since this includes some that is subject to copyright, it has been targeted by rights holders, although peer-to-peer networks can be used for legitimate purposes. The architecture of P2P systems vary, some rely upon a centralized server, others are decentralized with no one site operating the system. Newer P2P system architectures often include measures to conceal the identities of senders, recipients and material.  File hosting services may be used as a means to distribute or share files without consent of the copyright owner. In such cases, one individual uploads a file to a file hosting service, which others can then download. Legal assessments can be very diverse. For example in the case of Swiss-German file hosting service RapidShare, in 2010 the US government’s congressional international anti-piracy caucus declared the site a “notorious illegal site”, claiming that the site was “overwhelmingly used for the global exchange of illegal movies, music and other copyrighted works”. But in the legal case Atari Europe S.A.S.U. v. Rapidshare AG in Germany, Legal case: OLG Düsseldorf, Judgement of 22 March 2010, Az I-20 U 166/09 dated 22 March 2010. the Düsseldorf higher regional court examined claims related to alleged infringing activity and reached the conclusion on appeal that “most people utilize RapidShare for legal use cases” and that to assume otherwise was equivalent to inviting “a general suspicion against shared hosting services and their users which is not justified”. The court also observed that the site removes copyrighted material when asked, does not provide search facilities for illegal material, noted previous cases siding with RapidShare, and after analysis the court concluded that the plaintiff’s proposals for more strictly preventing sharing of copyrighted material – submitted as examples of anti-file sharing measures RapidShare might have adopted – were found to be “unreasonable or pointless.

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