• Legal Alternatives to File Sharing

Legal alternatives for online music & media

File sharing may be tempting because you love music but you’re on a budget. Perhaps you want to check out a song, album or movie before you purchase it. However, the consequences to illegal file sharing are very real and potentially severe. Luckily, there are some free legal alternatives. Check out the list of resources below:

Last.fm  http://www.last.fm  
An Internet radio and music community web site, including a music recommendation system which learns what kind of music you like.

Pandora http://www.pandora.com  
An Internet radio and music recommendation service created by the Music Genome Project that allows you to search for a song or artist that you like and plays similar music.

Hulu http://www.hulu.com 
Started by NBC Universal and News Corp, Hulu is a web site where you can stream free, high-quality video of TV shows, movies, and video clips. This service offers videos from NBC, Fox, Comedy Central, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, Sci Fi, Style, Sundance, G4, and Oxygen and others.

SHOUTcast http://www.shoutcast.com
A collection of online radio stations

Live365 http://www.live365.com
An Internet radio network where you can create your own radio station or search for stations that play a particular song or artist.

More about legal downloads

Recording Industry Association of America http://www.riaa.com
The trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Visit this site to learn where to get music online without breaking the law.

A list of legal sites for downloading is available at http://www.campusdownloading.com/legal.htm. Note that this site may not be complete or fully up to date.

Sites where some downloads may not be legal

Some sites represent themselves as legal but do not secure permissions or licenses to distribute all of the music they offer.

A list of sites that may provide illegal downloads is available at http://www.cdt.org/copyright/warninglist/#list . Note that this list may not be complete or up to date, and is intended solely as a guide.

Portions of this page are based on web documentation produced by Yale University and are used with permission.