Here at UNM, we encourage students, faculty and staff to utilize the legal alternatives to pirating music and movies. Pay services are becoming increasingly common and unlike illegal file sharing, you won’t have to worry about viruses or malware being spread through illegal file sharing. You also won’t have to worry about legal consequences. When you download or share copyrighted material without the owner's permission, you are breaking the law. However, there are numerous online legal alternatives to music and movie downloading. It is important to explore these services and find one that works for you. If you do download music and movies illegally, your actions will likely catch up with you at some point. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have actively pursued and sued students here at UNM for illegally downloading and sharing these types of files. You don’t want to be next.
There are legal alternatives that allow you access to songs and movies.
There is a website supported by Illinois State University called BirdTrax . BirdTrax offers an updated and comprehensive list of legal alternatives to illegal downloading, and offers information on legally accessing music, movies, television shows and other digital software.
Many online music services allow you to download and pay for individual songs or albums. Among the most popular is iTunes, a service offered by Apple. The songs and shows offered in iTunes contain Digital Rights Management (DRM), which mean these files can only be played on authorized devices such as an iPod. However, Amazon.com offers a large listing of mp3s and unlike iTunes, offers DRM-free music which can be played on any device, including an iPod. Before you purchase files, ensure that the songs or movies you buy will work with your mp3 player. Most online music vendors, including iTunes and Amazon, allow you to purchase individual songs for between $.79 and $.99 per song. By purchasing songs from an online music store, you can buy only the songs you want, or you can opt to purchase an entire album. iTunes also allows you to purchase and download movies, and play them on your iPod or computer.
The service CinemaNow allows you to download movies you’ve purchased and burn them to DVD, although be aware that some movies are only available to watch on your computer. You can also utilize a subscription service. Napster offers its entire catalog of over six million songs and movies for a monthly fee, and users can download and share unlimited files. Yahoo Music recently partnered with Rhapsody and offers commercial-free streaming radio and television for a monthly fee. Users should be aware that you need to maintain your monthly subscription to these types of services, even though once you’ve purchased music, you will be able to keep that file. But you won’t be able to continue accessing the online music and movies unless you pay the monthly fee.
Free online radio stations allow you to listen to popular songs on your computer. Shoutcast and Live36 are just two sites with a huge list of free stations. Sites like these may play commercials between songs, encouraging listeners to subscribe (by offering commercial-free subscription services). Pandora and Last.fm are two sites that not only let you listen to music for free, they learn what you like and allow you to create your own “radio station” with only music you choose and like. Best of all, these sites are commercial free.
YouTube and Hulu offer a lot of great video content. YouTube is probably most famous for its user-created videos, but TV show clips and all sorts of promotional content also makes their way onto YouTube. As well, YouTube recently started short commercials and advertising on their site, which can interfere with videos you may be watching at the time. Hulu.com is an outstanding new service that offers full-length TV shows and full-length, feature movies for free! Viewers also have to sit through commercials, but they are generally very short in nature at most, there will be one or two commercials, not four or five as there are on regular TV.