PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) - Everyone loves a good movie but with today's high price theater tickets more of us are turning cheaper alternatives. But doing so through movie downloads on our home computer may be leading us right into a copyright infringement trap.
It's not cheap to go to the movies. The price of admission, plus popcorn, candy and soda, it can all add up. Which makes a free movie download on your computer even more tempting. But the Better Business Bureau warns that not all websites are created equal.
Some have obtained movies, music and t-v shows illegally, and by infringing upon copyright laws. Paula Fleming from the Better Business Bureau warns that even though its the website providing the pirated movies, if you download them, you're also at fault, committing copyright infringement, and that could result in prosecution, heavy fines and even prison time.
"In several instances the piracy issue comes into play b/c people are downloading movies and not sure who they are getting them from on the other end. It's illegal and they can get in very big trouble." said Fleming.
Before you download a movie, music or t-v show, be on the lookout for statements that say the website has the copyright permission of the artists or those who represent the artists.
The recording industry association of America and the motion picture association of America have lists of some of the more popular legal online music and media sources, on their websites. Hulu, i tunes and amazon video on demand are among those listed.
And in addition to the legal consequences, those illegal digital files can do damage to your computer as well, putting you at high risk of downloading viruses or spyware.
"You don't know what you're downloading onto your software to your computer and that puts you at risk." .said Fleming.
What happens if you unknowingly download copyrighted material? According to the US Copyright Office , you could be liable for statutory damages up to $30,00 for each download.
- Click here for more information on how to protect yourself from copyright infringement.
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