File Sharing & Copyright: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Avoid P2P gotcha's
While P2P software and file sharing networks may be wonderfully useful, there are a lot of "gotcha's" besides copyright infringement that you should be aware of. As mentioned before, running P2P opens you up to the risk of being compromised.
The P2P program itself may be the problem. Some automatically resetting themselves to sharing mode every time the computer is used, requiring you to turn off "sharing" each time you boot up. The instructions could be wrong or misleading, so that even when you think you've turned sharing off, you may not have done so. And some P2P software has been known to be resistant to uninstalls, continuing to reside on your computer.
Here are five tips on how to avoid these gotcha's.
1. Verify the legitimacy of your P2P application
- You may be paying subscription fees to a music download service that looks legitimate and perhaps even claims to be "legal" but is taking your money and putting you at risk of violating copyright law. Visit Legal Alternatives for Online Music and Movies for other free as well as fee-based resources.
- In addition, the Center for Democracy and Technology maintains a Music Download Warning List of unscrupulous sites, and the RIAA also provides a listing of legal music sites.
2. Install file sharing software carefully, so you know what's being shared
- Changes you make to the default settings of the "save" or "shared" folder might cause you to share folders and subfolders you don't want to share. Check the proper settings so that other users of the file sharing network won't have access to your private files, folders, or sub-folders.
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