Two Tips for Safe Shopping Online
Beware of Potentially Deceptive Fee-Based Download Services
Thinking of signing up and paying money to a music download service that looks legitimate and perhaps even claims to be “legal?” “Caveat emptor” warns the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which has complied a list of what may appear to be legitimate music subscription services that claim to offer fully licensed music downloads.
Unfortunately, some sites may be happy to take your money while leaving you with the impression that they are legal sources of a full range of music – including the top performers and music labels – but they are not licensed distributors of at least a substantial quantity of mainstream music. In particular, the sites on the CDT’s list promote themselves in ways that suggest their music catalog is relatively comprehensive, when in fact they appear to have done nothing to license or otherwise ensure the legality of any downloads from the major music labels.
According to the CDT, each Web site on their list:
- Advertises, describes, or promotes itself in ways that either state or imply that its offerings include music from the major record labels;
- Charges fees to users;
- Creates a risk of consumer misunderstanding about the legal status of music downloads available through the site – either through statements or omissions in the way it characterizes its service or legal status, or by making important legal disclosures too obscure or hard to find to be useful;
- Does not appear, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, to be authorized to distribute major label music in the United States – and as best as the CDT can tell, does not disclose that fact prominently to potential users; and
- Failed to provide a satisfactory response to a letter from CDT, mailed to the address associated with the Web site’s domain name registration, providing an opportunity to explain why the Web site should not be placed on this list.
In short, if you are an Internet user in the United States and you pay money to one of these services with the intention of being a lawful online music user, you may get less than you bargained for, and put yourself in legal jeopardy as a copyright violator.
Content for this article comes from the Center for Democracy and Technology.
PayPal Device provides an “extra layer of account protection”
If you do a lot of purchasing using PayPal or on eBay, you might want to check out the “PayPal Security Key”. For a one time fee of $5, PayPal offers a thumb-sized electronic device described as “a combination lock for your account, except that the combination always changes.”
The device generates a unique six-digit security code every 30 seconds, keyed to your account. You enter this code, along with your username and password, when you log into your PayPal or eBay account.
How does it work? According to the site, “The Security Key creates the account access code by using a complex algorithm that's unique to your device. When you enter that code after you log in with your user ID and password, our secure servers can verify your identity more securely. This helps prevent unauthorized users from logging in to your PayPal account.”
The login device will work with any computer operating system and web browser that can access the PayPal or eBay web site.