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Watch out for deceptive downloads

March 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Heidi Heinau loves listening to her iPod and has put together a massive music collection. "I've downloaded thousands of songs," said Heidi Heinau, music downloader.

No matter the artist or style of music Heidi makes sure to always pay for each and every song.

"I want to make sure that I'm abiding by the law, absolutely," said Heinau.

But experts warn paying a service does not necessarily guarantee a legal download.

"It seems to us there's a real potential there for consumers to be misled," said David Sohn, Center for Democracy and Technology.

The Center for Democracy and Technology uncovered dozens of sites promising everything from legal access to billions of songs to unlimited downloads for either a monthly or lifetime flat fee. But, upon investigation Sohn says that many of the sites were not legal distributors.

"What we confirmed is that none of these sites have actually gotten the licenses, the legal rights to distribute this music," said Sohn.

While using the software is technically legal, using it to download copyrighted songs is not.

"It's important for consumers to be careful about joining sites like these because the Recording Industry Association of America and other groups are actually going out and suing people who are downloading music illegally," said Dan Ackerman, CNET.

So, how can you make sure you're actually paying for a legal download?

Consumers should check with the Recording Industry Association of America or Music United dot org.

"I've seen on both those websites a list of licensed music distribution services," said Sohn.

That is some sound advice for Heidi who will be careful where she buys her music from now on.

"I will certainly be sure that it's from a reliable source," said Heinau.

 

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