You may frequently listen to music, watch movies or play games you found online. There are tons of legitimate sites that provide this kind of entertainment. One wrong site, however, could spell disaster for you.
While many sites let you stream music, shows and games for a small price, there are even more sites that want to provide you with this same content for free. But, just because something is “free” doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a price.
Here’s what you should know:
Pirating on the open web is a crime
You may have downloaded something free online without realizing there are consequences for your actions. Every form of media is protected by copyrights. What this means is, that any content you consume is protected from being stolen and distributed without the permission of the content’s rightful owner – even the text you’re reading right now.
In many cases, content creators will make a product with the intent to later make a profit. They, however, wouldn’t make a profit if their product is distributed illegally. So, if you download something online without the permission of the original creator, then you are taking money from their pockets.
While you may not realize that what you downloaded wasn’t from the original creator, you can still be charged with violating copyright protections. You could face large fines depending on what you downloaded. You could even face jail time if the charges against you are extreme – particularly if you use what you downloaded for your own profit in any way.
If you’ve been charged with piracy and still don’t understand why there are charges against you, you need legal help with your defense.