You Download the Rhyme, You Pay the Fine!

Question, how do you listen to your favorite songs? Where do you get your music that you listen to? Do you stream or do you download? Do you buy an album or purchase digital audio files on itunes? Here’s the thing, I really did not understand that going to GOOGLE and downloading an AVAILABLE and FREE mp3 of my favorite song was illegal. It is so easy and accessible, I did not know I was CRIMINALLY doing something wrong. Yes, I said it! If you are not paying to download an artist’s song and the website does not have permission to have a library of mp3 authorized by the RIAA (RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) you are committing copyright and piracy infringement.

According to the RIAA, for every song you download you could be fine the minimum of 750$ per song. If you buy a cd and make copies and distribute them, you could be charged up to 250,000 per infringement. It is really serious about the misuse of creative content especially when it comes to music. If you don’t believe me, there were two cases in the United States where downloading and the act of distributing music actually went to trial.

Joe Tenebaum was a graduate student at Boston University. The case brought against him only looked at 30 songs that he illegally downloaded and distributed. He was ordered to pay 30,000$ per infringement and 750$ per song. The original verdict was for 4.5 million dollars, but it was lowered to 675,000$. Another case, Jamie Thomas-Rasset, was charged for 24 songs and originally ordered to pay 1.92 million dollars, but her settlement was later reduced to 220,000$. In both of these cases, the settlement is so large that both defendants said that they would file for bankruptcy. So yes illegal downloading and distribution of content can have you out here like Mr. Tenebaum and Ms. Thomas-Rasset.

I dug a little deeper and was curious as to other countries participation of illegally obtaining music. And what do you know, The U.S is leading the statistics as the country with the most illegally downloaded files.





If you want to obtain your music legally here are a few tips…

1. Stream from popular sites such as Grooveshark, Pandora, Rhapsody
2. Buy the audio track outright. Some sites have legal free downloads like Amazon. Other times artists will gives links to their followers on Facebook for a free download. But otherwise buy the .99 cent to 1.29$ track from itunes.
3. Best downloading sites like Soundowl,Purevoulume, Noisetrade are good ones to try as well.

Otherwise we may be seeing you on the Google search for another person who has been charged for illegally obtaining and distributing music.


THE LAW retrieved from RIAA.COM (Music downloading cases, Woman Loses Case for Illegally Downloading 24 songs)

Top 9 Countries for Illegal Downloads retrieved from

3 thoughts on “You Download the Rhyme, You Pay the Fine!

  1. When I was in Thailand, I always downloaded mp3 songs for free via website called 4shared or media fire. To be honest, I know it’s illegal -*- Because I don’t want to spend $1 per song (which actually not expensive at all) and I don’t want to spend $10ish for an album, which there’s only one or two songs that I like.

    After I move to Chicago, I rarely download free music online as I think here in the US are very strict and there’s a chance for me to get caught. So I choose to stream from website like Soundcloud or Youtube instead.


  2. Wow I didn’t know any of this either. Thanks for the tip! As an artist myself, I have conflicting views on paying for music. On the one hand, I think art is valuable and we should pay for it. On the other hand, I also would want my art to be shared with the world so it doesn’t feed into the class system. I like places like bandcamp where bands can opt to let you pay whatever you feel the song is worth…


  3. It is scary when it comes to everyday people getting in trouble over downloading music illegally. The laws have gotten stricter with music piracy. But what is strange is that illegally downloading music is so accessible that the prosecutors should block the sites where people are illegally downloading music. Luckily there are websites such as Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube where people can still stream the new music that they are fans of. Maybe if it weren’t for those websites more people would be getting in trouble with the law over music.


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