Online File Sharing

Illegal File Sharing is Not Worth the Risks  

Using peer-to-peer file sharing networks (such as LimeWire, BitTorrent, Kazaa) to download copyrighted music or movies without paying for them carries several very serious risks: 

  1. Downloading or sharing copyrighted works is illegal. Every year students at St. Bonaventure are identified by the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America as illegally sharing copyrighted works. These students are subject to the University’s DMCA compliance plan.
  2. The same file sharing networks that some students use to download music and movies are also one of the primary methods of infecting your computer with a virus. Be aware that using P2P software can greatly increase the chances that your computer will become infected with a computer virus.
  3. Uninformed use of file sharing programs can place your computer and your personal information at risk. 

There are many legal alternatives for downloading music and movies from the Internet, such as iTunes, Walmart, and Is saving a few dollars worth the risk of being sued for thousands of dollars for illegally downloading music? 

Legal Alternatives  

There is a wealth of entertainment available on the Internet that can be enjoyed legally. If you're interested in an artist, check out their personal website or that of their record label to buy albums or sample tracks. If you enjoy a television program, check its network's website. Several popular television programs are streamed at no cost from these sites. Here are some other places you can look for entertainment:

  • iTunes - The Apple iTunes store provides individual track and album downloads, as well as films, television shows, and podcasts. Requires client download, content contains DRM.
  • Rhapsody - Rhapsody offers a subscription service for streaming music online through their client. Downloads are also available on individual songs. Emphasis is placed on reviewing as well as presenting material.

  • eMusic - eMusic operates a bit differently than iTunes while also working on both Mac and Windows. Subscriptions cover a certain amount of downloads per month, and the music is presented in MP3 format which can be transferred to any portable music player. They offer a free trial.

  • Audio Lunchbox- AudioLunchbox offers DRM-free MP3 downloads from independent record labels and offers a free trial.

  • Amazon - Actual CDs with, like, plastic cases and little booklets! Remember those? In addition, Amazon is now offering digital purchases of individual songs as DRM-free MP3s. Options are good.  
  • Insound - Insound is a nice merchant site for ordering music, especially if you're looking for new vinyl.
  • NetFlix- NetFlix basically changed what it means to rent movies. Once you've subscribed, pick movies and they show up in your mail. When you're done, send them back, and more come in.
  • Gamefly - GameFly is best described as "The NetFlix of Console Games." Free trial available.  

  • ShoutCast- Internet radio from the creators of WinAmp.

  • Live365 - An elder statesman among Internet radio communities.

  • Pandora - More Internet radio, including the results of a method of music analysis they call The Music Genome Project