The newest episode of your favorite TV show was leaked onto the internet a week before it is scheduled to air. Everyone is watching it online. The previous episode ended with a cliff-hanger and you are eager to see how the plot continues. You find the episode online and enjoy it for free. What you may or not be aware of is you also just committed a crime.
It is illegal.
Downloading and streaming copyrighted content is illegal. Nevertheless, internet users continue to do so and those who do it do not believe they will get caught. Music and movies or TV shows are commonly downloaded content. Streaming services, such as Netflix, Spotify and Hulu, often require monthly fees for listening to music or watching a movie, but there are many who cannot afford it or do not think they need to pay. Instead, they turn to the internet to download music or torrent sites, that offer content through computer files that can be downloaded for free. It may seem like a good way to save some money, but it can result in costing you more than simply paying a monthly or yearly fee.
You can be caught.
Individuals have been caught for copyright infringement. Not just public figures, but others, such as college students. Users can be traced through their internet protocol (IP) address or the torrents that are used to track content downloaded from torrent sites. College students are typically traced when downloading content on their university’s internet. There have been multiple cases across the nation within the last few years, including a student from Columbia University, involving college students who illegally downloaded music on their university’s internet and were caught. They were also given a large bill to pay as they were charged thousands of dollars for each individual item.
Illegally downloading a few songs might not seem harmful, but if caught, it could cost you $200-$150,000 per song. For many public figures, these fees are often not an issue to take care of. For college students or those with lower budgets, owing a large amount of money can be catastrophic.
You might not think you will be caught for watching a TV episode that was leaked to the internet or downloading songs for free. However, illegally downloading and streaming content is risky and may result is costly consequences you might not be able to afford. If you have been caught, working with an attorney may help you fight the charges.