Is LimeWire Legal?
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"I Didn’t Mean to Break the Law"
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If you get caught sharing other people’s music without their permission, you might be inclined to say you didn’t know it was illegal. Well, one of the first principals learned in law school is that "Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law." Also, since you are reading this article, you no longer are ignorant about the law.

So, what could happen to you if you get caught? There are many cases of people being caught, and they have faced very stiff penalties. It is kind of like speeding on the highway when everyone else is. Sure, there is a good chance you won’t get caught (at least for a short while), but in the end you eventually will.

Perhaps the biggest name to get caught was Napster. Napster promoted the free sharing of copyright materials and eventually was forced into bankruptcy by bands like Metallica, Dr Dre, and Madonna.

The Copyright Act of 1976 is the federal law that applies to copyright infringers. Penalties for the illegal duplication of copyrighted material include felonies for first-time offenders. Copyright owners may file civil lawsuits against copyright infringers, and the U.S. government may file criminal charges. Copyright infringers can also be put into jail for their acts. In other words, the government takes copyright infringement very seriously.

To search for federal copyright registrations go to the U.S. Copyright Office database. But remember, a work of art may still be copyrighted even though it isn’t registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, thus making it illegal to engage in file-sharing.