I have to admit it, I’m new to the mp3 game, heck I didn’t leave my room for a week when the Xbox 360 came out. I just got an iPod Nano and it came with a 25 dollar itunes card. I downloaded itunes and I haven’t used it yet. The problem is that I also decided to download limewire. I haven’t downloaded limewire yet ,but I want to know if it is illegal. If it isn’t, could you help me decide if I should stick with itunes or get limewire? Thanks Dave.
Great question. Limewire isn’t illegal, but the peer to peer networks that you then access and get content from, well, that content is just about always illegal. Think about it: if you were a music studio or musician who just produced a music CD, would you want one person to buy it, “rip” it, upload the music onto a server and make the material available for free download?
By contrast, the significant thing about the iTunes Music Store is that it is legal and is done with the cooperation and participation of just about every major music label. Frankly, I believe that Apple barely squeezes by with the revenue it generates after splitting the fees from each song sold with the production companies, studios, musicians, etc. The store just fuels their continued sales of the staggeringly popular iPod players (and I should know: I have four!)
As a content provider myself, I know that when I write a book or give a speech, the last thing I want to have happen is for someone to scan and upload the book, or surreptitiously record my talk and make the material available for free. Some significant percentage of people who would attempt to read a 300 page business book online probably would never have bought the print edition in the first place, but it’s the other group, the people who could have purchased my book and made me a small, but additive, bit of revenue but instead get it free online, they’re the ones I worry about. Get enough of them in the picture, and suddenly I have a problem paying my mortgage, which is definitely not good.
As with anything else to do with ethical behavior online, each of you who read this article will obviously make your own choice, but I strongly encourage you to choose the legal route with iTunes rather than the most-likely illegal route of Limewire or other peer to peer (p2p) network systems. It’s much easier to sleep at night knowing that you are helping support those artists, performers, and “creatives” whose work you are hopefully enjoying.