Illegal Downloading Does More Than Hurt Artists

Posted on Apr 14 2014 - 10:46am by Shannon McCarty-Caplan


Yes it’s illegal – but every day people across the country (especially teens) are illegally downloading music, movies, TV shows, and basically anything they can get their hands on. The rising popularity of Torrent sites and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file share services have made downloading these files as simple as pushing a button. 

And while battles over copyright infringements and royalty earnings continue to take place on a public stage, you should be aware that illegal downloading has the ability to impact more than just musical artists and publishers.

The Truth is that Illegal Downloading Could Be Hurting You

At any point in time, an illegal download can be full of all sorts of nasty viruses. Every time you illegally download a movie or song, you are inviting those viruses onto your computer. And since manydownloads take place on your family computer or home network, you could be putting your entire family’s personal, private and financial information at risk.

Here is a short list of the some of the dangers illegal downloading invites:

  • Child Safety: When you or your children are downloading a picture, video or song, you have no idea of what you are actually receiving.  Even files with innocent sounding titles, like “Winnie the Pooh” or “Pokémon,” could contain offensive and even pornographic material.  
  • Identity Theft: It is also important to remember that just because you think you are downloading a movie or video, you may also be downloading spyware. This type of software is installed or executed on your computer, and it monitors, tracks, and reports your electronic movements. 
  • It’s Illegal: Perhaps the most important thing to note is that regardless of how easy it is, downloading music, movies and media files without permission is illegal. There are many cases of teens and adults alike getting sued by record labels for illegally downloading music. 

Staying Protected from Illegal Downloads

Unfortunately, regardless of the dangers, a certain amount of downloading is inevitable. Whether it takes place legally or illegally, one of the biggest activities on the internet is file sharing. And while these activities often seem harmless, there are a number of precautions you need to take, including:

  • Beware of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file share services: Popular among tweens and teens, P2P sites let users share media files, music, movies, and video games. The trouble is that not all of these files are legitimate, and many of them have been illegally downloaded.
  • Stay alert when downloading: No matter how tempting or how big of a hurry you are in, don’t rush through the installation process. Instead, it is important to read each screen. This will shed some insight into the content you are sharing, and it will let you know if you are in danger of downloading an unwanted attachment.
  • Download a website reputation service: It is also a good idea to use an antivirus solution that includes safe surfing technology.  This type of solutionwill continuously provide you with information indicating if a site visited is free from any malicious software.
  • Run a manual scan and ensure your antivirus software is up to date: After conducting your download, manually scan your computer to ensure no viruses have been downloaded without your knowledge. In addition, make sure your antivirus software is up to date and set to automatically check for viruses and other threats.
About the Author

Shannon McCarty-Caplan, Consumer Security Advocate at Trend Micro. Shannon has over a dozen years of experience helping consumers and businesses find the security solutions they need to protect their families, privacy and critical data. Shannon is a news junkie with a BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona. On most days, you can find Shannon tweeting or blogging about security issues impacting women and families or geeking out on the latest new tech toys. Shannon resides on the North Coast (Chicago) and spends her free time volunteering for two non-profit organizations, studying foreign languages and traveling with her husband.