There are many great ways of accessing and downloading music, film, TV and video safely online and it is important that children and young people understand how to download content legally.
This advice page provides introductory information about staying safe and legal while enjoying entertainment online or via mobile devices. For further information, download our free music leaflet to find out more.
Music, film and TV on the internet - what you should know: Copyright law applies to downloading, sharing and streaming just as in the world of physical CDs and DVDs. If you make music, film or TV content available to others on a file-sharing network, download from an illegal site, or sell copies without the permission of those who own the copyright, then you are breaking the law and could face serious penalties.
- Staying tuned in while staying legal: There is a wide choice of legal sites where you can download or "stream" (transmit over the internet) music, film or TV content. Some are stores where you can buy downloaded tracks, albums, TV shows, videos or films to play on a computer, or a portable device or on a music player. Others charge a monthly subscription fee and let you stream from an internet-connected device at any time. Some services provide entertainment for free, supported by advertising.
- What you can and can't do with music, film and TV online: It is illegal to upload or download copyrighted files without permission from the person who owns the rights. File sharing services can in theory be used legally, but in practice nearly all the content on them is illegal. The only safe way to use them legally is to be sure you are sharing materials that are not protected by someone else's copyright.
- Staying safe and responsible: Illegal file-sharing programmes and websites pose greater risks to your computer or mobile phone than legitimate sites. Users often unwittingly download viruses or spyware and can inadvertently share personal computer files and information. Some files are purposely misnamed on file-sharing and peer-to-peer networks to trick people into downloading them.
- Tips for parents and teachers: Talk to your children about computer use so that they understand why it's important to use legal sites online.It is also worth discussing with them what the consequences would be for the whole family if they were caught breaking the law. There are more than 13 million tracks licensed to legal music services. A full list of services worldwide is available at www.pro-music.org and www.whymusicmatters.org also lists the services available in the UK.
- Educating young people: Why not have a debate about how they access music, film and TV and what it means to them? How do people who create films and music get paid? What part does copyright play in the creation of entertainment and in the different jobs in the creative industries? Check out resources on copyright here.