Filesharing & Copyright: Legal Alternatives

The Internet offers a variety of legal entertainment alternatives, whether downloads or streaming, free or fee-based, DRM or DRM-free, well-known artists or surprising discoveries.

Sampling of Your Options

  • Amazon - Now offering digital purchases of individual songs as DRM-free MP3s
  • DramaFever - Free service offering fully-subtitled international video entertainment (focus on television dramas and telenovelas)
  • eMusic - Similar to iTunes but with subscription-based pricing; music offered as DRM-free MP3; works on both Mac and Windows
  • Grooveshark - A music community that rewards users for sharing their own music, with a goal to compensate everyone from users to rights' holders
  • Hulu - A free online video service offering TV shows, movies and clips
  • Insound - Merchant site for ordering music, especially for new vinyl
  • iTunes - Music, movies and more; service requires client download; basic content contains DRM, though iTunes Plus material is free of burn limits and DRM
  • Jamendo - Free, unlimited streaming and downloads of Creative Commons/Free Art License licensed music
  • Last.fm - A music recommendation service that offers streaming music
  • Live365 - Internet radio
  • Muve Music from Cricket - Mobile music service, providing unlimited music as part of a cellphone plan
  • NetFlix - Movie and tv episodes subscription service
  • Pandora - Internet radio, including the "The Music Genome Project"
  • Rhapsody - Subscription service for online listening and downloads; free trial; Napster is now part of Rhapsody
  • SHOUTcast Radio - Free "audio homesteading solution"; lets you listen it on others radio channels or set up your own
  • Spotify - Free music-sharing service with access to millions of music tracks; requires installation of Spotify client (Windows or Mac)

Other Recommendations

  • Have a favorite artist? Check our their website and/or record label to buy albums or sample tracks.
  • Several popular television programs are streamed at no cost, such as at hulu, or at their network's websites (ABC / CBS /CWTV / FOX / NBC ).
  • In addition, both the MPAA and RIAA offer their own lists of legal entertainment alternatives.

Bottom Line

  • If you engage in illegal filesharing, your odds of getting caught are growing. To stay within the law, avoid fines, and maintain your network access, don't illegally download.
  • Purchase your tracks or obtain them from a copyright-free site (see for the RIAA's site for suggested options).
  • Share tracks on your computer only according to the explicit licenses or permissions granted by the copyright owner or distributor (for example, Apple allows limited sharing of music purchased through iTunes on a local network).

Related Links & Resources