File-sharing programs are the most controversial way to download and burn free music on the Internet, but file sharing has never been more popular. Programs like KaZaA, Limewire, Ares, Shareaza, WinMX, iMesh seem to be the most popular for gathering totally free music to download. Lawsuits by the music industry have slowed some of the illegal sharing of pirated music, but there are new file-sharing programs that use methods to allow users to be anonymous. These file-sharing programs are also called P2P, or peer-to-peer programs. Unlike the old Napster network that ran all exchanges through a central server, this totally free music download software, using P2P networks connects users directly to each other allowing them to download and burn free music. It should be mentioned that file-sharing programs are not illegal in themselves, and their creators like to point out their many legitimate uses. Some unsigned bands use the file-sharing networks to distribute their music through free music downloads and many organizations use them to exchange documents. Many people are confused about what is legal. * Are there places to download and burn free music on the net? * Can downloading music put you at risk for legal action? * Is file-sharing legal? It’s no wonder people are confused, because the Net is full of legal music download sites advertised as “napster replacements” which are 100% legal. Sites like Mp3 Advance, DownloadShield and MP3 Music Subscription are just a few that offer much more than just music downloads. The vast majority of totally free music download programs shared on P2P (peer-to-peer) networks like KaZaA, Limewire, Ares, Shareaza, WinMX and iMesh violate copyright laws because the music was posted without permission of the artist or label. Since it’s impossible to determine which free music downloads may be legitimate, the only sure way to stay legal is to avoid these type file-sharing programs altogether. What is clearly illegal is unauthorized copying of commercial music. These totally free music downloads usually means songs that are made from CD’s and then put on the Net by individuals who haven’t sought permission from the artist or music company. What do copyright laws allow? To put it simply, you may make a copy of your own CD for your personal use. That means you may record it to a cassette tape or rip it to MP3 files. You may not, however, give this copy to another person. Many people believe that if no money is involved, then no law has been broken. This is false. Whether you give the copy away or sell it, this is still a violation of copyright law.