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How To Download Legal Content From The Internet

Today, file sharing programs abound on the Internet. They provide a very easy and convenient method of downloading all sorts of entertainment files and software to your computer. But they come with no guarantee that the files listed on these services are actually legal to distribute. In fact, a good many of them are bound to be illegal.

It takes a degree of experience to be able to distinguish between legal and illegal downloads using these programs. If you are uncertain of your ability to make this distinction, and would like to be certain that you're only downloading legal content, I'm going to recommend that you forget about these programs. There are other options, and the choices are getting more appealing all the time.

Specific content types covered in this article will be: Ebooks, Audio Books, Music, and Computer Programs. Each of these types of files can be found readily available on the Internet, and often for free. The majority of websites on the Internet offering you downloadable content are legitimate and legal organizations.

However, there are some websites that are opperating illegally, and before downloading from a new website that you've never heard of before you should consider a few things:

- Try and determine who is the copyright holder. In order for websites to be able to host downloads, they need permission from the copyright holder first. If the website belongs to the copyright holder, then you can rest assured that the download is perfectly legal.

- If the website advertises it's contents as "Legal", you can usually take their word for it. Illegal downloading websites generally don't make any claims to the legality of their service. They instead rely on people who want the content enough not to question it.

- Look for a FAQ or other documentation that may tell you where the content comes from. Often legal websites will let you know exactly who provided their content and what rights are involved. If a website lacks any kind of legal documentation whatsoever, be suspicious.

- If the website is inundated with popups, especially of the pornographic variety, be suspicious. If the website is legitimate, then it's target audience is not people looking for pornography. If the ads aren't pornographic, the website may still be illegal. These websites are often trying to make as much money as they can from their popup ads, and to a ridiculous degree. Even if the content is legal, their practices are shady. Who wants to deal with that?

- If the downloadable content is hosted on the official website of the content creator/s, then you don't need to worry at all. They have the full rights to distribute their content however they see fit, so feel free to take advantage.

Would it surprise you to know that you can download full copies of books to read on your computer at reduced prices? Well, it's not a dream, it's a reality. Try some of these:

Free public domain novels available for you to download and enjoy. Enjoy some of the greatest classic books of all time without visiting a bookstore or library. An excellent resource.

Another collection of free public domain ebooks available. You just can't go wrong with resources like these!

This is a commercial website selling ebooks at reduced prices. They have a large selection of ebooks and even have a number of books available for free. It's a booklover's heaven.

Audio Books
Audio books are perfect for walks or morning commutes. There are many excellent titles available online both commercially and for free. If you've never listened to an audio book before, give it a try. You may find yourself hooked. Try some of these:

This website offers a very nice selection of audio books that you can download absolutely free. You are encouraged, however, to spend a little extra in order to obtain greater quality. The free recordings are sampled at a rate of 8kb/sec, which is rather low so it will be a little bit fuzzy. You have the option of paying anywhere from $3 to $7 for varying degrees of clarity up to a maximum of 48kb/sec. Certain file manipulations such as zipping also cost extra.

However, if a little bit of downgraded quality doesn't bother you, you can't beat getting something for free. The audio books are yours to listen to as you wish in .mp3 format, so they're compatible with all digital music players.

Librovox is dedicated to publishing free audio content under the public domain. Volunteers take the time to read these bits of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and dramatic works for you to freely enjoy.

Audible is maybe the most popular online audiobook website. It's a commercial website, however they often have a deal available that you can test out their system with a certain amount of points for free audiobooks. You can cancel your trial membership before you have to pay. Depending on your membership type you get an allotted amount of points per months to redeem towards new audio books to enjoy. The website uses proprietary software to download, play, and transfer audio books to .mp3 players. If your player is not on the list then it may not be possible to transfer it easily. However, the system also has the option of transfering your audiobooks onto a CD.

Music Downloads
Music downloading has been particularly in the public mind lately. Illegal music downloading is a complicated subject. However there are music downloads available that are perfectly legal. Go ahead and enjoy them guilt free.

Many established bands and singers are deciding to release certain songs for free download over the Internet. There are also many unsigned bands and singers who just want to get their music out to the world. There are also websites where you can purchase individual songs for download, usually for less than a dollar per song.

I will give you my recommendations for music downloads. I have tested each of these websites out by downloading and listening to their music. I have added some nice songs to my collection that I'd never heard before, but have quickly become favourites. My hope is that you will find the experience just as rewarding.

With over 75,000 free MP3's for you to download broken down into categories and sub-categories for your convenience, this is one of the best online services available. They have a selection that includes established artists as well as up-and-comers that you may not have heard of. It's an absolutely wonderful thing.

MP3 4 U
MP3 4 U advertises its mission as "Helping you to discover music through people who love music". They have a nice database of bands offering free music downloads that is regularly updated by members. Music is broken down into categories for your convenience, the experience is very smooth and easy.

This website contains a list of songs that are in the public domain. You can download these songs freely with no guilt. They are not broken down into categories, but if you have the patience to sort through them individually you may find some nice gems here.

Free music on the Internet isn't limited to teens and adults. If you have little ones, you'll definitely want to consider visiting this website. Songs are listed alphabetically. You can listen to them with your children and burn their favourites to CD's for those long car trips. Beats a trip to the record store any day!

This is perhaps the best commercial website for music downloads on the Internet. Unlike other commercial music sites, songs are provided in .MP3 format and may be copied onto any digital music player. The selection is absolutely huge, over 2 million songs available. You can sign up for a free, no obligation trial and receive 25 downloads right off the bat. If you choose to continue using the service you can select one of their low cost monthly plans and be given an allotted number of songs to download each month. At their basic membership level songs work out to about $0.33 each. You can save a lot of money over buying CD's.

Games, Utilities, and Business Applications are all available for download if you know where to look. Here's a list of reputable websites, if you haven't tried them yet you really should:

Tucows is a wonderful website providing information about software, both free and commercial, that is available for download over the Internet. They have a whimsical rating system that rates each piece of software in cows. A perfect score is 5 cows, but the scale can be rated with half cows (ie, you can have a 4.5 cow rating), so it's really more like a 10 point rating system.

I mentioned Download.com's music section earlier. That is actually a relatively new feature. Download.com's bread and butter has always been software downloads. They have an incredible selection of free and commercial programs rated and reviewed both by editors and users like yourself. A great place to get opinions on software packages.

This is an excellent website. They have a huge selection of programs that's always expanding. They test all programs for spyware and viruses so that you know what you're getting. The layout is very intuitive and user friendly. It's a real pleasure to use.


As content on the Internet continues to grow and expand, I'm certain that you will find more and more of these types of resources popping up. We are starting to see websites where you can download videos now as well, although more popular are streaming video websites such as YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com ). We're also seeing most radio stations providing live feeds, and many television networks providing online viewing of their shows.

Online entertainment content is growing richer all the time. I hope that this article has given you some starting points on where to look for free, legal downloads. You will undoubtedly see more and increased selection as time goes on. If I have missed one of your favourite download sites or content types, please understand that this article is only meant to provide suggestions to get people started. I would love to hear any reader's suggestions for additional resources.

It's an exciting time in which we live.

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