Can your PC replace your cable/satellite subscription? Part III

In part I, we learned about some free and completely legal ways to watch TV and movies. In part II, there was some long explanation, and a brief bit of some information about how to watch your shows that are not well-defined. The laws contradict each other, so you are on your own down that path.

Now, I will explain the completely illegal ways to get your shows. Please know that I do not suggest doing anything illegal, but feel that you should know about these methods so that you can avoid them and any trouble that comes with using them.

The first, easiest, and most common illegal way I see of getting music, shows, and movies is LimeWire. There are legal reasons for using Lime, but the use of it is not for those reasons. Lime is used mostly to illegally ‘share’ music and other files across the Internet.

People like to claim that they are only ‘sharing’ these files with their friends or, really, complete strangers across the Internet. That, is a lie. Not about what they’re doing, but pretending that it is legal. People are taking material that they do not own the copyright for and giving it away to others. They are also downloading material illegally from other LimeWire users. Along with the illegal files comes a big risk for viruses, also something I see a lot on PCs people ask me to fix.

Up next is Bit Torrent. Torrents are similar to LimeWire, except that they are used more in legal ways, such as sharing legal discs to install Linux and other free information. Unfortunately, a lot more people use torrents to illegally download movies, music, and more from others. So, Bit Torrent is covered under this illegal section.

How torrents differ from regular downloads is that it downloads from many different users in ‘chunks’. It operates on the idea that the more you ‘share’, the better/faster you can get files. It works out well for everyone because the more people share a file, the faster it downloads for everyone.

After downloading files illegally, the most popular way to steal (yes, it is stealing) material is to rent it from the video store, borrow a CD, or find another way to get a digital copy and rip it or copy it onto your PC.

People have mentioned several times that they rent a DVD when it comes out, rip it, and keep the copy they made on their PC. Once again, this is completely illegal. These people rent a piece of copy-written material, not own it, and make a copy (that may be legal if they owned it).

There is no salvation for those who rent a DVD or borrow a CD to copy it. Ripping most anything without owning a copy yourself is stealing from those who put it out there for sale.

As always, there are exceptions: if something has been released under a license that is free to distribute, like some written works and all Linux distributions. These materials are different than most things, and are the exceptions.

Generally, if someone downloads material that is copyrighted, they are breaking the law. If anyone is ripping material that they don’t own a copy of, they are also breaking the law.

This is the simple version, but gives a decent overview. As always, this is not legal advice. Do your own research.