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Hinman Box 6028
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH

Are MP3s illegal?

  • Some MP3s can be legally obtained through online subscription services (see the FAQ below) or from sites officially permitted by the copyright holders to offer certain MP3 downloads. Some are copyright free. Most MP3s don't fall into either category.
  • MP3 files are completely legal, but it's illegal to make or distribute MP3s of music recordings that you don't already own, or which you haven't obtained permission to reproduce from the copyright owner.
  • In almost all cases, sharing MP3s over the campus network is also illegal.
  • United States copyright law allows you to create MP3s only for your personal use and only of songs to which you already have rights. You can make MP3s only of songs for which you already own the CD or tape. And personal use means for you alone - you can't make copies and give or sell them to other people.

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Last Updated: 9/10/08