Because Haiti is a contracting party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, member countries such as the United States must protect the copyrights of its artistic works the same way they protect the works of their own nationals, reports the World Intellectual Property Organization. Downloading Haitian music without permission of the copyright owners is a violation of U.S. copyright law, states the U.S. Copyright Office.
Although consumers can purchase and download Haitian music through authorized services, downloading music from peer-to-peer networks and other unauthorized sources violates the exclusive right of the copyright owners to reproduce and distribute their creative efforts, explains the U.S. Copyright Office. As of 2016, penalties for downloading copyrighted music without permission include up to $30,000 for each piece a person downloads or up to $150,000 per piece if the copyright owners prove willful infringement. People convicted of copyright infringement may also have to pay the lawyers of the copyright owners.
Copyright protects music as soon as it is created, whether or not the creators register the works, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. Consumers should assume works are copyright protected unless clear notifications express differently. Streaming unlicensed music is generally not illegal as long as consumers make no effort to copy the material, clarifies Business Insider.