Q:

What are the laws governing the download of free music videos?

A:

Quick Answer

Although a copyright owner may allow people to view a music video for free, anyone who downloads a video without specific permission is guilty of copyright infringement, reports the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright owners can sue those who infringe their copyrights and can receive statutory damages.

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Full Answer

People are not allowed to upload or download copyright-protected works such as music videos without permission of the copyright owners, explains the U.S. Copyright Office. Since all created works are copyright protected as soon as they are fixed in a tangible form, people can assume that music videos are protected unless the copyright owners clearly consent to downloading. Otherwise, people may not download, reproduce, transmit, publicly display or distribute copyrighted works without the explicit permission of the owners. To comply with copyright law, those who want to download free music videos must first ask the owners for permission.

Courts that find someone guilty of infringing copyright by downloading music videos without permission can award the copyright owners damages of up to $30,000 for each downloaded video as of 2015, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. If copyright owners prove that the infringement was willful, courts can award up to $150,000 per downloaded video in penalties. The offender also may have to pay the copyright owner's attorney's fees.

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