If new Tamil MP3 songs originate in India, Sri Lanka or the United States, consumers can only download them for free if authorized services clearly designate and offer them as free products. All three countries are contracting parties to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which states that member countries must protect artistic works such as songs that originate in other member countries as if they were works of their own nationals.
According to U.S. copyright law, downloading is a means of copying artistic works, which is an infringement of the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their material that copyright owners hold. The works receive legal copyright protection as soon as musicians create them, even if they do not register the copyrights. When people download songs without permission, the creators of the music have the right to sue them for copyright infringement. Penalties that courts may award for each illegally downloaded song can range from $30,000 to $150,000 as of 2016.
Although consumers cannot legally download Tamil MP3 songs without permission or purchase, they can generally stream the songs without penalty. Merely listening to the songs does not constitute copying, so it is legal even if the website that consumers listen to has illegally uploaded the songs. However, free streaming sites often carry risks such as pop-up ads, viruses and other undesirable content.