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Downloading Free Movies: How It Works

Mar 31, 2008
Downloading free movies is an easy thing to do: you simply use some free software that links you to a peer to peer file sharing network, and choose the movies on the network that you want. So how does it work? Where do these movies come from? Actually they are stored on somebody else's hard disk, and it is not difficult to do.

With a p2p software package, the software you use accesses the hard disk of other members of the network. Many of the different companies that offer the software are connected to the same network. Although the software is basically free of charge, you generally pay a one-time life subscription that pays for a boosted version of the software (essential for large files such as movies), the other software you get such as DVD burning software and DVD players, and also for support.

Once you have paid this, you will be given a number of search boxes in which you search for a movie title, and actor, a movie genre, etc. The software will check out the hard disks of others that are connected to the network and provide a list of those movies that are available. You simply click on what you want and download it. The download speed depends on the bandwidth used both by you and the movie file provider, the size of the file and the software version you are using.

Once the download is complete, it will be saved to a location on your hard disk that you have chosen, and then you can play it. As simple as that. As to what movies are available, you name it and you will be able to download it. This is where the legal and ethical questions now enter the picture. It is illegal for you to download a movie that is covered by copyright. If somebody has purchased a legal movie download, that does not authorize them either to sell it or to give it away free.

The same is true of a TV recording. If you record a movie to your hard disk from the TV, you can watch it yourself, but you cannot sell it and cannot legally allow others access to it. In that respect, the person allowing you to make the download is breaking the law by giving you the file. However, it is also illegal for you to obtain it free - or is it? If you obtain a DVD containing a pirated blockbuster movie for free, are you guilty of a crime or is it the person giving it to you: or is it both of you? It's a moot point and worth considering.

The recent actions by the movie companies in prosecuting kids for downloading movies would indicate that it is illegal to obtain free movies from other people unless these movies are in the public domain. I have previously written an article on movies in the public domain entitled The Legal Use of P2P Movie Downloads, and you might even find it on this directory if you search for it. It provides more arguments on this point, and also a list some of the better public domain movies that you can download free using P2P software.

However, assuming that it is illegal, then why don't the movie companies provide an alternative network that would allow people to download movies legally rather than whining about the illegal use of P2P software and asking for it to be taken offline

It is not the software that is illegal, but it's use, and if movie companies don't have the intelligence to use the technology available to provide a simple way of people paying for their downloads, then they shouldn't be surprised of they continue to download, legal or not.

I make it a point to state the legal aspects of peer to peer file sharing networks on my website, and why it is illegal to download free movies, but the fact is that millions do it every day, and of these practically nobody is caught and prosecuted. The penalties for downloading free movies should be applied to those people that do so in mass for resale, and make money from it, and until at least that has been done then the small guys that download a movie now and again should be left alone.

Once the movie companies are targeting the professionals for whom free movie downloads are a major means of income, then we will feel happier about them picking on the high school kids, until then, in the words of the famous Pink Floyd song , leave . . .
About the Author
For more information on the ethics and mechanics of downloading free movies, check out Online Free Movies where you will all you need to know about the software and the legal implications of its use.
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