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Legal Alternatives to File Sharing


Why pay thousands of dollars dealing with a copyright lawsuit when there are many legitimate ways to access copyrighted material?

UC San Diego looks continuously for services that provide legal and affordable alternatives for viewing, listening to, and purchasing copyrighted material. An extensive list of legal alternatives can be found at Educause's website.

Legal alternatives for music:

  • Amazon has very competitive prices for music, and even has anime.
  • iTunes Store has free songs and TV shows to download every Tuesday.
  • Pandora Radio is the personalized internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites.
  • Google Play has a all-access streaming service billed monthly.

Legal alternatives for TV shows and movies:

  • Amazon and Netflix provides a Video on Demand service.
  • Crackle  and Jaman provide streaming TV shows and movies online for free as well.
  • iTunes Store has a movie rental and purchasing store, a service similar to Amazon.
  • Hulu has free TV shows and movies as well, with limited commercials.
  • TV network stations such as ABCNBC and Fox usualy host the latest episodes of most broadcasted shows.
  • RedBox Instant by Verizon offers a selection of movies to reserve at the kiosk, rent or buy on demand, and stream for an $8/month subscription.

A few free, legal alternatives to commonly used software:

Program FREE Alternative
Microsoft Office LibreOffice
Adobe Photoshop GIMP
Final Cut Pro Avidemux
Adobe Dreamweaver Aptana Studio
Autocad BRL-CAT or FreeCAD
Norton/McAfee

Sophos Anti Virus (mac)

Microsoft Security Essentials (PC)

Matlab Scilab

Other legal alternatives include:

  • Use ACMS Virtual Computing Labs for access to popular applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, ArcGIS, and Stata.
  • Getting material from the public domain, using sites such as Internet Archive. Government documents, text, and images over 75 years old are in the public domain and are free to use.
  • Using "royalty-free" collections of work, such as stock-media libraries.
  • Getting permission or a license for use from the owner of the work before using copyrighted material.
  • Use work you have created yourself!

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