PARENTS' CORNER: What Every Parent Should Know About Illegal File
Stealing music on the Internet is every bit as wrong
as stealing goods from a store. Yes, it’s against the
law. And, yes, offenders can be prosecuted in criminal
court and sued for damages in civil court.
But what if the offender is a minor? Well, for
one thing, that doesn’t make the activity any less a crime.
For another, it may subject the offender's parents or guardians to legal action.
The fact is that civil liability can extend to the
parents of under-age offenders, even if they were
unaware that their child had been stealing. It’s a
chilling thought. While you’re downstairs watching
TV, thinking your teenager is upstairs studying, he
or she could be doing something illegal that could
land you in court.
Even more shocking is the fact some illicit
“peer-to-peer” networks, such as Kazaa, actually
commandeer a portion of the hard drive on your
computer for illegal downloading and uploading
by network members around the world. Once you
register with them, all the files on your computer
hard drive can be fair game. Depending on the
settings you choose, peer-to-peer users can explore
your computer to find private financial information;
confidential, personal and professional data;
and other sensitive documents.
It works like this: when a computer user signs up
to become a member of one of these so-called “peer-to-peer” networks, they designate a special file and
a certain amount of hard-drive capacity that can be
accessed by any other member of the network. That
means anybody, in any country, anywhere in the
world, who has a computer and Internet access, can
access the computer in your home and make illegal
unauthorized copies of the music and anything else
contained in that location. Once your child becomes
a member, other members — who could be anybody
from the kid down the street to someone half way
around the globe — can access the computer and its
contents in your house.
Remember, the Internet is a tremendous learning
tool that represents a great technological advance
for society. But right now, it’s a lot like the Wild West.
Everyone, from the most seemingly innocent teens
to the hardest of hardened criminals, is out there
surfing cyberspace with very few rules—and even
less enforcement—to maintain order.
If you haven’t been paying much attention to
what your children are doing on their —or your—
home computer, it’s probably time to get involved
in a sensible and supportive way.
Reprinted with permission from MusicUnited.org,
among other sources.
For more information, contact us at
; (615) 242-0303.
© Gospel Music Association /
Christian Music Trade Association