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Teach children rules for downloading music

Q. What should I teach my children about downloading music?

When it comes to downloading music, it is important to teach your children about safe and legal practices, including these:

Copyrights: This is an important word for anyone who is interested in having greater access to music. Downloading and/or sharing music that is copyrighted without the consent of the copyright owner is illegal. Make sure children understand that the federal government takes illegal downloading of media very seriously, and criminal penalties have been as much as five years and prison and/or $250,000 in fines.

Malware: Children should know that torrenting (peer-to-peer file sharing) or illegally downloading music can also result in unknowingly downloading malware to a computer. These pieces of malware can hide in MP3 files and are designed to steal login information.

Good news: There are many websites from which it is legal to pay for and download music. It is up to you to decide whether you want your children to use pay-for-music sites such as iTunes, Amazon MP3, Yahoo! Music and AOL Music.

Create and maintain playlists: Make downloading music fun and interactive. Many of the legal sites allow you and your children to create and maintain playlists, review music, see the top songs in many categories and do much more. These features also create opportunity for you to explore different kinds of music with your children.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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