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Is it legal to copy a file off of a network?

Is it legal to copy a file off of a network?

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Depends on whether the file is copyrighted or not. If it's copyrighted (or if you're not sure) it's probably not a good idea to risk potential legal trouble by taking something that isn't yours. If, on the other hand, the file includes language to the effect that the material may be freely used and copied, or if it is surrounded by a freeware or free to copy notice, then you can legally copy such a file.

When in doubt, ask the owner or operator of the machine where the file resides.


This was first published in November 2001

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