It’s never been easier to access free media online. However, if you download free software from illegitimate sources, it may not be worth it in the long run.

Illegal downloads have proliferated since the internet moved from dial-up to higher speed broadband. However, if you download free software or media from illegitimate sources, it may not be worth it in the long run.

With popular shows such as Game of Thrones clocking-up record numbers of illegal downloads as people rush to avoid spoilers which may arise from the release disparity between the UK and the US, pirating has never been more prevalent than it is right now. And it’s not just TV shows, of course – illegal copies of video games, music, films, and computer software are all available to download from thousands of locations around the internet.

However, before you reach for that download button, there are some things you may not have considered when it comes to illegal copies of your favourite media.

Why Illegal Downloads Aren’t Worth It in the Long Run

GOT clocked-up record numbers of illegal downloads as people rushed to avoid spoilers. (Image source: HBO.com)

Security

When you download free software from an illegitimate source, you have no idea what’s coming along for the ride. Malware can use the permissions you grant when installing dodgy software to circumvent your antivirus software and infect your computer.

From there, you can have your identity stolen, or your computer and files held to ransom. To compound the issue, you will have absolutely no come-back against, or assistance from, the producer of the software.

On top of this, there’s no way of knowing if the software will function as it’s supposed to. The leaked version may be an early alpha or beta build, and may be missing bug fixes and features which are present in the finished version. In addition, there will be no ongoing support for the product from developers, meaning that security will continue to be a growing concern as time goes on.

The Cost to the Producer

There’s a school of thought – a thread of fundamentalist libertarianism, if you’re interested – which advocates that all ideas and artistic creation should be available to everyone for free, and that IP protection and copyright laws stifle inspiration and creativity.

While this is a noble ideal, the thought that an artist, filmmaker, or software developer doesn’t deserve to be remunerated for their product in the same way a shoemaker or baker does is nothing short of preposterous. People who subscribe to this way of thinking are essentially suggesting that anyone creating these sorts of works should just do it for the love, and presumably work a second “real” job to earn money to pay their bills.

Whether developing software or making music – people deserve to be paid for their work, and illegal downloads deny them that.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are heading online to download free software, movies, video games or music illegally, there are a ton of risks which come with it – from security concerns, such as ransomware or spyware, and defective functionality, to depriving the creators payment for their work. Illegal downloads may not have a monetary value, but that doesn’t mean there’s no cost attached.

And don’t forget that illegal downloads, as the name clearly explicates, are illegal – and, while prosecutions are relatively rare, they do occur, and can carry steep penalties.

At FileHippo you can download free software from an authentic and legitimate source. Please head to the comments to let us know your thoughts on illegal downloads.