When it comes to illegal downloads, the most common will most likely be illegal music downloads. Illegal music downloading has been an issue since the late 1990s and early 2000s, where music was made available through the internet and users were downloading music files and circumventing actually purchasing the music.
Illegal music downloading was, and still is, most popularly done through file sharing networks or peer-to-peer networks. Illegal music downloads are considered to be in violation of intellectual property laws, which means that no person can use any kind of music without the proper consent of the copyright owner.
Illegal music downloading came to be at an all-time high with file sharing programs such as Napster and Kazaa, where music was being traded and downloaded without any particular type of control. This led the Recording Association of America (RIAA) and various artists to sue various creators of these kinds of programs claiming copyright infringement. Furthermore, this led to various users of these programs also being sued for illegal music downloading.
The most popular and notorious situation involving illegal music downloads was fronted by the legal case against Napster and its creator, Shawn Fanning. Various artists, such as heavy metal band Metallica, and the RIAA brought suit against Fanning stating that his program was facilitating illegal music downloading, and thus, in violation of copyright laws. Even though the RIAA and many artists are against illegal music downloading with proper reason, there are many that support the free downloading of music for various reasons.