Group warns of sites offering unlicensed music

People who received MP3 players as holiday gifts may want to steer clear of some Web sites that claim to offer legal music but don’t have licensing agreements with major music labels, the Center for Democracy and Technology said.

The CDT, a consumer rights group, has published a list of more than 30 MP3 download sites that don’t have licensing deals with major U.S. music labels. The sites, which charge between $20 and $35 for subscriptions, say they offer music from artists signed to the major labels, according to the CDT.

Consumers should be aware of the sites on the list, because, in some cases, they may simply provide subscribers popular peer-to-peer (P2P) software that’s otherwise free, said David Sohn, the CDT’s senior policy counsel. And customers using P2P software to trade unauthorized music files could face lawsuits from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), he said.

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