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MP3 Guide - What is an MP3 file
MP3 is a file format which stores audio files digitally in such a way that, despite a relatively small file size, the sound quality is ideal. Compared to traditional formats, MP3's have a compression ratio of 12:1. However, because of this intense compression, to listen to an MP3 generally requires a Pentium class processor and at least 32 MB of system memory.
You can identify MP3 files by the "mp3" extension. They are automatically recognized by the Windows 98 operating system. The compression ratio and high sound quality of a MP3 make it ideal for the Internet medium. On the Internet, millions of people download and trade MP3's of their favorite artist's songs and albums everyday.

MP3 Guide - Is MP3 legal?
Yes, MP3 is simply a file format and is very legal. The act of selling, trading and listening to MP3's falls under normal US copyright law. It is legal to trade a MP3 file if the song's copyright holder has granted permission to download and play the song. For example, all MP3.com artists have agreed to distribute their music to visitors of the website. It is illegal to sell, trade or listen to MP3's if the artist hasn't given express, written permission to do so.

Truly legal MP3's are rare and often the songs are from lesser known artists. Because of these difficulties, most MP3 trading on the Internet is technically "illegal". Reality dictates that downloading and playing MP3's is not a serious offense that warrants any sort of prosecution or investigation. In many ways, MP3 trading is likened to the copying of movies or television programs. Many search engines and software utilities have been forged to help MP3 users trade song files. These search engines and utilities are often backed by large companies, who don't seem to be afraid of the medium's controversial nature.

In general, if you simply listening to songs for personal use, there is no real problem. If you start using MP3 to make bootleg CD's, or begin selling them in bulk, you will start to find trouble.

MP3 Guide - How do I listen to MP3's?
There are many different ways of listening to MP3's. In fact, the process can be as simple or as sophisticated as the user desires.

In the most simple case, no special software is needed to play or download MP3's. Any web browser is able to download a MP3 file and the Windows Media Player, which comes as part of the Windows operating system, is capable of playing them. However, most MP3 users do not find these basic tools adequate.

Most MP3 users prefer a customized MP3 player such as WinAMP and download utilities such as GoZilla, Getright or the new Napster. These programs make the experience of listening to your MP3's a little more pleasant and prevent headaches often associated with sorting and playing more than one MP3 file.

In general, MP3 players are practically identical to other multimedia players such as the Real Audio player or Apple's QuickTime. Files can be played by either double clicking on files themselves or by launching the player and selecting a given song as if it were a word processing document or any other file.

Alternatively, you can take your MP3 files with you, just about anywhere. Portable MP3 players are now more popular than ever. You can buy them at most major electronic stores and countless places online. To learn more about these players follow the links below

MP3 Guide
CD MP3 Players
Flash MP3 Players
Hard Drive MP3 Players
Finding MP3 Files

 

 


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