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Finding Sound Files to Include on Your Web Page

It’s fairly easy to set up a sound file on your Web site to play by download. If the user has the necessary software and hardware set up, he or she can click your sound file link. Although, it’s easy to find an MP3 file on the Web, a lot of conditions limit how you can use them. Also, some people who want to distribute viruses, spyware, and other malware use MP3 files to attract visitors to their sites and the innocent visitors leave with more than they bargained for.

The most desirable MP3 files are free copies of hit songs. These files are illegal and attract increasingly aggressive litigation and prosecution. So, although they’re common on the Web, they tend to be hidden away or only available to those who use file-sharing services (which may themselves carry viruses, spyware, and other such dismal “free gifts”).

One trustworthy source for virus-free, legal, free MP3s is the music-download section of CNET’s download.com. Not many hit tunes are there, but not many problems are, either.

You can search the Web for other sites, many of which are trustworthy, but make sure your virus-protection software is up to date and running first!

Check the permissions on any MP3 file you find carefully. Once you’re certain the file is free of copyright problems and available for free use, you can do either of two things:

  • Link to it in place from your own site: This is easy and convenient. If this gives the appearance of the file being on your site, there is the possibility of problems with copyright, as you’ve made someone else’s property appear to be your own, so make sure the file is free to use. If you bring a lot of file downloads to the site, you’re also abusing their bandwidth, as someone else’s bandwidth is serving your purposes. This is unlikely to be a problem for an occasional download, but for heavy use it’s unfair to the file’s host.

  • Download the file and transfer it to your own site: If permissions allow this, it gives you control and responsibility. It also gives you the bill if there are a whole lot of downloads and you’re paying for download bandwidth.

In either case, to make the file available for download, you link to it from your Web page to the location where it’s hosted, whether that’s on someone else’s site or your own site.

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