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(noun) A download is

a transmission of an electronic file containing a digital copy of a musical work that is sent from an on-line server to a local hard drive.[1]

(verb) To download is

[t]o transfer a copy of a file from a remote computer to a requesting computer by means of a modem or network.[2]
[t]o transfer data to a local system from a remote system, or to initiate such a data transfer.[3]


To begin the downloading process, the client establishes a connection to the server, which transmits the file over the Internet to the client, where the file is saved — generally stored on the client’s hard drive — for future use. Once saved, the file can be audibly played by the client and copied to various portable devices.

Providers sometimes attach conditions to the download and playback of a sound recording, such as the maintenance of a current subscription to the provider or a limitation of the number of times the audio file may be reproduced.

"Any type of computer data file may be downloaded, including email, music, movies, or others. Downloaded data files are typically stored on the user's computer or device for later use or access. However, downloaded data files are not usable until all of the data have been received. Downloading differs from the related concept of streaming . . . in that in streaming, the data may be used while data transmission is still in progress. Streamed data is typically used immediately and not stored on the user's computer or device."[4]

"Superama cites no case holding that a download occurs where material is stored. Rather, because the infringing act of downloading the material occurred on a computer outside the United States, there was no act in the United States to establish jurisdiction."[5]


  1. United States v. American Soc'y of Composers, Authors, Publishers, 627 F.3d 64 (2d Cir. 2010) (full-text).
  2. Privacy Technology Focus Group Final Report, App. B, at 53.
  3. Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies, Part 1, at xii.
  4. Id.
  5. Superama Corp. v. Tokyo Broadcasting Sys. Television, Inc., 2020 WL 6158106, at *1 (9th Cir.2020).

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