Is this legal?

There are so many fights and so many lawsuites that nothing is clear. What is legal to do today, may not be tomorow.
My main question is, is it legal to download television shows. There are cable shows (only avalable by piad service) and brodcast. I can record a broadcast show and thats legal (with what they are doing with hi-def/digital laws, maybe not for long)? I figure that it is probably ilegal to download shows that were originally on cable (paid controled service). But what about shows that were free brodcast (while we still have those)? So what if I missed the latest episode of a show and downloaded it (cause it’s not avalable on dvd)?What about those good old shows that are not on dvd, and not shown on reruns? If I understand right, I can record broadcast shows, I can show them to friends, but the second that I copy a friends tape, acording to the batamax decision, I have broken the law???
This is all just semantics here, what I really want to know is can I legally download free broadcast television shows(cause that applys to me now, I would like to see some missed shows)? How do I know what is legal, grey (being fought in court perhaps), and what is illegal?
Any help here would be appreciated (fyi I have searched and more importantly, I watch (I think I am addicted to the cdfreaks news)), but I still downt know what is legal?

Have you checked out this site as well?

Thanks for the link. Thats a prety interesting site. While it does not answer my imediate question (my fault, I didn’t mention that I am in the US and unless I missed something it is just euro news/info), what is hapening in other countries is still very interesting to me. Especially since the riaa has started sueing non US companies (still not sure what the deal is with that). So can anybody clue me in on the legality of downloading television shows in the US that were originally brodcast for free over the air? Does the betamax decision (or any other law or rulling) make it illegal?
On a side note, I think that I will start keeping an eye on that euro copyright law site. We are an internation comunity on the web after all (one big family)!!! That complicates things even more. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I bet that there are some pretty good shows from all kinds of countrys (I was originally just thinking about US shows), and threre are probably some avalable on the web from all kinds of countries (on p2p or bittorrent or otherwise). that complicates the legality of it even more?
Fyi sorry if this is a stupid question that has been asked a million times. I have tried searching the forums but am not really even sure what terms to search for. I have tried searching the web but usally come up with something along the lines of billion page legal documents that I cannot even begin to understand. It seems that laws applying to music seem to be the most common topic of discussion. I guess the same still applys. Recording something off the radio and then letting a friend copy the tape is technically ilegal if I understand right (just like recording a tv show and letting someone copy it, for free of course would be). I am not sure that it is illegal though, thats just the impression that I get. Would downloading something broadcast from whatever source be the same thing and therefore illegal(specifically downloading US broadcast shows in the US but downloading broadcast shows from other countries has now also sparked my interest)?

its very simple boss, any thing that has a copywrite is illegal to share :slight_smile:

So exactly what are you allowed to do legally? I am assuming that it is ok to record a tv show. I also assume that it is legal to loan that tape to a friend. I’m not sure if it would be legal to give it to a firend But I would think so. If I were to make a backup copy of that tape, would that be illegal? If I were to loan or give the copy to a friend would that be illegal? Is it the fact that it is being copied and not directly recorded that makes it ilegal?
I have been reading a little on the euro-copyrights link but find it confusing. I’ll have to read it a little more.

again boss it does not matter what it is you can’t share, copy, etc., anything that has a copywrite.

you are allowed to make backups for your self but you are not allowed to distribute anything with copywrite. lending is not sharing in the sense of file sharing. sharing in this case means allowing others copies of your files to keep.

Not in Canda Eh?

ripit didn’t mention his was from canada

IMHO it would be illegal to reproduce and distribute a television show. While they are “free” due to the plethora of ads one must wade through to watch them, you still don’t own them. The shows are usually owned or syndicated for distribution, so we can safely assume that in order to “broadcast them” via P2P you would have to pay just as a television station would. However, having said that, it has been my experience that the act of downloading probably would not be enough to trigger a lawsuit. As long as you did not leave said material in your shared folder. In other words, leeches have not been litigated against AFAIK.

Betamax does not apply here as you aren’t timeshifting, your distributing.

In the other matter. While it is legal to download in Canada, it is illegal to upload so therefore filesharing of copyrighted materials is illegal. Canadians like to brag about how this “legal P2P” ruling shows how great their legal system is. But it means nothing. You can’t share a damn thing if you can’t upload. NO ONE in the United States has been sued for downloading copyrighted content over P2P. They have all been uploaders and furthermore with the exception of movie cases and the MPAA, these individuals have had 1000’s of files in the shared folders available for distribution, so called “SuperNodes”. It takes at least 2 to tango in a filesharing covenance and so you are just as screwed in Canada as anywhere else.

With movies however, i.e. “The Hulk” we have seen the the MPAA has a zero tolerance level. They have successfully tried and prosecuted individuals for the sharing of a single film. Still others have been sent warning letters from their ISP. If I am not mistaken, from what I have read about here, at least some of those contacted were just downloading. Of course they would have a shared folder that the movie went into. But, I am not so sure they had been uploading them. I can’t remember.

Really, the only thing slowing down the process now in all cases in the United States is the fact that copyright holders must now have a judges approval in order to force an ISP to reveal the identity behind your IP address. This is slower and more costly, but frankly means nothing either as the settlements can be adjusted to compensate for the extra effort and cost.

I would suggest a Tivo or something to help you to keep from missing a program. Also, I think that is pretty hard to do, miss a program that is because the damn thing will be on again within a day or two. Repeats on television have gotten so bad it is ridiculous.

If you don’t know, then don’t then there is no need to post your ignorance.

First off, it is just WRONG to say if it has a copyright it is illegal to share. The most obvious exception to this is I can legally share anything I create or have created for me as work for hire. Next I can share anything where the copyright owner has authorized redistribution. Examples of the second are shareware, open source software, media with the open media license. Third I can share anything that the law does not prohibit me from sharing.

It is the third classification where the confusion comes. As an example, in Canada I can legally share music I own a copy of. I am not allowed to “upload”, but Canadian courts have ruled P2P sharing is not the same as “uploading”. I presume it becomes uploading when I publically post the link… On the other hand, Canadian law strictly prohibits copying movies without explicit authorization from the copyright holder.

TV shows are not explicitly mentioned in Canadian law. Some assume that TV shows are the same as movies. However, reciently Canada’s media tax was ruled illegal. Why? The law only explicitly mentioned tapes and CD’s, but the government was trying to apply it to all media. The courts ruled that the law only covered what it explicitly mentions. When Canada passed its legislation against copying movies, TV shows were not listed. It is not reasonable to assume that a law covering movies also covers TV shows. The question is then, are there other more encompassing laws that would protect TV shows?

My own oppinion is that since the shows are broadcast on public airways, the public has been granted a right to access these shows. Consiquently, sharing of TV shows should be allowed.

Remember, copyright law was invented as a way to serve the public, not serve corporations. It serves the public to have information made publically available. Copyright law does this by promising some limited time limited protections in exchange for making the information available. The “limited time” and “limited protection” clauses are essiential. If the protection was absolute, then the public would not be served.

The law exists for the benefit of everyone, not the few with power and money.


Is this the oldest thread to be resurrected?