A question re board policy

In Cafe Society, a request was put out for copies of tapes of several early seasons of The Amazing Race, which are not available on DVD at this point. The person making the request offered to pay cost of materials and shipping, not for the actual program. This was C.K. Dexter Haven’s response:

Is it really board policy that making copies for strictly home use for someone else and getting reimbursed only the cost of materials and shipping is against SDMB policy? On every other board I’ve been on, that’s not considered a violation of copyright as long the actual show isn’t being charged for. I’ve made lots of dubs of TV shows and sent them to people, getting repaid the postage and cost for a tape, and it’s my understanding that that’s legal and should therefore be allowable.

Policy clarification, please? Because if I dub a tape for someone to watch who missed the show, I fail to see now I am violating copyright to ask that the person I’m sending it to pay for my purchase of a tape and postage.

Dunno what the official board ruling will be, but copyright law doesn’t care about whether you profit off your copying or not. It’s merely concerned with whose right it is to copy something.

My guess is the boards wouldn’t like it anymore if you offered to do it for free.

I’m not a copyright expert or lawyer, but there’s also such a thing as “fair use.” Which means that if something is broadcast over the air, I can tape it to watch or to share with my friends. Which is what this would amount to; it’s just that I don’t want to mail off my original tape.

But I also am surprised at the board policy since at least one other board I know of has a moderator who is a lawyer and only gets upset if people try to charge a “service fee” or some other labor-type charge for copying tapes for private viewing. Which is why I’m asking for clarification here.

(bolding mine)

IANAL, but I see no provision for making more than one copy of an entire show and sending it to your friend to enjoy.

Anyhow, I don’t particularly care either way, I just wanted to clear up the erroneous notion that copyright law makes a differentiation over whether or not the person violating copyright makes a profit or collects money.

But to highlight another section of what you just quoted:

** the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature **

If it’s a noncommercial use and it’s a TV program meant to be watched and it’s simply going to be watched, it seems to me that it would be pretty hard to prosecute for copyright violation. Since it’s something that was sent out over the public airwaves for people to watch and/or record to watch later.

It’s not a big deal to me, either, I’m just surprised that this type of swapping/sharing is prohibited here since it’s specifically not prohibited on other boards that I know are also particular about copyright violations.

What friends do outside of this site is really none of our business.

What happens on this site is our business, and we’re always conservative and cautious where copyright is concerned.

What other boards do is not our concern either. There’s copyright violations all day every day in cyberspace and it’s always been that way and probably always will be that way; many, if not most people believe if it’s out there, it’s free for the taking.

That still does not make us more comfortable with allowing anything that’s more than a snippet of a quote, more than a bit of a song, or more than what we think might be Fair Use. A dub of an entire season of anything really pushes the limit.

your humble TubaDiva

Please note that doesn’t include “for sharing with friends” as an automatic non-infringement.

Please note that this wording doesn’t say that a non-commercial use is OK. It implies that a commercial use is notOK, but not that non-commercial use is automatically OK.

Again, we tend to be more strict here than many other websites. We want our copyrights respected, and therefore we are diligent in respecting the copyrights of others. The combination of “whole season” and “reimburse” in this particular situation set off my no-no-no mechanism.

Okay, no problem. It was just a far stricter policy than I’d run across before. Amazing Race fans who come in in later seasons have no way of seeing earlier seasons since the show hasn’t been released by CBS yet, so have no option but to share tapes in order to see the shows. And since there are very few people who actually have the tapes, most people save theirs and send copies to other folks. I’ve only actually heard of one or two people trying to turn a profit on it, by selling them on eBay or such. Most people just want to see the show, but don’t dare send off their originals since you never know if they will actually get returned, and tapes of season 1 in particular are almost impossible to find, and just ask for reimbursement for postage and the price of the tapes.

But if that’s SDMB policy, so be it. Not a problem.