Ok, I plan on making a copy of a few episodes of a series for a person on the internet who lacked these from their collection. They’re going to pay me for shipping, tapes, and a some extra for my trouble. Is it illegal to do this? The stuff in question was publically broadcast - they just happened not to get them on tape, while I did. Am I doing anything wrong?
IANAL. I do not condone the the violation of federal copyright laws.
Legal to make a copy for yourself? Yes
Legal to sell a copy to your friend? No
Odds of getting caught? Virtually nil
You COULD make a copy of the shows for yourself and let your friend “borrow” them and “lose” them. He COULD then compensate you the loss of your TAPES (not the content) and the postage.
Ah. Someone posted on a message board about needing a few episodes, and offered a decent chunk of money for anyone who’d go through the trouble. I arranged to take care of it… and I don’t know this person. My friend suggested that it could be a sting of some sort, since it was technically illegal, and I was wondering if it was.
Oh, and yes, I realize how minor this all is, and wouldn’t even warrant a sting, but I still thought I’d ask about the legality of it. I figured since I wasn’t selling it for the purpose of profit (although I received some money for my effort), it’d be alright.
As long as we’re on the subject, does anyone know offhand where I could find the relevant law about this?
Illegal beyond the dreams of avarice.
Enforcable? Probably not.
And you can’t go anywhere better than the source…
If this is a law, why do broadcasters of sports games on TV and radio always read the disclaimers and you rarely (if ever) hear it in association with TV shows and movies on TV?
I’m not doubting it’s a law, btw. Just curious as to why they have to say it. Is it to let people know you have to get permission from the MLB (or NBA or NFL, etc) instead of the station?
MLB make the announcement routinely to be sure people are aware that they can’t do it. It’d be illegal otherwise, but by annoucing it, no one can argue that they didn’t know. Since copyright violation is a civil violation and not a criminal one, it adds one more weapon in MLB’s arsenal if they go to court.
The “extra” is the sticking point. The term I often hear is B&P–blanks and postage. The idea among concert bootleggers and episode traders I’ve always understood is that you send them some blank CDs or tapes and a pile of stamps, and you’ll get the media back with the content.
Many bands that I know of have a taping policy and also note that it’s ok to trade 1:1 for shows. They also consider it ok to do B&P as long as it’s not an unreasonable amount (in my trading days i’d always “charge” $2 per audio tape, because I bought the good $2 ones, and 50 cents per tape for postage).
However, this is with the band’s consent to do this. Bands that explicity let this happen get even more mad when people capitalize on their bootlegs, because they are offering them a chance to do it for free.
I wouldn’t think this applies to TV shows, however. I don’t see networks giving explicit bootlegging rights. In fact, I’ve heard some reports that they’re getting itchy about some new proposed TiVO-like systems that would let you tape shows and send them to people.
But, like everyone else has said, there’s a slim to none chance anyone will care what you do. I used to go to the post office 1 or 2 times a week with big packages of bootlegs to send all over the world and no one batted an eye. I once got a box of 26 videos from Canada and no one cared.
I know someone who got busted by the FBI for making copies of copyrighted TV shows. Even though the shows (cartoons, actually) never aired in North America, he was high-profile enough to get whacked by it.
Somebody at the FBI must have had a lot of spare time, IMO.
Except, in this case, I think they are a bit higher, because of the circumstances. Could be a sting. If it’s a lot of money, it probably definitiely is.
I thought it was a matter of civil/patent law, not criminal? If so, how would the FBI run “stings” on it?
Besides, wouldn’t that be entrapment?
You are allowed to make copies for yourself, but not allowed to sell them under the home recording act. I wouldn’t worry about getting caught though, as long as you don’t have some kind of huge underground operation cranking out huge amounts of media for black market distrobution. The regulatory agencies have better things to do with their time than to crack down on one person copying/selling a tape to another person, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
IF you didn’t take “a little money for yourself” or whatever you said, I think you are ok in doing that.
Are stings entrapment? Boy, there is a subject for another column.
Well, I meant… if they come on a bulletin board and say: “Hey, I need some tapes, I’ll give anyone cost + s/h and a little extra for your trouble”, they’re enticing you to do something you didn’t set out to do, so that’s entrapment, right?
you make a copy, transfer it (with or without compensation) to another.
If the content is copyrighted under US law, and you are not licensed to distribute said content, YOU ARE VIOLATING US COPYRIGHT LAW.
What part of ‘COPYRIGHT VIOLATION’ do you not understand?
yes, if busted, you would be welcome to try a defense based on entrapment - judges need giggles too.