Is it illegal to tape TV shows?

AFAIK, it is illegal to tape songs off the radio. So, why isn’t it illegal to tape TV shows? Is it just because so many people do it? Or is it really not illegal to tape songs off the radio?



It is legal to tape TV shows for the purpose of time shifting. It falls under fair use, so says SCOTUS, Sony vs Universal

(more precicely, VCRs are not illegal beacsue they have a non infinging use, ie time shifting)


I think the general concensus is that it’s OK to copy music and TV for your own personal use, but not for distribution or public display.

I’m not a lawyer, but I’d WAG that, while time-shifting is allowed, archiving technically is not. Of course, I doubt anyone will bust into your house because you made a broadcast-quality tape of X-Men or anything.

I recall one network executive saying something to the effect of “it’s ok to record television shows so long as you DO NOT fast forward through the commercials - skipping the ads is stealing TV”

Bob55: The Dreaded Fast-Forward Button

That the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. So, if I run to the bathroom or go make a sandwich during the commercials, I’m stealing the programming? Give me a break.

Sure it’s silly. But there’s currently a case running to determine whether it’s just silly de facto or actually silly de jure. Newmark, et al., v. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. et al.

I don’t know as the entertainment industry has much of a leg to stand on here. Commercial Advance is a feature found on many VCRs (mine has it), yet AKAIK, no on has filed a similar suit against VCR makers. Yes, I understand that commercials pay for broadcast TV programming, but since the dawn of television people have left the room during commercials, which is inherently no different than fast-forwarding through them. Ok, for the former you have to actually get up off your ass, whereas for the latter you don’t, but you get my point. Surely sponsors don’t expect that every viewer will sit through ever commercial. Clearly enough people see enough of the commercials to make TV advertising worth billions annually to the various advertisers who pay to air them.

Well, the suit against the VCR makers was filed and lost 20 years ago. Note that the suit I referred to above was a pre-emptive strike against Turner, not the other was around.

Yes, I realize that. I was commenting on the statements made by the representatives of the televison industry.

IIRC, the Millenium Copyright Act, essentially says that it’s illegal to tape HDTV broadcasts for any reason. RIAA was trying to get a provision included in a bill that would allow them to write computer virus programs which would wipe out any “improperly owned” MP3’s you might have on your computer! Nice, huh? Ironically enough, some of the anti-terrorism legislation passed after 9/11 has put the lid on that idea for awhile.

No, it doesn’t say that. But the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group does want a “broadcast flag” added to transmissions which would be recognised by digital copying equipment and by digital-to-analog conversion equipment. More info: Industry Plans to Restrict Use of HDTV Broadcasts, Harming Innovation

You might want to check out my thread on this subject:

Yes. That’s an excellent example of a question that gets four replies, all from people that haven’t got a clue.

I retract my last comment. Duckster correctly answered this OP in six minutes, and the (now) broken link in Duckster’s answer to Dunmurry’s OP may well have done the same.

For own personal use its illegal…For giving to public its legal,hmm…or is it vice versa?

Public performance of captions is not permitted without written permission. They usually say that in the captions…so I guess a private showing is legal.

I love my Commercial Advance, but it seems to be in very few NEW vcrs these days & I’m not sure why.

Did you guys see this guy on the news whose trying to get commercials to be part of a program? So like the star would be talking to someone & then sip some coke (soda) & say what a wonderful soft drink it is. … oh, no.

Didn’t they do something similar to that sort of thing years ago, when commercial broadcast TV was beginning to emerge as a major entertainment medium, handy?