Thursday, September 17, 2009

Copyright and ownership

All right, here’s question for all the millions of copyright lawyers who regularly read this: Let’s say I’ve downloaded a full TV series from a filesharing site or via a torrent service.

Illegal, right?

But what if that series has already been shown on a TV channel that I pay for? I could have recorded all the shows, then converted them into digital files before putting them on my hard drive… ended up in the same place I am now - and been completely within my rights.

So what’s the difference? Isn't downloading simply a more convenient way of getting hold of media I have already paid for?

The same thing applies to albums I own on vinyl. I could spend a couple of hours recording, chopping and converting my LP into MP3s, or just download them in a fraction of the time.

But since I already own the songs, what’s the difference?

For me, there is none - morally. If there is a legal difference, it surely only exists to protect the interests of media and music companies, who want us to pay several times over to get the same thing in different formats.

Bullshit, right?

I await the comments of my learned friends with scarcely concealed excitement.

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