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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Is this the right thing to do? Is it Ethical? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Justin Hepton
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Surrey, in the UK
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Hi!

One of my closest friends (who is a very talented amateur magician) asked me this question during a telephone conversation yesterday, and I thought I would post it here as after I gave him my opinion, I started to wonder if I may have been a little hasty.

Basically, he has a substantial "library" of Magic videos and a few dvd's. Due to a lot of use I suppose, the videos are becoming stretched and difficult to watch (he showed me one of his Ammar tapes and it jumps about like a jack in the box!) Anyway, he told me that he has started downloading copies of the videos from certain p2p websites, or using certain "file sharing" software, to replace the videos that he can no longer watch. He then burns them to dvd and that way, he says, he "preserves" what he has bought. He asked me last night if, by doing this, he is doing anything wrong either lawfully or morally. My response was this:

"Those file sharing programs and sites are illegal I believe, and by downloading these videos, you are breaking copyright law and could be in serious trouble. As far as from a moral standpoint, I'm not really sure. The originators of the videos you have downloaded will not necessarily lose a sale as it's not like you are downloading anything you haven't bought already, but I'm not sure."

I'd really appreciate some thoughts on this, as he is adamant that if he is doing anything illegal, or if he may be harming the originators of the aforementioned videos in any way, he will destroy all the dvds he has made and delete all the files he has/is downloading at present. So - at least he is decent enough to correct his actions if what he is doing will harm our art in any way.

He, like me, is in the uk too so the law may be different in that regard.

So, what do you think everyone?

Thanks!

Justin
"After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box"



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tpdmagic
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As far as I know legally he is not breaking the law by using those sites. P2P software and sites are not against the law. But there is a legal issue with him downloading copyrighted material, so yes he is breaking the law. I personally feel that since he owns the videos it is o.k to make a back up of the video but only for his use, not for sale. Now let me say that again, back up his videos, not download copyrighted material from the internet. I have back ups of most of my dvds not just magic, the reason I do that is because when I travel I don't want to loose the origonals even though in some cases I own dups...LOL So backing up your stuff for personal use I believe is not a problem at all but those sites are very shady. Yes they are legal but when you are downloading something that is copyrighted from someone elses computer there is definetly a copyright law being broket. Although the laws may be differen't I would suggest to respect the artist that put the material out. Back ups are o.k. but downloading I would say stay away from. These are just my opionens so take it for what it is worth.

tpdmagic
Justin Hepton
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Thanks for the reply!

I wonder if anyone else knows where my friend may stand with regards to the legality of what he is doing? And from a morality standpoint?

I have to say, I'm still very unsure about this, the whole thing feels wrong to me!

Justin
"After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box"



- Italian proverb
Jonathan Townsend
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Does copyright on videos permit making a backup copy for personal use?
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Dave V
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Although not exactly on topic, it reminds me of an interesting solution to the problem of decaying media put forth by Michael Ammar. At one time he was offering to exchange (perhaps he still does, I haven't looked recently) any of his video tape products for new DVD copies for a nominal fee. Considering that DVDs seem to cost more than their VHS counterparts, this charge combined with the original price is still reasonable. You get the material you paid for, but in a modern format. In fact, you just need proof of purchase (slipcase, etc...) and you get to keep the original media as well. I thought this was a very generous and forward thinking solution.

Now, back to the discussion at hand...
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Tom Cutts
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The basic purpose of P2P sites is to fascillitate breaking the law. Involvement with them in any way can only muddy one's hands at best. I agree with the line tpd drew above.

If your friend's tapes were destroyed in a fire, would that entitle him to copy friend's DVDs to rebuild his library?
Patrick Differ
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Why not use home equipment that burns a dvd from vhs? Once the dvd is made, the vhs is destroyed. All you've done is back up the work you've already paid for. What could possibly go wrong?
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The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

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jimtron
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In my opinion there is nothing remotely unethical about downloading a copy of a video that you legally purchased elsewhere, as long as it's the same title with the same content. If you have a VHS version, and you download a newer DVD version with additional content that's not on the VHS version; that might not be so kosher. But if your legally purchased video gets damaged and you download a copy of the same version, surely there is no harm done.

Legally, however, it might be problematic. Sites like Napster have been sued, and the RIAA has sued individuals for downloading mp3's.
bsears
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If you own it, you own it IMP, regardless of format. Burn it, tape it, download it, its yours! The inventor has already received his money. (selling, uploading, or trading your copies would be entirely different altogether).
LostSoul
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Bsears,

Burn it, tape it, but not download it (or upload as the case would be). The copyright laws contain a, I think this is the phrase, "Fair Use", which includes making a backup copy for your own use. But once you put it someplace others can access it, you're treading a very shaky ground (ask the Napster folk). I’ve heard that copyright law even allows you to share with friends, the problem with the P2P sites is they allow you to share with strangers.

All copyrights are basically the same (in the US anyway). That's why software companies don't sell you software; they only sell you the license to use it. The license contains very specific actions you can do with it. Commonly, you can create backup copies, you can install on a second computer (not many people know this) but you can only run it on 1 at a time. Normally all of my software is loaded both on my work computer and either my laptop or my home computer depending on what it does.

Dave

Disclaimer: I’m not a copyright lawyer (or any other sort of lawyer). I do read some and follow stories that concern me, which is software copyright law for one.
bsears
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LostSoul: I think we agree. Uploading bad, downloading something you already own, OK.

Here's the math as I see it: If you have paid the seller and are keeping the knowledge to yourself, the ratio of users of the trick to purchasers of the trick is 1:1. Does that make sense?
jimtron
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Quote:
I’ve heard that copyright law even allows you to share with friends, the problem with the P2P sites is they allow you to share with strangers.


Are you saying the law allows sharing with friends but not with strangers? That seems odd...
Roldero
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Quote:
On 2005-12-06 16:37, jimtron wrote:
Quote:
I’ve heard that copyright law even allows you to share with friends, the problem with the P2P sites is they allow you to share with strangers.


Are you saying the law allows sharing with friends but not with strangers? That seems odd...

This may have something to do with the Audi Home Recording Act. I did a quick Google on it and thought this might be of interest:
Audio Home Recording Act

I realize that this is US law and you are in the UK, but I believe there may be something similar in the UK too.

The wiki entry seems worth a read too: Audio Home Recording Act

My (totally unqualified) personal opinion is as long as your friend is downloading copies of stuff he already owns, he's OK.

Mike
SuperMagicMozart
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It doesn't seem wrong or illegal to me. I'm not certain whether or not this pertains to videos, but I know that with videogames and software you're allowed a back-up copy legally. Even if it isn't technically lawful (which I don't believe it is), the people that they go after tend to be those that download and SELL or download many, many items.
Jonathan Townsend
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As far as I know, the copyright holder retains the right to make and sell copies. Notice the distinction between making and selling. There are explicit notices of what rights the end user (consumer) is granted on many items.

As far as I've seen, no magic items come with a grant of license to make a backup copy. The boxes for the videos I have here all have a notice prohibiting the exhibition and copying of the product.

Borland software used ot have a nice grant of copy and backup rights to the end user.
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Roldero
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Quote:
On 2005-12-07 22:03, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
<snip>
Borland software used ot have a nice grant of copy and backup rights to the end user.


It was nice of Borland to allow you to do something that you are already entitled to do under copyright law (if I'm reading it right): Copyright

I am still digging for a good reference, but am currently of the opinion that you are legally able to make a backup of "non-copy protected" items.

Mike
Jonathan Townsend
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Mike, my quick scan of the linked article and its link about reserved rights looks like the copyright holder has the right to prohibit that backup as well by means of written notice.

from the linked article cited above:
Quote:
Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;



By the way, please notice the artwork discussion, and think about item two above.
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Roldero
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Johnathan,

My interpretation is as follows:

The section you quoted is from "§ 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works" and starts off "Subject to sections 107 through 122....".

Sections 107 through 117 are all titled "1xx. Limitations on exclusive rights: ....". This implies to me that the owner has exclusive rights EXCEPT where noted in sections 107 through 122. Which means that the copyright owner cannot take away the right to make a backup copy.

I'm not a lawyer though, but have had the occasional need to get into contract wording at work with corporate lawyers. It would be nice if some one with a strong legal background could give their thoughts.

However, I think we are digressing as we have seem to talking about computer software rather than a magic instruction video.

I tried looking for the artwork discussion (I did a search on artwork, but couldn't find anything relevant), could you give me a few more pointers?

Thanks,

Mike
Jonathan Townsend
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To begin, magic tricks are not computer programs.

Though according the argument you have put forward, it would be nice to have digital backup of my books etc so I can worry less about coffee stains and teething puppies.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Skulldini
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This might be a poor example of the down-load question, but consider this scenario. I have purchased a VHS tape and after awhile it becomes unusable, so because I have already paid for it once I go to my retail store and pick up another. I said pick up another, notice I didn't anything about paying for it, why should I, I already paid once, that should be enough to last a life time.
The point being that no matter where you get your replacement, whether it's from a retail store or the INTERNET it needs to be paid for. Just a thought.
Skulldini
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