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Some Pirates Believe They Can Do These Things Legally But Most Probably Can’t

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Mach1

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Copyright law is rarely straightforward, something which leaves some situations open to interpretation. Today we take a look at some activities people believe they may be able to partake in legally but in most circumstances almost certainly can't.

 

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Two decades ago, when obtaining and consuming digital content via the Internet was a mere twinkle in most people’s eyes, knowledge of copyright law was strictly the domain of the experts.

 

Today the landscape has been transformed. With file-sharing, streaming and downloading now something carried out by millions of Internet users, not to mention the masses who upload content to YouTube and social media every day, most people now have at least a rudimentary grip on what behavior could lead them into trouble.

 

On the fringes, however, are activities that at first view may seem borderline acceptable, often because they seem relatively reasonable, even if some require a little creative thinking. The questions/statements below regularly appear on discussion forums when people are trying to carve themselves a safe niche under the law. As we will see, solid ground can be difficult to come by.

Movies and TV Shows

Is it legal to stream pirated movies and TV shows as long as I’m not sharing them using torrents?

 

The confusion here seems to have its roots in differing mechanisms of delivery and distribution. When it comes to streaming, a permanent copy of a movie or TV show isn’t stored on the users’ machine, neither is it uploaded to other users. With torrents, on the other hand, a permanent copy is stored and also distributed to people sharing the same content.

 

What we know, particularly given the thousands of copyright troll lawsuits around the world, is that downloading and sharing copyrighted content using BitTorrent is definitely illegal. What we also know is that in the EU, following a ruling from the area’s highest court, is that it is categorically illegal to stream unlicensed content from an unlicensed source.

 

While some may choose to split hairs and try to predict what may or may not happen in courts elsewhere in the future, it seems extremely unlikely that streaming pirated content from a source that is unlicensed by rightsholders could ever be seen as legal.

 

That said, tracking people who only stream movies and TV shows from third-party sources is fraught with difficulty so while it is probably illegal in any country with robust copyright laws, doing so anywhere is far less risky than using torrents.

 

I subscribe to Netflix and can download a copy of a movie/TV show from there. Can I legally download a copy from the Internet to keep?

 

Having a subscription to Netflix allows the user to do all the things that Netflix allows under the terms of the subscription. This includes watching movies and TV shows on the Netflix platform for the duration of the customer’s contract. It does not extend to any other activity, including obtaining the content from anywhere else via streaming, torrents or downloads.

Videogames and Software

I buy videogames legally but hate DRM including Denuvo. If I own the original, can I legally download a cracked copy from the Internet as well?

 

While there can always be exceptions depending on the terms of the purchase, in most instances ‘owning’ a copy of a game does not necessarily mean that people actually own it. What they have obtained is a license to use and play that game within the specific terms of that license. Those terms never state that it’s permissible to download a DRM-free version from a pirate site.

 

I own a game on Xbox, can I legally download a copy for Playstation and/or PC too?

 

This is again covered by the licensing issue detailed above. When people obtain a copy of a game for Xbox or any other platform, the license that comes with the title governing how it can be used is unlikely to allow people to download a pirate copy for another system. If in an exceptional circumstance it did, that would be made very clear and in that case only, obtaining a secondary copy would be entirely legal.

 

However, it would be extremely unlikely for a games company to instruct people to obtain that copy from a pirate source which in itself would be unlicensed to distribute. In any event, that would probably involve torrents or file-hosting sites offering cracked, aka illegal copies, something that companies never openly tolerate.

 

As I already bought Windows 10 for another computer, is it ok to download a cracked copy for use on another computer?

 

Yet again, this is an issue of licensing. When using Windows 10 or indeed any other software, people need a license to use that software. In the event that the license covers usage of the software on a single machine, obtaining another copy from elsewhere and using it on another machine would not be covered. Regardless of where the copy was obtained, a second or in some cases enhanced license is generally required.

 

I want to test a piece of software before buying it. Is it legal to obtain a cracked copy as long as I delete it after seven days if it doesn’t suit me?

 

This is one of those urban myths that has persisted since the early days of ‘warez’ (pirate software), where piracy groups provided cracked copies on the basis they should be used for a limited period and then deleted if unsuitable.

 

While in some instances people are allowed to make backups of software they have legitimately acquired, copyright law doesn’t have a ‘trial’ clause which permits people to break the law for a limited period and then get off the hook later providing they do the ‘right thing’.

 

While many downloaders still obtain cracked software on this ‘for-testing’ basis, they would be much better off checking out the legitimate provider to see if they already offer this thing of service – many do.

Conclusion: If it Sounds Piratey, It Probably Is

By their very nature, laws are usually complex and limited to geographical areas. As a result, someone, somewhere will probably dig out their interpretation of local law in order to justify why some or indeed all of the above points are entirely legal or in a ‘gray area’ where they live. That being said, most questions usually have clues in their titles.

 

So, if someone is asking if it’s legal to download a pirated and cracked game from a pirate site without paying the people who made it, they probably haven’t thought it through. Or, more commonly, are just trying to see if they can get the necessary wiggle-room and authorization to go ahead and do it anyway.

 

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Alanon

People need to understand that a "digital copy" is not, and will never be anything close to physical ownership, because everyone in the internet-of-things industry worked extremely hard from the get-go for it not to be. A "digital licence" is nothing but a glorified lease that leaves consumers with no recourse, and usually no ability to use a digital object in any other way except the one someone else intended. Yet people have a romanticised idea of what a "licence" actually is and mix it all together to form their own private understanding of what they believe they have a right to do for the money they paid. If more people understood that they have less options, less wiggle room, and ultimately, fewer rights with Netflix than they ever had with their local DVD video club, perhaps the laws and practices would stand a chance of being altered. This way, people will only realise this once the digital repositories begin removing content willy-nilly, according to the latest political shift. Then we'll all be regretting chucking out that Gone With the Wind DVD, because, "it's all online anyway". It is, until it isn't.

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zanderthunder

But then, if there's loopholes on copyright law, then pirates can still do whatever they want to. Different country have different rules on copyright law, and these jurisdiction limitations and loopholes makes it easier for the pirates.

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steven36
Posted (edited)
On 6/21/2020 at 10:17 PM, zanderthunder said:

But then, if there's loopholes on copyright law, then pirates can still do whatever they want to. Different country have different rules on copyright law, and these jurisdiction limitations and loopholes makes it easier for the pirates.

The USA  itself makes  it easy on piracy  because it's a just civil matter  . The reason piracy thrive is the power  of sharing  the people who run most of the websites are the bad apples of piracy  and are the ones  who own the centralized websites  that profit off it  and are the  ones  that go to jail .They been  taking people to court  for piracy since the days  of Napster 

 

.We never needed browsers to pirate  that not how it started out it started  out every thing was shared via  apps with internal  searches. The reason  torrents became  popular  is because the apps we used before  it they went after the people who made them and shut them down, as far them suing us that  never stop no one. They was big changes in piracy in the 2010s were they went after the money because they seen it done  no good to go after  the conman pirate we going to do it with with or without  piracy  websites. I still download most all my music with apps that have internal  searches the other stuff can go back under ground if it had too , all  the apps that got sued many of thems code   has been open sourced  and still work tell this day . So they no stopping us .We don't even need internet to pirate we can just use our computers  and software and make   are own copies from stuff we rent .

 

Back when i had dialup i use to rent  movies 7 at a time  I  sold stuff on ebay  to pay for my supplies  i bought  some software called one click DVD and bought a DVDBurnner back  then most PCs didn't have them they only  had a dvd player and cd burner and i bought big rolls of DVDs online really cheap that you could print on and my  printer printed DVDS i get the cover off websites for them  . The  software to remove DRM was free back then but still you can buy really good software to do it tell to this day and some of it is still free.

 

I downloaded my music  and software from with p2p apps not torrents  that had internal  searches we shared one on one and we shared via IM and MRIC as well. Today i still dl my music the same way , now I use Linux so most my software is free ,only thing I pirate a lot on websites is movies and TV shows  via file host  also i do torrents but i hardly ever use torrent software i do all in the cloud and remote upload to the filehost i use and download from there (they allow up to 15 gb  files  to be uploaded and don't follow DMCA ) lol,. today everything  is done  in the cloud and it makes it very easy for me to download what ever i want without having to fool  with taking much risk.  .:pirate::rockon:

Edited by steven36

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halvgris

this must be the worst article on tf ever.

he left out pretty much the most important stuff.

this is more or less 20% tech 80% the onion.

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