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Backup for personal use - is it legal?

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Whatts, Apr 20, 2002.

  1. Whatts

    Whatts
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    After reading the 'Shrek' thread I decided to start this new thread.

    To cut a long story short, in the Shrek thread member Matts asked if anyone had any idea why a copy of his Shrek DVD (taped onto VHS from his macrovision disabled player) was of pretty poor quality.
    Moderator PoochJD then stated all copies are illegal.
    Then Matts explained he took this copy so his kids could watch the movie on their VCR without destroying either Matts's DVD ('small shiny round object' :D ) or expensive DVD player.
    To which PoochJD replied he still thought ALL copies were illegal.

    I personally thought it was legal to have just one 'backup' copy as long as you are the owner of the original.
    For DVDs as wel as CDs and all other software.
    For instance, I have a MiniDisc player in my car, so I have a copy of most of the CDs in my collection.
    If I were to sell the original, I should also dispose of the backup...

    To the moderators of this forum: I know piracy is a delicate topic because of possible legal consequences but I hope you understand I'm not trying to 'promote' piracy, I just want to figure out what is legally allowed and what isn't...

    Can anyone set the record straight on this issue?

    - Tom -
     
  2. bh

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    Simple,

    Go to the copyright notice on the DVD (not the packaging version but the one played to the display device). If this copyright notice explicityly states that you may make a back-up copy, then there is not a problem.

    However, I've never seen this on a DVD.


    P.S. The 'back-up copy' for software is a bit a misnomer these days. The default is that you may not make a back up copy unless the license permits you to do so.
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Apart from anything else, copying to VHS is not a backup since you can't restore from the backup and over half the information on the DVD is lost when transferring to VHS.
     
  4. stevegreen

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    I seem to remember that in the really old days of the Vic 20 and CBM 64 that software was available to copy games. The only reason that companies could actually market these products was to state in the adverts that they were for making 'personal back-up copies' only, which i assume was therefore legal.

    As far as making a copy of a DVD onto VHS for personal use goes, i would also assume that the same rules apply. The warnings at the start of the films are usually pretty standard and prohibit the use of the DVD for public showing and similar.

    At the end of the day, making a copy for your own personal use isn't exactly going to hurt anyone as it's not being done for profit or personal gain. And it's not as if the police are going to bother you when there is mass piracy going on.
     
  5. SILVERBACK

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    so im guessing if they make multi region machines illegal this forum will hand over or destroy all there pricey an expensive dvd players ??????????? lol.but on a serious note who cares if he makes a copy of shrek for his kids an dont tell every one you have either mate.you will be unindated with requests lol
     
  6. bh

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    Silverback,

    You're missing the 'subtlety' :rolleyes: of the discussion:

    1. Question - is it legal?
    2. Answer - forum members offer varying opinions including 'no'

    The answer " no it is not legal" does not mean "and I agree wholeheartedly".

    Don't worry too much, we won't dump our multi-region players on the basis of your point.....
     
  7. Ron240

    Ron240
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    This whole issue is in danger of getting blown out of proportion. Duplicating any form of copyrighted media can technically be illegal but the main point here is - for personal use.I remember a campaign by the music industry years ago that said,"home taping is killing music",well that turned out to be completely false.The fact is that the vast majority of people do or have done this,just look at all the home equipment that is specifically designed to allow you to do this. I agree with stevegreen in that as long as you are not making money out of it then you can rest assured that no legal action will be taken against you. Apart from anything else it just wouldnt be worth their time,money or effort to pursue the private individual when there are much bigger fish to fry.
     
  8. stevegreen

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    ooooooooooo thanks :D
     
  9. SILVERBACK

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    oh know BH i already dumped my player an all my copy pc games. i wish i had read your reply earlier but i thought the poilce where on there way round.
     
  10. bh

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    :p

    :rolleyes:
     
  11. SILVERBACK

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    you really do love them faces dont you lmao
     
  12. DavidMalone

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    Kind of on topic :) ....

    I have just bought a pioneer dvd-rw A103 drive and to test it out I backed up my copy of "Darrow" (The only dvd i have that weighs in at less than 4.7GB).

    The problem is with the menu screen, I can browse the menu fine from within PowerDVD on the PC, but when I am presented with the menu on my DVD player I am unable to browse the menu (all i see is the static screen, with the menu options greyed out).

    It's not too much of a pain, as i can skip the menu, and go directly into the movie.

    Has anyone else had a similar problem? if so could you please share the remedy?

    DISC LAMER :) The above text describes the duplication of DVD media for personal backup, if I spend £20 on a DVD your damn right I own it and would like to preserve a copy if anything were to happen to the original!

    P.s. UK DVD Prices SUCK, import delays SUCK.
     
  13. Lex

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    Its all very confusing this copyright business isn't it!

    David, unfortunately, and believe it or not, what you said is actually not true. When you spend £20 on your DVD (CD, game etc) what you are actually buying is a plastic disc - you have no rights to do anything with the material on it. You are in fact literally only paying for permission to watch it/listen to it, you do not own it!

    People might find some answers on this DVDFAQ (particularly 1.11):

    http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html#1.11
     
  14. Kramer

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    As far as I know, making a backup of purchased material is legal, as long as it's for personal use.

    That was the case for CDs, but with regard to DVDs I don't know.

    DVDs are overpriced anyway. It costs the industry pennies to produce a DVD - VHS was far more expensive & hence less profitable.
     
  15. LV426

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    There is no doubt about this. It is ILLEGAL to make a copy of copyright material, irrespective of the purpose of the copy, without the express consent of the copyright owner.

    This applies equally to films, music, games, software, etc.

    Limited express consent may be given in the licence terms, and often is for computer software. It never is for music and movies.

    As to whether "most people" consider this to be the case, or whether they consider it reasonable, that is a different question and quite irrelevant.

    As to whether the law is enforceable, or whether copyright owners are likely to take action against private individuals making copies for their own purposes, that is also a different question.

    But, the fact remains that, taping a CD for use in the car IS ILLEGAL. Taping a DVD for use in "the other room" IS ILLEGAL.
     
  16. JohnAd

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  17. Der_Pobman

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    If you already own a film on VHS and have thus already 'paid for the right to view the film' then why do you have to pay full price to buy that 'right' again when you want to see it on DVD?

    Regards

    Der Pobman
     
  18. PoochJD

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    Hi,

    John - you said that using the word "illegal" is a bit strong. Um, no offence, but the word illegal means "against the law". Seeing as duplicating a product is "against the law", then I can only presume that it is also illegal, is it not?!

    Der Pobman - You're question is interesting, but a little bit silly, as well. When you buy a video or audio cassette, you are buying the right to use that product on one format. If you then decide to upgrade, to a DVD or CD, then you are buying the right to use that product on a different format. What you are really asking is, why should I pay twice? And the answer to that is, you don't have to pay twice. However, you have a choice as to stick with videotapes, or pay the price and upgrade to DVD. I think it's also known as "evolution".

    If we applied your question to any other item, we'd be made a fool of. After all, if I buy a Ford Granada 2.0i car, and then decide I want to upgrade to the Ford Granade 2.6i EX (or whatever), I can't just upgrade for free. I am paying to buy one product, not one product and all future upgrades! The same goes for food, computers, paperback books, CD's, telephones, etc, etc, etc.

    If you don't like the idea, then you'll have to stick with what you have. However, if you do want to upgrade, then be prepared to pay for it. Why should all the people who helped create, design and realise the latest upgrade of a product, not be paid for their hard-work?! When you look at it like that, then hopefully it will seem more sensible, and you'll understand why we have to pay to upgrade.

    Pooch
     
  19. Der_Pobman

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    PoochJD - we have software upgrades dont we, Adobe dont expect me to pay £400 each time they make a little update to there software. Small updates are free, and large ones are sold at a discount. And even with your car Ford will give you discount if you trade in your old car for a new one. Will Warner Bros give me a discount if I trade in my Leathal Weapon tapes for DVDs? NO, an independant store might do so completely off their own backs, but Warner Bros certainly will not.

    With food you are buying the food, not just the right to view the food... you own it and everything about it, so i dont see why you mentioned that one?

    I never said we should be able to upgrade for Free! However I dont see why we should pay the same price as somebody who only owns the DVD. A simple rebate scheme would be easy enough. Of course it is not really in the studios interest, so of course they are not going to do it!

    Thankfully I live in Russia and thus none of this applies :)

    Der Pobman
     
  20. JohnAd

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    Pooch

    This is I agree a fine line, but my personal definition of illegal is stuff people phone the police and get you arrested for. Copying a dvd for personal backup purposes is not illegal by that definition, the DVD producer would have to sue you in the civil courts and show damages. The police wouldn't even put down thier doughnuts for this so by my personal definition it is not illegal. The law that applies to bootlegging etc requires you to gain money from the copying, making a backup for personal use isn't really covered by any non-civil law that I'm aware of.

    In many ways copyright is a bit like slander, if you slag me off to your wife, there's not much I can do. If you take up a full page ad in a paper and slag me off I might have a case.

    It is a different matter as to what it "right", copying someone elses work is wrong but this is not very wrong in this example IMHO.

    On the formats question the matter I think is morally more complex. In most people's heads they are buying the movie or the music or whatever not the thing. The artist(s) get paid for their work out of the price of the physical media you buy. So if you have a film on VHS then you've done your bit and made the people who made it richer and can watch it as often as you like. If the DVD comes out then you need to pay the artists again for the same content which strikes some as against the sprit of the original transaction. In law it couldn't be clearer you have to keep on paying....

    I think everybody will agree with you that DVD is better than VHS and there are all the extras and menus and stuff to pay for. However when you break it down and look at who gets what it's not as much as it should be going to the creative people who actually make the movie.

    I would be much happier buying a licence to watch a film forever and then being allowed to buy any format of that film at the cost of production of the media. Sadly Hollywood seem to want to move to a model where we pay every time we view something and where we don't really own anything when we buy a DVD. But that is a different discussion.

    To get back on topic.

    Is it legal - I think you are not breaking any criminal law by doing a home backup, you are breaking copyright though but there is very little they could do if they found out since this is civil law and they would have to show damages. To me this is borderline some will say this is illegal, I say grey area long live the British legal system.

    Selling your copy onto someone else is illegal though.

    John
     
  21. juboy

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    I think we're getting a little confused with the technicalities of theory and the actualities of life here.

    Maybe making a backup copy of a DVD for your own use is technically 'against the law' but then so is driving at 75mph on a motorway, yet I doubt anyone can honestly say they've never done that.

    It's also illegal (and far more damaging to film companies) for you to lend or swap your DVDs with friends and family... and who's *never* done that?

    Who's never taped a vinyl record or CD onto tape to listen to in the car (other than those with no tape player!)? If you buy a vinyl record are you suggesting that the *only* place you can then listen to that recording is on your turntable at home?

    The realities of this relate to the true bootleggers and pirates. The people that run off 10s, 100s and 1000s of copies with the *sole* objective of making money commercially.

    As I would assume nobody on this forum engages in such practices, the whole thread is merely academic.
     
  22. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Actually I that is fully within the law. Once own a thing you can do what you like with it, sell it, lend it to mates, hit it with a hammer, swap it for other things.

    John
     
  23. juboy

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    Nope. Have a look at the copyright details on the back of any DVD or CD. It'll say something like 'No unauthorised LENDING, etc. etc.'

    If lending was legal there would be no need for video/dvd hire shops which pay additional sums of money in order to legally lend/hire out material.

    I'm pretty sure you are allowed to hit your possessions with a hammer though...
     
  24. JohnAd

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    But all the stuff put on the back of CD's like that is basically unenforceable, you haven't signed a contract, the terms are not made clear etc etc. Those things don't legally apply in most countries.

    Even if lending is suspect, resale or swapping is not prohibited.

    John
     
  25. JohnAd

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    The restriction on lending is a slightly different one to the example of lending it to your mates. Lending in this context means setting up as a DVD hire shop or something.

    If you start charging your mates then you're in trouble otherwise you're in the clear.

    John
     
  26. bh

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    As happens at the cinema?

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  27. juboy

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    "But all the stuff put on the back of CD's like that is basically unenforceable"

    As are any laws... until you're caught and your transgression proved beyond reasonable doubt.

    It doesn't mean they're not laws to start with.
     
  28. JohnAd

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    juboy

    I meant that even if they put on CD's that you couldn't lend it to your mates and caught you and took you in front of a judge they would find they were not enforcable, not that they couldn't catch you. Anyway I'm pretty sure lending in this (legal) context means lending to the public and not your mates/family/neighbours and that type of lending is already covered by law.

    John
     
  29. juboy

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    JohnAd: I'm totally with you on this... my point is that loads of things are 'technically' illegal but in reality they go on all the time and there's not a hell of a lot anyone can do about it.

    Ff I lend you a DVD and someone takes me to court I'd just get you to agree that in fact you were buying it off me but had yet to give me the money for it :)

    You are right of course, although an unenforceable law *is* still a law, it may as well not be.
     
  30. JohnAd

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    juboy

    I think in this case there is no law to stop you doing that. With lovely old english law we can do what we like unless there is a law against it. And while there are laws against commercial and public distribution of copyrighted material there is nothing to cover any lending transaction between the two of us on a physical object that doesn't require it to be additionally copied.

    The owner of the copyright can try as hard as they like to put extra restrictions on that but I think under UK law none of them apply unless you sign something. When you buy something under UK law you can do what you like with it unless there is a law against it which would rule out sharpning the edges and thowing it into a crowd but not lending it to someone you knew.

    So the lending to mates is in my mind not illegal at all.

    Sorry to be a pedant.....

    John
     

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