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BlackSwanEffect's avatar

Can a person be liable for piracy if they already own a copy of the artwork?

Asked by BlackSwanEffect (698points) October 28th, 2015

Say I own a copy of a movie on DVD or BluRay, but I wish to view this movie on a device without an optical drive. Say rather than ripping the disc and recoding it myself, I were to turn to an internet piracy site, and download a conveniently ripped and edited version of the same movie.

The copyright owners do not lose any money, because I have a purchased copy. But now I also have a copy in a convenient format that I can view on any device I like. It’s a win-win, right? But it is still technically piracy. Could I, if I were to do such a thing, be liable?

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3 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, you would.

There were a bunch of cases back in the days of when VHS was turning into DVD technologies; people would play back the VHS and capture it to the computer and then burn it to a DVD for safekeeping (and because WHS machines were breaking and couldn’t be replaced).

People owned the VHS copy of the movie and wanted to make a digital copy for their own use. That was found to be illegal.

Now, in my example, you could do it and no one would find out unless you told them.

On a pirate site, everything you download is logged somewhere. So it’s a red flag for the copyright owner that you’re downloading their copyrighted material. What you own or don’t own at home is not relevant.

One could argue the logic of your stance, but so far the content owners don’t seem to care.

ragingloli's avatar

They would sue you for remembering and humming a song if they could get away with it.

jerv's avatar

The act of decrypting the rip is the part that is actually criminal. They don’t care about you having two copies of the movie and only paying for one. What they do care about is that their DRM got tampered with, and they will go after EVERYBODY that benefited as a result of that criminal action.

Wait… you got a copy that could not possibly exist if someone else hadn’t cracked the DRM and posted the unlocked content? That sounds like you benefited from a criminal act, therefore you are also a criminal.

It’s funny how most people think all these things like the DMCA and such are stuff that won’t affect them until it does. They ridicule the geeks for being concerned “over nothing” right up until they are hauled away in handcuffs, then wonder why/how it happened without remembering that the geeks tried warning them years/decades prior.

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