Rebroadcasting Video/Audio, Copyright, Royalties, RIAA, MPAA

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Post by worker201 » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:39 pm

I'm not a big enough TV watcher to even have cable!

Wikipedia warns that your analog cable signal may have copy-protection signals included with it - signals that would be ignored by a VCR, but can interfere with digital recording.

One more question - rebroadcasting anything you record over the internet would be totally illegal in the US, would it not?

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Post by Void Main » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:31 pm

worker201 wrote:Wikipedia warns that your analog cable signal may have copy-protection signals included with it - signals that would be ignored by a VCR, but can interfere with digital recording.
Not a problem on my cable system. My co-worker has the same cable.
One more question - rebroadcasting anything you record over the internet would be totally illegal in the US, would it not?
Rebroadcasting? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this but I would say no, not in all cases but probably in some cases. Some of it would certainly depend on what you mean by rebroadcasting. This is certainly not something I intend to do other than possibly watching a ball game remotely in a tiny little window at work that only I will be able to view. I can't imagine there being any problem with that. The device I am building is basically a Tivo on steroids.

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Post by worker201 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:41 am

Rebroadcasting: If, for example, I were to digitally record a syndicated rerun episode of "Friends", and then put it up on the internet for others to stream or download.

Is that legal?

If it is, I have some dang interesting ideas.

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Post by Void Main » Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:19 am

worker201 wrote:Rebroadcasting: If, for example, I were to digitally record a syndicated rerun episode of "Friends", and then put it up on the internet for others to stream or download.

Is that legal?

If it is, I have some dang interesting ideas.
That is where I say some things might be ok and some things might not be. I can think of a couple possible areas where you may be restricted. There could be restrictions in your cable provider agreement. There may also be restrictions from the content provider (network) and there may be restrictions on the content producer (the actual show). For instance, I am almost certain that the disclaimer at the end of any major league baseball game states that rebroadcast without the express consent of major league baseball is strictly prohibited.

However, there may be other programs that would like to have their content rebroadcast and I suppose you could do that providing you don't have an agreement with your cable provider stating you won't do that. In my case I'm not really rebroadcasting to other people, I am just extending my ability to see the programming I am already paying for and only I am viewing it. If they tell me I can't do this I would be happy to take it to court and argue "fair use".

I can see where a cable company might not want you to do this and have some sort of provision in the contract prohibiting it (they want more cable customers) but I can also see where certain content creators would want their content displayed in as many places as possible (commericals, etc). I'm sure all of this information could be dug on the Internet somewhere.

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Post by Calum » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:47 am

i think you'll find that anything that's been televised or released on dvd or video commercially will have a copyright notice stating that you can't show the stuff in a public place (including but not limited to schools, oil rigs, residential homes et cetera). Also, if you don't own a legitimate (commercial) copy of whatever it is then you probably have to erase it a certain amount of time after you record/download it without showing it to anybody except within the privacy of your home.

That's always been the general gist of these things anyway since VCRs came out i believe.

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Post by JoeDude » Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:09 am

worker201 wrote:Rebroadcasting: If, for example, I were to digitally record a syndicated rerun episode of "Friends", and then put it up on the internet for others to stream or download.

Is that legal?

If it is, I have some dang interesting ideas.
There were 2 case laws incorporated after 2 different trials in the late 90's/early 00's. I remember one went the way of by recording it and storing it, it proved intent to show again(in a single local residence, public areas are excluded by the copyright), but not rebroadcast (this was defined providing to a mass audience other than your own residence). Based on those deffinitions, it was deemed illegal provided the prosecution could provide evidence the defendant had;
1: Shown the product to a group of people who did not normally live in his residence (live was defined as well to exclude people being allowed to sign a 3 hour residency contract).
2. Did not charge for the event.
Obviously, in that case the man won as the prosecutor could not prove he had the intent to collect money for the program and fell within the rights to have it in his home. There was some other stuff concerning the copyright violation, that most are all ready familiar with, but these weren't the issue of the case.

The second was shortly after TiVO came out. This is where it got hairy. The prosecution almost succesfully established keeping content for an unreasonable amount of time established the intent to reshow for "other" audiences. This man won as well, but because of the capabilities TiVO had brought to the consumer, a big look at how copyright management was to be enforced had to have a serious relook. I don't remember what they came up with, or if they refered the issue to a higher court.

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Post by worker201 » Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:50 am

Thanks, Joe - but what about internet radio stations? How is Stevie Shoutcast able to legally distribute streams of content he does not own the copyright to? It's all very confusing.

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Post by JoeDude » Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:55 am

There must be case law concerning that as well or the airwave Nazi's would have picked him up all ready. I'll see what I can find.

Edit:
As I understand it...It's been left up to each organisation to decide whether to prosecute and must first go through a copyright board to determine whether it is in violation or not...in other words, it seems to depend on 3 factors.
1. The wordage of the copyright itself.
2. Whether the artist wishes to persue it.
3. Whether The lable/corporation/organization wishes to persue it.

I know, that doesn't clear up anything. The only way to know for sure is to read the copyright of each media you wish to reproduce. A good helping of copyright law as well to accentuate what the implied and specific laws are concerning any form of material will be necessary as well...

As far as internet radio, they fall under the same rules and regulations that a TV/radio station have to adhere to. The FCC has guides and requirements. In some cases, the broadcast license you purchase is the authorization. In others, you may have to pay out a specific set royalty to broadcast. It all depends. Most labels do not require a radio station to pay royalties on thier music, as they basically get the free publicity. In these cases, the purchasing of the title for airing is the fee, or if it is given to the stations to air, then nothing further is required...there is a lot of complexities to this stuff...I'm not looking into it anymore!

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Post by Calum » Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:30 am

in the UK anyway, the performance rights are handled completely separately from the copyright. For instance on a radio station (real, internet or shoutcast, or whatever), you have to fill in a PRS form (performing rights society) telling them all the music you played, then they go and look it all up and send you a bill, then they distribute the money accordingly. They also do this if you are in a band who play covers, theoretically you have to fill in a PRS form for every gig you play the covers at.

The MCPS (mechanical copy protection society) does a similar job if you release a CD with a cover version of a copyrighted song on it.

I imagine it'll be handled similarly in other "western" countries?

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Post by Void Main » Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:46 am

Calum wrote:They also do this if you are in a band who play covers, theoretically you have to fill in a PRS form for every gig you play the covers at.
There is just something that seems wrong about this part especially. That would be like charging a kindergarden teacher for reading books to the children in her class, or maybe they do charge them? :) I mean you buy the book and you read it to the children. It's not much different than buying a record, learning the songs and playing the songs for the children.

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Post by JoeDude » Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:00 pm

Not typically. Here in England, they do things like pay as you go tax, tv licensing and as you pointed out, what seems to be a pay as you go royalty fee. Where in the US, it's typically handled by your licensing fee or your dealings with your lable supplier. when you buy titles in a radio station in the states, the royalties are typically collected right there. This is why so much of the law suits are after the fact where it concerns downloading. With radio/TV and internet, the provider has alll ready submitted the fee as part of the license/subscription...I guess I should have elaborated on that. There most cretainly are other ways royalties are collected, but that is the most common in the US.

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Post by worker201 » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:24 am

According to the "Internet Radio Fairness Act", copyright fees are waived for small businesses - small being defined as under 6 million dollars per year. You can only broadcast music which you legally own. And for some reason, this does not cover video - streaming copyrighted video can get you busted.

So this explains, in the US anyway, how Shoutcast servers and internet radio stations are able to operate.

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Post by ZiaTioN » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:40 pm

I have never heard of any cover band filling out any forms and paying royalties for songs they played at any gigs. May be a reality in England but not here (at least it is not honored here).

As a side note, copyright laws can be a tricky thing to enforce, which is why most organizations (RIAA, MPAA) try to use scare tactics to frighten people away from viewing distributed works. As a previous poster has stated, the intent to make a profit from said re-broadcast has to be proven and rarely is due to the fact that the media is generally given away (file trading, etc.). Just think about how many news stories you have heard about dear ole' mom and pops being dragged away to court by the RIAA, but how many outcomes or court decisions of these cases do you hear? None, mainly because they are let off with no punishment at all. Now some "major distributors" (bitTorrent sites and such) may have been made examples of but this is a rareity.

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Post by worker201 » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:03 am

I can't imagine how they could possibly bust anyone. If someone were to get on my computer and look around at my music files, they would see about 6700 files. Of those, not more than 40 are DRM protected (iTunes Mac purchases). Of the remainder, ~85% were ripped from albums that I purchased. Maybe 1% is stuff I downloaded legally from licensed filesharers. The rest is stuff I may or may not have "borrowed" from friends.

So what would the RIAA's course of action be? After determining that I own the 40 DRMed songs, what could they do? How would they know which Death Cab for Cutie albums I own, and which albums I sold to used cd joints, and which albums I have never owned? They can't. So the whole exercise would be kinda pointless.

Now, if they came after me looking for a specific file that I couldn't own any other way than by stealing it (an unreleased Metallica track, perhaps), and they found it, then I might be in trouble. Or if they monitored a download to my IP from a torrent tracker or something. But any other piracy I may have taken part in is virtually undetectable. It's almost stupid to have a rule against it, because I literally cannot be prosecuted for it.

Thus, perhaps file sharing is something that cannot be legislated. And perhaps it oughtn't be defined as theft. Making it illegal hasn't stopped anyone from borrowing their friend's albums.

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Post by Calum » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:30 am

void main, actually there isn't any law against reading from a book to the class, if i recall, but the copyright laws do strictly cover photocopying for the pupils, so if you photocopy 30 copies of a chapter for your students, you do have to pay copyright on it, i don't know the mechanism for it though.

re: PRS forms for live gigs, yes this is not usually adhered to although i have heard of people being stung for a lot of money if their pub or hostel or something gets audited by the PRS, usually for jukebox plays and so on, not live gigs. I have been asked to do the PRS form three times in my life, once at a gig i was organising myself from scratch and twice at the wickerman festival acoustic stage. in all ocassions i simply didn't do any covers, so didn't have to fill in the form.

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