Your Town Library-Haven for Copyright Criminals?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Black&Tan, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Black&Tan macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    Mar 4, 2004
    #1
    While in the shower this morning (I do all my best free-thinking there), I started thinking about my town library. Its a well stocked, multi-media, storehouse of materials. Books, magazines, newspapers, CD's, video's, DVD's. Basically the whole gamut of audio and visual media.

    Then I wondered, why isn't it illegal? I mean, if the RIAA has its way, you can't share any music with your friends. If I borrow a CD from the library, I'm not paying the RIAA anything. And I get to choose what I want. The same goes for movies, I may borrow a movie periodically because I really like it. And the MPAA isn't getting my money. And what about periodicals and books. People rarely re-read magazines and I would guess never re-read newspapers. Books are a little different, as I don't mind rereading a good book. But with book prices approaching $7-8 for a paperback, its certainly a reasonable alternative to get them from a library. So the publishers aren't getting my money either.

    So...why is it illegal to share music and video files? Why aren't book publishers screaming...yet?

    How many people here have made copies from your local library, either photocopies or audio copies or video copies?
     
  2. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #2
    Well for starters, the copyright situation with books and magazines is a bit different than CDs and DVDs. It's kind of tough to take a book home, copy it, then distribute 30 million copies to people around the world. The same is not true for digital media. I'm pretty sure that the entity responsible for the library (state/local government) pays a licensing fee to publishers to supply the media, or the provider gets to deduct something from corporate earnings for supplying them free of charge to the public.

    Also, I'd say that book publishers encourage library-goers because people who read books are more likely to go out to the book store and buy them.
     
  3. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #3
    You can always share music, books, videos, etc, as long as you share the entire medium.

    Legal: I can give a CD from a friend as long as I give the entire CD. Only one person has access to the music.

    Illegal: I gave my friend a copy of the CD. My friend makes his own copy. My friends rips the music to his computer. I have the songs ripped to my computer (this last one is a little more gray than the others).
     
  4. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

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    Memphis, TN
    #4
    But the ability to borrow CDs and such from the library could potentially be promoting exactly that behavior. If you check out a CD, there is nothing to stop you from then making a copy of it before returning the CD back to the library. Then you have a copy AND the library has a copy (and so does everyone as nefarious as you).

    Note: I love libraries and if they ever came under fire would do everything I could to help protect them, but the idea that borrowing the whole medium solves the multiple-use problem is flimsy at best.
     
  5. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #5
    If you steal music from the library and the library stopped providing music, I'm sure you'd find another source for your stealing. (This reminds me of the "should we teach safe sex" argument because it may promote sex.)

    I've heard that video stores pay much more for movies than everyone else. They pay for a different license with to allow the movie to be rented. Maybe libraries do the same.
     
  6. Black&Tan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    #6
    I know I'm stretching things here, but if I borrow a book and read it, the author and publisher aren't getting any money for my enjoyment of the book. Isn't that the crux of the copyright argument...a publisher denied money?
     
  7. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #7
    They don't get money for your enjoyment, they get money for every copy sold. As long as only one person possesses that book at a time, they are getting their due. It's the unauthorized copies that break copyright.
     
  8. Black&Tan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    Mar 4, 2004
    #8
    So sharing is legal, so long as that shared copy is purchased.

    Therefore, this scenario would also legal....
    For example, I bought XYZ cd and it sucked. I loaned this cd to all my friends and told them not to buy it, only listen to my copy and find out for themselves.
    The same thing applies to movies, if 50 of my friends and I decided to share our movie collections. Only one of us would ever buy a movie and we would share it amongst ourselves.

    Nobody loses and we all have endless entertainment. OR not...
     
  9. Mantat macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #9
    I am always surprised to see how people dont know/understand the copyright laws...

    For starter, you CAN (at least in Canada but US is about the same):
    - copy a CD and give the copy to a friend, even to all your friends. It is called sharing and it legal because it allow your friends to know the artist.

    It is legal because there is a tax on the CDs (and iPod for that matter) that is given back to the artists.

    The conditions are simple:
    - you must give the CDs (copy), not sell it or expect any favors from it
    - it must not be a massive thing, like making 1000's of copy...

    The record labels have worked extra hard in the recent years to change the population mindset. Now almost everyone I know think it is illegal to do so while it isnt. The reason is obvious: they want to sell more CDs!

    The grey area is when people give music using a medium that isnt taxed (ex: P2P sharing software), because artist arent receiving a compensation for their work. Currently, in Canada court judgement about this flip side every week...

    Here in Montréal, we have a new huge library with a BIG and I mean REALLY BIG CD/DVD collection. There are computers right next to it and these computers are equiped with CD burners. Last time I went, I saw people with piles of CDs making copy of every single CD. That kinda frustrated me because even tho it is legal, it is stretching the spirit of the law quite a bit!

    Finaly, as for library, I dont think they pay anything to anyone for the right to share books. They are probably exonerated from the copyright law, such as schools for whom the laws are made more flexible.
     
  10. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #10
    I guess this scenario holds up until one of those movies is good, and you have to wait for 49 other people to watch it before you get your turn. Same goes with a CD that might actually be worth listening to. I don't think that kind of system scales up very well. If the CD/DVD is any good, and all those people listen to it, my guess is that they'd buy it for convenience's sake.
     
  11. Black&Tan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    #11
    I agree. This happens all the time.

    And my point is that the library allows you to listen to music, in its entirety, prior to making a purchase. Or not. And if I decide that the music is not good enough to warrant a purchase, I've saved that money. And given the RIAA nothing for a bad CD.

    This is more extreme for movies. Not everybody gets to see all the movies released. Some movies aren't around long enough, maybe the quality is poor, and attendance falls. But the same movies make a killing on sales. Once you've watched it once, you'll never want to see it again. Borrowing it from the library negates this sale and saves you money. And deprives the MPAA of sales.

    NOTE: I am not against libraries in ANY way, shape or form. I love them. I'm planning on bringing my son this weekend for his first library card. I'm just playing devil's advocate and trying to decide if a library is really any different from file sharing, and if the various publishers are just full of it. If their arguments over fair use hold any water compared to existing sources of media available today.
     
  12. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #12
    The US does not have that tax and it is illegal to copy a CD and give it to someone for any reason (in the US).
     
  13. Black&Tan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    #13
    But isn't there a tax on blank CD media to cover royalties to performers? And isn't there a higher mark-up on audio CDR's?

    Hmmm...why do you suppose they sell audio specific CDR's? So that we can make copies of our personal musical performances?
     
  14. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

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    #14
    That's actually pretty common. As is making back-ups of CDs you already own. I know when I still listened to CDs in the car (now I have wired it with a hookup for my iPod) I tried to only listen to copies of CDs to help prevent scratching and warping from heat.
     
  15. Black&Tan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    #15
    I think for 80% of the population, they've never physically played any sheet music, let alone of a quality to record it.

    I agree completely with the need to make personal backups of music CD's for your car or to guard against destructive children. But DRM is quickly trying to negate this option.
     
  16. backupdrummer macrumors regular

    backupdrummer

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    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    Chi town
    #16
    For a wealth of great information about Copyright law I suggest checking out the Stanford Libriary website on fair use (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/index.html).

    With regards to the library aiding copyright infringement you are pretty close. Libraries have to approach photocoping and archiving practices very carefully because many thing that they do can easily exceed fair use.

    As far as I understand IF you buy a copy of content you can keep it or give that copy away when ever you want as long as you give up ownership in entirely. It is ok for a library to let you check out thier copy of a movie and a cd . It is okay for them to charge you a replacement fee if you don't return it. It is not okay for a library to rip a copy of a cd and hold on to the master and lend out the copy.

    Also think of Blockbuster. Wouldn't it be a lot easier for them to buy one copy of a movie rip it and reproduce as many copies of the movie as they need for a Saturday night rush? Easier yes. Legal no way. Just think the library lends things out as a service to the public but Blockbuster is actually profiting from "Lending" copyrighted material.

    So a helpful way to think about it is that when you buy the content (book, cd, movie, poster, etc) you are buying a seat. Only one person can sit in that seat at a time. YOu can make as many copies of hte seat as you need as long as you are the only one sitting in them.
     
  17. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #17
    The libraries are completely within copyright law. Indeed, libraries have been actively involved in shaping copyright law to make sure that libraries continue to exist. The law specifically allows libraries to exist.

    What library patrons do with the materials, on the other hand, is restricted by copyright law. You can't legally copy a CD you borrowed from the library for personal use, and you can't legally copy a book or magazine for personal use. You can borrow the materials, use them, and return them, but you don't get to make copies. There are certain "fair use" provisions of copyright law, permitting you to make copies for educational use, or for reviews or parodies, but there are strict limits on these provisions.

    Publishers, in turn, have the right to charge libraries more for their materials. Journal and magazine subscriptions cost a lot more for libraries than they do for the general public. So what goes around comes around.
     

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