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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Torrent Legality in Technical; Hi All, We've got a teacher who wants to show programmes on iPlayer, but wants to show them in several ...
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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Question Torrent Legality

    Hi All,

    We've got a teacher who wants to show programmes on iPlayer, but wants to show them in several months time after they expire. Ordinarily we would record them from Sky, but they have already been broadcast.

    What's the legality of downloading these iPlayer programmes (if there's a mechanism to do it) or using a torrent of these programmes (if one is available)?

    TIA

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Ask for permission from the broadcaster first. They may be able to send you a copy.

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    are they not available on the Sky on-demand catch up service?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gongalong View Post
    Hi All,

    What's the legality of downloading these iPlayer programmes (if there's a mechanism to do it) or using a torrent of these programmes (if one is available)?
    When you download from iPlayer the download is given an expiry date trying to circumvent the expiry date would be against iPlayers terms and conditions and almost certainly not legal.
    Last edited by JJonas; 22nd July 2014 at 10:23 AM.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gongalong View Post
    What's the legality of downloading these iPlayer programmes (if there's a mechanism to do it)
    You're not allowed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gongalong View Post
    or using a torrent of these programmes (if one is available)?
    You're definitely not allowed.


    Copyright infringement is like religion. "They don't like it" is the answer to every their-opinion question.


    To expand properly:

    The iPlayer downloads are timed for 30 days. [IIRC] By law you aren't allowed to contravene their usage policy because, as the rights holder, they are allowed to set the usage requirements.

    And you can't use torrents. Due to how they work, you'd be sending data to people as well as receiving it. You have no idea if they have distribution rights or access[?] rights, so it's best to leave that alone. If you can find a legit BBC torrent, then go for it. But I doubt it exists.


    I know there are exemptions for educational use, but I don't think it allows you to break copyright law to acquire the media.


    [As usual: Not a lawyer. This 'aint legal advice.]

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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    JJonas: The Sky box isn't connected to the service, although having checked one of the two required programmes is repeated tonight, and the other is on YouTube.

    It still bodes the questions though of:

    1. Is playing this programme off YouTube in a school environment legal?
    2. How long can we retain a recorded programme?
    (3. And I'm still curious as to whether a torrent would be legal)

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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    I know there are exemptions for educational use, but I don't think it allows you to break copyright law to acquire the media.
    It's the potential educational exemptions that might be interesting. Perhaps they apply more to retaining recorded TV.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    No. Copyright law is stupid in this regard - even though the end product is the same, the manner in which you obtained it is important.

    You are allowed to record it from a free, over-the-air broadcast and store that recording forevermore, and make it available over the internet on a password protected site (e.g. VLE) under the terms of the ERA+ licence now purchased centrally by DfE.

    Circumventing the copy protection on an iPlayer stream or a protected iPlayer download is, I believe, against the Computer Misuse Act and illegal. Torrenting copyrighted material is always illegal.

    Bear in mind that it's still technically illegal to rip CDs you own to MP3s for your own personal use, or downloading torrents of MP3s for CDs you own. Again: Copyright law is stupid.

    Your options are waiting for a repeat, or getting a legally recorded version from another school. That's my understanding of the situation, anyway.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gongalong View Post
    It's the potential educational exemptions that might be interesting. Perhaps they apply more to retaining recorded TV.
    Yeah, I think they only cover things you already have [legally for personal use] though...

    So, that copy of Iron-man 2 you have on DVD from HMV can be used in a class, but Iron-man 3 you picked up from the bay of pirates can't.

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    Using torrent to download, in general, is fine. It's a great way for open-source software to be distributed without a large bill for the developer. It does have it's problem however and shouldn't be used in the education sector.

    Bypassing the DRM on media where the license has expired is illegal. How you do it doesn't matter how you do it, it's still breaking the law.

    In a totally unrelated statement, don't you miss the days when you just set the tv quick code and set the VCR to record it for later viewing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Yeah, I think they only cover things you already have [legally for personal use] though...

    So, that copy of Iron-man 2 you have on DVD from HMV can be used in a class, but Iron-man 3 you picked up from the bay of pirates can't.
    Educational exemptions for copyright law are only where relevant to the curriculum - so if you can find a justification for showing that Iron Man 2 DVD in class (product design, perhaps, or a media class) you're fine, but as soon as it's for entertainment purposes you need the PVSL/MPLC licence (depending on which licence Disney is a part of - probably the former). You also need the music licences (PPL and PRS) to cover the soundtrack, else you have to watch the film on mute.

    And even when you have all the relevant licences, you need to use a legal copy - so when teachers come to you with a DVD in hand asking if they can have copies so they can use it in three lessons at once, no, no they cannot. They need to purchase three copies.

    Again: copyright law is stupid.

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    One of the programmes (BBC sourced) is on YouTube already. I'm guessing that playing that in the school environment would be illegal because the programme is on YouTube illegally?

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    If it's been uploaded there by the BBC then you'll be fine - Channel 4 used to put loads of stuff up there - but if it's been uploaded by Joe Random then I reckon it's creaky ground to be on, yeah.

    Complete this sentence: copyright law is...

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    Just ask... We went through hoops to find a way of acquiring a copy of a documentary that was on iPlayer but not on DVD. The staff tried allsorts at home - none of which worked! I rang the BBC, explained the situation and they just sent a copy via sendspace and asked me to sign a usage agreement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Bear in mind that it's still technically illegal to rip CDs you own to MP3s for your own personal use, or downloading torrents of MP3s for CDs you own. Again: Copyright law is stupid.
    AFAIK, this law was finally updated a month or so ago, so it's no longer illegal to format shift any content so long as it is for personal use only and you are not distributing the content in any way. This includes ripping DVD's to file servers, CD's to MP3's, VHS tapes to DVD, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    And even when you have all the relevant licences, you need to use a legal copy - so when teachers come to you with a DVD in hand asking if they can have copies so they can use it in three lessons at once, no, no they cannot. They need to purchase three copies.
    I believe the education fair use updates allows for copying parts of works from an original source for research purposes. So you could rip a key scene from To Kill A Mockingbird (classic film) and give a copy to each student on a pen drive for them to cross reference with the book they are reading. But, you couldn't burn them copies of the entire film.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    AFAIK, this law was finally updated a month or so ago, so it's no longer illegal to format shift any content so long as it is for personal use only and you are not distributing the content in any way. This includes ripping DVD's to file servers, CD's to MP3's, VHS tapes to DVD, etc.
    Unless there is DRM. In which case, breaking DRM is illegal still...

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