Re: Bootlegs, Morality and Legality

John J. Hlavaty ([email protected])
Thu, 06 Aug 1998 12:36:12 -0400

Deseree Stukes ([email protected]) wrote:

> Even if you don't sell but trade the material and accept nothing in
> return other than postage, you are just as guilty of breaking
> copyright law. There is no degree of who's more guilty than the other. Every
> time a picture is scanned and placed on a website, every time you
> record a U2 moment from the TV, you are breaking copyright laws.

I agree with everything you said, except the above.

We are allowed to tape things from TV just as we are allowed
to make a tape of a CD PROVIDING it's for our own personal
use. People tape shows from TV all the time - that's the point
of a VCR. However, if we played the taped item in a public setting,
then we would be breaking copyright laws. Similarly, we are
allowed to make an audiotape of a CD so that we could play the
tape in our car or wherever. But if we sell the tape, then we violate
copyright laws. The RIAA is arguing about the making of CD-Rs;
however, the precedent for tapes holds here. If a person
makes a CD-R for their own personal use, then it's no
different than making an audiotape. Only if the CD-R
is sold, then the law is broken. Currently, the CD-R
situation is still under debate.

Additionally, I'm not sure if *every* picture that is taken of U2
that is placed on a web site violates copyright law. For
example, I have a picture of the Edge and myself on my
website. I think saying that I am breaking a copyright simply
by having the Edge's image (and his image is NOT copyrighted)
on my web site would be hard to prove. Violating photograph
copyrights does not necessarily relate to U2/Polygram.
Often, the photograph copyright stands with the photographer. If
I took an image from a newspaper, magazine or book and used
that on my web page (which I have), then I'm violating
the law since I did not obtain the permission of the
photographer or his/her company to do this. But if it is my
own photo, then I think the situation is different. I believe
that any personal photos, even if they contain the band members, are
not copyrighted.

However, you are correct - most U2 fans have violated the
copyright laws in some aspect. Many of us own boots or
at least CD-R copies of boots. Some of us have used copyrighted
images on our web pages. Some of us have also put various
audio files on our web pages. Consequently, I do not
feel that any one should criticize another on this topic
(not to say that you are in any way doing so Deseree). And while
I readily admit that some of our U2 "dealings" are illegal,
I can only justify these actions by stating that this is the only
way U2 fans can share U2's music. If U2 readily released numerous
live recordings, then this would not be an issue. But since
their releases are limited, the fan demand is high enough to create
a prosperous boot environment. In a minor way, one could actually
credit U2 for not capitalizing on this, for they could make
quite a fortune if they did.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b2 on Thu Aug 06 1998 - 09:31:53 PDT