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View Poll Results: Copyright violation?
Yes, it is a copyright violation even though the IP isn't protected in Canada and the source is Canadian. 15 24.59%
It is not a violation. 28 45.90%
Not sure 18 29.51%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-17-2010, 01:32 PM   #1
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Books copyright protected in US but not Canada

The US has longer copyright protection so there are a lot of books protected in the US but not in Canada, such as "1984".

As an American who is located in America, can I argue that downloading a book like "1984" is legitimate if the website in question is based in Canada or is from a Canadian "source"?

If I drove to Canada, photocopied a paper version of the book, and then drove back to the US, I don't think I would be in violation of the copyright. Or would importing the work be a violation of the copyright? Assuming this isn't a violation, then I think downloading the digital version of the book from a Canadian source should be ok.

What do you think?

Last edited by markbot; 03-17-2010 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:43 PM   #2
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An interesting question, especially since I am working on creating an EPUB version of Jim Kjelgaard's Big Red for upload to MR. I know I'm not in trouble, but if you Americans download it, might you be?

You would have to have a court case to decide it. Do you really want to know? Our opinions don't count, you know.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:57 PM   #3
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I imagine that if you are a US citizen you are bound by US laws. If you went to Amsterdam to buy heroin, you couldn't then just bring it back with you. So while you are in the US, you can't do "US illegal things" from your computer even if the server is in a foreign country.

But IANAL

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markbot View Post
If I drove to Canada, photocopied a paper version of the book, and then drove back to the US, I don't think I would be in violation of the copyright. Or would importing the work be a violation of the copyright? Assuming this isn't a violation, then I think downloading the digital version of the book from a Canadian source should be ok.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not a law student. I am not a paralegal. My only connection to the legal industry is a job where I scan a lot of depositions, which I don't read and am not qualified to have opinions about. This is not a legal opinion.

*Distributing* unauthorized copies is forbidden; *acquiring* them is not. AFAIK, you break no laws in downloading *anything*, even if it's entirely under copyright everywhere in the world.

However, the uploader could be guilty of copyright infringement in a country he's not a resident of, by making it available to you. Encouraging out-of-country downloads to places where the material is copyrighted, could be seen as inciting a crime. (Not sure if cross-country copyright infringement has been prosecuted. DMCA violations have been prosecuted on non-US citizens whose "crimes" took place in countries where they were not crimes, but DRM tech was involved, not unauthorized copies.)
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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Same disclaimer: Not a lawyer.

Elfwreck is correct. At least, I'm certain that's how it is in Canada, and I'm fairly sure it's the same in the states. Only the party making the new copy of the file, which is considered to be the uploader and not the downloader, is guilty of piracy. (Much like a person buying a counterfeit is not guilty of counterfeit -- only the one who made it is.)

Of course, you would need to make sure that you're downloading the files in such a way that you're not uploading or sharing them in addition to the download.

Quote:
However, the uploader could be guilty of copyright infringement in a country he's not a resident of, by making it available to you. Encouraging out-of-country downloads to places where the material is copyrighted, could be seen as inciting a crime. (Not sure if cross-country copyright infringement has been prosecuted. DMCA violations have been prosecuted on non-US citizens whose "crimes" took place in countries where they were not crimes, but DRM tech was involved, not unauthorized copies.)
I wonder about this. I think there's a legal difference between distributing something a Canadian is licenced only to sell in Canada outside the country (which would obviously be a breach of that contract, and thereby copyright infringement) and a Canadian putting up something on a website that in Canada has no copyright at all. If the Canadian court does not recognize the copyright, do they have any responsibility to the international community to exercise foreign copyright law? I doubt it, personally.

The key difference is that the courts up here probably wouldn't recognize the copyright at all, so copyright infringement may not be possible.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nakor View Post
Only the party making the new copy of the file, which is considered to be the uploader and not the downloader, is guilty of piracy.
really? Do you have any court cases to cite that support that?

BTW: Downloading a file is basically the act of COPYing the file from a server to your PC. So, I'm not sure why only the "uploader" is the one that copied the file.

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
*Distributing* unauthorized copies is forbidden; *acquiring* them is not. AFAIK, you break no laws in downloading *anything*, even if it's entirely under copyright everywhere in the world.
I'm sorry, but this is completely untrue. Downloading copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder is a copyright violation, because the very nature of downloading implies making a copy of the work.

To answer the original question: you are, strictly speaking, violating copyright in downloading a book that is in copyright in your country, but in the public domain in the place that you download it from. However, if it's for your personal use, your chances of being prosecuted for doing so are zero.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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Were the people who were sued for MP3 sued because of downloading or uploading? I will check this out.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:05 PM   #9
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http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/...ownloading.asp

Based on this article it would seem that the act of copying digital IP that you don't already own is illegal...although doesn't completely answer my question since the IP in question is located in Canada where it is legal to copy it!!!
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I'm sorry, but this is completely untrue. Downloading copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder is a copyright violation, because the very nature of downloading implies making a copy of the work.

To answer the original question: you are, strictly speaking, violating copyright in downloading a book that is in copyright in your country, but in the public domain in the place that you download it from. However, if it's for your personal use, your chances of being prosecuted for doing so are zero.
FWIW I know it's true in Canada -- only the uploader is breaking the law. And as yet every MP3 related case I've heard of in the states has been against a file-sharer, not someone who has downloaded but not uploaded.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #11
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Copyright law, in the US at least, starts with the basic premise that the act of making a copy, without the copyright holders permission, is illegal. There are specific exceptions written into the law, but if your situation doesn't fit into one of those exceptions, then the act of making the copy is illegal. (IANAL but I've talked to some about this. This isn't legal advice though, just my interpretation of what they told me.)

As with geographic restrictions, US law considers the site of the 'sale' of a downloaded product to be the location of the person downloading it-so the US downloader of the Canadian PW book would be in violation of US law. (Unless they downloaded it while in Canada, and then bringing it back into the US would be a Customs matter, I think.)

On the practical side, it's handled like the war against drugs-both distributing & using are illegal, but they prefer to charge, or sue, the distributors when they can find them. That doesn't prevent them from charging or suing the users because failure to sue (or at least threaten a lawsuit) when an infringer is found can cause loss of copyright. (Just as failure to charge a drug user, when caught, can cause law enforcement to be themselves sued for corruption. Not all charges are prosecuted, nor are all threats of lawsuits carried out-that can be a practical consideration, but the 'gesture' must at least be made.)
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:36 PM   #12
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(Unless they downloaded it while in Canada, and then bringing it back into the US would be a Customs matter, I think.)
Would be no different from buying the book or picking it up at a yard sale and then bringing it back to the US; if you acquire the copy in a country where it's in the public domain, you can then carry it anywhere. You're not required to pay royalties to other jurisdictions when you move.

And it's possible that downloading doesn't get prosecuted because copyright laws mention numbers of copies--making less than 10 copies may not be illegal, and so a single download isn't prosecutable. (Criminal copyright infringement in the US requires 10+ copies, so a single download isn't a crime. I'm less certain about how the civil laws work.)
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
*Distributing* unauthorized copies is forbidden; *acquiring* them is not. AFAIK, you break no laws in downloading *anything*, even if it's entirely under copyright everywhere in the world.
However, further copying, including the incidental copying on a PC required to read the file is an offence.

In some countries, the Rule of the Shorter Term would apply, but the USA does not recognise this.

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:30 PM   #14
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So I searched for "Lady Chaterley's Lover" - its is NOT in my public library. And I was somewhat curious what all the uproar is or was.

It was not in Gutenberg or Gutenberg Canada - I suspect because the copyright is still in force there.

I found it in Australia. And not on the dark nets. So I guess copyright is shorter there.

Now complicate the picture. First I am a US citizen. Second, it is winter - so I am living in Mexico. I downloaded the eBook in Mexico from Australia.

Whose laws apply?
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:13 PM   #15
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You're in Mexico. Mexico's.
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