Copyright Blues:RE:sharing CDR and Recorded TV

OK. I asked my Dad to send me a copy of Windows 2k from the states. All that was on the customs form was “CD software”.

It was opened. But being legal, post office sealed it up again in their nice postal tape and let it go on its merry way.

I used to trade occasional songs or Recorded TV shows with my family and a few friends back home via the mail. But, now, I don

Congratulations on your integrity. I’m sending you 20 karma points for trying to obey the law (not that I haven’t had my fair share of legal transgressions, but copyright infringement is stealing).

Under Taiwan law, as in most countries, an author has the exclusive right to reproduce his or her work, subject to any legal exceptions. Taiwan’s copyright law does have a “fair use” exception at Article 65 that requires courts to consider 4 factors:

a) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit or educational purposes (copying for financial gain is worse, to share with family more benign);

b) the nature of the copyrighted work;

c) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole (copying one song off a cd or one story from an anthology is not as bad as taking it all); and

d) the effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work (selling your copies in competition is especially bad).

Those criteria were taken straight from US law but how courts interpret them may vary. Unlike the US, Taiwan law does not rely on precedent. That is, if the Taiwan Supreme Court rules that the law says A, a lower court can rule the next week that it says B. In my opinion, not observing precedent makes no sense, as it is much harder to determine whether conduct is legal or not, but it’s not just Taiwan that fails to recognize precedent. Same goes for Germany and Japan.

So, I don’t think anyone can say for sure whether what you are doing is legal. Even in the states, the law is not always predictable. In law school, my torts teacher had a mantra that he drilled into our brains. He’d give us certain facts and ask is that legal, and we were supposed to respond, “there are no answers, only arguments.” While that’s true back home, it’s even truer here.

I have to go to work now, but I’ll let you decide for yourself whether it’s legal or not.

And here’s 20 points for you, MT. A lawyer applauding intergrity. Imagine that! :wink:

Seriously though (and I am NOT a lawyer), in the absence of clear legal guidelines I’d think the uses you mentioned above would be fine. I don’t think your actions would affect potential sales of the originals, and you aren’t trying to make a financial profit. On the other hand, if you copied the whole CD and gave it to a friend, that friend would obviously not be inclined to purchase the original work so you would be affecting potential sales. Just my 2 cents.

Hmmm… I thought copyright law in Taiwan meant that you have the right to copy. hmmm… interesting.