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Books copyright protected in US but not Canada
#1  markbot 03-17-2010, 01:32 PM
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?
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#2  pholy 03-17-2010, 01:43 PM
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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#3  leebase 03-17-2010, 01:57 PM
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

Lee
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#4  Elfwreck 03-17-2010, 02:36 PM
Quote markbot
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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#5  Nakor 03-17-2010, 02:42 PM
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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#6  pilotbob 03-17-2010, 02:45 PM
Quote Nakor
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.

BOb
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#7  HarryT 03-17-2010, 02:46 PM
Quote Elfwreck
*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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#8  markbot 03-17-2010, 03:02 PM
Were the people who were sued for MP3 sued because of downloading or uploading? I will check this out.
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#9  markbot 03-17-2010, 03:05 PM
http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Internet/2004/music_downloading.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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#10  Nakor 03-17-2010, 03:16 PM
Quote HarryT
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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