if I have the legal right to watch a movie on a paid-for streaming service is it wrong for me to watch it on an 'illegal' service?

Thread Starter

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
2,524
Morally and/or legally...

I have a subscription to a well-known streaming service whose mobile app isn't supported on my phone or my 'old' 2019 smart TV in the bedroom though I can watch it on my new 2021 TV in the living room. I'm watching a movie on both devices by streaming it from a free streaming service though that movie is exclusive to the paid service.

Morally I see no issue, I have a legal right to watch it but my wife disagrees.

What do you think, and is there any precedent in UK or US law on this?
 
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Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
4,821
Morally, all that matters is that the relevant people get their royalties. Legally - copyright law is such a muddle, I wouldn't like to speculate. I think in UK law it might be technically illegal but the copyright owners would only receive damages to compensate them for the amount that they lost, which would be zero. I think that the principle is to return the "victim" to the financial situation he would be in if the "crime" had not been committed.
I own a copy of Doug Self's book on amplifiers, I have also seen it on the internet for download. Would it be illegal in this case to download it? (Sometimes it would be really handy to have an electronic copy)
That leads to another thought. Doug Self's book is now in its 6th edition. If I had bought all six, I would have had to pay for a lot of the material six times over. Morally, how fair is that?
 

Thread Starter

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
2,524
I own a copy of Doug Self's book on amplifiers, I have also seen it on the internet for download. Would it be illegal in this case to download it? (Sometimes it would be really handy to have an electronic copy)
Yes, a related dilemma, though not exactly the same. That's more akin to the issue of owning the CD but ripping the tracks onto an MP3 player.

Having said that, I downloaded the classic "Art of Electronics" a few years back, then found a near pristine late-edition copy in a charity shop - in neither case did the author get additional royalties, yet only the latter is 'legal'.

I also have an extensive collection (built up over 50 years) of sci-fi & fantasy inc a few 1st editions but because of my disability I now read & re-read them on my Kindle though many have never officially been made into e-books... I object to the notion that you can buy the printed edition and yet also have to pay again for the e-version - to me that's discrimination; though I would never dream of destroying a quality book to scan it but if someone trashed a cheap second-hand paperback to make something I already own more accessible for me I have no moral objection to that...
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
25,919
Let us assume that you have paid for a genuine copy of something.

In my opinion that is irrelevant to whatever means you do with a second acquisition. If it is via illegal means then it is illegal.
 

Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,727
Copyright can certainly be a complex issue.
Here is an extract of the Terms and Rules of this site:
"You are granting us with a non-exclusive, permanent, irrevocable, unlimited license to use, publish, or re-publish your Content in connection with the Service. You retain copyright over the Content."
In theory then, if I quote something that a member has posted in a thread here, I ought to seek that member's copyright clearance. Not likely to happen though.
I suspect copyright is normally pursued only if there are financial considerations. A high proportion of what is published on the Internet is clearly copied from somewhere, but the copyright holders presumably either agree to that or don't consider it worth while taking action to prevent it.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
4,821
I quote something that a member has posted in a thread here, I ought to seek that member's copyright clearance.
You mean like I have just done?
No, that would be criticism, review or quotation:

Criticism, review and reporting current events
Fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation is allowed for any type of copyright work. Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of reporting current events is allowed for any type of copyright work other than a photograph. In each of these cases, a sufficient acknowledgement will be required.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,255
From Bruce Speilbauer on Quora:

“It depends on your location, for starters.

If you are in the U.S. — technically — the answer is almost always going to be no. You “broke the encryption) (probably with the help of illegal software, as well) — in order to accomplish this. There are exceptions, where a DVD that you purchased was unencrypted in any way, the the authors even give permission for this. Those tend to be very rare, though — and I doubt if that is what you are referring to.

However, you also specifically stated that it is “for personal use.” So, if you wrote that sincerely, it is probable that nobody would ever bother to actually prosecute you for this, and that nobody (even the major film studios) would ever try to hold you liable for such a thing. If you sincerely never use it for anything further than “for personal use.”

But, if you share it, even if it is not for a profit — watch out. That is not “for personal use.”

And — everything above is based upon the premise that you are located in the U.S. The law you have broken is one component of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you are located elsewhere, forget everything I said, and investigate your own local copyright laws.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Wikipedia

One part if this law prohibits you from defeating the encryption that is found on almost all commercial DVDs, as well as Blu-Rays, as well as a lot of on-line content. The instant you defeat the encryption, you have committed a felony, by definition.

Hope this helps”
 

Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,727
Fair enough for those uses (post #7), but publishing the quoted content elsewhere could be a copyright breach. And as said above, it all depends which jurisdiction you come under.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,671
Maybe this is analogous to using a video cassette recorder to record a football game so you can watch it at a more convenient time. Explicitly making time-shifting like this is what let the video cassette recorder market take-off.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,117
I'm not sure I understand... You paid for a streaming service; therefore, you can watch it on whatever you wish to! We use Netflix (among others) and have run into issues when I, my wife, and son, all living in the same house, are watching 3 different movies at once. It won't allow 3 at once and we get an error message about it. So, we have to decide who gets to watch at the same time. Doesn't matter if it is on a TV, desktop computer, laptop, pad, or iPhone, the limit is apparently 2. And I can use that service wherever I wish to, even outside of the US. Didn't use to be a limit but Netflix is clamping down on passworded account sharing. My kids could use it at college, back when, at the same time we did at home and God only knows who they may have shared the password with at college.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,975
Reminds me a practice by a very large manuf. in the CNC systems world, a machine tool builder would order a system for his machines and opt for and pay for any optional features of his choice.
He would then sell the machine to an end user.
What became known is, that all the systems features were included in all units and these features could be selectively turned on by setting a certain bit in the system memory.
Someone chose to post a list of these parameters on the internet and were pursued vigorously by the Manufacturer and an attempt to sue anyone turning on these parameters.
Some would say, once I purchase a machine, it is mine to do what I like with ?
 

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
616
Morally and/or legally...

I have a subscription to a well-known streaming service whose mobile app isn't supported on my phone or my 'old' 2019 smart TV in the bedroom though I can watch it on my new 2021 TV in the living room. I'm watching a movie on both devices by streaming it from a free streaming service though that movie is exclusive to the paid service.

Morally I see no issue, I have a legal right to watch it but my wife disagrees.

What do you think, and is there any precedent in UK or US law on this?
Probably the only to find out would for litigation to take place, ultimately it would come down to opinions and any decisions would be based on people's opinions.
 

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
616
Morally and/or legally...

I have a subscription to a well-known streaming service whose mobile app isn't supported on my phone or my 'old' 2019 smart TV in the bedroom though I can watch it on my new 2021 TV in the living room. I'm watching a movie on both devices by streaming it from a free streaming service though that movie is exclusive to the paid service.

Morally I see no issue, I have a legal right to watch it but my wife disagrees.

What do you think, and is there any precedent in UK or US law on this?
On an slightly related note, I often watch Twilight Zone on HULU, which has been a part of HULU's offering for years. Well all of a sudden its gone and to see it I must subscribe to some other service according to HULU.

This pulling back of Star Trek licensing with third-party streaming services is part of an avowed strategy of ViacomCBS to make their key franchises and assets available only on their own streaming service, Paramount+. And it isn’t just Star Trek. Other ViacomCBS shows are also exiting Hulu in January including The Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks, I Love Lucy and others. However, many more remain for the time being, including popular shows like Cheers, Frasier, and CSI.
I mean, really? Twilight Zone? its old, been shown on TV for years and years why act like this? I'm hating these services, there's no solidity, things change all the time, what was true yesterday is not tomorrow, like you and the apps.

I had a great SONY plasma TV (still have it in storage) and one day it popped a message that I had to upgrade my Netflix app so I did. Guess what?

The "upgrade" actually removed the app and there's now no app available for Netflix on that TV.

What if I'd been an 80 yr old person just trying to live a simple life - these firms are terrible, absolutely terrible.

DVDs, that's my pet "hobby" these days, I can watch a DVD any time year in year out...and being originally from the UK I can now watch any DVD and any Blu-ray disc because I bought this player and it works fine, e.g. this classic.
 
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MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
25,919
Back in the days when scientific pocket calculators first came out, entry level models were priced lower that ones with additional functions, of course.

A colleague found out that the internals were the same for all models. What he did was cut out holes for buttons on the front cover and added his own buttons. Bingo! He got the extended features on his basic lower priced model.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,975
A similar issue ensued a couple of decades ago when satellite TV stations would scramble their PPV signals, there were weekly posts over the internet of the code required to view the content.
Several attempts were taken in order to try and detect and charge anyone decoding and/or using the encrypted signal without paying.
My take on it was, that if you send a radio frequency signal within my personal space, It is within my right to do what I will with it.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,504
for the amount that they lost, which would be zero
Streaming services pay the copyright owner in two ways,
1) the right to offer it to subscribers
Plus
2) an additional fee for each time a subscriber actually watches the show.
The second one fulfills contracts known as "residuals" that flow through to the writer, actors, director,...

If someone watches on a pirate service (when also subscribing to a legit service), the second fee is not paid.

You can go to Netflix.com, log in and see your full viewing history. All those views resulted in a royalty check (residual).
-- Log into your account, click upper right account icon, select "account", then select "Request copy of personal information, they will send a full list of all views since account was opened. Be careful, you'll also see what your wife and kids watched without you --

So, to answer the OP's question, No, it is not "Legal" for you to watch and subvert payment to the artists and others associated with the work. It's not likely you'll get caught but I doubt any court would agree that it is ok because there are people who did not get paid.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,504
In @Irving 's case, the fee would have been paid, because he had the legal download on one television and the illegal one on another.
He only said he had "access" to it. His streaming service would only pay the Artists their residual if he actually watched it on the streaming service.
 
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