June 23rd, 2011

elephant in the room

Copyright and linking

I don't know if this post is really really obvious or not at all obvious.  Maybe not at all obvious, from the sheer quantity of copyrighted images, music, books and video flying around the web in places where the copyright owner has not authorised them to be.

I'm leaving entirely aside the issue of the morality of, say, ripping film off DVD and putting it on Youtube, or using a pirated copy of your music as a background for your own home movie. I'm not  arguing that one: we are in a position where the law is running behind the technology and this inevitably creates odd and irritating situations.

But, there seem to be people who unless I am missing something, do not realise that by doing this they are running a risk and potentially exposing their families to risk too.
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I suspect most people reading this already know all this very well, and the hordes of people that don't, won't read this post. Hey ho.

EDIT : I'm not saying, don't link anything, or that technically-illegal stuff is morally wrong.   I'm saying: copyright law is messy, complicated and has the potential to royally muck your life up.  It is a good idea to take it seriously. If you have thought about it and are pretty sure that the most likely outcome of a particular technical breach of the law is having to reply penitently to a stern email and maybe remove some content, great.

But plenty of people seem to be taking larger risks with the kind of content that is likely to be protected vigorously by scary lawyers - and for what? Is it really worth the risk of becoming an example, for free music or DVD content? Maybe for someone who strongly believes in the principle of free information - but I'm not convinced that is the only motivation here.