Online Legal Rights - DOWNLOADING & STREAMING

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SHARING TORRENTS OF THE LATEST FILMS
Torrents – files that help you download content from peer-to-peer (P2P) networks – are the main method of distributing copyrightinfringing films. P2P filesharing site BitTorrent (www.bittorrent.com) is one of the best-known services and has repeatedly come under fire for providing surfers with tools to download films and music without the copyright holder’s consent. Swedish file-sharing network The Pirate Bay (www.thepiratebay.org) has a swashbuckling response to its raft of legal threats about copyright infringement: “0 torrents have been removed, and 0 torrents will ever be removed.” Its founders were each sentenced to a year in jail for facilitating copyright infringement but remain free pending appeal and, although the organisation said it was abandoning its torrent tracker, lawyers for film studios claim it still functions under a different domain. Individuals are now being prosecuted for illegal file-sharing and, if you don’t pay for films, you can be sued for copyright infringement.



WATCHING LIVE FOOTBALL MATCHES VIA P2P
If you don’t want to pay monthly fees to the likes of Sky Sports, the temptation of watching live football and other sporting events online for free is undeniable. But using a P2P stream from a site such as MyP2P (http://myp2p.eu) infringes copyright laws. While you are downloading a stream, your computer is simultaneously uploading that stream to other viewers, and you are not permitted to redistribute or rebroadcast copyrighted material. Aside from the legality issues, there is the quality issue, with streams subject to annoying time lags and interruptions – so you may miss crucial goals anyway.



ACCESSING CONTENT THROUGH A PROXY SERVER
Hulu (www.hulu.com), the online video service offering online entertainment from the likes of NBC, Fox and Disney has a notice saying its video library “can only be streamed from within the US”. This is because it doesn’t have international streaming rights (although a UK version is set to launch soon). For this reason, access from IP addresses outside the US is blocked. You can, however, get around this and access the restricted content by using a proxy server that lets you browse the internet anonymously by giving you a non-countryspecific IP address. However, this practice could be considered copyright infringement because the proxy server keeps temporary copies of files downloaded from US servers for distribution. Copyright expert Robin Fry confirms this: “Copyright is looked at country by country, so accessing content that’s legal in the US may still be illegal here. Stores that import new-release CDs from the US, for instance, have to get extra permission to bring them into the UK.”



PLAYING ONLINE POKER FOR MONEY
As opposed to many US states, it’s legal in Great Britain to play poker and take part in other forms of online gambling. In this country, there are different rules for different venues, such as pubs and the workplace. If you want to play for larger stakes, you can gamble at casinos licensed by the Gambling Commission, or play online. The ‘Remote gambling’ section of the Gambling Commission’s website (www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk) provides a guide on what to look out for when gambling online. Suggested precautions include ensuring the site is licensed and has a clear complaints procedure, checking the name and contact details of the regulator and verifying the legal age to gamble.


Source of Information : WebUser February 11 2010

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