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Is it illegal to store movies in my own computer?

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:31 pm
by Halie0201
A question has confused me for a while:

I have stored many movies on my computer, like "Star wars". Some of them are purchased from the store and some are copied from my friends. I just watched them myself and never upload them to somewhere online. If someone, like a policeman, checks my computer and found these movies, will I be asked to provide the proof that I own these movies legally? If I fail to prove these movies are purchased by me, is it possible for me to be fined?

I knew that it's not legal to download the pirate movies from the internet. But all the movies on my computers are purchased or copied directly from a DVD or USB, so there is no downloading. And I never shared them. Is it possible for me to be asked to provide a proof of my purchase history of these movies?

Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:59 am
by AndyJ
Hi halie,

Unfortunately any DVD which you have copied, whether it is one that you own personally or one belonging to a friend, would be an infringing copy. I doubt very much if the police would be interested, however, as unless there was evidence that you were doing something beyond keeping a copy for personal use, it would be a cvil matter, not a criminal one.

The government did propose and briefly introduced an exception to copyright for the purposes of 'format shifting' which would have covered you in the case of any DVDs which you owned, but this had to be withdrawn after a number of organisations representing the music industry successfully challenged the legality of the Regulations which introduced the exception. However as these Regulations made it clear, even if they had remained in force, they would not have permitted the copying of DVDs belonging to your friends.

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 3:45 am
by Halie0201
Then what about images? Just working as a CG artist right now, when I find good images, I will save it on my PC. But I will not use them in my work, just for learning the composition and color skill of the images.

I was just thinking that it's a fair dealing for me to save the images on my PC, right? If so, is it possible for me to claim that it's a fair dealing for me to copy movies for personal study?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 7:29 am
by AndyJ
Hi halie,

The exception for private study and research would probably cover most cases of the sort you mention. There is no definition of what 'study' means in this context and therefore we can expect the courts to give it its ordinary meaning which is fairly wide and certainly goes further than just being a student in some formal school or college of education for instance.

As I mentioned in my earlier reply, it would be virtually impossible to enforce a regime which banned any copying of this nature where the copied work remains stored privately and is never published.

The older version of section 29 used to be restricted to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, but these words were removed by the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1372), This effectively means that copies of sound recordings and films would now fall within the private study exception, although this aspect has not yet been tested in the courts.

(Thurs 1 June 21:21). I ought to clarify the last sentence. Although the exception for private study might now include films, to meet the requirements of fair dealing, no more of a work than the least amount necessary for the specific study purpose would fall within the exception, say perhaps a short clip containing a famous piece of dialogue or a notable piece of cinematography. The exception would not cover the copying of a fairly large amount and certainly not a complete movie.