This morning I presented an ethical copyright question to a long time outspoken commentator and strong copyright proponent, John Degen. To say we do not see eye to eye on copyright matters would be to severely understate the point. None the less I was sincerely interested in his perspective of this copyright scenario so I posted it to his blog.
Alas, his only comment was to dismiss it as not an issue at all and that I should post it to my own blog where he could respond with his own off topic comment.
I am not surprised that he has a very black and white perspective.
Here is the scenario, as posted to his blog.
I have recently taken to listening to CBC podcasts of some of their great radio shows such as "Art of Persuasion", "Ideas", "Irrelivent Show", "Vinyl Cafe" and several others. It is great because all the shows are only a button click away on my cell phone and available on demand after the morning of broadcast.
One of the ones I want to listen to is their new drama "Backbencher" unfortunately for what ever reason they have chosen not to make this one available by podcast and their chosen time slot is inconvenient for me.
Instead I wrote a small Bash script so my computer could record Radio One over the Internet during the timeslot, convert it to an MP3, then send it to my cell phone. It is then almost as convienient for me as the CBC podcasts.
There are several questions that arise from this. Obviously CBC does not intend for this show to be available on demand, so is there anything ethically or legally wrong with what I am doing? Is recording the radio as I am doing any different than recording live television with your VCR?
I am genuinely interested and would appreciate your perspective on this.
Many people like to draw lines with copyright and claim to know what is right and what is wrong. I see this as an example of the huge grey landscape that copyright occupies. Do you see any grey here or is it all black and white to you?
In John's reply he corrected my assertion that these episodes were not available on line. They are in fact available for a cost from iTunes. But that does not negate the question of whether it is ethically or legally wrong to record the show for later private enjoyment, as you can do exactly the same thing with television shows which are also available for purchase via iTunes.
I am interested in anyone's view on the legal and ethical issues presented here, and I am looking forward to hearing John's view on peanut butter.