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Copyright issues with online movie site.

 4:19 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hello all,

I am going to start a website which will have list of movies categorised by the actors. Users will be able to watch movies live.

One thing, i would like to mention here is that i am not planning to upload movies which are currently in cinema.

What i am planning is to buy all old movies,encode an upload them for steaming etc.

What i need to know is that, is there any copyright issue link with such situation. if yes, then this copyright issue applicable will be of country i am living or of country where i am hosting my site.

What would be your suggestion to make it legal!



 7:55 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am not an attorney but I suspect that several thousand dollars spent with an attorney would be prudent....

I am pretty sure that buying a moview doesn't give you any permission/right to distribute.


 8:52 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

They key criminal section of the Copyright Act, Section 506(a) of Title 17, provides that:

any person who infringes a copyright willfully either-
(1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
(2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000, shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.

There really isn't a legal way for you to do this and reside in the United States. I think the only way you can really do this is to contact the companies that own the copyrights to these movies and see how you can obtain rights to distribute. Then you're good to go.


 10:08 pm on Jan 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

What i am planning is to buy all old movies,encode an upload them for steaming etc.

You know that big FBI warning displayed on just about every U.S. produced DVD (and probably VHS tapes) that explains how the DVD is for private viewing only? In case you're like just about everyone else and ignore that message, you should read it once so you can understand that buying a DVD (or video) does NOT give you any re-broadcast rights.

No, if you mean really old movies that have outlived their copyrights and are truly in the public domain, that may be a different matter. But I definitely agree with eventus and suggest you hire a few hours of lawyer time to get all your issues resolved correctly.


 8:43 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

If public domain content, no problems. But if public domain why would anyone pay to view when archive.org has over 3,000 PD movies online for free?

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