Copyright questions

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KiwiNFLFan
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Copyright questions

Post by KiwiNFLFan »

How does the modern notion of copyright fit in with the second precept? I'm guessing downloading a movie off a torrent site because you didn't want to pay the money would be a breach of the second precept. But I think there are some grey areas. What if a certain TV program isn't broadcast in your area? Is it ok then to download it (eg Game of Thrones isn't broadcast on any networks in your country)?

What I'm most curious about is areas where copyright is ambiguous. For example, many Buddhist sites host ebooks for download. A certain lama has a large amount of ebooks available for download on his website. I don't know if he has the rights to distribute them. Also, the 'Community Texts' group on archive.org has a lot of books which appear to be under copyright, and it's near to impossible to verify the copyright, as we have no idea whether the uploader has the rights to the material. What should you do in those circumstances? I emailed an author of a couple of books in that group and got an ambiguous response from him.
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Queequeg
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by Queequeg »

That is an interesting question.

My impression is that the Buddhist notion of property is probably much broader than legal definitions in some respects. If a person has a sense of ownership over something and would be disturbed if someone were to interfere with that sense of ownership might have a claim that the Buddhist ought to respect. On the other hand, if I feel like I own the Sun and feel offended when people walk in the light without asking me, I might just be crazy.

With regard to copyright... a lot of those texts probably should not be distributed like that and it is a violation of the precept to download or view them... the analysis might refer to the practice of copying texts by hand in the past... one would usually need the permission of the person who controls the actual text to copy them... might follow the same sort of logic.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
tkp67
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by tkp67 »

FWIU regarding archive they only allow copyrighted material for which the copyright expired which is 70 years after authors death.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Big question, we've had some interesting threads on this in the past.

I take it pretty literally - don't take what is not given. If you have to seek out a client to download a torrent, it goes beyond "taking what is given".

If someone wants to give you something on a thumb drive etc., a little different. The modern notion of intellectual property is a weird one, and I don't know that I've found a satisfying overall answer other than simply not going out of my way to pirate things, and just accepting things that are offered as gits..which admittedly sometimes is copyrighted material. I have a teacher that gifted me a cubic ton of ebooks...

As far as Dharma material, I feel like we also have a responsibility to perpetuate it, so I try to put some money towards publishers etc. doing good things, even if I am gifted an ebook or whatever.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
tkp67
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by tkp67 »

I suspect some teachers, organisations may copy write their materials so they can give them out freely and still prevent others from redistributing free materials at a profit.
KiwiNFLFan
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by KiwiNFLFan »

tkp67 wrote: Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:38 pm FWIU regarding archive they only allow copyrighted material for which the copyright expired which is 70 years after authors death.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain
The 'Community Texts' group has a lot of material that looks like it might be in breach of copyright. What should one do if one is unable to determine whether the uploader is the copyright holder?

I know that the 'Documents' section of Scribd has a lot of copyrighted material, so I just stick to the books in the 'Books' section.

Also, how does this apply to videos on YouTube? I know YouTube removes content that violates copyright, but there is so much of it that it could be difficult.

BTW, the book that I mentioned in the OP has been removed. I checked last night, so maybe the author contacted the Internet Archive and asked for removal of copyright.
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Nemo
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by Nemo »

Owning ideas is an incredibly recent concept. Created by capitalism it is responsible for massive inequality and creating billionaires who do almost nothing. The modern concept of copying ideas being theft would make no sense in the ancient world. Even modern China thinks it's a crazy concept. When we have 6 people who own more stuff than the bottom 3.75 billion humans using the 2nd precept to justify it may be going against the spirit of Buddhist justice and fairness. When billionaires own all the water will drinking it be stealing?
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KathyLauren
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by KathyLauren »

The second precept is usually stated as avoiding "taking that which is not given". This is subtly different from the western idea of stealing, and is more in keeping with the concept of copyright.

The fundamental question in "taking what is not given" or in copyright is whether the author wanted you to have the work. It is not about depriving the author of the goods - obviously it does not - or even about depriving them of money. It is about permission. Did the author permit you to have a copy of their work?

When a work is offered for sale or for rent, the financial transaction is an exchange of money for permission to have a copy. If you acquire a copy without obtaining permission, then you are in violation of the precept.

Om mani padme hum
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tkp67
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Re: Copyright questions

Post by tkp67 »

KiwiNFLFan wrote: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:25 am
tkp67 wrote: Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:38 pm FWIU regarding archive they only allow copyrighted material for which the copyright expired which is 70 years after authors death.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain
The 'Community Texts' group has a lot of material that looks like it might be in breach of copyright. What should one do if one is unable to determine whether the uploader is the copyright holder?

I know that the 'Documents' section of Scribd has a lot of copyrighted material, so I just stick to the books in the 'Books' section.

Also, how does this apply to videos on YouTube? I know YouTube removes content that violates copyright, but there is so much of it that it could be difficult.

BTW, the book that I mentioned in the OP has been removed. I checked last night, so maybe the author contacted the Internet Archive and asked for removal of copyright.
You can always contact administration at archive to check as well as the author. They may have given permission and simply use the copywrites to keep others from enriching themselves from redistribution or use in another work.
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