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Can Fair Use and Time Shifting Apply to Recording from the Internet?

There are two areas of US law that can be interpreted and implies that you can legally record or download from the Internet. Fair Use and Time Shifting can be applied to help justify the right to record content found on a broadcast medium.

Author: FreeFox
Date: Jun 23, 2011 - 1:51:16 PM

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There are two areas of US law that can be interpreted and implies that you can legally record or download from the Internet. Fair Use and Time Shifting can be applied to help justify the right to record content found on a broadcast medium.

Broadcast medium is defined as transmissions that are disseminated widely to the public. A medium that disseminates via telecommunications. Broadcast mass media refers collectively to all media technologies, including the Internet, television, newspapers, film and radio, which are used for mass communications, and to the organizations which control these technologies. The Internet uses telecommunications to transmit or broadcast data to servers and computers all over the world. The Internet is the ultimate broadcast medium.

When a browser communicates with the Internet or a website the browser makes a request for information to a web server. The information is transmitted to the end user computer generating a copy of the content and storing it on the end user's computer. In other words, when you watch a video or listen to a broadcast via the Internet your computer requests and stores a copy of the content regardless if the content is downloaded or streamed to your computer.

So when you apply Fair Use and Time Shifting to the Internet it becomes clear that it is legal to record or download from the Internet.
What is Fair Use?

Fair use, a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work, is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.

On September 12, 2007, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA),[24] a group representing companies including Google Inc., Microsoft Inc., Oracle Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo and other high tech companies, released a study that found that Fair Use exceptions to US copyright laws were responsible for more than $4,500 billion dollars in annual revenue for the United States economy representing one-sixth of the total U.S. GDP. The study was conducted using a methodology developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The study found that fair use dependent industries are directly responsible for more than 18% of U.S. economic growth and nearly 11 million American jobs. “As the United States economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, the concept of fair use can no longer be discussed and legislated in the abstract. It is the very foundation of the digital age and a cornerstone of our economy,” said Ed Black, President and CEO of CCIA. “Much of the unprecedented economic growth of the past ten years can actually be credited to the doctrine of fair use, as the Internet itself depends on the ability to use content in a limited and nonlicensed manner."

The Fair Use Doctrine is one of the most important limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. It allows that copyright can be infringed because strict application of the law impedes the production and dissemination of works to the public. The Fair Use Doctrine was added as Section 107 of The Copyright Act of 1976 and was based on a history of judicial decisions that recognized that unauthorized infringements of copyright were "fair uses."

Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
1.the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2.the nature of the copyrighted work;
3.the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4.the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

What is Time Shifting?

Time shifting is the recording of programming to a storage medium to be viewed or listened to at a time more convenient to the consumer. Typically, this refers to TV programming but can also refer to radio shows via podcasts. In recent years, the advent of the digital video recorder (DVR) has made time shifting easier, by using an electronic program guide (EPG) and recording shows onto a hard disk. Some DVRs have other possible time shifting methods, such as being able to start watching the recorded show from the beginning even if the recording is not yet complete. In the past, time shifting was done with a video cassette recorder (VCR) and its timer function, in which the VCR tunes into the appropriate station and records the show onto video tape.

A digital video recorder (DVR) or personal video recorder (PVR) is a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device. The term includes set-top boxes with recording facility, portable media players (PMP) with recording facility, recorders (PMR as camcorders that record onto memory cards) and software for personal computers which enables video capture and playback to and from disk. A television set with built-in digital video-recording facilities was introduced by LG in 2007,[1] followed by other manufacturers. DVR adoption has rapidly accelerated in recent years: in January 2006, AC Nielsen recorded 1.2% of US households having a DVR but by February 2011, this number had accelerated to 42.2% of viewers in the United States.

The legality of time-shifting programming in the United States was proven by the landmark court case of Universal Studios versus Sony Corporation (Sony v. Universal, or the "Betamax case")[1]. In 1979, Universal sued Sony, claiming its timed recording capability amounted to "copyright infringement". Sony argued that the advent of its Betamax video recorder in 1976 did not violate the copyright of the owners of shows which the device recorded. A district court found that noncommercial home use recording was considered fair use and ruled in favor of Sony. In appeals, the United States Court of Appeals reversed this decision in 1981 giving the edge to Universal, but the Supreme Court of the United States reversed it yet again in 1984, and found in favor of Sony 5-4. The majority decision held that time shifting was a fair use, represented no substantial harm to the copyright holder, and would not contribute to a diminished marketplace for its product.

Today there is a new company that's pushing the Fair Use and time shifting concept to the next level. FreeFox is in the process of creating software that will become the "Internet Record" button. The concept being that the Internet is next generation of broadcast mediums. Therefore consumers of this broadcast medium need the means to time shift the content available on the Internet for later consumption on the preferred device of their choice.

The FreeFox software will allow users to exercise their right to Fair Use and Time Shifting of any video broadcast found on the Internet. With the new FreeFox software, users will be able to take full control of their entertainment experience. You'll be able to reliably play all music and video files, including MP3, WMA, WAV, Flash, MPEG, and more. The audio bit rate can be saved out as high as 320 kbps. One-Click Video Download - One-click is all it takes to download videos. Mobile Transfer - Transfer your favorite digital media to and from your PC and smartphone, to enjoy on the go. Convert Video to mp3 - Convert many different types of video files into almost any format you need. The software will work with iTunes - Build your iTunes library by time shifting videos from thousands of websites. Watch on iPhone, iPod, or iPad - Enjoy Flash videos anywhere you like. Transfer HQ Video to Smartphone - Convert & transfer high-quality video to your smartphone. Additionally, FreeFox will also supports the ability to download the actual video and save them out to whatever device that supports video play back, including FLV, MOV, MP4, PSP, AVI, MPG, and WMV. You will be able to select the video size up to 1080P HD (1920x1080).

FreeFox is the future of Internet DVR - the "Internet Record" button. FreeFox will provide Internet users the ability to exercise Fair Use and Time Shift of any video broadcast found on the Internet.

Product page URL:


FreeFox Does NOT host or upload any video, film, or any form of media files. We are not affiliated nor claim to be affiliated with any of the owners of videos/streams played on the web. All video links point to content hosted on third party websites. It is illegal for you to distribute copyrighted files without permission. The use of the FreeFox software must be for time-shifting, personal, private, non-commercial use only.



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