The UK transmission of the new series of Doctor Who has increased the already prolific unauthorised distribution of related CDs, DVDs and other episodes.
Although we understand some fans live in countries where the series isn’t currently airing, we at unitnews believe piracy is wrong and that Doctor Who fans owe it to the companies and individuals who work hard to produce such a high quality series and merchandise to support the official releases.
Pirating CDs and DVDs leads to less profits for the producers which harms future investment. Widespread distribution of episodes in other countries makes it less likely that broadcasters will spend the large sums involved in airing the show.
By persisting in such actions fans ultimately risk their own future enjoyment of the series and related merchandise.
A Personal View – The Copyright Holder
Following the publication of this article we were contacted by one copyright owner with strong links to the show who wanted to explain how copyright infringement affects them on a personal level:-
“One of the main justifications used by downloaders (and, indeed, uploaders) is that “it doesn’t harm anyone”. The record companies and TV and film companies, they say, are rolling in it and can, therefore, stand the loss. One point this argument misses is that the record, film and TV companies are themselves merely exploiting the copyrights and interests of others. And most of those “others” are individual contributors like me – private citizens with children and mortgages, just trying to make a living. And while a few quid here or there may be nothing to one of the big multi-media conglomerates (even though such an argument is still morally and legally indefensible, of course!) it certainly is a big thing to the individual copyright owner. But, then, look at Paul McCartney, they say – he’s also rolling in it. Again, an indefensible argument, but nevertheless for every Paul McCartney there are many thousands more who just scrape by, and a middle strata who earn a “comfortable” living from their copyrights. For every copy of a Doctor Who DVD that is sold, a few pence goes to each of a number of contributors. That is their living – or at least a part of it. They are hurt by piracy.
I have seen justifications for the downloading of “Rose” that, well, it isn’t yet shown in their territory. Quite simply, if it is not shown in their territory, it has not been licensed to that territory and, therefore, they have not yet paid to see it. The UK license-payer has. So wait, and campaign if necessary, for your territory to acquire it legally – or buy the DVDs when they are released. All is needed is a little patience: everyone gets to see it eventually, legally, and reward is given (and paid) where reward is due. That is the best way to “appreciate” something, and to show your appreciation for it.”
The law states copyright owners have an absolute right to determine when, where and how their material is made available. Purchasing a book, CD, DVD or computer program does not give you the right to make further copies unless the enclosed licence expressly allows it.
The distribution of TV shows, even if they are broadcast on a free to air channel or system, is a breach of copyright and a civil offence.
How you can help
One way to help stamp down on piracy is to report any sites, individuals or auctions offering unauthorised material to FACT, the BBC or Internet Service Provider. Most auction sites will only respond to a complaint from the copyright holder or a trade body.
If you run a forum you can help stop piracy by including a specific ban on the offering or requesting of pirated or unauthorised copies on your board. Banning users who defy such requests sends out a clear message that you don’t condone the violation of other people’s rights.
However the best way to help stop piracy is simply not to buy or download illegal copies. Like all illegal activity, the distribution of pirated goods only occurs because a market exists for them. If you don’t support them, the perpetrators will stop.
Some filesharing systems use your computer to re-upload the file you are downloading for other users to then download. If you use this type of service, or make material available in any fashion, you become a perpetrator and, one day, you will get caught.
In April this year the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) successfully applied to the High Court for an order forcing internet service providers to hand over personal details of 33 alleged file-sharers they say are responsible for uploading 72,000 music files.
Speaking after the court ruling BPI general counsel Geoff Taylor said “This court order should remind every user of a peer-to-peer filesharing service in Britain that they are not anonymous”.
Most Doctor Who related merchandise is available direct from the producers. Please see our merchandise page for details.
Links & contact details
Instances of BBC material being made available or sold without permission, especially downloads or auctions, can be reported to email@example.com.
In addition there are several bodies working to clamp down on piracy. All welcome reports from the public and most allow you to report any illegal activity via their websites:
Federation Against Copyright Theft
The Internet Enforcement Group