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Is downloading "my" music, off "my" server illegal?

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Does this mean that you will be accessing your music when away from home ?

You may have some fun convincing others that you haven't given your password to other people.

The Internet is awash with PWP (Password Protected files) that are given to other members of various forums.


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.


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In the UK and I am assuming Australia as well, it is up to the accusors to prove their case, not the other way round. Whether this holds for other parts of the world, I dont know.

So, you don't need to convince anyone that you haven't given your password away. It is up to them to prove that you have.

Now, whether the EULA licence allows remote access is another matter. If it doesnt specifically exclude remote access then it 'should' be OK.

Usual caveats apply.

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Legality is highly depending on where you are from/where you are actually doing that and what you are doing in particular. From my point of view (being a legal layman) there should be nothing wrong with setting up a server with your own (i.e. legally licensed) music data to provide remote access to yourself (i.e. to remote listen and/or watch). It might even be legal to provide the passwords to your friends and family as long as this is done in a non-commercial, non-public way.


From my point of view, it is more important to think about the possible impact and consequences of your activities from a pragmatic point of view. Will someone notice what you are doing? Of course you always have to keep the economic interests of the copyright holder in mind. If you are actively mistreating these, that is possibly illegal. Will someone notice, that you do so? Will someone drag you to court? These are the questions you should ask yourself as well. Or to be very clear about it:

How likely is it, that someone crawls the internet, finds your server, (illegally) hacks the password and finds out that you are actually serving music data? How likely is it - assuming that someone found out about your music server - that you are dragged to court and convicted in the end taking into account, that you licensed the music legally...


Anyway, all of this is extremely complex. There are several aspects of legality in this context:

1. legality of "your music" itself

2. legality of serving/broadcasting the music to an audience


1.) Legally licensing music and transferring it into digital formats is not as simple as it looks:

* You might have bought CDs/DVDs and ripped them. That could be considered illegal, if any kind of copy-protection has been circumvented to do so.

* You might have bought CDs/DVDs, played them (i.e. transferred to analog) and then digitally recorded the analog signal. That might be considered legal as there is no copy-protection on the analog signal.

* You might have downloaded "illegal copies" of music data. Depending on which legal system we are talking about, owning those illegal copies might be legal or illegal. Sometimes downloading illegal copies is illegal, sometimes it is not. Uploading illegal copies is usually considered illegal.

* Have you bought vinyls and digitized them from the analog signal? That could be considered legal as the source is analog and there is no copy-protection in place.



2.) If you are allowed to serve music to anyone is highly depending on the respective licenses:

* Public broadcast is usually not included in the licenses you buy as a consumer.

* Serving legal music data to yourself might be illegal under the given licenses.

* Serving legal music data to someone else might be illegal under the given license.


To make matters even more complex:

"fair use" concepts exist in most legal systems, i.e. copyrighted material might be allowed to be used and even copied as long as it is done in a non-commercial, non-public context.

Fair use

US Digital Millenium Coypright Act

German "Privatkopie" (sry, no English translation available)

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I want to setup a small webpage on my server to acces all my music (and dvd's possibly) Is this legal? Is it legal to download "my" content off "my" personal web server? The page will be password protected so that I can only access it.



I'm a lawyer, but not available to dispense legal advice to private parties. But at the risk of being somewhat OT, I wanted to ask: What kind of files (lossless or mp3)? Is your server fast enough to make this practical? When you put "'my' server" in quotes, is that just for emphasis or does it mean it's not really/completely/solely your server?

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

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