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Is It Legal to Download Television Shows?

Many people download television shows into their computers. They get the files from downloading sites, where users often share their own files and go into a global “trading” of content.

The benefits of downloading television shows – at least to users – are numerous. This is free, compared to the cost of buying boxed sets, and it also allows people to watch a series in one sitting instead of having to go through a week of waiting before they get the next installment of a favorite show. It also allows people to watch shows they would normally have no access to, because it isn’t carried by a local cable provider.

People in the television industry are alarmed, though. They say that this is actually a violation of the law and can be considered as a break in copyright. However supporters of video sharing that this is no different from somebody recording the show and then watching it another time. The industry has also taken no steps against the sale of machines like TiVo which allow users to save programs and edit out commercials, or even pause a show in progress for a few minutes.

Furthermore, copyright laws are clear that copied materials should not be redistributed commercially. However none of the users in filesharing sites actually charge anyone for downloading videos. It’s a perfectly free service and seems no different in principle than somebody borrowing a copy of a videotape from a neighbor.

The problem though is that the television industry is losing amounts of money to people who normally would’ve bought the DVD’s. To survive shows often have huge budget cuts and the crew and resource people are often the first to feel the pinch.

One way the television industry is adapting is by making their tv shows freely available over the Internet.

Featured in Entertainment