Is content on Vuze legal?
I got a letter from my ISP about content I downloaded. How do I know what is ok and what is not ok to download so I don't get into any trouble?
In the past we operated something called the Vuze® HD Network™, and we will probably do that or something similar again in the future. With that in mind it's important to recognize the differences between content available from the Vuze® HD Network™, meaning that it is available through vuze.com, on one hand, and on the other hand content available and downloaded from other sites and bittorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) application users using the Vuze® or Vuze+™ bittorrent P2P software application client (for example, by downloading a torrent file from another site or bittorrent P2P application client users, and then opening or playing it from an application that plays bittorrent files, including those that might be within a web browser, stand alone, or a viewer/player that is part of a P2P application). In other words, it is important to understand the distinction between content downloaded from Vuze and content downloaded with or using the Vuze or Vuze+ P2P apps. And by "content" we generally mean data files that may contain written words, sounds, images, video, etc., which might be educational, scientific, informational, political (including regarding civil or human [and animal] rights issues), religious, entertaining, or any combination.
For the content available from the Vuze site, we had and will have strict copyright protection policies in place, and we worked and will work hard to attempt to ensure that all content there was and is in the public domain (which means there is no copyright or all copyright has fully and irrevocably expired), the use is a "fair use" under the United States Copyright Act, or otherwise, or all copyright holders / licensors have represented that they are the copyright "owners" or that they have the legal rights from all copyright owners or holders (licensees) to authorize or allow the content to be downloaded, uploaded, shared or otherwise used, manufactured, performed, displayed, copied, etc., through the Vuze site (See the exclusive rights of copyright holders under United States Law here http://www.copyright.gov/title17/), and we have no reason not to believe them. (If we had reason not to believe them we wouldn't have that content available there. As a matter of fact if you are the exclusive copyright holder of any works available on or through the Vuze site and you would like that material to be removed from the Vuze site please see our DMCA removal process here: http://www.vuze.com/corp/dmca.php.)
Content from the Vuze HD Network is the content that is displayed when you have Vuze HD Network selected in the left navigation pane. You can determine whether content in your Library that you have downloaded came from the Vuze HD Network or not by looking in the "From" column. Only content from the Vuze HD Network will have a blue frog displayed in that column. Content from other sites will have other icons in that column (for example, a round globe icon). (If you don't see the "From" column in your Library, you may add it using the Column Setup dialog, as described here: Column setup )
In connection with content available and downloaded from other sites and bittorrent P2P application users using the Vuze® or Vuze+™ bittorrent P2P software application client, some copyright holders are okay with people making and distributing copies of their works, without charging for them or otherwise financially benefitting, but this may be a pretty complex area of the law, and it isn't always crystal clear what a particular copyright holder may be okay with that, and what the law is or may be. For content from other sites and meta-search templates, trackers, RSS feeds, or otherwise, we're not really in a position to assess whether it is legal or not. There's content available legally via the bittorrent protocol (from Vuze, the site and the application, and from other sites and applications), but that's still not yet true of everything that's available. Be sure to review the policies of the individual site. Sometimes a copyright holder will actually inform you that you can re-use or re-distribute their work, in whole, or in part, including by notifying the world at large that a particular Creative Commons type license is applicable to a work. Here is where Creative Commons lists organizations and projects powered with Creative Commons licenses: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Content_Directories. The Internet Archive has a large collection of educational, informational, political and entertainment works, including visual, written, audio, and video, that are available either because they are in the public domain or have some sort of "some, but not all rights, reserved" Creative Commons type license: http://archive.org/index.php. (See some more Internet Archive projects here.) And under C-SPAN's copyright policy a license is generally not required to post a recording of C-SPAN's video coverage of federal government events online for non-commercial purposes so long as C-SPAN is attributed as the source of the video (http://www.c-span.org/About/C-SPAN-Copyright-Policy/). Even YouTube allows uploaders of videos to indicate that certain videos can be edited, re-used, or re-distributed, in whole or in part (see, http://www.youtube.com/t/creative_commons). However, we are not in a position to verify, let alone determine, what other content available through Vuze® or Vuze+™ (the P2P client applications and meta-search templates, trackers, other websites, RSS feeds, or otherwise), is authorized for any use generally reserved to the exclusive rights of the rights holder(s), including for personal sharing/distribution, saving, or copying, or is available with the permission of those who represent that they are the copyright owners or have all the rights necessary to allow others to exercise or enjoy any of those rights. It might be safe to assume, however, for example, that currently any major commercial film studio motion pictures that are or were recently playing in the theater, are not legally available for free downloading. This may also be true about most television shows, and most major music label sound recordings.
Vuze offers support only in connection with the accessing of authorized files. Vuze should not be used to infringe the intellectual property rights of others or to access unlawful materials. Because Vuze cannot control the conduct of its users, users are responsible for their own actions when using Vuze. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are downloading, uploading, sharing, making available, and copying only lawful and non-infringing content in your territory or country. We assume, without verifying, that any content files that might be referred to in any message, post, or conversation (if any at all) are either in the public domain (again, meaning there is no copyright or all copyright has fully and irrevocably expired), the use is a "fair use" under the law, or all copyright holders have authorized or allowed the content to be downloaded, uploaded, shared or otherwise used, manufactured, performed, displayed, copied, etc. (See the exclusive rights of copyright holders under United States Law here: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/ However, we are not in a position to verify what content available through Vuze® or Vuze+™ (the application, the website, or otherwise), is authorized for any of the exclusive rights of the rights holder(s), including for sharing/distribution or copying, and therefore, cannot provide you with assistance on emailing, downloading, uploading, sharing, copying, or otherwise using specific content. We can only refer you to our FAQs. (http://wiki.vuze.com/w/Main_Page). Should you need any further, general assistance that does not concern specific content, after reading the FAQs and following any instruction(s) in it or them, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
In any event, we strongly urge each user to act responsibly when it comes to emailing, downloading, uploading, sharing, copying, or making available any content.
The Vuze® and Vuze+™ P2P application also contains a "meta-search" feature which enables users to search other third party web sites, including torrent index sites. By default Vuze searches a limited set of torrent sites. This feature, whereby Vuze has enabled a select few search templates of a limited set of torrent sites, is provided as a convenience to our users. We do not have any relationship with the underlying sites and cannot attest to the legitimacy, safety or completeness of any content that may be identified through such services. Vuze selected and selects these torrent sites because it has a good faith and reasonable belief that those sites track or host content, the overwhelming majority of which content does not infringe upon the rights, including copyright, of any third party. Vuze makes a good faith attempt to determine the legitimacy and legality of these sites -- regarding those sites mostly or exclusively involving non-infringing content -- based upon news reports, outcomes of lawsuits or governmental actions against those sites, as well as periodically examining the number of take-down requests received by Google for domains alleged to be associated with infringing content. (See, Google Transparency Report [ http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/copyright/], and we encourage you to read Google's official blogs about its Transparency report.) Vuze recognizes that simply because Google might receive a lot of take-down requests associated with a domain, that does not necessarily mean that there is a lot of infringing content available on or through such sites, because take-down requests are simply allegations of infringement, not proof that there was or is infringement, many take-down requests are false, abusive, do not take into account "fair use" under the United States Copyright Act and analogous laws of other territories or countries, and might even be based upon falsified court orders. Further, there are reports that many take-down request involve attempts to suppress political speech. However, if Vuze becomes aware of an exceptionally high number of take-down requests associated with a domain that has been in existence for a reasonable period of time Vuze will typically not include, or will remove, such site from its pre-selected search templates.
To the extent that users have occasionally received notices from ISPs regarding the downloading of allegedly unlawful copies of content, we believe these arise from the downloading of content outside the Vuze HD Network. It is each user's responsibility to ensure that they are only downloading and uploading lawful and non-infringing content -- wherever it may be found. One such source of lawful and non-infringing content is, of course, the Vuze HD Network. In any event, we strongly urge each user to act responsibly when it comes to downloading and sharing content.
The links above and below lead to some third party materials that may be helpful to you in understanding your rights and obligations. We disclaim (have no) responsibility in connection with your following or clicking on any links. We recognize that there are a variety of viewpoints regarding what might be a complex area of the law involving the uses (or occasional misuses) of neutral technologies such as the Vuze® and Vuze+™ P2P applications, and content available through such P2P applications, and some of the viewpoints expressed by third parties might be biased or controversial, at the very least. But we can't expose you to all the resources on viewpoints, studies, laws, social movements (including civil disobedience), policy positions, alternative methods to compensate copyright holders (such as compulsory or collective licenses), and even religions (e.g., http://kopimistsamfundet.se/). We encourage you to learn more, though. Other than supporting and respecting the rights of creators, artists, and rights holders under the laws as they exist (and that isn't to say that certain laws should not be modified, or that the interpretation or application of those laws is always fair or just, or do not have unintended consequences), and being against copyright infringement and other misuses of P2P technology, we just provide a neutral technology and do not take a position endorsing or supporting any particular viewpoints, . . . except that we are also against censorship and are in favor of legal free speech (not all speech is legal). Also, we encourage you to support authors and artists whose works you like. But ultimately, unfortunately, we can't give you advice about any of this. You might want to consult with an experienced and good lawyer who knows about these issues, or ask some public interest groups to publish information on these topics and help you stand up for your rights. Also, this was written with the laws of the United States principally in mind, as we understand them, though may of the same principles apply elsewhere. If you are outside of the United States you might want to look into what the laws are of the territory where you are, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation provides a database of copyright laws around the world at http://copyright-watch.org. In European Union countries, the Commission website has some helpful information and links: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eyouguide/navigation/index_en.htm.
WIPO has a list of Intellectual Property and Copyright Offices internationally, you can find the one applicable for your country here: http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/urls.jsp
See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf for more information about U.S. copyright law.
For more information on US copyright law, including fair use and infringement, you might want to check out the following resources:
- The School of Communication American University Center for Social Media has a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication.
- FACE: http://www.csusa.org/face/home.htm
- Motion Picture Association of America: http://www.mpaa.org/piracy.asp
- Franklin Pierce Law Center: http://www.piercelaw.edu/thomasfield/ipbasics/copyright-on-the-internet.php
We want to again stress that we respect the rights of copyright holders, and hope and expect that you do too. Any use of Vuze® or Vuze+™ that violates an intellectual property right or any right of a third party is not allowed. Please do not infringe upon copyright. (#dic – What does #dic mean? Don’t Infringe Copyright. - Legal Torrent Files – What Is Vuze Doing & How Can You Help) Content available through Vuze® or Vuze+™ may or may not comply with copyright laws in your territory or country, and Vuze is not responsible for content you may download or share. Plus, don't forget that you agreed to our Terms
Thank you for your understanding.
Oh, and here's some other Stuff our lawyers like us to say about just about anything with regard to Vuze:
All defenses, remedies, rights, claims, etc., reserved without waiver or prejudice. No admissions, waivers, etc. made, including by silence or only partial response. No promises made or implied. Emails, other Posts, and written and oral discussions do not make or modify contracts and are not digital or electronic signatures or writings.