Is downloading and watching movies from graboid illegal and if so what are the repercussions? 3 Answers as of January 17, 2014

Please inform me.

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Downloading and watching movies from any source is illegal if the source doesn't have prior written permission from the copyright owner of the movie. The case would be brought in federal court and the civil fines can be several thousand dollars. If you are assisting in pirating the movie, jail time is also possible.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 1/17/2014
Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
This is a difficult question. The answer depends on exactly how Graboid works, and I do not know this answer. Graboid does not host content, but searches online for content and provides you with a link to it. Any time you download a movie, you are copying, even if temporarily. The right to copy is the basis of copyright. If you are copying the movie without permission of the copyright holder, then you are violating their copyright. The repercussions for that can be dire because statutory damages for copyright violation on a motion picture can be as high as $150,000. However, if graboid works without copying and is simply streaming, the viewer is not not liable for streaming, though the service may be. Graboid has located itself in Barbados, likely with the hope of avoiding U.S. Copyright laws. There is also the question of whether the movie is hosted legally or illegally on whatever site is hosting it. There is plenty of copyrighted content hosted legally and plenty hosted illegally. The bottom line is that the Graboid service itself is likely to become a target for a copyright case, while the users are much less likely to be targeted. The crux of the issue of whether a view would be liable is copying. At this time, a viewer is not liable for streaming, though may be for copying, even temporary copying. So it all depends on the exact mechanism of the software.

If you want to stick to legal viewing, Youtube has enough videos to last the rest of your life. Try searching around. Vevo has an enormous amount of videos. Itunes has movies and tv shows for rent by streaming, but it also has a very large and ever-changing selection of shows that can be watched or downloaded for free. Your online viewing can be totally legally and totally free. If you want to watch newer movies and be legal and need to stay within a small budget, consider renting from itunes or going to a Redbox to get movies. Redbox movies are a little over a dollar per day. It makes more sense to pay a dollar and be legal than to watch something for free and have legal troubles hanging over you. In fact, I have read that the Graboid premium plans are not free, but are quite expensive. I think you would be better off and far safer spending your money renting a movie.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/16/2014
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