Is it legal to copy tapes if no more copies are available for purchase? 4 Answers as of October 08, 2013

Is it legal to make a copy of copyrighted VHS tapes if no more copies are available for purchase (couldn’t find any online or on the company’s web site)? I plan on occasionally watching them for years and don’t want one of them to break so I wanted to copy the videos to my computer to view. I read the DMCA says it’s illegal to copy copyrighted videos, but there aren’t any more copies available in case these break. I won’t be showing or sharing the videos to anyone, this is just for my private use. The tapes are lectures from a management consultant and my purpose in watching them is learning rather than entertainment (not sure if that makes a difference). Thanks.

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The Law Office of Nadia Lataillade, Esq.
The Law Office of Nadia Lataillade, Esq. | Nadia Lataillade, Esq.
The entire concept behind copyright is that you do not have the right to copy it. Having said that, I think every individual has the right to preserve what they have bought. In no way, shape, or form should you copy these tapes to distribute, exploit, or display, but if it is for your own personal enjoyment, I doubt anyone would sue you over it. I think of it like a CD. Most people, if they still buy physical CDs, will download it onto their computer and then transfer it to their phone/mp3 player. Technically, it is a "copy", but no one really looks at it that way as long as you have paid the purchase price and do not distribute or exploit it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/8/2013
Entertainment Law Partners
Entertainment Law Partners | Tifanie Jodeh
You can not make copies for commercial use.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/8/2013
Lawyer for Indie Media
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
I am under the impression that for your own use in a situation like this, you can transfer the data to a new medium. You probably want to transfer it to a more modern medium, such as onto a DVD or a thumb drive.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 10/3/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Technically, any copying without permission is illegal, even when it's for the purpose of transferring a personally-owned work from an obsolete medium to a newer one.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 10/3/2013
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