A couple of days ago someone asked a group I was in about a brilliant idea she had. Apparently she had purchased, or was going to purchase a recording of a lecture given by an outstanding genealogy lecturer, and had the bright idea that she could play this recording in full to her local genealogy group as part of a program. She wanted to know if there was a problem with this.
I responded that she should contact the speaker and ask permission first. Others contended that there was no need as there were provisions under copyright law that allowed for that. A great discussion ensued. Turns out a lot of us do not know much about copyright law, and broadcast law. But surpisingly, the law oriented people would not really acknowledge that is was an ethical issue more than a legal issue. Of course , I took the ethical approach to the problem, because American copyright law is a grat mystery to me.
My position is simple, if the speaker who created the lecture gives permission to play the lecture to the group, then its ok. And if you play it without asking permission its not ok. The lecture is something the speaker can give, it is not something for the group to take. The recordings were made for personal use, not public broadcast.
This time, you probably have an opinion. But this time, listen to your Uncle Ken. Ask, don't Take. Asking permission is the right thing to do.