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Is it legal to download free tv episodes

Detroit, MI |

i want to know if it is legal to download tv episodes for free

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Filed under: Intellectual property
Attorney answers 3


The answer to this question depends on whether the copyright owner of the television series has authorized the website to provide downloads. If the website offering the downloads is not licensed or otherwise authorized by the copyright owner, it is not legal for you to download the episodes.

Views expressed are mine and do not represent the views of Arent Fox LLP (or its partners, employees or clients) or the New York State Bar Association. This answer is provided for the purpose of furthering the analysis, understanding and discussion of copyright law. This answer is not an advertisement for my services, nor is it given for the purpose of soliciting my retention as your lawyer. Nothing in this answer is intended to serve as legal advice, nor should you rely upon this answer to serve as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please seek out and retain qualified legal counsel to provide such advice based upon your specific facts and circumstances. Nothing in this answer creates an attorney-client relationship with you. To be my client, you must be a client of my firm, which means that we must make certain disclosures to each other, check certain facts, make financial arrangements, and enter into a written agreement with and approved by my firm.


It depends on whether the download was authorized by the copyright owner, and what conditions were imposed on the use of the downloaded episode (such as not copying or sharing the episode with another). If it was authorized, then it would be legal (provided that you do not violate the conditions). If you are referring to unauthorized file sharing, this would not be legal.

This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all of the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


The fact that an episode can be viewed "free" on-line or on television does not make it legal to download it. It is possible that the terms of use allow consumers to download and review the episodes without compensation, but the answer depends on the specific facts, circumstances, and contractual terms involved with each particular episode. Be careful, however. Downloading and sharing copyrighted material can get you in a lot of trouble if you do so without appropriate authorizations and licenses. Many content producers of music, films and television programming are very aggressive in bringing law suits against individuals who illegally download materials for their own use. If you have any doubt about whether it is legal to download, don't do it.

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