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SerenelyBlue

Am I committing a crime?

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I discovered that I can listen to spotify without adds when I switch my vpn to Russia.  This is a premium perk, but I am paying nothing.  Is this wrong?

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No.

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3 hours ago, midniterider said:

No.

Thank you

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Youtube has just about every song for nothing, too.

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     Just keep in mind that they may ultimately start blocking VPN's like NetFlix does (only a few VPN's work with NetFlix).  So this trick may just stop working some day and you'll be back to where you are now.  An "it was nice while it lasted" sort of thing.

 

     Little grey areas like this are all over the place.  They're not illegal.  People and companies would love to make you think they are but they're not.  They may be against usage agreements though which is different from illegal.  It just means that you could lose your access if the company in question decides to enforce that aspect of the usage agreement but normally they don't since you still have to consider that people want their services when they travel and all.  It's just not worth it to them to bother and let these little grey areas exist, but as I said, they could just block them at some point and you'll have to live with that.

 

          mwc

 

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Thanks mwc.  That gives me peace of mind.

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Hi SB,

 

The title of your post is “Am I Committing a Crime” and the short answer to that is “No”.  I don’t know of any country where using a VPN to listen to Spotify without paying is a crime.  It may be technically illegal, but you can rest assured that nobody is coming after you for this.  The anti-piracy police have much bigger fish to fry than one person doing it for their personal use.

 

In the body of your OP, you asked “Is this wrong?”.  That’s a different matter.  Curiously, the Bible doesn’t say anything about digital music, so even Christians would have to use their own judgement on this to some extent.  Would I do it?  No.  I think musicians should be paid for their work.  But you have to decide if it’s something you’re OK with.  Regardless, you need fear neither gods nor cops in this particular case.

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The ethical question, however, is an interesting one. The service is free with advertising. To avoid the ads a subscriber is supposed to pay. So the question becomes: is this taking money away from someone or some entity that is entitled to it? If Spotify charged for the service in all cases, and someone found out how to bypass this, I'd say this was unethical. But in this case, the service is available somewhere (Russia) without ads and you are just accessing it. I don't see this as any different from checking out a book from the library. The library patron has not violated copyright, or kept any income from the publisher and author. The patron has simply accessed the book. So you are just going to a different "library" to get your music.

 

Anyone have a different take on the ethics of this?

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     I am not ethically bound to accept advertising.

 

     For example: I have a DVR.  When the commercials come on I skip over them.  I have no ethical issue with this even though it is the business model of the various companies in question.  Sony was sued over the Betamax because of "time shifting."  The studios didn't want people to watch shows at times and in ways that they did not control.  It went to the Supreme Court and Sony won.  As a result we can time shift which includes skipping the advertisements.  I can also skip the ads in newspapers and magazines.  It's really no different.  Tech just allows for tighter control to push ads but that really doesn't change the ethics just the business model even though it feels like the other way around.  With tighter controls it feels like we're doing something wrong when we try to circumvent those controls to accept something we don't really have to accept.  Like the well-known scene in A Clockwork Orange when his eyes are forced open to make him watch the movie.  It seems wrong to utilize that sort of control over a person to make them watch something but technology accomplished the same thing in more subtle ways and people go along with it and even find it quite ethical.

 

          mwc

 

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MWC is right, this has been long settled in court.

You are not legally obligated to watch any commercial or ad just because you are enjoying media that features it.

How is skipping it any different than getting up and getting a snack, using the restroom, or otherwise ignoring it?

I adblock, skriptblock, and VPN myself, and don't feel the slightest bit bad about it, nor do I think it is remotely immoral.

I don't owe my attention to anyone.

It's also worth pointing out that simply making a copy of something like that, as long as it is for temporary personal use, is not actually illegal. You can record something, watch it, and as long as you aren't distributing it or keeping a permanent copy you aren't actually doing anything wrong.

I rip Youtube videos for temporary offline use all the time. While a legal grey area, the law is actually on my side regarding it.

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It no longer works from Russia.  They found me out.

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It does work from ukraine though but I don't want to be banned so I will listen to ads.

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14 hours ago, SerenelyBlue said:

It does work from ukraine though but I don't want to be banned so I will listen to ads.

I doubt that they could tell if you were listening to the ads. I suspect that they just blocked the Russian VPN server. I have found with my VPN that sometimes a given site will not load with a particular server. I just change servers and it's OK. I also suspect that some wifi spots may be able to block VPNs altogether. I can't be sure but I do sometimes have problems connecting through my VPN at some public or open wifi spots.

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On 4/30/2019 at 4:01 AM, SerenelyBlue said:

It does work from ukraine though but I don't want to be banned so I will listen to ads.

     It's what older said, they didn't find you out.  Look back at my first response in this thread.  I said they could block it, the VPN access in this case, at some point and you'll have to live with it.  NetFlix, for example, has a similar VPN "problem."  Most VPN's do not work with them anymore.  Give it a try if you have NetFlix.  It will look like it will work until you try to play something and then it fails (unless you happen to be using one of just a very few of the VPN's that happen to still work with NetFlix).  It used to work but they've stamped them out one by one.  A bit of a game of whack-a-mole.  Since VPN's aren't illegal, and are very useful actually, they only penalize you by making their service not function if you're using one of their "forbidden" VPN's (which is just a list they maintain of VPN services...if you had a friend that ran a private VPN overseas and connected through it you would be home free).

 

          mwc

 

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7 hours ago, mwc said:

     It's what older said, they didn't find you out.  Look back at my first response in this thread.  I said they could block it, the VPN access in this case, at some point and you'll have to live with it.  NetFlix, for example, has a similar VPN "problem."  Most VPN's do not work with them anymore.  Give it a try if you have NetFlix.  It will look like it will work until you try to play something and then it fails (unless you happen to be using one of just a very few of the VPN's that happen to still work with NetFlix).  It used to work but they've stamped them out one by one.  A bit of a game of whack-a-mole.  Since VPN's aren't illegal, and are very useful actually, they only penalize you by making their service not function if you're using one of their "forbidden" VPN's (which is just a list they maintain of VPN services...if you had a friend that ran a private VPN overseas and connected through it you would be home free).

 

          mwc

 

Thank you.  I registered what you said initially.

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"Am I committing a crime?"

 

No, you are not committing a crime.  That being said, you may be in breach of your contract with Spotify, which, if true, is a civil wrong, unless you have a viable contractual defense for your actions.

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