Straying even further off topic: The illegality of downloading TV rips is questionable, afaik there is no final legal descision on their status yet (That's why there are torrent links only to TV shows, not to Clarkson DVDs and the like on this very site). DVD rips (including those of TV shows) and any ways to get movies onto the internet before their DVD release (Camrip, Telecine, screener, you name it...) are clearly illegal and it's hard to argue for their legitimacy, too.
But if you record a TV show and give it to a friend, who gives it to a friend, who gives it to a friend and so on, it's clearly fair use. This never was a questioned by the TV stations as long as VHS was the primary distribution media, cause every copy of a VHS loses quality in relation to the original.
With DVDs and Harddisks the quality stays the same and instead of trading tapes you exchange files over the internet, and all of sudden it's piracy? I don't think so, and afaik no Network has ever tried to press charges in such a case.
Of course we are only talking about non-commercial copies of free-tv shows here. Premium cable and pay per view are clearly illegal, as is making money off said copies.
In the states they sue for sharing TV shows.