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Converting music CDs into mp3s - illegal?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by finnis, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. finnis

    finnis
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    Hi all,

    I recently wrote an article on mp3 players for our staff mag. However, a reader has written to me stating the following (which I assume he's picked up from a web site or magazine). Is he right? Anyone know/got any further info?

    Thanks,

    Ade

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Copyright or wrong?
    Is it legal to copy your LPs and tapes that you already own to CD? After all, you've already paid for the music so it's not like you're trying to cheat the system.

    To check out the legal situation, we decided to talk to the British Phonographic Institute (BPI), the body that represents the interests of UK record labels.

    Unfortunately, the news was not good. "Technically speaking, the legal position is that you can't do it," says Matt Philips, a BPI representative.

    "When you buy an LP, you buy the right to listen to that music but not to copy it. So in that sense, it's the same as home copying. If you look at the small print on the LP it will say that unauthorised copying is prohibited, which means exactly that."

    Essentially, when you buy music in LP form you are only paying to listen to it on an LP. Strictly speaking, the letter of the law says that if you want to listen to it on CD then you have to pay the rights holder again, which means buying the album again on CD.

    "The reasoning behind it is that you've got to protect the rights of the rights holder, which in this case is the record company, to commercially exploit those recordings in the way that they see fit," says Mr Philips. "Home copying is outside of that so you're not allowed to do it."

    However, the BPI is aware that the practice is common and the practicalities of the situation mean that it's highly unlikely that you would actually be prosecuted for such actions. After all, converting CDs to MP3 or recording LPs on cassette fall foul of the law in exactly the same way but it's not exactly frowned upon.

    Nevertheless, although we know of nobody who has been in trouble for doing it - apart from those making many copies to sell - bear in mind that you will technically be breaking the law when you convert a copyrighted LP into CD format.
     
  2. KiNeL

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    Yep, all perfectly correct !
     
  3. AMc

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    All strictly accurate - there is probably a reluctance on the part of the music industry to prosecute as there is no appreciable harm in ripping a legal CD to MP3 (for instance) and there is a danger that by testing the legislation they may come across a judge who is prepared to question the validity of the restriction.

    In many other countries 'fair use' provisions to copyright legislation allow a customer to back up their media and to make copies for their personal use. It's also outside of your rights to lend a CD to a friend but that's unlikely to be prosecuted unless you're charging for it on a commercial scale.

    I'm sure that the BPI would sooner see the grey area remain than risk opening the flood gates with a copyleft judge who can see why keeping a CDR in your car of your irreplaceable out of print CDs is a reasonable thing to do.
     
  4. kevH

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    Ive done the lot LP to CD , CD to MP3 :eek:

    Im a criminal lock me up , sue me whip me with birches !!

    :D
     
  5. mrtbag

    mrtbag
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    Most of the British Phonographic Institutes anti piracy guidlines, should only ever be printed on toilet paper. It is all so anal that it is only fit for wiping your.....
     
  6. Poodle

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    I thought CDs and so on could be copied legally, though strictly for personal use only, but clearly I'm wrong on this issue.
     
  7. finnis

    finnis
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    that's what I thought too! you learn something every day.
     
  8. vtah236

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    I, my wife, and two of my children have mp3 players. If we sit at home, in the same room, and listen to a CD on the hi-fi, then that's OK. But if I ripped that CD FOUR TIMES so that we could listen to the music individually....

    It seems these days that there are so many new crimes to be guilty of.
     
  9. LV426

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    Not a new crime. Has always been this way.
     
  10. HMHB

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    I think it's a law we have all been aware of, but a lot of us consider that as we have bought the CD in the first place we shouldn't be stopped from making a copy for our own personal use. I quite often make copies of CDs to use in the car so I don't run the risk of getting the originals nicked. I also have made compilations of CDs I own onto both minidisc and CD for use in the car.
     
  11. Toasty

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    Interesting, I read in another thread (paraphrasing) "If you own the CD then download the mp3's to save ripping them again". Whats the general view on this and a step further, downloading mp3's of Vinyl discs you own?
     
  12. kimmie

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    So if you purchased a song off of itunes or some other music store, and burned it to a CD, would that be illegal? I mean, now you have two copies instead of one.. :confused:
     
  13. eyeballKid

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    It might all depend on how stupid/greedy the record companies want to be, and how much trouble it's worth. If your house burns down, and you don't re-buy (but instead obtain a copy) how far would they go? How much do record companies make from people re-buying lost/broken/stolen/destroyed music (ie. the exact same CD not the usual remasterd-17th-anniversary-fan-tour-2cd-editions)? It's the old question - when you buy a CD, are you buying the right to listen to that content, or just a piece of plastic? While I'm sure the record companies would love us to all buy a CD copy for the house and a low-bitrate-DRM copy for the daily commute, while not really offering download services to get round the out-of-print problems, you're probably safe if not strictly legal to rip stuff to mp3 for now. Although the BPI did get angry with people buying records from overseas (rather than copying them or not buying music at all) so who knows...
     
  14. Steven

    Steven
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    :D :devil:

    Forget about CD....downloads are now where the record companies are gonna be a pain

    DRM to stop illegal sharing; OK. But due to differing stores and who likes who, some are iPod only, non-iPod, Sony only, Microsoft loving WMA only. One has to rip to CD then copy again! - against the point of downloading anyway! or you can buy a compatible device, but not neccesarily one you want!
     
  15. shadowritten

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    Been copying music for years - as has the vast majority of the record-buying public, I'll wager.

    No way on this earth will that law ever be tested in court. It'll get probably get torn to shreds, and the backlash against the record industry will be unprecedented.

    I don't agree per se with copying your mates' CDs, though I will admit to having done it IN ADVANCE OF ACTUALLY PURCHASING THE DISC FOR MYSELF - which, yes, I know is illegal. I'd be a hypocrite to wave my finger at those who do/have done it, and I'm not naive enough to believe it'll ever cease. Especially when there are those of us who've discovered that Copy Control on CDs is already circumventable.
     
  16. shadowritten

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    DRM is BS! Besides, while record companies THEMSELVES stipulate burn rights for many downloads, this implies that they EXPECT customers to burn copies of downloaded music. Otherwise, why not just make music unburnable? In any case, if you couldn't care less about transcoded generation loss, then simply convert your downloads to WAVs, burn to disc, and hey presto: DRM is shown up as the pointless exercise in futility that many of us know it to be.
     
  17. Steven

    Steven
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    Don't get me started on record bosses wanting download prices to go UP!

    Greedy *********. Wait is that too many stars? They're gonna end up like the Prem, daily exposure of the greedy expletives they are

    Why piracy?

    a) cheapskates
    b) high prices

    How those men got to be chairmen, well the mind boggles
     
  18. shadowritten

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    I'll say it again: if the law says copying of ANY kind is illegal, then why do record companies ALLOW burn rights?
     
  19. Steven

    Steven
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    Lies, damned lies and statistics!

    (I can never get tired repeating this)
     
  20. shadowritten

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    Er ... what are lies? :confused:
     
  21. Steven

    Steven
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    Dictionary:
    1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood
    2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression

    What I mean is; don't copy msuic, but you can burn it on CD. After that, its up in the air!

    e.g Microsoft is anti-piracy, yet ppl use their own MSN messenger to share files!
     
  22. shadowritten

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    Oh, the sweet irony!

    Y'know, I'm starting to have new found respect for dear old Microsoft these days. Because Apple is slowly becoming the fabled 'Dark Side', perhaps? ;)
     
  23. Steven

    Steven
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    Ah, the dark side

    In games, who doesn't want to be Darth Vadar, rather than goody goody two shoes [enter name of goody, 'cept Solo + Chewie - ubber cool]

    Money's the game. 75% market share isn't quite there. 90% Microsoft dominance is where its at ;)
     
  24. AMc

    AMc
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    The point isn't copying of any kind is illegal. Copying your CD to MP3 or cassette or a back up is a direct breach of the licence granted to use the music when you bought the CD. The fact that the rights can be altered by the owner for downloads doesn't change the legal position for other media.

    My suspicion about the 'burn to CD' rights being different for downloads is it's a nice easy way to avoid having to refund customers who find that their low bit rate DRMed file won't play on their portable - "burn to disc and reimport" is an awful lot easier to say in a FAQ than "Work out a way you can prove that you've destroyed the only copy you have and we'll refund you your 99p". It could also be that the Ludite music industry didn't understand what they were being told and let it slip through the net of their legal dept. but that would be slanderous to suggest ;)
     
  25. malheuresement

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    Probably for similar reasons that cars can go faster than 70 mph! The onus is still on the consumer to act within the law with the equipment they are given. :D

    Are we bordering on the "decriminalised" zone, where things are technically illegal, but, after a bit of a telling off, nothing will actually happen to the "criminal", unless they are a major player/pirate?

    mal.
     
  26. LV426

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    Because as owners of the work, they are absolutely entitled to licence it in whatever way they choose.

    If the terms of the licence you buy allow you to make a given number of copies then doing so is not in breach of any licence - that's a truism - and so "they" can't bring any action against you.

    The usual licence for a regular CD (or record or tape....) precludes ANY copying.

    It's a civil offence to breach the licence, not a criminal one. Meaning that, if you do (for example) copy a regular CD, the onus is on the copyright owner (or someone acting on their behalf, like FACT) to bring action against you. The Police won't arrest you for it.

    Oh....and just for absolute clarity......it is the act of making a copy that breaches licence. Not listening to a copy (or even, buying one).
     
  27. andyrich

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    the french can we cannot thttp://www.wxpnews.com/?id=197
     
  28. andyrich

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  29. shadowritten

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    Thanks for all the input, chaps - makes for interesting reading.

    Bottom line: copying will continue, legally or otherwise. Unless record companies figure out an unbreakable DRM system, someone will always find a way to get around it. To make a copy which you haven't paid for in a way that benefits the copyright holder IS theft, whichever way you look at it. In which case, I'm guessing a large number of us - and of the music-enjoying public worldwide - are guilty of illegally obtaining music at some point or other in our lives.

    As an aside, if record bosses want to make more cash, they should make downloads cheaper. The overheads compared with CD production are next to nowt, and far more folk would buy downloads if costs fell. Overall, the companies would shift more units, and eventually make just as large - if not larger - profits. They then wouldn't need DRM: if my corrupted copy of a 10-track album cost just £1 to replace, I'd do it no quibble ... not bother copying it from elsewhere.
     
  30. Pecker

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    It's a bit previous of the BPI to say this is illegal.

    It is more accurate that there appears to be a prima face case that it is illegal, but that this has never been tested in the courts. As far as I'm aware, no-one has ever been prosecuted for this (making copies for yourself, nor any prosedcution attempted.

    Whilst it can be read into the law that copying for yourself is illegal, the law does not specifically state that this is the case. Absolutely nowhere does the law discuss, or catagorically state that (for example) to transfer a recording from one medium to another (eg. taping a record) is illegal. There is only an implication in the law that this is illegal - nothing specific.

    As the BPI are aware that people have been taping records, burning CDs and (for crying out loud) selling DAPs, not to mention companies like Sony actually making CD & MD burners which include copy protection only after the first copy is made, then they'd be hard-pushed to get this to stand up in court.

    Subsequently, I'd say the asseration that copying for yourself is illegal is largely untrue.

    Steve W
     

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