Technology and Business Law Blog

Guidelines for Copying Copyrighted Music

There has been an ongoing argument and heated debate recently in various blogs about RIAA stating or not stating what constitutes copyright theft and if copying music and creating digital music as MP3 files from legally bought CDs is authorized or violates the law.

According to the CNET Tech news blog, what was exactly stated as illegal in the brief of the Howell case was that “creating digital recordings from CDs and then uploading then to file sharing networks” was illegal. The crux of the phrase was and uploading them to file sharing networks, now this was ignored and the first part of the sentence was given the main focus and debated on. This created a lot of confusion amongst the readers as to what is the bottom line and when does legal or authorized become unauthorized or illegal.

The blog p2pnet news has given some guidelines about the legality, or not, of copying copyrighted music and here it is:

Copying CDs

* It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes.

* It’s also okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but, again, not for commercial purposes.

* Beyond that, there’s no legal “right” to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:

  • The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
  • The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.

The above does give us some guidelines but I am sure this is not the end of the discussion.


January 3, 2008 - Posted by | Copyright Infringement

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