Friday, November 28, 2003

As you may have noticed (from the bottom of this page), I'm concerned about my right to fairly use the copyrighted material I purchase. I don't see any problem with copying such material to a different medium, and possibly converting it to different format in the process, so long as it is for my personal use and convenience. (These concepts are captured in points #2 and #5 of the Consumer Technology Bill of Rights.)

Since Canadian copyright legislation has been in the media a lot lately, I took it upon myself, being the concerned citizen that I am, to learn more about it. Initially, I was surprised to discover that the Copyright Act defines the copying of a musical work embodied in a sound recording for private use in terms of the copier, not the owner. In other words, so long as you do the copying, copying music for your own use does not infringe the artist's copyright. It doesn't matter whether you own the CD, cassette tape or musical file.

However, what I couldn't figure out was whether I had fewer rights to use the copy than I did the original. Was a copy of a copy illegal? Well, the answer seems to be "Maybe." According to Neil Herber, even though the Copyright Act makes no mention of the source (i.e., whether you're copying the original sound recording or a copy of it), your original intent behind making the copy is important (i.e., you planned to loan your copy to your friends).


CanuckJack said...

Me, I just copy stuff liberally; however, you really can't beat that feeling of unwrapping an original CD. I find that with the cheap CD prices lately I'm buying more music than I have in many years. And even though it's convenient, I find downloading tunes through iTunes an incredibly un-gratifying experience..."what do you mean I don't get to unwrap anything?"

That said, it's good to know that ripping a buddies CD here and there is ok.

John said...

You aren't alone in feeling that way: for example, the joy at receiving letter mail (that isn't bills, obviously), and packages in particular, seems to be widespread.

I used to get my wife to buy music for me on iTunes because it was often cheaper; however, it turned out that it wasn't worth the savings because she had to burn it to a blank CD that often couldn't be read by standalone players (to say nothing of the discs wasted on bad burns). Since probably half the time I listen to music is in the car, that's a big disadvantage.

Finally, like you, I like to feel and look at something in my hands. I'll never download a Tool album, for example; that's half the fun: tryin' to figure out what the heck those guys were on when they came up with the album art. "10000 days" even has a built-in magnifier to give you a better look at it.