Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music Media The Almighty Buck

What Do You Get When You Buy a CD? 182

Wiseleo asks: "What is the full value and meaning of the entire transaction when someone exchanges money or its electronic equivalent for a new sealed CD?Notice that I am being extra careful to say that someone actually acquires anything of value in the deal. I am not claiming that anything is bought in the traditional sense either. I am in fact not claiming that any value whatsoever is procured through the transaction. Can someone actually answer this question? I would really love the RIAA to do so, and in fact, I intend to contact them for this purpose. This question is surprisingly complex. I first attempted to get it answered some 10 years ago by several music stores and they could not answer it. I guess I should have talked to attorneys, but I was a teenager clueless of such an avenue. I tried again late 90s and again I couldn't get the question answered. In other words, any 'commercial' CD that is produced by a RIAA-affiliated CD manufacturer clearly states that it is not to be loaned. If I 'buy' a CD, what am I actually paying for?"

Wiseleo adds:

  • Am I paying for the CD media itself?
  • Am I paying for the right to play that particular CD media?
  • Am I paying for right to listen to that particular recording without relying on mass media outlets that already paid RIAA copyright holders through ASCAP?
  • What happens if I own the same recording in multiple digital formats?
  • What happens if a particular copyrighted material is on several of my media and comes from same master source?
  • What if my media is damaged, should I not be able to request replacement?
  • If I already own let's say Metallica S&M DVD set, am I legally allowed to borrow a friend's S&M CD set, since both media are mixed from the same source [and possibly covered by the same license]?
  • What are the quality tolerances and who sets them? At which point is the original recording no longer subject to copy limitations? What happens if my used media is scratched?
  • I am inclined to believe that the acquiring party simply acquires a license for a particular recording. It is currently implied, at least in my understanding, that the license is perpetual and as such a license holder is entitled to the ability to use the licensed object perpetually, regardless of the media it was originally supplied on or the media player of choice at the moment. If my understanding is correct, and the content is licensed to the consumer, then where is the full license agreement?
  • By the [above] argument, should we not consider it to be a shrink-wrap and thus largely unenforceable EULA?
  • Is it not true that shrink-wrapped software is not returnable to the retailer but it is returnable to the manufacturer upon termination of license? Should not music be under the same category?
What exactly do the RIAA's customers actually pay for? Until this question is answered, how can we possibly hope to communicate with the organization unless we know our exact terms and conditions that accompany the entire term of the transaction?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What Do You Get When You Buy a CD?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:08PM (#6592257)
    OK, for the 5000th time.

    We don't know.
    We aren't lawyers.
    Go hire one.

    In 2-3 years he might be able to answer your question.
  • by Matchu ( 62602 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:11PM (#6592270) Homepage
    Is the RIAA's lawyers' brand new BMWs. Silly question.
    • What do you get when you buy a CD? Ripped off! The prices are outrageously inflated, and maybe you get one good song. Don't buy CDs. [dontbuycds.org] The people who the recording industry most wants to rip off are teens, aka children. An industry that exists to rip off children is a public nusiance.
      • by bbk ( 33798 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @03:38AM (#6594574) Homepage
        Hmm... I view CD's with about the same conempt that I view collectable games and toys... You end up with a box of Magic/Pokemon/Yugioh cards (or figurines or Pogs or Baseball cards) which have no intrinsic value, but cost a lot for something that's worth not much more than the medium it's printed on.

        Everything "collectable" is a rip off, as you've
        stated, and mostly aimed at kids.

        But I digress... it's more about paying $15 for something that costs $0.50 to make that keeps me from flippantly buying cd's.
        • Yes, I completely agree, which is why I only buy things at cost. I mean, the other day I tried to buy a pair of jeans, and they were $20. I laughed because they obviously only cost like $2 to make. The people at the store tried to explain to me about things like transportation and marketing costs, the cost of researching future market trends for jeans, new designers, and products, but I just blew all that off. I mean, what possible economic sense does it make for vendors to sell something for more than
          • No one said it was free. But since I already own a license to the content, I should be able to get a replacement MEDIA at a reasonable cost for the media plus shipping (say, $5), if I send in the original damaged copy. Isn't this the way the RIAA wants us to think it works?
      • by andy@petdance.com ( 114827 ) <andy@petdance.com> on Saturday August 02, 2003 @11:29AM (#6595450) Homepage
        I don't get this "you get one good song" thing. Are you only looking at the stuff that's hot on MTV? Here are some CDs off the top of my head that are solid goodness, and not one is a hits package:
        • Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street
        • Prince, Purple Rain and Sign O' The Times
        • Silkworm, Firewater
        • Shellac, At Action Park
        • NoFX, Punk In Drublic
        • Everything in the Beatles catalog
        • Dave Brubeck Quartet, Take Five
        • Norah Jones, Come Away With Me
        • Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison or At San Quentin
        • Willie Nelson, Red-Headed Stranger
        • The Cars, first album and Candy-O
        • Neko Case, Furnace Room Lullaby
        • Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
        • Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
        • Merle Haggard, Big City
        • George Jones, I Am What I Am
        • AC/DC, Back In Black
        • Iron Maiden, The Number Of The Beast
        • Joe Jackson, Look Sharp! or Night And Day
        There, 25+ albums you can go buy and enjoy.

        There's plenty of good music out there, well worth paying for.

        • Most of those albums are very old, and they don't make them like they used to back in the day. I imagine a lot of us who have those have LP and Cassette. With few exceptions, today's crap has maybe one good song.
  • CD EULA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    I suspect if the publishers get to have their ways, for every CD we purchase will come attached with a draconian EULA not unlike those of computer software EULA today.

    "By opening this CD, you agreed... (insert your least favorite draconian EULA here.)"
    • EULAs are crap. I didn't sign anything. I didn't agree to anything. I routinely ignore them. Several haven't held up in court anyway, like the Network Associate EULA that said you couldn't review Mcafee VirusScan without their permission.
  • What you bought (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:14PM (#6592292)
    (1) the physical CD media

    (2) a license to the copy of the recording that is reproduced on the CD.

    If your copy of the cd is destroyed, you're fucked. Youre license doesn't give you a generic license to a copy of the work that was reproduced on the CD -- it gives you a license to a *SPECIFIC* copy. You might have fair use rights in addition to the license rights, but that's a whole other ball of wax.
    • This is a very nice post. Why AC?

      Can you elaborate on what the term "fair use rights" means to the courts? That seems to be the gist of the original question. Is it spelled out anywhere?
      • Re:What you bought (Score:4, Informative)

        by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @07:17PM (#6592701) Journal
        It's a very nice post, it's almost entirely wrong though.

        There is no license. The copyrighted work is sold "all rights reserved", just the same as if you bought a book or a movie.

        This means, the only things you can do are the things allowed under copyright laws.

        Fair use is often confused to mean more than it does. Fair use allows use of parts of a copyrighted work, "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research".

        Fair use would rarely cover the distribution of an entire work.

        The criteria used for determining whether a particular use is fair use are:

        (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

        (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

        (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

        (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

        That's straight from the law.

        The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 also plays a part. (Side note, it has a DMCA-like anti-copy-control-circumvention clause that people rarely mention these days).

        No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.


        The idea was, as long as a digital recording device implemented the "Serial copy management system", then no action could be brought against consumers that used the device for digital recordings.

        Then there is First Sale. Basically, if you buy a work, you can't be prohibited from selling that same copy of that same work. This concept was used to successfully defend the importation of overseas versions of copyrighted works.

        I'm not sure about all the caselaw surrounding these laws. There may be other things I am missing, but I think these are the main relevant parts.
        • ... because it makes THEM more money.

          What if I scratch my copy and want a new one? I've already paid for my right to the content - why can't I send in the damaged media, pay a reasonable replacement charge plus shipping (say, $5) and get my new copy? Doesn't the RIAA want us to think about content this way?
    • FALSE (Score:5, Informative)

      by crapulent ( 598941 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @07:38PM (#6592837)
      If your copy of the cd is destroyed, you're fucked. Youre license doesn't give you a generic license to a copy of the work that was reproduced on the CD -- it gives you a license to a *SPECIFIC* copy.
      This represents a poor understanding of Copyright Law [cornell.edu] becuase it is false to fact. You are specifically allowed to make copies of the work as defined under Fair Use. Unfortunately, Fair Use is not clearly defined, but rather a weighing of factors. Specifically, there are four general considerations to Fair Use, from USC Title 17, Section 107 [cornell.edu]:
      1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
      2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
      3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
      4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

      Based on these four criteria, and previous precendent, it seems clear that making a copy of a work (in whole) for personal archival purposes DOES fall under Fair Use. From the eff's Fair Use FAQ [eff.org]:
      What's been recognized as fair use?

      Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies.

      In addition, in 1984 the Supreme Court held that time-shifting (for example, private, non-commercial home taping of television programs with a VCR to permit later viewing) is fair use. (Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984, S.C.)

      Although the legal basis is not completely settled, many lawyers believe that the following (and many other uses) are also fair uses:

      Space-shifting or format-shifting - that is, taking content you own in one format and putting it into another format, for personal, non-commercial use. For instance, "ripping" an audio CD (that is, making an MP3-format version of an audio CD that you already own) is considered fair use by many lawyers, based on the 1984 Betamax decision and the 1999 Rio MP3 player decision (RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia, 180 F. 3d 1072, 1079, 9th Circ. 1999.)

      Making a personal back-up copy of content you own - for instance, burning a copy of an audio CD you own.
      Therefore, as permitted under the eff's Fair Use interpretation, you ARE entitled to make a copy, and are NOT bound to the single purchased medium. I'm afraid I must side with their opinion in this matter, and not a random slashdot poster's opinion.
  • Copyrights? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by W33dz ( 643133 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:16PM (#6592302)
    You are asking an interesting question, but I think you are getting too far into the trees and missing the freaking forest.


    1. You own the materials that take home with you. If someone steals it out of your car, it is theft. You own the physical medium. Sort of like the difference between hardware and software. . .you own what you can touch.
    2. You own the right to listen to and enjoy the product on the cd. It is yours to use as you see fit as long as you do not violate #3.
    3. You do not own the right to edit, copy or otherwise distribute the product. The product is a copyrighted material. If you edit the song to use at a dance party you MUST get permission from the holder of the copyright.
    4. You might argue that you expected more in the transaction, but in reality you are buying the medium and then buying the rights to use the product. You are not buying the product.
    5. Fair use? Fair use regards using PART of the product in a way that is non-commercial. It is defined differently depending on who is using it as well. There is quite a bit more leeway for a teacher in an educational setting.
    I need a prozac.

    • W33dz writes:
      "2. You own the right to listen to and enjoy the product on the cd. It is yours to use as you see fit as long as you do not violate #3."

      What if the recording sucks and I don't enjoy it at all? Does that constitute breach of contract?
    • Re:Copyrights? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by parliboy ( 233658 )
      But to what part of these are the costs attributed. Since the physical media has a retail value of pennies, if that, then the value of the purchase is in the license itself. Therefore, if I steal 1,000 RIAA CD's from your house, I have not actually stolen enough to cause a felony, yes?
    • Re:Copyrights? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dafoomie ( 521507 )
      3. You do not own the right to edit, copy or otherwise distribute the product. The product is a copyrighted material. If you edit the song to use at a dance party you MUST get permission from the holder of the copyright.


      I don't see how editing fits in with distribution. In fact, I can do whatever I want with the song, if its personal, non-commercial use. I would have the same rights to play an edited song at a party as I would a non-edited song. Whether its adding my voice, or bleeping out certain wor
  • by rmohr02 ( 208447 )
    Am I paying for right to listen to that particular recording without relying on mass media outlets that already paid RIAA copyright holders through ASCAP?
    I'm not sure what ASCAP is, but I know that ClearChannel forces labels to pay for airtime.

    Personally, I hate ClearChannel more than the RIAA, but maybe that's just because the RIAA hasn't sued me. Yet.
  • I've read interviews where Oppenheim has been asked this directly, and he unabashedly side-steps the question everytime (I should say 'questions', as he does this constantly, much like Dubya in his recent press conference). Good luck getting an answer out of them.

    -Nick
  • the way I see it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomlord ( 38815 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMkrwtech.com> on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:20PM (#6592338) Journal
    you're paying for personal use of the content of the CD. This allows you to use the content in a non-commercial manner and to convert it to other formats to suit your own needs (ie, I find it much easier to have a bunch of ogg vorbis files on my hard drive than to pull out a cd every time I want to listen to something). You can give the CD away (either through sale or lending it), but you must destroy any of your alternate formats when doing so.

    It does NOT allow you to receive or distribute alternate formatted music, even to other people who own the CD (or tape or whatever), as the purpose of copyright law is to give control over distribution to the copyright holder (IANAL, but IMO, it's NOT fair use). That is, if you want a mp3, you need to create it yourself from your own source. Your right to use the content for your own purposes only extends so far as the original is intact in some form (ie, if you crack your cd, you still have a right to the content. If you throw it out or burn the CD beyond recognition, you don't... same as with a book.)

  • The EULA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NickMc2000 ( 614182 )
    The closest thing that I can find to a licencse agreement on the actuall product is "all rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws." That really says nothing. If all I am buying is a license for the right to listen to a cd then I want that in writing with the cd. There are EULAs with software, why not music? I want to know my rights and have the ability to return the cd if I do not agree with them.
    • You are the problem. People like you who demand to know what your rights are. That's why we have long, impossible to understand, and often contradictary EULAs in software.

      Copyright law is very simple, and very specific. You don't have the right to make a copy of copyrighted material unless the owner explicitly grants you that right. All rights reserved? That means the right to copy is not granted.
      Same for the right to rent.
      The right to modify.
      Etc.

      The only right you have when you buy a CD is the right
      • Copyright law is very simple, and very specific. You don't have the right to make a copy of copyrighted material unless the owner explicitly grants you that right. All rights reserved? That means the right to copy is not granted. Same for the right to rent. The right to modify. Etc.

        Both the right to rent and the right to modify are rights reserved to the consumer. The right to rent is protected under the first sale doctrine. As for modifying, copyright law does give the copyrights for any derivative work

        • copyright law does give the copyrights for any derivative work back to the original copyright holder, but that doesn't prevent you from creating the derivative work, only copying it.

          Wrong. Sounds like you've never read 17 U.S.C. 106(2) [cornell.edu]:

          Subject to sections 107 through 121, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

          (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

        • The right to rent is protected under the first sale doctrine.

          Not for music CDs.

          Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), unless authorized by the owners of copyright in the sound recording or the owner of copyright in a computer program (including any tape, disk, or other medium embodying such program), and in the case of a sound recording in the musical works embodied therein, neither the owner of a particular phonorecord nor any person in possession of a particular copy of a computer program


  • You don't get anything. You actually pay for RIAA to Rock Around the Clock:
    RIAA Rocks Around the Clock [washingtonpost.com]
  • You get ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ... screwed.

    If you are paying one of the RIAA's members [riaa.com], then you are assumedly also funding lawsuits.

  • by wizarddc ( 105860 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:25PM (#6592370) Homepage Journal
    All Your CD Are Belong to RIAA

    Most of your questions above, if asked individually, you would get a negative response, or whatever response limits you the most. Ask them in conjunction, and I imagine you won't ever get a straight answer.
  • by mbstone ( 457308 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:29PM (#6592389)
    Oh, please.

    Am I paying for the CD media itself? Yes.

    Am I paying for the right to play that particular CD media? Yes, as long as you do not publicly perform or broadcast the copyrighted performance it contains.

    Am I paying for right to listen to that particular recording without relying on mass media outlets that already paid RIAA copyright holders through ASCAP? Huh?

    What happens if I own the same recording in multiple digital formats? The heavens fall. Just kidding.

    What happens if a particular copyrighted material is on several of my media and comes from same master source? Hope you only paid once.

    What if my media is damaged, should I not be able to request replacement? You can always ask for a replacement. However, you are unlikely to get one.

    If I already own let's say Metallica S&M DVD set, am I legally allowed to borrow a friend's S&M CD set, since both media are mixed from the same source [and possibly covered by the same license]? Whether or not you already own a copy of the work is irrelevant to whether you may legally borrow your friend's. However, expect most judges to rule against you because of your shitty taste in music.

    What are the quality tolerances and who sets them? Believe it or not, one function of the RIAA is to set these types of technical standards.

    At which point is the original recording no longer subject to copy limitations? Depends on when it was copyrighted. Normally, the life of the author plus 50 years.

    What happens if my used media is scratched? The record will skip, annoying the other people in your car.

    I am inclined to believe that the acquiring party simply acquires a license for a particular recording. It is currently implied, at least in my understanding, that the license is perpetual and as such a license holder is entitled to the ability to use the licensed object perpetually, regardless of the media it was originally supplied on or the media player of choice at the moment. If my understanding is correct, and the content is licensed to the consumer, then where is the full license agreement? RTF copyright law.

    By the [above] argument, should we not consider it to be a shrink-wrap and thus largely unenforceable EULA? No.

    Is it not true that shrink-wrapped software is not returnable to the retailer but it is returnable to the manufacturer upon termination of license? Depends on the terms of the shrink wrap license and whether your state's law and/or courts uphold them.

    Should not music be under the same category? Everything, including food, shelter, health care, and music, should be free, but society has yet to find a way to achieve this.

    What exactly do the RIAA's customers actually pay for? Retail purchasers of music CDs get 1) The media. 2) A license to use the copyrighted work in accordance with copyright law. The RIAA's actual customers are the record companies who finance it, they pay for lobbying Congress and for 10,000 lawsuits.

    Until this question is answered, how can we possibly hope to communicate with the organization unless we know our exact terms and conditions that accompany the entire term of the transaction? Look up the copyright law FAQ.

    Why does Slashdot print inane questions like mine? No one knows.

    IAAL.
  • case law (Score:4, Informative)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:41PM (#6592465)
    In America, per court ruling:

    Simply put, you get the ability to use the information on the media to your own content. Anything that would provide that information to anyone else without removing your ability to use the information is considered illegal with one exception:

    You may allow others to see, listen, or otherwise experience the information as long as they do not duplicate it, or are charged for it, and they are of "reasonable" numbers.

    In essence, the original media is the license, and the license is simply the built up rights and limitations as based on precident.
  • by angle_slam ( 623817 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @06:42PM (#6592477)
    Am I paying for the CD media itself?

    Yes. But it is not erasable, so there isn't anything you can do with it accept play it or use for decorating purposes.

    Am I paying for the right to play that particular CD media?

    The copyright statutes limit you ability to perform the contents of the CD to a non-public venue.

    Am I paying for right to listen to that particular recording without relying on mass media outlets that already paid RIAA copyright holders through ASCAP?

    Have no idea what this question means. Yes, you have a right to listen to CDs that you buy. It has nothing to to with radio.

    What happens if I own the same recording in multiple digital formats?

    Same thing that happens if you own two copies of a particular book--nothing. You just own two different copies of the same thing.

    What happens if a particular copyrighted material is on several of my media and comes from same master source?

    So what. You own the CD and the right to privately play the contents. Whether you own more than one copy is irrelevant.

    What if my media is damaged, should I not be able to request replacement?

    No. It's not a license. You own the disc and have a right to play it. You have no right to a free replacement.

    If I already own let's say Metallica S&M DVD set, am I legally allowed to borrow a friend's S&M CD set, since both media are mixed from the same source [and possibly covered by the same license]?

    No license is involved. Of course you can borrow a friend's copy of the CD, there is nothing that prevents the borrowing of CDs or DVDs. You won't get caught anyway.

    What are the quality tolerances and who sets them?

    Don't know.

    At which point is the original recording no longer subject to copy limitations?

    When the copyright to the works expire (generally 95 years after first publication). You'll be dead before any appreciable quantities of CDs are in the public domain.

    What happens if my used media is scratched?

    The scratches may effect the ability of the laser to read the data on the CD. Error correction takes care of some of that.

    I am inclined to believe that the acquiring party simply acquires a license for a particular recording. It is currently implied, at least in my understanding, that the license is perpetual and as such a license holder is entitled to the ability to use the licensed object perpetually, regardless of the media it was originally supplied on or the media player of choice at the moment. If my understanding is correct, and the content is licensed to the consumer, then where is the full license agreement?

    Wrong. There is no license.

    # By the [above] argument, should we not consider it to be a shrink-wrap and thus largely unenforceable EULA? # Is it not true that shrink-wrapped software is not returnable to the retailer but it is returnable to the manufacturer upon termination of license? Should not music be under the same category?

    See above. No license.

    • Am I paying for the CD media itself?
      Yes. You are paying for the physical cd, in addition to the artist's value to the item. Same is true with software, the downloadable version is usually cheaper, by $10 or more dollars because you don't get the pretty box.
    • Am I paying for the right to play that particular CD media?
      Yes, you play that CD for personal use.
    • Am I paying for right to listen to that particular recording without relying on mass media outlets that already paid RIAA copyright holders th
  • The package can say what it likes, but I will
    continue to load CDS freely as I see fit. I
    paid for this disc, and I'll do with it as I please.

    In fact, I pay money, I get a disc. I paid for a
    disc.

    Were I in some bizarre way held responsible for the
    claims of the publisher to restrictive rights of
    control over my use of that disc, I certainly would
    not purchase it.

  • .. the RIAA has utterly failed to educate people on what is actually happening when you buy a CD, it is completely unfair that they call people thieves. At least movies give you that stupid FBI warning.
  • When you buy a CD in a normal transaction you own to the full extent such things are ownable by anyone, the CD and its contents.

    Simple as that. There is no license at all. You just own that copy of the creative work. Note that ownership of a particular copy of a work is distinct from whether or not you hold a copyright. Selling you a copy doesn't mean you were sold a copyright.

    What you're allowed to do with the CD is regulated by law, much as what you're allowed to do with your car is regulated by law. Th
  • by dmayle ( 200765 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @07:50PM (#6592914) Homepage Journal

    Think about the word. Copyright. They have it (they being the owner/distributer), you don't. Therefore they have the right to make copies of this work. They have sold you a copy of this work. You're allowed to do anything you want with it, so long as you don't copy it, because you don't have the copy right. (Unless that copying is covered under the very hazy "Fair Use"). That's it. If you lose/destroy/scratch the copy, that's your tough luck. (Which is why a backup copy is so often allowed under "Fair Use".)

    Copyright law is so straightforward, that I don't understand why people don't get it. There is NO license involved whatsoever, you just aren't allowed to copy what is copyrighted. The GPL is a license that you can enter into with a party that has the copyright on a work that transfers some limited copy rights to you that are dependant on the license's conditions...

    The problem with electronic distribution is that it's so ephemeral, making copies doesn't require intent, you might just accidentally copy the work if the CTRL key is pressed (on Windows) when you really just wanted to move it. Now, court cases have allowed backups, traditionally (e.g. the Sony case), and ripping/encoding can be seen as a form of backup, so no judge has had the temerity to try to outlaw this form of copying, but this is probably the greatest extent to which copyright law will be stretched...

    And lest I forget, I Am Not A Lawyer

  • What if (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Cowdog ( 154277 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @08:22PM (#6593102) Journal
    What if someone bought the LP, then bought the tape, then bought the CD? They have now paid three times for the same music. Are we buying a license to listen to the music, or not? I've always thought that this situation was somewhat ridiculous and that one should only have to pay once, especially with the prices of CDs as high as they are.
    • The answer is simple. You're not buying a license. You buy a cassette, you don't get the CD for free. The situation is not ridiculous. If you buy a hardback book, you don't get the paperback for free. You buy the 2003 World Almanac, you don't get the 2004 version for free.
  • by crapulent ( 598941 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @08:24PM (#6593113)
    The way copyright law works is that it grants the copyright holder exclusive rights, and then specifies certain conditions under which some of those rights are forfeited. So rather then looking at this from the point of view of "what rights does buying a CD give me?" you should look at it from the point of view "The law gives the copyright owner certain rights, and I am free to do whatever I want as long as I don't infringe those rights." The main rights that copyright grant are outlined in 17 U.S.C. 106 [cornell.edu] and amount to the following rights:
    1. to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
    2. to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
    3. to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
    4. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
    5. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
    6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission
    Chaper 106a also gives further rights dealing with the right of attribution ("the paternity right") and the right of integrity... these specify that an author can generally claim ownership of works and disclaim ownership of distorted versions of the work, etc.

    Chapters 107 thru 122 [cornell.edu] then whittle away at these rights, defining certain exemptions and special circumstances. Most well known is Chapter 107 which outlines the Fair Use principle which allows a looser enforcement of the above rights in certain circumstances, for the overall wellbeing of society... i.e. exceptions for literary, satirical, educational, literary, critical, etc. purposes. This is the old "you can photocopy a few pages from the encyclopedia so you can read it at home" clause. See sections 2.8 and 2.9 of this FAQ [eff.org] for a very good explanation of Fair Use.

    Most importantly, Fair Use also allows time shifting and media shifting for the purposes of personal, non-commerical archival use, at least according to the EFF. [eff.org]

    Anyway, the point is that the way copyright law works is not that it says "you get these rights when you pay for a CD", rather it states "the owner of the copyright has the following exclusive rights (with a few exceptions.)"

    So, for example it dictates that the copyright holder has the right of public performance which means that you are free to play the CD any way that you want, so long as you don't infringe on this "public performance" right (or any other right.)

    Alternatively put, you can do anything you want, just so long as you don't infringe any of the above enumerated exclusive rights.
    • Excellent explanation!

      I have a few questions though. The jukeboxes in bars -- they're obviously a public performance. Do they have to pay extra, or is there some exception that allows it?

      Moving back to software, I see that there is nothing speaking to its use. So the FSF is correct when they say that you don't need a license to use software -- only to modify it and copy it. So if I don't agree to the license, I can use the software any way I want, correct? So if I never install a piece of software that I'
      • The jukeboxes in bars -- they're obviously a public performance. Do they have to pay extra, or is there some exception that allows it?

        Pay Extra - Most Jukeboxes will have a license issued by "The Jukebox License Office" [jukeboxlicense.com] which is a joint venture between ASCAP and BMI and others. Looks like the current fee is $364 for the first jukebox and less ($83 or $61) for additionals.

        On the other questions, I'll have to defer for right now as although I have my opinion on them, I can't speak all that authoriatively

      • Re: jukeboxes. This is covered in 17 USC 116 [cornell.edu] which is titled "Negotiated licenses for public performances by means of coin-operated phonorecord players." :-) It states that the copyright owner and the vendor can negotiate whatever terms they want for these circumstances (I think.)

        Re: software. Section 117 [cornell.edu] is a very interesting read. Specifically, it allows you to make copies of a computer program provided that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the compu
    • So then, the person who acquires a bootleg CD, rips it to mp3, and stores it on a personal hard drive, is not in violation, as long as the copy is not shared. Only the person who distributes (shares) said bootleg CD is in violation. Correct?

      I wonder. If the multi-gigabyte mp3 collection of such a music collector was subpoenaed, would it constitute prima-facie evidence of copyright violation? Is "intent to distribute" a prosecutable offense under copyright law?

      Of course, the practical answer is, when the

    • Let's look at this differently.

      Outstanding, except your title should be "Let's look at this correctly." The transaction is called a "sale". There are no contracts involved, therefore there are NO licenses involved. The fact that this question was even posed suggests the **AA are doing an excellent PR job at obfuscating copyright law in such a way as to bludgeon their customers with FUD about what they can and cannot do with something they own.

      For those that did not understand the parent comment's discus

  • Can I download that off KaZaA? Eh? You mean music is available on a physical medium? Woah....
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @09:57PM (#6593511) Homepage
    > What exactly do the RIAA's customers actually pay
    > for?

    A piece of plastic, which they own free and clear and can do with as they please as long as they make no permanent copies. If the piece of plastic is defective they can get it replaced or get a refund subject to local consumer laws. What else they own or possess is irrelevant. No licenses are involved.
  • There is.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GiMP ( 10923 ) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:59PM (#6593946)
    There is at least one valid question here. Many are claiming that the ownership of a CD is not a license.

    Many say that you buy a CD and you simply have the right to play that cd with a cd player. Others claim it is legal to copy it under fair-use to your computer as long as you don't play both copies at the same time. Furthermore, some believe that it is legal to make a copy for the car and one for home; as long as only one is used at a time and is for your personal use.

    My questions are:
    A) What if I bought a CD, ripped it to my computer, then destroyed the CD ?
    B) What if I did A and then sold the digital media online and then destroyed my copy of the media?
    C) What if myself and a friend both buy identical copies of a CD, but mine gets lost in a fire.. can I legally make a copy of my friend's CD?

    For question A, I believe it should be certainly legal.

    Question B would be legal with the possible exception that there MUST be two copies of the media to transfer it via the internet, thus it may violate copyright law, even if the second copy is deleted immediately afterward.

    Question C may not be the most legal of things, but given sufficient evidence would any judge really convict one of this? If it is a license of any sort, this should be legal.
    • What if I bought a CD, ripped it to my computer, then destroyed the CD ?

      Most likely that would fall under fair use. But possibly not if you are doing it for commercial purposes. For instance, radio stations have to pay for "ephemeral copies" that they make.

      What if I did A and then sold the digital media online and then destroyed my copy of the media?

      Unfortunately according to the mp3.com case [wired.com], this is illegal. It's possible you could structure it differently, though, to avoid liability. Without b

  • You know, I sometimes wonder the same thing when buying land. Do you own the land, and everything underneath and above? No. The federal government decides who gets to fly over you. The city government gets to decide what structures you can build on it. The BLM (I think...anyone else have a better clue?) decides who gets what's underneath the land. Hell, the government can even take away the property from me if they decide they have a better use for it. And the phone & cable companies can tromp on
    • > The BLM (I think...anyone else have a better
      > clue?) decides who gets what's underneath the
      > land.

      Wrong. In the US you own the mineral rights unless they have been sold.

      > Hell, the government can even take away the
      > property from me if they decide they have a
      > better use for it.

      But you have the right to "just compensation".

      > And the phone & cable companies can tromp onto my
      > property any time they damn well please, usually
      > destroying any foliage I have planted.

      Not unl
  • by immanis ( 557955 ) <immanis&sfgoth,com> on Saturday August 02, 2003 @03:58AM (#6594613) Homepage Journal

    I first attempted to get it answered some 10 years ago by several music stores and they could not answer it.

    Yeah, me too brother. But it was 16 years ago. And they were cassettes. And it was because my transaction consisted of stuffing them in my jacket and hoping no one saw.

    Hell of a lot of trouble for a Phil Collin's tape. I blame Phil. He steered me to evil.

    Back to the point - did your conversation with store security go like mine?

    Sir, could you open your jacket?
    Huh? Oh, crap.
    Come with me sir
    Hey man, it's not like they're REALLY worth anything. I mean, what IS music?
    Sir, are you drunk?
    Huh? Oh, crap.

    I guess I should have talked to attorneys, but I was a teenager clueless of such an avenue.

    See, they typically offer you one when you get busted. They did me anyway. I think.

  • Tjis long-winded question seems just one more juvenile attempt to argue that recording labels are blocking progress to some kind of pop music utopia in which muse-inspired musicians would play and sing for free, but, that said::

    You're buying the same thing you buy when you purchase a book:

    1. A copy of the organized information created by the works author, expressed in ordinary printed language in the book and in a digitzed code on the CD.

    2. The material required to contain that organized information: pap
  • You get a CD.

    What do you get when you buy a car? Are you buying the car itself? Are you paying for the right to drive a particular model? What happens if you own the same model car in two different colors? What if my car is damaged, can I get a replacement? If I already own a red honda, am I legally allowed to borrow a friend's white honda? What if my honda is scratched? Am I merely buying a license to drive a particular vehicle?

    Like a car, there are restrictions on what you are allowed to do with

  • And I thinjk that the RIAA absolutely SHOULD have to answer. But asking might not do it. What might get a response, a few ideas of where to start, would be to ...

    Petition your lawmakers. Specifically, address that list of questions and explain that you want them answered so that you can understand the actual scope of the law, and thus avoid breaking it.

    Publish that list. There are a lot of magazines on and off-line to whom that list might be cc'd, and be sure that you put the list of them on your letter

  • My take on copyright law is very simple:

    There are two kinds of people in the world. The content creator (CCs) (authors, for written works), and the content licensees (CLs).

    CCs get to do whatever they want with their stuff-- it's theirs. Simple.

    CLs have a few options as to what they can do with their licensed copyrighted works:
    • Nothing. Duh.
    • Make as many copies as they want, provided they don't distribute them.
    • Distribute via gift or sale their licensed copy to another party. They (gift giver or sell
  • to burn MP3s onto, why?

Have you reconsidered a computer career?

Working...