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View Full Version : Copyright question - "mix tapes for your partner"



gutted
2006-05-23, 09:15
Remember the good old days, where you were allowed to create a mix tape for your girlfriend? (Or boyfriend, or partner, or whatever).

Am I right in thinking that is illegal these days? (And was probably illegal back in the good old days, too?) Or is that covered under "fair usage"?

Reason I ask is that one of the best wedding presents me and my wife got was a set of 4 CDs from a good friend from university. It was a 4-disc set of "a typical night at Fusion" (Fusion is the club we all used to go to back at University).

There's a great many of the songs on the set that I've already got on CD single, or on CD album because I loved going to that club and it of course influenced my music tastes. But - technically speaking - do I have to throw this gift away because I don't own some of the tracks?

I'm not trying to be deliberately provocative or anal - I'm genuinely interested. The same question applies to mix tapes that many of us might have (at one time or another) created for friends or received as gifts all those years ago... Do we have to dig through our tape collections and throw some away...?

snarlydwarf
2006-05-23, 09:38
If you believe RIAA, then there is no such thing as 'Fair Use' -- even ripping to play on a Squeezebox or any other device is illegal. Yes, they want you to buy the CD for your car -and- download a version if you want to play it on your PC. (I'm not making that up: that's what they testified last year.)

If you believe the Home Recording Act, you can do whatever you want as long as it's not for profit. (The real question on that is "what is a digital recording or playback device"? Computers are not such devices, at least according to one decision, nor would I necessarily want them to be: they would need to prevent copying of copies on "consumer" gear.)

The real answer lies somewhere between the two, but would involve spending as much money as RIAA does on lawyers if you want a valid answer.

Or, of course, it would mean Congress would have to get a clue and set rules, but they would much rather keep taking the grease from RIAA -- as long as they stay vague and talk tough, RIAA keeps paying them. If they ever ban Fair Use outright, the money train from RIAA would end, and there's no way they'll tell RIAA to shove off and stand up for consumers rights.

gutted
2006-05-23, 09:56
Man - that utterly sucks though. It's outrageous that RIAA want to get money from me twice: once for the music I play in the car, and again from the music I play on SB or on a portable MP3 player.

In theory, it could be taken a step further... I do actually own a classic car with a tape player. I'm not going to get rid of the tape player as I want to keep the car "original". So RIAA is saying that I'm not even allowed to make a cassette copy of a CD so I can play it in my other car. That's insane!!

But yeah, back to the question of old mix tapes - I've got a stack of old tapes somewhere. I guess technically I should either buy (or try to buy) the various albums the tapes are made up of. That would mean I have to identify some of the music first (which, incedentally, I'd love to do - so I can get a proper CD copy :)

D'you reckon if I got the RIAA round to my place, they would identify all the unknown tracks for me on my old mix tapes? That would rule, since I've got a couple of excellent mix tapes that I'd really like to duplicate as playlists but have been unable to do so because some of the tracks I still don't know :) Maybe I could get the RIAA to do something useful :)

Jez
2006-05-23, 10:37
I seem to remember reading something on the BBC newss site recently that both the UK and Australia were amending old laws to allow the sort of 'fair use' you're talking about.

I have a feeling that the relevant authority in Blighty is the BPI rather that RIAA, so you may be under different rules to the 'Land of the Free'.

On another note, what sort of classic do you have? I had a lotus Europa S2 that had to go when we moved over here last year . . sigh.

gutted
2006-05-23, 10:40
Not many people would consider it a classic even though it most certainly IS a classic (and insured as such), but I love it to bits. It's an MG Metro Turbo. In beautiful condition, too, I might add :)

(awaits flaming and general abuse! :P )

EDIT: about the RIAA, I see what you mean. It sounds like the UK and Australia organisations are a whole lot less "keen" than the US organisation. Which is surely a good thing!

Lotus Europa S2 - nice car though! :)

Jez
2006-05-23, 10:46
I guess I would be amongst 'most people' on that front . . . now if you had said it was a Metro 6R4 I would have been impressed.

Thinking about it, I guess a classic is really just something that spends more time off the road (in various states of disrepair) than on it . . at least in my experience!

By the way, I love the idea of the box set for a wedding gift . . it so cool and personal.

gutted
2006-05-23, 12:37
ABout the CD set - that's exactly what we thought :) That's why it genuinely was the best present we got :) It must have taken him ages to put that set together - it's a really cool idea, and time was taken to put it in some sort of order (very much like a typical night at our favourite club, as the title suggested).

Not that I want to snub the other gifts, of course - but this one just stood out as something a bit special :)

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-24, 09:01
The industry is gradually moving to a "pay per play" concept and are forcing technology towards that idea, rather than letting the consumer and the technology determine the direction of the market.

Separate media and purchase for tape, CD and computer playback is one step in this direction.

Eventually they want a model where they get paid every time you hear a song, regardless of whether it's over the radio or on something you "own". For now, forcing consumers to buy a separate copy for each playback device is about all they can insist on.

The way things are going in the U.S., it'll probably happen. I'm sure the RIAA would love everyone to have some sort of smart card you'd pump money into which you'd insert into a playback device to hear the music. As each song gets played, money would be deducted from the card until it reaches 0, then playback is stopped until you can pump more money into the card and RIAA wallets/nose candy fund/yacht fund/Mercedes fund again.

gutted
2006-05-24, 09:30
I bet they would love to get that sort of scheme off the ground, but it seriously wouldn't happen. Physical media (CDs or whatever) is still way too much of an important part of many people's music experience. I genuinely couldn't conceive of having a music collection stored entirely on my PC. Even though I rarely play CDs any more, it's somehow "nice" to have them around. While people (and I'm assuming there are others like me) still want to accumulate "stuff" and have something tangible to show for their money, RIAA just won't get away with it.

To do that, they'd have to stop selling physical media. And at the moment, at least, too many people are still keen to buy it. I mean - there's a whole bunch of people who still prefer vinyl even though it's been "obsolete" for years. CDs are just way too convenient and there is going to be an even larger number of people who are not going to be happy about loosing CDs any time soon.

Unless RIAA somehow manages to make all physical media illegal (including every CD that has ever been bought or sold in the past - and they send round teams of agents to clear out peoples' CDs and burn them (no pun intended)) then they wouldn't be able to police it.

But it still sucks if that's what they're looking to try. The b*stards.

Kyle
2006-05-24, 11:33
So many issues here, and the law, and interpretations thereof, are constantly evolving and even contradictory. So, IMHO, until someone in authority convinces me otherwise, then I will act on my own fairly liberal opinions. If I own the CD, I own the copyright, and I'll make as many copies as I like for personal use by me and my family, even if I no longer have the CD in my possession because I lost it or someone borrowed it and never brought it back. If someone gave me a mix tape 15 years ago, then I will assume it is "grandfathered" under whatever copyright law was in effect at the time (when no one cared because the recorded music industry was doing fine), and I will continue to play it for my personal enjoyment.

Jez
2006-05-24, 12:24
I bet they would love to get that sort of scheme off the ground, but it seriously wouldn't happen. Physical media (CDs or whatever) is still way too much of an important part of many people's music experience. I genuinely couldn't conceive of having a music collection stored entirely on my PC. Even though I rarely play CDs any more, it's somehow "nice" to have them around. While people (and I'm assuming there are others like me) still want to accumulate "stuff" and have something tangible to show for their money, RIAA just won't get away with it.

I'm with you on the 'stuff' front. I think it actually runs deeper than that - people are used to buying music not renting it. Right from the days of sheet music and piano rolls to the CD, when you buy music you have your own copy to do with whatever you like (legally or otherwise). Whether you call it pay per listen or monthly subscription, it's still effectively renting and that model just never seems to have taken hold for music. With movies and TV customers have flicked back and forth between owning content and renting it, so both models can work for that sort of content . . . there's no obvious reason why we treat different content in different ways - but we do.

It's at least one of the reasons we haven't jumped into doing video streaming at SDI . . . there's no set model for how content will be delivered and stored, at leasst as far as what will ultimately 'catch on'. And even if everyone is buying downloads of video next year, what will be true another 12 months later?

But I digress, with music there is a model that works and has done for ages. I guess we really need to have a consumer rights organisation that can represent enough buying power to get the RIAA and pals to realise they'll make more money selling people what they want. And maybe have enough teeth to make the alternative a clearly financially stupid option buy witholding customer support.

Which is probably never going to happen . . sigh

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-24, 12:47
I bet they would love to get that sort of scheme off the ground, but it seriously wouldn't happen. Physical media (CDs or whatever) is still way too much of an important part of many people's music experience. I genuinely couldn't conceive of having a music collection stored entirely on my PC. Even though I rarely play CDs any more, it's somehow "nice" to have them around. While people (and I'm assuming there are others like me) still want to accumulate "stuff" and have something tangible to show for their money, RIAA just won't get away with it.

To do that, they'd have to stop selling physical media. And at the moment, at least, too many people are still keen to buy it. I mean - there's a whole bunch of people who still prefer vinyl even though it's been "obsolete" for years. CDs are just way too convenient and there is going to be an even larger number of people who are not going to be happy about loosing CDs any time soon.

Unless RIAA somehow manages to make all physical media illegal (including every CD that has ever been bought or sold in the past - and they send round teams of agents to clear out peoples' CDs and burn them (no pun intended)) then they wouldn't be able to police it.


Oh no, they could however introduce an "authorized" player. Old CDs would play in old players and "authorized" players, but only new discs could play in "authorized" players that have the smart card debit system.

This is already the case with devices like satellite decoders that use smart cards. It's also emerging with HDCP, where every device in the chain must be certified "safe" or the content won't play. Controls are already in place should HD-DVD/Blu-Ray video disc suppliers wish to implement it.

The CD is an old format, it could be that "secure chain" takes place with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray-based audio, which would be a logical conclusion because the technology is in place for video already. In fact the first Toshiba HD-DVD players have Internet connections so they can phone home and let the content provider know you're viewing their disc.

Just look how secure SACD and DVD-A were, which was one of the reasons that market flopped.