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Fair Use, A Boon To Theives?

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Proverb
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I realize that there is a thread about the ethics of downloading pirated music at which I am appalled at how long that thread is still going, but I have a question about fair use.

If I have bought a CD, am I licenced to copy, reformat, or otherwise change the content for personal use?

Essentially, dose the very act of copying a work, be it CD DVD or game, depreciate the value of a copyright, even if I have legitimately bought the work and own personal licence in it?

I understand the basic implicit licence that is bundled with most copyright material but should each and every work explicitly define by what standards it may be reproduce. (much like most software these days)

Is it even within the realm of law to define a licence? It seems to me, copyright needs to be protected by the people of whom it is interest to, much like a personal business contract, not by vague and Muti-faceted laws that are meant to 'write the contract' as it were.

Any thoughts would be helpful.

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Essentially, dose the very act of copying a work, be it CD DVD or game, depreciate the value of a copyright, even if I have legitimately bought the work and own personal licence in it?

As long as it's in the realm of what you are allowed by the license, it's okay.

Is it even within the realm of law to define a licence?

You only have the CD by the terms of those who produced it. It's part of the buying contract and therefore valid.

That's what I think about the morality of this. I don't know the current legal situation.

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If I have bought a CD, am I licenced to copy, reformat, or otherwise change the content for personal use?
Hire an attorney, as always, if you want the real scoop.

There is what you can do under a license, and what you can do under copyright, and they aren't the same. All people are bound by copyright law (which is "known" by being on the books, though it's hard to understand), but only the licensor and licensee are bound by a licence. We now have the DMCA which protects technological copy-protection solutions. Your free second copy reduces profit to the seller, and they (you know, those guys) are arguing that Fair Use does not cover backup copies. They also argue that reformatting (converting to MP3 for example) isn't covered by Fair Use. But your EUL with manufacturer X may allow you to have a work copy and a home copy, which is not because of law but the agreement.

One point that remains unchanged is that you must legally acquire a copy, and the question is whether you may legally make other copies for the road.

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  • 1 month later...
If I have bought a CD, am I licenced to copy, reformat, or otherwise change the content for personal use?
From what I remember about the 1976 Copyright Act and subsequent amendments, you are able to copy the music to another medium for personal use. It was one thing when the media were LPs and cassettes. Digital music complicates things a bit, since unlimited copies can be made without wear.But, I think the same applies if you buy a CD, copy it into iTunes, then to your iPod, and back it up on another hard drive.

Buying music from MSN Media or iTunes is different because there are built-in safeguards for how many machines you can copy the music to via digital trasfer. There are workarounds, and I operate on the personal use principle. With all the confusing legislation out there, it's hard for even lawyers to know what the law really is.

Changing the content is another matter. First of all you can't change the content without copying it first, or destroying the medium. If you do copy it and alter it in whole or in part for your own use, then there's nothing really wrong with that. I could sample Beastie Boys beats, loop them, and create new music with them for personal amusement; if I copyright that music, duplicate and distribute it, I'm liable because I've used their content without permission. The same would apply for a person who creates a parody of the Brokeback Mountain trailer for a spoof, such as the fairly cute Brokeback to the Future, and publishes it online. Unless you first obtain permissoin from the copyright owner, you can't distribute their material in whole of in part ... Lucasfilm sued Dr. Dre, who used the THX sound check music ("Deep Note") on his 2001 album without persmission.

Essentially, dose the very act of copying a work, be it CD DVD or game, depreciate the value of a copyright, even if I have legitimately bought the work and own personal licence in it?
A copyright has no value other than as a legal protection, like a patent. It's a legal statement of ownership. When you buy a CD or DVD, the medium is yours, but you're accepting the terms of use as stated on the CD package when you buy it. If you disagree with the terms, don't buy the CD.

Edit: To you and me, the copyright has little value. To the owners it has immense value because it protects them from guys like me sampling and reselling the music.

Copying it doesn't decrease the value unless you violate the license and distribute copies to other people. If you and I trade CDs, we're fine. If we've made digital copies, then we should give up those copies, but there's no practical means of enforcing that or even making it a law. The law can only be concerned with mass duplication and distribution.

Is it even within the realm of law to define a licence? It seems to me, copyright needs to be protected by the people of whom it is interest to, much like a personal business contract, not by vague and Muti-faceted laws that are meant to 'write the contract' as it were.
You'd have to ask a lawyer ... I don't know. Generally the original content is owned by the record label, and they're the ones granting the licenses. Groovenstein might know more ... Edited by synthlord
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