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View Full Version : If I own the vinyl album, is it legal to download the same album using bit torrent?




kavika411
Dec 29, 2007, 03:04 PM
I have a number of vinyl albums. I have recently given thought to purchasing the equipment necessary to transfer those albums into MP3 format so I can drop them into iTunes. Rather than enduring the expense, loss of time, and loss of music quality associated with transferring my vinyl to digital form, is it an option (i.e. is it legal) to use bit torrent software to grab these albums (assuming, of course, that I keep the vinyl and not give it away or sell it)?



mrkramer
Dec 29, 2007, 03:07 PM
I think it is illegal, since with bittorent you are seeding it to people, and are distributing it to them probably illegally. as for downloading it, it is a grey area, and you mot likely won't get caught.

synth3tik
Dec 29, 2007, 03:07 PM
honestly you should know the answer to that.

kavika411
Dec 29, 2007, 03:12 PM
honestly you should know the answer to that.

It is simply a question, and a fair question. "Honestly," why bother with a post like yours if you have nothing even slightly constructive to say?

I think it is illegal, since with bittorent you are seeding it to people, and are distributing it to them probably illegally. as for downloading it, it is a grey area, and you mot likely won't get caught.

I appreciate your response. I hadn't considered the uploading portion of bit torrent, as I am not very familiar with it.

Mernak
Dec 29, 2007, 03:33 PM
And not to mention you "technically" did not buy the music, you bought the vinyl record that just happens to have the music (or some legal BS like that), so thus the music still needs to be bought for a different type of media, the RIAA doesn't even like people ripping CDs). But as mrkramer said, I doubt you would get caught.

thejadedmonkey
Dec 29, 2007, 03:37 PM
You don't actually own the music, you just own a license to listen to the music on the format you purchased it on. If you listen to it on mp3, you need a license to listen to that mp3 file. If you listen to it on CD, you need a license to listen to it from that CD.

So it is illegal (in the most technical manner) to rip your vinyl to mp3, a CD to mp3, or possibly even copying an mp3 file for backup (because you don't have a license to listen to the new mp3, only the original mp3 you purchased).

Technically speaking, of course:rolleyes:

kavika411
Dec 29, 2007, 04:03 PM
Thanks Mernak and thejadedmonkey, for taking the time to fill in some of the blanks. I need to clarify one thing, though, and re-ask another. First, I am not interested in whether I will or won't get caught; I'd simply like to know if it is legal. I won't do it if it is illegal. Second, regarding the concept of buying a license - that I bought a license to listen to it on vinyl, but not as an MP3 - here's where I get confused... I have been operating under the assumption that it is 100% legal, through and through, to rip CDs I own into iTunes. In that scenario, I have bought the license to listen to an album as a CD, but I have ripped it to AAC. If the "license theory" is indeed the standard, then I would need to re-purchase albums - which I already own as CDs - from the iTunes music store to fall within the letter of the law.

Thanks again for your thorough responses.

Mernak
Dec 29, 2007, 04:15 PM
Here (http://www.boingboing.net/2006/02/15/riaa-cd-ripping-isnt.html) is an article talking about CDs from the RIAA. But I doubt that they will be able do anything about it when almost everyone considers it to be fair use. So as far as I can tell it is legal (for the moment at least)

Eraserhead
Dec 29, 2007, 04:16 PM
I'd say it wasn't morally wrong to download it off the Internet, as you own it. With regards to legality I suspect its legally grey.

kuebby
Dec 29, 2007, 04:27 PM
I'd say it wasn't morally wrong to download it off the Internet, as you own it. With regards to legality I suspect its legally grey.

That's the best answer you'll get. It can't be morally wrong because you already paid for the album once.

kavika411
Dec 29, 2007, 04:39 PM
That's the best answer you'll get. It can't be morally wrong because you already paid for album once.

I appreciate your honest candor. I didn't realize I hit on such a murky topic when I asked the original question.

kuebby
Dec 29, 2007, 05:11 PM
I appreciate your honest candor. I didn't realize I hit on such a murky topic when I asked the original question.

Yep. The legality surrounding things you already own in another format is an important part of the debate over downloading music. Because the technology has changed so much and people have large collections of tapes and LPs that would be difficult to convert to digital files that they don't want to lose to technological obscurity.

mcarnes
Dec 29, 2007, 05:12 PM
Meh. Go to a local public library and check out the CDs, then rip 'em with iTunes. Bit torrent is a PITA.

dukebound85
Dec 29, 2007, 05:15 PM
You don't actually own the music, you just own a license to listen to the music on the format you purchased it on. If you listen to it on mp3, you need a license to listen to that mp3 file. If you listen to it on CD, you need a license to listen to it from that CD.

So it is illegal (in the most technical manner) to rip your vinyl to mp3, a CD to mp3, or possibly even copying an mp3 file for backup (because you don't have a license to listen to the new mp3, only the original mp3 you purchased).

Technically speaking, of course:rolleyes:

lol i dont think that is right.

if it was illegal then how would itunes ever be permitted to rip cds to mp3 in the first place. by your way of thinking, only songs bought as mp3 say by itms could go into itunes

JonKrauseHelp
Dec 29, 2007, 05:16 PM
The legality of media is always a very bizarre thing anyways. For example, if you buy a blank VHS tape and tape an episode of Survivor, it's legal for you to own and watch that tape, but only for a limited amount of time. That means that after about three months, you are legally obligated to tape over that episode of Survivor or you have illegal media in your home.

dukebound85
Dec 29, 2007, 05:18 PM
The legality of media is always a very bizarre thing anyways. For example, if you buy a blank VHS tape and tape an episode of Survivor, it's legal for you to own and watch that tape, but only for a limited amount of time. That means that after about three months, you are legally obligated to tape over that episode of Survivor or you have illegal media in your home.

i will say i will never do that or even worry about it

mrock
Dec 29, 2007, 05:19 PM
I think I may be right in saying that it varies on which country you are in.

I know some allow you a license for the actual SONG/ALBUM so you can download from other sources legally (technically speaking), whereas others sell you a license for the physical MEDIA (CD, Vinyl, MP3) etc.

Someone else may choose to correct me here though.

bloodycape
Dec 29, 2007, 10:55 PM
lol i dont think that is right.

if it was illegal then how would itunes ever be permitted to rip cds to mp3 in the first place. by your way of thinking, only songs bought as mp3 say by itms could go into itunes

Interesting note relating to this topic. RIAA sues a man for ripping his song from his legally purchased cd to his computer. http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/29/riaa-suing-citizen-for-copying-legally-purchased-cds-to-pc/

mcarnes
Dec 30, 2007, 04:03 AM
Interesting note relating to this topic. RIAA sues a man for ripping his song from his legally purchased cd to his computer. http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/29/riaa-suing-citizen-for-copying-legally-purchased-cds-to-pc/

That can't be right. The RIAA could sue Apple for making rips possible in iTunes.

eRondeau
Dec 30, 2007, 04:26 AM
As far as the record companies are concerned, what you are asking to do is absolutely 100% illegal. To paraphrase your question, you're essentially wondering if paying for one album automatically entitles you to free updates and/or replacements of that album, for life. The answer is no, it does not. Having said that, it would be more of a civil ownership litigation than anything criminal (so you couldn't go to jail for it, but you might have to pay some big $$$.)

mannix87
Dec 30, 2007, 10:45 PM
Interesting note relating to this topic. RIAA sues a man for ripping his song from his legally purchased cd to his computer. http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/29/riaa-suing-citizen-for-copying-legally-purchased-cds-to-pc/

Engadget just made a correction on the story, it seems RIAA is suing him for illegal "downloading" rather than simply "ripping" from CDs.

X5-452
Dec 30, 2007, 11:49 PM
As far as the record companies are concerned, what you are asking to do is absolutely 100% illegal. To paraphrase your question, you're essentially wondering if paying for one album automatically entitles you to free updates and/or replacements of that album, for life. The answer is no, it does not. Having said that, it would be more of a civil ownership litigation than anything criminal (so you couldn't go to jail for it, but you might have to pay some big $$$.)

See to me, that's bull. It's one thing to say "I bought a 2G iPod, therefore I should be able to upgrade to a touch for free" but since you've already paid for the music, you should be able to listen to it in whichever format you desire. This whole "you bought a license to play it on vinyl, not mp3" is absurd and I really wish someone would fight the RIAA in court over it. I have given you my money to play and listen to music, and therefore I should have the freedom to make backups of it, and to listen to it on vinyl or mp3 or aac or whatever the hell I want.

eRondeau
Dec 31, 2007, 03:40 AM
See to me, that's bull. It's one thing to say "I bought a 2G iPod, therefore I should be able to upgrade to a touch for free" but since you've already paid for the music, you should be able to listen to it in whichever format you desire. This whole "you bought a license to play it on vinyl, not mp3" is absurd and I really wish someone would fight the RIAA in court over it. I have given you my money to play and listen to music, and therefore I should have the freedom to make backups of it, and to listen to it on vinyl or mp3 or aac or whatever the hell I want.

You're probably too young to remember this, but in the "glory days" of the record companies -- lots of people would buy the same music in different formats over and over again. Hear a new song on the radio, you'd buy a '45. Like the B-side and you'd buy the LP. Want to hear it in your car, you'd buy an 8-Track and (later) a Cassette, and then a CD. Before you know it, you've paid for 3-4 different formats of Three Dog Night. This is when the record companies were making $$$ hand-over-fist, because they were selling the same music to the same dedicated, repeat customers in many different formats. (Reminds me a lot of how a certain little computer company is suddenly doing really, really well because it manages to sell multiple computers, and iPod's, to the same core group of customers over and over again. Seriously, how many people reading this have ever owned just one Mac? How many have owned just one iPod?) In this argument, the record companies lost the battle because they weren't responsive enough to see digital music sharing bearing-down on them like a freight train. They are now desperately doing what little they can to try to bring back the only success they've ever known -- buying suing their customers, hoping we'll keep buying the 8-Tracks too.

c-Row
Dec 31, 2007, 04:54 AM
(Reminds me a lot of how a certain little computer company is suddenly doing really, really well because it manages to sell multiple computers, and iPod's, to the same core group of customers over and over again. Seriously, how many people reading this have ever owned just one Mac? How many have owned just one iPod?)

That's a quite bad comparison. I don't think we buy a second MacBook because the first only works in the living room but not in the kitchen. Nor does one iPod play music from iTMS and the other plays CD rips only.

RedTomato
Dec 31, 2007, 05:35 AM
As has been pointed out above, the law varies considerably depending which country you live in.

In some countries, all blank media has a tax on it which is then distributed to the RIAA (I think) because it is assumed that you will only use it for illegally recording copyrighted media.

Yes, that makes my head spin too. Yes, I (and many others) regard it as morally wrong that the RIAA (or whoever) collects money for an 'illegal' act while simultaneously suing for the same act.

Morever, that money is collected by the govt, and given to RIAA (or whoever), this private organisation that manifestly does not represent all recording artists, even if the blank media is used solely for my own work that I created myself.

One final note - BitTorrent doesn't necessarily involve uploading or distributing. You can turn off the upload part (reduce upload bandwidth to 0) and only download. Many BT hosts don't like this and will give you a low priority. You can up your share ratio a bit by putting legal files (Firefox, Linux distros etc) up for upload and distribution.

Mitthrawnuruodo
Dec 31, 2007, 06:35 AM
In some countries, all blank media has a tax on it which is then distributed to the RIAA (I think) because it is assumed that you will only use it for illegally recording copyrighted media.Nah... the levy, at least here in Norway, is to pay for legal copying of music and films*.

You are allowed to copy music and films for personal use, and you're even allowed to share your legally acquired material, ie. bought, rented, borrowed at the public library(!), etc, with "your closest friends and relatives".

Downloading copyrighted** material is illegal, even if you 'own' the material on other media.

On the last review of the law (which actually made it illegal to download stuff, uploading has been illegal "forever"), it was touch and go for a while, because the suggested law text was much, much stricter, e.g. on copying for personal use, like ripping CDs for use on iPods etc, but since our Minister for Culture was an iPod user all turned out nicely in the end... :D

* Computer software, including games, are actually specially protected and aren't technically legal to copy, even for backup purposes. But since most EULAs gives you this right anyway, most people don't care even if, again technically, Norwegian law trumps any EULAs.

** Copyright () doesn't really apply in Norway, or most European countries, AFAIK, but all is regulated through special law which basically regulates the same...

ftaok
Dec 31, 2007, 10:26 AM
One final note - BitTorrent doesn't necessarily involve uploading or distributing. You can turn off the upload part (reduce upload bandwidth to 0) and only download. Many BT hosts don't like this and will give you a low priority. You can up your share ratio a bit by putting legal files (Firefox, Linux distros etc) up for upload and distribution.

Kinda off topic, but what would be the legal classification of upload 99% of the torrent? Let's say that you only "shared" 99% of a torrent and the last 1% was not uploaded by you.

Does that constitute illegal file sharing? I mean, after all, you haven't shared anything but a bunch of bits and bytes. Without that last piece, what you've shared isn't really anything.

Or am I way off base?

The Toon Master
Dec 31, 2007, 10:30 AM
No it isn;t

Hell, some music companies believe if you buy a CD, you need to rebuy it again on a downloadable service to use it..

I swear i thoguht i saw a vinyl ripper for 150 somewhere, but i might be wrong..

Mitthrawnuruodo
Dec 31, 2007, 10:34 AM
I swear i thoguht i saw a vinyl ripper for 150 somewhere, but i might be wrong..You can get even cheaper ones than that: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&index=blended&field-keywords=usb%20record%20player

:)

CanadaRAM
Dec 31, 2007, 10:41 AM
Kinda off topic, but what would be the legal classification of upload 99% of the torrent? Let's say that you only "shared" 99% of a torrent and the last 1% was not uploaded by you.

Does that constitute illegal file sharing? I mean, after all, you haven't shared anything but a bunch of bits and bytes. Without that last piece, what you've shared isn't really anything.

Or am I way off base?

You're way off base. You can't avoid copyright infringement by leaving off the last second of a song, just like it's still bank robbery even if you leave $1.00 behind with the teller.

"A bunch of bits and bytes" is precisely what is the property of the copyright holder, whether it is software, music or a Hollywood film.

eRondeau
Dec 31, 2007, 11:32 AM
"A bunch of bits and bytes" is precisely what is the property of the copyright holder, whether it is software, music or a Hollywood film.

OMG!!! I just downloaded a '1' followed by a '0' and then another damned '1'!!! I'm sure that's the exact same bit pattern as the first three bits of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita" by Iron Butterfly!!! They're going to hunt me down like a dog! I'm so screwed!!!

(I think this does raise a valid point, however, as to just how many identical bits are required in order to claim copyright infringement. After all, if your sampling rate is low enough -- all digital music sounds exactly the same.)

statikcat
Dec 31, 2007, 12:42 PM
Of course it is illegal. You own the songs on Vinyl only. That is like saying you get a free upgrade to DVD because you own the VHS. *slaps face*.

balamw
Dec 31, 2007, 12:57 PM
Of course it is illegal. You own the songs on Vinyl only. That is like saying you get a free upgrade to DVD because you own the VHS. *slaps face*.

Unfortunately the **AA makes this murky, by saying that when you purchase media (CD/DVD) you are actually only licensing the content. So essentially, you don't own diddly, except perhaps for a plastic coaster that can be used as a mirror. You have a restricted license to play the content.

The Engadget story is further proof the ??AA are out to lunch. suing people who still do buy music on CD. :rolleyes:

B

kavika411
Dec 31, 2007, 01:38 PM
Of course it is illegal. You own the songs on Vinyl only. That is like saying you get a free upgrade to DVD because you own the VHS. *slaps face*.

I like your gusto. I assume you think is illegal to rip a CD you own into iTunes, as such would be changing the medium from CD to AAC.

milo
Dec 31, 2007, 01:43 PM
See to me, that's bull. It's one thing to say "I bought a 2G iPod, therefore I should be able to upgrade to a touch for free" but since you've already paid for the music, you should be able to listen to it in whichever format you desire.

I agree that you should be able to. And you certainly can download it and go ahead and do it.

It just isn't legal.

IJ Reilly
Dec 31, 2007, 02:47 PM
Unfortunately the **AA makes this murky, by saying that when you purchase media (CD/DVD) you are actually only licensing the content. So essentially, you don't own diddly, except perhaps for a plastic coaster that can be used as a mirror. You have a restricted license to play the content.

No matter what they'd like you to think, the music industry cannot unilaterally revoke your fair use rights. If you own the CD, it's fair use for you to format-shift it for your own purposes. This stuff was decided a long time ago, back in the age of tape.

To the original question: I think the real issue here is the torrent method. If you downloaded music which you already own from a PTP network then I think a good case could be made that this is fair use. I'd sure like to see the RIAA successfully sue someone for having digital copies of vinyl records they own, no matter where they got them.

barijazz
Dec 31, 2007, 04:21 PM
You need to check if the song/photo or movie you download off bittorrent is copright (c) or creative commons(cc). Any movie art photo song etc. is automatically protected under creative commons. If the artist goes and gets a copyright so that only they can legally distribute the copyrighted item then you cannot. But much like going 65 mph on a 60 mph road no one really cares.

theBB
Dec 31, 2007, 06:33 PM
You could pay somebody to rip your vinyl into mp3, so downloading is ethically OK in my book. Of course, that does not mean you'd be legally OK.

The big catch is the aspect of file sharing software forcing you to allow others to download from you while you are trying to get what you need. That means in order to exercise your fair use rights, you'd be aiding and abetting others' illegal activity. It would be kind of asking somebody to rip your vinyl into mp3 and letting them keep a copy of the files for themselves as payment.

Fahrwahr
Dec 31, 2007, 07:12 PM
The legality of media is always a very bizarre thing anyways. For example, if you buy a blank VHS tape and tape an episode of Survivor, it's legal for you to own and watch that tape, but only for a limited amount of time. That means that after about three months, you are legally obligated to tape over that episode of Survivor or you have illegal media in your home.
Can you point me to an online source for this requirement? The sources I've found regarding time-shifting (the term that apparently refers to taping a television broadcast for later use) don't refer to any specific time limit (although I suppose rights may vary by jurisdiction).

e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_shifting

(Not that I'm a fan of Wikipedia or would vouch for the accuracy of its content, but at least it's a start.)

CanadaRAM
Dec 31, 2007, 07:19 PM
To the original question: I think the real issue here is the torrent method. If you downloaded music which you already own from a PTP network then I think a good case could be made that this is fair use. I'd sure like to see the RIAA successfully sue someone for having digital copies of vinyl records they own, no matter where they got them.

But, there may be a difference between the digital copy and the analog copy on LP. Lets take for example, a downloaded track that has been remastered, or has 5.1 sound, or extra CD-only features. That's a different product than you have on LP. Owning the LP doesn't give rights to having a different product.

Then it can also be argued that you own rights only to the analog reproduction on LP (and whatever your personal-use archiving to digital might be done from YOUR LP - scratches, pops and all).

IJ Reilly
Dec 31, 2007, 07:48 PM
But, there may be a difference between the digital copy and the analog copy on LP. Lets take for example, a downloaded track that has been remastered, or has 5.1 sound, or extra CD-only features. That's a different product than you have on LP. Owning the LP doesn't give rights to having a different product.

Then it can also be argued that you own rights only to the analog reproduction on LP (and whatever your personal-use archiving to digital might be done from YOUR LP - scratches, pops and all).

I know -- I've made what the lawyers call a "rebuttable presumption," or some such thing. But I'd like to see the RIAA make the case that a record company's digital version of song is somehow a "different product" than the same song digitized from a record owner's vinyl. This argument comes with the apparent presupposition that fair use is only fair use when the copy is inferior to the original. That'd be a novel argument, with all kinds of implications, if it was ever accepted by the courts.

The copyright violation incidentally is committed by the person who gives the song away, not by the person who receives it.

milo
Dec 31, 2007, 09:37 PM
No matter what they'd like you to think, the music industry cannot unilaterally revoke your fair use rights. If you own the CD, it's fair use for you to format-shift it for your own purposes. This stuff was decided a long time ago, back in the age of tape.

Sure, of course you can dub a recording to a different format. But that's totally different than owning it on vinyl, then downloading someone else's CD rip.

You need to check if the song/photo or movie you download off bittorrent is copright (c) or creative commons(cc). Any movie art photo song etc. is automatically protected under creative commons. If the artist goes and gets a copyright so that only they can legally distribute the copyrighted item then you cannot. But much like going 65 mph on a 60 mph road no one really cares.

I think you have it backwards.

All material like that is automatically copyrighted, whether the creator applies for copyright or not.

Creative commons is a special release contract and much more recent. Material doesn't fall under CC under the creator specifically declares it so.

RedTomato
Jan 1, 2008, 05:24 AM
Unfortunately the **AA makes this murky, by saying that when you purchase media (CD/DVD) you are actually only licensing the content. So essentially, you don't own diddly, except perhaps for a plastic coaster that can be used as a mirror. You have a restricted license to play the content.

I agree with what you say. I'd like to point out for the benefit of others, that following their argument that you don't actually own the medium, you only own a licence to play it, it therefore follows that that licence, which you've legally purchased, applies whether you are playing it from CD, a rip or a downloaded file.

This hasn't been examined in a court (I think) because the **AA avoid any case that would seriously examine it.

CanadaRAM's point about the licence not applying to a version with extra features applies tho. Purchasing a screen print or lithograph of an artwork is different to purchasing a poster of it on cheap paper. (and realistically you would expect to pay less for a scaled down 240x180 version of a film than the full 1280p Blu Ray version.)

balamw
Jan 1, 2008, 11:54 AM
This hasn't been examined in a court (I think) because the **AA avoid any case that would seriously examine it.

Which is why I originally said it was murky, on purpose, thanks to the **AA. They don't want it to be clear that ripping a CD for iPod use is legal or not, 'cause they want the right to sue you no matter what.

No matter what they'd like you to think, the music industry cannot unilaterally revoke your fair use rights.

Doesn't stop them from posturing or trying to restrict what can be done.

I'm fully in agreement with you, I think their position is wacky, and furthermore their current business model is really flawed. Everyone involved loses: The artists, the "consumers" and the labels with the current status quo. Oops! I guess I forgot one group that wins no matter what. The lawyers.

The "music industry" is a tangled web of individual deals and contracts which seems harder to navigate than the US tax code. As such it is due for major overhaul to face the new realities.

Perhaps a levy based system like that used on other countries might make things simpler to deal with.

B

CanadaRAM
Jan 1, 2008, 12:05 PM
And just to be clear, the levies in Canada (and presumably other countries) do NOT go to the RIAA. They are collected by a non-profit society that distributes them to the artists and publishing companies.

The RIAA is an industry lobby group funded by the record companies and publishers. They do not collect royalties from your purchases, any more than the College of Physicians and Surgeons collects your doctor's bill.

IJ Reilly
Jan 1, 2008, 12:14 PM
Sure, of course you can dub a recording to a different format. But that's totally different than owning it on vinyl, then downloading someone else's CD rip.

Says who? Every copyright case is different, and AFAIK, this particular point has never been adjudicated. Failing any actual law, the industry would like us to believe that we must purchase and repurchase our music every time the reproduction technology changes. Doubtless this is good for them, but that does not mean it's a legal requirement.

Doesn't stop them from posturing or trying to restrict what can be done.

Exactly, but this doesn't mean that they'll always succeed. Like I said, I'd love to see the industry try to convince a court that owning digital versions of music you originally purchased in another format is not fair use, no matter where you got the digital versions.

EDIT: Looks like we have that case, which is being discussed in another thread.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/28/AR2007122800693.html

eRondeau
Jan 1, 2008, 01:03 PM
The "music industry" is a tangled web of individual deals and contracts which seems harder to navigate than the US tax code. As such it is due for major overhaul to face the new realities.

Many years ago I went to college with an adult student who was a working session musician. Very interesting fellow. Keep in mind this was in the pre- file-sharing days. He once commented that music was the only industry that was obsessed with suing their own members as a matter of day-to-day business. So now, 20 years later, not much has changed -- except now they're suing their customers too. I wish I could turn the tables and sue the record companies for some of the ***** they've sold me over the years.

Weezy F Baby
Jan 1, 2008, 01:47 PM
You should be able to. I don't think it's legal though. It should be but it isn't. :(

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 09:31 AM
Says who? Every copyright case is different, and AFAIK, this particular point has never been adjudicated. Failing any actual law, the industry would like us to believe that we must purchase and repurchase our music every time the reproduction technology changes. Doubtless this is good for them, but that does not mean it's a legal requirement.

Whoa there, you're going way beyond what I said. The courts have said that format and time shifting is fine. If you want an mp3, go ahead and rip your vinyl.

But you're the one jumping to unproven conclusions by insisting that ripping a vinyl record is the same as downloading the torrent of something you own on vinyl.

IJ Reilly
Jan 2, 2008, 10:25 AM
Whoa there, you're going way beyond what I said. The courts have said that format and time shifting is fine. If you want an mp3, go ahead and rip your vinyl.

But you're the one jumping to unproven conclusions by insisting that ripping a vinyl record is the same as downloading the torrent of something you own on vinyl.

Whoa there yourself. First, I never said it was "the same," only that the industry has never been called upon to make an argument against it in court (and I think the legal theory would probably have to be quite novel), and second, I pointed out the inherent problem with torrents, which share even as they download (the sharing being the copyright violation). As for jumping to unproven conclusions, I think you are the one who is assuming that the music industry has copyright enforcement powers that have never been established in a court.

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 01:57 PM
Whoa there yourself. First, I never said it was "the same,"

I said it was different and you disputed that. If you disagree with "different" I'm not exactly sure what other possibility you think there is since "not different" implies "the same".

You're the one who made the original claim that downloading a copy of something you own would fall under fair use and is therefore legal, so the burden of proof is on you. What part of copyright law would give people the right to download music that they've purchased in another format?

IJ Reilly
Jan 2, 2008, 02:14 PM
I said it was different and you disputed that. If you disagree with "different" I'm not exactly sure what other possibility you think there is since "not different" implies "the same".

You're the one who made the original claim that downloading a copy of something you own would fall under fair use and is therefore legal, so the burden of proof is on you. What part of copyright law would give people the right to download music that they've purchased in another format?

Nope. Go back and read what I've written. The point is (again) we don't know if fair use applies in this situation until this point is adjudicated. The record companies would need to make a successful case to a court that it is not fair use.

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 02:23 PM
The point is (again) we don't know if fair use applies in this situation until this point is adjudicated.

Well, I can agree with that.

You should be more clear in your posts, earlier you were saying that you thought fair use DOES apply, when that's clearly a stretch.

IJ Reilly
Jan 2, 2008, 02:52 PM
Well, I can agree with that.

You should be more clear in your posts, earlier you were saying that you thought fair use DOES apply, when that's clearly a stretch.

I was clear, I think. I actually do assume that fair use applies to this situation until I hear otherwise (and not from the record companies, who would have you believe that fair use does not exist at all). I believe the record companies would have a very tough time convincing a court that fair use does not apply under these circumstances. As I said before, I believe the argument against fair use in this situation would be a real reach, and I suspect, full of holes. I pointed out a couple of them.

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 03:32 PM
I was clear, I think. I actually do assume that fair use applies to this situation until I hear otherwise (and not from the record companies, who would have you believe that fair use does not exist at all). I believe the record companies would have a very tough time convincing a court that fair use does not apply under these circumstances. As I said before, I believe the argument against fair use in this situation would be a real reach, and I suspect, full of holes. I pointed out a couple of them.

That's all your opinion, but you've still provided nothing to back it up. Again, I say that without real facts, it's foolish to assume that downloading something you've bought on vinyl is legal, or that it falls under fair use.

gnasher729
Jan 2, 2008, 04:45 PM
That's all your opinion, but you've still provided nothing to back it up. Again, I say that without real facts, it's foolish to assume that downloading something you've bought on vinyl is legal, or that it falls under fair use.

In most situations, you would ask yourself these three questions: Is it legal or illegal? Is it ethical/moral or unethical/immoral? Will I be caught and punished?

In the USA today, I wouldn't want to judge whether downloading music that you own in LPs is legal or not (if you download a version that comes from a CD that was remastered at higher quality or had extras added that makes it more likely to be illegal); whether it is moral or not is up to you (if you cannot find the music for sale at all that tends to make it more moral; if you could just buy the music at iTMS that makes it less moral to download it in my opinion).

And lastly, your risk of being caught and punished is small but not zero, and whether it is legal or moral or not has no influence on your risk whatsoever. (Worst case, you are given the choice between a court case and a settlement payment, and paying the settlement is cheaper than a court case even if you win the court case, so it doesn't matter in practice whether it is legal or moral or not).

IJ Reilly
Jan 2, 2008, 05:12 PM
That's all your opinion, but you've still provided nothing to back it up. Again, I say that without real facts, it's foolish to assume that downloading something you've bought on vinyl is legal, or that it falls under fair use.

No, that's not true either. Read up on fair use. I have. Quite a lot.

The RIAA would have us believe that fair use essentially doesn't exist. The courts, fortunately, have not agreed. You can buy the industry's interpretation of fair use doctrine if you like -- this is your privilege. But the fact remains that you, as a consumer, have fair use rights, which you can exercise until someone with legal authority (read: a court of law) says you can't. This requires that the copyright holder prove to a court that you have used copyrighted material in a way which is not covered by fair use. This is no trivial exercise, and there exists few clear, bright lines over which you simply cannot go. Each case is decided on the facts.

To date, the courts have supported time shifting as fair use, and the law seems to support the concept of format shifting as well. Note that the industry has not attempted to sue over format shifting, so there is no settled law in this regard. Does this mean that it's also "foolish" to assume that you can rip your own CD to your iPod? If not, why not?

That's all I can assume, because that's all I know. What do you assume?

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 05:48 PM
To date, the courts have supported time shifting as fair use, and the law seems to support the concept of format shifting as well. Note that the industry has not attempted to sue over format shifting, so there is no settled law in this regard. Does this mean that it's also "foolish" to assume that you can rip your own CD to your iPod? If not, why not?

I agree that format shifting is generally accepted as fair use.

What I don't get is why you are so convinced that a court would consider downloading a copy that someone else ripped from CD that you own on vinyl as "format shifting".

If you have read so much about fair use, why is it so hard to cite actual law to support the claim that downloading something you own in another format is fair use/legal?

IJ Reilly
Jan 2, 2008, 07:10 PM
I agree that format shifting is generally accepted as fair use.

What I don't get is why you are so convinced that a court would consider downloading a copy that someone else ripped from CD that you own on vinyl as "format shifting".

If you have read so much about fair use, why is it so hard to cite actual law to support the claim that downloading something you own in another format is fair use/legal?

Good grief.

First, you say format shifting is "generally accepted." By whom? There is in fact no court decision which says as much. We know only that the industry has not directly challenged this practice in court. Are you going stop ripping CDs because no "actual law" permits it? I didn't think so. In fact, fair use does, until and unless the industry sues someone successfully over the practice.

Second, as I've said several times already, I don't have any evidence for the legality or illegality of downloading digital versions of music we own in another format. In reality, we know as much legally about this practice as we do about ripping CDs -- which is, essentially nothing.

I think the problem here is that you're looking at the wrong side of the coin. Fair use is not a law -- it is a general legal doctrine governed by a very complex body of court decisions. In essence, you have fair use rights to copyrighted materials until a copyright holder sues someone over a specific practice and wins. Then a new line is drawn which may or may not apply to other similar circumstances.

Wilson1984
Jan 2, 2008, 11:02 PM
Three pages of good thoughts on copy right.

Heres my 2 cents.

-------------------

Is it legal to use bit torrent to download music you already own on another format?

No.

Is it morally OK to do so?

Yes.

------------------

Laws are made to represent the morals of the society it regulates. When there is a disproportionate distribution of power and wealth laws do not benefit the masses , rather the people in power.

Sirus The Virus
Jan 2, 2008, 11:37 PM
This is what I do when I buy a vinyl, and I'm a vinyl addict. I download the MP3s as soon as I buy it. I listen to the vinyls around the house, and on my iPod on the go. Some artists are throwing little coupons in with the vinyls to download the MP3s of the album on their site. So it would seam that the artists are cool with us having the vinyl and the MP3s. But as far as the legal stuff goes... it's illegal according to the RIAA, but I don't care a bit. I just care about what the artists think.

LethalWolfe
Jan 2, 2008, 11:38 PM
Good grief.

First, you say format shifting is "generally accepted." By whom? There is in fact no court decision which says as much. We know only that the industry has not directly challenged this practice in court. Are you going stop ripping CDs because no "actual law" permits it? I didn't think so. In fact, fair use does, until and unless the industry sues someone successfully over the practice.
Actually there is a precedent for format/space shifting that was established when the RIAA sued over the Diamond Rio MP3 players back in the late 90's. The court ruled against the RIAA and thus opened the door for our beloved iPod. *que angelic choir* :D



I think the problem here is that you're looking at the wrong side of the coin. Fair use is not a law -- it is a general legal doctrine governed by a very complex body of court decisions. In essence, you have fair use rights to copyrighted materials until a copyright holder sues someone over a specific practice and wins. Then a new line is drawn which may or may not apply to other similar circumstances.
Fair Use is law (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107) but many people use the term "fair use" when they really are talking about allowed personal use which, as you've said, isn't exactly law, but court rulings that have created precedents for what's acceptable and what is not. Whether discussing what's allowed personal use or what is Fair Use it does, as you've said, come down to a case by case basis.


Lethal

Wild-Bill
Jan 2, 2008, 11:53 PM
it's illegal according to the RIAA

Everything is illegal according to the RIAA. They are nothing more than the pointy end of the greed spear. If record companies are so paranoid about losing so much money, perhaps they should stop throwing insane amounts of money at the artists on their label to do promotions and other nonsense. Pay the studio tab and use sensible marketing and stop the buck right there. Problem solved.

Hopefully someday soon the courts will order the RIAA to be disbanded and have its crooked lawyers disbarred.

IJ Reilly
Jan 3, 2008, 11:52 AM
Actually there is a precedent for format/space shifting that was established when the RIAA sued over the Diamond Rio MP3 players back in the late 90's. The court ruled against the RIAA and thus opened the door for our beloved iPod. *que angelic choir* :D

The Diamond Rio case is the one cited to support format shifting, but it's my understanding that it did not deal directly with this issue.

Fair Use is law (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107) but many people use the term "fair use" when they really are talking about allowed personal use which, as you've said, isn't exactly law, but court rulings that have created precedents for what's acceptable and what is not. Whether discussing what's allowed personal use or what is Fair Use it does, as you've said, come down to a case by case basis.

This is the fair use four-point test. Again (not being a lawyer) my understanding is that this test would apply whether it was mentioned in the Federal Code or not, as it derives from the Common Law. Copyright holders often assert that their rights trump fair use, but this doesn't mean they are correct, unless a court agrees.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 12:01 AM
The Diamond Rio case is the one cited to support format shifting, but it's my understanding that it did not deal directly with this issue.
I don't think the Diamond Rio case deals directly w/this either, but you said, "First, you say format shifting is "generally accepted." By whom? There is in fact no court decision which says as much." which is why I mentioned the Diamond Rio case because it does deal with format/space shifting. It wasn't clear to me that you were talking strictly w/in the confines of the OP's original question.

This is the fair use four-point test. Again (not being a lawyer) my understanding is that this test would apply whether it was mentioned in the Federal Code or not, as it derives from the Common Law. Copyright holders often assert that their rights trump fair use, but this doesn't mean they are correct, unless a court agrees.
Again, this might be me misunderstanding you again, but I just wanted to mention that many times the term "fair use" gets used in a general manor that doesn't distinguish between what is written law (Fair Use doctrine in copyright law) and what is just precedent set by court rulings ("BetaMax case" allowing for time-shifting).

This might just be a pet peeve of mine more than anything else.:p

Lethal

IJ Reilly
Jan 4, 2008, 12:26 AM
This might just be a pet peeve of mine more than anything else.:p

Now it may be my turn to misunderstand you. ;)

I may be misinterpreting what I have read about the Diamond Rio decision, but it is my understanding that it dealt specifically with space-shifting, not format-shifting. The former may imply the latter, but I don't believe the courts addressed this issue directly in the decision.

FWIW, the text of the decision:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=9th&navby=case&no=9856727

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 12:34 AM
Now it may be my turn to misunderstand you. ;)

Great minds misunderstand alike... or something. :D


I may be misinterpreting what I have read about the Diamond Rio decision, but it is my understanding that it dealt specifically with space-shifting, not format-shifting. The former may imply the latter, but I don't believe the courts addressed this issue directly in the decision.

FWIW, the text of the decision:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=9th&navby=case&no=9856727

I've heard "space shifting" and "format shifting" used interchangeably but they certainly aren't to be confused w/"time shifting."


Lethal

davedecay
Jan 4, 2008, 09:12 AM
I think technically you should capture the vinyl you own, and create your own MP3s for personal use if you want to follow the letter of the law.

Downloading someone else's MP3s saves you the time & trouble of doing it, but I think that's also what crosses into the file sharing/lawbreaking territory. Not that you are likely to get busted for it, but as has been said, the RIAA are a bunch of backwards, greedy nincompoops who don't care about discussions like this. I've had to deal with them in the past (and not in a good way). Lost a sizeable live video collection, most of which was taped with permission of the bands or time-shifted from TV broadcasts. They don't care.

Contraband by their definition means the tapes didn't have the name and address of the company who produced them (silly for home recordings, no?) and thus were illegal for me to own. Never mind that the tour manager of Mudhoney THANKED ME for filming them, and gave me a free t-shirt after the show. Never mind that I traded with the brother of another late punk singer, having full permission to trade said videos.

Granted, these were video tapes and not MP3 computer files, but my point is that the RIAA are 800 lb. gorillas with not a care for the spirit or feeling of music. All they care about are dollars.

kjr39
Jan 4, 2008, 09:57 AM
I really do believe that, at this point, even the RIAA does not understand what is legal for someone to do with media. All they appear to know is, whatever you are doing, you are wrong...

IJ Reilly
Jan 4, 2008, 10:16 AM
I've heard "space shifting" and "format shifting" used interchangeably but they certainly aren't to be confused w/"time shifting."

I'm not sure. I believe the Diamond Rio "space shifting" case was argued successfully based on the Betamax "time shifting" decision. I'd like to find a unbiased layman's explanation of all this, but I haven't seen one yet.

I think technically you should capture the vinyl you own, and create your own MP3s for personal use if you want to follow the letter of the law.

Downloading someone else's MP3s saves you the time & trouble of doing it, but I think that's also what crosses into the file sharing/lawbreaking territory.

It's certainly not file sharing if you share no files (downloading is not sharing unless you're using torrent), and in terms of the law, it's difficult to know exactly when the line is crossed. The RIAA could argue that converting vinyl to digital files violates copyrights, even if it's for your own use. I think they'd have a lousy argument with little legal foundation, but as you learned, they don't always have to win in court to get their way. Intimidation works pretty well.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 10:36 AM
I'm not sure. I believe the Diamond Rio "space shifting" case was argued successfully based on the Betamax "time shifting" decision. I'd like to find a unbiased layman's explanation of all this, but I haven't seen one yet.
I'm not saying space shifting was argued successfully based on the time shifting case, I'm saying I've heard "space shifting" and "format shifting" used interchangeably and that those terms shouldn't be confused w/"time shifting" because time shifting is something different.


Lethal

milo
Jan 4, 2008, 10:43 AM
First, you say format shifting is "generally accepted." By whom? There is in fact no court decision which says as much. We know only that the industry has not directly challenged this practice in court. Are you going stop ripping CDs because no "actual law" permits it? I didn't think so. In fact, fair use does, until and unless the industry sues someone successfully over the practice.

It looks like you're just being pedantic at this point. You take issue that format shifting is "generally accepted", yet you say that format shifting is permitted by fair use? It sounds like you're agreeing with me but just quibbling over wording.

The Diamond Rio case supports "space shifting" which fits the case of ripping a cd or vinyl record for portability. So there is precedent for doing that, while there has been nothing provided to suggest that downloading someone else's rip would be considered the same thing.

Second, as I've said several times already, I don't have any evidence for the legality or illegality of downloading digital versions
of music we own in another format.

And yet you keep insisting that it is legal. Until you come up with something to back it up, you may want to take it easy with that claim.

IJ Reilly
Jan 4, 2008, 11:16 AM
I'm not saying space shifting was argued successfully based on the time shifting case, I'm saying I've heard "space shifting" and "format shifting" used interchangeably and that those terms shouldn't be confused w/"time shifting" because time shifting is something different.

I hear them used interchangeably as well, but I don't think this is necessarily correct, at least by my reading of the Diamond Rio decision. I believe the word "format" is used only once in the decision. Check my work -- but that's what I found. As for time shifting, the Betamax case is referenced prominently in the Diamond Rio decision. I'm not entirely certain why, but I believe the space shifting theory was seen as deriving from time shifting.

It looks like you're just being pedantic at this point. You take issue that format shifting is "generally accepted", yet you say that format shifting is permitted by fair use? It sounds like you're agreeing with me but just quibbling over wording.

The Diamond Rio case supports "space shifting" which fits the case of ripping a cd or vinyl record for portability. So there is precedent for doing that, while there has been nothing provided to suggest that downloading someone else's rip would be considered the same thing.

And yet you keep insisting that it is legal. Until you come up with something to back it up, you may want to take it easy with that claim.

Pedantic, that must be it. What I'm saying, what I have been saying all along, is that copyright holders don't get automatic veto power over fair use rights. They have to win that power in court. In both the Diamond Rio and Betamax cases which we have been discussing the copyright holders insisted that fair use did not apply. They courts failed to agree. The uses at stake in these cases were not illegal up to that point. The industry tried to prove that they were -- but lost.

Beyond that, I have insisted nothing about legality -- a concept which you seem to misunderstand. A thing is not automatically illegal if you haven't been given explicit permission to do it. Fair use rights in particular are subject to definition by adjudication. You can assume you have them unless/until a court tells you that you don't.