Burn FLAC to CDs?

Sometime ago, I decided to go all in on computer audio, so I ripped all my CDs via Exact Audio copy to FLAC. I moved about the same time and grew frustrated with all the space my cd collection took. So I threw the originals away (I thought that was more ethical and legal than giving them to someone else). Stupid, I know. After a short amount of time, I noticed that I listen to less and less music. I stare at a computer screen all day, my hifi being computer based took the fun out of listening pretty quick.

Fast forward to now, and I’m not nearly as in love with computer audio as I thought I would be and have a very good hifi system with a disc player that I really enjoy.

Is there a legal way for me to burn my cd collection back to CD in a way that will sound as good as the original disks?

Very easy to burn albums from FLAC files.

Regarding audio quality, I will let others chime in.

Burning software for Mac and Windows is plentiful.

I don’t think it is legal for you to keep the FLAC files even if you only threw away the CDs rather than selling them because you have no way of knowing if the CDs were actually destroyed or if someone picked them up and sold them on to someone else.

Even if they didn’t it may still not permit you to keep copies under the terms of the license and the physical copy of the CD is your proof that you have license to rip them.

I doubt you will get into any trouble but I don’t think there is any way for you to really proceed legally under the copyright laws as they stand in most western countries.

Legalities aside and speaking hypothetically, your CD burning software should be able to convert your files back to CD audio (it is not wave but it is very similar) without any loss of quality.

This is assuming your rips were all bit perfect in the first place which only certain ripping software will allow you to do and verify.

-If not, then your only chance is to buy the CDs again and make sure you buy the same editions (remasters and reissues often sound worse).

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Given that the RIAA has stated it will not pursue as copyright infringement ripping CDs for use on your phone, I would have no concern transcoding a FLAC file back to CD if you originally owned the CD.

The industry is concerned with piracy (sharing ripped copies. etc.), not with individuals making a copy for convenience or backup.

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His question was if there was a legal way of doing it. Whether the RIAA pursues it or not is a different matter.

Yes, having the CD itself in your possession is what gives the legal right to make a backup. If you don’t have the CD, you are not allowed copies.

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It is the same question. The issue is whether the copyright owner will pursue a claim of infringement. We know the owner will not.

That is, it is a civil matter, not criminal, and all that matters is whether the copyright owner will sue a person who creates a CD from a FLAC file. Here, there is no danger of a suit.

By the way, buying a CD does not give you license to rip it. But no one cares if you so.

In the USA it sure as heck does!

Just burn them back and hope you didn’t take shortcuts when you ripped them the first time.


In case anyone wants to really dive into this, here is a thoughtful discussion of the issue, replete with cites to case law, etc. Click. It was an excellent exchange of information and ideas.

It is the same question. The issue is whether the copyright owner will pursue a claim of infringement. We know the owner will not.

You seem to be answering a question that nobody asked. The question was of legality and nothing to do with prosecution/enforcement.

That is, it is a civil matter, not criminal, and all that matters is whether the copyright owner will sue a person who creates a CD from a FLAC file. Here, there is no danger of a suit.

Which is irrelevant again. Refer to the original post.

By the way, buying a CD does not give you license to rip it.

Not true. There is a right in most western countries to make backups for your own use. Those rights don’t apply if you get rid of the originals.

But no one cares if you so.

Not normally but this again suggests you didn’t read the original post. The guy said he had an extensive music collection which he ripped then got rid of the CDs. That is not considered keeping backups since those are now his primary copies.

I doubt the RIAA would see that as acceptable. Indeed I couldn’t guarantee they would not prosecute if they found out about it given the kind of nonsense cases they have brought in the past.

From their standpoint it would be some form of piracy.

Damn, it’s a good thing I don’t rely on you for research…

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Right and under that definition if you get rid of the CDs you no longer own them. So it is not lawful to keep any copies you made.

Making a copy of a CD, or creating a CD from a FLAC file, is a civil matter. It is not “legal” or “illegal.” it is not a criminal act.

The copyright holders choose whether they will pursue a claim of copyright infringement. I believe they have grounds to do so, but we know they will not. Thus, there are no legal consequences.

Of course, it would have been better to keep the CDs. But as the files were sourced from legally owned CDs at the time they were acceptable to the RIAA. Throwing the CDs out does not present the same issue of clear infringement as selling them. The form in which the OP keeps the file he now has - as FLAC, as a burned CD, etc., does not change whether the copy is infringing. Thus, I would not worry about converting them to CDs. To be totally safe, the OP should delete the files on his computer but, again, there is no risk of being sued unless he gives copies to others.

Your citation only states exactly what I have written:

" According to the RIAA web site, it’s acceptable to make a copy of an original CD as digital music files or to burn a single copy for your own private use, but not to share with others. The main thing to remember is, never distribute music from your legally owned original CDs in any form."

While the page also makes a blanket assertion copying a CD you own is Fair Use, it provides no citation to authority or any other backup for this claim.

Edit: I am sorry, this post should refer to speed-racer’s post here, not to drarifakhtar.

What are you actually even arguing about? That’s not even my citation. Further it seems you still haven’t read the original question. That’s it for me. Only so much banging my head against a brick wall. It is nice to have a discussion but if the other person won’t even read what was written there is no point.

Edit: this is from the RIAAs own website:

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See my post above; I clarified to whom I was responding before you posted.

The quote from the RIAA website is exactly what I have been writing. As the RIAA states:

  • “[T]here’s no legal “right” to copy the copyrighted music.” . . .

  • “However, burning a copy . . . won’t usually raise concerns.”

Actually, there is a legal right to “fair use”:

Under US copyright law, if you convert (rip) an original CD that you own to digital files, then this qualifies as ‘Fair Use’. As long as you use it for your own personal use and don’t distribute the copyrighted material to others, then you will not be breaking the law.

Again, you don’t know what you are talking about. You might want to read up on “Fair Use”.

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If you actually read the original post (which it seems you still haven’t read) the guy got rid of the original CDs - which would clearly not be acceptable under those very terms.

Anyway you seem to be so concerned with being right and getting the last word that you don’t even bother reading what people write.

Sorry but life is too short for this kind of silliness.


It’s typical Elk behavior that he gets away with because he runs the place.