Legal and Moral Issues Regarding Intellectual Property

As a society we have very little appreciation for intellectual property. This is also reflected in the lack of respect for musicians and stealing their music via file sharing, ripping CDs keeping the rips and selling the CDs, etc. :frowning:


And most people who rip their CDs and retain them are also breaking the law, but you would never get them to admit it.


Care to clarify…?

Most people think if they keep the ripped CDs, they are perfectly legal. As I understand the law…wrong. It comes down to “why” were the CDs copied. If we are being perfectly honest, people rip CDs for the convenience of not having to get out of their chair and changing CDs. Convenience is not a legal exception to copyright laws. Making a copy of a CD in the event that the CD is damaged or destroyed in the future is a legitimate exception. Yes, there are many people who are concerned about losing the original copy (the CD), however for most people who burn CDs to a large storage device, that is not their motivation for ripping CDs…if we are being completely honest.

For full disclosure, I am not an attorney, I only play one on the Internet (not really).

Not arguing w you. Just my opinion. So - I find these laws bizarre really. I remember them ever since cassette. And I’m sure prior.

Does anyone find it ironic that the industry justifies charging more or as much for an album download than the actual costly manufacture of a cd or record? Here is the argument: it’s the art you are paying for - not the physical disc itself - therefore the price is justified. Ok - so if I am copying a cd to a cd-r - I’m just creating a worthless piece of media.

If I am paying for the art it would seem anyone that comes into my house to listen to that art should have to pay for it? Anyone that views a painting is getting enjoyment from that viewership and the artist should be paid. Lol. I mean you could take this to the extremes. Outlaw cd-r or recorders. How about corrupting the data so it doesn’t sound perfect - that’s been done.

I do recall a time when the arts were there for public enjoyment. Now it’s really just someone selling something. I get to pay a minimum of $125 to $150 a ticket for concerts now. Except if I want to get better seats - those are reserved for someone that can pay $1000 per. I mean…it’s almost Republican? How ironic. :slight_smile:


The RIAA has made clear it is OK with them for owners of CDs, etc. to make copies for their own use on iThings, servers, for your car, whatever. Just do not give/sell copies to others. Similarly, you do not get to rip copies to your server and then sell the CDs to others; you have to keep the originals to be entitled to the rips.

This seems like a fair compromise.


Enforcement being another matter altogether. Clearly a first world problem.

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Maybe, you have just read copyrights set up by some artists, their managers or record labels. Some dream off being legally valid that way. But in most civilized countries they are not. In many countries consumers are protected against such hilarious copyrights or interpretations.

As long as you do not distribute the copies amongst others you can rip, make copies etc. It is when you distribute the copies, whether for free or paid you are violating copy rights.

I paid for every piece of music we play in house, in the car or on mobile devices.

As soon as somebody accuses me of performing illegal activities by ripping and streaming music for my own personal use, that is the end of me ever paying for any music again.


How gracious of them. But yes I agree w you. That was for elk.

I like first world problems. I live in the first world. Things like having enough baby formula to feed children - now there’s a third world problem. Oops!!

Like corrupting data by copy protection schemes, “outlawing” CD-R or recorders has been done, in spirit, if not literally. CD-R Audio discs were more expensive because their price already had a “fee” baked in, supposedly to help offset losses for record companies from what they expected to be illicit copies.


I was previously ridiculed for buying CDs that the owner told me he had ripped them to a server. No violation of the law on my part, but others considered these CDs to now be “tainted.” However, many of those that would criticize buying these CDs are themselves complete hypocrites by theIr illegal ripping of CDs for the sake of convenience. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I would bet the RIAA has no legal authority with their opinion to circumvent what is written in law. Regardless, I’m sure that helps convince themselves they have a position of moral (but not legal) superiority.

While ripping a CD for the sake of convenience is illegal under the Copyright Act (the right to make copies belongs solely to the copyright holder), the RIAA has indicated in court it has no objection to users ripping CDs for convenience for use by the owner of the CDs.

There is thus nothing hypocritical in objecting to buying CDs which have been ripped and kept by another while at the same time ripping CDs they own for convenience.

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I’m sure that’s a convenient way for you to look at it. Illegal is illegal, no matter how much one rationalizes their illegal activities.

Similar situation in the world of visual art due to the development of digital scanners and hi-res giclee (a.k.a. “inkjet”} printers.

Most likely, if you buy, say, an original oil painting from an artist or gallery you own the painting, but not the image, because the artist has retained the rights to the image in order to publish prints of the original work. If you scanned and created copies of the painting you “owned,” you’d be violating the copyright in spite of (perhaps) paying dearly for the original…

And so it goes … . .

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I do not understand your comment.

If the copyright holder grants us permission to rip CDs for personal use, doing so is legal.

By analogy, it is a crime to take my $20 bill on the counter in my home. But if I tell you to go ahead and take it, it is not longer illegal.

No rationalizing required.

You already agreed that making copies for convenience is illegal, so I am mystified by your question. You seem to equate the RIAA as the authority here, as the copyright holder? Their opinion means absolutely nothing, legally or morally. It is just that, an opinion. Are you saying that the opinion of the RIAA is an immunity from prosecution for making copies for convenience?

Are you maybe working for streaming platforms that wish to prohibit ripping CD’s in order to increase their market share in a very unethical manner.

Like Elk said, as long as the owner of a CD, rips and streams the music for his own purpose only, it is not considered illegal. However should the digital copies be distributed, or that music be played for financial benefit, at that point the perpetrator can be prosecuted based on violating that act/law.

In our country the law protects consumers against vultures suing consumers without evidence of above mentioned violations.

If it is true what you say, streaming music to multiple pairs of stereo speakers would be illegal too. What about streaming the digitized phono signal from the turntable? Are you saying: Ripping CD’s is illegal but selling servers with CD rippers is not? To my knowledge those servers are perfectly legal products.

Like I said if I would ever be accused of illegal activity when ripping and streaming music for my own purpose, I quit buying any piece of music cancel all streaming contracts.

Our life or income is not depending on music. Music labels need to recognize that we are paying their bills and not the other way around. Accusing good paying customers of illegal activity sounds like a really poor marketing strategy to mee.


This is why I try to buy as much music as possible from Bandcamp, because they only take a 15% cut of the fee, and the rest goes entirely to the artist, and that reduces to 10% if they return more than $5000 worth of sales in a 12 month period. I really admire that.

I just hope Bandcamp do more to verify what resolution the digital downloads are at.

Bandcamp is never gonna be a runaway success as a mutli billion dollar platform, but that’s not what it’s going for, they purely want to have a good distrubution network while remaining centered on the artists.

Artists on streaming platforms, just don’t get paid their dues, there’s no doubt about that. And for any new artist that doesn’t have a major label behind them, it’s just not a worthwhile endevour. I don’t think that’s right, it needs to change.


Elk agreed that ripping CDs for convenience is illegal. Where I believe we differed is, he believes that the RIAA, a trade organization, has the legal standing to declare themselves copyright owners of all CDs. I think the reality is, the RIAA may have stated they will not file suit against those who rip CDs for convenience. I do not believe that overrides the rights of the true copyright owners who, even if they belong to the RIAA, they remain perfectly legally entitled to file suit against anyone who rips CDs for convenience. In reality, despite being illegal, that’s never going to happen.

And no, I am not, never have had any connection or financial interest in the recording industry in any way, except that I purchase new and used CDs from all manner of sources (directly from Mofi, Acoustic Sounds, Discogs, eBay, Amazon, and commercial used CD stores). I have never used a streaming service nor have I ever used a music file sharing service.

Read the legal article I linked. Point out where it is wrong or where my read of it is wrong. Like I said in my original post, people doing this are technically doing something illegal, but few will admit it. Just don’t sit on a sanctimonious horse and say that buying CDs from someone who had ripped them to a server is morally wrong, but ripping for convenience, while illegal, is ok.