Music and the Copyright Topic

11291075025_dbb999d8a5_nThe Copyright Topic

The music should be free because artists make a fortune from their concert appearances.  Interesting concept, but it’s not how the music industry looks at the pirating issue.  Allow me to break down the analog to digital discussion and explain how the law attempts to regulate this activity.

There is a lot of music and spoken word recordings available for downloading on the Internet.  How did we arrive to this massive pirating of copyritten material? It’s because people assume that if you can download it, downloading must be ok.  Just because you can find and download a recording on the Internet does not mean it’s legal.

In The United States

There are still an artists and record companies that believe if you want another copy, you should BUY IT!  It is how they make their living!

Right now, the music industry is in turmoil.  It is so easy to infringe on the copyright that people sometimes do it every day and most are not even aware of what they did.  Listed below are a few statements found on one of the leading sites regarding this.

Examples of easy ways you could violate the law:

Somebody you don’t even know e-mails you a copy of a copyrighted song and then you turn around and e-mail copies to all of your friends.

You make an MP3 copy of a song because the CD you bought expressly permits you to do so. But then you put your MP3 copy on the Internet, using a file-sharing network, so that millions of other people can download it.

Even if you don’t illegally offer recordings to others, you join a file-sharing network and download unauthorized copies of all the copyrighted music you want for free from the computers of other network members.

You have a computer with a CD burner, which you use to burn copies of music you have downloaded onto writeable CDs for all of your friends.

When It Comes to Copying Music, What’s Okay … And What’s Not:

Technology has made digital copying easier than ever. But just because advances in technology make it possible to copy music doesn’t mean it’s legal to do so. Here are tips from some record labels on how to enjoy the music while respecting rights of others. Stick with these, and you’ll be doing right according to the people who created the music.

Internet Copying

It’s okay to download music from authorized websites of authors who are by the owners of the copyrighted music, whether or not such sites charge a fee. Tom Petty recently released a digital album for fan club members.  Paul McCartney has also released songs on his website for fan club members at no cost.

It’s never okay to download unauthorized music from pirate sites or peer-to-peer systems. Although peer-to-peer sites quickly go live, they are eventually taken down like Napster and Limewire.

It’s never okay to make unauthorized copies of music available to others (that is, uploading music) on peer-to-peer systems.

Copying CDs

It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes.

Burning a copy of a copyrighted CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:

The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own.

The copy is just for your personal use.  It is not personal use, in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.

Remember, it’s never okay to sell or make commercial use of a copy that you make.

Are there occasionally exceptions to these rules? Sure. A “garage band” or unsigned artist might want you to download their own music.  They own their own music and are free to make it available legally by licensing it. Remember that there are lots of authorized sites where music can be downloaded for free.

Multiple Formats

In this digital age there is a large selection of alternate formats that you may want to use for listening to your music; Compact Disc (CD), computer, iPod…etc.  Before you send out your material to be reproduced, decide what you want to do with it in the end.  For example if you want to play it in your car or living room CD player, you need just a standard AIFF 44.1K CD.  In my opinion, this is the best sounding playback source.

To sum up this discussion, remember that illegally downloading music is not right even if everybody else does it.  Artists currently live on the royalties they make from a music composition.  Authors deserve a fair fee for their music or other intellectual property.  Most importantly, if you are ever caught with an illegal copy of a published composition, the penalty can be pretty hefty.

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photo credit: Image taken from page 332 of ‘Five Years in Siam from 1891 to 1896 … With maps and illustrations by the author’ via photopin (license)

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