Used CDs vs File Swapping

What’s the difference between me going down to the local half-price chain or the local pawn shop and buying a used CD and downloading it off a P2P network. Either way the artist gets NONE of my money. The only person making money is the pawnbroker. Yet no one is even addressing my “stealing” the music via the pawnborker, whereas the music industry is determined to shut down ALL P2P networking.

What’s the difference?

The artist got his money when the record store bought the CDs from the record company originally. Just because they’re selling it at cost or even at a loss, doesn’t meant the artist didn’t get paid.

When you buy a used CD, it’s JUST you buying the used CD. Most of these file-swapping programs allow unlimited numbers of people access to the files.

IANAL, but in the case that you buy the CD second hand, only you are the one enjoying the material. When downloading both you and the original owner and .5 a million other people are enjoying it.

As everyone else has hinted at, the difference is that if you buy the CD, you’re purchasing an original. If you’re downloading the songs, you’re obtaining a copy. Therein lies the main issue; That of copyright.

If the merchant who sold you the CD made a copy of the CD with a CD burner and sold the copy to you, that’s illegal. If they made a copy and gave it to you, it’s still illegal.

If someone allowed you to download the MP3s of a CD from them, and they then deleted the MP3s off their computer and destroyed the original CD, that would probably be legal. But no one does that, and so it’s not legal.

I gotta feeling this thread won’t last. IIRC discussion of P2P is frowned upon at this board and a banable offense.

just a warning <see ya later>

Okay, I get it now. The “copy” part had escaped me.

t-keela, I think you are way overreacting. We are in no way “discussing” P2P. No one is asking how to do it, no one is explaining how to do it, no one is suggested which P2P software to use, and in fact I have never even used P2P software and no where do I say that I have or ever will. Nope, in fact, I believe I made it clear I buy all my CDs at the pawnshop and used record store. Bye bye.

A very loose analogy that may be a useful pedagogical example:

A library purchases a valid original of a book making it available to its borrowers. A lender may “borrow” the book for a time, but must return it within a set timeframe or “pay the price,” so to speak. If this borrower follows the rules and does not make an illegal copy of this book, he is operating within the law. The book company gets its revenue and the author gets his royalties.

However, if the library wants to legally loan more than one copy at a time, they have to purchase more copies. And if the borrower prefers not to borrow but to have legal and easy, unlimited access to the book for an unlimited time, he most likely must purchase a copy.

The significant difference between books and CD’s is that entire CD’s are easily, quickly, cheaply and perfectly copied whereas entire books are not.

Excuse me, I don’t care what y’all discuss. I just thought I’d let any newbies know before they proceed, carry on. :slight_smile:

Not surprisingly, the record companies tried to shut down used CD selling about ten years ago. They hired Garth Brooks as a shill, who publicly stated that he would not give any promotional materials to stores that sell used CDs.

I responded by boycotting all of Garth Brooks’ music, concerts, t-shirts, etc. Of course, since I hated country music to begin with, it was an empty gesture. :slight_smile:

I’ve actually been on this board longer than you, but thanks for the condescencion, anyway. :smiley:

Now, that’s interesting. I had never heard of that incident before. That guy always reminded me of a toadfrog.

Thanks, folks, the difference is crystal clear now. Since I can’t afford new CDs I have always bought them used - actually began doing that when vinyl was still the norm - but have been very worried that last few years that what I was doing was wrong.

IIRC, he also threatened to have his record company NOT sell any of its music to the stores. The stores retaliated by threatening a law suit against Brooks and his record company. Frog-boy and the record company backed down.

Sometimes the copyright owners can be even more generous to libraries.

Here in Minnesota, the 4-H horse program has a lending library with a lot of video tapes. Several of the producers of these tapes have given them permission to make a copy of the tape to lend out, and save the original in house. Eventually that copy is wears out, they then make another copy from the saved original.

The agreement is that the library never has more copies in distribution than the number of originals they have purchased, and that the entire tape (including ads for the remaining tapes in the series) is copied.

Sometimes the producers are even more generous, allowing them to make 2 copies available simultaneously, or offering sizable discounts on purchasing tapes. Apparently they feel this exposure is worthwhile; it leads to add individuals buying their own copy of the tapes.

I didn’t mean it that way. There’s lotsa folks reading and even some participating in this thread who haven’t been here long and might not know. I was an innocent party in a thread similar to this once. Folks got in a filesharing discuss…next thing I hear are footsteps behind me. The mods are headed this way and its every doper for himself. Thankfully, I bailed before axes fell and heads started rolling.

But, I won’t bug ya again…

and BTW, I didn’t register for a long time. I still remember our WOMC like it was only a year ago. :wink:

(now y’all be good little dopes and play nice)

T-keela, has it occurred to your you’re antagonizing the moderators? Sounds like a good idea. They’re obvious not closing this discussion down since we’re talking about the legality of an issue, not doing it. You can actually see another topic that actually asked for advice on burning that was locked down today.

It’s great that the library goes to the trouble of asking the artist for permission to do this. That’s one thing that sets them apart from people sharing files.

In addition, the law does allow libraries (and libraries only) to do this as a matter of course – to make a backup copy of a tape. This does not apply to individual users, however.

For a legal basis on the distinction between selling used CDs and selling copied CDs, see the “First Sale Doctrine” of copyright law:

<exceedingly minor nitpick>
Libraries and archives - practically the same thing, but a distinction is made in the wording of Title 17, so . . .
</exceedingly minor nitpick>

The main issue in the OP revolves around the physical existence of the CD and the virtual existence of the data file.

The record company paid for the recording of the artist to be made originally. In terms of copyright law, this is a “derivative work” of the song, allowed by the copyright holder (the songwriter). They make CDs and sell them to stores to recoup the cost of recording, give the artist their contracted share, and make a profit.

So someone buys the CD from a store, and decides they don’t want it after awhile. Since it’s an optically scanned recording, it’s still perfectly usable unless badly scratched (it was much harder to return LPs and tapes, because the act of playing them wore them down incrementally). They sell it to a store, which means they no longer have it to listen to or make copies from. The store sells it to you, which means THEY no longer have it. Of course, the store made a profit that they didn’t have to share with the record company, and you might have bought the used copy for less instead of a new copy which the store had to pay the record company for, so the record company doesn’t like this, but as previous posts mentioned, this was not a point they could afford to stand up for.

But with each transaction, there was ONE copy of the recording that passed from hand to hand. The record company can only expect to make a profit off of the sale of these CDs when they are sold the first time.

With a P2P network, someone has a digital file of the music, and since music is now recorded digitally, you can arrange that the recording will not degrade over time. The person may have ripped it from a CD they bought, in which case the record company may have gotten its expected profit off that copy, and the artist got their share of the sale of that CD.

BUT: Now, the person has the recording on their P2P network, and instead of buying new or even used CDs, people simply download the song for free, and the person STILL HAS IT on their computer, which means there are multiple copies of a recording that the record company owns that they did not authorize and did not get a profit from. The artist also got no money from these additional copies, when they had avery right to expect it. What’s more, these are copies not approved by the copyright holder, so they are illegal, whether or not the ripper burns his own CDs and sells them.

In the early 80’s, the record companies got into a snit over home taping, which they said was ruining their business. This went away eventually because people were usually just taping an LP so that they could listen to it in their car deck, which congress decided was OK. There wasn’t a great deal of illegal trade and sales, and these were analog recordings on degradable media anyway, so it wasn’t like they were good copies, and they would fade over time.

NOW we record music digitally, and can trade the data over computer networks. When this started, the record companies looked into it and saw that, even though illegal multiple copies of songs were being created, these were digital recordings of the sound on the CD, and the music file formats did not offer particularly good fidelity, so they decided it was not worth their while to go after it heavily, in light of their failure in the home-taping mess.

Enter the MP3 format. Now the recordings had very high fidelity, and the technically illegal distribution networks were already in place from earlier, so now you can fairly easily get a high-fidelity copy of your favorite artist’s music that they never see a dime from. What a loyal fan you are!