Music copying

I searched the forums and the Catechism, but I didn’t really get an answer to my questiosn. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong forum, or has already been beaten to death!

Okay, little background here: I just recently “discovered” music…before it all had been just noise to me, except for a few favorites from Mass and patriotic/Christmas songs…basically ones everybody knows. A friend shared a YouTube video of Chris Tomlin singing Amazing Grace, and I fell in love with it…I could understand the lyrics, and the music was was new, but great! So now I’ve been on Pandora.com for a while listening to more CCM music. I finally bit the bullet and bought headphones specialized for hearing aids and cochelar implants, and just ordered an iPod. For the first time, I bought myself two music cds.

So, as you can see, I’m brand new to the music industry, and really don’t know all the rules about it. So, bear with me.

Is it legal/moral to copy the cds I buy onto my computer and my iPod? (I’m pretty sure this is okay)
How borrowing or copying friends’ cds? (because I didn’t pay to listen to them myself in CD form…on Pandora.com it says you can’t pick and chose what songs you want to listen to when. Is it the same as when you copy poems or short stories or a chapter from a book from the library, even though you didn’t buy it?)
If you buy songs from iTunes or the like, is it legal to copy it over onto your own cd?

One other question…when you buy songs/albums, is it better/cheaper to buy them from iTunes or the like, or to buy the CD (and why)?

Thanks so much for letting me pepper you with questions! :slight_smile:

This is an old one.

Obviously, your conscience is bothering you a little, or else you wouldn’t have asked this question. That is almost always a clue that the action we wish to take is probably wrong.

Answers: Copying the music is both illegal and violates the commandment thou shall not steal, and thus a mortal sin.

Think of it, those artists pour their heart and soul into the recordings; under our economic system, music, in addition to being a performing art is typically sold commercially; pop music, rock music are all very much so commercial forms of music. They provide the musical entertainment, and you pay for it.

It’s ok to borrow the CD and listen to it from a friend or library. Your enjoyment of the music will be for a few weeks, and you won’t copy it or own it. Of course, if you don’t return the CD on purpose, that would be wrong.

Books-- They’re different. The written word is a different medium, and authors traditionally want their works read, and are more open to letting folks copy a several chapters (but not the entire book!! then, that would be stealing), and they they know people need access to information.

The average, as well as poorer people, person could not afford purchase every book they need access to. So the custom in our society has been that people can photocopy a few chapters from a book. I would say when you go past half the book copied, you need to buy it.

Now there’s the internet; I find my need to buy music is less because as part of my subscription, I get to listen to 25 free “songs” a month, plus there are internet radio and other listening services that offer free music.

Even though I don’t copy the songs to a disc, I find it is a convenient way to listen to music.

You might want to check out www.spiralfrog.com which I believe allows you to listen to some new music for free.

I don’t really buy music over the net, but I assume if you buy the song, the reason you paid $1.00 / per song is to make a CD. Doing this seems reasonable

To add on to this because it’s an important point and I don’t think it was addressed: copying the CD that someone else purchased for their use is wrong. If you’ve purchased the music yourself (or received it as a gift for your own use), you own the rights to that copy so it’s fine to put it into the easiest medium for you to use. For example, if you bought the CD, it’s okay to put that music on your iPod so you can listen to it while you’re out and about. Same goes for music purchased from download sites like iTunes. You’ve purchased the listening rights; it’s your right to put the music in the format easiest for you. But of course you can’t pass copies on to others.

A note on iTunes: a lot of the songs on that site are only for use with iTunes software- if you put the files on a CD they won’t work in a regular player. Look for a site that allows you to buy the full MP3 file- you can burn that on to a CD, import it to iTunes, whatever you want. I think Amazon.com sells full MP3 files. I know there are others, maybe Rhapsody.com?

I don’t know of any music on itunes that can’t be put on to a regular CD. Much of itunes music has DRM and can’t be played on other mp3 devices, Zune, Sandisk, whatever, but as far as I know, all of it can be burned to a regular CD and played in your CD player.

Yup, perfectly legal.

How borrowing or copying friends’ cds? (because I didn’t pay to listen to them myself in CD form…on Pandora.com it says you can’t pick and chose what songs you want to listen to when. Is it the same as when you copy poems or short stories or a chapter from a book from the library, even though you didn’t buy it?)

Borrowing CDs is fine, but keeping the music from them after you give them back, no. When you are borrowing, someone, your friend, has paid for that music, but if you make a copy you now have two CDs, but someone has only paid for one copy.

If you buy songs from iTunes or the like, is it legal to copy it over onto your own cd?

itunes says you can put your purchased music on 5 different computers and burn the same play list up to 7 times. You can burn the same song an unlimited number of times. For example, if I want to buy a whole album, I can burn the whole thing, just as it is, 7 times. But if I have a song and want to make 10 different mix CDs with that song, I can do that.

One other question…when you buy songs/albums, is it better/cheaper to buy them from iTunes or the like, or to buy the CD (and why)?

I personally prefer itunes, but you will get people saying different things on this. The biggest reason for my preference is I can pick and choose songs without having to buy the whole CD. I have very FEW complete albums. Mostly I have one or two favorite songs and just get those. The downside to buying from itunes is if you ever decide you want a different brand mp3 player, most of the songs won’t work on it.

Which brings me to DRM. DRM is digital rights management. It is a way of encoding the file so that it limits what you can do with it. So itunes DRMed songs can only be played on an ipod, not on any other brand mp3 player. Other companies use different DRM and can NOT be played on an ipod. You have to make sure you know what you are getting.

The good news is that DRM seems to be slowly going away. itunes now has itunes Plus, which are normal mp3s without DRM and I would suggest playing the extra $.30 for those. Amazon also has unDRMed mp3s which I would also recommended. :thumbsup:

You’re going to get a wide range of thoughts and opinions on the matter of morality. There are many concerns which all counterbalance each other, not to mention variance of laws in different lands. Where do genuine justice and equity meet? That is a question which each one has to come to a personal decision upon, using common sense.

As to CD’s versus online (I’ll assume here legal) downloads… one of the things which purchasing the album, itself, offers is something concrete. A full production essay in and of itself. I think that there is a certain worth to that. Though, there is obviously a value (cost and otherwise) to itunes and such, also.

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