sharing music


I hope I’ve got the right forum for this one, but I’ve heard very vague answers on whether it is legal to share music with friends. By this I mean that if I buy a cd that I like, is it legal for me to make a copy for a friend. I want to do the right thing here, but I’m unsure as to what the exact law is on this. Does anybody know?


Generally if you buy a CD it is copyrighted and it is illegal to copy it for a friend. Most items are marked as copyrighted meaning it has that little “©” symbol on it somewhere and has the language on it that says you cannot copy or reduplicate this item without permission under penalty of law.

Some music is in the public domain and available without copyright laws attached (national anthem, older songs, etc.)

Be very careful. It’s easy to do I know, but it’s not right and not worth the trouble if discovered. Think of it this way, by copying it, you deny the artist money he is entitled to for his creative works and efforts in making the music. If you buy his concert ticket for yourself - you are not allowed to bring yourself and 10 of your friends right? Same principle.


Agreed with the above poster, but as I mentioned before on a similar thread, I believe the music and movie industry badly need some legal reform. Many of the artists are signed to contracts that rip them off, leaving the corporations with 75-90% of the money from CDs, music videos, etc. They are also pushing in some countries (the UK, for example) to extend the length of time that must occur before music will fall into the public domain, so they can make more money from it. One very large reason for this is the Beatles’ music will start coming into the public domain otherwise; in 2012, it will be 50 years since their first album will be released, which is the dropoff date in some countries.

I don’t have links for all of the above info, but I know the guitarist Steve Vai has publicly protested the nasty contracts, as well as Roger McGuinn (from the Byrds) and some other artists. Do a Google and see what you can find.

I do realize “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”…but when Caesar tries to start redefining what is his from pure greed, then the whole deal starts getting messy. Especially when Caesar is the corporate conglomerates, and not the actual artist.


Yeah, recording artists are just slaves in their manisons. There’s a reason why the record label gets such a huge share of the profits, they’re the ones taking all the risk. The costs of making, distrubting, and promoting an album are very high and there’s always signficant risk it will flop. It’s just like a bank loan, the more risk the more neccessary reward. When artists are proven and the original contract expires they’re quite free to find themselves a new deal.

As for copying a CD, yes it’s illegal. You can’t make bootleg copies of copyrighted material and sale or give it away.


First:– I Am Not a Lawyer.
As I understand it, if I buy a music CD I’m allowed (under the principle of Fair Use) to copy it onto my computer hard drive so I can listen to it on the computer without inserting the CD. The same principle allows me to do this so that i have a backup copy if the disc is ever ruined.
I don’t have the right to make multiple copies, nor distribute them to others.
I could give the CD to a friend but then I would be expected to delete any copies of my own.
Please note that the law does vary from one nation to another. I have just described how I believe it works in the United States. The law on this point in Canada, where I live, differs from American law.


You purchased a license for personal use of the material. You can copy the music onto as many CD’s as you want, so long as they are for your own personal use. You can copy it to your computer and MP3 player(s) as you see fit, you just can’t give it to others in any fashion.
Fair use as nothing to do with it, you’ve purchased a license. Fair use only applies to the use of copyrighted materials without license purchase for non-profit reasons or paraody. Hence Coke can’t sue a Church for publishing a photo of the annual Church picnic because a bottle of coke is visable in the photo. That would be an example fair use. When you buy music you aren’t buying a CD, you’re buying a personal use license for the copyrighted material. The CD is just the format they’re delivering your licensed material on. You have a right to reformat your license as much as you want, so long as it doesn’t extend beyond your personal use.


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