Ethics of Copying CD

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by powermans, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. Arto,
    If only I'd known ,I would have sent you a couple of CD of George Mraz instead of Bromberg!!!!
    I have a LOVELY trio CD lead by Vladimir Shafranov on Piano, George Mraz Bass , Al Foster Drums the CD is Called "White Nights" also have about 4 other CD with George on board!! If you want one burned ....just say the word!

  2. In a public forum please do not advocate the illegal and unethical practice of CD burning. I'd prefer in not be done in private, either, but that is out of my control. Most of us earn our living depending on income from live performance and the sale of our recorded music, and I would think that we should be able to count on fellow musicians, professional or otherwise, to respect that. Moreover, someone who is accomplished as Mraz in particular deserves that respect.

    Every little bit helps.
  3. Yes T-Balls , point taken... however, it's interesting to note that the CD which I have offered to R2 was infact purchased NEW in one of Prague's Music Stores (at the normal retail costs I would expect to pay in London) and,NB:- George Mraz's own country of the Czech Republic.The Cd came wrapped in Plastic and when I later unpacked the CD in London found the CD to be a Copy of the original and poorly done at that...they just about labeled the inside details with a felt pen!
    On the shelf wrapped in plastic the cover took on the appearance of the same CD I had seen earlier in Frankfurt,however that said,I agree two wrongs don't make a right!:oops:
  4. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    I dont want to start a war here or nothing but i think that T-Ball word "unethical" is a little strong ....
    Im a professional bass player myself and my income always came from my live performances and the sale of recorded music(however nowadays i would say 99% live performances and 1% cd sales:( )
    Maybe due to the fact im a professional bass player, i cant afford to buy all the music i want, i have a family and need to take $ home, so once in a while, i will ask a friend to burn me a cd or two because its the only way i can afford to have the music.... i know that cd burning is illegal, i dont even want to talk about that, but unhetical? I was a heavy touring musician for 5 or 6 years and back then, a big part of the bands income would come from the direct cd's sale at the show, way more than the money we would get from the record label, more than once i looked at young teenagers who wanted to buy the cd but just couldnt afford it, more than one time i just would grab their adress and send them a tape latter or in a couple of ocasions we just would give away a cd.. In a perfect world everybody would have $ to buy all the music they want to, but we dont live in a perfect world and if the only way people have to listen to the music is a burned CD, i think its ok..
    And i bet that if somebody would tell George Mraz that they went to his shows and had the possibility of discovering his music from a burned CD, he wouldnt mind at all..... If somebody comes to my shows because they listened to the music in a burned CD , i wont mind for sure...

  5. ....this thread was originally about G.Mraz (?!)
    Maybe we could handle this cd burning issue in another thread?? I mean, this belongs to off topic more than bassists, and the whole issue started out from a very innocent gift which Mick sent me from Australia...two cans of beer and a copy of Brian Bromberg´s "Wood". It made me happy, illegal or not. No big deal, just a friendly greeting from a musician from down under to one in another side.

    Since we´re all musicians, we share the same feelings towards illegal distribution of copyrighted music in the net.

    During my years in TB Double Bass forum I have never encountered any scale distribution of burned ( or otherwise copied ) music, not in public, nor in private.

    Somebody wanna start a new thread?

  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Well, there you go. I think T-Bal was dead on (and I told him so).

    People who say, "I can't afford this stuff I like so I'm going to take it" are not acting ethically. Period.

    Justifying theft by saying, "If I steal this stuff, maybe both the owner and the ultimate recipient will benefit later" is equally weak logic. We are not talking about the dilemma of stealing medicine or food for the hungry.

    If I can't afford something I don't buy it. If I buy it I don't buy something else. It's a choice. Ultimately, the choice about purchasing a disc comes down to this: "Do I buy the pizza or the music?"

    Anyone who feels that ownership of art is immoral or unethical is welcome to their opinion, and they are welcome to act on their opinion with respect to the art that they create. However, the esseence of civil discourse (which, of course, is the only kind we have here at TB/DB) is respect for others' well-considered opinions. Here, that means, "I think I should get paid for my work. You can't steal my stuff even if others give you permission."

    I can't tell you that every piece I have ever copied was for personal, family, household use. But, as with all ethical and artistic considerations, the fact that I aspire to a higher standard than I achieve does not lower the standard I aim for.

    And finally, with that in mind, I don't think that anybody who has posted above is "an unethical person." I'm focusing on conduct, not personal essence.

    Flame-proof suit in place . . . awaiting onslaught.
  7. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I think that the line is definitely greyer than you paint it Sam. This is analagous to cassette tapes in the 80's - how many times did you copy stuff from people with those? Just to get a copy, something listenable - but it wasn't digital quality so there was an incentive to buy the album.

    The casette tape of the milleunium, if you listen to Sony, is the minidisc. Problem is, burning a CD is *easier* and *sounds better* and plays on equipment you *already have*. There is no incentive to use MD for personal use in the same way you would use a cassette. The obvious choice instead is to burn a song for whatever reason to cd. The reason could be:

    - for your band so they learn a tune
    - for your girlfriend/wife to get her in the mood
    - for your friend to hear this band you are really excited about

    I think any of these reasons qualify in my own personal moral universe as 'personal use' and if anything encourage record sales. If they are repackaged and sold or used as wholesale replacements, this is illegal and should not be done. However, I don't think its my respnsibility to encourage the technology leaders out there to come up with a way of reproducing and sharing music that is lower quality than digital...oh wait there is one, mp3, and they are doing everything they can to make that one as inconventient as possible (re: the mp4u format used by iTunes).

    In short, like it or not, the cd is the cassette tape of the 90s and the music industry really should be differentiating their products on something other than just digital quality. Remember the product is the tangible item - packaging, etc.

    I don't have a solution to all of this, but that's my perspective.
  8. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    This is a tough one. I agree with Sam on a lot of what he says here. However the other points of making a disc of tunes for the band to learn and what not are pretty good too. Whenever someone gives me a copy of something that I really like I end up buying the original anyway since I like to have the inlays and support the artist. This has saved me a bit of money on discs I never would have wanted to hear after one time, while at the same time getting to hear some new stuff. The only thing I wonder about is discs that are out of print. What do you think of burning discs for people if they cant get it elsewhere?
  9. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I agree the issue is troubling and the lines are hard to draw, unless you draw them as cleanly as Sam has. Instead of typing further or trying to equivocate what I've already typed, I think I will just wait and see what others have to say....
  10. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Sorry to post again, but LG asked for a referral to copyright law.
    spells out "fair use" under the current legal scheme. Copying a tune for a band to learn is fair use.

    If there's something really think somebody else would enjoy, invite them over. Visit them. Lend them your copy.
  11. I purchesed a new Computer a few months ago complete with all the bells and whistles including CD Burner. I have yet to use it and dont really plan on it. I personaly feel it as stealing. Its a moral thing with me. I really like to go to Borders or where ever and take my time and shop for CD`s. I will be honest and say my Music Director AT CHURCH burns the Praise Team new material on CD`s to learn. I would rather bum the CD`s or just wait till rehearsal:meh:

  12. Crazyass, it seems to me that something that is illegal is also by definition unethical. What is the point of having a law if it is not wrong to break it?
    I bet not. But only George can resolve this one.

    I am not on a personal crusade against one person or one incident, but I don't think that giving a copy of a CD as a gift qualifies as "personal use".

    Lemonjello, I don't disagree with anything in your post, but the fact that you can make a digital copy which sounds identical to the original is the crux of the problem for the recording industry. Perhaps it is up to the record companies to take action here. Could they encrypt discs to prevent them from being copied like they do with software programs, or would it be just too costly? I don't know, I'm technology-impaired. What about trying to recover some of their losses by filing against the manufacturers of blank CDR's for a share of their profits? Or the makers of the actual burners? (Yes, I know Sony makes burners, and they couldn't very well sue themselves, now could they?)

    Maybe if more young musicians were aware of the ramifications of illegal file sharing, burning, etc., they would start to reconsider their habits. I read in People Magazine of all places that record companies are starting to track illegal downloads and filing suits against recipients, based on what they would have received had they payed the going rate on the legal sites. One family has a claim of $15,000 against them. Sure, they had no idea that they would one day have to pay for all the free music they had enjoyed, they were unwitting participants. But the article suggested the record company has a strong case.

    BTW, I am generally disgusted by the number and nature of all the frivolous lawsuits today, but if this is the only way...

    Here's an example of how piracy affects us all. The MPTF, or Music Performance Trust Fund, set up by the record companies to prepetuate live music, has for years provided a source of gigs for me and many others. Due to this recent epidemic, and the resulting (claimed) loss of revenue, funding from the MPTF has been drastically cut or eliminated for many venues. There are now fewer gigs to be had.

    Nothing in life is free.

  13. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I guess my whole viewpoint swings around the belief that our laws and ethics are constantly under challenge by the practices of industry and the evolution of technology. Paranoia over unauthorized reproduction of cassettes waned in the late eighties after record companies saw the widespread music sharing/stealing/whatever you'd like to call it actually boosting sales rather than cutting them. No attention is paid any more. So one question would be - is there a similar or analagous set of circumstances surrounding today's debate? I personally think so, and I think it revolves around the idea that record companies are victimizing musicians (and have been for years) just as much as bootleggers are. As digital music distribution (both legal and illegal) increases, the record companies are seen as less and less crucial to the process of getting music to the public. The gravy they've skinned off the musicians' art becomes harder and harder to justify, and leaves some musicians worrying about piracy when they should be worried about their rights and how to negotiate contract better or distribute their music themselves.

    Instead of acting quickly to develop feasible STANDARDS (instead of proprietary formats) for digital licensing and distribution, the record companies were beaten to the punch by the production of cheap cd burners and peer to peer networking. So much illegal reproduction goes on you can't even quantify it, and I would bet that 90% of it is illegal by my standards just as it is by all of yours. However, my point is the cultural use of music is social and communicative by nature. By failing to properly deal with their musicians or anticipate the changing landscape of digital intellectual property, record companies locked themselves in an ugly PR hole. I'd be happy to give everyone in the band a minidisc - problem is then they have to go buy a freaking minidisc player from SONY (even if its a sharp, sharp pays sony for use of the format). Or I can burn a CD or rip an mp3 with software so simple its authors can give it away for free. Occasions like this have spurred me to the record store countless time to make sure the bands were getting their money - but the point is the music was exposed to me for me to like it. This is a human organic thing - its free marketing for a band. We don't want to squash the very informal social structures that make music so enjoyable, and it seems like the perfect opportunity for the record industry and technology companies to cash in on - problem is, the'd have to create a STANDARD, and that meands they'd all have to sit down, agree, and be fair with one another.

    Another historical example is the controversy about FM radio, which took quite a while to settle down - the record companies were again worried about the use of the songs and copyright...and it worked itself out fairly. Now FM seems like the perfect way to expose people to music they wouldn't otherwise hear. Of course, as we know, most radio stations are crap and are owned by one coroporation and offer the narrowest slice of music imaginable.

    Luckily there are college and community radio stations.

    Now I am officially rambling. I will leave these deranged tappings intact....
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In the US the price of all all blank "music" CD-Rs (and all MiniDiscs) includes a fee paid to the record companies to compensate for piracy. This was true even BEFORE downloading became possible. "Data" CD-Rs (used by computers) are exempt.

    I'm not 100% sure about the US, but in the EU there have been fees applied to the sale of music recorders dating back to the 80s or 90s, before CD recording became possible.

    Record labels have already fielded a number of copy prevention schemes (they even tried some in the LP era!), many of which have made the CDs unplayable on legitimate players.

    The legal loophole is basically that a computer is not in a legal sense an "audio recording device" so does not have to implement the infamous SCMS copy protection built into all MiniDisc recorders and all consumer audio CD recorders. mp3 devices need not comply either as mp3 is not legally considered "audio", it's data!
  15. You mean there are CD-Rs which can't record music?
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    "Music" blanks have a code burned into them that is read by CD recorder decks (the kind you hook up to your stereo like a tape deck) and if the code is not found (i.e. the blank is a "data" blank for computer use) the deck will not record. Other than this code, the discs are identical. The decks are required to use the music blanks BY LAW and the price of the blanks includes a fee intended to compensate for piracy.

    Computers can use either type of blank.
  17. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Guys, here's section 107 about fair use in its entirety. To me, distributing copies in a very limited scope to fellow musicians or bandmates falls within section 106, since the impact on the market will be minimal and the purpose is either for comment/criticism within a technical/professional realm (musician) or instruction/teaching (the case of sharing with the band). However the point is that the line is made deliberately unclear (IMO) by this section, and instead left to the discretion of the judicial body.:

    Sec. 107. - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -


    the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;


    the nature of the copyrighted work;


    the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and


    the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors