1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Is it legal to download MP3's if you own it on cassette?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rabid_granny, May 28, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. I was listening to my old cassette tapes and was wondering if it was legal to download the MP3 versions. I know you can make a copy of CD's that you already own but what if the songs were on tape? That still legal?
  2. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I can't say this with certainty or conviction but my guess would be that it's technically illegal to dl it from someone who is sharing illegally but it's not illegal to have it on your computer. Once again that's totally a guess based on my own logic but there could be some stipulation somewhere that I just don't know about.

    Nice haircut...

    brad cook
  3. bass_is_for_me


    Jan 1, 2003
    Well I am not sure if it is legal but I know you have nothing to worry about. I download full cds and have never had a problem. I would not worry to much. The website or program you obtain the mp3s from may be in danger.
  4. reachjkh


    Nov 21, 2002
    Lee's Summit, MO
    This is a good question. I just recently had a friend burn a cd for me of music that he owns. I also own the same thing on cassette tape, but I don't have a tape player any more. It probably isn't legal, but I do think it's ethically ok since I did shell out money for it. I have some copied music in my collection, but don't do it much anymore (out of print or offshore/unaccessable music seems ok to me). As the burned cds go bad, I want to buy the real thing to make up for it or sometimes I just feel bad and pitch the burned copy.

    p.s. Now that I think about it some more, this isn't any different that back when I used to make a cassette copy of my albums so I could listen in my car. I always thought that that was legal.?.?
  5. I have a Rush and U2 discography from each bands inception until 1996 on cassette. I don't feel like spending $600 to get them on CD (bleh).

    And my parents hate my haircut. :p
  6. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Like good parents should...

    brad cook
  7. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    I was thinking about this and let me play devil's advocate here.

    You bought the music on cassette now you want the cd quality version. This is kind of like buying a lower model car then stealing a higher model car and thinking it's ok because you bought one already. Now this is quite extreme since you're not really stealing the music from another person just copying it.

    Now, while I think it's ok to download music, others do not, I don't think there's a precidence (sp) of this.
  8. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Since it is legal to own the ROM of a video game if you own the game, I'd imagine it's the same for music.

    Still, who knows. Seems like the RIAA cry foul every time "online music" is mentioned.
  9. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I download all the music I want, any kind, whenever I want.

    Guess there is a level of RIAA hell for me to burn in huh.
  10. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Hmmm. With ROMs, it's exactly the same binary image, it's just a matter of whether it's on a ROM inside a plastic game cartridge, or on your hard drive.

    But with music, the binary image on the CD isn't the same as what's on the tape.

    Also, the fact of remastering comes into it. When old recordings get put out on CD, they remaster them digitally (you often see "24-bit digitally remastered!" or whatever, on stickers all over the case). When you buy such a CD, part of what you're paying for is the remastering process - you're getting a better quality copy.

    So when you download a song, you're getting the remastered version, whereas your old cassette probably isn't.

    Just something to consider.
  11. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Yes, it is legal...but you have to take the cassettes and send them to the record company along with a check for the difference in price between the original purchase price of the cassettes and the sugested retail of the CD's.
  12. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    You at one point purchased a legitimate copy of the music - as long as you still possess the original media (be it cassette, vinyl, cd, 8-track, whatever), you are legally entitled under the Fair Use Act to have copies of that music for your own personal use. Format makes no difference.

    Whether or not the person you are downloading the mp3 from has a legal right to have it is immaterial - it is illegal for him/her to distribute it - but that has no bearing on your right to download it. If you own a purchased copy of the music, you can download and possess a digital reproduction legally.

  13. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Interesting angle, but not valid. An mp3, even at 256k, is still not a perfect reproduction of the data on the cd. MP3 is an inherently lossy format, like JPG - it may sound the same or look the same to the naked eye and/or ear, but all kinds of loss and compression are occurring. Therefore, you can purchase a 1978 cassette of a song, and be legally entitled to having an mp3 of the same song, even if it was ripped from a remastered cd.

  14. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Interesting. It just seems to be that when you download a version ripped from a CD, you're getting the benefit of all the processing they've put it through, without paying for it.
  15. that doesn't matter. a song is a song.
  16. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Also an interesting argument - but if you consider that remasters more often than not are taken from an original analog source, you could also argue that making an mp3 is, in effect, remastering as well.

    Now then, if you bought a copy of a song from 1978, and then it was <i>re-recorded</i> by the original artist, you would not be justified in having an mp3 of the redone version, since it's not from the same original source material, even though it's the same 'song'.

    Copyright law and digital rights management is a truly bizarre thing. Thank god we have Fair Use (for now, that could change any day).

  17. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I'm pretty positive that the only only MP3s you are able to download legally, are the ones you find on band websites (not fan websites, mind you) and the songs you may find on your ISP (which you pay for). I'd also bet my left tennis ball, that just because you bought a band's cassette ten years ago, doesn't mean it's now legal to download that same music from the Internet. Also, it's not legal to copy CDs that you bought legitimately either. Look at your discs (and your cassettes) -- they should say right on them, "Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable law." That means that unless you have written or verbal permission from the performer of said music and/or their label, you cannot copy that music without fear of penalty.
    As far as it not being illegal to have that music on your hard drives: Some music companies have been working on ways to keep you, the buying public, from putting music that you bought legitimately onto your computer.

    Reachjkh -- I thought your comment about replacing your burned CDs with the "real thing" as the burned copies crap out on you was kind of funny. With proper care, a CD should never, ever wear out, burned copy or otherwise. ;)

    FWIW, I download music from the 'net all day long (well, not literally, but you get the picture).
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Not true. You've got to read the applicable law. And the applicable law says if I buy a CD (of music or software, I'm entitled (under the Fair Use Agreement) to make a copy of it for my own use. That would be an authorized duplication.
  19. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Are you allowed just one copy for your own use, or as many as you like?
  20. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Hey 72 Beatle!

    According to the Fair Use Act is it legal to own a downloaded or burnt copy if your previous copy was stolen or lost?

    I lost all of my cd's when I went on a cruise last summer when the case was taken from my bag before it got to my room. I still have the CD cases for most of those cd's but I dont have the actual disc. am I still protected by this act?


Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.