Music is not illegal (for now)

Following the amazing RIAA actions in the USA and a comment here about "if you can't do the time don't do the crime" I thought I'd put together a list of hypothetical actions and see which were illegal and which legal. Bearing in mind that under the law, ignorance is rarely a defence.

1) I buy a copy of Eminem's latest record in HMV for 12.99

2) I buy a copy of Eminem's latest record in a supermarket for 9.99

3) I buy a copy of Eminem's latest record from a guy down the market who's selling CDs out of a flight case for 4.99

4) I buy a copy of Eminem's latest record at a car boot sale for 3.99

5) I buy a copy of Eminem's latest record in HMV, it has the CD Audio logo on the packaging. But it won't play on my PC.

Fair use
6) I rip my Eminem CD to MP3

7) I lend my CD to my son. He listens to it on his walkman on the way to school while I listen to the MP3 at home.

8) I lend my CD to my son. He listens to it in his room while I listen to the MP3 at my desk.

9) I email the MP3 to my daughter at her boarding school.

10) I go to an Eminem concert and record the concert to a minidisk player

11) I go to a Grateful Dead concert and record the concert to a minidisk player

12) I make a copy of the two recordings and give them to friends

13) I copy the two recordings to my website

14) I make CDs of the recordings and sell them down the market

15) I make a compilation MP3 CD of my favourite chillout music. I give it to someone I meet at an Ecademy meeting. When I get home I make another one.

16) We're moving house and I need to clear out the old LPs. I sell them by the case down the market. I've kept the best ones on MP3.

17) I mash up my Eminem single with Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and some sampled drum and bass. I put it on my website and it's picked up by XFM who play it on the radio.

18) I buy a Japanese import DVD and play it on my DVD player that has been hacked to play multi-region.

18) I download a copy of Eminem's latest single

19) I then buy the CD

20) I download a few tracks from an album I have on vinyl but which is scratched to pieces

21) I download a few tracks from an album I bought on cassette but which destroyed itself and is currently by the side of the M11

22) I download Edgar Broughton's classic "Out demons out" which has been deleted from the catalogue and is unavailable anywhere

23) I buy a track off iTunes. I then auction the track on eBay.

24) I listen to an Internet Radio station and rip the data to an MP3 so I can listen to it later

25) I buy a DRM protected song over the net. I use a Linux utility to extract a clean unprotected MP3.

26) I buy a DRM protected song over the net. I record the analogue output to a clean unprotected MP3.

27) I have a collection of 5000 MP3s. I use Kazaa for 18-22 but I have the checkbox clicked to disable sharing

28) I run Kazaa but only share a directory where I keep the copyright-free music.

29) I run Kazaa on a high speed line as a Supernode, but I don't use it myself to share music.

30) 95% of my collection is ripped from CDs I've bought. I don't download much but I leave it running with all these shared as a public service.

31) I'm searching Kazaa for a copy of "The invention of TV by bees", a bizarre art house movie. I download a bunch of vids but don't notice that one of them is kiddie porn.

32) I'm running my Kazaa on the company LAN. The IT department have blocked it at the firewall so it's only sharing with other people in the company.

33) I built an app to make it easy for my college to share documents. Without my knowledge some people are using the same app to share music.

34) My ISP is getting hammered with Kazaa traffic. We install a Kazaa proxy to try and keep the traffic within our network.

35) My record company routinely uses music sharing analysis software as market research.

36) My record company has started seeding the music sharing networks with fake songs that actually have Madonna saying "F*ck you"

37) My record company has used sub-poenas to get ISPs to give up the names of Kazaa users

38) Kazaa sued the people who reverse engineered Kazaa lite under the DMCA and get Google to remove links to them.

39) My record company released a virus onto the net which damaged the hard disks of people running Kazaa.

40) My ISP blocks all Kazaa traffic

Damn! This stuff is morally and legally ambiguous. Meanwhile, there are currently 2,900,243 people sharing 585,953,440 files on Kazaa.

[edited to add] I've got to add one more. I bought a CD. Ripped it to MP3. I'm listening to it on headphones while riding a motorbike into London. When I get to the Ecademy meeting we hook my CD player up to the PA. My laptop is running Kazaa and sharing the song over the free WiFi at the venue. My son is listening to it off the original CD. My daughter has copied the MP3 to her laptop and is listening to it at school. My wife is listening to it in the garden via a radio and the low power transmitter we hooked up to the home server. Hey, I'm only using the technology!

Brian Hunt


Music is not illegal (for now)

And breaking rules is what creativity and innovation is all about - changes and innovations come at the fringes of society and the successful ones then get taken up by the mainstream. So while the big record companies blunder about trying to stop the world changing, the smaller, faster and more innovative ones are embracing the file sharing technolgy and getting their audience to a wider market. As I'm typing this, I'm downloading a CD from a Zimbabwen group - not something I'd find easily in my high street. And I'm doing this legally - using wippit which is £30 pa for unlimited downloads and a wide range of music. I'm getting something I want, and so is wippit and the artist - wippit say "Wippit distributes music and audio books from 142 Rights Owners and in the last two quarters of operations paid more per track than the equivalent rate receivable from a CD."


Alex McLintock


Music is not illegal (for now)

But which ones are legal and which ones aren't? --- For Book Reviews and News For Film Reviews and News