The Legality of Ripping CDs

So the High Court has jusr overturned the previous government decision that it was legal to copy your own CDs for personal use, such as ripping them onto your iPod or phone. Musician Ben Bell, for one, is not impressed

As a consumer I feel this is far from fair, but as a musician I am absolutely livid.

If, as a consumer, I have bought music I feel I have paid my dues and should be allowed to listen to it how I please. It is clear what my expectation is: I am buying the music in order to listen to it. I am not buying it in order to listen to it on a specific device, I am paying for the right to listen to your music. Any claim that I should be required to pay again if I wish to listen to the same music digitally, or to have the convenience of not carrying it back and forth between my house and car, is purely a cynical attempt to over-complicate things with the sole purpose of wringing extra money out of what is in reality a very simple transaction.

But presumably as a musician, I see the other side of this? Well actually no, not at all. It’s as a musician that this particularly angers me.

This is petty, wrong-headed and self-defeating stuff by the music industry and the Musicians’ Union should be ashamed of themselves for being part of it.

He’s right, of course. The idea that people copying music from legally-purchased CDs on to other devices represents lost sales of paid downloads is coming from the same place as the claims we used to hear that illegal downloading represented lost revenue greater than the entire GDP of the nation. Which is clearly utter nonsense.

The whole thing is a cynical exercise in corporate rent-seeking, seeking levies on hard disks and music players to recover this “lost” 58 million pounds that doesn’t actually exist outside the imaginations of record company bean-counters.

It’s difficult to believe that anyone in their right mind would attempt to enforce this. Not even Lars Ulrich would be stupid enough to piss off their own paying customrs in that way. Any musician with the remotest of clues ought to understand that their ability to earn revenue from music is totally dependent on the continued goodwill of their audience.

Of course, given the way people listen to music nowadays, if everyone was really prevented from copying the contents of CDs to other formats, what would actually happen would be the complete collapse of the CD market as anyone still paying for music would just buy downloads.

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4 Responses to The Legality of Ripping CDs

  1. PaulE says:

    This is just plain daft.
    There are too many innocent uses for computer storage for this to do anything other than get people very annoyed.
    Photographers, for starters, would use large amounts of storage without any copyright infringement. Why should they pay the music industry a levy ?

  2. Tim Hall says:

    “I know, let’s try and extort money out of other people’s businesses by threatening to sue our own customers if we don’t get our way”.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Synthetase says:

    Wow, is it suddenly 2001 again?

    What’s left of the CD industry is supported by the hardcore fans who actually buy the music. If we wanted to rip them off, we all know where the pirate bay is. The music buying public has been saying for years they are happy to pay for music as long as it’s at a reasonable price and without arbitrary restrictions playback equipment. As the late 90s and early 2000s have shown, they will not tolerate being abused by corporate windbags trying desperatly to retain the heydays of the 70s and 80s.

    PaulE, I’m not from the UK, so missing the details, but from the your comment it sounds like they’re trying to add a levy to storage space to pay for ‘lost revenue’ in a similar way to the old blank cassette tape thing. Is that true?

  4. Tim Hall says:

    Yes, that’s exactly what these clowns are proposing.

    This nonsense isn’t coming from artists, though they would probably be able to wheel out some overhyped busker-level talent who has willingly thrown themselves feet-first into the music industry sausage machine to back them up to give their rent-seeking bullshit false legitimacy.