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The 'Legality' of Serving music online

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:35 am
by WildWalker
Hello all,

Now I appreciate that the law will change from country to country. But as a UK resident, I a was wondering what the legality of listening to my music across the internet was. I know that up until last year it was still illegal to actually rip your CDs for use on iPods etc (not sure if that has changed yet either) so even putting music on a server might be illegal still.

As far as I can see using a product like Subsonic means (with password protection) that you are still only listening to your own music, and not sharing it. But say I am listening to an album, say track 5 and my wife is at home listening to the same album, either from the server or even in a CD player, that might still be a breach because that would not be possible with just one CD.

I am not overly bothered, I own every MP3 I have, I don't have any illegal music at all, so I doubt I would ever be in any real bother, but just in ase I am faced with a situation where I might want to know the law, I though I would ask the question :)

I will be interested to hear peoples opinions.


Fair use doctrine and balance test

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:50 am
by librainian
I'm no expert but I think the issue is still in flux. There have been some important cases that established the concepts of fair use. You can read a pretty good summary of the issues by the EFF here

I think the upshot is you have purchased a cd and want to convert that to electronic copies for playback on multiple devices that would constitute "space shifting" and fair use regardless of the mechanism you employ to listen to those files.

the MP3 industry is fueled by the reservoir of incentives that arises from another activity considered to be a fair use: "space-shifting." Millions of Americans have a large music library of CDs. Technology companies have an incentive to develop devices that will help the music lover to get more value from the CDs she has already purchased. The Apple iPod, for example, emerged to meet that demand.

In the original case RIAA v Diamond Multimedia

Accordingly, the court reasoned, under standard fair-use principles outlined in the Betamax case, consumers are free to make unlimited copies of authorized audio files on their hard drives for portable, private and non-commercial use -- without any royalty payments to the music industry and without a chip that limits the number of copies that can be made.

Now if you allow access to those files by others over the web, that would not be fair use and would be illegal. But there are tons of devices being sold today whos sole purpose is to stream digital copies of media to multiple devices over your home network, Sonos, iTunes itself allows for this within certain limits on the number of players. Even my Amazon kindle allows me to access the same purchased content on multiple devices at the same time.