January 4, 2002 1:20 PM PST

Lawmaker: Is CD copy-protection illegal?

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Record companies' efforts to protect CDs against digital copying are beginning to draw scrutiny from lawmakers concerned that the plans might violate the law.

On Friday, Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., sent a letter to executives of the recording industry's trade association, asking whether anti-piracy technology on CDs might override consumers' abilities to copy albums they have purchased for personal use.

A 1992 law allows music listeners to make some personal digital copies of their music. In return, recording companies collect royalties on the blank media used for this purpose. For every digital audio tape (DAT), blank audio CD, or minidisc sold, a few cents go to record labels.

"I am particularly concerned that some of these technologies may prevent or inhibit consumer home-recording using recorders and media covered by the" Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA), Boucher wrote. "Any deliberate change to a CD by a content owner that makes (the allowed personal copies) no longer possible would appear to violate the content owner's obligations."

The Capitol Hill attention is a potentially daunting sign for recording companies, which are becoming bolder in their efforts to keep consumers from making unauthorized copies of CDs. Each of the major record labels has said it is looking at several versions of new anti-copying technology; in particular, Universal Music Group executives have said they want to protect a large proportion of their new releases as soon as midyear.

The labels are worried that the rise of home CD-burners has eaten into album sales, particularly after the worst year in a decade for the music industry.

Universal was the first major label to openly distribute a copy-protected CD in the United States, with the release of a soundtrack to the "Fast and the Furious" film in December. Companies that produce copy-protection technology say other albums have been quietly released into the market, but verified sightings have been rare.

The AHRA issue had been spotlighted by a few copyright attorneys for several months, but until now it has not been a large part of the debate over copy protection.

"If you put technology in place that prevents people from using their recording devices, then it seems that you should not be eligible for the royalty payments" under the AHRA, said Fred von Lohmann, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A representative for the Recording Industry Association of America had no immediate comment on Boucher's letter, saying the group had not yet seen it.

Boucher, who has been a legislative opponent of the big recording companies for some time, asked the industry group to respond to a long list of questions describing the technologies the record labels are using. He stopped short of saying what he might do if he decided that the technologies do violate the terms of the 1992 law.

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cd copy portection nuisance not protective
I ways always under the assumption that owners of cds could copy them for their own use, i.e. to protect their investment. I have already had to replace cds in my collection that are over 10 years old, and I find the new batch of cd's I have got are all copy protected I cannot copy them or record to my mp3 player and this is a nuisance as I now have to play it on my audio player, into my pc and onto my mp3 player, so I can burn a copy fo the car and stash my original safely, (who wants to keep replace stolen cds, my mp3 player software cost me $30 and with a simple cable can bypass all this technology, I do not copy cds and sell them I dont borrow them and rip them down, but I do protect my investment by making copies. In the UK most major stoes sell CD's between £12-16, most supermarkets sell them at less then £10, gues where I go for my cd's. I have no problem with paying as price to give the artist their income or to the company to produce the ablum, but the UK cost is ridiculess and all it is doing is opening up the market for fraudulent copies, there will never be a 100% copy proof cd so why waste money trying to create it and increasing the costs or alientating your customers. A recent survey in the UK sated that theft of tv's hifi's was reducing because people wanted brand new not cheap seconds, the same goes for cd and dvd copies, if the price is right people will buy it istead of a copy, if companies keep putting up the prices more people will buy the copies, the 80-20 rule will probaly aply to this as well, in that 20% of all customers will steal inrespective of any precautions you make, so make the 80% so happy they keep coming back and generate enough income that you can right of the 20%.
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cd copy portection nuisance not protective
I ways always under the assumption that owners of cds could copy them for their own use, i.e. to protect their investment. I have already had to replace cds in my collection that are over 10 years old, and I find the new batch of cd's I have got are all copy protected I cannot copy them or record to my mp3 player and this is a nuisance as I now have to play it on my audio player, into my pc and onto my mp3 player, so I can burn a copy fo the car and stash my original safely, (who wants to keep replace stolen cds, my mp3 player software cost me $30 and with a simple cable can bypass all this technology, I do not copy cds and sell them I dont borrow them and rip them down, but I do protect my investment by making copies. In the UK most major stoes sell CD's between £12-16, most supermarkets sell them at less then £10, gues where I go for my cd's. I have no problem with paying as price to give the artist their income or to the company to produce the ablum, but the UK cost is ridiculess and all it is doing is opening up the market for fraudulent copies, there will never be a 100% copy proof cd so why waste money trying to create it and increasing the costs or alientating your customers. A recent survey in the UK sated that theft of tv's hifi's was reducing because people wanted brand new not cheap seconds, the same goes for cd and dvd copies, if the price is right people will buy it istead of a copy, if companies keep putting up the prices more people will buy the copies, the 80-20 rule will probaly aply to this as well, in that 20% of all customers will steal inrespective of any precautions you make, so make the 80% so happy they keep coming back and generate enough income that you can right of the 20%.
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you can download a software called blindwrite via http://www.blindwrite.com/ it will end your problems or use clone dvd a fully paid version
Posted by srikrik (1 comment )
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