Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Morality of "Burning" CD's

"Totus Tuus" asked the following question in the Q&A board at Phatmass:
For my going away party, I was going to give a CD of my favorite songs as gifts to my friends. I am wondering if anyone knows if that would be morally acceptable, because I would be burning the CDs and giving them away. I know it’s legal for you to burn CDs for your own use, but is it moral to give them away? Thanks for the input.
I'm not an expert on copyright law, but I believe that if you make the CD with songs that you rightfully own (as in, you are ripping the songs off of CD's that you purchased) and you give the CD to someone as a gift instead of selling it to them, then that is permissible. Downloading songs to make a CD would be permissible as well, as long as you use a subscription service like Yahoo Music or Napster that has permission from record companies to provide their music. Be careful with this though, because some downloading programs require you to pay for the service, but they are still providing the songs illegally.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

7 comments:

Randall K. said...

I still can't decide what I want to do about the whole burning cds issue, it's been an issue on my mind and I've heard both sides of the argument thouroughly. I just don't want to feel like I'm offending God...could anyone help me on this?

phatcatholic said...

What exactly are you having trouble evaluating? Did my post not answer your questions?

Adam said...

If Totus Tuus had to, at one point, pay for the music herself, how does that give her the legal rights to give the music away for free? Would that not be similar to me purchasing a copyrighted book, copying the book, and giving it away for free?

Randall K. said...

If I had the option of either getting the music for free or buying the cd, which would I choose? Probably the free one. But it's the fact that wouldn't by getting the music for free, I would be taking money away from the artists who made them. I am referring more to bands who barely live off their profits, not ones with the bling bling, for the sake of my point. So by taking money away from these artists, aren't I essentially "stealing" something, which is against the 7th commandment?

It's just been a difficult thing to process. Now a friend of mine claims there is something similar to what you said, phatcatholic, like a law or something but I havn't had any proof of it, even after going through some copyright laws, so I consider it nonexistent for now.

Mara Joy said...

Yes. You are stealing if you burn/copy music and give it to someone else. It is fine to give someone a cd that you own, (so that, you know, you don't own it anymore...) but you are correct in thinking that by burning a cd to give to someone else it takes away money that is due the artist. None of this, "But I wouldn't buy it otherwise..." crap. *We go to great lengths to justify sins so that we don't feel guilty for them.* Stealing is stealing. For example, see the iTunes "terms of service:"
"You shall be authorized to use the Products only for personal, noncommercial use."
So obviously, don't sell it, duh. But still...personal? That means YOU. Just one person. Not you and all your friends.
A similar discussion could be had about photocopying out of books. It's still illegal, and as Christians we are called to obey the law, at least until it forces us to commit immoral actions. (Which certainly isn't the case here!)

phatcatholic said...

wow mara, i can see that this topic really means alot to you!

Randall K. said...

Yes, wow Mara that really helps.

Actually I'd like divert from the current issue for a moment to bring a point up about the photocopying issue. You see, I play guitar, and while I believe that taking copyrighted tabs off the net is wrong, my guitar teacher gives me tabs that he photocopies. Now I've debated on what that would be considered. Because under the Fair Use rule copying is permittable for educational purposes, and since these tabs are primarily for educational purposes (i.e. learning to play guitar) it goes under Fair Use, right? Please correct me if I am wrong.

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