Free AU consumers to copy music for personal use: Proposal

Free AU consumers to copy music for personal use: Proposal

Summary: Music business analyst Phil Tripp is pushing for a change to the Copyright Act that would give consumers the legal chance to copy music for their personal use.

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Music business analyst Phil Tripp is pushing for a change to the Copyright Act that would give consumers the legal chance to copy music for their personal use.

Tripp submitted a proposal last week to music industry associations to support a change to the Act that would "allow consumers who have purchased music (on CDs, from their vinyl collection or in other modes of bought music) to be able to copy their purchased music onto other media (recordable CDs, DVDs and tape) as well as onto the new wave of digital music players (such as iPods and PC or MP3 based units."

"It's time consumers are legally granted the right to make personal copies of music for backup of original CDs, making their own personal CD or digital music player compilations, making tapes for their car or recording songs from older vinyl albums-all of which are presently prohibited under the law," Tripp said. "They can't play CDs on a computer to transfer them to iPod, other digital music players, recordable CDs, DVDs or cassette. It requires a Copyright Act change to finally make this legal," Tripp explains.

Under the proposed changes, "a levy will be implemented on recordable media and a separate one on digital music players to provide a pool of income that would be distributed back to music creators in a fair and equitable manner by an agreed rights society."

Tripp added that the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) was not supportive of the proposal because "They are not going to make money out of it. Secondly, ARIA does not want consumers to be able to copy for their own use. They want customers to buy another cassette or a second CD for their cars. The copy control technology, which two of ARIA's major multinational companies recently introduced, would also be a waste of investment if the changes push through."

The levy system is operating in Canada as well as 25 other G-7 or European Union countries. Under the Canada system, Tripp says "There are also exemptions to the levy for legitimate non-music use plus having the levy at wholesale level to prevent retailers abusing it or overcharging. "

Tripp said that although the changes will be based on studies of other countries' errors and successes, the changes will still be "uniquely Australian."

The levy is redistributed to all registered artists according to their respective sales. Tripp said the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) will most likely be considered to collect the levy based on their "immaculate reputation." He added that they are also looking at whether to adopt the Canada system in terms of equity of the split. In Canada, songwriters get the highest amount from the levy while publishers get the lowest.

Tripp said majority of the 25 organisations he has solicited from are putting the matter before their board panel for consideration. "I feel confident that intelligent associations will see the benefit of this proposal. It has great benefits for consumers, artists and songwriters, and independent record companies and publishers."

"This legislative change would be made in consultation with the music industry at large and would also be structured so as to not unjustly levy media or devices that are used for data backup or copying of a non-musical nature," Tripp said in his letter.

Tripp also emphasised that the changes will only be to legalise the copying of music for the customer's personal consumption and not for or from friends or other people.

Topics: Legal, Apple, Hardware, Piracy, Tech Industry

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10 comments
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  • Most people are familiar with the concept of personal use, largely because their knowledge of music copyright is based on the United States model. It comes as a shock to Australians to find we do not enjoy that privilege under our legislation. It would be pragmatic to at least recognise and legalise what people consider an legitimate right already, as Tripp proposes. Having a personal use provision when people exercise this right already does make more sense than outlawing it because it failed to be included in our Copyright Act.
    anonymous
  • Most people are familiar with the concept of personal use, largely because their knowledge of music copyright is based on the United States model. It comes as a shock to Australians to find we do not enjoy that privilege under our legislation. It would be pragmatic to at least recognise and legalise what people consider an legitimate right already, as Tripp proposes. Having a personal use provision when people exercise this right already does make more sense than outlawing it because it failed to be included in our Copyright Act.
    anonymous
  • Most people are familiar with the concept of personal use, largely because their knowledge of music copyright is based on the United States model. It comes as a shock to Australians to find we do not enjoy that privilege under our legislation. It would be pragmatic to at least recognise and legalise what people consider an legitimate right already, as Tripp proposes. Having a personal use provision when people exercise this right already does make more sense than outlawing it because it failed to be included in our Copyright Act.
    anonymous
  • I agree with Jeffery that it makes a lot of sense to change the law to suit the way people behave. The current copyright law was written in a time when it was largely inconceivable that people would need to "format shift" - The CD, MP3 player, even the compact cassette player hadn't yet been invented. The only conceivable form of (music) copying would have effectively been large-scale piracy.

    What I don't agree with is the need for a blank media levy. As I understand the proposed changes, it would still be illegal for me to copy a CD I have bought and give it to a friend, but I would be able to legally copy a track off a CD onto a compilation for use in the car, or copy a CD onto my MP3 player. In these cases I can't see why an extra royalty should be payable. I have already purchased the CD (therefore paying a royalty) and I am merely listening to that licensed music in a different way. If I am listening to a compilation in the car I can't be listening to the original at home.
    A levy would also unfairly target people who use CDs for data. The company I work for uses hundreds for CD-Rs a week, all for data.
    anonymous
  • No levy should be payable for
    a) making a backup
    b) format shifting
    c) time shifting

    If you have multiple copies/versions of a thing, but only one instance is in use at any one time, how is that worse than if there was only one copy?

    Computer programs need to be format-shifted from CD to hard disk, hard disk to RAM. This form of copying is expected and permitted. Why not for audio/video as well ??

    People *are* doing these things already.
    Having these things be illegal only creates a society where everyone is a criminal.
    Having a society where everyone is a criminal leads to less respect for authority, rule-of-law etc.
    anonymous
  • Would the levy be $10 per CD-R (based on retail price)?
    Or $0.50 per CD-R (based on royalty to artist)?

    A levy will unfairly penalise people who copy data, their own copyright works, etc.

    If I was charged a levy for making a copy, I would then feel justified to give/sell that copy to another people.
    anonymous
  • Blank cds can be used for anything so it is not appropriate to pay royalties to music companies for them.

    At home I use them for my digital camera stills, home movies and backing up my personal files. At work we use them to archive databases, make backup copies of original cds we install on servers (because the originals seem to go missing too often). Vendors send us software updates on cd.

    I don't agree that it is fair to build a subsidy for music companies into the price of cds. It is the equivalent of putting a levy blank copy paper for the benefit of publishing companies because photocopiers can be used to copy copywrited books.

    If cd sales fell slightly lately it would be because of in increase in sales of DVD's. CDs and DVD compete for your disposable income in the same market and isn't it interesting that the price is the same? They are priced as impulse items so the price has nothing to do with the cost of producing the product. They are already making money hand over fist. I don't believe there are record companies out there on the brink of collapse.

    As a reality check, our farmers products are under valued and many of them are scraping through. We really cant afford to have our farms collapsing because the price basic necessities will skyrocket and the average Australian will suffer.

    Sorry but I don't sympathise with music companies. They are on a good wicket and don't need any more hand outs.
    anonymous
  • I'm a wedding videographer. Although my work is legally protected from being copied, I'm sure many of my clients have made copies of their wedding videos that I did for them (just like they've copied their photos from the photographer). Does this mean that I can get a share of the new levy if it ever comes into existance? Or is the money going to the big recording companies only? This whole idea is unfair and impossible to gauge or control. Who in their right mind will admit that they are buying blank media to duplicate copyrighted material? And would it be fair to charge everyone the levy, even if you just want to backup your Word documents and MYOB files? Greed is showing it's ugly head again.
    anonymous
  • I use CDs and DVDs to BACKUP my computer data (note not music!).

    I feel it's inapporpriate to charge me a tariff for using this media.

    Also for those making personal copies, why a tariff? The user has already bought the original work. Many people backup CDs and store the original whilst use the backup (which can then be scratched, damaged, etc).

    About time the music industry wake up and realise consumers are awake to their double dipping policies.

    Every other business has need to re-invent themselves for the digital age... why not the Music Industry... public opinion and the buying power of the masses will ensure that eventually the Music Industry are brought into the digital age.... kicking and screaming.

    Why doesn't the music industry run their own site allowing users to pay for music they want. (not an albumn of crap with one decent song).

    Time for them to stop blaming everyone else for their so called failures and start looking seriously at their own business models.
    anonymous
  • Why pay a levy to copy something for personal use? I don't necessarily disagree with a levy to cover all pirating, but I don't consider copying your own music for peronal use to be "pirating" music.

    Do the current music companies provide a sevice where I can "buy" music for my mp3 player? No, I have to copy it myself from my cd. Can I listen to my computer and mp3 player at the same time? Yes, but why would I want to?

    The levy shouldn't be discussed in terms of personal copying, because why should we have to pay to copy music to other devices? The record companies provide the music in a non-transferable format, until they fix that, people can claim the right to copy for personal use, simple as that.

    There should be no levy on personal use.
    anonymous