UK Advertising Board Says CD Jukebox With Hard Drive Can't Advertise That It Copies Music, Since That's Infringement

from the this-is-ridiculous dept

We've seen the entertainment industry flip out and kill innovative products like a DVD juke box that makes digital copies of your DVDs so that you can access and watch them more easily. Over in the UK, apparently they're also killing similar things for CDs. Derek Slater points us to the news that the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has whacked the advertisements for the Brennan JB7 CD player, which is a CD player with a hard drive, because it advertises that it can copy your music... and that's illegal. Yes, even though it's for personal use. Over in the UK, you technically have no right to make personal copies of CDs, and since the advertisement doesn't make that clear, the ad is "inciting" infringement:
The ASA noted the product was a CD player as well as having a hard disk to store CDs and also record from vinyl and cassette. We also noted, however, it repeatedly made reference to the benefits of the product being able to copy music but did not make clear that it was illegal to do so without the permission of the copyright owner. We considered the overall impression of the ad was such that it encouraged consumers and businesses to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes. In the absence of prominent explanation, we concluded that the ad misleadingly implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner. We also considered that the ad encouraged people to use the advertised product in this way and that, therefore, it incited consumers to break the law.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    chris (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    makes perfect sense to me

    sure it copies CD's and that's illegal, but as long as your ad doesn't *say* that it does that, you're totally legit.

    google's cache feature is basically a copy of popular websites. but since google doesn't say that it is, it's totally legal.

     

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      RD, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:33am

      Re: makes perfect sense to me

      "sure it copies CD's and that's illegal, but as long as your ad doesn't *say* that it does that, you're totally legit.

      google's cache feature is basically a copy of popular websites. but since google doesn't say that it is, it's totally legal."

      While I agree with your sentiment and think this is how things should work, the law says differently, unfortunately. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, after all. And you cant trick your way around it by just talking around it either. Wish it werent so, but this is the world we live in that has been bought and paid for by corporate interests.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Do they really think that no one in the UK copies CDs, law or not?

    Really?

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      I would love to have a look at the iPods of the people on the Advert Board.

       

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        Paddy Duke (profile), Apr 6th, 2011 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re:

        I’m quite sure that there are numerous members of the ASA who have no issue with the copying, and who have music libraries riddled with pirated material. But that’s not the point here.

        The job of the ASA is to protect advertisers from legal liability (incitement in this case), and the public from misleading information (i.e., that it is legal to rip music from CDs).

        What the ASA did here was exactly the right thing. Whether they agree with the law or not is really neither here nor there.

         

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    Nom du Clavier (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    In the absence of prominent explanation, we concluded that the ad misleadingly implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner.


    Not misleading at all. It's perfectly acceptable. What isn't acceptable is a law that makes this kind of format shifting illegal to begin with.

    I wonder how many MP's have used iTunes to copy their own CD's onto their iPod's, surely more than none.

     

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    DearMrMiller (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Oh crap, I'm living in the UK and apparently I've broken the law.. I'm going down to the police station now to turn myself in.

     

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    Martin Ballantine, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:24am

    "Home Taping is Killing Music", etc. etc. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....the law, and music industry, is an ass!

     

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    Planespotter (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Take note...

    Top of the ASA page states that they had ONE complaint.

    Maybe time to put in a FOIA to see who that complaint came from me thinks...

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Reminds me of the days when any advertising of VCR's here in Australia would contain the phrase "Subject to copyright" in small print somewhere in the ad, regardless of if the ad was on TV or in print

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    i mentioned this to our MP - thankfully ex-MP now. But he wrote:
    'Copying without the permission of the person who put work into creating the product is illegal too.
    Best wishes.'
    'You can copy to your iPhone all music you have paid for - and will continue to be able to.'
    'You say "from what I can tell" but I'm sure if this was illegal then there would have been at least one case to test the law. I know of no successful cases ergo this is not the law.'
    So fro what i can tell MPs have no idea either.

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    George Orwell prophesied this kind of shite

    As bad as the IP douche bags in the US are, they don't even hold a candle to those wankers in the UK. Not by a long shot! And then there's their idiotic libel laws, the omnipresence of video camera monitoring, and the vapidity of the royals-worshipping general populace, making the place nearly uninhabitable to me.

     

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      Planespotter (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:47am

      Re: George Orwell prophesied this kind of shite

      I stay here out of morbid curiousity.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 11:20am

      Re: George Orwell prophesied this kind of shite

      Although I no longer live in my home country, I do ahve to defend it sometimes...

      "As bad as the IP douche bags in the US are, they don't even hold a candle to those wankers in the UK."

      The worst offenders are usually parts of US-based corporate conglomerates, or at least the same corporations as you have there.

      Besides, if you notice, nothing is actually being stopped here apart from a certain type of advertising. The silly laws about copying for private use are pretty much unenforceable. This is simply an advertising watchdog making sure that a device manufacturer is not advertising an illegal use for its product. It's silly that the law is there to begin with for personal use, but it's hardly Orwellian.

      "the omnipresence of video camera monitoring"

      That tends to be overstated, IMHO, and usually dates back to a study that was made using extremely flawed methodology. A large proportion of monitoring is privately owned, in public spaces such as petrol stations, pubs and shops and it hardly covers everywhere outside of city centres, and often not even there. Same as in the US, or at the very least you're not far behind.

      "vapidity of the royals-worshipping general populace"

      Please. The number of people in your country who actually "worship" the royals is probably the same as in the UK. A lot of us would be happy to be shot of them and "worship" them enough to force them to pay taxes, among other things. I certainly won't be celebrating the royal wedding, although I may appreciate the potential extra day off work for my family on the day.

      As for "vapidity" of the populace... that's a mighty fine glass house you have there, maybe you should stop throwing those rocks.

       

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        drew (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re: George Orwell prophesied this kind of shite

        Politely put Paul, though we have to concede the point about the libel laws...

         

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          PaulT (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: George Orwell prophesied this kind of shite

          Hmmm, I didn't spot that reference in the orignal comment for some reason. But, that's something I'm not particularly familiar with, so I don't feel right commenting upon them in any depth. The libel laws are a little silly from what I know, but is this something new or just a relic from a previous age of UK politics, I wonder?

           

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 3:50am

      Re: George Orwell prophesied this kind of shite

      and the vapidity of the royals-worshipping general populace
      Uh, I'm more or less with you on the rest, but in my experience Americans often seem more enamored of our Royal Family than Brits do, and Americans seem the same if not worse about their President and (slightly more bizarrely to my mind) their flag.
      Besides, the IP laws here are mostly the US's fault anyway we just don't have a constitution to hide in to slow the manic removal of common sense in this area :-)

       

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    Ken (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    Copyright does not mean you get to dictate technology

    The recording and movie industries have a long history of trying to quash every technological advancement that comes along. Ever since radio started playing music the music industry has resented it even though radio is their best promotional tool out there. When the VCR came out the movie industry tried to sue it out of existence, same for DVRs, MP3 players. Seems like the only thing they really like are cds and have clinged on to this outdated technology 20 years too long.

    Copyright does not mean you get to dictate the techology that is available to be copied and there are well established court precedences that have ruled that simply having a devise that CAN facilitate illegal activities is not a reason to ban them.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    really never stopped me and never will a law is only enforceable if it is seen to be justifiable and coppywrong is certainly not enforceable. and yes i am in the UK.

     

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    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    It amazes me how much the government is complicit in this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Weird

    Gosh, it feels so weird reading about something like this happening in 2011.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Weird

    Gosh, it feels so weird reading about something like this happening in 2011.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    i forgot to say that it is acceptable to 99.999999999% of the UK population.

     

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    Paul Keating, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Dear Solicitor,

    On behalf of Colt we would like to engage your services to review our advertising campaign for the new Colt 355.d-mag (the “Gun”). The Gun is a semi-automatic with a chamber that can hold “up to” 5 bullets. These can be discharged using the Gun by repeatedly pressing the trigger mechanism. Here is the text of our advert:

    “Buy this Gun. It’s great. It has the capacity to store up to 5 bullets and the ability to fire repeatedly until the storage chamber is empty.”.....

    Response from Solicitor:

    Dear Mr. Colt,

    We reviewed with interest your suggested advertisement. While any normal person would fully understand your advertisement, we must inform you of a recent decision by the UK Advertising Standards Authority. As you may know, they have recently prohibited the manufacturer of a DVD from advertising that the DVD player contains a hard drive. The decision was based upon the claim that the hard-drive could be used illegally to duplicate material that was protected under various copyright laws.
    Our concern with your proposed advertisement is the reference to the ability to actually shoot the weapon (and to do so repeatedly up to 5 times in rapid succession). As you know, discharging a firearm in the UK is illegal when the weapon is (a) within a populated area, or (b) pointed at another human. Of course nothing in this letter addresses the other various illegal acts that could be undertaken with the proposed product (e.g. robbery, violations of noise ordinances, or the like). We are therefore concerned that your advertisement may encourage others to act in a manner contrary to the law by discharging your weapon in a manner contrary to the above restrictions. For this reason, we strongly urge you to revise your advertisement to read as set forth below:

    New UK Advertisement: “Buy this Gun”

    We may also suggest that your advertisement contain conditions of sale which list all of the acts that constitute a prohibited use of a firearm in the United Kingdom. However, given the length of text that would be required, we would require a retention deposit of £25,000.00 prior to undertaking such work.

     

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    usul_of_arakis (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    I seem to remember way back when CD-Rs were becoming popular that the UK music industry issued a statement along the lines of while the copying of CDs is illegal, it would be a waste of resources to try to pursue individuals who make copies for their own use; and that they would concentrate on trying to stop commercial counterfeiting. Seems like they forgot about the first part, along with failing with the second.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, part of their attempts at stopping commercial counterfeiting included stopping the perfectly legal importing of non-EU manufactured CDs (same music, legally manufactured, much cheaper for customers, they used a copyright loophole to stop it).

      They didn't forget, they just stopped paying lip service to the idea that they weren't doing it in the first place.

       

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    deadzone (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Elmer Fudd

    It's like they are a brain-damaged version of Elmer Fudd. Any type of innovation that would actually help them and bring them a little closer to "getting it" when it comes to the digital world is met with cries of "Kill the innovation!" "Kill the innovation!".

    I mean, the freaking work is being done FOR them! All they have to do is got to the table and negotiate RATIONALLY and they would more than likely make money from this and then look at there! Another revenue stream for them that requires no effort other than basically cashing a check.

    (That is their favorite thing to do right?)

    Money for nothing, innovation for free. Get on board you big dummies!

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    USB record decks

    What about all those USB record decks that openly advertise in the UK their use for copying your vinyl collection to mp3 or CD?

    consistent - NOT.

     

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 4:15am

      Re: USB record decks

      What about all those USB record decks that openly advertise in the UK their use for copying your vinyl collection to mp3 or CD?

      consistent - NOT

      Ah this to my knowledge (IANAL) is where UK law gets a little odd. Hopefully (what am I saying??) there's a UK lawyer around to clarify...

      Prior to our version of DCMA (which I think came in about '97 or '98) it was completely legal under UK law to hold a backup copy of media that you owned. When the 1997(?) act became law it essentially made that illegal, though the law original wasn't removed.
      AFAIK the limitation of the "fair use backup" only applies for stuff published after the new law came into effect so "Record to MP3" is likely to be outside this limitation for most content (how much vinyl is made after 1997?).
      Of course, if I'm right about that then a lot of CDs are also legal to rip for personal "backup" use, so a portion of CD to MP3 functionality would also be legal so it's still inconsistent.

      My other question is why this device when every single iPhone/Pod/Pad/Pwhatever device for example also comes with exactly the same functionality in iTunes?? I can't see Apple devices being quite so popular if the "illegality" of ripping a CD to MP3 was suddenly enforced with the usual draconian pointless brutality can you?

       

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Lawyers

    The cause of, and solution to, all of business' problems.

     

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    David, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Double standardsO

    Oh yes - the ASA can come up with that but they did absolutely nothing about my complaint to them about a so-called "psychic" selling potions and other items on the net, linked to blatant mumbo-jumbo statements about the products that cannot possibly be proved. "They appear to be the marketer's own opinions" was their verdict. So that's OK, then. About as toothless as OFCOM OR ICO.

     

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      Paddy Duke (profile), Apr 6th, 2011 @ 7:02am

      Re: Double standardsO

      One of the ASA’s primary roles is to protect advertisers from legal liability. Pointing out that an advertisement could be misconstrued in such a way as to expose the advertiser to incitement charges is doing exactly the right thing.

      To use a handy car analogy, most drivers speed, but advertising a car with the claim “Performs excellently at well over the legal speed limit.”, however true that might be, would be asking for trouble.

       

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    David, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Double standards

    Oh yes - the ASA can come up with that but they did absolutely nothing about my complaint to them about a so-called "psychic" selling potions and other items on the net, linked to blatant mumbo-jumbo statements about the products that cannot possibly be proved. "They appear to be the marketer's own opinions" was their verdict. So that's OK, then. About as toothless as OFCOM OR ICO.

     

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