Suing The Music Industry For Copy Protection

from the what's-your-angle? dept

A Belgian consumer watchdog group, Test-Achats, is now suing some of the big record labels for installing copy protection on their CDs. The article is a little unclear on what legal basis they seem to be suing – but it sounds like it’s one of two things (or possibly both): (1) the CDs are not clearly labeled and don’t play on certain equipment, meaning that they’re defective or (2) by adding copy protection, the CD takes away the rights of users to make personal copies. While I do think copy protection is a costly and pointless tool used by the recording industry, I’m not sure there’s much of a case here (other than – perhaps – on the labeling issue). I don’t think there’s any legal reason why the industry should be prevented from putting copy protection on their CDs. I just think it’s a bad business decision that will add to the cost while making the product worse for consumers. However, if the industry wants to shoot itself in the foot, that’s completely up to them. Update: In related news, a consortium of big name players in the tech world are trying to come up with a new copy protection scheme that they say will work. It’s designed to allow for limited copying and sharing, while also taking into account the fact that most people want their content to be portable. Of course, like every other content protection scheme it will be broken very quickly – and thus, will only inconvenience legitimate users.

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Comments on “Suing The Music Industry For Copy Protection”

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BtG says:

No Subject Given

There probably is not much of a case here. But I can certainly sympathize with them for wanting to sue.

I own a few of these copy protected CDs (all from europe, by the way)… and to be honest, up until last month I did not have a problem with any of them being played on any CD equipment, or copying them.

My most recent CCD (copy controlled Disc, as they call them) is another issue (the French Version of the Pet Shop Boys 3xCD “Pop Art”, for those keeping track). It refuses to play in either of my cars’ CD players. My portable CD plater won’t play it either. But I was able to copy it and make CDR copies for my cars. The only CD player that plays it (that I have) is my son’s el cheapo $20 boom box player.

If this is where they are taking these things, it’s only going to cut into their sales as more and more normal people are not able to use them.

PhuzzyLogic says:

Re: Suing The Music Industry For Copy Protection

Though I personally would not buy them, I do understand the desire of some companies to try and protect their product.

The one thing I think should be forced upon them though is CLEAR marking of the package. Not small print in the left corner or on the back. I have seen a few companies slipping the small print by the consumers, and claiming that they should have known.

I with my bad eyes have missed it a couple times.

Hanzie says:

here's what the case is about...

For those interested: Belgian copyright law (much like its Canadian counterpart, IIRC) allows users to make private copies of copyright protected works. Or rather, the law specifically states that the author may not oppose attempts to make such copies.

According to Test-Achats, copy control protection does just that: it’s an obstacle placed by the author (or the label that holds his rights) to prohibit the making of any copy, including private copies for personal use. As such, copy control protection would be considered illegal, since it prohibits legitimate uses of a fairly bought copy.

I’m not sure if I agree 100% with their line of thinking, but it has some legal merit, IMHO.

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