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.

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  1. identicon
    Paul Keating, 4 Apr 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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