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CD Ripper 'Incites Law Breaking,' Says British Regulator 204

Posted by timothy
from the that-cd-was-askin'-for-it dept.
Barence writes "A British firm has been banned from advertising a CD ripping device because it 'incites law breaking.' The Brennan JB7 is 'a CD player with a hard disk that stores up to 5,000 CDs.' The adverts for the Brennan highlight the convenience of ripping your entire CD collection to the device – much like we've all been doing for years on our PCs, iPods and other MP3 players. The Advertising Standards Authority has banned the ads after concluding 'that the ad misleadingly implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner.'"
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CD Ripper 'Incites Law Breaking,' Says British Regulator

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  • Technically true (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @01:47PM (#35694458) Journal
    Format shifting is illegal in the UK. Fixing this, and adding explicit fair use provisions, are both things that David Cameron has proposed. Whether they'll actually be done is another matter. It's quite ludicrous that, as it stands, we have a law that pretty much everyone in the UK has violated.
    • by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @01:52PM (#35694508)

      It's quite ludicrous that, as it stands, we have a law that pretty much everyone in the UK has violated.

      Not really. Helps nail someone who you can't get for any other crime.

      • everyone who supports stupid laws for this reason is insane.

        why not go the really really direct root if you're going to take that approach.

        Make breathing a crime punishable by death.

        make having any body hair a crime punishable by life in prison then you can just punish whoever you feel like at any time for any reason if they're someone you " can't get for any other crime."

        far more effecient than having a load of absurd laws on the books which everyone breaks so that you can use them strategically when someo

        • You forget that in addition to having a convenience of such a law, the thugs, otherwise euphemistically known as "the authorities", must also create a pretense of "working for the greater good", "justice", "defending against The Bogeyman" and similar notions, so that the sheeple feel that they are giving up all their rights for "protection" or some such nonsense. Otherwise there is a lot of pensive bleating in the shearing shack. Some even dig in their hooves, or fewer yet even try to bolt or bite, which di
        • Re:Technically true (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @03:33PM (#35695150)

          Because it's too obviously something everyone does. By making it something everyone does but not obviously so, you get a useful tool in your hands. Because it's not like anyone could credibly claim that everyone HAS to do it, simply to live.

          Another example, similar but not as dangerous, is our "TV-Tax" hunters. They come to your door and simply claim if you didn't pay your "TV tax" (that you "only" have to pay if you actually have a TV) that you're breaking the law because it's implausible that you don't have one. They're not even weaseling about it, they simply flat out accuse you of having a TV "illegally" if you don't pay for having one. The idea that you might exist without a TV is deemed impossible.

          It's not like people support such laws. It's simply that they either don't care, or that they think it won't hit them, mostly because everyone does it and they can't arrest ALL of us. No, 'they' won't. They'll single the ones out that are in some other way "unwanted".

          Reminds me of the animal rights activists who're currently under trial in Austria for (allegedly) breaking a law that was created to battle international terrorism. (Un)fortunately the law enforcement is SO inapt and bumbling that the whole thing descends into a very embarrassing mess and is generally seen as a big joke by the media and population alike. Unfortunately, it pretty much ruins the lives of those accused, and all because they targeted a store that has good ties with one of the ruling parties...

          That's what such "catch-all" laws are created for and what they're abused for: To silence dissenters.

      • Not really. Helps nail someone who you can't get for any other crime.

        If this is really the point of it then it is still a bad law. You should make breathing illegal and then you can arrest anyone you want. This of course undermines the entire point of having laws and leads back to the feudal system where you just do what the guy with the biggest pointy stick wants. It might be frustrating to not be able to get someone who is committing real crimes but the solution is not to undermine the entire system by making everyone criminals.

      • I know it seems clever to make remarks like that, but I have to wonder why they get modded up when theyre just false-- you would actually have to prove someone format shifted, and fortunately the legal systems of first world countries require something more than the circumstantial "He has an ipod, and everyone format shifts; surely he has done it". There are zillions of other laws which would be easier to get someone on than this. I cant imagine how one would try to prove format shifting.

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          Confiscate your iPod, show that you own song X. Look through your financials, show that you never purchased song X as an MP3. I'm pretty sure you can't buy MP3s with cash.

          That said, you're right. This law isn't about making everyone a crook, as popular a sentiment as that may be on Slashdot. If that were the cause, then surely there would be some example of the law being used in that way.

          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            Confiscate your iPod, show that you own song X. Look through your financials, show that you never purchased song X as an MP3. I'm pretty sure you can't buy MP3s with cash.

            Heres my most recent purchase:

            Order Summary:
            Details:
            Order # 026-7755308-*snip*
            Subtotal of Items: £7.49
            ------
            Total for this Order: £7.49

            Tron: Legacy [Music Download], Price: £7.49
            By: Daft Punk
            Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.Ã

    • Fair use isn't really the answer. The US is proof of that.

      I mean, it does help a little with things like this, but as long as some interests want to control what goes on in people's homes, and try all sorts of stupid things to enforce copyright in people's homes, keeping the current level of copyright seems like a horrific plan.

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        Which is why I would support a change to the copyright laws that automatically allows any and all kinds of format/media/time/whatever shifting of the copyrighted material when *any* type of licensing is agreed to regardless of any further agreements. That idea already exists in contract law if I am not mistaken. You can't just put anything in a contract and have it enforceable.

        Any bullshit semantics about CPU this memory this and copyrights have to be evaluated while the algorithm decodes it and then tran

        • I agree with you. Copyright should never have been extended to non-commercial uses (that was only done about 35 years ago). I say copyright laws for non-commercial uses should be repealed completely.

          By non-commercial I include home backups, online file-sharing, and library archiving. The first two are already de facto practice and stopping them means throwing privacy out the window, while libraries are limited to what they can preserve because they can't freely make copies and lots of old culture is rotti

    • Can you / someone post the matching clause for the US that demonstrates that format shifting is legal here? I'd like to put that into my files.

      • by Jaktar (975138)

        Though not set in stone, this is from the EFF website.

        Although the legal basis is not completely settled, many lawyers believe that the following (and many other uses) are also fair uses:

        Space-shifting or format-shifting - that is, taking content you own in one format and putting it into another format, for personal, non-commercial use. For instance, "ripping" an audio CD (that is, making an MP3-format version of an audio CD that you already own) is considered fair use by many lawyers, based on the 1984 Betamax decision and the 1999 Rio MP3 player decision (RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia, 180 F. 3d 1072, 1079, 9th Circ. 1999.)

        http://w2.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php [eff.org]

      • Can you / someone post the matching clause for the US

        Title 17, United States Code, section 1008 [cornell.edu]:

        No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

        • Sure, you can replace cable TV with a Netflix subscription, but you won't get sports anymore.

          You say that as if it's a bad thing.

        • No.

          First, this only makes it non-actionable; that's not the same thing as lawful. The difference is subtle yet important given other provisions in the law, most notably first sale. (I have it on excellent authority that the bill was originally going to make it lawful, but that this was changed at the behest of the recording industry)

          Second, the AHRA is almost never applicable. While it sounds like it is talking about things like using a computer to rip a CD, then copying the resulting files onto a media pla

          • by tepples (727027)

            Unless you're using a standalone audio CD recorder

            A device that rips CDs to a hard drive is very much like a standalone audio CD recorder, except in reverse.

            And given that the AHRA does things like requires compliant devices and media to support a DRM system (SCMS)

            The way I read 17 USC 1002, any system that doesn't let the user make digital serial copies would meet the definition of "a system that has the same functional characteristics as [SCMS]". For example, as I understand it, a device that doesn't let the user export the rips to a PC or to another such device or burn them to a CD would comply. What did I miss?

            and pay royalties to the recording industry

            These royalties are what, 2 percent of the whole

            • A device that rips CDs to a hard drive is very much like a standalone audio CD recorder, except in reverse.

              Oh sure, don't get me wrong; it is entirely possible to build an AHRA-compliant device, and there have been any number of them on the market at various times.

              Assuming that the manufacturer was careful to dot all the p's and cross all the q's, I can see a standalone CD to HD recorder and playback device being eligible for AHRA protection.

              Though that still doesn't mean that format shifting is generally lawful in the US which was the earlier question. There are few AHRA compliant devices and media, and they wo

      • Generally there isn't one.

        There are some specific exceptions, but whether or not they apply depend on a number of details. (E.g. 17 USC 108, 117, 1001 et seq.) Odds are good that if you aren't already familiar with a particular exception that you fall under, nothing applies to you.

        Fair use is an old standby, and it is true that any otherwise infringing activity could be a fair use, but remember that there is no guarantee that any particular activity actually will be a fair use. Fair use depends on the circu

    • by AftanGustur (7715)

      Format shifting is illegal in the UK.

      So, did they never commercialice MP3 players in the UK ?

      • Yes, they're popular here - pretty much any phone from the past decade has MP3 playback capability. Using it with ripped CDs is illegal, as was recording your LPs or CDs to tape to play back in your car back when CD players in cars were uncommon. Like I said, it's a law that practically everyone in the UK has broken, which makes it a very silly law.
    • Format shifting is illegal in the UK. Fixing this, and adding explicit fair use provisions, are both things that David Cameron has proposed. Whether they'll actually be done is another matter. It's quite ludicrous that, as it stands, we have a law that pretty much everyone in the UK has violated.

      That is... incredibly stupid. Atleast here in Finland you are legally allowed to make 2 backup copies of anything you have bought, and you are allowed to even break copy-protection schemes in order to do that as long as you don't give your backups to other people. These kinds of devices like the one in the article are quite popular and I can definitely see why. So far no one has been stupid enough to try to pull those "ripping your legally owned CDs is illegal" stunts here, and they sure wouldn't hold up in

    • by Ada_Rules (260218)

      Format shifting is illegal in the UK. Fixing this, and adding explicit fair use provisions, are both things that David Cameron has proposed. Whether they'll actually be done is another matter. It's quite ludicrous that, as it stands, we have a law that pretty much everyone in the UK has violated.

      "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't en

  • I guess there is no fair use right in Britain? It's perfectly legal to copy CDs, vinyl, and cassettes that you own for your personal use. I can't imagine it being different in the UK.
    • Do they ban USB turntables there? The reason to get one is to convert your LP's into MP3's for your portable player. How is this any different?

      Converting from CD implies the existence of the physical CD. Copying from P-P can be many generations of copies from the original.

    • by bamf (212)

      Correct, we have no fair use right at the moment.

      You're not going to get prosecuted for format-shifting for personal use, but it's not actually legal in this country.

    • "Fair use" is a legal defense, not a right. You have to get sued before you can invoke it.

  • Acceptable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ardaen (1099611) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @01:51PM (#35694498)

    implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner

    That's because it is. Personal copies are very acceptable.

    Wait wait, "format shifting" is illegal in the UK? That's messed up.

  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:00PM (#35694552) Homepage Journal

    Strange, I remember those Apple ads that said "Rip. Mix. Burn."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ECN4ZE9-Mo [youtube.com]

    Shown on UK TV. The ASA said nothing.

    If this Brennan JB7 device is illegal, so is iTunes. Is the ASA now banning any adverts from Apple that mention the software?

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:27PM (#35694696)

      If this Brennan JB7 device is illegal, so is iTunes. Is the ASA now banning any adverts from Apple that mention the software?

      The ASA acts if someone complains. Maybe nobody complained about Apple. Maybe someone complained, and Apple changed the adverts. Maybe Apple mentioned in their adverts that you mustn't copy music without permission of the copyright holder.

      And the device isn't banned, the advertisement is (in it's current form). The company has been told what they need to do: Add a notice that you need permission before copying CDs.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Ripping by companies? Perfectly OK.
      Ripping by people? Shoot them and take their money.

  • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:06PM (#35694580)

    more than 7 years ago I purchased a Hercules 80Gb mp3(256Kbit recording) device. It has Line-in recording (for turn tables), A CD drive so you
    can play and rip CD's. It also has USB so that you can copy the files to another device.
    I got it from Richter Sounds in Reading at one of their open box sales. Great device.

    The device that has been banned is really nowt new at all. I suppose my bit of kit is illegal too..?

    The ban is all down to the Music industry seeing their grim reaper on the horizon.
    FWIW, I've been buying lots of 12in disks the past few years and digitising them. Listening to some classic 60's albums has reawakend my interest in Music but in the main there is hardly anything coming onto the market now as a New Release (As opposed to a re-issue) that interests me then I'll stick to 50's->70's Rock, Blues & Jazz thank you very much.
    If any /. reader has a CD of the Beaver & Krause Album 'All Good Men' then I'd be interested in purchasing it. The Cat peed over my 12in Album and side 2 is ruined.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:07PM (#35694594)

    And the public pays and pays and pays. Here again we have people who feel that the internet only exists for them to earn a living and that all laws must support their nonsense ideas. Electronic information storage and processing has nothing to do with enabling or preserving anyone's ability to make a living. The entire concept of the net is the free flow of all information that is to beyond all private and governmental regulations.. It is simple - From Every Mountain Top Let Freedom Ring. And you may not patent the ring tone of the bell.

  • Ban BMW too? (Score:4, Informative)

    by laing (303349) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:10PM (#35694608)
    My car can rip CDs to the internal hard drive too. Should we also ban the production and sale of all BMW cars equipped with iDrive?
    • It sounds like you are concerned about the legality of some of the equipment in your BMW. It is impossible to be in full compliance by simply changing or removing the stereo equipment in the vehicle. I will be more than happy to liberate you of your legal concerns. Please provide the paper work and the keys for the car.

  • and they want their spurious argument back.

  • Don't blame the ASA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:16PM (#35694640)

    The UK doesn't have the US's fair use rules, so technically ripping your CDs is illegal, although its never enforced (at least not against individuals) .

    Record shops were always happy to sell blank cassettes, CD-Rs and MiniDiscs - you just don't shatter the illusion that an awful lot of customers are amateur musicians taping their own work by going up to the assistant and saying "Dear assistant, can you recommend a blank CD onto which I can copy this here album which I am about to purchase?"

    Basically, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

    In this case, some public-spirited person has submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about this particular ad, so there's not much the ASA can do but say, yeah, the ad incites copyright violation.

    Note that its the specific ad that's been banned - not the product. The ASA is an independent industry regulator, not a court of law - nobody has been prosecuted. The manufacturer will just have to stick in some small print.

    • by Life2Short (593815) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @03:21PM (#35695068)
      Thirty years ago Bow Wow Wow charted a song called "C30 C60 C90 Go" which basically extolled the virtues of recording vinyl onto tape.
    • Record shops were always happy to sell blank cassettes

      I for one used them to record programs and data using the CUTS format. Don't blame me!

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      ...an awful lot of customers are amateur musicians...

      Yes, they are an awful lot, aren't they.

      Ba-da-bump.

      Either way, it strikes me that the fair dealing laws in the U.K. probably cover this in effect, albeit not in letter. I'd be curious to see where this leads, particularly given the decade of de facto precedent set by iTunes and what I assume is a lack of challenges to that....

      • by itsdapead (734413)

        I'd be curious to see where this leads,

        The only place this is likely to lead is the specific advert in question (and maybe others like it) will get a subtle re-wording and a suitably legalistic footnote added in 7 point type. People will continue ripping their CDs to their iPods, and the industry will continue to ignore it unless someone rubs their noses in it.

        The government was already promising a re-write of the copyright laws and making some hopeful noises about strengthening "fair use", but don't hold your breath.

        As I said, this isn't a co

  • It does not take a lot of thinking and researching what competitors do to find that the only thing these guys need to do is add a sticker to every box stating that copying copyrighted material without permission is illegal and therefore this device is for copying other kinds of CDs. Life will then carry on as normal. Apple does the same in the UK and other places and the difference is all in the fine print.

  • by pavon (30274) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @02:38PM (#35694776)

    Forcing consumers and media device manufacturers to rely on subjective judgments of what qualifies as fair use, and thus never having any certainty about whether even the simplest and most harmless of tasks are legal or not is ridiculous.

    Copyright law grants creators of works several exclusive rights over their works including:
    * Reproducing the work.
    * Creating derivative works.
    * Distributing the work (including giving it away, selling it, renting it, etc).
    * Performing or displaying the work publicly.

    These basic fundamentals of copyright law were written when copying was expensive and difficult, and performing personal backups, format-shifting, time-shifting, and incidental copies were unheard of. These days any use of digital media requires some copying just to use the media. If you think about it, if you are copying(ie reproducing) a work but not doing any of the other things, then it is by definition for personal use, and should be covered under fair use. We should clarify the law and just eliminate copying as one of the exclusive rights altogether.

    Fair use would still be needed to determine things like how much of an article can you quote before it is too much. But those are inherently fuzzy issues, so having a fuzzy law to handle them isn't a bad thing. What a consumer can do with his goods should be cut and dry.

  • Get the police to raid the offices of the ASA AND the homes of everyone that works for them, just to check on the copyright status of the files on their iPods, mobile phones etc..

    The ASA has been a quite useless regulator, picking on crap but letting big stuff slide.

  • Format shifting illegal? That would mean speakers are illegal, as they shift electric format to acoustic which people record in their brain (ear-to-brain would also be illegal as shifts format from acoustic to electric/biological BTW).
  • "Format shifting" from bits to sound waves.... this is stupid. They format shifted from the CD to RADIO WAVES. And they say nothing. Show me the exception.
  • by Dunbal (464142) *
    It's only a matter of time before the Brits ban paper...
  • The Brennan [brennan.co.uk] kit is pretty good, and the ASA ruling is stupid.. especially when they let worse things past.

    But, the ASA isn't a statutory body and it actually has f--k all powers apart from passing the complaint on. It's basically just regulator by advertisers for advertisers, not much more than a jumped-up (and pretty worthless) trade association IMO.

  • Can make their version of reality stick.

  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @08:48PM (#35696772) Homepage Journal

    ...at least as far as the JB7's adverts in Private Eye http://www.private-eye.co.uk/ [private-eye.co.uk] are concerned. Brennan often take out one or two page spreads, along with at least two other services that offer to rip your CD's/tapes/vinyl/anything to MP3/FLAC/Vorbis/AAC for you.

    As other posters have pointed out, format shifting is illegal in the UK, meaning approx 95% of our population have broken the law at some point in their lives - something that has no doubt cost the UK 279% of the GDP every year - but it's never really been brought up by the authorities for the simple reason that such a landmark case as questioning the lawlessness of format shifting is almost certain to have major repercussions in the law, namely the introduction of fair use provisions similar to the US. Almost everyone in the UK already *thinks* format shifting is fine and dandy (hey, iTunes makes it so easy!), and any major media attention brought to it will do nothing but weaken the case of the incumbent record labels.

    Sadly, I doubt the Brennan company has the money or inclination to pursue such a case. Writing's on the wall though, I just expect it to be bundled along with "...but only if we can get 'copyright = life of every living descendant plus 200 years!". On the plus side, if Cliff Richard is busy posturing about how his songs from the 50's coming out of copyright will mean the end of all humanity, he won't have time to write any news ones (which, ironically, would actually result in the end of all humanity).

  • by Zemran (3101)

    If I put a CD into my Mac, iTunes rips it for me but Macs are in almost every film... I think that Brennan JB7 did not pay the right person enough money :-)

  • The perfect example of why copyright is screwed up is that you need one license to download an MP3 file and and stick it on your cellphone and listen to it with the cellphone media player via the cellphone speakers.

    Then you need a different license to take the same MP3 file on the same cellphone and play it via the same MP3 playing code in response to an incoming call.

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