Restriction of the right to private copying

Restriction of the right to private copying

Copy-protected CDsWith every blank CD and with every audio cassette we buy the right to copy our legally purchased CDs and cassettes, as well as those of our friends. The music industry has been complaining for some time now about declining sales. The artistic quality of so-called top music has dropped drastically. For the music industry, of course, this is the fault of the customers, who no longer buy the CDs but only copy the music.

On the idea that the quality has declined and that "top music" is not really a copy protection has become a disposable product that no longer has any spiritual value, they don't come at all. While groups like Hall& Oats or Supertramp have found themselves making music in their own style, Bro'Sis and No Angles are put together by casting companies to make chart-worthy music that lasts a few weeks, maybe a year, and then disappears into obscurity again.

In order to win back their floating cases, more and more companies in the music industry are resorting to unfair means and blowing the whistle on the audio CD standard. Cds with so-called copy protection can no longer be played in all drives, z.B. In CD drives in the PC, so that they can no longer be copied. Insignificant features of the audio CD are exploited, which are ignored by many analog players, so that the music can still be played there.

However, not all CD players behave this way and also play "broken" CDs CDs, but many implement exactly the audio CD standard and can therefore no longer play these CDs, as they are no longer standard-compliant. The result is "extreme annoyance", because many new CDs are so neutered and you only find out at home if the CD can be played or not.

So you have to make sure in the store that you can return the CD and get the money refunded if the CD can't be played in your own drives. Such CDs are often no longer marked with the audio CD logo, so if you look closely you can recognize them as broken CDs. You have to be more careful with mail order companies in the internet, there the money is gone faster and it is hard to find a contact person.

In this discussion, however, one must take a closer look at the situation. Analog signals are stored digitally on a CD. In order to listen to them, they have to be converted back into analog signals so that they can be output on analog speakers. To do this, the CDs must first be read. However, if they can be read, you can direct the signals somewhere else than on the speaker, z.B. On a second CD. Thus a copy protection is nothing more than the attempt of a playback protection. And if you can't play the CD anymore, it's not even worth the silver disc it's pressed on.

On the other hand, one should also consider how CDs with and without "copy protection" are actually used and P2P offers behave. The latest CDs in the charts are selling like hot cakes, with and without copy protection. At least in Germany there are no differences worth mentioning. However, as soon as a person manages to copy the tracks of the CD and put them on the net, they are available on the file sharing networks. You can find all current titles without problems. Nevertheless the numbers of the CD sales of the current chart CDs do not sink significantly. Maybe file sharing is not the reason for the often lamented problems of the music industry after all?

For individual people, however, the annoying question arises in the case of a CD with copy protection: buy and be annoyed or don't buy and help yourself in the file sharing network around the corner? The pseudo-copy protection causes at least a playback protection on different devices. Without great tricks often also copying to the MP3 player for on the way. In the file sharing networks you can still find the titles and copy them to the desired media without any problems. Doesn't the music industry cut into its own flesh?

Interestingly, we are hit with this problem to this extent only in Germany. In Great Britain such broken CDs could not become generally accepted, the protests of the customers were too large. In the USA, the music industry does not dare to put such neutered CDs on the market. The effects are not only felt in the private sector, where many people no longer buy CDs out of protest, but also on the radio, when z.B. The garrulous moderator complains loudly that he has received yet another CD of an interesting band that he can't play back.

– Heise: New group steps in to plug 'analog hole' on (25.2.2003) – Heise: Un-CDs, no thanks! (22.3.2003) – Heise: Audio CDs with copy shoe (22.3.2003) – Kristian Köhntopp: Don't buy CDs anymore (15.4.2003) – Heise: Philips concerned about copy protection for audio CDs (27.5.2003) – Heise: French consumer protectionists sue against CD copy protection (28.5.2003) – Wired: Copy protection is a crime against humanity (30.5.2003)

Peer-to-peer activities

With peer-to-peer networks files are exchanged. The participants mostly do not know each other, but exchange music and videos over the Internet. With the argument of being able to download digital movies and music from the Internet, broadband connections were advertised and promoted. This is done now and with the help of file-sharing networks many users exchange digital movies and music.

Rights advocates such as the RIAA and MPAA in the U.S. Have long sought legal action against digital content providers. Since this is not so successful, institutions should be able to monitor users via software and determine exactly who is sharing which files with whom and when. In true Big Brother fashion, students at American universities are to be monitored for their use of – CHIP: Monitoring P2P traffic at American universities (22.2.2003) – Heise: Ministry of Justice sees digital private copying as a "source of danger (3.5.2003) – ZDnet: File-sharing users buy more music (9.5.2003) – Heise: RIAA vs Students: Defendants collect donations (11.5.2003) – Heise: Bertelsmann sued again for Napster (13.5.2003)

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The DMCA from the USA is a pretty nasty law that criminalizes the publication of techniques and methods that are capable of circumventing copy protection mechanisms. Bruce Perens was not allowed to publicly show how he stripped off the region code of his American DVD player. To watch the DVD, which had been bought legally, but in Britain.

The matter takes on rather bizarre features, because from now on it is a punishable offence in the USA to do what you like with the things you have legally acquired, e.G. To use them for your own purposes.B. Watching legally purchased DVDs and showing others how to do this.

So was allowed z.B. Even the American mathematics professor Edward Felten does not publish the vulnerabilities of two digital watermarks without facing a lawsuit. In the same way, two students were not allowed to disclose security vulnerabilities in the commercial learning platform Blackboard.

With the latest copyright amendment, something similar now exists in Germany. It is probably still permissible to make a copy, in private, but the tool, which may be required for this, z.B.

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