The FBI’s new antipiracy label

I consider myself a law-abiding citizen; I haven’t been to jail or fined for breaking the law. Today I bought the new Audioslave CD, “Out of Exile,” and I noticed the new FBI Anti-Piracy sticker on the back. I don’t burn copies of a CD and give them out or sell them. Instead, I burn one copy for the car and download the music into my computer to use with my portable digital jukebox. They are strictly for personal use; I do not broadcast their contents illegally, share them online, or give them away. I am not rich enough to buy multiple copies of one album, and doing so is practically ridiculous. But the anti-piracy sticker got me thinking and researching, so here is what I’ve found.

The FBI is working with recording associations (Recording Industry of America Association – RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America – MPAA) to help stop piracy of their members’ materials. Technically, according to an RIAA lawyer, it is illegal to copy music from a copyrighted source to another. However, the practicality of enforcing the law is so difficult that it is rarely pursued. The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 states that “copyright holders cannot sue the average user for making home recordings of their music” (Van Ness, see CD Burning Software Review article below).

Below are some links that provide more information. In the meantime, I’ll continue my current practice.

United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Investigative Programs Cyber Investigations – The Anti-Piracy Warning Seal article: Copying Music to CD: The Right, the Wrong, and the Law – For the Record: The RIAA Position on Home Copying (1998)

US Code 17 – Copyrights

CD Burning Software Review article: Is CD copying illegal?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Of 1998 – US Copyright Office Summary (this opens a 71 KB PDF file on the US Copyright Office’s web site)

BBC News article: Why that mix CD might be illegal (Nov 10, 2003)