WichiTalk editor Lori O’Toole Buselt has written a column to clear up some bad advice we published Monday in a story about selling your used CDs. As part of that package, we suggested copying music from a purchased CD to an MP3 player or other device, then selling the original CD.
Unfortunately, as several readers pointed out to us, to do so runs afoul of copyright law.
To understand the legalities of the issue, Lori consulted with The Eagleâ€™s attorney, Kent Meyerhoff of local firm Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch. Meyerhoff specializes in copyright issues, and told her:
"When you purchase a CD, you essentially are buying the right to listen to that music when you want, how you want. Copyright law does not permit copyright owners (recording artists, record labels, etc.) to sue you if you make a copy of a CD you buy — as long as that copy is for your own private, noncommercial use. That means you can burn a copy to your iPod, your computer or another disc — as long as you keep the original CD.
"There are limits to what you can do with those copies — and, in some cases, even with the original CD. You cannot sell or give away the copies. You can loan the original to friends as long as you donâ€™t keep a copy of the same music in the meantime. But if youâ€™ve made a copy of the CD, you canâ€™t get rid of the original without getting rid of the copies, too. Because otherwise youâ€™re left with an unauthorized copy and no rights to it.
"Itâ€™s also an infringement of copyright law to borrow a CD from a friend or other source (the library, for example) and burn a copy to keep for yourself.
â€œIt does get confusing,â€ Meyerhoff said.
In her column, Lori notes that several readers contacted The Eagle this week raising questions about the information.
"I appreciate them taking the time to write and point out the error," she said. "Feedback like theirs makes WichiTalk and The Eagle better. Iâ€™d also like to know if you have other questions about what you have the rights to do with CDs, MP3s, DVDs, etc. This week has shown that there is a lot of interest in and confusion about what rights people have with their music. And weâ€™d like help you find those answers."