Re: e-book pricing

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Wed Jul 26 2000 - 13:45:34 MDT

Brian D Williams wrote:

> From: "Ross A. Finlayson" <>
> >Yes, that's true. Here's the issue, say that I trust anyone who
> >borrows my copy not to sell it to anyone, nor to send it to anyone
> >else without destroying the copy. If I do that, then it is an
> >honest and legitimate transaction, and as long as it is reasonable
> >that it is not observed simultaneously, then the copyright has
> >been preserved and I can send my friend an mp3 (MPEG I Layer III
> >audio).
> Putting on my juror hat (large black cone shaped wizard thing with
> starts and planets).
> Yes, you may loan it to your friend even as an MP3, You may not
> give your friend a copy, it must be loaned with the intention of
> returning it. You may make one copy only, any additional copies
> will be violations, and yes, copies of a copy are also violations.
> >There is an issue about it being copied, but it appears that the
> >issue is how many people are listening to it at the same time.
> >Consider, for example, if I had a collection of Savoy Brown
> >albums, which perhaps few these days spend much time playing, or
> >perhaps not, I do not track them. I might make ten thousand
> >copies yet only one or less are listening to a copy at a time.
> >So, it is about the music being freely copied, which is allowed as
> >we see by the availability of VHS and cassette tape recorders,
> >along with the various other forms of audio dubbing, and
> >satisfactory precedence.
> >So, as long as any number of people make any number of copies of
> >any recorded music that they have purchased and they make an
> >effort in good faith to ensure that it is not being overplayed,
> >then they can trade their music.
> I don't agree as I stated above, one copy for personnal use only.
> The issue is indeed copying and distribution. It is my current
> interpretation that existing copyright law permits neither without
> permission.
> Brian
> Member:
> Extropy Institute,
> Adler Planetarium
> Life Extension Foundation,
> National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
> Mars Society,
> Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W


I go to the code to see what it says about it. I find a copy of U.S.
Code Title 17 on the Internet It shows a last modified
date of March 2000 on some articles. Also

Here's an interesting one:
1002. Incorporation of copying controls


                       Prohibition on importation, manufacture, and
distribution. No person shall import, manufacture, or
                       distribute any digital audio recording device or
digital audio interface device that does not conform to--"

[ various copy control systems]. Basically, every single PC is
infringent of this, as any one can copy any digital file exactly,
although that might not apply as they are not dedicated digital sound
systems, except for those for which they are.

I am looking for where it says what rights the purchasor who has paid
for their music has with regards to making copies of it. By fair use,
copies of the works can be made as part of any kind of critical analysis
of the work, although there is interpretable leeway in how much of the
work can be copied.

Songs can be copyrighted (anyone ever pay "Happy Brithday to You"
royalties?), as can signature elements of songs (presumably samples),
perhaps even basslines.

>From Chapter 1,

"109. Limitations on exclusive rights: Effect of transfer of particular
copy or phonorecord

                       Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3),
the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this
title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the
authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the
possession of that copy or phonorecord."

Thus, once you buy a CD, cassette, minidisk, DVD, or vinyl album it is
yours to do with as you please. You can melt it or seal it in a vacuum,
you can sell it, barter it, or give it away.

This leads me to turn to 106(3), the notwithstanding clause. It's quite
significant in this context:

"106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works

                       Subject to sections 107 through 121, the owner of
a copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to
authorize any of the following: "
to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the
public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or
lending; "

So, except in cases noted in sections 107 through 121, there can be no
redistribution of the CD, and as we see 109(a) says the purchasor of the
physical media can do with it as they please, largely.

Section 106 has further express copyrights, including

" (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;"


" (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted
    work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission."

Section 106(6) would apply in our context except that we are talking
about private transmission and play.

Section 107 is about fair use. Basically, a fair use implies
non-commercial, non-entire, and non-market affecting use, open to
interpretation. You can still quote the lyrics.

This section appears to have some relevant information in this context:

What I hope to find is the wording on what personal copies are allowed.
Physically, any digital media playback device will pass an
interpretation of the data through various components of the device,
thus copies exist. I hope someone of a more scholarly bent can tell us
what the actual rules are about copying purchased media.

Noone ever signed an agreement when they bought an album from the record

I think copyrights are good, but only to prevent actual commercial
exploitation. I think those on the commodity level are in it to make
money off of the artists and consumers, and they are the primary
proponents of even furtherly restrictive laws preventing the copying of

I read about this some more. Basically, my understanding was that more
than one copy of the media can be made by the purchasor of the media for
private use.

Even if not, there are ways to get about, and there could be an online
web service where people can check in their albums when they are not
listening to them, with a priority to check them back out personally
when they would, thus that there could be a completely legal online
music lending library with distributed contributors, if there isn't
already. Badda boom, badda bing.


Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:

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