In the US, Copyrights and patients were originally justified "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.", at least according to the Constitution.

Nowadays, of course, they have become a tool for corporations to get "first dibs" on all new, useful and hopefully profitable ideas (patents), and to hang on to those ideas forever (copyright).

Ironically, Copyright is not about copying, it is about commerical exploitation. I recommend Jessica Littman's "Digital Copyright" for a fair and innovative treatment of the subject.

The Betamax decision proved the basic principle that you are entitled to repurpose for your own personal use. As long as I do not commercially exploit a work (cause a sale to be lost) I see nothing wrong with ripping my CDs to my hard drive and then playing my music back through my wireless network/TiVo/Car Stereo/MP3 player.

Also, the first sale doctrine dares to suggest that once I have bought music, the record companies have no right to tell me what I can do with it afterwards. Those who try to place restrictions before the sale will get none of my money. I do not and will not buy copy-protected CDs or DRM-restricted content. If everyone thought the way that Apple (or Sony) did, there would be no fair use… which, I suspect, is their goal.

For the record (no pun intended) I do not share music – aside for the odd track for demonstration purposes – and I do not rent music. I do not copy other people's CDs.

Concidentally, if you download music, then buy the CD, have you broken the law? Yes you have – it's a felony under the dreaded DMCA. That's where the law falls down.

I had started writing a long and detailed piece on the subject… and then I stumbled across this article. I could not have said it better.

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