Avoiding criminality?

Does anyone know what the current situation is with music download sites in Australia? I briefly used dodgy sites like Kazaa and Morpheus a couple of years ago, and allowed [my daughter] Rebecca to do so as well. I eventually made her stop doing it partly because I was conscious that it was a conduit to wholesale stealing of other people’s music, but mostly because Bec was downloading increasing numbers of viruses and other problem files (and various other headaches I won’t go into).

However, Jen and I have been trying to get back into downloading music the legal way over the last couple of weeks. We’ve downloaded and installed Apple iTunes and Napster on 2 separate computers. They’re both (now at least) sites which have legal contractual arrangements with the various music licensing organisations. But they simply don’t work on our PCs. Does anyone know why? We get messages such as “We’re sorry, Napster [iTunes] is not currently available in your country …”

Do others experience this problem? Or is it some problem with our PCs? Or our ISP (Ozemail)? We’re perfectly happy to pay for songs we want to download, but at the moment it seems we have no choice but to use the dodgy (and predominantly illegal) services like Kazaa and Morpheus. It seems really stupid. Is it because Australia is yet to agree to extend its copyright protection period to the extortionate 70 year duration now mandated in the US? Or what?

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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liam hogan
2022 years ago

It’s because copyright law is specific to nation, not universal to the internet. You’ll have to wait until the Apple corporation decides there is enough of an Australian market to justify an iTunes online store.
Currently there is no legal use for an mp3 player like an iPod, except for playing speech or music which is both spoken/played and recorded by the owner.
Crazy. One of the many examples of the free market making criminals. Consider the famous anarchist precept though; that all property is theft, and teach your daughters about virus scanning and open-source software.

Robert
2022 years ago

except for playing speech or music which is both spoken/played and recorded by the owner

… or if you have permission from the artist.

GuruJ
GuruJ
2022 years ago

The only two legal music download stores I am aware of in Australia are Sanity Downloads (http://sanity.destramusic.com/) and HMV downloads (http://www.hmv.ninemsn.com.au/).

HMV is an OD2 store, which gives it a pretty good range of around 20,000 tracks [I used to use the Virgin UK store for a while until they locked me out :( ], but Sanity has the benefit that you can just purchase two or three tracks if you want and has mainly Aussie music.

Alex
Alex
2022 years ago

Another site is bigpond music http://bigpondmusic.com/

Fairly competitive on price, I believe. Good range of Aus bands, too.

qm
qm
2022 years ago

Another one is mp3.com.au which offers free downloads of original music that people make available but also has a paid section offering commercial releases.

qm
qm
2022 years ago

Also, napster doesn’t work because they haven’t obtained licenses for Australia yet. The current Kazaa litigation might shed some more light as to the legality/illegality of this sort of stuff.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

We’ve recently discovered LIMEWIRE – which seems to work well with i-tunes. It’s shareware, free (tho’ you can up-grade for a price). Difficult to ascertain the legality — from a quick google it seems to be a little uncertain — pending the outcome of the kazaa case, I guess.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Wen

The kazaa case won’t determine anything about the legality of people downloading music from others who don’t own the copyright (which is what nearly all kazaa, morpheus, limewire etc users do). There’s simply no doubt that that is an unlawful breach of copyright. What Kazaa are (essentially) trying to argue is that they don’t authorise their users to do this, and therefore shouldn’t be held legally responsible for the unquestionably unlawful activities of their users (like you, if you download music using those services – including Limewire – without checking whether the person from whom you downloaded had any legal right to allow you to make a copy – because almost certainly they don’t have any such legal right).

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Uh-oh.

Thought it was too good to be true! Goodbye, Limewire….

darryl rosin
darryl rosin
2022 years ago

As I understand it, the legal situation is now much more restrictive since Jan 1 when the “FTA” copyright amendments came into force.

Previously, downloading was not a crime, nor was ripping a CD you’d purchased. It _was_ against the law, but it only exposed you to civil proceedings by the copyright holder. Making a work available for download would likely be a crime, but not downloading.

Now, _any_ unauthorised duplication is a crime, including the copy made in a player’s RAM. So the act of playing viewing or listening to an infringing digital copy of a work is a crime. And all those iPods are now being used for criminal activities. Listen to a song 8 times and that’s 8 infringing copies being made (plus the one you made when you copies the song onto the iPod and the one you made when you ripped the CD)

It also seems that now, if you were to go to the US and legally buy a song from ITMS, then bring it back to Australia and play it you’ll be making an infringing copy and comitting a crime, since you don’t have permission from the Au copyright holder to make the temporary copy in RAM. Worse, if you import copies legally made in another juridiction into Au and then sell them you might be authorising infringement.

Sorry for carrying on, this sort of craziness gets me all uptight.

d

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

ken – darryl is right. In Australia almost anyone who uses an iPod to play music will be doing it illegally. If you make another copy of a CD you own to play in the car that is against the law. If fact even the act of creating (ripping and converting) an MP3 to your hard drive from CD you own is aginst the law.

Vee
Vee
2022 years ago

I figure Tony? Healy would be the person to ask

All I recall is all those companies, etc, are getting sued.

Though I’m confused how they sue BitTorrent the best of the lot – as its not a company but a protocol as i understand it

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

The iTunes Music Store isn’t yet available in Oz. I’ve had good experiences so far with allofmp3.com, which is based in Russia. It’s quite cheap, and seems that it is not in fact illegal, except in the sense that all digital music stuff seems to be illegal in this country.

Robert Merkel
2022 years ago

Vee: you can’t sue “Bittorrent”, but you can sue anybody hosting a torrent of illegal material.

FX Holden and Darryl: just to clarify, the illegality of Ipod use is not a new thing. It has *always* been illegal to copy stuff for personal use in Australia, all the way back to cassette tapes and VCR’s. Yes, that’s right, just about everybody in Australia is breaking the current copyright laws. There is no equivalent of the Betamax decision in the US here. Is the law an ass? Certainly. Did Vaille and co bugger it up more by signing up to the FTA? Yep.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Robert

It was well worth pointing out that copying copyright material (including with a VCR or audio cassette recorder) has always been illegal. But I’m perfectly happy to make a moral (if not legal) distinction between (say) taping a TV program (when you’re not depriving the copyright holder of income in any meaningful sense, because you’d hardly go and buy a copy of the prgram even if you coudln’t tape it, even if it was available – which it usually isn’t), and buying pirate movie DVDs in Indonesia (which IS depriving the owner of income, because you’d otherwise have to buy the DVD legally here, and a legal copy almost certainly is or will be available).

Similarly, I don’t reagrd it as morally wrong to make a backup copy of a CD you already own, or transfer it to an MP3 player for convenience. You’ve already bought it, and you’re hardly going to buy a second copy whatever happens, so the owner is being deprived of nothing. By contrast, people who illegally download songs over Kazaa etc that they don’t already have a copy of ARE depriving the owner. If they want it they should buy it. That’s why I’m so peeved that the big online outfits like iTunes and Napster aren’t operating in Australia yet. As someone said earlier in the thread, they’re almost forcing people to break the law even when they’d prefer to do it legally.

darryl rosin
darryl rosin
2022 years ago

Ken – if you’re looking for someone to be peeved at about the sorry state of online Music is Australia, you should probably point your evil eye at the rights holders – the record companies. Apple have got ITMS roll-outs down to a fine art and can do it cheaper than you might think. The problems they face are the licence negotiations.

Robert – I’m sorry that didn’t come through more clearly in my comment – ripping CDs (or taping albums) has always been illegal, but it wasn’t a *crime* until Jan 1.

On Betamax, I think you might be confusing it with the Audio Home Recording Act (1992) and the ‘fair use’ provision of US Copyright law. Betamax established that so long as a device has a substantial non-infinging use, the manufacturers of the device are not liable for infringing uses by other parties.

AHRA created the right to transfer copyrighted audio works from one medium to another, with a levy on blank media and digital recording devices payable to copyright holders. I _think_ Hawke or Keating tried something similar, but were stymied by music industry lobbying and some sort of legal problem with creating a “tax” that was paid directly to the copyright holders. (I’m hazy on this, and I’d appreciate hearing from anyone who knows more details about it.)

Americans also enjoy extremely broad ‘fair use’ rights covering unauthorised non-commercial and commercial use of copyrighted works. Making a tape to play in your car stereo is “fair use’ under American law, as is a commerically released parody version of a popular song. No equivalent rights exist in Australia.

regards,

d

darryl rosin
darryl rosin
2022 years ago

And since we’re talking about dumb Australian copyright (well, I’m talking about it at least…)

You know why we don’t (and won’t) have a TiVO/PVR service in Australia?

Tivo requires an online TV guide so it can make decions about what shows you’d like to see. Elsewhere in the world, things like TV guides and whitepages are not copyrightable, usually because they lack originality.In Australia, however, the law recognises copyright in the _ordering and arrangement_ of information that would otherwise be not copyrightable.

Thus, the TV stations hold the copyright to the programme lisitings and they can’t be put online without permission. And permission is not forthcoming because the stations don’t want tivos threatening their ad revenues.

OK, I promise not to talk about copyright anymore.