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Would a filesharing cooperative be legal?

22 April 2004 One Comment

If two people split the cost of buying a CD, do they both have the right to listen to it? Do they both have the right to make a back-up copy of the CD for their own purposes? Do they both have the right to download the songs onto their computers and MP3 players to listen to? What if three people split the cost of a CD? What about four.. or five.. or two-thousand people?

Wouldn’t it be legal to create a cooperative where each person pays for a fraction of the cost of a song that they want, and then they would be granted the right to have ownership of a copy of that song? Has this ever been tried before? Is there any precedence for a legal judgement on an entity of this sort?

With software, you are typically paying for a license, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t be able to do something like this. If you buy a song online, they may make you agree to a contract that limits the number of copies that you can make of a song. But what if you actually buy a tangible CD from a store?

Does anybody have any insight on this? I’d definitely appreciate some comments or trackbacks.

One Comment »

  • Kennedy said:

    You’d have to read the license agreement on the music. I suspect that some legal incidence is created when you buy a cd, and that two people can’t share it. You can transfer the license, but if you, say, ripped mp3s of the CD, then gave it away, you’d be in possession of illegal tracks, as they came from a CD you don’t own.

    In other words, you buy a recording of it, but you also by the rights necessary to own it for personal use. I would be amazed if those rights are constructed in such a way that they can be owned by more than one individual.

    Nevermind the economics of it. I bet they’d love it if 100 people each payed 1 cent for a song instead of them each paying a dollar.