Is this legal?

OK, so lets say my neighbor (anyone else) wants some songs for either a project or just to listen to. So S/He comes to me, says, “hey, could you please download this song and that song and some other song please?” So, rather than going to a P2P to get this music, I PURCHASE the music online, legally. Once i have collected whatever song for said person, they pay me EXACTLY the cost of the downloaded music. Once i give to them the purchased music, I remove it fro m my computer. Thus, they have paid for and received music from a legal download, and in this case I have not retained any copes of the music nor made a single penny from the transaction.

To me, this scenario is cut and dry. They paid for the music as a legal download and I have taken the steps to ensure that I have no copy nor any gain what-so-ever from this transaction. But we all know how RIAA is. Is this then, in the eyes of RIAA and their dogs (lawyers) copyright infringment???


As a non-lawyer I’d agree with you that this is absolutely legal. You’ve just acted as their agent & have in no way benefited/profited from the exercise.

Although I am no lawyer, I do have a bit of legal knowledge…the rest is common sense and experience :wink:

The case seems cut and dry, I agree. However, there is one important item that is overlooked in this case. What you may and may not do not only depends on the applicable law (which may be different in each country), but also on the agreement between you and the provider. If the license agreement stipulates that the songs you dowload (and pay for) cannot be sold, your scenario would still be a no no…regardless whether you had a personal gain or not.

The above is the technical side of things. You should also be practical. If indeed royalties are paid for the song and there is only one copy for which the fees were paid (you delete it after you transfer the song to the person who will be the beneficial owner), there will be no agency that will sue you over this.

On a final note, please also consider the technological limitations of your scenario. Some downloadservices may require security certificates to be installed…and if your “neighbour” does not have these certificates installed on his computer, he may very well not be able to play these songs…

Nope. You have purchased the license to listen to the song. The license is not transferable. The owner of the song is either the band, author(s) or the record company, depening on the contract and commitments those three parties have agreed upon.

I belive the best bet IMHO, is that giving someone a I-Tunes or Napster card as a gift and let the person receiving the gift card download the song (s) themselves. Buying a Cd for them would be the other option.

Then again giving or selling them a MP3 player with tunes already loaded in the player by you, would be illegal, as well as selling a computer with loaded tunes by you, too. Unless, of course it was YOUR music you composed created, wrote and performed.

However buying a MP3 player from a store with tunes preloaded by the manufacturer in arrangement with some record companies to promote new music, is 100% legal.

On the other hand, selling or giving away a CD coin operated jukebox with Cds loaded in it,… is legal, just as if one sold the same CDs used separatly. Same being selling a record player with a box full of vinyl. or a tape player with a box full reel to reel tapes or cassettes or 8 Tracks. (as long as all the recordings were legit to begin with).

Now if you gave or sold someone a computer with a P2P application already installed, that might be illegal…maybe for you.

If you give or sold someone a computer, then they put a P2P app on there and download some illegal stuff…its their problem.

I understand the illegalities of selling music, and that’s why in my original post I made it completely clear that in this scenario I would not be selling the music. I would not be charging the person for anything. THEY are paying the exact price of the download, and THEY are receiving the ONLY copy of the song. So what’s the difference between this scenario, or me going to the store and buying a CD that they then pay me for? Wouldn’t that be the same situation?

In reality: yes
In legal license assumption: i have no clue. I doubt you’ll get sued for it though.

In reality, DRM is most likely the biggest issue with that. You may not be ABLE to transfer in the way you suggest, unless it’s one that allows limited CD burning.

sounds legal to me and i wouldn’t be worried about it. the RIAA isn’t out there looking for people who pay for downloads off itunes, etc. not only that, but they don’t know what you do with it after you buy it and put it on a cd. and like you said, you didn’t gain. they bought it, they just used your computer to do it.