Law in the US

Does anyone know if it is legal to purchase a backup copy of software if you already own a copy of it? I thought it was.

I can not say for sure (have no experience in US law), but purchasing a backup copy is not considered legal I think, even though you already have one original.

I can imagine however if you would lend your original copy to have someone else make a backup copy, for example because you don’t have the proper equipment, it is different. In this case you don’t pay for a product, but you pay for a service (hence the backing up), provided that you hand over a blank CDR as well (so it is not a product you buy).

Perhaps it looks the same to you, but there is a big difference in both situations, from a legal perspective.

Okay, I’m a US citizen (born and raised), so I should be able to satisfactory answer your question. The laws are sort of half-ass backwards if you ask me.

It’s not legal to distribute any copied software, period, end of sentence. Free, bought, or otherwise. Even if you own the software already, it would still be illegal to buy a copy of it. Why you ask? Well, copyright laws in the US say that you can do whatever you want (sure sure, like they really mean it [there was an actual trial over this when Playstation emulation started]) with the product as long as you legally bought it and you can do it with ONLY that specific product. You must only restrict the use of that copied CD to yourself, God forbid anyone else lay their eyes upon it.

Case scenero, I have a Win2k CD and my friend also has a Win2k CD. My CD is damaged and no longer works. It would be illegal for me to make a copy of his CD even though I already own the software. But it would be legal for me to make a backup of my CD (if it worked). It would also be illegal if he installed Win2k on my system with his CD.

However, if someone were to burn a backup for you, I’m pretty sure that’s legal, so long as they don’t take any material off the CD and keep it.

Alright, now here’s where the half-ass backwards comes in.

IF you happen upon some warez or pirated software (which of course NEVER happens), it is legal to keep it for 24 hours (trial period), at which time you must delete it and all copies of it after the 24 hour period is over. After the 24 hours it is illegal to have. Now if it’s illegal to distribute and illegal to have copies of, why is it legal to have it for 24 hours? LOL

Hmm, those are the only laws I can think of at the moment, if I happen to remember more (because I always abide by them) I’ll post them.

Oh yes, just remembered the penalities. For each offenses= you can get up to a $10,000 fine and 5 years in a federal prision. So technicially, for each MP3 you own, that’s what you pay.


Hmmm…then I was correct, even without knowledge of US law :wink:

Maybe I should start practice US law :smiley:

While surfing the net to gather information for an article we plan to write, I ran into this site which may help you in issues concerning copyright law:

It is no extensive research done there, but might help answer some questions that you may have concerning this topic.

Thanks for the info guys. It was all helpfull.

I can not find a provision in law that allows anyone to make a copy for personal use at all. I have read the complete Digital Millennium Copyright Act Summary but all I could find were exceptions such as ‘fair use’, to which I can not attribute the making of a copy for personal use.

When I read the latest news on this subject on the website of the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) i understand that it is only part law that allows a backup copy for personal use and for the most part is an agreement between consumer organisations and the member states. As for European citizens, things have become worse since February 14th when the European Parliament decided to limit the rights to make a backup copy for personal use (read the full article).

So what I am trying to find (and I hope someone here can help me find it) is the exact provision in law (or agreement between consumer organisations and the various governments; for US, Europe and other countries of the world) that states that a backup copy for personal use is allowed*

Any help will be greatly appreciated (and the information will be used for an article I am planning to co-write for this site, so you might get credits if the information is good :wink: )

  • We all assume it is, but my experience is that many people have a misconception of law sometimes and think that something is legal when it is not (but can be condoned). An example of this is soft drugs in the Netherlands, it is not legal, it is merely condoned, that is a difference.