Kevin C. Earle


Record companies have in recent years begun production of compact discs containing “no-copy” technology. These CDs appear to be classic CDs but are alleged to have poorer sound quality and often will not play in computers. The recording industryhas used this and other methods to stem the increasing popularity of CD copying and unauthorized music file distribution online. While the right of copyright owners to protect their intellectual property is well established, it is arguable that the methoddescribed herein interferes with a consumer’s right to make personal use of legally purchased content. Such right is alleged to stem from the Audio Home Recording Act(AHRA) passed in 1992. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed in1998, which bars the circumvention of digital copyright protection systems, makesthe exercise of this personal use right difficult or impossible in the case of copyprotected CDs. It is the author’s contention that the rights between copyright ownersand consumers of copyrighted content need to be rebalanced. A proper rebalancing should include a recognition of fair use exceptions in relation to the DMCA andpersonal use rights under the AHRA.