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All the music on my iPod is legal, either ripped from my own CDs or purchased from the iTunes Store.

On a road trip recently a friend said she liked the music, so I was thinking of making her a mixed CD of some of the songs.

I know I can make a mixed CD of the songs for my own use in my own car, but is it legal for me to give the mixed CD to her as a gift?


Note: Author of question is from Canada.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

In Canada this is not legal. Private copying is covered by a levy you pay on the blank CD-R media you are burning the tracks to but private copies are for your own use, they cannot be given away. There's some contrast here with CDs that's interesting. With physical media like tapes or CDs the "owner" is the person in possession of the original copy. This definition made it legit, at least in Canada, to borrow original materiel, copy it, and then return it. The levy on the CD-R covered the royalty payment for the copy (in theory) and you weren't obligated to destroy copies if the original left your possession. With downloaded content you can't give away the original in the same sense as physical media. Lending downloaded media and non-private copying of downloaded media are essentially indistinguishable actions.

Some legal alternatives in Canada:

  1. Buy all the songs in physical format and make your mix tape from those
  2. Buy her the tracks as gifts via iTunes
  3. Buy you and her a month subscription to Rdio and make her a shared playlist there

Downloaded content has taken all the romance out of making mix tapes, that's for certain.

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Under US copyright law, that is illegal, as the license you receive for the music you get through iTunes does not grant you distribution permissions.

On the other hand, you are highly unlikely to get caught, and if she likes the music she may just buy it herself. I am not recommending that you violate copyright, just stating the obvious. You should not violate copyright laws, as that would be illegal.

To be completely above-board, you could make your mix playlist, share it on the iTunes store, and gift it to her. Then she would have licenses for the music.

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Oh, I know I won't "get caught". Just wondering what's really legal and what isn't. :) Pretty sure the iTunes license says I can burn audio CDs for "personal use". I guess it all comes down to, is giving a friend a gift of a "mixed tape" in the ballpark of "personal use". – Robert Hume Jul 28 '11 at 20:44
Personally, I wouldn't consider it "personal use", but then I wouldn't think twice before doing it, either. – CajunLuke Jul 28 '11 at 20:47
In Canada this is definitely not something that falls into the category of a private copy. – Ian C. Jul 28 '11 at 21:17
Well "personal use" means your own use, does it not? – RobM Jul 28 '11 at 21:30
Where? Where does it say that? What section, paragraph, etc., states that giving a copy of music you have purchased to a friend is illegal? I won't believe a word of it until someone cites the actual verbage in U.S. law. It is not section 1008, which protects entities selling blank media and recording devices. – user9618 Aug 9 '11 at 20:08

It is a question where you live. If you live in Germany you can do that.

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I live in Canada. – Robert Hume Jul 28 '11 at 20:45
@Robert IIRC, Canadians pay a media tax on blank CDs, so this may be legal for you, too. – CajunLuke Jul 28 '11 at 20:48
The levy on blank media allows for private copies only. See my answer for details. – Ian C. Jul 28 '11 at 21:09

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