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Copying an Old CD

I have an old CD that I purchased a few years ago that is, to my knowledge, discontinued. I wanted to copy it and give it out to some of my students to help them with their ABCs. Am I allowed to?

Answer:

Although some authorities prohibit copying CD’s, many explain the reason for this as being the loss caused to the producer. If the CD has been discontinued, and there is therefore no loss to the producer, it would be permitted to copy the CD and give it out.

Sources: One of the main arguments for the prohibition of copying copyrighted items is the argument of prohibited benefit, which is derived from the fact that the ‘owner’ of the rights is losing custom from the copies being made. If the CD has been discontinued, even granted copyright ownership (not a simple question in halachic terms) the benefit one derives would be permitted, because the owner suffers no loss from it. There is further room to debate this matter (the owner could benefit if he wished, and therefore possible retains the right to prohibit use of his item), but on account of the significant doubt over the entire prohibition of copying, and the fact that the owner suffers no loss in the case of discontinued items, one may be lenient.

[According to some opinions, copyright Torah law is derived from the secular copyright law; it would be interesting to know the stance of secular law on this question.]

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