Thinking about selling my CD collection = MP3


I am having serious thoughts about selling my 1,500 or so CD collection and going to MP3 playback format. At one time I use to have the time and sit in front of my system and really listen, I mean sit and really get into the music. Now with two kids, and the band that I play guitar in, there is simply no time. My listening consists of in the car or in the house while I am doing something else. I am thinking about ripping my collection to my computer, selling the CDs and my CD player and using a large storage MP3 player as my source. Any thoughts? Anyone else out there do this?
gretsch6120
If you sell the CD's then legally you cannot play the music you downloaded. Falls into the same category of borrowing CD's to download. I know that this may not bother some, but it is one of the reasons to hold onto the collection. Another would be if a new better system was developed for downloading, computers seem to change often.
Depending on which country you are in, you may be breaking the law.
I'm not sure I agree with Davt's legal interpretation, but notwithstanding, I think you should do your MP3 transfer for now and just put the CDs in dead storage. For 2 reasons:

1.) You won't get that much for them. You'll get a buck apiece as a collection. Unless you want to sell them individually and your time isn't worth anything.

2.) You sound like a young person, so take a tip from an old person: the time WILL come when you'll wish you had kept them because they will have acquired new meaning/value for you (and some of them will possibly have become collector's items.)

Get some plastic (poly-cardboard) CD storage boxes cheap from Bags Unlimited and put 'em away. You'll be glad you did. Unfortunately I won't be here for you to thank me ;--)

Oh yeah, store the CDP too, if it's something decent.
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Agree with Nsgarch. The audio community is replete with members who sold off their vinyl collection in favor of those shiny little discs 15-20 years ago. Many of them are now wearing "kick me hard" signs on the seat of their pants.
I'd probably do this:

1) Rip the CDs to FLAC (*lossless* compression) and store on a series of big drives. USB external drives are crazy cheap right now and getting cheaper.

2) Store the CDs or sell them as needed.

3) Use a LinkSys Wireless MusicBridge and WinAmp to playback the lossless files thru your home system.

-RW-

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too...
Do people out there believe that it is going to come to a point that we will not be able to go to a store and purchase a CD? That we will purchase an "album" as a download only? I do believe that this will happen. I have hooked up a friend’s mp3 player to my system, and the results were fantastic. I could not tell the difference between the mp3 and playing the same selection on my CDP! I also find it thrilling to be able to bring my entire collection with me on a very small device. By the way, Nsgarch, I am 40 years young and have been through a few high end components, tube stuff, speakers, etc., too much to think about! Anyone interested in purchasing a CD collection :>)
Despite your question, and despite several of the answers recommending keeping the CDs, it seems to me that you had made your decision before you started the thread, Gretsch6120.
Gretsch, I think you're missing the point. No one has said that MP3 or digital files are not the wave of the futre. They are saying two things:

1. Ripping your cd's to computer and then selling the disc is illegal.
2. Hang on to your cd's. When you get older you will want to look at back at your collection of discs.
Didn't have time to revise my post above before S7horton posted.

I agree with those who suggest ripping your CDs and then storing them. If your MP3 files become corrupted, or if your hard drive(s) fail, and you don't have the CDs as back-up, then you're screwed.

Also, selling the discs may be illegal after ripping them, but it's a law with no teeth, and no desire displayed to enforce it.
S7Horton - I beleive that I am understanding their point(s), well taken at that. No, my mind is not (quite) made up at this point. Just wanted to generate discussion on an interesting subject.
I'm having a really hard time understanding these legal issues:

First, I've always understood that it's perfectly legal to make a single copy of a CD (purchased retail) for one's own use -- whether it's on your server, iPod, optical disc or cassette.

Second, I don't think there is anything illegal about selling a CD used (originally purchased retail) and keeping the one copy you made legally. Are you supposed to destroy your legal copy if you sell the original disc used? Talk about a law with no teeth! Why do they even bother?
Yea and want about used record and CD stores? Are they breaking some law by even being in business or am I breaking some law by shopping there? I don't get any of it!
I'm not sure you can really say there is "no teeth" when the RIAA is out there suing people for downloading mp3s.

The legal issue, if I remember a prior thread on this correctly, is that the act of copying is either fair use or not, and today's copyright law tends to measure whether or not its fair use at the time the act is committed. Thus, making a copy of a disk you own is probably fair use. Making a copy of a disk you do not own is not. There is also the first sale doctrine that permits you to sell a CD you have legally acquired. Put those together and you may "legally" have the right to copy a CD you own and sell the original. I happen to think that if a judge was called upon to decide whether you not a person copying a 1.5K collection of CDs and then selling the originals was engaged in "fair use," s/he might find the copying was *not* fair use.

Regardless of the pure legality or illegality of the act, however, seems to me that fairness to the artist dictates not keeping a copy if you sell the original.
10-10-06: Edesilva
I'm not sure you can really say there is "no teeth" when the RIAA is out there suing people for downloading mp3s.
Edesilva, downloading MP3s is not the issue presented in this thread.

The issue raised here concerns a consumer ripping CDs he owns, and then being charged with a crime should someone decide to search his hardrive, find MP3s and then demand to see the original commercially produced CDs from which the files were ripped. Clearly, no law enforcement agency is going to devote resources to such a campaign.
You are breaking the law when you rip the cd and THEN sell the disc. You can rip it and keep it. It's your music you paid for. But, it's when you rip it and then sell it to someone else that it is illegal.

Regarding used cd stores: when I sell a used cd to a store, I don't own the music anymore. They can sell to someone else because it hasn't been copied. Now, does that mean used cd stores don't sell discs that have been ripped? Absolutely not. No one has any idea whether a used disc has been ripped or not. But, that alone doesn't make it legal.
"Agree with Nsgarch. The audio community is replete with members who sold off their vinyl collection in favor of those shiny little discs 15-20 years ago. Many of them are now wearing "kick me hard" signs on the seat of their pants."

Spoken like an antique audio dealer. Maybe your clients are nostalgic , most of mine are glad they're gone.

And you don't have to compress you music you can copy it exactly to your music server.

See soon the idea of playing any disc will be quite foriegn.

Legally you can sell your discs and use your copies just don't give the copies to anyone else or DJ a wedding. And you won't attract any attention that could make you a test case for your position.

Ciao.
10-10-06: S7horton
You are breaking the law when you rip the cd and THEN sell the disc. You can rip it and keep it. It's your music you paid for. But, it's when you rip it and then sell it to someone else that it is illegal.
Precisely, and that's why I asked the question what law enforcement agency is going to devote resources to such a campaign? How does law enforcement prove that the CDs were sold after being ripped? They're going to devote taxpayer dollars to a sting operation to catch individual sellers of CDs? Doubtful. Thus, I believe the law has no teeth as it applies to this situation.

Here's a question that pertains to the downloading issue. Let's assume someone owns no CDs and has a hard drive full of MP3s that were purchased and downloaded from iTunes. Some law enforcement agency discovers the MP3s on the person's hard drive and charges the individual with possessing illegal downloads. How does law enforcement prove the downloads were illegally obtained? How does the owner prove that the MP3s were legally purchased? Are the purchased MP3s encoded somehow to provide proof of purchase? Is the owner expected to keep receipts for the hundreds of songs he/she has downloaded?

Anyway, in Gretsch6120's situation, I believe the core of the issue regarding the decision to keep or sell his CDs is one of having the material available as back-up if his computer files or drives fail.
Nsgarch, it is complicated and can be very frustrating. It is illegal to copy copywritten material for financial gain or to deprive the owner of the material of financial gain, thus incurring damage. The person who buys your used CD does not reimburse the owner of the copy written material, you continue to have access to the music even though you no longer have the copy written material and have incurred reimbursment from your original purchase. I do think that it is not a big deal and the record labels pursue it to much in most cases, but can you imagine if even 10% of the music listening community downloaded thier millions of CD's and put the used ones on the market, the kind of financial damage that would cause the music industry. It used to be very insignificant but now when people are getting rid of entire collections it can be big big money. i.e. 1500 cd's at $15 each is $22,500.00, and just one collection.

Besides, I listen mostly to LP's and everyone knows that everytime an LP is downloaded a Fairy dies in Neverland.
Will you someday down the road be able to sit and listen again, and if you can will you regret your selling of your collection? It is already spent money and CD's will keep forever, why not hold onto them?
As far as a question of not being able to keep music on file that you sold seems really silly...you payed for it, so what happens when you buy a used CD from a second hand music store, since you only payed a fraction of original cost does that mean you should only be able to rip a fraction of its content?
>most of mine are glad they're gone<

Most of us wish the same about you.
I really don't think I will miss them when / if I sell them, as long as I have a secure way of digitally storing them. External hard drives are an option.
External hard drives are an option.
Gretsch6120 (Threads | Answers)
Make certain you have at least two separate back up hard drives, as each can fail. Also, it'd be good to know whatever interface connection they provide will be around in two years when you'll have to transfer your files to the next generation of storage drives. Remember the scuzzy? Wasn't that long ago...

I recall buying a Syquest drive many years ago after doing a lot of research. It was the most reliable and popular external drive at the time. I backed up my files diligently. Two years later, the interface was outdated, my Syquest drive became a doorstop and the storage media became coasters.

Computer audio brings it's own set of unique problems to the hobby.
Click here for a long boring discussion on the legality of it. After this discussion I came to a few conclusions based on the idea that what you are buying is not a physical item as much as the right to listen to the music when you want to. The disc has no real value, it is the music that the disc can produce that has value.

Most everyone agrees that

1. if you buy an original you can make a copy for yourself if you keep the original
2. you can sell the original if you don't keep a copy
3. buying an original and selling a copy is illegal.

If 3 is true as most agree, then how can buying the original, keeping a copy, and then selling the original be any different?

From the previous discussion it is clear that many view the record industry with disdain and can rationalize anything they do in light of this. I've been through this debate in the previous post and don't want to do so again, but it is interesting to see how widely varying the opinions are on this.

As to the original question, keep the CDs. They aren't very valuable, don't take up much room, it's probably illegal, and no matter how you copy them you are putting yourself at risk of losing the music when your storage media ultimately fails.
...keep the CDs. They aren't very valuable, don't take up much room, it's probably illegal, and no matter how you copy them you are putting yourself at risk of losing the music when your storage media ultimately fails.
Herman (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
I'm with Herman on this 100%.
My buddy's hard drive AND backup went down - and there went all his music. He is super bummed to say the least.
I would suggest purchasing a music server that has a built in hard drive and access to the internet. It makes it easy to rip your cds to the hard drive and also furnishes the cover art. They will automatically classify your CDs and show the cover art. Keep the CDs as back up. I am taking this path and am please with the results using an escient E2-200. FYI - I use a 320kps compression and can bairly hear the differance between "real time" CDs and the compressed version.
Gretsch6120 ,Since you don't have time to listen,WHEN are you going to find time to burn 1500 cd's??Add 10 or 15 minutes time to EACH cd to record at proper levels and other adjustments etc.The cd's you now have play in your car where you listen the most.I have more than 1500 cd's and 1200 lps.None are for sale and on My system and MANY others mp3's don't sound as good as cd's or records.Not even close.Keep your CD's !!See Aball 's comments above,Nightmare.How much will it cost to replace even 1/2 of your collection when your hard drive goes down??MY .02.JD
Why MP3? You could get a large hard drive (say 4-500GB) and put all your CDs on there in lossless format. Lossless gives you about 50% compression. Estimating 500MB your average CD, you should be able to put 1600-2000 CDs on a single hardrive.

In any case, keep the CD's around or purchase at least a second hard drive for backup. No way, I would be seeling mine.

Good luck!

Rene
I did something like what you are suggesting, but I did keep most of my collection in case of failure. I burned to two separate hard drives and backed up additionally on DVD's. The latter is a bit of a PITA, but makes for added piece of mind. Yeah, like others have said, hard drives can, and do fail. Backup or perish. Media and storage space is relatively cheap when compared with the time and aggravation of the alternative. I sold off about 300 CD's that I rarely listen to and wouldn't miss that much if I lost them. I did a nickel in the state pen for selling the CD's. My advice to you is do your time, don't look anyone in the eye, don't bend over to pick up the soap in the showers, and definitely don't tell'em what you're in there for. Make something good up like jay walking or removing tags from the bottom of sewn furniture.

Marco
Marco,
Were you permitted conjugals with your hard drive? All's I know is I've had one go down on me, and nothing else feels quite like it.
Were you permitted conjugals with your hard drive? All's I know is I've had one go down on me, and nothing else feels quite like it.

....and that's why they call them "gagabytes"

Marco
You're really not going to get very much money for them and somewhere down the road you'll wonder why you sold them.
Don't. I have and ended up buying stuff for a second time.
When you purchase a CD, you are purchasing the right to listen to the music. Fair use allows you to make a backup copy just in case the original becomes lost or damaged. Now, when you sell the original CD, you are selling your right to listen to the music. So, you no longer have the right to listen to the backup copy. Like many stated above, it's really hard to enforce this at the present time. However, if you anger the RIAA gods and they sue you, then you will have to prove that you own the rights to listen to all the CD's on your hard drive. Anybody that has been following the endless stream of RIAA suits will know that you are guilty until proven innocent.

FYI--

I have about 1700 of my favorite CD's ripped in lossless. I've had to rip them three times know. Original rip with DRM on, re-rip with DRM turned off so I could stream to SB2, and re-rip after hard drive failure. Make sure to backup your collection. In addition, consider using an E-sata external HD for backup; a lot faster than USB2.
Assuming you take care with a music server - dedicated machine, don't run other programs on it, plenty of disk space, etc. - you should easily be able to put all your music on the server, have a backup strategy that fully protects you, and be able to interact with your music more flexibly than ever before. I would suggest a lossless format, and I would store the music on dedicated external USB drives. Support for any part of that setup won't go away for a long time.

Keep or sell the CDs? There are possible legal issues, probable moral issues, and a loss of ultimate security of your collection if you sell. To me, though, this is a completely different question than whether everything should be on a server and accessed that way.
Just think of it this way: You get contracted to develop a software database grading solution for high school teachers. You get an advance, and the software company covers all of your expenses, but all of the money you recieve and that is spent on the project will get recouped out of royalties, which is where you are actually going to make your money.

So you finish your program, and the company releases it. Come to find out teachers are buying a copy, then copying the disc and selling the used copy cheap to their friends. Not only is this cutting into your paycheck (which doesn't even come until the software company has recouped all of the money they spent on the project and paid to you), but it's also like people are stealing your hard work. They are selling the copy they bought, while still using the software. To make matters worse, the software company won't hire you again unless a certain number of copies are sold. And even if they do hire you again (or force you to write another program as per your contract), if they didn't make all of their money back from the first program (which would mean you didn't make ANYTHING on the backend), the rest of the money from the first project is recoupable from the royalties from the second project. So essentially (and this happens quite often) you busted your butt to write a great program, had people basically stealing it, and then wound up owing money to your employer.

When you buy a CD you are buying the music contained on it for your own personal use. The people that wrote the songs get a piece, the artist gets a piece, the producer gets a piece, the label gets a piece, and the store gets a piece. By keeping a copy of a disc that you sell you are not only stealing, but you're devaluing music. Does anyone wonder why the current dearth of good new artists coincided almost directly with the rise of downloading and technology that made it easy to copy CDs with little to no loss. Labels are losing money, and thus are unwilling to take risks on anything but the most derivative music that's sure to sell to masses of teenagers. CONSUMERS are responsible for where the music industry is. It's a business, and they will do what they have to to make money, including cutting risk.

What's the quickest way to a more varied pool of new, talented, UNIQUE artists? For everyone to go out and get their music legally.
Tvad-

While I agree that d/l mp3s wasn't the question presented, the takeaway is that the RIAA is *very* vigilant about enforcing its perceived rights, and if there was a way that they could go after people merely for storing their own ripped CDs, I suspect they certainly would try. While there is no simple existing means for determining what's on your hard drive, the subpoena game played by RIAA is hardball--look at their track record where people (including grandmothers without computers) are being forced to prove a negative after being sued. I'm not so sanguine about the ultimate "privacy" of my hard drive--there have already been attempts by legislators to require software monitoring compliance with copyright.

Besides, keeping the CD is sort of the ultimate backup.
Besides, keeping the CD is sort of the ultimate backup.
Edesilva (System | Threads | Answers)
That's the crux of the issue at hand.

No one has yet answered my question about how one proves to the copyright police that the music on one's hard drive was purchased prior to download. Is there a tag on the file? Does one have to pull up the sales history from the iTunes database? Keep printed receipts? I don't download music, so I don't know how it works...
Axelfonze, I agree, but do I get a discount on the CD if I own the music already on LP ? I already purchased the right to listen once before....Should I then not be able to download the song legally without paying a minor fee for server administration.

The bottom line is th music industry is out to make money, at any cost (like many other entities too)...

Rene
Tvad, the "copyright police" aren't going to believe anything you say, if past precedents hold true. They simply sue you based on some evidence of some kind, and then you are locked in litigation. The judge, theoretically, will weigh the facts and give you a fair hearing, but the RIAA won't. They will subpoena your hard drive and try to show that you have stuff that is pirated. You may be able to defend yourself on the basis of showing that you ripped stuff to your hard drive that matches your collection of CDs, that the creation date on your files matches your patterns of having ripped batches of your stuff. You may also be able to show that things are legal downloads by reference to your activity on, say, the iTunes Music Store. By then, however, you will have had to have hired a lawyer and probably burned tens of thousands in legal fees. And the judge may be a technical ninny with no understanding of your defense. This is why so many settle out of court with the RIAA, even if they didn't do anything wrong. This is also why the RIAA sucks.

I see a lot of statements here regarding what is legal and what is not. A lot of what has been categorically stated as legal or illegal is flatly wrong and based on GCEs. If you are interested in this as a matter of law, check this thread. It is exactly on point and it is the copyright blog of a lawyer who is formerly copyright counsel to the House of Representatives.

http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2005/10/first-sale-hard-copies-and-digital.html
Ed, very interesting blog. Seems that for now, the vote is still out.

The RIAA says you can't sell your CD if you retain your copy, but,

Thay have no legal backing for making that statement, and,

So far, there has been no test case on the matter.
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Yes, interesting, but it is almost a year old and just that; a blog. Who knows if this person, whoever they may be since there is no way to authenticate who it is, has any better handle on this than anyone else.
10-11-06: Edesilva
Tvad, the "copyright police" aren't going to believe anything you say, if past precedents hold true. They simply sue you based on some evidence of some kind, and then you are locked in litigation. The judge, theoretically, will weigh the facts and give you a fair hearing, but the RIAA won't. They will subpoena your hard drive and try to show that you have stuff that is pirated.
Edesilva, you portray a dark and dismal picture. I don't believe the RIAA is on a general hunt to track down and sue consumers, nor do I lend any credence to anything on an internet blog. I'll let it go at that as this is not a discussion that I can see developing in any positive manner.
Fair enough, we can differ on whether the RIAA is on a general hunt to track down and sue consumers; if you do some research, I think the facts there *are* objectively pretty dismal.

Dismissing Patry's blog as "just another blog" or saying you don't lend any credence to it because its on the internet does not do you credit, however. Patry isn't just some dude with wordpress. His resume is on the website and easily authenticated. FBOW, he is a leading policy scholar in the copyright field--"Senior Copyright Counsel, Google Inc. Former copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary; Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights; Law Professor Georgetown Law Center (adjunct), Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (full-time faculty member, founding director L.L.M in Intellectual Property program), author of numerous treatises and articles (including one on fair use with Judge Richard Posner), including a forthcoming multi-volume treatise on copyright." It's not exactly a punter's resume, even though Posner isn't my favorite academic.

Besides, I think we may be in violent agreement, except for our respective views on the RIAA. I was just trying to answer your question on the "proof" issue by noting that, as a practical matter, the legal process is a very expensive way to discern truth. So expensive, in fact, that the actual truth of the matter may be irrelevant when matching an experienced and well funded litigant against a consumer who is a neophyte to the court system.
Edesilva, I respect your intent.

I never used the words "just another blog" in any of my posts, as your quotation marks suggest. Considering you and I attempt to represent facts, lets agree to quote one another accurately.

IMO, a blog is a blog, and Patry is one blogger with an opinion, however learned. The Law is constantly shifting as it passes litmus tests in the courts, and Patry's is one interpretation of the Law, no more and no less. I read a front page article on this topic in the Los Angeles Times within the last three months in which several legal scholars were quoted. None agreed on the interpretation of the copywright law as it applies to the area we are discussing.

I would wager a significant sum in Las Vegas that a resident of Los Angeles would be more likely to receive a ticket for running a red light than they would be charged with selling compact discs and keeping a computer copy.

I reiterate my advice to Gretsch6120 to keep his CDs.
Actually, the quoted section was misquoting Herman's post before yours... ;)

B'sides, "[n]one agreed on the interpretation of the copywright law as it applies to the area we are discussing" is basically where blog comes out. I think my point in citing the blog was the fact that it spelled out the actual controversy under the law--and the relevant statutory provisions--fairly well. This is not some well considered digital policy issue before the courts, its the intersection of the relatively ancient First Sale Doctrine and the relatively ancient law of Fair Use. The copyright laws were not written with digital media in mind, and haven't changed for a while. The courts are banging square pegs into round holes.

I totally agree with your last two points. Given the vagueness of the law, keeping CDs--in my mind, even if the law itself is screwy--makes practical sense as an last resort backup, makes practical sense in terms of a legal defense should you ever need it, and moral sense in that it seems to me to be the right thing to do as a means of avoiding the bypassing of artist compensation.
Agreed on all counts, Edesilva.
Here is what I would do, copy them all to your hard drive as lossless wma or mp3 format and then eventually save them on DVD-rom dics. DVD roms when scratched don't suffer the same way cd's do and you won't have to keep all your music on a hard disc that might crash, in the future when you do have the time you can "listen" to your archived lossless music archives on a audiophile quality universal player that plays mp3's or wma files. The lossless files should sound as good as your CD's now and scratching the discs won't affect the playback.
Heck if they are not interested then I am! What CD's do you have for sale? Will you send them to Australia? :)
An update. I am almost complete with ripping my CD collection to my computer. It has been going very smoothly, just doing a few at a time. I purchased two hard drives, on internal and one external. So I am saving the mp3 files to three locations, my computers main hard drive, and the two extra ones I purchased. I also just purchased an 80 gig iPod, so I am storing them to 4 locations. I listened to my iPod this morning on the way to work, it sounds fantastic connected to my cars system! I am more that pleased with my decision to go with mp3 audio.
Are you going to keep or sell your CDs?