What to do with 1,200 CDs I don't need

I am in the process of putting all of my CDs onto hard drives (pain in the rear!) to play though my USB DAC. I will have 2 copies on separate drives, one that will only be turned on to make the backup.

I see no reason to keep the CDs so what now? I can't imagine trying to eBay 1,200 CDs one at a time. Perhaps in lots?

..Auction them here in lots?
..Take them to my local used CD store and sell them?
..Donate them to the library and get a tax deduction? If I value them at $10 each then I would save about $3,000 on my taxes. Three dollars each seems like as much or more than I would clear if I tried to sell them and I wouldn't have the hassles.

Any ideas??
I get a sense from your post that you just want confirmation for what you think is the best idea, i.e. the tax deduction route. I think it's the best idea too. Simplest, easiest, and the one likely to give you the best return. It also gives the music to the largest number of people. So you can feel socially responsible too!
Maybe separate them into collections and sell with pick-up terms only? Are you near Chicago? Do you have a lot of Jazz or Classical?
I personally would keep them in storage. You never know when the hd may crash and lose everything. I have my 60K + library on a RAID 5 NAS but I am petrified that something could happen and I lose all the wonderful music I have been collecting for the past 18+ years. Also, in the future better encoding techniques could be developed so you may want to re-encode everything then.

That being said, if you want to get rid of your cds I would bring them to a used cd store. you wont get more than a $0.50 - 5.00 for them (I used to manage a record store) but you will get rid of everything quickly. You will make more money selling them on Amazon or ebay but this could take a while. How about you donate them to me?
You're such a tease, Herman!
Oh, also, don't confuse a non-profit with a charitable orgnizations - most libraries are the former but not the latter.
Where are you located?
There's also a legal issue here. By selling them, you know longer own the rights to listen to the music. I'm no attorney, and I'm not an expert in copyright law. I have over 1300+ CD's ripped, and backed up, on a hard drive and I'm not getting rid of any of them. My HD went up in a flaming ball of crap last month and I'm glad that I still had the originals. Just think of the replacement cost if both you main HD and backup HD died.
Just donate them to me.
I did some research and the fair market value according to H&R Block is closer to $5,000, which would only save me $1,200 or so in taxes. At $1 each I might have to keep exploring my options.
I'll echo Prpixel here and add in a moral view.

Mine are boxed and stored--both as a secondary backup to my RAID array *and* because, in my naive view, selling them would be wrong. As much as I will rail against the RIAA for the copyright positions and actions they are taking and as much as I believe the record companies are fat cat dinosaurs who can't adapt their business to reality, making a copy of something you don't own deprives the underlying artist of royalties. I'm all for fair use and think DRM is anti-consumer, but making an exact duplicate and then selling the original doesn't seem like fair use.
Thanks so far. I know some of you think I just posted this to get offers for them. I too get suspicious when I see posts like "I found an old amp labeled Marantz 9 in my grandfather's attic and I was wondering what it is worth," but since it will probably be a few months before I get them all ripped and I'll wait to get that done before I make a decision this post will be long forgotten.

Interesting takes on the legal and moral sides. I understand your position, but since I bought most of these second hand the artist never got anything out of me in the first place. Did I ever have a legal right to listen to them?

As for hard drive crashes and losing everything; I am still debating that one. Once backed up that drive will never be turned on again unless the main one crashes, and then it will be backed up when it is turned on. I know things happen but the odds of losing 2 in a row have to be pretty slim.
Agree that the legal situation is that you must continue to OWN the CDs.
If "someday" the RIAA manages to invade every home and inspect the computers.. You will be in a heap of doggy-doo when they find your collection... but no CD's.
You should really just put them in storage.
(You could even throw away the Jewel cases and keep the pamphlet and CD.
I keep two CD-R 100 count spindles for such stuff)
Good thread with interesting ideas. The legal issue never occured to me, but it makes a lot of sense. Amazing how growing technology forces us to apapt legally and ethically.

For you guys running HD based systems. What kind of boxes are you running, into what kind of DACs?
I'll take any jazz cd's you don't want, and I am serious if it can be worked out.

While the likelyhood of hard drive failures is slim, it can and does happen, and at the worst time... and can and does happen to backups as well.

I will tell you of the time I screwed up restoring from a back up drive and ruined both of them.... unfortunately it was at my fathers store while he was in the hospital so I basically lived there reentering all the data I screwed up.....

Yes, this ws caused by my stupidity, but I am not a dumb man... at least I don't think so, but the moral is you never have enough backup. I have all my and my wifes cd's on a HD, and I have elected to throw out all the jewel cases and store them in large CD books, they only take up a shelf in the closet and are always there should I need them.

Just my 0.02.
I would at least make backup Taiyo Yuden CDRs of them. And what about the artwork?
I'll say it again, like it was said before.
The worst thing in the world you could do is get rid of the original source material (in this case CD'S.)

Hard drives fail, Sh*t happens.
In hindsight it could turn out to be the stupidest thing you've ever done. Mine are simply in a big suitcase in the closet.
My HD went up in flames while my backup was down. So, I re-ripped everything, but forgot to turn off copy protection. So, while I could play the music on my computer, I could not stream to my Squeezebox. So, I highlighted my music directory, and hit the delete key. As I type, I'm just about done ripping 1300+ CD's for the third time. I can tell you that it has not been fun.

When you purchased your CD's used, the rights transfered from the original owner to you. True, the artist did not receive any royalties on the sale, but at least your legal. Edesilva summed it up pretty good.
I sold all my non-audiophile CD's to a few local shops in my area. I got between $2 and $5 a piece. But, I only had about 400 or so. I put the cash and some store credit to more music. I have all my stuff ripped onto two different hard drives. One I use all the time and the other is my back-up. I haven't gotten nervous enough to buy a third hard-drive yet.
Given what you're going to get for them, maybe $1-2 each based on what eBay lots go for, I'd keep them. I don't sell CDs I don't like, and every once in a while pull something out from my B-list and actually end up enjoying it...then again, this bears no relevance to your situation, but there are legal issues, and well, a CD is about as "solid state" as you can get. You can shake it, drop it, throw it, wash it, and the data will still be there.

You won't get a fortune out of selling them. I like my large collection. It looks cool. :)
Not sure I grasp the legal/moral view some are offering here. It's not illegal to sell or buy used CDs (or LPs, etc.). It's not illegal to make copies for your own personal use. People have always bought music, new or used, made recordings and resold the originals. The net effect is the same as if you were to buy a CD new and then turn around and sell it without listening or recording it. It puts the used recording on the resale market, potentially depriving the artist of a new sale. Makes no difference if you record it or not, as long as you're not selling copies. If you're against this, then you're against the selling and buying of secondhand music at all (or anything else with a current patent or copyright for that matter). You think it's immoral, once someone has bought a new CD, or book, etc., for them to ever sell or give it away, maybe even to loan it out. They'd have to destroy it if they didn't want it anymore, so as not to potentially deprive the copyright holder of a new sale.
Alright Zaikesman, you have me swinging back the other way now. You make great points. Now I'm really confused.
I can think of two things that will destroy ALL hard drives in your house in an instant.
1. Lightening
2. Theft
And what if you what to go to a friends house and listen to music or go to an audio store and audition a new piece of stereo equipment ? You will want to take along a few cd’s won’t you ?

Throw away the jewel cases and keep the cd’s in a Case logic 320 Capacity CD Wallet . You will only need four of them and they don’t take up much space.
Although I don’t back up my music this is what I do to all my cd’s. Saves a lot of space!

I agree with the others here ,, Sometime down the road you will wish you had them …..

Tom .
It is a pretty odd situation for me to be advocating for the RIAA, since I think their views on the whole copyright thing are pretty deplorable. The RIAA (not me) takes the position that ripping a CD is illegal period--they seem to have written fair use out of the law. I believe they also take the position that resale is not legal, but can't say for sure.

The concept here is that buying a CD transfers to you a recording of certain music and a license to listen to it under specific circumstances. It doesn't, for example, convey the right to use the recording for public performances. Just for personal use. I believe fair use extends to making copies for personal use--backups, a copy on a hard drive, etc.

I also happen to believe that you should be permitted to resell the recording and the license if you don't like it. But, once having sold the license, your right to listen to that particular recording is sold as well, hence you have no right to listen to copies that previously were justified under fair use.

I guess--for me--the moral point comes down to the the fact that if I make a digital copy and resell the original, the implication is that I like the music. Under those circumstances, I want to support the artist, for whatever pennies-on-the-dollar they get off a CD. Face it, if you can justify making a copy and reselling the original, why stop there? Make a thousand copies and sell those. What is the moral difference if you abandon the concept of a license?

It is hard for me to make too much of this point, however, since in my earlier days I bought a lot a second hand LPs, some clearly labeled "not for resale." But, having thought about exactly what you are talking about in the context of 1500 ripped CDs, I started having some qualms about what exactly it was that I was supporting. YMMV.
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. For those of you who sent emails I was serious that this is not an ad to sell or give them away. That is why you were ignored.

I admit the bottom line is money. If the $2 to $5 estimate is valid that would be almost $4,000 at the low end of around $3 each. I’m not starving here but that is a good chunk of change.

The issue is not space. As you can see from my system pictures I have shelves to hold them and I was wondering what to put there if the CDs are gone.

I am not concerned about theft or lightning, the archive hard drives will be sitting on a shelf and they could steal the CDs too which have more value than a hard drive.

The concerns about artwork and portability are valid but that may be a compromise that has to be made. I download and attach a copy of the cover with each rip, and I can always look up the info at http://www.allmusic.com/ (great site) but I will miss the liner notes.

Zaikesman’s points about the artist being denied compensation no matter what I do are logical, but still might not justify it legally. Oh well, I've got some time to think about it.
Actually, Zaikesman's argumement makes sense in a vaccuum. If you extended it out practically, it doesn't. Think about it in terms of used cars, office eqquipment, homes, whatever. The used market and new market for same type products are inexricably linked. If, hypothetically, all used CDs that no one wanted had to be destroyed, the demand for new CDs would increase. We sould move down the demand curve and the supply curve would shift. The new equilibrium market price would shift down. So in essence, the total new market wold grow but, theoretically, the total revenue would remain the same.

Not to mention all the substitute products that might "deprive" the artist of $.

Pawlowski: Not sure I understand why, if demand for new CD's was to increase, the price would go down? Nevermind.

Edesilva: Can't see what liking the music or not has to do with anything. That it's somehow less moral if you like the music, but not if you don't? Doesn't work for me. Anyway, there is a difference between reselling one original CD and making copies to sell: In the former case, there will not be more CDs on the market than were originally produced.

The number of CDs produced is a red herring--its the number that are sold that counts to the artist. And, I think "like" is part of the moral equation, at least to the extent I was using "like" as shorthand for "being part of the universe of consumers who would pay for a particular recording"--i.e., a sale.

Pretend you could not copy CDs. Say for CD X there is a market of 1,000 buyers. Say you are one of the 1,000--you bought it and you like it. The artist gets royalties on 1,000 sales, right? Doesn't matter if there are 1,000,000 produced, right?

Now assume you can create perfect CD copies. You are one of the 1,000 who buy the CD and, again, you like it. You buy it, copy it, and resell it. Presumably the person who bought it is one of the 1,000 as well. So the artist only gets royalties on 999 sales. Now say instead of just you, everyone who buys and original does what you do. Now the artist gets royalties on only 500 sales. *That* is why I say it is morally wrong.

[I take your point about resale, but think about it... You buy the CD, don't make a copy because you don't like it, and resell it. The artist still gets royalties on all 1,000, because you aren't one of the 1,000 who would pay for the album. No harm.]

That being said, I was a kid and did what you were talking about--I bought cut-out LPs and promo copies (which don't generate royalties for the artists) and made tapes for friends, and they made tapes for me. But, this is a digital world, which changes things a bit in my mind. First, you can make exact copies. Second, you can make a lot of them. Third, it takes no time. This means that, unlike before, copyright violation is now possible on a massive scale by Joe-Bag-O-Donuts. In aggregate, I tend to dislike the idea that massive copyright violations will impact new artists ability to get recorded and be introduced to the public. Even if you don't care about the legality of the thing, think about the impact on music and artists if everyone behaves in the manner you seem to be advocating.

With all that said, I think the better solution is probably for the recording industry to adopt a business model that is more in tune with the times.
Give them to your library.
Take a tax deduction.
Feel good.
"You buy the CD, don't make a copy because you don't like it, and resell it. The artist still gets royalties on all 1,000, because you aren't one of the 1,000 who would pay for the album. No harm"
Huh? The first clause of your first sentence stipulates "You buy the CD", but you wind up saying "You aren't one...who would pay for the album." You lost me dude.

Here's the one and only difference that matters today that didn't come into play in yesteryear: People give music away by the hundreds and thousands to strangers they never met. I am ethically opposed to file sharing like that. For a valid comparison with 20 years ago, you'd have to imagine a scenario where someone buys a record, duplicates thousands of copies on cassette, and then sets up tables at downtown intersections throughout the country with signs saying "free, take one or as many as you like". For obvious reasons (not ethical ones) that didn't happen then, but the equivalent can and does happen now.
IF you have any Hard Rock or Heavy Metal CD`S,
i`ll take them off your hands. I have
over 700 CD`S so far, and I have
Sony CD Jukebox changers.
So, it would work out perfect for you and I.
what you collect is who you are.
the plastic or vinyl is yours totally...the artists' performance and song itself is yours only to a point. the music is never yours..... even 'plays' on a jukebox and radio are a matter of record and generate royalties. Cut-outs or discontinued cd's are sold with a reduced royalty. the royalties on used cd's,lps,etc. have been paid(or at least collected)at the time they were originally sold as new........
It seems that this is no different to buying a CD, duplicating it and then selling it, or attempting to return it.

In what way is this not piracy ? And you want to take a tax deduction ?
I stand corrected.

After doing some research, it appears that no matter how one wishes to rationalize their actions, it is clearly a violation of applicable law to possess a copy without also possessing the original, and might even be illegal to have a digital copy for personal use even if you do have the original. Even though the courts have ruled that a cassette copy of materials you own is fair use, there has never been a similar ruling concerning digital copies. The RIAA still contends that any digital copies (cdr or hard drive) for any reason are illegal, but so far they have only prosecuted individuals sharing files, and not those copying for personal use.
Zaikesman, have you never bought a CD--whether because you liked the album art, liked a different CD by the same artist, got a recommendation--and then discovered you thought the album was crap? I've got no issue with returning a CD like that or reselling it. But, in that case, I'm assuming you are *not* copying it--the premise is that you don't like it. In other words, just because you ponied up and shelled out bucks for a CD doesn't mean you are one who would knowingly pay for the album--one who believes what they got was worth the price paid.

My point was that it is the number of sales that is important to the artist--a "sale," in this case, meaning someone who buys it and is believes what they got is worth the price. If you buy it, and discover you don't like it, or don't believe its worth the price, you can return it or resell it. The implication is that you are not one of the universe of people willing to pay money for that album. Hence, your resale does not impact the market for the CD.

Your premise seems to be that it is morally legitimate to buy an album, copy it, continue to listen to it, and resell it (it is clearly not legal, but that is a different issue). You are taking the benefit of the artist's work and not paying for it. [You can argue about "well, I'm paying because I get less on the resale market," but how is your argument different if you buy a CD, copy it, and then return it for full price?]
You know I am quite conflicted with the "fair use" issue we are discussing here.

File sharing is a no brainer. It's allowing literally unlimited numbers of unauthorized copies with absolutely no revenue stream back to the artist. Bad.

But if I pay $15 for a new CD, rip it, then resell it the artist still received his cut from my purchase. The artist is receiving nothing from the purchaser of the used CD.

My contention is that the person buying the used CD would not have bought the new CD in the first place. The artist is really losing nothing. Who cares if I'm still listening to a ripped copy? I paid for it and the artist got his fair cut. Just because I got $2 when I sold the used CD I should erase my ripped copy?

Sorry I just don't buy that.

And then factor into the equation just how many times a physical CD can possibly be bought at a used CD store, ripped, then resold again? I can't imagine very many iterations for any given CD. It's a completely insignificant number. Dwarfed exponentially by the possibilities of file sharing.

If there were no such thing as file sharing, I doubt this issue would even be on the radar screen. I don't recall ever bringing an LP into a used record store and being asked if I made a cassette copy of it and to make sure I erase it due to fair use restrictions.
"My contention is that the person buying the used CD would not have bought the new CD in the first place."

Why? An economist would disagree. At a minimum, you have deprived the seller of the right to sell at that price.

"I paid for it and the artist got his fair cut."

Yes, for *you* to listen to the tracks.

"Just because I got $2 when I sold the used CD I should erase my ripped copy?"

Yes. As a legal matter, you just sold your license to listen to it. As a moral matter, your sale deprived the artist--under economic theory--of a sale. I can see your argument now--"but that person would only buy it for $2, not for full list price." Well, it is the decision of the seller to price it where they believe the market lies. If they have captured the $16 audience, they could drop the price to $12 to capture additional buyers. And so on, down to the $8 buyers (just because you sold for $2 doesn't mean that the CD gets resold for $2--more likely $8 or $10).

And, can't your argument be extended to filesharing of copyrighted material anyway? "Oh, they wouldn't have bought it anyway." Too facile. [BTW, file sharing is not bad per se. Same mistake that RIAA made. File sharing of copyrighted material to circumvent ownership is bad. Don't condemn the technology, condemn the criminals.]

Try it this way. You are a talented guitar player, and make a CD in your basement. You play shows, and sell the CD for $12 a pop. You have 6000 boxed up in the basement, and sell maybe 100 per week. Not a bad gig.

You do a show, and find some guy next to you selling the CDs you made on a "used" basis for $8. You ask where they came from. You call the people that sold them. They say "well, I copied it and resold my original." Are you pissed?

You argue with the guy selling the used CDs. He says "well, I'm not messing with your sales, because the people who buy from me, while they would shell out $8, aren't willing to shell out $12. So, you aren't losing any sales." So you say, "well, it is my right to set the price where I want; in fact, I was thinking about dropping the price to $8, but you have taken some of those customers away." He says "tough nuggies, you should realize that this is going to happen and build that into your initial pricing strategy." So you say "really, so my initial customers have to pay more so that I, as an artist, can get what is due to me because of people violating my copyright?"

I personally think that kind of sucks. YMMV (your morals may vary).
You do not have to physically possess the original to legally have a copy. If you originally purchased the album and then ripped it to a hard drive, made a CD-R, etc., you have a legal right to do anything you want with that original as long as it doesn't violate the license agreement. The courts basically interpret that to mean you as the consumer don't make an attempt to economically profit from your ownership of the album. This is the heart of the "fair use" argument. Giving away or even reselling the album also have not been construed as a violation of the license. If the copying and reselling as separate acts are legal, then it is hard to argue that in combination a crime has been committed. The RIAA first attacked file sharing and argued that it was directly responsible for reduced sales. They should be happy that people are buying the albums even if they do then resell them. With their track record it not unlikely that the RIAA will try to have Congress pass legislation that does make copying and then reselling illegal.

Here's another sample of what the RIAA is up to -- click here for story

BTW, I am not an attorney and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Ed - you state your case eloquently but it still doesn't wash. Maybe if we are talking about the owner of a used CD, for which the artist got nothing in the first place, but not for the owner of an original purchase CD.

"I paid for it and the artist got his fair cut."

"Yes, for *you* to listen to the tracks."

And that was the whole point of my post. Where in the supposed license agreement does it state that if I re-sell my original I must erase any copies? It doesn't because it's ludicrous. It takes no money out of anyone's pocket. Period.

As much as the music industry wants it to be treated like computer software it simply isn't a piece of computer software.

You want a real licensing agreement look at your Microsoft Windows box.

What you are advocating is essentially eliminating the used music market. How do you put that genie back in the bottle?
So we have an opinion from a non-lawyer saying what I want to do IS legal contradicting the rest of us non-lawyers who think it isn't.

Anybody got any ideas that can settle this? Onhwy66 could go sell one, notify the RIAA, and see if they file a lawsuit :>)
I'm very surprised to read what Onhwy61 just wrote. That has never been my understanding of the situation, and more research is warranted.

Well I'm certainly no lawyer and really this is irrelevent to me personally because I don't buy/sell used CDs although when I was a cash-strapped high-schooler I regularly bought/sold used LPs.

It is an interesting philospohical question, however.

The music industry wants original purchase CDs to be treated like computer software. Problem is there is a good 60 years of legislative and legal as well as marketplace precedent which has allowed a used music market to develop.

I am wholeheartedly in favor of a computer-software-like licensing agreement applicable to ANY DIGITAL MUSIC FILES UPLOADED TO A COMPUTER OR OTHER TRANSISSION-CAPABLE DEVICE I.E. CELL-PHONE ETC.
**After doing some research, it appears that no matter how one wishes to rationalize their actions, it is clearly a violation of applicable law to possess a copy without also possessing the original...**

That seems impossible. What about buying ONLY a digital version (I-Tunes, etc.)??

In the digital realm - ones and zeroes - the concept of original and copy does not exist. They're exactly the same.

When you buy a CD, you're not buying the piece of plastic (or whatever it's made out of), you're buying the right to listen to it. If you copy your songs to your hard drive, you still have a right to listen to that music; you paid for it. The digital recording on the hard drive is (theoretically) identical to that on the plastic; original, copy, same thing. What happens to that plastic should be irrelevant.

What happens if you keep your CDs and they're lost to theft. Are you supposed to go and delete your digital copies because you no longer have "the original?"
Well, enuf of non-lawyers debating the issue. Here's a link to a bunch of lawyers debating the issue. They end up in the same quandry:


Without getting hypertechnical, Section 109 of the (c) Act authorizes the resale of copyrighted first-sale works. Fair use authorizes the making of copies for personal use. Because the original isn't a copy, the argument can be made that you have made a legitimate copy, and still have the right to sell the originals. The countervailing argument is that the courts are going to look at your copy, and as part of their fair use analysis, contemplate your sale of the original work and decide your copy isn't fair use.

Bottom line, I wouldn't want to be you if the RIAA comes knocking on your door. Thank god they don't have that power. Yet. B'sides, my point is more the moral one. Is it right?

Meisterkleef, I don't understand your logic. If there are 100 people willing to buy an album, and you are one of them, doesn't the fact that you resell yours after copying mean that there are only 99 "first" (as opposed to resale) sales? Aren't the number of first sales the ones that generate royalties for the artist? Haven't you just deprived the artist and taken money out of his pocket?

Sure, you can say they could buy the CD from another reseller, but that is just an induction problem. Either that other resale copy is legitimate (i.e., a resale w/o copying, which does not change the number of buyers) or an illegitimate resale. If its an illegitimate resale that couldn't be stopped, then if you sell yours resale there will be 98 royalty generating sales instead of 99 and I submit the problem is worse. You still contribute the a decline in the royalties paid to the artist.

If you are morally right, then what is wrong with establishing a collective to buy a CD, with the agreement that each person makes a copy and then sells it to the next person? Why not make that chain 100,000 people? Why not make it anyone interested? Would that not alter the royalties paid to an artist?

And, I'm *not* talking about eliminating the used market. If you want to sell your CD, fine. Just don't think its right to keep a copy and still listen to it.
You might try one of the new cd trading sites such as lala.com for example. Highly recommended. Each trade costs $1. They are currently in beta but you can sign as a beta user.
Re: my last post, I should point out that lala(.com) pays up to 20c per trade to the artist.
The statement I agree with most since my last post was made by Meisterkleef:

"If there were no such thing as file sharing, I doubt this issue would even be on the radar screen."
I'm kinda surprised by the number of people who are so sincerely concerned about this, to the point of declaring they haven't bought used music since they were starving students. For a vinyl record collector like me, this is almost inconceivably ludicrous -- there are literally tens of thousands of records from the past that are unavailable any other way. Besides which, I'm a firm believer that all publicity is good publicity when it comes to sales, and that limited dissemination beyond one's own ears of music that one has bought will ultimately help, not hurt, the artist. If I throw a party and spin records at it, BMI and ASCAP will never hear from me, but someone in attendance might be inspired to go out and buy something I played. If I burn a compilation CD-R and give copies to friends, same deal. And who here hasn't bought recorded music used and as a result been inspired to buy more from that artist new, or go see them in concert? Most of the hypotheticals described above are too extreme to reflect reality. The only real exception is file-sharing, which is extreme.

Do the moral worriers here also disapprove of libraries? Because of digital, we seem to be hand-wringing our way toward rewriting the history of intellectual property in Western civilization...
"Do the moral worriers here also disapprove of libraries?"

No. But you are not permitted to photocopy library books, nor to borrow CDs and tapes and duplicate them. You may borrow them, then give them back, but not retain a copy as Herman is proposing to do.
You CAN photocopy library books. That's why all libraries have copy machines.