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Copying commercially produced audio for personal use

Australian copyright law says that commercially produced tapes can be copied for personal use only under strict conditions.

In Summary, you can copy commercially produced audio if:

  • The sole purpose of transferring the audio is to use that copy on a device that you own (e.g. a computer, iPod or car CD player).
  • The audio is for private and domestic use only.
  • The original audio was NOT from a radio broadcast.
  • The original audio was NOT downloaded from the Internet.
  • The original audio is a legitimately purchased original, and is NOT already a copy.

Below is the relevant section of the Copyright Act

Copyright Act 1968 - Section 109 A

109A Copying sound recordings for private and domestic use

(1) This section applies if:

(a) the owner of a copy (the earlier copy) of a sound recording makes another copy (the later copy) of the sound recording using the earlier copy; and
(b) the sole purpose of making the later copy is the owner’s private and domestic use of the later copy with a device that:

(i) is a device that can be used to cause sound recordings to be heard; and
(ii) he or she owns; and

(c) the earlier copy was not made by downloading over the Internet a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program; and
(d) the earlier copy is not an infringing copy of the sound recording, a broadcast or a literary, dramatic or musical work included in the sound recording.

(2) The making of the later copy does not infringe copyright in the sound recording, or in a literary, dramatic or musical work or other subject-matter included in the sound recording.

(3) Subsection (2) is taken never to have applied if the earlier copy or the later copy is:

(a) sold; or
(b) let for hire; or
(c) by way of trade offered or exposed for sale or hire; or
(d) distributed for the purpose of trade or otherwise; or
(e) used for causing the sound recording to be heard in public; or
(f) used for broadcasting the sound recording.

Note: If the earlier or later copy is dealt with as described in subsection (3), then copyright may be infringed not only by the making of the later copy but also by a dealing with the later copy.

(4) To avoid doubt, paragraph (3)(d) does not apply to a loan of the earlier copy or the later copy by the lender to a member of the lender’s family or household for the member’s private and domestic use.


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