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- From the Tech Desk
CD Copying Authorized by Audiobook Publisher in Historic Departure from Publishing Practice
"If you copy our CDs, you're not a criminal, you're a customer!"So says an informational web page at Drive2Learn.com, which publishes instructional audiobooks on compact disc. In an age when publishers are reacting to upstart copying technologies like Napster and recordable discs by either putting companies out of business or inventing clever work-arounds, Drive2Learn is steering in the other direction by allowing customers to make up to 2 copies of each CD they purchase, provided they make the copies under the terms of the licensing agreement applicable to every CD. This agreement is called the Copy2Free License.
Why is Drive2Learn allowing customers to make copies? "Copying is inevitable," says Barry Krusch, President of Drive2Learn, Inc. "And as long as customers follow the terms of the Copy2Free license, we don't have any problem with it. Our customers listen to several audiobooks a month while they are commuting, and we see this as a great way for customers to keep their costs down. So it's a true win-win."
In allowing customers to make copies, Drive2Learn is bringing into the publishing world for the first time an idea which originated in the computer world. In the last two decades software developers have offered programs called "shareware" and "freeware," which can be copied, and the open source movement, whose best known program is Linux, has even allowed customers to both view and modify its source code.
To date, however, these innovations have been confined to the software industry. Traditional publishers of books, music, and videos have resisted these innovations, and have actively fought all attempts to circumvent their prohibitions against copying, including shutting down the site Napster, and even now implementing technologies to make their materials impossible to copy.
Since Drive2Learn is allowing what others prohibit, how does it control illegal copying? Every CD has an accompanying web page filled with essential information. Only purchasers of the CD and the persons who have received copies from them have access to the web page. By restricting access to essential information, Drive2Learn is able to control the amount of copying, allowing the benefit to its customers while preserving its ability to remain in business.
FIRST FIVE PROVISIONS OF COPY2FREE LICENSE
1. Copies must be exact replicas of the original, with no changes whatsoever;
2. Copies must be distributed free of charge;
3. Copies must be distributed independently - they may not be "bundled" with the delivery of any other material;
4. Copies must be distributed with no exchange of any good or service by the Purchaser and/or Intended Recipient with the recipient of the copy, and no other conditions for receipt;
5. Copies must be distributed in the physical medium of compact disc duplicated on CD-R media, and via no other physical media, such as cassette tapes or ZIP discs, nor via any form of network delivery, such as serving from an internet or intranet site in streaming or non-streaming format, or sending by email. Notwithstanding this provision, the Purchaser is allowed to make one copy of the CD onto an audiocassette exclusively for his or her own personal use . . .