Feeds

Digital player maker 'incited consumers to break the law', says ASA

Ads for hard-drive CD player must not encourage copying, rules regulator

Boost IT visibility and business value

A company must change the way it advertises its digital music player because the ads encourage people to copy music in a way that breached copyright law, the advertising industry regulator has said.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told 3GA Ltd to find a new way to advertise the Brennan JB7 machine, which is a CD player with a hard disk. The machine records CDs, cassettes or records on to its hard disk, which the company claims can hold up to 5,000 albums.

Adverts misleadingly imply that it is acceptable to copy music from discs and tapes on to the machine, the ASA said.

"It saves space and clutter and delivers near immediate access to an entire music collection," said the national press ad in question. "JB7 owners rediscover then fall in love with their music again simply because the Brennan makes it so accessible. The Brennan also records from vinyl and cassette so you can enjoy your entire music collection but keep it out of the way in another room or retire it to the attic."

A complaint was made to the ASA that the advertising incited people to break the law because copying music without permission was a breach of copyright law. The ASA agreed and said that the advert should be changed.

"3GA said [that] ... provided the user was playing music they were legally entitled to listen to, the fact there was an electronic copy was incidental and had no independent economic significance," said the ASA ruling.

"They said the JB7 was different to, for example, a cassette or CD recorder that was used to make physical copies of the work," said the ruling. "They said in those instances the copy was a primary function rather than simply part of the playback and therefore using the Brennan as described in the ad was specifically allowed by legislation under the term fair dealing, in which the economic impact on the copyright owner was not significant."

The ASA said that the adverts had the potential to mislead consumers with regard to copyright law.

"[The advert] repeatedly made reference to the benefits of the product being able to copy music but did not make clear that it was illegal to do so without the permission of the copyright owner," said the ASA ruling. "We considered the overall impression of the ad was such that it encouraged consumers and businesses to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes."

"In the absence of prominent explanation, we concluded that the ad misleadingly implied it was acceptable to copy CDs, vinyl and cassettes without the permission of the copyright owner," it said. "We also considered that the ad encouraged people to use the advertised product in this way and that, therefore, it incited consumers to break the law."

The ASA told 3GA to stop advertising its machine in this way and "to ensure future ads for such products prominently stated that it was unlawful to copy material without the permission of the copyright owner".

See the ruling here.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.