walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

The Ethics of What to Do with Those CDs

When I first started ripping CDs, back in 2003 or 2004, I was ripping lossless AAC, and that's part of why I stopped the project: there were size issues with disc drives. Anyway. This time around, I'm ripping 256, to match the size of what's coming from iTunes Match. I've essentially abandoned any hope of retaining audiophile status, and I'm Really OK With That.

Most people who do something significant to their CDs -- I'm thinking of TvV here -- hang onto the CDs after their project. And that includes ripping everything. The CDs are parked in an attic/basement/under the stairs, either as a backup in the event of something horrible happening (pretty unlikely, given I've signed up with Match) or in case of a mad desire to rip to a higher quality (not unreasonable for people who were ripping really low quality Back in the Day, but irrelevant for my purposes. I am Done with Ripping. Seriously. Done. Done. Done.).

I did something to my CDs a long while ago. I bought CD Projects rack and sleeve system, and at some point I ditched the racks and just stored the sleeves in media boxes. I had 5, altho not everything was converted to the sleeves, because, for example, opera libretti, also things that weren't in jewel cases were tough to know what to do with.

What I have, then, is a largish collection of CDs in sleeves with the liner notes and booklets that used to be in jewel cases (and YES I got rid of the jewel cases. Fuck yes.), and a smaller collection of things that never made it out of jewel cases because I bought them at an increasingly chaotic time in my life (kids!) and/or are still in their Not Jewel Case packaging.

I figure, donate all the stuff still in its original case; leave everything else in the 4 media boxes that constitute the reduced collection, in the basement because, well, I don't know what else to do with them and they've been there for a while they can stay there a while longer. Also, 1 of the cases and part of a second are operas.

I am not selling the stuff in original cases because I don't think you can sell used CDs anymore (and I'm sure you have a bright idea, and I'm mildly curious but absolutely not going to act on it). However, I recognize that there is an ethical issue associated with ripping and keeping the digital copy after giving/selling the p-copy to someone else. The question is, do I care.

No. I don't. And here's my rationalization.

It's kind of immoral to have stuff that is useful that you are not using, if someone else could make use of it. (<-- Value judgment, but I _am_ talking ethics here, so, duh.)

It's kind of immoral to destroy things that would be useful to other people.

It's probably some variation of illegal/copyright infringement/licensing violation/wtf to copy and donate/sell.

Of the three, the third is very, very, very far down on the List of Things I Care About (on bad days, I might be in favor of violating just on the basis of protest/activism). The first I am resigned to. The second I actually feel kind of strongly about.

So I'm donating, because that aligns best with my values.

This is what I mean when I say, "Compared to What?" Morals, like everything else, do not exist in a vacuum.

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