Fact Sheets

Buying Music At The Markets

How do I know if a CD or DVD is legitimate? 

The best way to distinguish legitimate music is to look closely at the CD/DVD and the price. Here are a few handy tips:

  1. The back of a legitimate disc is likely to be silver, however a burnt CD/DVD will be on a CD-R or DVD-R with a blue, green or gold back.
  2. The back centre hole of a legitimate CD/DVD carries the manufacturer’s identification number and bar code hologram, whereas a burnt CD-R/DVD-R may be labelled as a CD-R or DVD-R.
  3. The packaging of  CDs/DVDs can often be an indication - look for spelling mistakes, poor quality, and colour distortion.
  4. An excessive number of tracks on a CD can be an indication that it is an illegitimate  product, particularly for karaoke and ring tones.
  5. Be careful when buying live performance CDs or DVDs - many of these are unauthorised “bootleg” copies of poor quality.
  6. Probably the best indicator is price.  Use your judgment to ascertain whether the price is a reasonable one or not.
  7. High quality counterfeits that look and feel like the real thing are often very difficult to spot.  If in doubt, contact Music Rights Australia.


Are burnt music CDs or DVDs okay?

Copying music onto a CD-R or DVD-R without the permission of all relevant copyright owners, is an infringement of copyright except in limited circumstances. The owner of legitimately obtained music can copy it for their own private and domestic use on another device that they own eg. from CD to iPod. However, this does not extend to copying music and selling it at markets.   


Can I buy a second-hand iPod, mp3 player or computer that contains music?

The sale of devices pre-loaded with music constitutes copyright infringement except where permission is obtained from the copyright owners.  It’s unlikely that a market vendor will have the necessary licences.


Can I copy music from the internet onto CDs and sell them? 

The basic principle is that people cannot copy or distribute music, including from the internet, without the permission of all relevant copyright owners. So, market vendors cannot sell CDs or DVDs with music burnt from file sharing networks or other unauthorised sites. Nor can they copy music downloaded from legitimate music sites like iTunes onto CDs or DVDs and sell those.


What are the consequences?

Penalties apply if you possess, manufacture, sell, offer for sale or distribute illegally copied or downloaded music. These offences attract a maximum fine of $60,500 and up to 5 years in prison for individuals for each infringement, that is for each track illegally copied or downloaded.  For companies the maximum fine is $302,500.  Any equipment used to burn or play the illegally copied or downloaded tracks can also be seized.  New strict liability copyright offences allow the police to issue on-the-spot fines of $1320 per offence and seize pirate product.


Need more information?

Music Rights Australia



(02) 8569 1177

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