Audials and Copyright
The Copyright Law of the United States (title 17) regulates important aspects regarding recording of audio and video content. Please understand that the information provided on this page do not refer to other countries, and that any information presented here is given without any warranty.
Music recording in general
In general, the US copyright law allows digital music recording
Chapter 10: Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media
1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions
No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
Circumvention of effective copy protection (DMCA)
The US copyright law regulates clearly, that copy protection shall not be circumvented:
Chapter 12: Copyright Protection and Management Systems
1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems
(a) Violations Regarding Circumvention of Technological Measures.
(1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
Audials strictly follows this regulation.
Radio and music streaming: No effective copy protection
The radio and music streams audials is able to record are not protected by effective copy-protection measures.
Audials just records the unencrypted signal which is outputted to the system sound device.
Video streaming recording: copy protection is never circumvented
Various DRM protection measures are used for video streaming. Audials strictly observes the legal regulations and never accesses protected (encrypted) image or video files, so that no effective copy protection measure is circumvented.
Here are some technical backgrounds:
DRM Protection against direct download
Most video streaming services protect their content against "direct download". A DRM is used, which effectively prevents the original video file from being downloaded from the provider.
Audials Software respects this protection and never circumvents it, and therefore does not offer the possibility of downloading such content directly.
In particular, this protection also ensures that only authorized users, e.g. subscribers, can watch the videos. Videos can therefore never be recorded with Audials that cannot be viewed independently of Audials.
DRM Protection against Recording
Some video content is also protected by the provider against recording. This is done technically in that the video data on the computer are only processed in encrypted form and are only decrypted in the display device.
Audials software observes this protection and never circumvents it. It never accesses encrypted video data and is therefore not able to record and save such content.
However, video content that is not protected by the provider against recording can be recorded by Audials. To do this, such videos have to be played back completely; a new video file is then created from the unencrypted video images displayed (so-called "screen recording") without any protection being circumvented.
Video Streaming Services choose what is recordable
The providers of video streaming content thus determine for themselves what can be saved by recording by providing the corresponding content with DRM protection levels against recording or not.
Most of the time, content in very high resolutions (e.g. 4k content) is protected against recording and can therefore not be recorded by Audials, while content in lower resolutions can be recorded without circumventing protection.
Which content can be recorded in which resolution varies from provider to provider, and sometimes also from content to content. Audials has no influence on this decision by the provider.
It is also possible to record exactly the same content without any extra tools
The fact that the recording of video streaming content, which has not been provided with a recording protection by the provider, does not circumvent effective protection, can also be seen from the fact that this is even possible with "on-board means" without using any special software.
MacOS: Recording via "Quicktime" or "Screen Recording"
How this is easily possible is described here, for example:
Windows 10: Recording via "Firefox" and "Windows Game Recorder"
This is very easy possible, too:
- Play the video streaming in the "Firefox" browser
- Use the "Windows Game Recorder" built into Windows 10 (Windows key + G), and press the "Record" button there.
With these on-board tools, exactly the same content can be recorded as with Audials, even if Audials is certainly a bit more convenient.
You can also see from this that Audials does not circumvent any effective copy protection, because the manufacturers Microsoft, Apple or Firefox do not do this either.
Established by a court
In Germany there is a law which is equivalent to 17 DMCA 1201, called UrhG 95a, and which also prohibits circumventing effective copy protection.
In 2016, January 28th there was a hearing at the Munich Regional Court ("Landgericht München I, 7. Zivilkammer") because a plaintiff had doubted the above facts. After it became apparent during the hearing that Audials software was not circumventing effective copy protection when recording video streaming, the plaintiff withdrew all motions and assumed all costs.
Video portal sites
Good to know: Video portal sites sometimes do not employ effective copy protection measures. Instead, the popular Chrome Webbrowser offers a built-in functionality to download content of such sources.
Fair use, and providers‘ terms and conditions
The copyright Law permits certain recordings as not infringing with copyright law:
Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright
107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
Please be aware, that this fair use is quite limited in scope.
Provider’s terms and conditions
When subscribing to commercial music- and video streaming services, you may have agreed to terms and conditions, which restrict your rights to record music or videos. Please make sure you carefully check such terms and conditions, before using Audials software to record such media.
Audials shall not be liable if you violate such regulations which you have agreed to.