While dropping by my local Oxfam bookshop today, I noticed a wee notice in the door that said along the lines of: “Upgraded to an MP3 player? Then why not donate your old unwanted CDs to us?” While this is perhaps an eminently nice sentiment and innocuous to boot, to me this looks like it might break copyright law. For while ripping personal copies of your own CDs onto MP3 for use on the move or as backup falls under “fair use“, if the original then moves into someone else’s hands, as the MP3 is no longer a duplicate of something you own, it’s no longer fair use and so your copy is illegal. I think. (I am not a lawyer, after all) Of course, while selling on the old CD is probably a definite no-no, I don’t know whether donating it to charity is the same, but I think it might be – and you know how horrible intellectual property lawyers can get. Anyone care to advise?