- Mar 27, 2022
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- Baltimore, MD
- First name
US copyright law is, unfortunately, not so clear. I’ve noticed the UK, and it would appear Australia, have much more specific regulations.In local law under copyright and "format shifting" it says:
"You must also keep the original work. It is not permitted to make a reproduction and then dispose of the original. If the original copy is sold, traded or given away, then the reproduction must be destroyed. "
Given the high degree of commonality in copyright laws here and internationally I wouldn't be surprised if that is the essentially the same in other Western nations. That may sound like it's just to prevent reselling but disposing does include destroying.
US copyright law at present only makes specific declarations about personal copies of digital recordings and software. In those cases it does not say you can’t destroy the original, in fact the reason you are allowed to create a copy is specifically so you can still use the media if the original is destroyed. It is very clear you can’t copy and then sell or give away the original however, but destroying the original is fine.
For paper media it does not give specific direction at all. Personal copying of paper media at present largely falls under the nebulous “fair use” laws which apparently by design are not specific at all since they are largely directed at things like editorial use of excerpts, which are about the degree of use rather than absolutes. There really isn’t any specific statute on creating copies of physical copyrighted material you own since that wasn’t really the focus of “fair use” to begin with.
So in the US there is absolutely no statute that says you must preserve the original if you make a copy for personal use of a paper scenario you own. For digital media there is a part of the law that specifically allows you to use a copy even if the original is destroyed.