The Digital Media Project


Philip Merrill


TRU #52 of unpublished recording





Philip Merrill

Affiliation/additional information:

Active Contributor, Pasadena, California

Date submitted:







Name of TRU

TRU of unpublished recording


Summary description of TRU

This TRU springs from the ability to use recording equipment to capture real events and people regardless of whether one has permission or licenses. A certain amount of leeway is traditional, and social policy has long tried to balance the usefulness of audio/visual/audiovisual capture devices with the vulnerability of copyrighted materials, possible invasions of privacy and any other potential dangers posed by allowing recording equipment to be freely sold and owned. The solution has normally been to either forbid the presence of cameras and recording equipment or else to forbid images or audio recordings being widely circulated or else used for profit (unless written permission is obtained). In other words, as long as newly recorded media remains unpublished, it may be owned and shown to family and friends.


Use records of TRU

Recording DM in the manner envisaged by this TRU has an analogue-to-digital conversion, and the new recordings normally exist in a cleartext state although DRM for new recordings/photographs is becoming more common.

Although bootleg concert recordings are illegal, that is usually tied into a contractual prohibition on bringing recording equipment into the venue. But what about a nephew's school musical? What about a phone conversation where the other person doesn't know they are being recorded? As long as recordings are stored and viewed for personal use (inc. family and friends), all kinds of "taping" are commonly accepted. An exception would be recording criminal acts in which creating or owning the recording amounts to a criminal act in itself (for example, child pornography).

This is a usage and not a right because the recordist has to "get away with it" when not announcing up-front that they are making a recording and receiving agreement(s) to be recorded.


Nature of TRU

Usage. An artifact of the way things are now based on the fact that publication or distribution of some significant kind is a prerequisite to expensive litigation. The many millions of people who buy audio, video and photographic recording equipment use their purchased devices freely, generally with little concern for invisible barriers such as copyright. Because their recordings are relatively private, they have a high degree of confidence that they will "get away with" what they are doing, based on the reasoning that nobody will say they have a problem with it and nobody will know anyway.


Benefits of TRU



Possible digital support

The basic ability to record DM might inherently support what is needed, so it is probably just a matter of not restricting recording devices from being used generally under all circumstances. Although supporting this TRU is not problematic, the subsequent issues of rights to share or publish personally recorded DM are problematic. The key thing here is to preserve the status quo and not restrict whether a recording device can operate. As an example of how this could be interfered with, a broadcast signal at a concert could activate a receiver in the recording device, preventing the device from operating in recording mode while the signal remains present.



DMP DRM shall support the unimpeded ability of digital media recording devices to perform recording functions.