According to the 1709 Blog’s coverage of the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority’s recent ruling on the Brennan JB7 CD player, the ASA exercised its power on a topic normally reserved for the courtroom: copyright.

The Brennan JB7 is a CD player with a hard drive that allows the user to rip music from a CD, record, or cassette to the hard drive. The issue was whether the advertisement encouraged users to break the law by illegally copying music.

The manufacturer, 3GA Ltd., argued that the unit is similar to other types of electronics that allow users to transfer media from one form to another and that users would use this device as a regular music player.

The ASA found that the text of the advertisement did encourage users to copy music illegally because the wording of the advertisement did not state that copying music without permission from the copyright owner is illegal.

The punishment? The ASA “told” 3GA to change the wording of the ad to prominently explain to users that they must not break the law by unlawfully copying music.

Link to the adjudication.