Audio Home Recording Act

What Does Audio Home Recording Act Mean?

The Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) is an amendment to the United States’ 1976 copyright law to stop music piracy. Created in 1992, this act was designed to protect copyright holders and their copyrighted materials, and also to open the market to noncommercial users. Because of the lost royalties that would otherwise be paid to music organizations for their copyrighted digital products, this act requires manufacturers of digital copying products and software to pay royalty taxes on both the devices and the media purchased by the consumer.


The AHRA permits users to record first-generation music (music previously recorded), but under the act second-generation copies are forbidden. Copyright holders are prohibited from suing consumers for copyright infringement when users record music in their homes for noncommercial use. AHRA also requires that digital recording devices be equipped with a serial copy management system (SCMS).

Techopedia Explains Audio Home Recording Act

Once copyright owners have agreed never to sue consumers for using their software, the U.S. Copyright Office pays them royalty taxes collected from digital audio manufacturers. The AHRA does not pertain to computers because they are not classified as digital audio recording devices. The digital recording device portions of the AHRA are still applicable, but when the law was enacted it did not foresee the vast popularity of home digital recording, which has been advanced even further by the Internet.

Regarding current AHRA legislation, there is a debate about forming a new law, or whether the current AHRA should just be modified to include consumer Internet recordings of copyrighted materials.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…