burn and return


burn and return
v.
To purchase an audio CD, make a copy of it using a CD burner, and then return the original CD for a refund. Also: burn-and-return, burn/return.
Example Citation:
HMV Canada is back-pedalling on a 14-year-old "no-hassle" return policy that grants customers a refund for opened compact discs, arguing that the proliferation of home CD burners is leading to abuse, copyright violation and lost profits....
"Our return policy was something that set HMV apart," said Peter Luckhurst, president of HMV North America. "But a small percentage of customers have recently been using the policy to 'burn and return' CDs."
—Tyler Hamilton, "No-hassle refunds to end at HMV," Toronto Star, January 5, 2002
Earliest Citation:
Then there's Greg, a decade older, who swallows albums whole. He's a 'burn-and-return' artist, which means that he goes every once in a while to his local HMV shop in Toronto to buy 10 or 15 CDs. He brings them home, copies them and then takes them back to the store to take advantage of its 'hassle-free' returns policy.
— Murray Campbell, "The CD is dead. Long live the CD," The Globe and Mail, June 2, 2001
Notes:
In this context, the verb to burn means "to write data to a blank CD." It comes from the fact that writable CD drives use the heat from a laser to etch small pits in the disc's surface to represent the individual bits of data. I traced this form of the verb back to 1993:
Making your own Photo CD is easy enough. You drop off a roll of 35mm film at the local photo stop and ask that it be transferred to Photo CD. The photo finisher will take a blank Photo CD and 'burn' all of the photos into it at one sitting.
— Henry Fersko-Weiss, "Mighty multimedia machines," Computer Shopper, August, 1993
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