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Record Industry says it's not OK to copy purchased CDs to computer


Beerman

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Despite more than 20,000 lawsuits filed against music fans in the years since they started finding free tunes online rather than buying CDs from record companies, the recording industry has utterly failed to halt the decline of the record album or the rise of digital music sharing.

 

Still, hardly a month goes by without a news release from the industry's lobby, the Recording Industry Association of America, touting a new wave of letters to college students and others demanding a settlement payment and threatening a legal battle.

 

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

 

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

 

"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

 

RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."

 

They're not kidding. In October, after a trial in Minnesota -- the first time the industry has made its case before a federal jury -- Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay $220,000 to the big record companies. That's $9,250 for each of 24 songs she was accused of sharing online.

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Whether customers may copy their CDs onto their computers -- an act at the very heart of the digital revolution -- has a murky legal foundation, the RIAA argues. The industry's own Web site says that making a personal copy of a CD that you bought legitimately may not be a legal right, but it "won't usually raise concerns," as long as you don't give away the music or lend it to anyone.

 

Of course, that's exactly what millions of people do every day. In a Los Angeles Times poll, 69 percent of teenagers surveyed said they thought it was legal to copy a CD they own and give it to a friend. The RIAA cites a study that found that more than half of current college students download music and movies illegally.

 

The Howell case was not the first time the industry has argued that making a personal copy from a legally purchased CD is illegal. At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.

 

But lawyers for consumers point to a series of court rulings over the last few decades that found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices to time-shift TV programs; that is, to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording.

 

As technologies evolve, old media companies tend not to be the source of the innovation that allows them to survive. Even so, new technologies don't usually kill off old media: That's the good news for the recording industry, as for the TV, movie, newspaper and magazine businesses. But for those old media to survive, they must adapt, finding new business models and new, compelling content to offer.

 

The RIAA's legal crusade against its customers is a classic example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed. Four years of a failed strategy has only "created a whole market of people who specifically look to buy independent goods so as not to deal with the big record companies," Beckerman says. "Every problem they're trying to solve is worse now than when they started."

 

The industry "will continue to bring lawsuits" against those who "ignore years of warnings," RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said in a statement. "It's not our first choice, but it's a necessary part of the equation. There are consequences for breaking the law." And, perhaps, for firing up your computer.

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I think this will backfire big time and they're now in brainwashing mode, trying to scare everyone in everyway possible. As musicians see the backlash, they'll begin going out on their own more and more.

And while they're at it, why not sue Apple, iRiver, Sandisk, Creative and others for making devices that allow users to put their cd collection on media players? This is totally insane.

Rant Over

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I have recently had the misfortune to be stuck using WinPlayer 9 instead of Win2000 CDPlayer, for most of a day.

 

I never liked WP9, and my opinion rapidly went downhill since you are stuck having to go back to the computer to play track 1 - unlike older WinPlayers which can loop if you want to start at, say, Track 8.

 

It seemed to me all WinPlayer 9 is good for is ripping CDs and being a substitute TV - I don't have any use for TV altho I occasionally watch DVDs. (I prefer to play CDs instead of ripping the music - an attitude held over from my original 3.7GB Hard Drive.)

 

If all WinPlayer is intended for is ripping CDs, why doesn't RIAA go closer to the heart of it and sue Bill Gates and Microsoft? Aren't they enabling people to build private music collections without buying CDs?

 

Like you said, Paul, I don't think RIAA is improving their survival chances.

 

Lynn

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Odd you brought up this information Paul, as I just read in our local newspaper where several companies that sell music records are going to go out of business do to the slow rate of people buying their ware. They attributed it to the fact that so many people are now buying from the internet and/or downloading (legal or non-legal) music from the internet.

 

Sooner or later I think more of our local businesses that sell music records etc. will follow suit for the same reason.

 

Frank...

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What I find weird is labels selling their music with the DRM taken away and then bitching when their music is supossedly stolen.What are they thinking?It's not like it's not common knowledge how to take those tracks that have the DRM and get rid of it.

Maybe we (the US) need to go to a system like others have that tax blank media for the purpose of distributing funds.

This wan't such a big deal in the days of Analog but now with Digital and the possibility of making a near perfect copy things have gotten out of hand.And now they're saying that if I buy a Cd,rip a track to my hard drive and don't share it with anyone else that I'm a criminal.That's total BS.

Maybe I should just take my cd collection to a street corner and start giving it away and see what happens then.I think they'd still be pissed cuz I'm giving away something I don't have the right to give away.

I can understand the artists wanting to make a living off their hard work.Maybe they should all follow RadioHead's lead and set up their own sites to distribute their music and cut the labels out all together.With the advent of the Digital Age they wouldn't really need to press cd's anymore.

The way I see it is if I legally obtain the media then should be able to use it how I choose as long as I'm not distibuting it,for monetary gain or not.

Too bad I'm not the one that get to make those decisions.

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There's also the other side of the coin - if they don't put out anything people want to buy, sales go down.

 

Putting out a couple tracks of value and padding the rest didn't help their case.

 

Altho, admittedly, I wasn't buying CDs anyway until I realized Ihad something to play them on (a computer), and then most of what I bought was from street bands, and then subsequently, used (usually no longer available) copies of CDs by said street bands.

 

Lynn

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I have well over 2000 in my collection so I think I've done my part to support the recording industry.One thing I've always thought was crazy is having to buy the whole cd just to get the one or two good songs on the disc.

So now if I buy the songs online (which I do) is there a way they can tell they were paid for or ripped from a cd?There probably is but they better make #$^@ sure before they come snooping around my computer.

I usually rip tracks from cd's so I can make compilation discs,which I'm sure they also frown upon.Maybe they should get their artists to make a decent disc full of songs instead of 1 or 2 good ones and the rest filler.Then maybe people would buy more CD's.

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I have well over 2000 in my collection so I think I've done my part to support the recording industry.One thing I've always thought was crazy is having to buy the whole cd just to get the one or two good songs on the disc.

So now if I buy the songs online (which I do) is there a way they can tell they were paid for or ripped from a cd?There probably is but they better make #$^@ sure before they come snooping around my computer.

I usually rip tracks from cd's so I can make compilation discs,which I'm sure they also frown upon.Maybe they should get their artists to make a decent disc full of songs instead of 1 or 2 good ones and the rest filler.Then maybe people would buy more CD's.

I've not kept up on what or how they keep tabs on their music but from the little I've read, some songs do have embedded info to tell where they came from. I don't even want to know what they do because I don't care. I've still not had enough time to take all my cd collection and put on my computer but I do a little at a time and I can't believe that the article in discussion has not gotten out more than it has. Maybe it's the time of year with the Holidays and football on the minds of Americans but I would think this would be huge.

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Maybe we (the US) need to go to a system like others have that tax blank media for the purpose of distributing funds.
As far as I know that has already been in place for a long time - since cassette tape? I'm sure the 'industry' gets their share from blank VHS, CDs and DVD sales.
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As far as I know that has already been in place for a long time - since cassette tape? I'm sure the 'industry' gets their share from blank VHS, CDs and DVD sales.

 

Yes, have you noticed there are data CD's and audio CD's? Someone out foxed them on that one! :lol:

 

UPDATE...

 

article

 

RIAA Not Targeting CD Ripping After All

By Richard Koman

December 31, 2007 11:55AM

 

The only problem with the outrage over the news that the RIAA has begun to target CD ripping is that no such claim was made. RIAA lawyer Ira Schwartz, writing in a supplemental brief, made clear that the defendant was being targeted not for ripping CDs, but for putting songs in a shared Kazaa folder, making them available globally.

 

cd

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Over here it didn't matter a tuppenny d**n what the label on the cassette tape was - it got a one penny surcharge even if it was a 15 minute 'data' tape for an 8 bit machine

 

Th surcharge went on ALL cassettes

 

So presumably the surcharge will apply to all blank media

 

Just because you may be paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :lol:

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I don't doubt for a second that the RIAA has mentioned copying to a computer is wrong but it appears, not in the case that was printed in the Wash. Post. I think they knew that would open up a can of Whip A$$ on them.

I have a friend who has a friend who's daughter is involved in the record industry (yeah, 4th hand info) and she has said that a number of bands she works with (she's low level) hate the RIAA for the negative press it's giving musicians.

I'm glad, at least for now, that this might be settled.

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