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bertdw
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RIAA at it again

RIAA: Those CD rips of yours are still "unauthorized"

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/200...authorized.html

jazzfan
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Re: RIAA at it again

The RIAA actions are just the last gasps of an industry about to die. What strikes me as odd is that the dying music industry (dying because of a major shift in technology) gets so much attention and is managing to put up some kind of fight, feeble though it may be, while many other industries which have been or are being wiped out due to technological change offer up little resistance and have no attention paid to them. For example, the film based photography industry has basically been just about wiped out by digital photography and yet were are all the lawsuits and news stories?

It's time for the music industry to give up fighting with their customers and spend their time and energy on trying to find ways to make the new technologies work for their and their customer's benefit.

Another strange thing is that there are all these other companies trying to sell us technology which is either in direct violation of what the music industry thinks is legal or at least partly "illegal". For example, music streaming devices, such as the Transporter and Squeezebox, which need a hard drive based music library to operate. And how does one get a hard drive based music library, why by ripping one's CDs onto the hard drive - a no-no according to the music industry.

And the above is nothing compared to the movie industry's stance which is in direct conflict with most of the various computer and portable based video playback systems. DVD's have copy protection which is supposed to prevent one from even ripping them to a hard drive but this copy protection doesn't work. How does someone watch a video on a portable device, like the iPod, without first copying the video to a hard drive and then converting the video to a format that the portable device can play? All of which is illegal in the eyes of the movie industry.

bertdw
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Re: RIAA at it again

And now, on the front page of Stereophile.com, is a piece about the Audio Technica "ripping" turntable. Is this device also considered illegal? I remember reading somewhere that Fair Use did not include making personal copies. That was a separate law or statute that allowed making cassette copies from vinyl records only. Do you remember that? Can anyone back me up here?

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Re: RIAA at it again

It really is a shame that we don't have the same fair use rights the EU and Canada have.

But those are being chipped away at as well.

absolutepitch
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Re: RIAA at it again

Have the RIAA gone out and sued everyone that recorded LPs to cassette tapes for use in their cars? Have they sued anyone for copying CDs so that they can hear it at home and in their car? If CDs are convenient, having made a copy for personal use is convenient and is O.K. IMO.

Elk
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Re: RIAA at it again

The "Fair Use" provision of the U.S. Copyright Act does not allow for the making of a back-up for archival purposes, nor a copy for playing in a car. There also is no protection for copying for entertainment or personal amusement only.

That is, the buyer of a CD (or of an LP for that matter) has no legal right to make a copy for convenience.

However, the law is in flux. The courts have held that time shifting is legitimate (that is, VCR's and TiVo are OK). Also the manufacture and sale of an MP3 player is legal.

Additionally, whether format shifting is acceptable has yet to be addressed. That is, the courts have not yet decided whether ripping to a hard drive or making an MP3 is OK.

In the UK the issue is settled - no copies. Period. In Germany you can make copies. Thus, check your local laws if the issue concerns you.

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Re: RIAA at it again

Maybe you are more informed of the law than I. It seems funny that making MP3 players are fine but loading them with pre-recorded music may not be. That just does not make sense, legality aside.

I guess what I think should be, is that if I bought a recording (CD, LP, DVD, etc.) it's mine to do what I want with. I own it. It's not RIAA's concern what I do with it, especially since I don't make a bunch of copies to give out (and absolutely NOT for sale!). If I cannot make copies of it, then I must conclude I don't own it. Then who does? Why did I pay for something I don't own?

People have been copying ever since recorders were made. The RIAA is successfully going after their legitimate customers (including that 12-year old kid), but the recording bootleggers still are getting away with it.

bifcake
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Re: RIAA at it again

Legality is arbitrary and in most instances irrelevant. All it means in this particular instance is that you have to be discreet.

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Re: RIAA at it again

fair use, in Canada, represents owning and paying for the film version of 'catcher in the rye'..and then having 15,000 copies secreted around the house. And in the car. And strapped to your bike. And at the cottage. And stuffing your locker at work. As long as all those copies are strictly for YOUR private use, it is within the law.

However, it is also within Canadian legal rights, to have the digital output on a HD Sat or cable box working..and in Canada..they do not work. All are disabled.

In the US, it has been mandated, by the courts, that the digital out must be enabled. Good for you.

in essence, in Canada, if we want a working high def cable box, we order a used one off ebay from the US..and then call up our cable company and ask them to 'enable' our digital box. 99.99% of the time they do 'activate' it. Then we have a working digital output off the HD cable box, and can record the films we have paid for. And watch them later. Record them to a hard drive on a PC, or an older JVC HD VCR, etc.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:

I guess what I think should be, is that if I bought a recording (CD, LP, DVD, etc.) it's mine to do what I want with. I own it. It's not RIAA's concern what I do with it, especially since I don't make a bunch of copies to give out (and absolutely NOT for sale!). If I cannot make copies of it, then I must conclude I don't own it. Then who does? Why did I pay for something I don't own?

What you are missing is that you may own the physical disk, but you certainly do not own the material on it. The copyright holder does. Always has, always will, always should. That's why you can't make copies at will, except within the limits of the law (which is the real essence of the question.)

Bob

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Re: RIAA at it again

My friend, Ernest, and I have been discussing the RIAA for years and asking are they selling us a product or a license? If it's a license, why doesn't my paying for that LP years ago cover my CD of that same music many years later? The RIAA wants it both ways and they've essentially achieved that. What we are paying for is a license for music on a particular kind of media at a given time.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
It seems funny that making MP3 players are fine but loading them with pre-recorded music may not be. That just does not make sense, legality aside.


Two points:

1) The court was faced only with the limited issue of whether the sale of MP3 players under the facts before it violated copyright statutes. The court did not express address the surrounding issues as these issues were not before it.

2) MP3s can be legally purchased. There is, of course, nothing wrong with buying an MP3 and playing it back.

IMO, it should be legal for the buyer of a CD to make a copy for personal use in the car, or encode an MP3 for a portable player. To me the primary issue is whether the copy is being transferred to another by sale or gift (both should remain illegal).

Another issues is whether the copies are in use simultaneously. If your spouse is listening to one copy while jogging, you are listening to a copy in the car and your child is listening to yet another copy on his PC there is a violation of the single license you have been granted.

OTOH, if the copies are not simultaneously IMO this should not be a problem.

All of these issues are a question for the legislature and should be addressed by Congress. The court can only interpret the law, not make new law, and these issues are better suited to new and clear laws.

Elk
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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
Legality is arbitrary and in most instances irrelevant. All it means in this particular instance is that you have to be discreet.


Thus it is acceptable to engage in any behavior one chooses so long as you don't get caught?

Scary.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:

Quote:
Legality is arbitrary and in most instances irrelevant. All it means in this particular instance is that you have to be discreet.


Thus it is acceptable to engage in any behavior one chooses so long as you don't get caught?

Scary.

Precisely. Any law is only as good as its enforcement. For all practical purposes, does it really matter if ripping an MP3 for your personal use "legal" or not? Who's going to find out and who's going to enforce that? It's academic.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
Precisely. Any law is only as good as its enforcement. For all practical purposes, does it really matter if ripping an MP3 for your personal use "legal" or not? Who's going to find out and who's going to enforce that? It's academic.


The obvious problem is that any behavior is acceptable under this analysis. "Let's knock off this annoying homless guy. No one will notice."

There is no benefit in arguing personal ethics, but most of us are not willing to endorse this lack of a moral code.

bifcake
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Re: RIAA at it again

One's moral code is a separate issue from "legality". There are plenty of laws on the books that are not enforced. For example, did you know that it's legal to beat your wife in North Carolina once a month with a state approved switch? In some other parts of the country it's illegal to ride a bicycle on a Sunday. Are you going to adhere to these laws just because they're there? Most likely, you won't. We all pick and choose which laws to adhere to based on our own, personal sense of right and wrong. Therefore, if you think that ripping MP3's for your personal use is "wrong", you won't do it regardless of the legality of it. So, my point is that unenforceable laws are completely academic.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
For all practical purposes, does it really matter if ripping an MP3 for your personal use "legal" or not? Who's going to find out and who's going to enforce that? It's academic.

Perhaps you should ask Jeffrey and Pamela Howell who's going to find out. I've ripped a few CDs to my computer, is SafeNet spying on me for the RIAA? Am I safe because I have no shared folders? For how long? If we don't stand up for ourselves now, who will be to blame when our government makes criminals out of us, the RIAA's own customers? Ask the Howells how academic these laws are.

bifcake
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Re: RIAA at it again

Mr. and Mrs. Howell got arrested for sharing music? This is indeed a call to arms! We must rescue Thurston and Lovey! They're not made for jail.

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Re: RIAA at it again


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Mr. and Mrs. Howell got arrested for sharing music? This is indeed a call to arms! We must rescue Thurston and Lovey! They're not made for jail.

Indeed.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:

Quote:
Precisely. Any law is only as good as its enforcement. For all practical purposes, does it really matter if ripping an MP3 for your personal use "legal" or not? Who's going to find out and who's going to enforce that? It's academic.


The obvious problem is that any behavior is acceptable under this analysis. "Let's knock off this annoying homless guy. No one will notice."

There is no benefit in arguing personal ethics, but most of us are not willing to endorse this lack of a moral code.

Yes. They are starting to make the attempt for full fledged micro-tagging of all North American citizens via the well known 'creep it into existence' method.

First, by proposing and enacting enforced micro-tagging and radio location of all homeless people in the US.

Look it up. It's real.

Considering that we are delicate electrochemical creatures and that these things can work in a two-way situation, it is imperative that as many people as possible be aware of this brutally dangerous development. You won't hear big media talk about it. Same group of people.

dcstep
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Re: RIAA at it again

Olive now has a business ripping CDs to their HDs. See
http://www.olive.us/products/preload.html

I wonder if RIAA will go after them. I hope they have the means to fight it. I suspect so. Maybe that would be a landmark case that'll clarify our rights.

Dave

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Re: RIAA at it again

Olive has offered this service for quite some time. I doubt they have had any problems.

dcstep
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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
Olive has offered this service for quite some time. I doubt they have had any problems.

Which makes me wonder why they haven't been sued. If individuals can be sued for format shifting, then why not someone making a business of doing it. I wonder if Robert Altman being on their board has something to do with their good luck.

Dave

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Re: RIAA at it again

I haven't heard of any circumstances where anyone has been sued for format shifting.

It remains an open question as to whether format shifting is a violation of the Copyright Act.

Suing Olive would make for a poor test case. There is no question that Olive is not retaining a copy for itself nor is Olive going to be playing the CD and the ripped copy at the same time.

I suspect in the future the legislature will determine that the code should be modified to clearly allow format shifting by the owner for his singular personal use.

The difficulty is finding a balance that allows for copying for personal use while preventing copying for others. Additionally we do not have a cultural consensus as to whether making copies for multiple locations and uses should be allowable or not.

Digitally distributed products appear to be the only goods that we buy where this issue exists. No one would argue that if you buy any other product for your living room that you are entitled to steal another for use in the bedroom.

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Re: RIAA at it again

There is another issue with digitally distributed products that has not been touched upon throughout this discussion, the issue of final cost to the consumer.

Digitally downloaded music, which comes with no physical media, and in many cases with annoying DRM, is in many cases as expensive as the actual CD. Besides the lack of physical media, there is also the fact that the normal distribution chain, i.e. wholesaler, middleman, brick and mortar store, each with it's own markup to the final product, has been bypassed and yet the price charged to the consumer does not reflect these lower costs.

I don't know about you but my personal moral compass does not respond well to being openly hosed and thus the music industry and their legal digital downloads have no appeal to me. Price the downloads fairly and then I am actually consider buying a download of two. However, until that time I will not give them any of my hard earned money.

By the way, the book publishing world is also struggling with these same issues in the area of ebooks. In many cases the ebook, with its lack of printing and distribution costs, is priced as high or higher than the actual physical book. Believe it or not, most consumers can tell when they are getting ripped off.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
Believe it or not, most consumers can tell when they are getting ripped off.

Unless they're consumers of high end audio

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:

Quote:
Believe it or not, most consumers can tell when they are getting ripped off.

Unless they're consumers of high end audio

Hey, didn't they ban that kind of talk around here?

Elk
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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
Digitally downloaded music, which comes with no physical media, and in many cases with annoying DRM, is in many cases as expensive as the actual CD.


Interesting. Are downloads regularly this expensive?

The ~$1/track pricing for MP3s seems fair to me. I assume that this is what the majority of consumers are downloading. Amazon has album downloads (selected but current best sellers) for $7.99.

I like having the physical CD, a little booklet to read (I listen primarily to classical and most recordings come with pretty decent information), etc.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:

It remains an open question as to whether format shifting is a violation of the Copyright Act.

Suing Olive would make for a poor test case. There is no question that Olive is not retaining a copy for itself nor is Olive going to be playing the CD and the ripped copy at the same time.

The case cited by the OP involved format shifting for personal use. Olive is providing a service to those of us too lazy to do it ourselves. Olive's fee for the service makes them a prime target and a great test case.

They're loading CDs into their Opus HD servers which also have an onboard CD writer. On their site they talk about making extra copies for the car, etc. using your Opus. The case cited by the OP involved just such usage by a husband and wife.

Maybe RIAA doesn't want to take on anyone that might defend themselves after licking their wounds on the mp3 case.

Dave

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
Digitally distributed products appear to be the only goods that we buy where this issue exists. No one would argue that if you buy any other product for your living room that you are entitled to steal another for use in the bedroom.


I don't think that analogy applies at all. A more appropriate one is
printed material. If I xerox an article from a magazine that I bought, so I can read it later today when I'm on the plane, have I violated copyright law and stolen money out of the pocket of the author? NO, I don't think so.

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Stephen, John, are you listening?


Quote:
It remains an open question as to whether format shifting is a violation of the Copyright Act.

It seems odd to me that companies like Olive and McIntosh (whose MS750 Music Server graces this month's cover and seems custom-built for the purpose) would invest in something which could be rendered illegal by an upcoming court decision. Stephen, John, are you listening? Surely Stereophile is familiar with an attorney who could shed a little light on this subject.

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:
If I xerox an article from a magazine that I bought, so I can read it later today when I'm on the plane, have I violated copyright law and stolen money out of the pocket of the author? NO, I don't think so.


Actually this is a violation of the Copyright Act. There is no provision that allows you to duplicate an article for personal convenience.

You also have inadvertently annoyed the Xerox Corporation by using their trademark as a generic term, diluting the value of the trademark.

Elk
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Re: Stephen, John, are you listening?


Quote:
It seems odd to me that companies like Olive and McIntosh (whose MS750 Music Server graces this month's cover and seems custom-built for the purpose) would invest in something which could be rendered illegal by an upcoming court decision.


Such corporate decisions are not at all uncommon. In fact, corporations routinely obtain legal advice as to whether making a product is likely to violate another's patent or copyright. This is SOP when the product is at all cutting edge in some way.

Also, as an important clarification, the recent lawsuit cited hysterically in blogs and Slashdot involving format shifting is inaccurately described by these websites.

The lawsuit is not based primarily on the format shifting itself. Rather the lawsuit alleges that the defendant copied music as MP3s (format shift) and stored them in his KaZaA shared folder. This is unarguably illegal.

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Re: Stephen, John, are you listening?


Quote:

Quote:
It remains an open question as to whether format shifting is a violation of the Copyright Act.

It seems odd to me that companies like Olive and McIntosh (whose MS750 Music Server graces this month's cover and seems custom-built for the purpose) would invest in something which could be rendered illegal by an upcoming court decision.

An article in today's Washington Post gave the impression that the last time the RIAA tried this tactic, they were rebuffed on the grounds of the precednt set by the Betamax Supreme Court decision: that making a copy of a copyrighted work for reasons of personal convenience was lawful.

But as the RIAA members get increasingly desperate, they will try anything and everything until they get a legal decision in their favor.

What then? With >90% of music on the many millions of iPods out there ripped from the owners' own CDs (Apple's own stats), I can't believe the RIAA will prevail. But in the meantime, it is probably a good idea for those who are transferring their CD collections to servers to hold on to the original CDs and packaging.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Elk
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Does your brain hurt yet?

The popular media's coverage of these lawsuits is often murky at best.

In Atlantic v. Howell the Howells used Kazza's program to rip and encode files compatible with this P2P network. The Howells admitted owning the Kazza account at issue. They claimed however that the file folder was "not set to share", (seriously begging the question as to how the files were found by MediaSentry).

The court cited three previous decisions on point and ruled against the Howells: "Several cases suggest that Kazaa users commit direct infringement by employing the Kazaa program to make their collections of copyrighted sound recordings available to all other Kazaa users".

While the RIAA also argued that the MP3 copies themselves are illegal, this is not what their primary argument or what the decision was based on.

However, the RIAA does have a good argument that the U.S. Copyright Act does not allow a user to make an MP3 copy, even if it is just for his on use.

Other countries have recently explicitly amended their copyright laws to answer this question. In England, copies are illegal. Period. In Germany a limited number of copies are allowed. Our Congress should similarly make a decision and ammend the Act to make explicit as to whether copies are allowed or not.

Now for the MP3 player case. The decision was based upon careful analysis of the Audio Home Recording Act. The Sony "time shifting" case was only cited in dicta as further support.

Hang on, this gets a bit more complicated:

The RIAA brought suit against Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc, (Diamond), "alleging that the Rio [an MP# player manufactured by Diamond] does not meet the requirements for digital audio recording devices under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, 17 U.S.C.

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Re: Does your brain hurt yet?


Quote:
(After reading this I am certain you can see why the media loves to try and turn lawsuits into simple knee-jerk reactionary statements. Unfortunately, these are often very inaccurate.)

After reading all that legal mumbo jumbo the only thing I'm certain of is that I now have a splitting headache! OUCH!!!

Attorneys can suck the fun and life out of just about anything.

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Re: Does your brain hurt yet?


Quote:
Attorneys can suck the fun and life out of just about anything.


Blame Congress. They wrote the law.

The courts and lawyers are simply stuck with trying to make sense of the language.

While Congress has some lawyers, the bills are typically not written by lawyers. Lawyers - believe it or not - prefer crisp clean language; they try to avoid the downfalls of messy drafting.

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Re: Does your brain hurt yet?


Quote:

Quote:
Attorneys can suck the fun and life out of just about anything.


Blame Congress. They wrote the law.

And laws that are broken by the majority of citizens every day are bad laws. Vide: Prohibition.

But great explanation above, Elk. Thank you.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: RIAA at it again


Quote:

Quote:
If I xerox an article from a magazine that I bought, so I can read it later today when I'm on the plane, have I violated copyright law and stolen money out of the pocket of the author? NO, I don't think so.


Actually this is a violation of the Copyright Act. There is no provision that allows you to duplicate an article for personal convenience.

Perhaps then I have violated the Copyright Act by making a personal copy of an article that I have purchased. Whoa, I'm a bad MF (shut my mouth!) More to the point, if I did, then that makes for a bad copyright act. But - have I taken any money out of the pocket of the author and publisher? No, I have not. Would they wish to sue me if they knew I copied the article so I could read and enjoy it? Not if they have a lick of sense.

I'd also like to second JA's comment below about if you have an act that millions of law abiding, good faith people violate, then...

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Re: Stephen, John, are you listening?

Thank you John, for your prompt attention. I guess I was hoping for a black-and-white answer to a shades-of-grey question.

And thank you Elk, for such a thorough discussion of an apparently complex situation. I wonder what it means that the RIAA's attorney "filed a brief," as stated in the original article. Was this merely an opinion for the judge to consider in this one case, or a request for a ruling on the topic that will stand up in later cases?

It seems the more questions I ask, the more questions I have. But thank you everyone, for a lively and informative discussion.

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Re: Stephen, John, are you listening?

The brief filed by the RIAA's attorney is simply a document setting forth the RIAA's position and arguments. Both sides file briefs in support of their position and hope to convince the judge of the correctness of their position.

Once legal arguments get to this level of appellate review there is generally two "correct" positions. That is, both sides have well-reasoned arguments with good legal support.

I doubt the RIAA will go after someone that copied their CDs strictly for archival purposes or encoded MP3s for use on their own portable player.

The Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act does not contain a specific provision that archival copies are OK nor that convenience copies are OK. However, its list of permissible copies (for academic use, research, reviews, etc.) is not exclusive, but rather exemplars. A court may conclude that archival copies falls into this same category.

I would like Congress to clearly state that using a CD copy in the car is OK and that MP3s are OK, with an expressed limitation that only one version of the CD is being accessed at a time and is being done so by the original owner.

P2P sharing of encoded files should remain illegal.

Perhaps then those that think it is OK to copy and share with friends would learn that this is wrong, and the industry would learn how to support format shifting.

It's tricky stuff.

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Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies

Update:

Despite the Washington Post report, as well as the reports in various blogs the RIAA is not targeting personal use CD copying.

As an article in the January 12, 2008 issue of Billboard explains, the case cited by the blogs and the Post article involved a user placing 2,000 ripped copies in his Kazaa shared folder, making it available to other Kazaa users.

This is, of course, a violation of copyright.

That is, the RIAA is complaining only about the user making the copies available for distribution - not about the copies themselves.

The RIAA's senior VP, Jonathan Lamy, states that the Post's characterization of the RIAA's position "is simply incorrect and appears to be based on distortions that have appeared in certain Internet blogs rather than in the record of the case itself."

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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies

No huge sighs of relief?

dcstep
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies


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No huge sighs of relief?

This raises the question of, if the rule of law had been as erroneously suggested in the original article, would any of us change our ways???

Conceptually it would have been as if certain sex acts between consenting adults were outlawed (as they still are in certain jurisdictions). If my wife and I wanted to do some outlaw act I don't think that a law would prevent me. Maybe I wouldn't talk about it, but a mere law has no influence on my behavior in private so long as I'm not harming someone else.

This is the same kind of concept. If it were illegal for me to format-shift and use multiple copies (but only one at a time) of media that I'd legally purchased, then I wouldn't feel compelled to comply. I'd be less prone to talk about it, but I'd still do it.

I disagree with a sizeable part of the population that it's appropriate or legal to copy media and then resale the media and keep the copy. The producers and artists are entitled to compensation from every user, even over the airways. However, I believe that the user is entitled to create multiple formats of purchased media so that it can be used in various devices at various locations, by the purchaser.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies


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This raises the question of, if the rule of law had been as erroneously suggested in the original article, would any of us change our ways???


This is akin to asking whether you would steal or otherwise act in an illegal fashion if you were certain you would not be caught.

Some will, others will not.

In England it is illegal to make even a single copy of a CD. I wonder if the typical English CD buyer makes a copy? I suspect that there is less copying than there otherwise would be.

And don't ever again encourage me to even vaguely contemplate your sex life.

dcstep
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies


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This raises the question of, if the rule of law had been as erroneously suggested in the original article, would any of us change our ways???


This is akin to asking whether you would steal or otherwise act in an illegal fashion if you were certain you would not be caught.

Well, wait a minute, there's a difference between stealing, which harms someone else, and breaking a potential law where no harm is done to anyone. Stealing doesn't require a law to be wrong. I don't do steal. However, I do use what I buy as I see fit, so long as I harm no one else. If someone made it illegal for me to do so, I wouldn't change my ways.

If we all follow laws blindly, whether just or not, then we risk take overs by dictators. Yes, there can be consequences we don't like, but we need to resist injustice.

I think there's a big difference between stealing because we don't think we'll be caught and not following a law because it's wrong. All you potheads out there (not you Elk), remember, there's a consequence to breaking the law.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies


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Well, wait a minute, there's a difference between stealing, which harms someone else, and breaking a potential law where no harm is done to anyone. Stealing doesn't require a law to be wrong.


Actually, if you re-read my post I wasn't taking a position on whether making a copy for yourself is stealing.

I'm fully versed on civil disobedience. It's a criminal act if future views of history disagree with you; agreeable, appropriate disobedience if we later like you.

However, it is an easy argument that copying a CD so that one has a copy in the car while the original remains in the big rig is stealing. If the definition is that it harms someone else, the artist and label is harmed; without that copy another original would have been purchased.

The counter argument - "well, I wouldn't have bought another copy" - is easily dismissed. This same statement can also be said about giving a copy to a friend; "well, he would not have bought a copy in any event so it's not stealing as no one has been harmed."

So it's OK if the eventual owner asserts he wouldn't have bought an original anyway? Is it stealing to take the apples the owner didn't pick and didn't plan to? Taking them didn't harm him either.

Stealing is the taking of something that does not belong to you. It is an issue of ownership. The owner has the right to decide how and if the item is distributed.

Thus, it comes down to either the rule of law or where on the gray scale of relative ethics one chooses to reside.

The English have resolved this by deciding that no copies of a CD can be legally made. In Germany you can make a specific finite number (I don't recall how many).

Personally, I find it reasonable to transcode a CD for portable player use or to make a copy for the car so the original doesn't get damaged. For me, the test is whether there is no chance that the two copies ever could be used simultaneously.

That is, they will only be for my personal use and I'll never use more than one version at a time. This wouldn't be true if I gave the copies to someone else.

What I can't decide is whether there should by any limit on the number of copies that I can make.

dcstep
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies

Well, fortunately, we in the US have the reasonable use doctrine which has already been tested and allows format shifting.

Companies like Opus are openly providing a service to transfer CDs to servers. If format shifting weren't legal then I don't think that they would be doing this.

Dave

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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies


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Well, fortunately, we in the US have the reasonable use doctrine which has already been tested and allows format shifting.


Actually it has not been tested.

In RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia the Supreme Court ruled that the sale of an MP3 player without a Serial Copyright Management System is not a violation of the Audio Home Recording Act. The Act "requires that copyright and generation status information be accurately sent, received, and acted upon between" digital audio recording devices so that multi-generational copies cannot be made.

The Court ruled that a computer is not primarily a "digital audio recording device" and thus need not conform to the Act. The Court went on: "Because the Rio cannot make copies from transmissions, but instead, can only make copies from a computer hard drive, it is not a digital audio recording device." Thus, sale of the player is OK.

The Court did not rule that format shifting is legal. It simply ruled that selling an MP3 player without a Serial Copyright Management System is not a violation of the Audio Home Recording Act.

The Fair Use doctrine of Copyright law also does not allow format shifting.

Bottom line: The Supremes have not addressed specifically whether format shifting is legal. Thus, we do not yet know.


Quote:
Companies like Opus are openly providing a service to transfer CDs to servers. If format shifting weren't legal then I don't think that they would be doing this.


This is not a reliable indicator. Companies make business decisions to assume the risk that what they are doing may be a violation of someone's ownership rights on a regular basis.

An easy example is patents. Companies regularly obtain an opinion from patent counsel as to whether their product violates another's patent. The company reviews the opinion and then decides whether to assume the risk.

dcstep
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies

Good discussion Elk, but I'm not changing my ways. I only pay once UNLESS someone offers increased resolution. Thus, I have some CDs that I bought the vinyl version of to enjoy the higher resolving power of consumer analog. I also have a handful of DVD-As, SACDs and hi rez downloads that I previously had on CD.

When I format shift I keep the original file.

I feel no guilt. Is that wrong? I can't see where I'm harming anyone. I paid for use of the music and don't see why I should be restricted in my use of what I own. I open to a counter argument, but I haven't heard anything compelling yet.

Dave

Elk
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Re: Update on the RIAA's position regarding personal copies

I act as you do.

As I indicated above, I find it reasonable to transcode a CD for portable player use or to make a copy for the car so the original doesn't get damaged. As there is no chance that the two copies ever could be used simultaneously I find this acceptable.

If I gave away or sold a CD, I would delete the transcoded versions and would toss the CD copy.

It is time for Congress to clarify the law.

Interestingly, this issue is somewhat related to the current writers' strike. Should they get a share of additional profits when a program is transcoded to Internet play? In this case, the format shifting is performed by the copyright holder.

If format shifting is OK for the end-user and it is not a "new" copy, should it not also be OK for the owner of the material to format shift without creating a "new" verion? Thus, no additional profit sharing for writers.

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