Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thanks for Clearing that Up.

Well as reported in this Washington Post artice, the RIAA has cleared up just what they mean in that warning. In a brief filed recently, they assert that you are violating the rule if you buy a cd and put a copy of the tracks on your own computer for your own personal use.

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.


brd said...

Isn't it true that when you play a CD on a computer that has certain software installed, like Windows Media Player or something, the computer kind of takes over and makes a copy without the user really even being conscious of it? Does that make the software manufacturer liable also?

Polly said...

Not exactly. certain media players can be set up to prompt (or start) recording your CD onto your hard drive if it is not already holding a copy of the music. Usually you have to set this up in advance OR simply the option is placed before you. For example, it may pop up a window that says something akin to: "you just put a cd in the computer. do you want to open the files? Play the music? download the music/files? leave it alone?"

at this point, you'd pick what to do next. The reason they don't sue the software manufacturers is that 1. they have the money to fight back; & 2. the caselaw is against them.

Basically, this is settled law. the RIAA's assertion here is an attempt to imply new meaning to the law that doesn't exist in an effort to expand and change previous court rulings. Unfortunately, the courts have been willing to look the other way on the leaps of logic the recording industry (to my mind) has been making. It would appear that the court likes the end result and has just fashioned a slapdash effort to actually get there.

brd said...

Thanks for the clarification.