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What Will They Think of Next?

Dec 30, 2007 — The good ol' RIAA is at it again.

This time (especially), on ridiculous and unreasonable grounds.

PL: "If you start down this path now, when will it end?"
NV: "It ends when we've won."

The Bourne Ultimatum

What qualifies 'winning'?

It's highly unlikely that they'll win, but judging by their last suit, who knows?

If they DO win, what does this mean for you, myself and everyone else who has music on their computer for transfer to an MP3 player or similar device? What about iTunes Plus?

Too many consequences come to mind, and there are just TOO many people "breaking the law" for the RIAA to "win" against. It's just pointless and insane in my opinion. The RIAA definitely doesn't have anything better to do.

Also, what about those individuals back in the 70's and 80's who were copying those 12" LPs onto Maxell cassettes? Does this mean they are going to start digging through my cassette drawer?

Am I off my rocker, or are things getting a little shadier in our digital world?

Wirehead says:

Meh.

Legally speaking, they are unauthorized copies, or at least they could be, since a judge has never held that the fair use doctrine applies to this specific usage.

That said, I think they'll find that including this language in the suit will cause them more problems in the long run.

It should be noted they're not actually going after the guy for copying the CD's, they're going after him for illegal downloading, a fact which the article in question does not make as clear as it could (what, a newspaper reporting on something in a cloudy manner which might lead some to misinterpret the story and thus stir up (gasp) controversy? Perish the thought!).

By including this language in their lawsuits I believe they're opening it up to legal challenge. RIGHT NOW, a judge has never held that the fair use doctrine specifically applies to copying legally purchased CD's to your computer or PMP device. Everyone is behaving as though that's the case, though. No judge has held that it DOESN'T apply, either. If this language gets challenged in court, I think it's fairly obvious which side of the fence the judge would come down on, and then the RIAA would have a fairly major PR setback on their hands.

A lot of people on this site probably think of me as some kind of fanatical defender of DRM and supporter of the RIAA or something. This isn't actually the case, I just take issue with those who feel they are somehow entitled to something they haven't paid for (i.e. illegal downloading of copyrighted material by whatever means). It doesn't matter if I think the RIAA is going about protecting their rights in the right way, what matters is that those rights are, in fact, THEIRS. If they choose to protect their intellectual property in this way, then that is their decision. People don't get to decide to just take what they want without paying for it, no matter how stupid they think the pricing scheme is.

lidge_34 says:

Yeah, it's pretty obvious that ripping CDs to your computer is legal and will be ruled legal if it comes to that. I mean, it is built into EVERY music playing software (WMP, iTunes, etc) and I can't imagine it changing.

I just ran into an issue where I BOUGHT a song from Napster but due to whatever DRM it has, I can't play it on my Zune--the whole point of BUYING it. I think I am well within my right to make a DRM-free copy that allows me to play the song on my player, but haven't figured this out. I would have thought that having bought the song (vs downloading from the subscription service) would have allowed me to do whatever I wanted with it, but I guess not.

rnewhouse says:

I'm thinking that later this year they will try to enact a law that says you can BUY a CD, but you have to buy another, separate license to actually LISTEN to it.

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