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    RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers



    washingtonpost.com

    THE LISTENER

    Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use















    By Marc Fisher
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, December 30, 2007; Page M05


    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.
    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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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    It's called fair use, and fair use of CD's includes putting them on your Ipod. This is exactly why every american should stop buying CD's for 1 year, and teach the music industry that we will not stand up for their crap anymore. They don't care about your use of their product, they just care about how to extort more dollars from you.

    Time for a revolt!


    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin 1775

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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    I've always wondered what happens when music starts going backwards. I.e. you buy a song in itunes, and then burn it to CD to listen to it in a CD player. it's the same principal at work. It will be very interesting to see this work it's way through the court system.

    I think the RIAA is going to die at the hands of REAL musicians (as opposed to the over-produced, marketed from birth crowd), who are going to start using alternate distribution methods to start taking a larger piece of the pie for themselves.



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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    So basically the RIAA is saying you cannot transfer the CD songs to any device? That is similar to being omnipotent.


    That means CDs are overpriced and not worth buying.


    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    It's called fair use, and fair use of CD's includes putting them on your Ipod. This is exactly why every american should stop buying CD's for 1 year, and teach the music industry that we will not stand up for their crap anymore. They don't care about your use of their product, they just care about how to extort more dollars from you.

    Time for a revolt!
    Well said. I have a hard time supporting musicains when they there are law suits like this just to make them a buck. I rarely buy music, there are not that many bands that are more than a "one hit wonder" anyway.



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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    I am also tired of buying the same songs on different formats ---- irksome.


    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    Time for a revolt!
    A real revolt would be obtaining a change in the copyright laws. This shouldn't require a drawn out court battle. A piece of legislation defining fair use for music and movies would do the trick nicely.


    Seneca Wallace.

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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    It's called fair use, and fair use of CD's includes putting them on your Ipod. This is exactly why every american should stop buying CD's for 1 year, and teach the music industry that we will not stand up for their crap anymore. They don't care about your use of their product, they just care about how to extort more dollars from you.

    Time for a revolt!
    If it really starts to slide for the consumers, Apple, etc. are going to file a HUGE lawsuit against those companies because it will deem their product unlawful to own. By the music world's standard, wouldn't it be theft to take a song you buy and put it on your iPod? It's not any different than burning it to a CD.

    P.S. If we stop buying the CDs, how can we share the music if no one has the original file? Radio station copies tend to have people talking and stuff.



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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    It's called fair use, and fair use of CD's includes putting them on your Ipod. This is exactly why every american should stop buying CD's for 1 year, and teach the music industry that we will not stand up for their crap anymore. They don't care about your use of their product, they just care about how to extort more dollars from you.

    Time for a revolt!
    Its already happening, Radiohead's newest CD InRainbows was available to all who wanted it. You downloaded the album from their website, you could pay $100 or $0 it was your choice. Excellent CD btw. I hope more bands with big followings do the same.



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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    Maybe they can do the four tier system:

    50 cents fr a IPOD copy
    75 cents for transferring to 5 other IPODS
    1 buck you can burn CDs
    1.25 you can do all formats.


    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
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  11. #11
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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    Quote Originally Posted by 4429 mcc View Post
    Its already happening, Radiohead's newest CD InRainbows was available to all who wanted it. You downloaded the album from their website, you could pay $100 or $0 it was your choice. Excellent CD btw. I hope more bands with big followings do the same.
    I was just going to post that. Great CD, really innovative idea - it pretty much had to be someone like Radiohead to pave the way with this.

    A confession: I ended up paying almost $30 for this because I forgot how crappy the American dollar was...


    M 7/09

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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    I haven't bought a CD in years. I'll never buy another either until the RIAA changes their stance. This latest crap only reinforces my decision

    Bought an iPod a couple years ago and buy songs here and there.


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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    I have pretty much become an iTunes buyer over the last couple of years, but when I REALLY like an artist I tend to buy the CD. I guess I am old fashioned and like having something to hold on to and read the liner notes.....



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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    And when is the RIAA going to refund my money...for all the crappy CDs I bought in the 90's, with only 1 or 2 good songs on them?? I don't listen to the rest of the songs, so why don't they give me something back. (I couldn't buy mp3's back then...). Anyone know a good lawyer (oxymoron alert)??

    God I hate the RIAA. They are a dinosaur, and need to go that way.

    I wonder if the artists they work for really support these efforts? Alienating your fan base has always been great for business...


    I second the thoughts about Radiohead...great new album too.

    Sorry for the rant....but this is one thing that really gets me going....I'll take a break now and try to lower my blood pressure....



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    Re: RIAA says no music CD downloads to computers

    I wonder what other 'new violations' the RIAA's lawyers fill find if they keep looking.

    The last time I bought a music CD (a couple of months ago), I never remember agreeing to or even seeing a contract that stated what I could and couldn't do with the CD.

    Can I listen to it ?

    Can I play it on shuffle play ? That violates the content order established by the artist (or record company).

    Can I play it in only certain types of CD players ? Can I only use it in ONE CD player that I own ?

    Can I comment on the CD to others via the Internet ? Telephone ? In person ?



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