Important new article from Wired.com proving that RIAA has consistently taken position that ripping CD's to MP3's is unlawful:
RIAA Believes MP3s Are A Crime: Why This Matters -- Updated
By Ryan Singel January 09, 2008
In the confusion following the Washington Post's RIAA story, and its subsequent "correction," journalists and advocacy groups alike are missing an important fact: the RIAA has repeatedly taken the position that ripping MP3s from CDs you own is illegal, and it's using that argument to harm consumers.
Journalists, policy watchers and even copyright experts who fail to understand this risk helping the RIAA's ongoing crusade to cripple technology.
For those who still maintain the RIAA does not believe that MP3s are a crime, here are two very clear pieces of evidence:
* In the first ever trial of a person accused of sharing copyrighted music files over a peer-to-peer network, a Sony executive described ripping songs as stealing. Then the RIAA's lawyer grilled Thomas on the stand about whether or not she'd gotten permission before making personal copies of her music. (THREAT LEVEL's David Kravets covered the trial gavel-to-gavel.)
* Every three years, the Librarian of Congress decides what exceptions will be made to a federal law that makes it illegal to defeat copyright locks. That law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In 2006, a number of exemptions were proposed.
The RIAA, among others, opposed these exceptions. In a February 2, 2006 letter (.pdf) to the Copyright office, the group wrote that ripping MP3s from CDs -- also known as device shifting -- was not covered by Fair Use and thus was infringing. They also said that making a back-up copy of a CD was also infringing.
I don't know how clearer it needs to be to journalists, copyright lawyers and D.C. policy groups like CDT. The RIAA thinks that ripping CDs is illegal.
The Register [of Copyrights] was right in 2003 to be “skeptical” of the merits of any fair use analysis that asserts that space-shifting or format-shifting is a noninfringing use. ... This is particularly the case in today’s market, where inexpensive legitimate digital copies of most types of works are readily available, and increasingly can be obtained through online download services. Where a market is functioning to serve the demand otherwise being fulfilled by unauthorized copying, the likelihood that the unauthorized copying is fair use is diminished.
In such a market, the inconvenience that faces consumers of works tethered to specific devices is far outweighed by the threat to the enjoyment of copyright posed by illegal digital distribution facing copyright owners. As the Register stated in 2003, “[c]rtainly, where the unauthorized] online distribution of works is a potential concern, space-shifting will be incompatible with fair use.” [...]
The submission asserts in its third example, “device and format shifting,” that such activities “are unquestionably fair uses” of lawfully purchased CDs, (C6 at 8); but among those questioning this conclusion is the Register, who noted in 2003 that “proponents have not established that space-shifting or platform-shifting is a noninfringing use.” 2003 Rec. at 139.
Similarly, creating a back-up copy of a music CD is not a non-infringing use.
Keywords: digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property