Thursday, January 10, 2008

Important Article by about RIAA's position that ripping cd's to mp3's is unlawful

Important new article from 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.

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.
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.

Complete article

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


Anonymous said...

"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."

At the least, it's clear that the RIAA has asserted two contradictory positions, and chooses the more convenient of the two for any given situation.

Public relations crisis? We embrace CD ripping! Fill your iPods worry free!

Influencing policy through mass litigation and administrative petitions? CD ripping is killing us! MP3s become dangerous Internet downloads!

Textbook flip-flop. Regardless of what the RIAA's true position is--safe bet on the latter, given Sony BMG's 2005 CD copy protection rootkit scheme--this contradiction should reflect on the RIAA's credibility on this issue.

Anonymous said...

RIAA: Did you have Our permission to rip those CD's to your hard drive? Please answer Yes or No.

Innocent Defendant: I cannot answer the question as stated.

RIAA: It's a simple question. Simply answer Yes, or No.

Innocent Defendant: I cannot answer as Yes or No.

Judge: What is the problem here?

Innocent Defendant: Your Honor, the Plaintiff's question is phrased in the same manner as, have you stopped beating your wife? The correct answer is neither yes, nor no. The correct answer is: I don't need your permission to copy legally owned CD's to my computer hard drive. But they won't accept that answer.

Judge: Is this true?



Rob said...

I came across this DVD call 411 on the Independent Music Movement. It's looks very good and seems to help the independent artist.

Check it out, it has a lot of cool info and there are great demos of the DVD's.

Anonymous said...

The copying of CD's to computer has to be addressed, one way or another. In the UK, they are also aware of this problem, and they have a have the government pass the law that legalizes that ability, (which everyone has been doing anyway).

Intellectual property minister Lord Triesman said the law should be changed so it "keeps up with the times"

The RIAA needs to "keep up with the times" and add a little honesty into the equation as well.


raybeckerman said...

RJ, you must be new here.

You used "honesty" and "RIAA" in the same sentence.

Art said...

The 54 page "letter" from the RIAA and several other industry organizations is very disturbing. To the RIAA, having to pay again to format shift songs that you already own on CD is just an "inconvenience". It just further emphasizes how appropriate the name "Recording Industry vs The People" really is!


Ryan said...

Well I TRIED to prove you wrong Ray but I couldn't get anything past my own BS meter besides "The RIAA honestly horks me off" which is not really the same thing as the word honestly is linked to the "me", not the "RIAA". :P

Anonymous said...

good article. there is a interesting perspective to the same article at she is a industry insider with a good point of view.