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RIAA Argues That MP3s From CDs Are Unauthorized 668

Posted by kdawson
from the no-fair dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In an Arizona case against a defendant who has no legal representation, Atlantic v. Howell, the RIAA is now arguing — contrary to its lawyers' statements to the United States Supreme Court in 2005 MGM v. Grokster — that the defendant's ripping of personal MP3 copies onto his computer is a copyright infringement. At page 15 of its brief (PDF) it states the following: 'It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies... Virtually all of the sound recordings... are in the ".mp3" format for his and his wife's use... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recordings into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies...'"
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RIAA Argues That MP3s From CDs Are Unauthorized

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  • Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:11AM (#21652755) Homepage Journal
    OK, here is the deal... I just bought over $200 worth of music on CD and I absolutely guarantee that this will be the last music purchase I make from any RIAA backed artist unless they start recognizing fair use. In fact, in the MGM vs Grokster case, the RIAA suggested that iPods have a substantial and legitimate commercial use in contrast to Grokster.

    This case appears to be an absolutely clear fair use case. This individual, like hundreds of thousands of others *purchase* music from legal sources and while I just spent the last ten minutes typing out an explanation for why this may be the case, I have realized that we've all heard this ad nauseum. What is it going to take for the shareholders of all these companies to stand up and say enough? What is it going to take before all consumers simply say "enough of this hassle, no more music purchases?" What is it going to take before these people wake up, realize that they need to stop treating their paying customers like criminals? When are they going to realize that rather than litigate against the pirates, they should simply realize that they should compete against them by offering great service for reasonable prices and get rid of all the DRM? There is a reason that music sales are dropping (actually a dozen or so), but if the RIAA and their associated represented companies simply started going back to basics, finding and promoting good talent (there is lots out there) rather than promoting the engineered bands, or what they think should be popular, they could go back to making money. Look, Long Tail economics gives them everything they need to start making more money, even from music in the public domain. Hey, I'd buy music if made available from a huge variety of artists that are currently out of print or have entered the public domain, but are no longer available.

  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Typoboy (61087) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:18AM (#21652789) Homepage
    I'm not sure what you want to see the shareholders do or think, unless it is perhaps "that money is being wasted on lawsuits" which is probably not a foregone conclusion.

    I'd just like to see some alternate distribution mechanisms. The old mp3.com was great, I haven't tried it recently. cdbaby.com feeds into itunes which is great, and seems to be a low barrier to entry as far as physical+online distribution. It's the labels which put money behind promotions in record stores, and presumably, online venues such as itunes.
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:24AM (#21652821)
    well said.

    I don't think the RIAA behavior should be discussed anymore. Let's start doing something substantial (at least those that think RIAA is acting out of order). Actually there probably are loads activity groups out there that are already doing this, maybe they need (even) more support.

  • Fair enough... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:26AM (#21652823) Journal
    Except that they are claiming that mp3s outside your shared folder are yours, but they are no longer authorized copies once they enter your shared folder?

    That's a step beyond claiming that "making available" is piracy, which is a step beyond what most of us accept as piracy.

    I do agree with your assessment, though. Nothing is helped by intellectual dishonesty and exaggeration.
  • by capnkr (1153623) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:27AM (#21652825)
    Get with the program! (Seriously!)

    It's been +5 years since I bought a CD from a major label, and I know there are many others here who have voted *without* their wallets like I have. (Are you listening, mafIAA??)

    I'm surprised that someone with as much exposure to the horror stories as you must have gotten in all your years of /.ing is still buying CD's...

    Don't buy things from the music mongers! Support independent artists!!!
  • by Typoboy (61087) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:31AM (#21652853) Homepage
    Very good point. Mod parent up! Unauthorized = not authorized.

    So the original summary is misleading: The RIAA did not argue that MP3s from CDs are illegal.
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:34AM (#21652871) Homepage

    This case appears to be an absolutely clear fair use case

    Sharing MP3s with Kazaa is fair use? That seems rather unlikely.

  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IBBoard (1128019) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:45AM (#21652921) Homepage

    What is it going to take for the shareholders of all these companies to stand up and say enough?

    Erm, maybe when their shares stop making them money? People will invest in all sorts of things and ignore moral/ethical dilemmas, as long as it is making them money. Such is human greed and capitalism.

    What is it going to take before all consumers simply say "enough of this hassle, no more music purchases"?

    That'll only happen when Joe Public who buys the random, mass-produced crap that makes it into the charts feels he is affected. For the moment it is only the comparative minority who rip and share MP3s en-mass who really worry, and those geeks who keep track of the news who can see where it will end up.

    What is it going to take before these people wake up, realize that they need to stop treating their paying customers like criminals?

    Maybe when their business model finally bites the dust and some other group using online distribution without DRM is still going strong. Even then it is only a maybe.

    When are they going to realize that rather than litigate against the pirates, they should simply realize that they should compete against them by offering great service for reasonable prices and get rid of all the DRM?

    Again, it'll cost money to do that. They can sue lots of people for tens of thousands or they can spend millions restructuring and working on a better model. Which one seems better in the corporate world?
  • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:47AM (#21652935)
    That's hilarious - "It's a travesty! I propose a boycott! Well, unless it means me having to do without whatever I want, in the way I want it, then it's okay."

    Are you serious?

  • by WallyDrinkBeer (1136165) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:54AM (#21652961)
    The dude was sharing the files via Kazaa. That's what he'll be prosecuted on.

    Of course the RIAA are going to claim this and that, but when it comes down to it this dude will be found to have distributed music via Kazaa.

    The summary is just more dishonesty by these stupid slashdot people.
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:58AM (#21652981) Homepage

    That'll only happen when Joe Public who buys the random, mass-produced crap that makes it into the charts feels he is affected.

    The RIAA-affiliated labels don't produce only mass-produced crap. The big classical labels, including the ones like DG that have issued low-selling avant-garde records, are members of the RIAA.

  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thunderbird1 (39829) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:00AM (#21652991)
    What we are seeing here is a classic case of the death of an obsolete business model. The RIAA is part of the old guard and the whole reason for their existence is the current business model of selling and distributing music. They are fighting for their very existence. There will always be music and musicians and long may they prosper.

    "The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it." Voltaire
  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:03AM (#21653007)
    Now I hate the RIAA as much as the next guy but the following quote:

    "...Exhibit B to Plaintiffs' Complaint is a series of screen shots showing the sound recording and other files found in the KaZaA shared folder..."
    and
    "...Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs..."

    I don't think personal use is the issue - it is the fact he made the recordings potentially public is the problem. I imagine the RIAA will get him on 'unauthorized distribution'.

    The guy who did this is pretty stupid - what kind of reaction from the RIAA does he expect?

    Pretty much all my music is in some kind of digital form, when I rip cds I certainly don't store them in a sharable folder - it's for my private use.
    Then again this is the RIAA this person will probably suffer a ridiculous fine (or jail term?) that can potentially ruin his life (it's only music for christ's sake).

    If I knock over someone with my car and kill them I would probably be fined £1000 and incur points on my driving license (or a ban for 12 months).
    (Hey it's the old if "it was a car" analogy).
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qzjul (944600) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:12AM (#21653039) Homepage
    Part of the problem is the RIAA thinks that fair use isn't fair. And they're bound to be able to change a few people's minds to their side with the way they throw around money; let's hope they don't change too many (more) politicians minds on that before people stand up as you suggest, because by that point it may simply be too late.
  • up next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TRRosen (720617) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:25AM (#21653099)
    "once the plaintiff stored the CD's in a unlocked cabinet they were no longer authorized copies"...

    Makes you wonder why they haven't gone after libraries for "making available" yet...

  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ardin,mcallister (924615) <ardinmcallister@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:27AM (#21653111) Homepage
    "whatever helps you sleep at night bitch."

    I think if you're gonna pirate, don't try and justify it with "oh, I'm doing it for the good of the country" or "well, the riaa sucks". At least admit to yourself that you're doing it because you're a cheap bastard.

    I pirate, and its not because I hate the riaa, its because I'm cheap and can't afford to buy all the music I like.
  • by Ungulate (146381) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:30AM (#21653135)
    Yet another misleading kdawson post. I haven't had the urge to filter by editor since the JonKatz days, but I think I'm about there again.
  • Clear cut case (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:35AM (#21653159)
    FTPDF (From The PDF):

    First, Defendant actually distributed the 11 sound recordings listed on Exhibit A to Plaintiffs' Complaint from the KaZaA shared folder on his computer to Plaintiffs' investigator, MediaSentry.

    Finally, Defendant acknowledges that he saw evidence of other KaZaA users downloading files from the shared folder on his computer.
    Seems pretty clear cut to me. He shared the files in his KaZaA share, and they downloaded some and busted him for it. He even seems to have admitted it.

    Though I don't like this:

    Second, because online "piracy typically takes place behind closed doors and beyond the watchful eyes of a copyright holder," Warner Bros. Records, Inc. v. Payne, Case No. W-06-CA-051, slip opinion at 7 (W.D. Texas July 17, 2006) (Exhibit B hereto), Plaintiffs should be allowed to prove actual distribution based on circumstantial evidence.
    Proof based on circumstantial evidence!?
  • by lusid1 (759898) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:39AM (#21653173)
    I don't think I can make this any simpler: Stop Buying Music from RIAA Members. Its easy, they don't seem to want you to buy their product anyway. Music CDs might or might not play, just like they might or might not infect your PC with rootkits. Legal downloads might or might not play on whatever portable device you have, and they probably wont play on your next one, or your next PC, so what are you spending your money on anyway? Stop Buying Music from RIAA Members.

    The RIAA gets its funding from the big labels in addition to these racketeering activities. As SCO has so thoroughly demonstrated, suing your customers is not a sustainable business plan. Cut off the other source of revenue: Music Sales, and they will eventually wither away and die. I am not condoning piracy here, and as a musician its hard to advocate intentionally killing off an industry I've spent a significant part of my life studying, but it simply must be done. It is the only way to rid the planet of what has become a blight on the world. Only then can something better rise up to fill the void. It is a sacrifice we all have to make for the greater good.

    Theres a theme here: Stop Buying Music from RIAA Members.
  • labeling? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:43AM (#21653187)
    How can you tell whether music is from an artist represented by the RIAA?

    Maybe we should ask for a labeling requirement on all music (CD, on-line, radio) indicating whether the music comes from an RIAA artist or not.
  • Re:Fair enough... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gazbo (517111) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:43AM (#21653189)
    It might just work! After all, their lawyers would be too busy laughing at your idea of a legal defence to get round to actually presenting a case.
  • Re:Fair enough... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:53AM (#21653223) Homepage

    Except that they are claiming that mp3s outside your shared folder are yours, but they are no longer authorized copies once they enter your shared folder?
    Copying to make fair use is, well fair use (yes I realize the circularity).
    Copying to perform unauthorized distribution to random P2P nodes is not.

    Whether it's fair use or not is in a way retroactive - you can't immidiately after the copy is made determine if it's legal or not, it depends on how you use that copy. At the same time, copyright law applies at the time of the copy. So technically if you intended it to be legal, it is legal even if you use it for something that's not. You can't exactly flaunt that though. The RIIA can easily argue that you ripped it for the purpose of putting it in your kazaa folder though, which just isn't fair use.
  • Re:Fair enough... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:03AM (#21653263)
    But the quote is:

    Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs

    and not:

    "Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format... they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs."

    So they're not saying "Here they are saying that ripping a CD to MP3 format is the creation of an 'unauthorized copy'."

  • by init100 (915886) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:10AM (#21653279)

    Some people are addicted to their music, and can't live without their occasional fix. Thus, they'll buy music from the RIAA regardless of how much they hate them. To such people, getting a fix is much more important than making a point about the RIAA.

  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:22AM (#21653319)
    It's been a long time for me, too, but only because there is nothing I can think of that I'd like to listen to on the big labels.
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:42AM (#21653419) Journal
    Well, what you propose is IMHO no different than the prisoner's dilemma, only scaled to some millions of people. And it just doesn't scale.

    The mechanics are just like in the prisoner's dilemma, really. With two people it's just "am I sure that my pal will do the same? or am I shooting myself in the foot?" Which boils down to how well you know him, I guess. There have been plenty of people who've been surprised there. With millions of people, it becomes "am I sure that all these millions will do the same? or am I just the idiot depriving himself of something, while everyone else doesn't give a damn?" Since you don't know them all, the latter becomes the far safer bet. And you know they'll think the same.

    Briefly, if your rights depend on some tens of millions of other people doing the same thing, you've already lost them. Isolated individuals are insecure, weak, vulnerable, easy prey for FUD, etc.

    No, what most of the world discovered a long time ago, is that you need some laws if you're against something.

    E.g., if you want, say, the factories to stop polluting rivers, you need a law that forbids that or at least gives them a cost feedback for it. Because just hoping that everyone will suddenly say "well, I'll refuse to work for anyone who pollutes, or buy their products" just doesn't work.

    Same here. If you don't like copyright law and the loopholes/privileges/whatever it gives to the RIAA, then have that law changed. Just hoping that millions of independent people will individually decide to boycott them, never worked, never will.

    Or at the very least, get organized. If you want people to stand up for something, at personal cost or inconvenience, see the prisoner's dilemma again: they have to be sure that everyone else, or at least enough others, do the same thing. Plus, it gets you taken more seriously by the other side you're negotiating with. A group of a million or two sworn to never buy CDs until fair use is respected, has some bargaining power. Isolated individuals whining separately do not.

    The last paragraph is why unions appeared. Much as that seems to be a swearword for many nerds.

    Or before them such things as the guilds or medieval communes. Isolated burghers were no match for the noble of the land. A whole city standing together for their rights, well, now that got taken a bit more seriously.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:00AM (#21653535) Journal
    Don't forget that Fair Use, like self defense, is an affirmative defense.

    When you get sued/accused by the copyright holder, you reply "Yea I did, but it's Fair Use."

    So really, the issue of creating MP3s is entirely separate from distributing them.
  • by absoluteflatness (913952) <absoluteflatness&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:11AM (#21653583)

    ...buy your mainstream music second hand... It's being sold legally yet they don't get a penny and they'd ban it if they could.
    It's probably second on their list next to the removal of fair use. Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for everyone else), DRM serves both of those purposes. Aside from restricting what you personally can do with it, DRM'd music also can't be resold.

    It's a neat little racket they've got going, and just a few of the many reasons the industry wants to abandon the CD.

    This is an issue that deserves some thought. Fair use isn't the only pro-consumer doctrine that can be routed around by some combination of legislation and technology (I'm looking at you, DVD Forum).
  • by Moochman (54872) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:16AM (#21653617)
    Uh, no. If anything, the fact that MP3s degrade the signal quality is BETTER grounds for fair use, not worse. It's comparable to the precedents of VHS recordings of TV programs and cassette tape recordings of CDs and radio programs, which are 100% legal under fair use provisions.
  • Re:up next (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weedlekin (836313) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:16AM (#21653619)
    "Makes you wonder why they haven't gone after libraries for "making available" yet..."

    Copyright law prohibits distributing unauthorised copies, not lending, leasing, selling, or giving away works in their original published form. Libraries are not therefore doing anything illegal by lending copyrighted works on their original media, something you or I can also do if we choose without contravening any copyright laws (we can also sell or give away our original copies, although the music industry in particular would love to make that practice illegal. Unfortunately for them, other types of copyright holders also have powerful political lobby groups, and prohibiting resale of 2nd. hand works would have a dramatic negative impact on their bottom line).
  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:18AM (#21653635)
    RIAA's lawyer is arguing that the following constitute unauthorized copying:

    1. Defendant copies files (the copying).
    2. Defendant put the files in a shared folder on his HDD.
    3. 2. invalidates his fair-use right to 1.

    Note that this argument does NOT require that he actually distributed any of the songs, or even connect to another computer.

    You get rulings on this sort of stuff with a defendant that does NOT have a lawyer, then cite the precedent for those who do.

  • by Lunarsight (1053230) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:27AM (#21653689) Homepage
    If you really feel the need to kick the major record labels in the groin every time they make a comment like this, head over to Youtube, and give the minimum rating to all their 'official' videos. Sure, it won't change the world, but it feels really, really, really good when you do it. (Also, if enough people do it, you can at least mod their pristine video ratings to oblivion.)

    In fact, they make it really easy: Universal Music Group and Warner both have 'official' channels. All you need to do is subscribe to those channels, and they'll tell you every time they post a new video that they're promoting. Here are the links:

    Warner: http://www.youtube.com/user/warnerbrosrecords [youtube.com]
    Universal Music Group: http://www.youtube.com/user/universalmusicgroup [youtube.com]

    Also, if you go to the videos link from their main label page, you can often catch new videos that they're trying to release quietly without much fanfare, since they know they probably won't do very well.

  • by Belisarivs (526071) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:33AM (#21653721)
    I've noticed that everytime a story is submitted with an egriously misleading headline, nine times out of ten it's a story submitted by kdawson. I know Slashdot isn't trying to be the New York Times, but I wonder how long they're going to let this hack stay on as an editor.
  • by sydbarrett74 (74307) <sydbarrett74NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:46AM (#21653781)

    Shareholders are simply too stupid.
    The problem is that most 'shareholders' are institutional investors who care little about what companies do, but only how much money the companies make (and therefore how fat their commissions are). What we need in this country is more genuine shareholder activism.
  • it's just business (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smithcl8 (738234) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @08:40AM (#21654131)
    The recording companies are not out there for any artistic, moral, or aesthetic purpose. They are there to make money. They do tons of market research to determine who buys their stuff, and then they cater to those people. They are no different than any other company. It just so happens that most buyers are teenage brats who burn their allowances on $20 CDs. These brats have money, worry about being fashionable and cool, and they spend their money to be such. Through creative advertising and marketing, the recording companies team up with clothing companies and other people to bring forth a product that makes people look "cool".

    I would argue that the RIAA is correct in the following way: it costs just as much to make a CD with a pop band as it does one with a "better" band. In both cases, they pay the band, pay for studio time, and the engineers who produce the final product. They then pay for the CDs to get printed, distribution of said CDs, and for advertising of their new releases. Even a fool can see that it's much better to spend, say, a million dollars on some drivel that tons of high school cheerleaders will buy, than to spend a million on something eight bloggers will order from their mothers' basement PCs. You see, the cheerleaders will also buy the clothes, shoes, and other associated crap.

    Watch one episode of Run's House and see how Russell Simmons and Rev Run make money. You'll see that they really can set the tone of what is "cool" in this country, and they do. They don't argue about being artsy-fartsy, giving small groups a big chance, or DRM! They just make money. There's no moral issue there...it's just business.
  • by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @08:45AM (#21654161) Journal

    Some people are addicted to their music, and can't live without their occasional fix.
    Some people are addicted to their RIAA label branded music, can't live without their occasional fix, and are too narrow minded to learn of alternatives from independent artists.

    Fixed that for you.....

    I thought I was the only one who, since the Internet made finding independent artists easier, actually enjoyed finding such hidden gems of music. After discovering indie bands, I learned it was cool to listen to something that most others don't know about. There are plenty of people at work that ask me who I'm listening to at any given time. By now, they can guess it's an "indie" artist. Most say it sounds good. I do my best to let them know where to find such music in their favorite genre.

    Although a couple long time favorite artists of mine are published only on RIAA labels, I generally gave up on everything but independents. At the risk of a mild superiority complex, I feel great knowing I'm not an RIAA music buying drone.
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @09:15AM (#21654375)
    Ya, that was my thought too.

    I don't buy CDs; not necessarly because of what the RIAA does (although it is scummy), its just I find them overpriced. I get get a decent DVD for $15. 90 minutes of video and sound. $0.17 / minute. A cd or track? $1 per track, or $0.33 / minute. For something I'll usually use as background noise and not even pay 100% attention to.
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @09:16AM (#21654387) Homepage

    But this approach must be counter-productive. Even the fuckwits at the RIAA and their equivalents must be able to see not allowing fair use reduces the value of their CDs and makes them less attractive. That must lead to lower sales and lower profits. This is not a difficult concept.
    No, you're missing their Grand Idea. They want to sell you the CD. They also want to sell you the music in DRM'd pre-ripped format of their choosing. Then they want a cut of the profits from the sale of the portable device (iPod, etc.) you play their DRM'd files on. And so on for every variation in "format" that's possible.

    You see, in their perfect world, they sell you the same content over and over again, each time in a different format. The artist gets a decreasing revenue, the labels get a greater revenue, and the consumer gets screwed. This has been how they've operated since their inception. They're simply trying to take the Old Way Of Doing Business(tm) and force it onto a fundamentally different digitally-connected world.

    The reality is, the labels are the walking dead and they know it. Their sole reason for existence is music distribution. The Internet obsoletes that need. Every executive at every label is desperately trying to stave off the inevitable destruction of their business model just long enough for them to retire or shift the problem to someone else. When anyone, anywhere can effectively distribute their work -- be it books, songs, videos, or something else -- globally with minimal costs, the need for any kind of "distributor" is removed. The labels know this, but they're going to pretend not to know just as long as they can.
  • by AntEater (16627) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @09:55AM (#21654749) Homepage
    I started my boycott a few years ago. If I'm looking to buy a CD from an artist on an RIAA label I go to ebay or Amazon and purchase it used. For everything else, there's eMusic [emusic.com].
  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:06AM (#21654867)
    I just popped a CD into my drive and iTunes asked me if I want to add it to my music library. Upon clicking yes, the application created mp3 files on my hard drive and shared them with all my coworkers without warning me about making unauthorized copies. I hear that's also the main source of music in most people's iPods. So why not sue Apple rather than going after the small fish?

    Because, when you start suing the small fish directly with devastating results, the other small fish are far more likely to play by your rules to keep themselves safe. Fear is much more powerful tool than severely reducing the available supply. People will always find ways around supply problems by going through black market channels to get it. As long as there is a demand, there will always be illegitimate suppliers.
  • You bring up a good point.

    A true RIAA boycott would include most TV and Movies.
  • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:50AM (#21655351) Homepage
    More bands should get with the program and opt out of the RIAA as well.
    It is not as simple as that.

    Bands who don't take the oppertunity when and if they are given it to sign up with a major label (who will be a member of the RIAA and similar organisations in other countries) are likely to remain obscure forever unless they are really lucky.

    and once a band has signed they can't just opt out, they have to fulfil thier side of the contrace.

    so the band who is offered a record contract has two choices, stay small and obscure and not make much money or become big and famous, still not make much money off record sales but at least have the possibility of other avenues for making money (tours, merchandising etc).

    The way to make real money as a band is to go through a record contract, fulfill all the obligations and come out the other side but very few bands manage this.

  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TFloore (27278) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:12AM (#21655611)

    The reality is, the labels are the walking dead and they know it. Their sole reason for existence is music distribution.

    Your first statement, I agree with. You second, I do not agree with.

    The reason for the labels existence is not distribution. It is promotion. The labels provide other (way overpriced) services, but the thing they do best is promotion. They take relatively-unknown groups, and make them the next hot national property.

    The other things the labels do, the artists can do themselves, or contract directly for better prices, but then they would have to pay immediately, and not out of possible future revenue, which the labels allow (for those already-mentioned grossly-inflated prices). The labels provide recording studio time, sound engineers, graphic artists for album art, and distribution.

    All of that the artists can do themselves, or arrange themselves.

    But the primary thing the labels do is promotion. That means radio airplay. That means music videos and getting them out and seen on tv. That means other related... stuff.

    And that is harder to replace. If you want to become extremely well known, and have best-selling albums, you go with a top-4 label. Of course, the trade-off there is that you won't make any money off your first 3 albums, but you label will make plenty. After about the third album, if you last that long, you might start seeing some decent money.

    Or you stay independent or with a smaller label, and maybe make reasonable money for doing a lot of work yourself.
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jj13 (974374) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:27AM (#21655843)
    Yeah I'll have to agree here that the parent is NOT a troll, he's simply stating that once a work is produced, it's not automatically "culture" so that anyone in the population can copy and share willy-nilly, without the consent of the work's originator. The fact that certain works become so popular as to be synonymous with a certain culture certainly speaks to the wide distribution available in the age of radio, television and internet. This does not mean, however, that we can simply appropriate someone's work as free and open "culture" once it becomes popular enough.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:11PM (#21656613)

    Thus, they'll buy music from the RIAA regardless of how much they hate them.
    Easy, easy solution to this. Infringe on the copyright of the RIAA members, but not from independents.

    An example (theoretical, of course):

    You are completely addicted to the ENTIRE top 100 billboard list - mostly if not entirely RIAA. You then search usenet or Kazaa or torrent for "Billboard". 20 minutes later, you have the entire list and the RIAA has nothing.

    Meanwhile, you happen across a song by, say, Mirah [krecs.com] and you are enchanted by her little pixie voice. So you head over to her site and buy the CD... maybe catch her the next time she's in town.

    Brave new world, no? Of course, you could just infringe on everyone's copyrights if you really want - I doubt that I'll see you in hell. Isn't the separation between illegal and immoral fun?
  • by junklight (183583) <mark&junklight,com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:50PM (#21657375) Homepage
    "The way to make real money as a band is to go through a record contract, fulfill all the obligations and come out the other side but very few bands manage this."

    Indeed. However that happens to a *tiny* fraction of a percentage of all bands who try.

    If you care about music then make music - if you are trying to get rich then by all means gamble with the RIAA and their friends. I can however think of other ways of getting rich that have a much greater chance of success.

    The fact is though that the music industries days are numbered as it stands. It will *have* to find an alternative - you cannot support an industry by criminalizing your customers - it is *never* going to work. Well actually that is not entirely true. The government makes it work with 'tax'. However I can't see an arbitrary non government industry managing to do it.

    So - what gives? I guess just like in the early days of radio and recorded music someone is going to have to find a new model. A new model to help people find music they like, a new model to pay musicians to make music. The upside is the cost of entry is going to be low - distribution is no longer an issue (even globally) , servers and bandwidth are pretty cheap. The downside is that the vast majority of your customers are used to paying *nothing* for music so they are going to need educating.

    Is the music industry as it currently stands going to deliver this new model? - not in a million years.

  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oliphaunt (124016) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:54PM (#21657441) Homepage
    Yes there is a difference to them. The RIAA (and at least some of the federal courts, like SDNY, 2nd Cir, and 9th Cir) have realized that LPs are analog copies and CDs are digital, and therefore there is a greater risk of harm from CDs because each copy is a perfect duplication.

    That doesn't mean it's not a fair use to rip music. It just means they're more worried about you ripping CDs.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:25PM (#21658121) Homepage Journal
    If so, then yes the *AA is correct, IF this is stated in the license when you bought the cd.

    But i hadnt heard that fair use was finally struck down ( it will be, just give it time ), and i dont remember any contract that specifically stated i cant rip for personal use.
  • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:25PM (#21658123)

    ...it's not automatically "culture" so that anyone in the population can copy and share willy-nilly, without the consent of the work's originator.

    Why not? Maybe it should be!

    I say that the value of a creative work is precisely it's cultural value, and that that value is maximized when it is in the Public Domain. What makes you think otherwise?

  • by xero314 (722674) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:35PM (#21658269)

    ...mainstreamish things like Neubauten.
    I'm not sure what mainstreamish means but I'm guessing that if the band is not available in the local outlet malls then it's not mainstream. In other words Neubauten is not mainstreamish. But what is even worse is you miss conception that purchases of Neubauten recordings does not support the RIAA. Neubauten is signed to Mute Records which is a wholly owned subsidiary of EMI with is one of the largest suppliers of funds to the RIAA (Though this has dropped recently it has certainly not dropped to nothing). Even if you purchased a recording directly from members of the band without a single dime of it going to the bands record label (which is probably a violation of their contract) you are still supporting the label by supporting their bands.

    I love the idea of the boycott as a means of consumer control, but trying to boycott the Big Four is just short of saying that you will no longer be listening to music, record or otherwise (and this is coming from some one with an extensive collections of independent unsigned musics and a promoter of such musicians).
  • by davidsyes (765062) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:44PM (#21658451) Homepage Journal
    This is going to be unkind, but...

    Up your ass with a splintered fiddle you riaa bastards and bitches...

    Disks WEAR OUT. You think I'm going to keep replacing player-scratched media? I have finally, for the first time in my life, bought an MP3 player in Nov 07, and I have years worth of CDs I PURCHASED, and some from the net, but I don't have any habit of burning and selling or even giving away to more than 3 people EVER.

    Call it space-shifting if you want, but it helps reduce wear and tear on my computer when I listen to 25 hours of music over the weekend. My CDs are in MY possession, and you're lucky I paid for THOSE, considering they are 5-25 times more expensive than they OUGHT to be. Worse, the MUSICIANS are being screwed (not just because they stupidly signed with a label that screws them in contract but) because you REFUSE to reward them for what they are worth. If I could figure out HOW to directly compensate them, I would, and just bypass your asses.
  • by jskline (301574) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @02:41PM (#21659623) Homepage
    This is another sick ploy by the record industry to abolish companies such as Apple's iTunes, Microsoft is just as guilty then by producing the Zune, and every other MP3 player out there is designed to encourage copyright theft. The very presence of XM and Serius radio is violation because of the conversion that takes place to broadcast.

    Another dirty ploy by the RIAA to cloud up things enough to help guarantee them a win because of the confusion of terms to the jury. Or; at least that is what they are hoping for.
  • by jbrandv (96371) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:14PM (#21662457)
    "DRM'd music also can't be resold": Ha Ha Ha. Wanna bet?
    If I can listen to it I can copy it.
  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:32PM (#21663747)
    > I am sure I will get modded down here, but ...... downloading copyrighted material without permission of the owner is stealing. Plain and simple. I never have done it, and won't.

    Not in Canada.

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