Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Media Music News Your Rights Online

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...'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RIAA Argues That MP3s From CDs Are Unauthorized

Comments Filter:
  • Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:11AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Typoboy (61087) *
      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 su
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        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.

        If I held shares in a company with a dying business model I'd probably be too stupid to sell. But assuming I woke up with a few brain cells one morning, I'd realise that the RIAA labels no longer have the monopoly (or duopoly or whatever) they once enjoyed and that if they weren't strong enough to face the tiny indie labels head-on, they're
      • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:30AM (#21656929)
        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'm sure what he wants them to see is that their accelerating sales declines are because of all this nonsense, not in spite of it. The conventional wisdom right now is that these lawsuits are doing all that can be done to staunch the tide of piracy and prop up sales in a difficult market... I think the reality is the industry is doing more damage to itself with these types of statements and the lawsuits that they go along with than piracy ever did.

        People are calling for a boycott... I think a boycott is already in force, if you look at the sales numbers. A lot of people don't buy nearly as much music as they used to, and the declines are growing every year. (Downloads aren't rising nearly fast enough to make up for lost CD sales.) This despite the lawsuits, and the fact that even the RIAA has said that they've stemmed the rising tide of piracy.

        You can argue over the reasons for that, and I agree there are probably many reasons, but I don't think it can be disputed that the RIAA's war on its own consumers has tarnished the music industry's image among the public. I don't think anybody says "I'm not buying this CD because the music industry is suing people!" but I think it's in the back of their mind all the time that this industry is at best shady and at worst evil, and so major label music is not going to automatically be put at the top of their internal wish lists. Also, it only takes 10% of people to stop buying music for sales to drop 10% (or more, depending on what types of buyers they were), and I'm sure that this campaign against common sense has turned off more than 10% of the industry's heaviest consumers.

        It would be nice if the companies themselves - ie. the investors, which are the money behind everything - would finally recognize this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Martian_Kyo (1161137)
      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This case appears to be an absolutely clear fair use case

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TapeCutter (624760)
        Indeed, the quote in the summary has the collary - "and they are in his shared folder". My idea of fair use would be cutting a CD for your mum not distribution to the entire planet. BTW: This doesn't mean I agree with their "king canute" tactics but until the laws and treaties catch up with the technological change, they do have a point.
    • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IBBoard (1128019) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:45AM (#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?
      • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:58AM (#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 @04:00AM (#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
    • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by qzjul (944600) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:12AM (#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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by allcar (1111567)
        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.

        If I buy a piece of music, I want to be able to play it on any device I own. I want to be able to do this legally, so I buy a CD, copy it and then rip the tracks to MP3. I can now use the CD in my home HiFi, the copied disc in
        • Re:Fair use!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @08:16AM (#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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TFloore (27278)

            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

    • by KZigurs (638781)
      ...and he shared it afterwards. There is quite a cause for questions to be raised althou summary is not clear in what context they raise the 'authorized' copy issue (btw - implictly acknowledging that such a thing exists!)

      RTFA ;)
    • labeling? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by m2943 (1140797) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:43AM (#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.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:42AM (#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 scooter.higher (874622) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:02AM (#21653861) Homepage Journal
      The Fair Use argument was negated when he shared them on KaZaA - RTFA, and look at page 15 that is even mentioned in the summary.

      But let me point out what I believe ruins the Fair Use argument (IANAL):

          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. Moreover, Defendant had no authorization to distribute Plaintiffs' copyrighted recordings from his KaZaA shared folder.
          Each of the 11 sound recordings on Exhibit A to Plaintiffs' Complaint were stored in the .mp3 format in the shared folder on Defendant's computer hard drive, and each of these eleven files were actually disseminated from Defendant's computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sandbags (964742)
      Every member of my family (11 households) stopped purchasing CD music mre than 3 years ago. If I can't rip it (currently legally) from a streaming broadcast, digital FM or satellite transmission, or other free legal broadcast, then I'm not interested in owning a copy at all unless I can purchase the music directly from the artist without any other 3rd party intervening. In no way am I going to provide a marketing, packaging, distribution, or agent with money just for providing me with a convenience I have
  • by bigHairyDog (686475) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:15AM (#21652771)

    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. Moreover, Defendant had no authorization to distribute Plaintiffs' copyrighted recordings from his KaZaA shared folder.

    In other words, they're complaining about sharing the MP3s, not making them. The fight against corporate copyright bullies will not be helped by intellectual dishonesty and exaggeration.

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

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:26AM (#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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        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 t

    • by Typoboy (61087) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:28AM (#21652835) Homepage
      There is an 'and' there. But, line 3 of that page says: "It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings on his computer." and then states that that refers to copies which were made from their original format. So it does seem that they are claiming that possession of mp3s of CDs you own is unauthorized. Unless (and it is a big if) they are saying that possession of mp3s in his shared folder is an unauthorized format. But I can't quite follow that. Page 8 says that space shifting fair use is invalid when it involves distribution to the public. Presumably it could be fair use otherwise?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Unless (and it is a big if) they are saying that possession of mp3s in his shared folder is an unauthorized format. But I can't quite follow that.

        Remember, these are RIAA lawyers we're talking about, not techies. What's the same format in different locations to you could be described entirely differently by these guys.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by angle_slam (623817)
      The term "Moreover" suggests that the second statement (not allowed to distribute) is completely separate from the first statement (MP3s are not "authorized copies distributed by Plaintiff").
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689)
        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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ifakemyadd (1070340)
      I agree, and had similar thoughts upon reading the line about sharing, which is different than copying. It is interesting how the post persuades the intent to share was strictly with his wife. I'm not sure how joint property really works in such cases, but if one considers that the two share the physical property of the cd, then wouldn't they be able to share the legally backed up versions as well? Or when they both listen to the cd, does one voilate copyright? Or is it only if they BOTH listen at the same
    • by Jumperalex (185007) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:11AM (#21653035)
      That is not how I read it and I believe you are being fooled by their deliberate word play. Lets break it down:

      "they [the mp3s] are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs"

      Don't be fooled by the usage of distributed here. They are not talking about the defendant distributing yet ... that is why the last word is Plaintiffs not Defendants. They are only talking about the copies which he possesses, that happen to be in his shared folder, and claiming that those copies are no longer authorized copies provided by the Plaintiff. In short the only copies authorized are therefore the ones on the CD, and not the ones converted into the compressed .mp3 format.

      Now looking at the SECOND part they say:

      "Moreover, Defendant had no authorization to distribute Plaintiffs' copyrighted recordings from his KaZaA shared folder."

      The key here is first the usage of "Moreover" which is additive as in, 'A'=bad AND 'B'=bad. Not, as you assert, 'A' + 'B' = bad but 'A'bad.

      The trick here, IMO is that they crafted this very specifically so as to introduce the idea that the mere production of mp3s is the production of an unauthorized copy. Distribution is also unauthorized. Notice how they didn't say distribution of THOSE mp3s was unauthorized. That is implied from their larger statement that he wasn't allowed to distribute copyrighted recordings regardless of the "authenticity" of the recording. So they have set up two arguments which I will reorder to make it clearer that they are separate:

      1) The defendant isn't authorized to distribute copyrighted recordings
      2) The defendant was in possession of unauthorized copies of those copyrighted recordings which are unauthorized by the mere fact that they are compressed mp3 copies; regardless of the fact that he owned the CD those copies were generated from.

      The end result of this being, the only authorized way to procure and possess "compressed mp3s" would be for them to be distributed by the Plaintiff. That is the implication of the words "they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs." Because if you buy into that statement it begs the question: how do you get an authorized compressed mp3 version of their copyrighted works.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:18AM (#21652785) Homepage
    They almost certainly were unauthorized. But that doesn't matter, as copyright law does grant you some limited rights to make copies without authorization.

    In most jurisdictions these rights would include transferring cd's to mp3's for personal use.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Typoboy (61087) *
      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.
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      Audible (the online audiobook seller) has an option in it's playback program 'rip to cd using Nero'. That wouldn't survive in a stricter copying environment.

      It says you can only do this once, but I haven't noticed any physical restriction when I tested it by doing it twice for one of my books (well, I started it, it's a boring process, so I don't know if it completes the second time round). They don't let you rip to anything but CD, not mp3, but you can rip to CD image and convert straight to mp3, which is
    • If the law says it's "ok" then it's authorized. Law is the highest authority.
  • by mrjb (547783) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:21AM (#21652807)
    Clearly the RIAA is scared shitless about new media. Sites such as thesixtyone [thesixtyone.com] give hope though.
    • I have heard that the RIAA makes more money on ringtones than on any other kind of media.

      So yes, they are scared shitless about new media, unless it comes with DRM. Another Slashdot story quoted some MPAA guy (I think), who claimed that the reason they don't want consumers to "space-shift" is so they can charge us for it.

      But I don't remember where the second paragraph comes from, exactly, and I can't really confirm the first. You're welcome to try, though.
  • by deniable (76198) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:21AM (#21652811)
    Mr RIAA lawyer better not have any audio files on his laptop. Better have the judge make sure he has a note from every rights holder. Check his car too. Got an iPod, Mr. Lawyer? How about your kids? Unauthorized ring-tones on your phone?

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I'm sure we could find violations by the RIAA and it's members and staff.

    Can't touch this? It's discovery time.
  • Technically, that would mean that simply mentally recalling your experience of a copyrighted presentation is copyright infringement then, as you are reproducing that experience for yourself without authorization.

    How the heck can even the RIAA not see how utterly stupid it is to say that private copying is copyright infringement?

    I heavily advocate copyright, and I even applaud a lot of the RIAA's attempts to try to crack down on cases where genuine infringement is occurring (ie, in cases where unauthori

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:31AM (#21652857) Homepage
    Actually, if you read the document, I think you'll see that it says making MP3s and putting them in the shared folder is unauthorized. It doesn't say it would be unauthorized to make MP3s and put them in a non-shared folder.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:37AM (#21652883)
    Just to get people to respond and say how stupid and misleading the article is ... is getting quite old. But heck it works and people come back for more every day spitting out the same tired responses again and again and again. It really makes me feel good about wanting to continue reading and posting tired articles/responses on slashdot. Keep up the *fine* work guys.

    The RIAAs problem is they made ripped copies *avaliable* via a shared folder. It does not say the act of ripping is illegal.

    What I did find interesting was the description of MP3 as a perfect copy. Niquist aside MP3 is a lossy format. Songs in MP3 format are most certainly not a perfect copy of the origional work but they don't degrade unless re-encoded which I think was the real point they were trying to make.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:40AM (#21652899)
    The Audio Home Recording Act [wikipedia.org] was a reaction by the RIAA to the dangers of Digital Audio Tape (DAT). Basically, the RIAA was worried that DAT would lead to widespread bit-perfect copies of its recordings. In order to prevent that, the RIAA agreed to the use of the Serial Content Management System [wikipedia.org] to regulate DAT. What SCMS did was but in a flag that allowed one to make a bit-perfect copy of a recording. But one could not make a bit-perfect copy of the copy. (You could, of course, convert the copy to analog and make a perfect copy of the converted track.)

    Obviously, DAT never took off and SCMS became a dead end. However, look at what the RIAA agreed to: you can make as many imperfect copies (for personal use) as you wanted. What is an MP3 except an imperfect digital copy?

    Unfortunately, this almost certainly has no relevance to the MP3 debate because SCMS is specific to DAT. (If it did have relevance, I'm sure someone would have argued it by now.)

  • of course they are illegal, albumn tapes and cds are fragile and flawed media. With such a short life span. No way can a rip of such media be legal when a replacement copy or entire media can be had.
  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:03AM (#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).
    • Firstly, it doesn't matter if they were in a shared folder or not. What matters is if someone *actually copied them* from that shared folder. Just because the potential was there to infringe copyright, doesn't mean it actually was infringed.

      Secondly, since when does it matter where you keep your files? What the RIAA seems to be saying is that it the file was ok until it was moved to a certain folder. That's not the case at all; that file always was legal under fair use. What was not legal were any copies
  • up next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TRRosen (720617) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:25AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Weedlekin (836313)
      "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
  • Sue Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:29AM (#21653129)
    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?

    Ah... you mean Steve Jobs will make a 15 minute reality distortion field speech to the jury and the lawsuit will be over? And one more thing - the precedent will be set that not only format shifting music or anything is fair use but also so is streaming the files to your family or your coworkers. We certainly wouldn't want THAT.
    • 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 Ungulate (146381) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:30AM (#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.
  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:32AM (#21653141)

    Unless I can no longer read and correctly understand and interpret English, this is not anything to get excited over. (But most of y'all will, cos otherwise Slashdot would be no fun at all, right?) That one sentence, in context, links the ripping to mp3 format and the "making available" in a shared folder as being one "unauthorized" process. Yes, I would say the sentence is poorly worded and potentially ambiguous, but the intent is clear. If he had ripped the tracks for his own use, and not made them available to others, no one would know or care, and there would be no case here.

    Leave it to the denizens of this board, however, to twist bad syntax into something sinister. You would think that we are suddenly in danger of having the mp3 format declared illegal and ripping software impounded. There are plenty of reasons to despise the RIAA, and they are a sufficiently evil organization as it is -- we don't need to paint them as even more of an asshat than they already are.

  • Clear cut case (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:35AM (#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 @04:39AM (#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.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:38AM (#21653391) Journal
    if you want to boycott, but not do without... there is another way. We used to call it the sneaker net, or floppy net. If you and 10 of your best friends compile a list of CDs you'd like to buy... then each of you buy one of them and 9 blank CDs, then pass out the ripped copies of that CD, you will each get a copy for 1/10th of the cost of the original. Now, there is no online record of this 'sharing' amongst friends. Nor is there any record of your 9 backup copies.

    I suggest that you do this with all CDs from **AA backed artists. If you have more than 10 friends, great! Remember, if you get too big, there is more evidence of your backup process, and that is not so good.

    No court can handle the workload if such backup processes were to be prosecuted under the DMCA. Not only that, but the police can't possibly afford to try to enforce it... and likely that they would not want to anyway. It is the type of infringement that is simply too costly for anyone to prosecute. That is the type of boycott that would allow you to "do something" yet not do without.

    HINT: One CD worth of MP3's fits rather nicely on a cheap 1Gb thumb drive.

    Let the bastards fight that... they'll learn.

    In case you are still wondering, yes, I'm suggesting you do exactly the things that the **AA is saying cost them so much money now. what good is a boycott if it does not hurt the corporation that you are boycotting? Simply STOP buying their products. Well, drop their revenues by 90% anyway. Take away their funds to fight in court. I know that is perhaps not realistic, but it is a method that will work if enough people do it.

    Since that would involve tons of people, and physical media, not online records, investigating it would cost billions in manpower resources. Well, okay, lots of money. The point is that it removes both their revenue AND their ability to track your use of their product. Simple enough... now all you need to do is find 10 friends. :))
  • by digitalcowboy (142658) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:44AM (#21653437)
    Virtually all of the sound recordings... are in the ".mp3" format for his and his wife's use..

    RIAA Lawyer: Your honor, despite sharing a surname, bank account and residence, Plaintiff's exhibit 23A - a copy of a marriage license - will clearly show that Mr. Defendant and his so-called wife are, in fact, two completely separate people. Furthermore, these DNA samples, marked Plaintiff's exhibit 23B, also provide conclusive evidence that these two "married" people are most certainly two distinct persons.

    Our license to this music clearly states that it is for personal use. Copyright law makes clear that this only grants license to one person and yet the Defendant plainly admits that he illegally shared our copyrighted content with his so-called wife, a clearly separate and unauthorized entity.

    This is an outrageous, flagrant and willful disregard for the law! On that basis, I move for summary judgement.
  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:18AM (#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.

  • it's just business (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smithcl8 (738234) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @07:40AM (#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 Nonillion (266505) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:33AM (#21656991)
    Attention RIAA:

    What part of Go Fuck Yourself are you having a problem understanding? What part of Fair Use has sailed over your head? When I rip MY CD's on MY computer be it mp3, ogg or flac it's to do so for convenience. It would not be any different if I recorded my CD's to a Hi-Fi VCR or cassette deck. You can take your unauthorized copy bullshit and jam it squarely up your ASS.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:25PM (#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.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

Working...