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Music Media Businesses Your Rights Online

RIAA Now Filing Suits Against Consumers Who Rip CDs 403

mrneutron2003 writes "With this past week's announcement by Warner to release its entire catalog to Amazon in MP3 format with no Digital Rights Management, you would think that the organization that represents them, The RIAA, would begin changing its tune. Instead, they are pressing on in their campaign against consumers by suing individuals who merely rip CDs they've purchased legally. 'The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.'"
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RIAA Now Filing Suits Against Consumers Who Rip CDs

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  • 2 words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:33AM (#21855720)
    "fair use". Happy suing, RIAA- you don't stand a chance.
    • Re:2 words (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:36AM (#21855736) Homepage Journal
      If the CD has ANY rights protection on it, then the DMCA kicks in and your right to rip goes up in smoke.

      Sure, fair use of the end music still applies, but you cant legally get your music into that state due to having to 'break' the copy protection first. Is one reason we are being forced to digital TV in a year or so.
      • Re:2 words (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) * on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:40AM (#21855754) Journal

        If the CD has ANY rights protection on it, then the DMCA kicks in and your right to rip goes up in smoke.
        But a purely Redbook Audio CD can't have rights protection on it... and even the Sony rootkit CD's couldn't do anything if they weren't connected to a Windows box with autorun enabled. So while it might violate the DMCA to bypass the rootkit on a Windows box, the RIAA would have a hard time arguing that ripping the MP3 on a *nix or Mac is bypass copy protection.
        • Re:2 words (Score:5, Funny)

          by mrsteveman1 ( 1010381 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:57AM (#21855864)
          By not using Windows you are bypassing the DMCA :D
          • I know you were making a joke, but that really is how the *AAs see it.
          • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @11:32AM (#21856608)

            You just broadly communicated a method to circumvent a copy protection device.

            • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j&ww,com> on Sunday December 30, 2007 @01:06PM (#21857314) Homepage
              lol, mod that up please...

              I think something completely different is what is usually mentioned. I think the big change is simply driven by going from a market dictated market to a consumer dictated market. In other words, we don't want it your way, we want it our way. At whatever pricepoint we think is reasonable (probably somewhere around $0.10 per song) and in whatever format we want.

              As long as that doesn't happen piracy is here to stay, and when it does happen you have to hope that the piracy infrastructure is not so well entrenched that people will not even bother to switch to legal stuff anymore. The longer the wait the larger the chance that the music industry will not survive.

              If a significantly large portion of the population commits a crime (say going 20 km above the speed limit) it technically still is a crime but the actual enforcement is no longer feasible. That only works when the percentage of criminals to honest citizens is small enough to warrant enforcement. Past that point the judicial system simply breaks down.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              You just broadly communicated a method to circumvent a copy protection device

              You mean like this [wellingtongrey.net]?
          • One word (Score:5, Insightful)

            by OmniGeek ( 72743 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:10PM (#21856888)
            The DMCA prohibits bypassing an "effective" technical measure preventing access. A rootkit that can be bypassed by simply placing the CD in a PC that is running a popular operating system (i.e., any flavor of Linux) will NOT constitute an "effective" measure, so is untouchable. At least if one has a competenet lawyer...
            • Re:One word (Score:4, Informative)

              by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:36PM (#21857082)
              I believe that it also has to be copy protection. One of the issues with the deCSS was that CSS isn't a copy protection mechanism. It merely dictates which devices may play the DVD. I could have, even prior to deCSS made as many copies of a disc as I wanted to, they would just be bitwise copies and have the same DRM attached as the original.

              But, if you purchase a CD, any one with the official Phillips CD logo on it, then you are guaranteed to have no copy protection on it. Phillips has been quite good about requiring that any disc with that logo on it be played on any CD player that has ever been made, which effectively prevents DRM systems from being put on to a licensed disc.

              Phillips in on record as saying that placing their CD logo onto any disc which doesn't conform to their standards represents trademark infringement. And realistically, that is the way that it should be, kind of a reminder that IP can also be beneficial to consumers as well.

              On a side note, with every single story along these lines, and the RIAA press release that goes along with, I am more and more glad that I don't do business with them. If they want my money to fund their crusade, they're going to have to do so responsibly and in conformance with the laws of the US. All of them, including the ones that indicate that you can't bring known fraudulent cases to court.
            • Re:One word (Score:4, Informative)

              by MooUK ( 905450 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @01:08PM (#21857344)
              "Effective", at least in the equivalent UK legislation, is defined in the laws in question as pretty much meaning "one that exists". NOT "one that works". As I understand it a similar definition exists in the DMCA. I'm no law expert, but I think that the definition of a word within a law overrules any general interpretation of that word.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by SMS_Design ( 879582 )
            Great. Now you've given the RIAA/MPAA a case that will allow them to sue you just for having an alternate OS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BeanThere ( 28381 )

          But a purely Redbook Audio CD can't have rights protection on it

          Perhaps that's why they're trying to kill ordinary audio CDs with this move (if you think about it, that's what it is - I for one do buy CDs legally but will never listen to them directly, it's too inconvenient, so first thing I do is rip them - now if I can't even do that legally, I'll just stop buying CDs). Who the hell listens to audio CDs directly these days? I don't know anyone who does anymore. Perhaps the RIAA wants to kill CDs and int

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sumdumass ( 711423 )
          Well arguing that turning the auto play on a windows box off is bypassing the DMCA is going to be a tough sell. There are legitimate security reasons not to have it enabled by default. If your disabled it for other reasons, you wouldn't know about the copy protections.
      • If, and only if, you circumvent the copy protection mechanism to copy it.
    • Re:2 words (Score:5, Interesting)

      by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:50AM (#21856252)
      Also, remember back when the President was on TV and was asked what was on his iPod... Beatles. The only way it got there was if he (by the RIAA definition) pirated it.

      Lets hope they press charges. It might get this issue sorted out sooner rather than later.
      • Re:2 words (Score:4, Interesting)

        by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Sunday December 30, 2007 @11:50AM (#21856720)
        Lets hope they press charges. It might get this issue sorted out sooner rather than later.

        They don't want it sorted out. They know they'd lose. The want the confusion and penny ante change they collect because their other income models are evaporating and extortion is all they have left.
      • Re:2 words (Score:5, Funny)

        by pla ( 258480 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:05PM (#21856838) Journal
        Also, remember back when the President was on TV and was asked what was on his iPod... Beatles. The only way it got there was if he (by the RIAA definition) pirated it.

        Why do you hate America?

        Clearly he didn't "rip" the music. He "liberated" all those poor oppressed bits from the tyrrany of an undemocratically-elected plastic disc.
      • Gordon Brown (Score:5, Informative)

        by nick255 ( 139962 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:35PM (#21857070)
        Actually, it was Gordon Brown who said he had the Beatles on his iPod.

        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1582428.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

        But then later removed it when he was informed it was illegal.

        (In Britain there is no concept of "Fair Use" in copyright law)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canajin56 ( 660655 )
      Fraudulent article, summary, and title. While technically correct that the RIAA is filing suits against consumers who rip CDs, its also technically correct to state that the RIAA is filing suits against consumers who listen to music. Or that the justice department is seeking the death penalty against criminals who jaywalk. Technically correct, but that's not what the suit is over. He is being sued for making copyright music available for download on the internet. They are merely stating that the files
  • Told a so! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:33AM (#21855722) Homepage Journal
    Vindicated again.

    Mandatory pay-per-play is their next move. Then criminalization. Once that is complete, the industry will collapse and they will be gone and out of our hair.
    • I am somewhat at a loss as to how exactly mandatory pay-per-play is their next move. It isn't even a possible move. For starters, the low rate for outright purchase of a song implies that the price of a single play would be ridiculously low--they would have to introduce bulk rates, as in 100 plays for 10 cents. That's just asking for abuse either by customers who don't play the last few seconds, or by the companies themselves when they count all those typical, abortive plays of the first three seconds of a
  • Or if I can't make each breath you take illegal, I at least want a 5-cent royalty. I figure I should be a trillionaire by noon.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is total insanity, and really begs the question what on earth do you pay for when you buy a CD now? Next they'll be telling us we can only play CDs on specific CD players, at volumes which don't allow others to hear the recording, and then force us to pay royalties if the tune gets stuck in our heads...
    • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:06AM (#21855924)
      Obviously you don't pay for the physical medium; That piece of plastic isn't worth 10-15 bucks. No, what you pay for is the music on it (as the RIAA must have argued previously).

      Transferred ownership would imply that the music wouldn't belong to the record company anymore. That would be a very bad deal to the record company, so instead, what they sell you is a license to listen to that music. Once you buy a CD, you get to listen to a piece of music as many times as you want.

      But you cannot distribute copies of it- the music is protected by copyright law. Now, the record companies argue that making a copy for personal use implies you are not listening to the licensed material anymore- instead, you are listening to a copy (never mind that bits *must* be copied around before the audio hits the speaker).

      A case can be made for the fact that an MP3 isn't the licensed material: you can do a bitwise comparison and find out that what you are listening to isn't what you licensed.

      This is where the fun starts. Rights and obligations most always come in pairs. If you have the obligation to send your kids to school, this implies the right to have schools built to send your kid to (and building the schools is then in turn the obligation of the state).

      So if I cannot make copies for personal use but paid for a license to listen to music represented by a certain pattern of bits, I will have an unalienable right to listen to that music, represented by that *exact* pattern of bits. This implies the obligation of the record company to indefinitely provide me with that exact pattern of bits forever and ever and ever (unless otherwise stated in a written license agreement).

      This means that whenever I accidentally scratch the CD that I bought so that it isn't bit-for-bit readable anymore, I'm entitled to a replacement- this obligation arises on RIAA's side of the deal. I guess that is where my microwave oven and sledge hammer come into the picture, and that is where the fun *really* starts.
      • mrjb:

        So if I cannot make copies for personal use but paid for a license to listen to music represented by a certain pattern of bits, I will have an unalienable right to listen to that music, represented by that *exact* pattern of bits


        You have right to remain silent, everything you say or hum WILL be used against you

        But actually, you don't have right to remain silent [counterpunch.org]

      • I think we should swing the pendulum all the way in the other direction, but then again I am fairly bitter about this whole culture grab by corporations.
      • I guess deliberate destruction of the medium could be a reason to lose the right to listen to it, if the contract is worded that way. You showed by deliberately destroying the medium that you do no longer want to listen to the content, thus voiding the contract.

        Generally, though, this is moot (at least under our jurisdiction). You don't license the bits (because you cannot), you license the content. The work of art. Our copyright is rather lenient in that area. You can transcode, even create derived art (an
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kickasso ( 210195 )
          This is bollocks. You don't license anything. You can't license stuff without agreeing to a specific written license. Can you show me one printed on a CD cover? Thought so. You are buying a copy, pure and simple.
      • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:41PM (#21857118) Homepage
        what they sell you is a license to listen to that music

        Is there anyone out there that imagines there is such a thing as a "license to read"? That when you buy a book what you're actually buying a "license to read"?

        I find it weird how this "license to listen" meme keeps cropping up from so many different people. The concept "license to listen" does not exist in US law. Nor does it exist anywhere in the law of any country of the Berne copyright convention... meaning pretty much every country on earth.

        Transferred ownership would imply that the music wouldn't belong to the record company anymore.

        Correct. According to US law and pretty well every country on earth, that particular copy doen't belong to the record company anymore.

        When you buy a CD, you are in fact buying the physical medium. You are buying a physical medium that happens to have music encoded on it. By law you become the owner of that physical object, and by law you become the owner of the particular copy of the music that happens to be on that medium.

        When you buy a book or a CD or whatnot, you do not receive any license at all. Because you do not need any license at all.

        You do not need a license to read a book. You own the book you bought, you have every right to read it. And even if you don't own the book, it doesn't matter. If you can see the text in someone else's book, you are perfectly free to read that too. The same goes for records and CDs and videos and whatnot. You do not need any sort of license to play something you bought. You have every right to drop your chunk of vinyl onto a record player or stick your videocassette into a VCR.

        A further point is that the law explicitly states that you need no license whatsoever to install and run software. No, copyright law absolutely positively does not require you to have any sort of EULA to install and run software. EULAs are contract offers, and companies try to rely on a couple of other legal tricks to attempt (with varying degrees of success) to corner you into accepting an EULA. Legal mechanisms that have absolutely nothing to do with copyright. Those issues are therefore wandering off topic of copyright.

        Copyright law explicitly itemizes six things it restricts, but for discussion they can pretty well be condensed down to just three different things. (1) Copying (2) Distribution and (3) Public Performance. Nothing outside those three categories is restricted by copyright law. You do not need any sort of license to do anything outside of those three things. You do not need a license to read a book, you do not need a license to play a CD, you do not need a license to chop up you videocassette set it on fire.

        Copying, distribution, and public performance are restricted and potentially require licenses to do, however at this point copyright law gets very messy. There are all sorts of rules and exceptions. In some cases unlicensed unauthorized activities are not infringing. The prime example is in distribution. When you buy a book or whatnot, you own that particular copy and you have the distribution right of giving or selling that particular copy. The legal term is "Right of First Sale", and the legal language is that the copyright holder has "exhausted his distribution right" in that particular copy, used up and eliminated his distribution rights in that particular copy. There is also a vast range of copying activities that are unlicensed unauthorized and noninfringing. Some activities are explicitly noninfringing due to exceptions written into law, and (speaking of US law here) many more are protected Fair Use which would often be unconstitutional for copyright law to prohibit. Fair Use cannot be altered, diminished, or eliminated by passing a law. An law attempting to do so would be constitutionally NULL and VOID. Fair Use was established by the courts, and they did so on constitutional grounds. Fair Use was indeed written into US law in 1976, but the congressional record and the US court
  • Are they gonna sue me for the cassettes I made in the day of the LP and cassettes in the car?

    Same idea, different generation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nurb432 ( 527695 )
      No, as those were analog sources. They cant use the DMCA in those cases. Why do you think there is this big push to 100% digital?
      • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

        No, as those were analog sources. They cant use the DMCA in those cases. Why do you think there is this big push to 100% digital?
        Maybe it's time we started working on analog computers again ?
        • by nurb432 ( 527695 )
          I'm all for going back to analog 'media'. Sure digital music and video has its place for the sake of convenience, but i never agreed with the idea of replacing analog totally.

          As far as your little joke about computers, I'm also all for going back a few years to computers that arent in bed with DRM and someting we had control over, or could even build ourselves. ( "you will have to pry my Atari ST from my dead cold hands" sort of thing )

    • Re:Old cassettes? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cairnarvon ( 901868 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:34AM (#21856108) Homepage
      The industry did try to prevent people ripping LPs to cassettes back in the day. That's why you pay a tax on blank media now.
  • by Benj89 ( 1207868 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:40AM (#21855760)
    "the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer." - Washingtonpost.com. Surely then Microsoft is facilitating copyright infringement by adding the rip feature to Mediaplayer?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Dont also forget the laptop manufacturers for making the pirate hardware backwards compatible with CDs!
    • When Itunes rips a CD, it will automatically get the track names from an online database, and now even the album artwork.
    • Not just Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:32AM (#21856098)
      Some years ago I owned a Sony CD player and a Sony Minidisc player/recorder. The CD player and Minidisc were designed so that I could, with a single click of a remote control button (the button was called 'Sync Record' if memory serves), record the CD onto Minidisc without further intervention. This was a feature designed to simplify the copying of CDs to Minidisc and was documented as such in the Sony documentation.

      I am sure there are a myriad of other examples of hardware and software manufacturer implementing features which expedite the 'illegal' copying of music and other software. I suppose what makes the Sony instance more interesting is that Sony operate a music label as well and are presumably part of the RIAA mafia.
    • ... and Sony? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wowsers ( 1151731 )
      Maybe Sony could sue themselves for making the music, then also making the hardware that enables to rip the audio, and recordable CD's / DVD's / Memory sticks to record it to?

      These companies want to have their cake and eat it. When will the courts see this?
    • How about iTunes? Apple has distributed maybe half a billion copies of it now.

      Maybe it's a Microsoft program that rips a CD while you play it, I've seen a program do that without me asking.
  • What always surprises me a little is that none of the people they're suing have opened fire in the RIAA offices. While that would be horrible and I can't condone the taking of innocent lives (such as the Pepsi machine refill guy who happens to be there at that moment), I'm still kind of amazed that nobody's done it.

    Seriously, though, how do those cretins sleep at night? Even if they don't care about the lives they've destroyed, surely they care about the idea that someone might want revenge. I could imagine someone who loses their house because they ripped a CD might feel like they don't have a lot more to lose.

    • by Alsee ( 515537 )
      how do those cretins sleep at night?

      Oh, about 3 feet above the mattress, atop a mound of twenties fifties and hundreds.

      And they hire illegal immigrants to tape the fives and tens together end-to-end and roll them up on a tube for the bathroom.

    • "Seriously, though, how do those cretins sleep at night? "

      They've already lost all hope in their artists making good music. The last hope they have is to get more money. They see the highly-inaccurate but appealling projections made by their staff as to how much more money they could be making, and with nothing left to cling to, they sleep at night with the hope of a new day and a new fortune.
      • They see the highly-inaccurate but appealling projections made by their staff as to how much more money they could be making, and with nothing left to cling to, they sleep at night with the hope of a new day and a new fortune.

        The thing is, I don't wonder how they can sleep without feeling guilty. That's easy when you're a soulless shell of protein. I just don't know how they can close their eyes at night, wondering if this will be the evening when an armed visitor comes calling.

    • Same here. I honestly could well understand if someone armed up to the brim after being sued out of existance by the leeches and adjust the crime to the verdict.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rai ( 524476 )
      Dear Taliban/Al Queda/Nutso Islamic Terroritst,

      RIAA has a big image of Muhammad in all their offices and regularly mock the good name of Islam. Just thought you'd like to know.

  • Stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Even in the UK where we don't have fair use provisions, no copyright holder would risk taking a case like this to court. The copyright holder has already been compensated, so long as the works are for private use and not redistributed there's no case for infringement.

    Oh well. At some point, it's going to be too expensive for the RIAA to keep their lawyers supplied with crack.
    • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:43AM (#21856184)

      Even in the UK where we don't have fair use provisions, no copyright holder would risk taking a case like this to court.
      Anyone contemplating the purchase of audio CDs - or any product of RIAA members - these days should consider the legal liability they are assuming by doing so. For me, it's not worth it, and I'm amazed that anyone buys those things anymore...
  • Death spiral (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawkin ( 165588 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:44AM (#21855786)
    Taken to a logical conclusion, this means that remembering a song is a copyright violation.
  • by bomanbot ( 980297 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:46AM (#21855794)
    Well, if we didnt already know, check out this gem from the article:

    The Howell case was not the first time the industry has argued that making a personal copy from a legally purchased CD is illegal. At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.

    This is so ridiculous that it would be funny, but I fear they are completely serious about it...
    • Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser
      I wonder if they're using their real names? For their own sake, I hope not.
  • by MCSEBear ( 907831 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:51AM (#21855816)
    It's time for the consumers to show them a little 'voting with your feet' action. I absolutely refuse to buy even one more new CD until these asshats stop filing lawsuits against their customers for making use of their fair use rights. If I pay you for the fucking CD, then I have the right to listen to it on my mp3 player. Hell, while we're at it, if I pay for the DVD I have a right to watch it on my media player. If the RIAA and the MPAA try to prevent me... Then you don't get another dime of my money. It is just that simple.
  • Please Die Already (Score:3, Insightful)

    by castrox ( 630511 ) <stefan@[ ]zel.se ['ver' in gap]> on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:51AM (#21855824)
    I have now completely lost all my belief in mankind. This interesting new business model seems to be catching on to more and more business as they grow: the customer is your enemy.

    Business has been reduced to spreadsheets with no touch with what the actual core business is. Sure, just outsource the core business and let the patents and lawsuits roll!
  • How was he caught? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phozz bare ( 720522 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:55AM (#21855844)
    It seems that defendant Howell kept a library of MP3's on his computer, but did not offer them up for sharing via P2P. This begs the question: How did the RIAA know about it?
  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by ngunton ( 460215 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:56AM (#21855848) Homepage
    I hate the RIAA as much as anyone, I think they are a bunch of scumbags. But people need to realize that this is not simply a case of someone ripping CDs for their own personal use; according to the supplemental brief [ilrweb.com] (pdf) (see page 12,13 etc), the guy apparently was using KazAa and had the files into the shared directory. Now I am not making any judgement on the legality or morality of doing this; it's simply worth noting that this is not a simple case of "now it's illegal to even rip your own CDs (SHOCK! HORROR!)". This is more a case of the same-old, same-old RIAA going after someone who seemed to be sharing the files over a peer-to-peer network. I know the article quotes them as saying scary and insane stuff about it not being legal to even make copies of your own CDs, but didn't the Audio Home Recording Act [wikipedia.org] take care of making copies for your own use a while back? I think it's pretty easy to convince any jury that making copies of CDs and distributing them over the internet is "wrong", but they'd have a hard time convincing any sane person that ripping mp3 versions of your own, legally purchased CDs, for your own use, is in any wrong.
    • hard time convincing any sane person

      Unfortunately, you've got to convince juries and judges, which can be easier than convincing sane people.
    • Thank you for clearing that up. In fact, I suspected that was exactly the case. I *SERIOUSLY* doubt that RIAA would go after someone for simply transcoding a CD. It is already known to be fair use and perfectly legal. But the moment that poor, innocent CD-ripper decided to give away copyrighted music- then he was clearly wrong and breaking the law by redistributing copyrighted materials. I really have no sympathy for that guy at all, now.
      • by Skapare ( 16644 )

        Maybe you should RTFA. The argument could have been made that distributing, or merely making available for distribution, was the infringement. But they are in fact saying that merely copying the music to the computer is (an) infringement.

        And don't think the Audio Home Recording Act [wikipedia.org], especially its section 1008 provision, will necessarily protect you. That law specifies devices that contain the Serial Copy Management System [wikipedia.org], and media (where you store the music) that requires royalty payments (e.g. some

  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:57AM (#21855870) Homepage
    Maybe the RIAA should surf on over to the iTunes web site [apple.com]. Apple has a full page dedicated to making illegal copies of legally purchased music. Do I get a finder's fee?
  • by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @09:59AM (#21855882)
    Cant wait to read the Slashdot spin when MS and Apple tag-team against the RIAA here...RIAA is accusing MS, Apple, Real, Creative, and more that I cant think of at the moment of facilitating crime on a mass scale, not exactly something that Balmer and Jobs will take without one hell of a fight...I hope
    • What's even funnier: Sony BMG is (through the RIAA of which it is a major member) accusing Sony Corp of facilitating a crime on a mass scale (IIRC both Sony hardware like e.g. MiniDisc-Enabled stereos and software like SonicStage offered simple one-button methods to copy copyrighted music from CDs)
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:08AM (#21855936) Homepage
    As I said last time [slashdot.org], unauthorized is not synonymous with illegal. It is even in the article, the unauthorized copies won't give legal trouble as long as you don't distribute the copies.
  • Assuming that the RIAA wins its case, the damages awarded will be commensurate to the loss. Since the guy was just ripping for his own use (to an easier to use format) I assume that the loss will be zero. Would he have paid again for the songs in MP3 format? Probably not, he would just have had to shuffle physical CDs.

    So: zero loss means damages of what ?

  • by Scooter ( 8281 ) <owen AT annicnova DOT force9 DOT net> on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:20AM (#21856026)
    I'm not a US resident, but the effects are still felt here in the UK, so I feel able to make some comment.

    There are some things that are just never gonna happen - there's a critical mass of progress or just practicality that prevents it. If the "RIAA" thinks people will go back to carrying around hundreds of 5 inch plastic discs (yes, I typed "discs" - lets check that again - yes phew :P) in their bulky unwieldy boxes (who designed those things: they either break, won't open or the disc inside flies across the room) they are insane.

    This is a little bit like having to run software from the installation disc all the time. The software industry more or less solved this, with other means of licensing other than ownership of the physical delivery media and allowed users to "copy" the software to their PC's internal storage. Yes there is theft, but software vendors know that if they insisted on having the install disc present for every piece of software in your PC, users would vote with their feet and go use something else (plus of course, everyone would just mount ISO images of the discs, or if that wouldn't work, a solution would be found - that's the power of a connected and talented user base).

    So if these guys think I'm going to have the install-disc in the stereo for whatever music I'm listening to, I'd like some of whatever they're smoking.

    Consider car audio - in the UK it is a criminal offence to use a hand-held telephone whilst operating a vehicle (even if you're stopped at the lights etc). And yet, it's still OK for us to eject a CD, fumble around for a new CD, open the box (all with one hand) and insert it into the player. Now, as anyone who has done this will know, after 2 days, none of the CD boxes will contain the music advertised on the outside - so to play a specific album, you could be fumbling about for quite a while, and at the same time, you must control your vehicle at road speeds, amongst other traffic etc. etc. Madness. Auto changers did a bit to address this, but I can guarantee you most people will take the same 6 CDs out of the car when they sell it, that they put in the day they bought it. It's just too much of a planned activity to firtle around in the boot of your car with those CD magazines, and by the time you think "hmm must change the discs" you're cruising down the M6, so you never do it.

    The problem was neatly solved by having a big fat SD card sticking out of your dashboard with all the music you ever wanted at a quality that exceeds that of the acoustic environment that is your car. (Unless you drive the Albert Hall, in which case, you're on your own). This is so good in fact, I never want to see a CD again after I've installed the music on it.

    The RIAA's primary objective is "to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists". All very laudable, but I wonder if they consult these artists before they issue these proclamations? After all, sales of billions with some loss due to illegal re-production has to be better financially, than sales of only thousands with no loss. Surely? Would the artists prefer to remain penniless, safe in the knowledge that no one has illegally copied their material?

    The RIAA needs to find a better solution if they want to attain any credibility: "go back to a time when this wasn't an issue" is not acceptable. They may as well suggest we all go back to the horse and cart to solve vehicle emissions, or that banks use ledger books and quill pens to avoid all those troublesome data centre issues. Technically, and qualitatively all these things would still work, but none of em are gonna happen, any time this side of a global apocalypse anyway (and maybe not on the other side either - there maybe a shortage of horses...).

    Now, excuse me while I go break some laws with my Squeezebox.

  • ...because my wife pointed out one of her helpful tips in the magazine she (Stewart) publishes. The tip is to rip your CD collection to an mp3 player and donate the CDs to a nursing home.

    Of course this is flat-out illegal (unlike the premise of TFA, which has the RIAA claiming the mere act of ripping is itself illegal), but what else can you expect from a seasoned ex-con like Martha? 4 life, homey. 4 life.
  • I'm a big proponent on copyright laws and I think "Fair Use" is too often used as a defense but this case falls squarely under it. Here's some Wikipedia quotes on the subject(below). The fourth condition mentioned would negate copying for a friend since it could be percieved as allowing your friend to use the work without paying for it but copying for your own use is covered under the first condition since it's not commercial. Yes copying for a friend is non commercial but it also has a potential impact sin
  • I have a couple major ways to get music onto my computer. The first is to buy (or steal) Compact Discs (or those old vinyl records if I had something to play them [thinkgeek.com] with) and copy the music onto my computer from there. The second is to download the music, which could be either legally purchased or found being given away illegally by someone. And now the music industry tells me the first option is out.

    Given the trends in the way music is listened to [slashdot.org] these days, which involves a spectrum from listening to h

  • This is how things evolved. There is nothing with ripping your own cds. Hell i dont think there is anything wrong with trading mp3s, or letting your friends rip them.

    I do think we should all move to AAC or Flac ;)

    Seriously... This is how things evolved and everyone expects this functionality. You cant say ripping a cd is illegal 10 years after its common place! This is evolution baby! Now we're all criminals?

  • .....he also placed them in a shared folder on Kazaa, thus "making available." Yes, the RIAA believes that ripping to a computer or other device is illegal, but if you don't make them publicly available, how would anyone know? As evil as they are, the RIAA is probably not going to start searching millions of computers looking for ripped mp3s. That would either involve planting snooping software through a virus or hack (for which they have already received a good amount of flak) or getting law enforcement to

  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @11:14AM (#21856452)
    The RIAA should require all stores selling CDs to display prominent warning signs stating "It is illegal to buy CDs unless you agree to only play them on a CD player. If you copy these onto your MP3 player you will go to jail.".

    These signs should preferably be placed close to the cash register to turn back customers who may have missed them elsewhere in the store and be unwittingly about to buy a CD for anything other than their grandfather's dust collecting CD player.

    This simple solution should deter this heineious crime of people enjoying the music they buy in CD format, and should also (magically, against all expectations) boost CD sales.

    Seeing as Appple's iTunes software supports loading of your CDs onto your iPod or (god forbid!) playing them on your PC, it's obvious that the RIAA should also ligitate against Apple to cripple ITunes functionality, and stop people from buying CDs for these nefarious listening purposes, and this should also magically boost CD sales.
  • by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:05PM (#21856840) Homepage
    Record companies have never objected to someone making a copy of a CD for their own personal use." [riaa.com]

    Doesn't this directly contradict what this lawsuit is about?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shark72 ( 702619 )

      "Doesn't this directly contradict what this lawsuit is about?"

      Actually, no. As I understand it, the RIAA is going after him (via a settlement offer... no lawsuit yet) because they believe he is sharing music via P2P.

      The key phrase is "unauthorized copies" and how its meaning can change independently of the act of ripping it. Here's how the RIAA sees it:

      • Rip a CD for your personal use: fine; the copy you have is an authorized copy.
      • Put that copy in your Kazaa share directory: suddenly, it's unauthori
  • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @12:23PM (#21856982)

    Mr. Beckerman,

    Since you're quoted in the article I assume you're familiar with the case. The phrase "suing individuals who merely rip CDs" sounds a bit off... in particular, that word "merely." My guess is that he was targeted as a file sharer, and thus he was not "merely" ripping CDs -- rather, the RIAA alleges that he's sharing music which he happened to rip from his personal collection. Am I correct?

    Unless the RIAA is asking for additional damages for ripping CDs (on top of the settlement money they're after, or the damages they might seek if it goes to trial), the headline "RIAA Now Filing Suits Against Consumers Who Rip CDs" seems disingenuous. Legally speaking, if he petted his dog that day, it 's the equivalent of stating "RIAA Now Filing Suits Against Consumers Who Pet Their Dogs." Of course, if the RIAA will be seeking additional damages for the act of ripping (on top of making available), then I'm wrong, but I'm not sure this is the case.

    Can you clarify? Do you agree that the write-up and/or the article is misleading in its omission?

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong