Fair use, anyone?

The RIAA, apparently determined to make itself into a self-caricature, is now arguing in court that it’s illegal to copy CDs you legally bought onto your computer for your own personal use.

P.S. Moe Lane: “I guess that I won’t be buying that iPod, then.” (Hat tip: InstaPundit.)

6 Responses to “Fair use, anyone?”

  1. Condor says:

    Hahahahaha(switching cd’s)hahahahahaha!

  2. kormal says:

    With the strong caveats that I a) don’t know much about the details of federal copyright laws, and b) don’t know much about the details of how KaZaA operates, the Post appears to be mischaracterizing the RIAA’s argument.

    Here’s a link to the relevant filing in the Howell case:

    http://www.ilrweb.com/viewILRPDF.asp?filename=atlantic_howell_071207RIAASupplementalBrief

    Page 15 of the brief states: “Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs’ recordings into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs.”

    (emphasis added). Howell is being sued for file sharing. The RIAA’s argument seems to be that a song file is “unauthorized” not simply because it’s been ripped from a CD, but because it’s been ripped from a CD and made available to download by others through placement of the file in a shared folder.

    I can’t say how legally tenable this argument is (let alone the wisdom of aggressively pursuing these sorts of cases), but I think the Post is muddling the RIAA’s specific argument.

  3. JO says:

    Considering this quote from the article

    “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”

    It seems pretty clear to me that they are stating the ripping of a song to your PC is illegal.

    Talk about splitting hairs to get billable hours!!!!

  4. kormal says:

    It seems pretty clear to me that they are stating the ripping of a song to your PC is illegal.

    First, it’s not clear at all. Since the article misrepresented the RIAA’s legal position in the Howell case, it’s not unreasonable to assume this quote was taken out of context. Do you have a link to the actual testimony? I’d really like to read it.

    Second, the Pariser quote doesn’t change the fact that the RIAA is not accusing Howell of violating copyright laws by simply copying songs from a CD to a computer. Nothing in the court filings of the Howell case suggests this, and the quote is not from the Howell case.

    Third, it’s the RIAA’s decision to pursue these cases, not the lawyers’. Aggressive legal arguments have little to do with the amount of time attorneys are putting into this. Also, as chief in-house counsel at BMG, Pariser almost certainly doesn’t bill her hours. But let’s blame the lawyers, anyway!

  5. David K. says:

    kormal, So you are saying WHERE on my computer determine whether they are legal copies or not? By the logic above (which you are defending), even if I put the mp3’s in my computers shared folder and only shared them with myself (say on other computers *I* owned) they would be illegal. Or better yet if they were in my shared folder and I didn’t allow ANYONE access to said folder they wouldalos be illegal meely because the name of the folder they were in had “shared” in the title.

    Whether or not they were ripped from a CD or not, the real issue is wether SHARING is illegal.

    In fact its just more ridiculous, its not just ripping, its ripping and placing them in a folder that is now supposedly illegal. Hilarious.

  6. kormal says:

    kormal, So you are saying WHERE on my computer determine whether they are legal copies or not?

    I’m not saying anything. I’m saying the RIAA is saying this, yes.

    By the logic above (which you are defending) . . .

    I’m not defending the logic. Did you not read my freaking posts? I will quote the first one for you:

    I can’t say how legally tenable this argument is (let alone the wisdom of aggressively pursuing these sorts of cases), but I think the Post is muddling the RIAA’s specific argument.

    I specifically disclaimed passing any judgment on either the legal merit or practical efficacy of these arguments. My single point has been that the Post is not accurately representing the RIAA’s position, a point you have failed to refute. I’ve read your debates with other people before, and you’ve demonstrated either a profound ignorance or a tendentious disregard for the nuances of others’ positions. I don’t think you’re stupid, so I’ll assume it’s the latter.

    By the logic above (which you are defending), even if I put the mp3’s in my computers shared folder and only shared them with myself (say on other computers *I* owned) they would be illegal. Or better yet if they were in my shared folder and I didn’t allow ANYONE access to said folder they wouldalos be illegal meely because the name of the folder they were in had “shared” in the title.

    Nothing in the Howell case suggests the RIAA has taken either of these positions, and I certainly don’t see how they “logically” follow from the RIAA’s position. The RIAA’s position is that placing them in a KaZaA shared folder opens them up to illegal file sharing. Under either of your scenarios, the “shared” folder is not “shared” in this sense, so they are distinguishable.

    Whether or not they were ripped from a CD or not, the real issue is wether SHARING is illegal.

    The RIAA doesn’t seem to disagree, at least according to their filings in the Howell case.

    n fact its just more ridiculous, its not just ripping, its ripping and placing them in a folder that is now supposedly illegal. Hilarious.

    I don’t understand this sentence.