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Sunday, December 30, 2007

RIAA on the Warpath Again

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been fighting a losing battle against the illegal duplication, downloading, and sharing of music. But that hasn't stopped them from wreaking havoc with people's lives.

Apparently bored with the usual routine of sending threatening letters to college students, the RIAA is now trying a new intimidation tactic. The Washington Post reports:
    Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

    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.

    "I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."
So, if you legally purchase and download a song through iTunes and then copy that song to your iPod, could you find yourself slapped with a lawsuit for copyright infringement? That's something think about the next time you're rocking out to Hannah Montana on your morning jog.

1 comment:

Chris Wilde said...

I don't think I could listen to Hannah Montana unless it was pirated. Then I could feel badder as I worked out.

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