Thursday, January 03, 2008

Music Industry Goes Too Far In Saying Music You Buy Is Not Yours

Figuratively of course.

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is saying it is illegal to copy music you've paid for. Problem is ... there is no such law. The record industry is trying to win a precedent case in order to go after millions of people who have transfered their CD's to their MP3 players by saying we've violated copyright law. I disagree.


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.

Well slap my ass and call me Suzy! Since when has it been illegal to make a backup of your personal possessions? As long as you aren't distributing the material to others there should be no controversy.

"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."

RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."

Any statements on the RIAA's website are irrelevant, and they should face charges for making false statements.

The bottom line is that MY music is MY property. Once I pay for it, it is mine to do with as I wish so long as I don't distribute it. Using the RIAA's logic ... one day it will be illegal for my wife to listen to my MP3's.


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