backtop


Print 114 comment(s) - last by Christopher1.. on Dec 24 at 8:25 PM

Fair use under direct attack in Atlantic v. Howell

In a legal brief filed for Atlantic v. Howell, the RIAA once again stated its distaste for users who copy CDs for personal, private use.

The RIAA wrote that “it is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies” – referring to the Howell’s collection of mp3 files made from their own CDs – and noted that “once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recordings into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies.”

The Judge’s question was, “Does the record in this case show that Defendant Howell possessed an ‘unlawful copy’ of the Plaintiff's copyrighted material, and that he actually disseminated that copy to the public?”

Similar sentiments were heard in testimony leading up to the conclusion of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas, where Sony BMG’s head of litigation equated Fair Use to stealing and testified that copying music for personal use is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy.’”

Admittedly, the wording in its Atlantic v. Howell brief is vague and its exact message unclear. Judging purely on the statements expressed in its brief for Atlantic v. Howell, opinion seems divided on the true intent: does ripping music to a computer for personal use produce an unlawful copy? Or is the act of placing said music into a shared folder that makes it unlawful? As the RIAA chose to use the word “unauthorized” instead of “unlawful,” interpretation is further complicated; “unauthorized” and “unlawful” have two very different legal definitions, and many think that the RIAA did not even answer the Judge Wake’s question.

The piracy section on the RIAA’s website offers further confusion, with its legal section making no mention of the legalities of “ripping.” The closest analogue to ripping would be directly copying music to a CD-R, which says that while users have “no legal ‘right’” they can generally avoid legal confrontation by making sure said music is only copied for personal use.

An official response from the District Court will likely hinge on the RIAA’s distinction between “unauthorized” and “unlawful,” and whether or not it feels Howell is liable for ripping the CDs themselves, or placing them in a p2p client’s shared folder.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By stepone on 12/17/2007 7:32:42 PM , Rating: 2
That's actually a very good point.

If the RIAA truly believes that is or should be illegal for people to copy their own legally purchased music for their own personal private use then why aren't they sueing Apple, MS & for that matter every MP3 player manufacturer?

Those MP3's had to at some point come from somene's CD ripped by software, so why not go after the software makers as well?

Why is it always Mr & Ms Joe Schmo getting sued?

Surely if you want to nip a problem in the bud you go after the proximate cause instead of just nibbling round the edges (war on drugs ring any bells of failure).

The answer is simple... regular people can't afford to fight back or if they do they won't be able to afford decent representation making it a pretty lopsided affair.

However if they tried that on with a big corp like MS (who gets sued all the time) their lawyers would have the RIAA for breakfast & have Jennifer Pariser crying in the corner by lunch.

At some point simple logic & fair use has to suggest that you have the right to listen to the music you've purchased on your own PC or MP3 player without being labelled a criminal. Its either that or make a hell of a lot of people lose their jobs & hurt music sales by outlawing ALL MP3 players/rippers including software & hardware.


“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki