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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.



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RE: Any 1 who makes ripping software is liable...
By DM0407 on 12/18/2007 10:33:06 AM , Rating: 1
How about this, I'll just download all the illegal music and movies and then I just won't share it. Nah, I'll download music I don't even like just to make sure more people can get their hands on it.... Sue me.

In fact I will continue to share music, just like everyone else on the internet shares useful information. All these A-holes that are pushing this legal battle are making millions already and are just out to alienate the people who made them their money.

Music should be free, it shouldn't be something that you do to make millions of dollars, it should be a passion something you get payed to do so you can survive like the rest of the world. How come we never hear about the small bands that benefit from P2P sharing? Its always the assholes with the deep pockets that just want them deeper. I cant believe that this has even made it to court, it just shows the complete lack of understanding of what is important in this world?


By Spivonious on 12/18/2007 11:05:31 AM , Rating: 2
You contradict yourself.

quote:
Music should be free


quote:
it should be...something you get payed[sic] to do
quote:


Which is it? I can guarantee that 99% of musicians would stop being musicians if they weren't getting paid.


"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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