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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

More on the Washington Post retraction re: RIAA

From:

"Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 23:28:22 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (110 lines)

The following was sent out by Garry Margolis. Does anyone know what 
is really going on here?

======================================================

URL: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/01/riaa-still-thin.html#previouspost

RIAA Still Thinks MP3s Are a Crime, Despite Post's False Correction 
of File Sharing Column -- Updated
By Ryan Singel January 08, 2008 | 1:43:49 Pm

Following a crusade on behalf of the Recording Industry Association 
of America by News.com journalist Greg Sandoval, the Washington Post 
posted a correction to a column about a file sharing lawsuit which 
was misleading headlined "Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After 
Personal Use."

Unfortunately, the correction is actually wrong:

==
A Dec. 30 Style & Arts column incorrectly said that the recording 
industry "maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally 
purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer." [...]
==

In fact, the RIAA does not recognize that you have a legal right 
under the Fair Use doctrine to rip your CDs into MP3s to listen to 
them on your computer or digital audio player.

When asked point blank today if the RIAA believes it is legal to make 
MP3s, spokeswoman Liz Kennedy refused to answer the question and 
instead sent this boilerplate text from the RIAA's anti-piracy website:

==
[T]here's no legal "right" to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto 
a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a 
copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, 
won't usually raise concerns so long as:

The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own

The copy is just for your personal use.
==

The RIAA has not and will not say that ripping MP3s for personal use 
from a lawfully purchased CD is legal, despite Sandoval's lobbying 
for the group.

UPDATE: Sandoval disagrees strongly with Threat Level.

We're going to have to disagree. I don't want to get into a 
blow-by-blow with you, but the Post story was wrong. I was hardly the 
only reporter to write that.
As we've noted here at Threat Level, the RIAA's court statements and 
along with statements on its own web site make it clear, the trade 
organization does not believe that individuals have the legal right 
to make digital audio files for their own use from copyrighted media 
they legally purchased.

And as David Kravets pointed out here, the RIAA's lawyer used that 
argument -- that individuals don't even have the right to make MP3s 
-- to persuade a jury to levy exorbitant fines on file sharer Jammie 
Thomas. The judge told the jury to consider that simply offering 
files for download constituted copyright infringement -- the RIAA 
didn't have to prove anyone actually downloaded the files.
But it wasn't clear until after the testimony whether the judge would 
require proof that someone actually downloaded the songs she made 
available on Kazaa. So the RIAA's lawyer engaged in a scorched earth 
campaign, argumentatively asking Thomas if she had gotten permission 
to simply rip the songs.

Before knowing whether the judge would enforce a burden of proof the 
RIAA couldn't meet -- they had no proof anyone actually downloaded 
songs from Thomas, the RIAA's lawyer was building a case to have 
Thomas found liable for simply ripping songs without permission. 
That's why the Sony executive said ripping a song was the same as 
stealing one, though now the RIAA finds it convenient to say she 
didn't understand the question.

Sandoval, whose reporting I usually respect, should be embarrassed 
for carrying the water for the organization that crippled Digital 
Audio Tape recorders and tried to sue digital audio players out of 
existence. In the latter case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 
found that a MP3 player that moved music from a hard drive to the 
player was space-shifting - a "paradigmnatic non-commercial personal 
use entirely consistent with the the purposes of the [Audio Home 
Recording] Act."

The problem with Marc Fisher's column was that it unfortunately left 
the impression that the RIAA was suing a guy in Arizona for ripping 
MP3s of music he bought, when the suit is actually about him 
distributing the MP3s. But the filing at issue in the suit was 
characterized fairly and accurately by Fisher.
Any correction to it should have simply noted that while the RIAA 
does believe that it is illegal for Americans to make digital music 
files from legally purchased CDs, they have not sued anyone for doing 
so in absence of a belief that person shared such files on the internet.

So, to sum up, the RIAA does believe that a majority of American 
music buyers are thieving criminals, but it's not going to sue anyone 
over ripping MP3s because) a) it's not really a big deal to them 
anymore b) there's no real way to find out and/or c) it would be 
terrible publicity to sue someone for using an iPod.


Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes. 

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