Washington Post Flubs Story On RIAA -- RIAA Still Not Going After Personal Copies (Yet)

from the who-needs-to-read-the-details? dept

Back at the beginning of December, we helped debunk a story making the rounds claiming that the RIAA was going after a guy named Jeffrey Howell for ripping his own CDs to his computer. That story was misleading, at best. While we know that the RIAA is constantly pushing to extend both the meaning and scope of copyright law, in this case the details were pretty clear that they were not going after Howell for just ripping his CDs, but for putting those ripped files into a shared Kazaa folder. Now you can (and we do!) disagree that simply putting files into a shared folder are infringement, but that's different than just claiming that ripping the CDs is illegal or that he was being targeted just for ripping the CDs. Unfortunately (and for reasons unclear to me), the Washington Post has revived the story, again repeating that Howell is being targeted for ripping his own CDs. That's simply not true, and it's nice to see a true copyright expert like William Patry question the Washington Post on this as well. It looks as though the Post's source for the story is the same as the earlier story: lawyer Ray Beckerman. Beckerman has done (and continues to do) a fantastic job fighting the RIAA against its bogus lawsuits. However, he still has failed to explain how the RIAA's filing actually says what he claims it says. While he suggested I don't understand because I am not familiar enough with the minutia of copyright law, I don't see how he can say the same for Patry, who literally wrote a nearly 6,000 page book on copyright. Of course, now that the Washington Post has republished this already debunked story, many other publications are spreading it. I emailed the Washington Post writer asking for clarification on Monday, but have not yet heard back.

Furthermore, there is one other point that is worth highlighting. It was noted in the comments to our original post. The filing points out that when Howell ripped his CDs and put them into a shared folder, those files were no longer "authorized." It's important to note that there's a difference between unauthorized and illegal. Beckerman seems to be saying that by saying "unauthorized" the RIAA means illegal -- but that need not be the case. It's perfectly legal to rip your CDs, even if it's not authorized. It's well established that ripping a CD for personal backup purposes is perfectly legal, even if it's not authorized. What the RIAA appears to be saying is that by putting those backup files into a shared folder, the rips no longer were made for personal use, thus pushing them over the line to illegal. Yes, the RIAA is still pushing its luck in its description, but as was clearly established back at the beginning of December, it is not (yet) claiming that Howell broke the law simply by ripping his CDs -- and it's too bad that the Washington Post has repeated it in a way that caused a bunch of other sites to suddenly claim that it was true.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    SteveD, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 2:46am

    Hurrah for journalistic standards!

    Tech reporting in newspapers has never been worth very much, but its surprising to see a publication like the Times apparently jump on the anti-RIAA bandwagon.

    No wonder the paper industry is in decline.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Prophet, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 3:44am

    From FOX News

    The lawyer for RIAA is quotes as sayiin
    "It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings on his computer," the brief states. "Virtually all of the sound recordings on Exhibit B are in the '.mp3' format. ... Defendant admitted that he converted these sound recordings from their original format to the .mp3 format for his and his wife's use. ... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs."

    If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings ... you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages," it plainly states before adding that "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 [or] the copy is just for your personal use."

    Copying a song you've paid for in CD form is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,'" Sony BMG top lawyer Jennifer Pariser testified during cross-examination in the Jammie Thomas case in early October.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:06am

    I don't understand because I am not familiar enough with the minutia of copyright law

    There's a vast understatement.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Luci, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:36am

    Re:

    Wow. You added so much to the discussion. You've certainly enlightened me! He isn't familiar with the minutia, so he shouldn't be discussing it! Please.

    I'd venture a guess that a good number of the people commenting on stories, here, myself included, aren't familiar with the minutia of the topic being discussed. This does not automatically invalidate their arguments.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Liquid, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:41am

    Copy Right Laws

    I say we all just not buy CD's anymore and see how the recording industry likes it when the cash flow stops completely. Stop Watching MTV, VH1, Fuse, all the music channels except CMT cause common who's going to steal country music. The RIAA wants to keep pushing and pushing copy right laws to the extent that no matter what you buy you're no longer going to be able to do anything at all with it... Hell you might not be able to buy a CD and listen to it in your own car or CD player cause they might read it a certain way that the original owner might not have wanted it read... To be honest you're not really doing anything wrong cause no matter how they spin it when you buy a copy of anything in the store you're BUYING A COPY... So no matter what you do you're not messing with the original copy anyways so it doesn't matter of "so and so" converted the file format to .mp3 or .wma or .flac those are all compression methods they are in no way altering the file other then shrinking it and cleaning the quality of it...

    Think of printed material like books, papers, journals, ets... When do you think that someone some where is going to start flipping out cause people are downloading a digital copy of their book even if someone took the time to make into a PDF file for friend so that they can read it or better yet when are we not going to be able to let someone BARROW anything with out they haveing to pay some type of royalty to some corprate muckity-muck... We are on pace her to not being able to do anything anymore with ANYTHING that we buy plain and simple...

     

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  6.  
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    Ferin, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 5:11am

    Slippery Slope?

    I thought the meat of Beckerman's arguement was that the new language about "unauthroized" ripping was a change, and his chief concern was that it was the first step down the slope to claiming ripping was illegal?

     

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  7.  
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    Alfred E. Neuman, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 5:15am

    unauthorized does not equal illegal

    Just thought I'd point that out.

     

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  8.  
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    Doug B., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 5:32am

    Re:

    I don't understand because I am not familiar enough with the minutia of copyright law

    AC, that is perhaps one of the most ridiculous examples of quote mining I've ever seen. Your misquote conveniently removed some important context. Here, I've put it back in for you:

    While [Beckerman] suggested I don't understand because I am not familiar enough with the minutia of copyright law...

    Mr. Beckerman suggested that Mike was unfamiliar with the minutia of copyright law, not Mike himself.

     

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  9.  
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    Chris, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Re: From FOX News

    I'd still fight that, even if they were n his shared folder. If I buy a CD, I can rip it. It's fair use. Can my wife use the CD as fair use? It's joint property after all. Can my wife use the ripped versions? Evening if I'm sharing it withint the confines ofmy house digitally, that's still fair use imho.

    Which begs the question again, if it's shared, on the net, and a person who already owns the CD downloads it, has anyone realy broken the law here? The RIAA downloading it to make a case doesn't count imho. Do they have evidence that people to don't work for the RIAA have downloaded his shared songs?

     

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  10.  
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    Ray Beckerman, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 6:09am

    Marc Fisher's blog

    The Washington Post writer has the article on his blog, where there are comments here. For a view which differs Please refer to Mr. Fisher's responses to a commenter named "DCer".

    For my views you can go here.

     

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  11.  
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    Jeffrey Howell, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 7:06am

    catch me if you can!!!

     

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  12.  
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    Monarch, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    " I don't understand because I am not familiar enough with the minutia of copyright law

    There's a vast understatement."

    There's a statement about your own intelligence in conversing a subject, Anonymous. And I bet you're an expert on copyright law? Well speak up Anonymous, and please do use a real moniker instead of an Anonymous one.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Oldphart, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 7:19am

    You, who believe the RIAA is not trying to change copyright law from original
    intent written by the founding fathers of this country, have your head in the sand.
    Not only are the RIAA and MPAA making inroads to changing existing law, they
    have their people greasing the palms of lawmakers backing the creation of a new
    arm of the govt with powers similar to the IRS.

    Very few have heard of new initiatives being sought after by this industry as a whole
    which misses a very important point....compensation for the artists who created the
    content to begin with. I doubt that many reading this have heard of what is written
    about here http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9829826-38.html

    How much of the money recouped by the RIAA suing those 30,000 people so far
    went into the pockets of the artist?

    This is not about copyright, fair use, or paying those artist who originally created the
    content everyone enjoys. It is about greed, injustice, and perversion of the law.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Oldphart, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 7:19am

    You, who believe the RIAA is not trying to change copyright law from original
    intent written by the founding fathers of this country, have your head in the sand.
    Not only are the RIAA and MPAA making inroads to changing existing law, they
    have their people greasing the palms of lawmakers backing the creation of a new
    arm of the govt with powers similar to the IRS.

    Very few have heard of new initiatives being sought after by this industry as a whole
    which misses a very important point....compensation for the artists who created the
    content to begin with. I doubt that many reading this have heard of what is written
    about here http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9829826-38.html

    How much of the money recouped by the RIAA suing those 30,000 people so far
    went into the pockets of the artist?

    This is not about copyright, fair use, or paying those artist who originally created the
    content everyone enjoys. It is about greed, injustice, and perversion of the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Bridey, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 8:51am

    The lawsuit language was ambiguous at most, and in any event, for the Post and others to leap to the conclusion that "the RIAA says ripping is illegal" based on a filing in one lawsuit by one lawyer for a one label plaintiff was just plain idiotic.

    It's not even possible to conclude from that filing that Atlantic Records (the actual plaintiff in the case; it's not the RIAA) thinks ripping is illegal -- much less the entire RIAA and/or its membership.

    And, of course, with all these enterprising reporters on the case, one thing keeps occurring to me: Why doesn't somebody call up the RIAA and ASK them if they think ripping is illegal? The RIAA has press people. Or why doesn't someone call Atlantic Records, whose lawyer wrote the suit that's causing all this hysteria, and see if Atlantic says ripping is illegal?

    That would be far simpler and more productive than spreading panic all over the damn 'Net.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:31am

    Re: From FOX News

    First off, don't mix up the Thomas case with the Howell case. It's true that Pariser made comments in the Thomas case about "stole just one copy," but that's different from the Howell case.

    "It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings on his computer," the brief states. "Virtually all of the sound recordings on Exhibit B are in the '.mp3' format. ... Defendant admitted that he converted these sound recordings from their original format to the .mp3 format for his and his wife's use. ... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs.

    Nice use of ellipses to take just about everything out of context. Read the full thing, and you'll see what the RIAA is actually saying.

    It says:
    * It's *unauthorized* to make copies from a CD. That's true.
    * Once you put those unauthorized copies into a shared Kazaa folder, that's the equivalent of illegal distribution.

    We disagree on that second point, but that doesn't change the fact that the RIAA is rather explicit in noting that it's the combination of the rips *AND* the shared Kazaa folder that are the problem here.

    The Post article ignores that and suggests it's just for the rips.

    That's simply untrue.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:36am

    Re: Marc Fisher's blog

    The Washington Post writer has the article on his blog, where there are comments here. For a view which differs Please refer to Mr. Fisher's responses to a commenter named "DCer".

    Ray, I've looked at his comments and all he does is point to the same filing that says the same thing: the COMBINATION of ripping AND putting the files into the shared folder are the problem. Nowhere does either he or you explain where that filing EVER says just ripping alone is illegal.

    I've asked point blank multiple times, and you have yet to respond. The document itself never says what you seem to claim it says. I've asked over and over again. Please show where it says that personal copies alone are illegal.

    It does say "unauthorized." But that's not necessarily illegal.

    it does talk about those files IN A SHARED folder, which is different than just talking about ripping those files.

    Ray, we both agree that the RIAA is underhanded and constantly pushing for extensions and expansion of copyright. But you have yet to explain where they actually say what you claim they said.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    You, who believe the RIAA is not trying to change copyright law from original
    intent written by the founding fathers of this country, have your head in the sand.


    Um. We never said that. We absolutely agree that copyright has gone well past what the founding fathers intended, and that the RIAA is pushing for even more.

    There's no head in the sand here. Did you even read our post?

    Not only are the RIAA and MPAA making inroads to changing existing law, they
    have their people greasing the palms of lawmakers backing the creation of a new
    arm of the govt with powers similar to the IRS.


    As we've been pointing out for over 10 years. I'm not sure why you think that we didn't know this.

    Very few have heard of new initiatives being sought after by this industry as a whole
    which misses a very important point....compensation for the artists who created the
    content to begin with. I doubt that many reading this have heard of what is written
    about here http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9829826-38.html


    Um, yes, most people reading that here have heard about that, because we've written about the PRO-IP bill multiple times:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071206/020013.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/2 0071211/025436.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071214/013632.shtml

    This is not about copyright, fair use, or paying those artist who originally created the
    content everyone enjoys. It is about greed, injustice, and perversion of the law.


    Indeed. As we've been pointing out for over a decade. I'm not sure if you're just new around here or simply misread this post. Please reread it before you accuse of incorrect things.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    K Stone, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:48am

    Legality

    "Beckerman seems to be saying that by saying "unauthorized" the RIAA means illegal "

    Ummm.. you do realize the word illegal isnt really used properly here. For instance it is perfectly legal for me to walk my dog, but if my dog bites someone I can be held liable for that. We are not talking about a criminal court, we are talking about a civil court. In civil court a judge or jury determines what is the proper course of action, often based upon persuasive precedence established by former court cases. Legality rarely comes into play. The case as it stands is using proximate causation, specifically concurrent causes of ripping the CD and putting it in his share folder, to justify that he cannot and should not rip them. In other words, but for his ripping of the CD, he would never have them in his share folder, and therefor he would not have shared them.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Mojo, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 11:35am

    Wow, for Sony to say excersizing your right to fair use is like "only stealing one copy" really puts things over the top.

    I think the RIAA has ever right to try and stop the illegal spread of their music, but they will never score any points with ANYONE if they try to tell people they have no right to rip their own CDs to put music on their iPod.

    This alone will rally everyone against them and doom their cause. This attitude may in itself get the DMCA repealled, since it's basically designed to stop fair use.

    What I'd like to know is the legal ground I stand on if I download MP3s of songs I own on CD. What if I don't want to take the time to rip and encode the songs myself? If I grab the entire Beatles's catalog from Kazaa, but I own all the Beatles music on CD, am I breaking the law?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Jason Still, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    an even better question: if you own the entire Beatles catalog on vinyl and then download mp3s of all of those songs, is that infringement?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mike C., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Marc Fisher's blog

    I think there are two things that I would consider here:

    1) The RIAA can use this wording (if accepted) with selective edits to take it to the level Ray is worried about - that MP3's are "unauthorized" period. Selective editing of prior motions is something that they tend to do and rather frequently from what I've seen.

    2) Fighting the RIAA started as an uphill battle as the big media companies either refused to cover it, or only covered the issue as the RIAA press releases allowed them to. Ray has done an excellent job of getting at least some attention focused on what they are doing and getting some discussion going on the issue.

    While you may have problems agreeing with a statement that's not 100% literally true, I believe Ray is getting to the heart of their intent and trying very hard to get people to realize what they are doing.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Jon Davie, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 11:48am

    Re:

    According to the RIAA's definition, unauthorized does equal illegal.

    "What the Law Says and What it Means
    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."

    http://www.riaa.com/physicalpiracy.php?content_selector=piracy_online_the_law

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Mike C., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Marc Fisher's blog

    Of course, while working on my reply, I see further clarifications of your point in comments to other posters and I think the root cause of the issue is a needed clarification of terms.

    I'm guessing you're taking "unauthorized" and "illegal" as completely different terms and Ray (and a good chunk of the rest of us) do not. I've seen the RIAA use the terms interchangeably in many cases in order to blur the lines between the two and it appears that, to a degree, they've been successful. I can see both sides of the argument, but so desperately want to side with Ray since I have the feeling that he's correct in their intent and this gets people talking about it.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    BigT, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 2:06pm

    RIAA suit debunked

    Lots of news sources have been picking it up. CNN had a big thing about it this morning (Jan 2)

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Russ, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Marc Fisher's blog

    I think that is the crux of the matter. The RIAA considers unauthorized and illegal the same thing. To me they are playing a three card monte. Here, Look, the shared folder is distribution and that is illegal, and don't look but ripping a CD to a digital device is unauthorized. Eventually, they will make the case that ripping the CD to a digital device is illegal also because they want to establish the principal that any copying is unauthorized/illegal.

     

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  27.  
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    BJ Mancuso, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 3:23pm

    Wash Post RIAA story

    "Washington Post flubs story..." this was your headline. and my question is: so how the heck do YOU know? as far as i can tell, you're sitting around in your PJs with your thumb up your bum. did you do any original research? no. did you bother calling the reporter from the Post or the lawywer? No. You just recycle other published material and add your (usually) misinformed spin.

    yawn.

    not at all interesting. even worse, it's innacurate.

     

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  28.  
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    MiriCats, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 3:23pm

    Re: RIAA suit debunked by BigT on Jan 2nd, 2008 @

    Could you (or someone else) post a link to this please? I just did a search of CNN's website and on Google and found no information, and I'd like to know more about this.

    Thank you!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Arnold, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    Govt Can't Authorize

    It's perfectly legal to rip your CDs, even if it's not authorized.

    That's correct. Although the govt can attempt to authorize such copying by passing some law authorizing it under so-called "fair use" conditions, the fact is the govt doesn't have the authority over copyright owners to do so. It's just a fantasy they have. The best the govt can do is just to refuse to enforce (and even that should be changed). That's because there are limits on govt interfering with business (esp. corporations) in the US. That's what makes the US different from communist countries.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    George Bush, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Well speak up Anonymous, and please do use a real moniker instead of an Anonymous one.
    What a load! One anonymous poster calling out another one for being anonymous! Pot, meet kettle.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re:

    AC, that is perhaps one of the most ridiculous examples of quote mining I've ever seen. Your misquote conveniently removed some important context.

    I understood him as saying that Beckerman made a "vast understatement". I suppose that some have to have things spelled out more clearly for them than others.

     

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  32.  
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    Todd N., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    RIAA only going after Howell

    To apply Mike's reasoning, this case is even more restricted than most people realize. Notice that the RIAA did not claim in general that "Once Plaintiffs’ recordings are converted into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in a shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs". Instead, they claimed that "Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs’ recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs" (emphasis added). Notice that they specifically limited the scope of their claim to the defendant in this case (Howell). Now applying Mike's reasoning that that they are only claiming infringement if all parts of the statement are true then it is obvious that they are only claiming infringement in the case of the defendant being Howell AND the recordings being converted to MP3 format AND being placed in HIS shared folder. So, in other words, it looks like the Washington Post is just fear mongering and the RIAA is only interested in going after this Howell guy so you don't have anything to worry about if you aren't Howell (I imagine Howell did something to deserve being singled out). Like Mike said, "There's no reason to exaggerate the RIAA's stance or take it out of context." Thanks, Mike, for pointing out how to properly analyze their claims.

     

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  33.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Wash Post RIAA story

    so how the heck do YOU know?

    Because I've read the actual filing and discussed the case with copyright experts.

    as far as i can tell, you're sitting around in your PJs with your thumb up your bum.

    Well, you know what they say about people who make assumptions.

    did you do any original research? no.

    Actually, as noted, I did.

    did you bother calling the reporter from the Post or the lawywer? No.

    Actually, as noted, I did.

    You just recycle other published material and add your (usually) misinformed spin.

    Which part is misinformed? So far, the only one misinformed appears to be you.

    even worse, it's innacurate.

    Which part is inaccurate?

    How come no one is willing to point that out?

     

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  34.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    Todd, that's totally misleading and you know it. I'm almost inclined respond because your attack on me is so ridiculous to be laughable on its face.

    Yes, in this case, the RIAA is only going after Howell, because this case is about Howell. But the point is what they said Howell was doing, which is the key to this entire discussion.

    But based on your reasoning, you could reinterpret the RIAA to have said anything you want. After all, it used a bunch of different words and you mix them together however you want, I'm sure you could get them to say just about anything.

    However, the key point is that the press is claiming that the RIAA is going after Howell JUST for ripping his CDs. I've asked repeatedly for someone to point out where in the filing they say that. They do not. The filing is quite clear that they are going after Howell for ripping CDs INTO a shared folder.

    So, again, please point out where the RIAA is going after Howell just for ripping his CDs and not for putting them in a shared folder?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Todd N., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    Todd, that's totally misleading and you know it.

    Just following your lead, Mike. If that's misleading, well, you're the leader.

    I'm almost inclined respond because your attack on me is so ridiculous to be laughable on its face.

    Attack? What attack? I didn't say anything bad about you! All I did was further apply your own logic to their claim. If the results are ridiculous then perhaps you should reexamine that logic. I don't see how you can justify applying a line of reasoning when it produces the results you want and then discarding it when it doesn't. That seems hypocritical to me.

     

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  36.  
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    Todd N., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    One more thing. Sometimes people get so caught up in defending an idea that they consider any challenge to it to be a personal attack. I understand that. Also, I've read a lot of what you've written and thought you to be a generally reasonable and polite person and have no desire to attack you personally. Please don't confuse a challenge to an idea to be a personal attack when it isn't intended to be so. If it truly seemed to be a personal attack then I must have written poorly and I apologize for that.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:50pm

    One thing I've been wondering;

    I know that lawsuits are civil proceedings and that civil cases are different from criminal cases. However I know that in criminal cases, a jury can return a "not guilty" verdict even if the prosecution proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the defendant is guilty. Most judges and every prosecutor, don't want the jury to know this (in fact I understand that many/most judges will give the jury instructions that directly contradict this), but my understanding is that it still applies whether they're allowed to know about it or not. Does the same apply to a civil case? Can the jury find in favor of the defendant, even if it's proven that he committed the offense he's been sued for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    Just following your lead, Mike. If that's misleading, well, you're the leader.

    I don't see how I was misleading in the slightest. I pointed to the text of the actual filing, and pointed out what the RIAA actually is saying. They say, quite clearly, that the problem with Howell is that he put mp3s that he ripped into a shared folder. If you can point out where they say that ripping mp3s alone is illegal in that filing, I'd appreciate it.

    Your response, by saying that since they mention Howell it only applies to Howell is the one that's misleading. The RIAA filing discusses the who and the what. My focus is on the what.

    You then add the who to the what to suggest that makes a point. It does not. The "what" is a single argument. The who is something entirely different.

    Your attempt at reductio ad absurdum does not work, because your example is not extending my logic to your statement, it's changing the logic by including the what. That's why I found it ridiculous. If you can show how the "what" is different than what I said, that's one thing. But lumping the "who" with the "what" to cheapen the "what" is a weak argument.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:57pm

    One thing I've been wondering;

    I know that lawsuits are civil proceedings and that civil cases are different from criminal cases. However I know that in criminal cases, a jury can return a "not guilty" verdict even if the prosecution proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the defendant is guilty. Most judges and every prosecutor, don't want the jury to know this (in fact I understand that many/most judges will give the jury instructions that directly contradict this), but my understanding is that it still applies whether they're allowed to know about it or not. Does the same apply to a civil case? Can the jury find in favor of the defendant, even if it's proven that he committed the offense he's been sued for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:59pm

    Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    And another thing...
    It just sunk in on me that you accused me of essentially remixing their words:

    But based on your reasoning, you could reinterpret the RIAA to have said anything you want. After all, it used a bunch of different words and you mix them together however you want, I'm sure you could get them to say just about anything.

    I did not remix their words to my knowledge. In fact, I copied what I presented as their words from a previous post of yours. If any remixing occurred, I think it must have occurred either in your post or your original source. Please don't accuse me of such things that I didn't do.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Todd N., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    If you can point out where they say that ripping mp3s alone is illegal in that filing, I'd appreciate it.

    Why should I? I never made that claim.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Todd N., Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 10:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    Your attempt at reductio ad absurdum does not work, because your example is not extending my logic to your statement, it's changing the logic by including the what. That's why I found it ridiculous. If you can show how the "what" is different than what I said, that's one thing. But lumping the "who" with the "what" to cheapen the "what" is a weak argument.

    The "who" as you call it is just another fact included in the statement. Courts can consider all the facts, including who, what, when, where, how, why. I really see no justification for including "what" and leaving out all the others.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 10:49pm

    Beckerman, while fighting the good fight, says a lot of nonsense not only on his blog but in court. Go read some of the transcripts.

     

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  44.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 12:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    Why should I? I never made that claim.

    You are attempting to ridicule my claim -- that the RIAA never says ripping alone is criminal -- by your reductio ad absurdum, including a separate clause about the "who" rather than the "what."

    If you are ridiculing my claim, it would help if you could actually prove it to be wrong first. If you cannot, then it would show that your ridiculing of my claim has no basis.

     

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  45.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 2:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    The "who" as you call it is just another fact included in the statement. Courts can consider all the facts, including who, what, when, where, how, why. I really see no justification for including "what" and leaving out all the others.

    Ray is claiming that the entire *what* can be described as "ripping your CDs". That's not the case. The what is a conditional of ripping your CDs INTO a shared folder.

    The justification is that you can't describe half the what and then pretend that it's the whole what. That's what's happening.

    Your response is to describe the who and the what and claim that means you can describe half the what. That's incorrect.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Todd N., Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howe

    You are attempting to ridicule my claim -- that the RIAA never says ripping alone is criminall -- by your reductio ad absurdum, including a separate clause about the "who" rather than the "what."

    First, you need to read what I actually wrote.

    Now, from your previous posts I gathered that you were arguing that in order for a statement to be true, then each element had to be true. And so in order for RIAA's claim to be met, then each and every condition contained in that statement had to be met. I agreed with you and added that, using your same logic, the RIAA's claim also only applied to Howell. If that was ridiculous, then maybe the logic behind it was flawed.

    As to what you are calling "who" and "what", you seem to be picking and choosing which facts you want to count and which you don't. It doesn't work that way (unless you're preaching to the choir).

    If you are ridiculing my claim, it would help if you could actually prove it to be wrong first.

    Again, it doesn't work that way. You need to prove it right.

    Now, if something is looking ridiculous, then it might be the logic you used to reach that conclusion more than the conclusion itself. If the logic is flawed that still doesn't mean that the conclusion is necessarily wrong, just not supported (colloquially known as being right for all the wrong reasons). Remember, it is more your burden as the holder of a claim to prove it right than for the rest of the world to prove it wrong. That's going to be difficult if the logic you used to support that claim doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Todd N., Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Blackballed

    "Thanks for your comment.
    It will be reviewed by our staff before it is posted."


    Well, well. It appears that I've now be flagged as some sort of trouble maker here (I've saved the screen shot). Lesson to all: Don't disagree with Mike. That's really lame Mike and doesn't exactly add any credibility to your position.

     

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  48.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after

    Now, from your previous posts I gathered that you were arguing that in order for a statement to be true, then each element had to be true.

    Ah, well my apologies then, as that wasn't what I was saying at all. My previous post was saying that for any statement to be true each element had to be true. My statement was simply explaining what the RIAA was saying, which is pretty clearly A+B = C. Ray was claiming they say A = C.

    I'm sorry if I implied otherwise.


    As to what you are calling "who" and "what", you seem to be picking and choosing which facts you want to count and which you don't. It doesn't work that way (unless you're preaching to the choir).


    No, it matters a great deal. I'm not pick arbitrarily, I'm looking at the actual language. Ray claims the RIAA says A = C. I'm looking at what they wrote, and saying that they actually say A+B = C. Your response is to claim that because of that anything in the sentence must be included, meaning that A+B+C+D+E+F = G. But there's no way you can read the sentence and conclude that.

    Those are three different readings of the same sentence, and I'm still waiting for someone to explain why the meaning of the sentence isn't A+B = C.

    Remember, it is more your burden as the holder of a claim to prove it right than for the rest of the world to prove it wrong. That's going to be difficult if the logic you used to support that claim doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

    Read the sentence. I don't see how there needs to be any more proof than the text of the sentence.

     

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  49.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Blackballed

    Well, well. It appears that I've now be flagged as some sort of trouble maker here

    Don't make bad assumptions. We use Akismet, which nearly ever other blog site uses. It occasionally chalks up a false positive, as it did here. We review all the posts it caught for false positives and release them. We didn't block you.

    Don't disagree with Mike. That's really lame Mike and doesn't exactly add any credibility to your position.

    Oh come on. Do you know the number of folks who disagree with me on this site? Does it look like I block them? I'm sorry Akismet flagged your comment as spam. It was released a few hours later (and we notify Akismet that they flagged in error).

    Please don't make assumptions of malice.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Todd N., Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re: Blackballed

    (slipping this through by proxy, maybe)

    Don't make bad assumptions. We use Akismet, which nearly ever other blog site uses. It occasionally chalks up a false positive, as it did here.

    Well, isn't that convenient?
    Yeah, right.

    Oh come on. Do you know the number of folks who disagree with me on this site? Does it look like I block them?

    Maybe just delayed until you've prepared a response? Of course, no one would know anything about the ones that never made it through, would they?

    What ever you say Mike.
    Bye.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    DC iTunes Downloader, Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 9:36pm

    Missing the larger picture?

    I can see the logic for claiming that WaPo over-reached in analyzing what RIAA claims in the Jeffrey Howell case. I can also easily see why multiple, conflicting interpretations have been given.

    Isn't the larger point, through, that RIAA and the labels are primarily responsible for engendering this type of confusion and misinterpretation? The average college kid is not going to parse legal arguments, as many of you have done here. If the difference between "unauthorized" and "illegal" cannot be made crystal clear to a mass audience of consumers, then the RIAA deserves to go broke trying to sue everyone. How, exactly, is "unauthorized" relevant to Joe Consumer who purchases an MP3 of the new Radiohead CD from Amazon.com? If I save that purchased MP3 to my "Shared Music" folder on my home server (so that I can play it from multiple locations in the house), what right does RIAA have to sue? Even if I don't participate in Kazaa (as I do not), I'm still breaking the law? Exactly, how?

    Parse the Howell case as deep as you care to. To my thinking, this is what should worry us all, long after the Howell case is settled. (from Time.com, Justin Fox):
    ----------------------------------
    Fisher's article cites a Sony lawyer saying at a recent trial that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." And in a regulatory filing last year, the RIAA argued:

    Nor does the fact that permission to make a copy in particular circumstances is often or even routinely granted, necessarily establish that the copying is a fair use when the copyright owner withholds that authorization.
    --------------------

    Doesn't this sound like, "it's fair use, when I say it is?"

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Bah who needs one, Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 10:32pm

    Anyone sense any irony that this Patry's charging a completely ludicrous fifteen HUNDRED dollars for this tome of his? Talk about copyright ridiculousness.

     

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  53.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Blackballed

    Well, isn't that convenient?
    Yeah, right.


    You don't have to believe me, but it's the truth. Do you honestly think, given how many people write anti-Mike posts every day, that we would bother to blackball you? I mean, compared to the trolls, you're downright friendly. :) I may disagree with you, but I would never try to prevent you from saying what you have to say.

    Our spam system uses Akismet. I'm not making it up. I, personally, have no control over the spam filter (our tech staff does that). As far as I know, there isn't even a way to ban individual users using Akismet (there may be, but it's not a function of our system). Hell, if you're really that curious, contact me separately and I'll show you screenshots of the spam system itself where you'll note there's no such option to ban a user (or, much to my chagrin, to permanently "whitelist" someone either, which is why your comment again was stopped as spam, until I freed it).

    I will say, however, that when we "unban" a comment, we also report it back to Akismet to tell them they made a mistake. Hopefully that helps.

    I recognize that it may look bad to you, but I'm not banning your comments. Hell, if I was, why would I even free them? Why not just keep them blocked?

    Maybe just delayed until you've prepared a response?

    Why? I'm not sure what good that would do. But, either way, believe me or not, but that's not how it works. Every few hours someone at Techdirt (and most of the time it's not even me) scans through the "spam" list to see if anything looks legit, quickly releases any of them and deletes the rest. There's no point in "delaying" anything. There isn't even an easy way to "delay," as it would then require going back through that huge list of spam again. Ick.

    Of course, no one would know anything about the ones that never made it through, would they?

    You don't think that if we actually blocked commenters that someone wouldn't post it to another site and make us look bad? There are a million ways to get that news out there. If you hadn't noticed by now, I have no problem responding to criticism. What POSSIBLE benefit would there be to me in preventing you from commenting?

    The whole point of this site, from its very first day was to encourage discussion. We have a spam filter because, these days, we get about 10,000 spam comments a day -- and we like to keep them off the site. And, with any system there are going to be occassional false positives. I regret that you were one, but none of your comments remains blocked very long, and every time we inform Akismet that you're not spam, so hopefully it stops happening soon (in our experience, Akismet resets itself every day or two).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Blackballed

    Maybe just delayed until you've prepared a response?

    Actually, one more point in response to this... this actually makes even *less* sense to me, as I often find that for comments critical of me, others come along and do a nice job defending my position. And, if the do that, then I don't need to spend the time doing so myself. So, honestly, there's no reason at all for me to "hold" your comments for any reason.

    I regret that it happened, and I apologize, but please don't chalk it up to malice. It's simply incorrect.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    dorpass, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    Actually, Todd, when you make a mockery of someone's point of view and misrepresent it, it IS a personal attack. You provide no substance in explaining why it makes no sense while trying to ridicule a perspective. That's not a "challenge," that's just a snotty 5th grader showing off that he learned to use proper punctuation. Grow up.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Doug B., Jan 4th, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I understood him as saying that Beckerman made a "vast understatement". I suppose that some have to have things spelled out more clearly for them than others.

    I would be one of those people. Since his quote doesn't include the reference to Beckerman I'm not sure how you make that leap. So, perhaps you can show me.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 7:48pm

    So still waiting on an answer I see.

    The somewhat entertaining debate of Mike vs Everyone Who Is Too Lazy Or Stupid To Read And Comprehend What He Wrote aside, I'd like an answer as well.

    I've read the filing. The RIAA seems to suggest that ripping from a CD is something to be frowned upon (legally speaking, it IS unauthorized but perfectly within the law), but that the reason they are filing is that he put it into a shared folder specifically used by Kazza to distribute it widely to "nodding acquaintances."

    I hate the RIAA, and I *really* hate how they (or anyone for that matter) makes a mockery of the law's intent and willfully abuses the system. But their claim in this case is actually slightly more reasonable than others (Thompson's comes to mind).

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I would be one of those people. Since his quote doesn't include the reference to Beckerman I'm not sure how you make that leap. So, perhaps you can show me.

    Indeed, you must be. Try actually reading the article at the top of the page. The context is right there.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    dorpass, with your reputation, I imagine Todd is glad to have you oppose him. The worse thing in world for his argument would have been for you to agree with it.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2008 @ 7:28pm

    So what?

    I don't see how he can say the same for Patry, who literally wrote a nearly 6,000 page book on copyright.

    So what? Almost anyone could do that. Even I could and I'm not a lawyer and it probably wouldn't be a very good book either. So, since you're citing the book, the question arises: Have you bothered to read it?

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2008 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Missing the larger picture?

    Now there you go, trying to say that the RIAA opposes fair use. We all know that just isn't true. People shouldn't go around saying untrue things about the RIAA. It isn't fair. Your real name wouldn't be Beckerman, would it?

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RIAA only going after Howell

    They say, quite clearly, that the problem with Howell is that he put mp3s that he ripped into a shared folder.
    OK...

    If you can show how the "what" is different than what I said, that's one thing.
    Actually Mike, "into a shared folder" is a "where", not a "what" as you claim. Therefore, you invalidated your own claim. Way to go.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Doug B., Jan 7th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's true, the context is in the original article. It's been my experience, however, that quotations have their own context.

    So now you claim that the reader should not treat this quote as having its own context, but instead re-attach the original context from the article. Again, it appears that I am in need of having more explained to me than others because I see no reason to do this. Would you be so kind as to enlighten me, then?

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    jeffrey howell, Jan 7th, 2008 @ 10:14pm

    misunderstood.

    I am Jeffrey Howell. Just a few weeks ago no one new who I was, but now my name is wide spread on the internet. I just want to clear up a few points that might be misunderstood. Yes, I am being sued for downloading or uploading the R.I.A.A. says it is the same. The facts are. Yes, I have MP3s on my computer. However these files were not placed in a “shared folder." The MP3s are in fact stored in the C:My Music folder created by Windows, and have always been. The peer to peer program that was installed on my computer shared my entire hard drive. Of the thousands of files the R.I.A.A. found only a few are their concern. All this will not change the fact that the R.I.A.A. states that recording legally purchased music is illegal, and you could find your self in court.




    “What the Law Says and What it Means
    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.
    That’s pretty important information to have, considering how serious it would be if you were caught and prosecuted by the authorities or sued in civil court. It’s even more important that you understand that when you illicitly make or distribute recordings, you are taking something of value from the owner without his or her permission.
    You may find this surprising. After all, when”

    “Copying CDs
    · It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes.
    · It’s also okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but, again, not for commercial purposes.
    · Beyond that, there’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:
    à The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
    à The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.”

    Coppied from the R.I.A.A. website.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    SailorRipley, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Re: misunderstood.

    point being? just because the R.I.A.A. says so on their website doesn't make it so. Just because the R.I.A.A. sues someone using the logic they display on their website, doesn't mean they will actually win...

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    DG, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 2:35pm

    Hang on a second

    Everyone is jumping up and down about Fisher's comments re: the Howell case, but they shouldn't lose sight of Pariser's comments on the stand in the Thomas case, and that's what Sherman is upset about.

    Here's what Fisher wrote: The Howell case was not the first time the industry has argued that making a personal copy from a legally purchased CD is illegal. At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.

    Sherman was all over this one in the NPR interview. THOSE comments are the things we should focus on, and the things we should keep in the light. Sherman wants very badly for us to forget she said that ON THE RECORD. We weren't supposed to be paying attention to her remarks.

    Don't for a minute believe that the RIAA wouldn't sue each and every one of us for ripping our legally owned CDs to our MP3 players if they thought they could get away with it.

    Pariser's testimony is greasing the skids. You all better pay close attention to what the RIAA says next on the subject. It ain't going away.

    FOCUS, people.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    DG, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Missing the larger picture?

    At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.

    Sherman was all over this one in the NPR interview. THOSE comments are the things we should focus on, and the things we should keep in the light. Sherman wants very badly for us to forget she said that ON THE RECORD. We weren't supposed to be paying attention to her remarks.

    Pariser's testimony is greasing the skids. You all better pay close attention to what the RIAA says next on the subject. It ain't going away.

    Opposes fair use? Might not be wholly accurate, but an RIAA litigator seems to think so.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Toad, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:10am

    Re: Hurrah for journalistic standards!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Toad, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Re: Hurrah for journalistic standards!

    The RIAA has enough money to buy the smartest lawyers available ... lawyers smart enough to know and clearly state the difference between copying a legally purchased CD to your hard drive and sharing the resulting files ... lawyers also smart enough to distinguish between "unauthorized" and "illegal." Does anyone other than SteveD believe they did not DELIBERATELY use the words they chose? I have no doubt the RIAA would like everyone to believe that copying a legally purchased CD for your own use is illegal. They also want us to believe that whether the RIAA authorizes it or not is the determining factor in what is legal or illegal.

    I do not defend piracy, but the RIAA is again using strongarm tactics to push through it's definitions so that it can maintain it's stranglehold on the industry. If there is a Jeffrey Howell legal defense fund, someone please let me know. It's time and past time to tell the RIAA that they do not make the laws in this country and their authorization amounts to no more than a spit in the ocean.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Toad, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re:

    Your point is only valid if the RIAA gets the law changed so that their authorization is equivalent to what is lawful. Personally, I deny that the RIAA's opinion has the force of law.

    Of course, the RIAA hopes that a court will agree with their opinion. Perhaps you hold that opinion as well. I hope our court system is wiser than that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Natanael L (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Govt Can't Authorize

    ... Because it makes perfect sense to allow Sony to install rootkits on people's computers because they think they have the right to enforce "copy protection" themselves...

    Or in english: FAIL!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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