Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

RIAA Launches New Lawsuit Against Morpheus - For An Unlaunched Feature

from the now-that-takes-guts dept

The music industry is so out to get Streamcast, the folks who run the Morpheus file sharing service, that they've sued them a second time - this time for a feature they never even launched. It was just over a month ago that the courts ruled that Morpheus (along with others) were legal products because of their non-infringing uses. However, that won't make the music industry wake up and look for ways to work with these services that help promote their musicians. Instead, they're looking for any random way to sue them out of business. In this suit, the RIAA claims that Streamcast planned to launch a streaming radio service. In preparation for that, the lawsuit claims they bought a large number of CDs and ripped them into an MP3 database. Now, correct me if I'm wrong... but simply making an MP3 of a recording you legally own isn't illegal, right? The company never actually made that database available to anyone because they couldn't secure the proper licenses. This lawsuit smacks of even more desperation than previous ones. As Streamcast's CEO says, this is likely a "sore loser" move, by an industry that doesn't know how to compete. They just know how to "spend their opponent into submission."

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  • identicon
    Max Vincent, 3 Jun 2003 @ 3:21pm

    Bought CD's and ripped them?

    You mean they still have the CDs in question? They didn't take em back to the store or sell em to a used cd shop?

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

  • identicon
    LittleW0lf, 3 Jun 2003 @ 5:54pm

    Space-Shifting CDs

    Last time I checked, space-shifting CDs (i.e. CD->MP3) was a violation of the Copyright law (as the RIAA is usually always quick to point out,) as it involved copying one format of the disk into another. However, it was a defendable action as a Fair Use of the material, and thus you could be sued for copyright violation, but if you used the fair use defense, you could not be found guilty or liable for copyright violation if the courts agreed that your use fell within the definition of Fair Use.

    Than again, IANAL.

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

    • identicon
      Gene Hoffman, 3 Jun 2003 @ 9:27pm

      Re: Space-Shifting CDs

      Space shifting is likely to fall within private - non-commercial fair use rights. Fair use exceptions are DRAMATICALLY less expansive for commercial enterprises in commercial undertakings. Kazaa does not have the right to make those copies for anything other than backup and then only in furtherance of some legal undertaking - like streaming radio...

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

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