If Downloading A Song Is Just Like Stealing A CD, Why Won't The RIAA Allow Reselling MP3s?

from the either-it-is-or-it-isn't dept

When you hear RIAA defenders insist that an unauthorized download is "just like stealing a CD" or something along those lines, it's worth noting even they don't really mean it. After all, if a digital file really was no different than a physical goods purchase, then you'd be able to do other things with it -- such as resell it. And yet, as you read through Eliot Van Buskirk's article about new online services trying to create marketplaces for people to sell their "used" MP3s, you'll see the scenario is quite different. After all, it's perfectly legal to sell your used CDs, but now when it comes to selling used MP3s you need a record label's permission? Why? Well, because even the record labels seem to inherently know that a CD is quite different from a download. So when the RIAA claims they're the same, what they really mean is "only the stuff we like is the same."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Why didn't I think of that?

    Maybe I will open a digital flea market where gently used MP3s, digital photos, software and anything else digital can be sold. Just imagine the ads. Low hours on lightly used Mariah Carrey (sp?) song. Used copy of Excel, never opened macro editor, mint condition.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    RD, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Obvious answer again...

    Because its only "property" when it benefits the music industry. If it benefits a consumer, or god FORBID society in general, then its not.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:23am

    didn't someone get sued for this?

    I seem to recall something where someone tried some version of this and it fell apart.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:28am

    So if someone breaks into my car and steals a CD, I wonder if the RIAA will go after the theif?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:37am

    If it were up to the RIAA, you wouldn't be able to sell used CD's either...

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Rob, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:38am

    I'm pretty sure that if the RIAA had their way you would not be able to re-sell CDs...

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    mechwarrior, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:39am

    This is basically the same sentiment for almost all digital products. Its very disheartening when industries purposely subvert consumer rights.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Rob R. (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:41am

    only the stuff we like is the same.


    I think it would be more like "only the stuff we can cash in on is the same."

     

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

  •  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Off topic

    It just occured to me that if I rename my mp3 with a file extention that my music player doesn't recognize, it ceases to be music and becomes semi-random bits of data, useless to my computer.

    Now, if I upload it to you, have I violated a copyright? Do they "own" the specific series of 1s and 0s?

    I'm just curious how much (or little) control they have over rearranging bits on my hard drive.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      TPBer, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:28pm

      Re: Off topic

      Hey Joe, it's like that with any file, ie: installs or 14.3 MB rar files that make up large DLs. If you have a bunch of the same just go out and get a free multi-renaming app. to reapply the correct extension.

      This has been used for many years by many people to get around those useless restrictions and blockades, but you probably already knew this.

      Say if a site requires a ".doc" file and all you have is .pdf, just add .doc after the .pdf and so on.

      Getting around all these effective restrictions is soooo hard :p


      "Remember, Sharing is Caring"

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Josh, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 11:58am

    This would make such a glorious, glorious lawsuit. Isn't there any way an advocacy agency (EFF?) could petition for an official clarification and stance from the US legal system on this? Such a lawsuit would disrupt and entirely upheave the RIAA's defense on everything music.

    It would be the glowing hot rod shoved right through the heart of their position on 'digital music'. :)

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    AJ, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    well....

    I don't see the big mouth legal talking RIAA clones jumping all over this one.... Cat got your tongue guys? No half mile long "wall of text" explaining this one away?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Actually, it is pretty simple why there is no resale on MP3s:

    There is no way to tell the copy from the original. So you "buy" and MP3, and then "sell" it to a marketplace - except you keep a copy. Then from that copy, you make a copy and sell it to ANOTHER marketplace, and you do this for each of the potential market places.

    Ding! Your MP3 purchase is now profitable, as you have resold it 10 times.

    That's why.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      some other Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      "There is no way to tell the copy from the original. So you "buy" and MP3, and then "sell" it to a marketplace - except you keep a copy. Then from that copy, you make a copy and sell it to ANOTHER marketplace, and you do this for each of the potential market places."

      Which is exactly why the recording industry is in error when they claim that digital music downloads = CDs.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Some Other Guy, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      Just because it is possible (even easy) to multi-resell digital content you own, doesn't mean that it ought to be illegal to sell it on only once.

      Sure, it is easier in many cases to deny people rights in order to make things simple for corporations (or governments), but that way lie problems....

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:13pm

      Re: Pretty Simple Bullshit

      Actually, it is pretty simple why there is no resale on MP3s:

      There is no way to tell the copy from the original. So you "buy" and MP3, and then "sell" it to a marketplace - except you keep a copy. Then from that copy, you make a copy and sell it to ANOTHER marketplace, and you do this for each of the potential market places.

      Ding! Your MP3 purchase is now profitable, as you have resold it 10 times.

      That's why.

      You still havent’t explained why such resales shouldn’t be allowed. All you’ve done is point out facts that everybody already knows. How does it follow from those facts that resales shouldn’t be allowed? After all, it has long been the position of Big Content that all such copies, if they are unauthorized, should be counted as lost sales for the purposes of copyright-infringement suits. So why can’t they also be counted as legitimate sales?

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Which is exactly what the labels are doing right now, and charging us for that.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Isaac Ludwig, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Heavily used AutoDESK CAD platform for sale...

    but looks and feels JUST LIKE NEW! You'd never know it was used extensively every day all day for 5 years. I dare you to find any wear and tear!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Hayden Frost, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    This issue was already resolved

    In a fairly recent case where Eminem's producers sued their record label, the label argued downloads are sales, not licenses, because the royalty rates the labels pay for licenses are over 4x higher than for sales. The producers lost and the jury ruled that as an issue of fact, a download is a sale, not a license. Since it's a sale, that means the doctrine of first sale applies. Of course, this is a single case in a single trial court, so it is by far from well settled.

    The only remaining issue is whether the retailer who sold you the digital copy can contractually prevent you from reselling the content. First sale is only a defense to IP infringements, not breach of contract. That leaves consumers (or the sites trying to facilitate these resales) to argue misuse and some of the property law doctrines.

    Regardless, it is theoretically legal that you could set up music player software where it stores all songs in the cloud -- some on your computer and some on other computers. Whenever you requested to play a song, if it isn't in your library, it would download it from another computer -- but also delete it from the remote computer. So long as the copy count across the entire network stayed the same (as opposed to normal p2p where the old copy is not deleted), you'd have very good legal arguments that you're not infringing.

    And yes, I'm an IP attorney.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 3:05pm

      Re: This issue was already resolved

      The only remaining issue is whether the retailer who sold you the digital copy can contractually prevent you from reselling the content. First sale is only a defense to IP infringements, not breach of contract. That leaves consumers (or the sites trying to facilitate these resales) to argue misuse and some of the property law doctrines.

      Hmm. Well didn't the case about "stamped CDs" take on some of this, by noting that you couldn't contractually remove certain aspects of copyright law -- including first sale? Trying to remember the specifics so I may be wrong...

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Natanael L (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 5:24am

      Re: This issue was already resolved

      "whenever you requested to play a song, if it isn't in your library, it would download it from another computer -- but also delete it from the remote computer. So long as the copy count across the entire network stayed the same (as opposed to normal p2p where the old copy is not deleted), you'd have very good legal arguments that you're not infringing."

      +1 xD FTW!

      Let's make a OneSwarm fork that does that!
      (OneInstanceSwarm?)

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      cedley1969, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:07pm

      I just thought of that.

      So a group of friends buy mp3 content, stored it on an online server and 'sell' it to whoever wants to play the track and then 'resell' it to the next person, as long as no two people were playing the same track at the same time no laws are broken as far as I can see.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Kelly Brown (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    Indeed

    I've been making this point for a while in these kinds of debates. Content creators seem to want all the benefits of digital distribution mixed with all the restrictions of physical distribution.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    hmm, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    I'd love to see how mixed up you could make them by applying this to other things.

    Snap a photo of them and say "who does this belong to? You, because it's a picture of you, or me because I took it?"

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 2:09pm

    its stupid to think you could even have a "used" mp3 sale, u would just back up and sell a copy.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      its stupid to think you could even have a "used" mp3 sale, u would just back up and sell a copy.

      It's stupid to try and sell it for the same price as a CD then.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Dave Parker, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 5:02pm

    Oh Dear

    Oh dear. The noobs are having trouble with apostrophes again. They're sooooo hard.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Sammie Houston (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 4:34am

    Watunes, The New Music Industry!

    As representatives for the largest digital distribution in the world, we will show any artist and/or record label how to benefit from a Digital Distribution relationship as well as be paid 100% of their royalties for FREE! Gone are the days of selling your music through a physical means. Statistics say 48% of teenagers purchased their music online in 2007 with that number increasing from 32% a year prior. If you are still slanging CD’s, you are quickly falling into the dinosaur arena. We can help you change all that.

    Watunes offers services for the entire independent music community, whether you already have digital representation or are just getting started in the digital world. We make it easy to distribute your content to digital outlets, promote your content using our innovative marketing systems, and manage your catalog and sales using our first-class technology.

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE! In fact, as of Tuesday June 9th, we signed NBA Legend and Hall of Famer Earl ‘the Pearl’ Monroe who owns record label Reverse Spin Records. The link is listed right below & you can either click on it and/or copy & paste into your browser. Please direct any further inquires, comments, questions, or concerns to us. We're more than elated to serve you anyway we possibly can.


    Best,


    Sammie


    Earl "the Pearl" Monroe link:

    http://news.google.com/news?client=safari&rls=en&q=watunes&oe=UTF-8&um=1&am p;am p;ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wn


    --
    watunes.com


    Sammie Houston
    SVP, Client Services
    e-mail: sammiehouston@watunes.com
    Skype ID: sammie.houston
    Office: 678-598-2439

    Sneak Preview: http://tinyurl.com/dh3mum


    Youtube advertisements, don't click on the link, please copy & paste into your browser:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESwBmhWmF4k

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2AYrcDVhCs

    Check out our Reviews, add your comments & feedback too:

    http://www.rateitall.com/i-1125252
    watunes.aspx

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Sammie Houston (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 4:35am

    Watunes, The New Music Industry!

    As representatives for the largest digital distribution in the world, we will show any artist and/or record label how to benefit from a Digital Distribution relationship as well as be paid 100% of their royalties for FREE! Gone are the days of selling your music through a physical means. Statistics say 48% of teenagers purchased their music online in 2007 with that number increasing from 32% a year prior. If you are still slanging CD’s, you are quickly falling into the dinosaur arena. We can help you change all that.

    Watunes offers services for the entire independent music community, whether you already have digital representation or are just getting started in the digital world. We make it easy to distribute your content to digital outlets, promote your content using our innovative marketing systems, and manage your catalog and sales using our first-class technology.

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE! In fact, as of Tuesday June 9th, we signed NBA Legend and Hall of Famer Earl ‘the Pearl’ Monroe who owns record label Reverse Spin Records. The link is listed right below & you can either click on it and/or copy & paste into your browser. Please direct any further inquires, comments, questions, or concerns to us. We're more than elated to serve you anyway we possibly can.


    Best,


    Sammie


    Earl "the Pearl" Monroe link:

    http://news.google.com/news?client=safari&rls=en&q=watunes&oe=UTF-8&um=1&am p;am p;ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wn


    --
    watunes.com


    Sammie Houston
    SVP, Client Services
    e-mail: sammiehouston@watunes.com
    Skype ID: sammie.houston
    Office: 678-598-2439

    Sneak Preview: http://tinyurl.com/dh3mum


    Youtube advertisements, don't click on the link, please copy & paste into your browser:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESwBmhWmF4k

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2AYrcDVhCs

    Check out our Reviews, add your comments & feedback too:

    http://www.rateitall.com/i-1125252
    watunes.aspx

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Jeremy, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    different look on MP3's

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Joe, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    The RIAA is fucking stupid

    And when they die nobody will care.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    This little article is wrong. The difference between a CD and an mp3 is that when you resell an mp3, it means that you're making a copy of it and selling that. CDs aren't easily reproducible-- So the RIAA is right when they say that stealing an mp3 is like stealing a CD.Functionally, you're stealing a hard copy of the music-- which you can then resell. If mp3s were also not easily reproducible you'd be able to resell those too. This becomes more intuitive when you look at iPods-- it's not illegal to put songs on an iPod then resell that because you're selling away your hard copy of the music-- or at least selling the soft copy in a way that renders it difficult to reproduce.

    Chris
    Columbia Law '07

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      This little article is wrong.

      Actually, no, it's not.

      The difference between a CD and an mp3 is that when you resell an mp3, it means that you're making a copy of it and selling that.

      Yes. That's true. But the same thing is true when you download an MP3. That's why it's not stealing.

      Which is the point I made in the article exactly. So, you just proved that I was right, not wrong.

      CDs aren't easily reproducible-- So the RIAA is right when they say that stealing an mp3 is like stealing a CD.

      Whoa. Cognitive dissonance at work. Your previous sentence contradicted your very sentence.

      Functionally, you're stealing a hard copy of the music-- which you can then resell.

      Heh. Chris. Time to give back your law degree. Or maybe look up the Dowling ruling in the Supreme Court. *Stealing* involves taking something so that the original owner no longer has it. As you yourself pointed out, an MP3 is just a copy. That's not stealing. It *may* be infringing. But not stealing.

      If mp3s were also not easily reproducible you'd be able to resell those too. This becomes more intuitive when you look at iPods-- it's not illegal to put songs on an iPod then resell that because you're selling away your hard copy of the music-- or at least selling the soft copy in a way that renders it difficult to reproduce.

      Wow is that logic twisted. So because something is abundant, you can't resell it? That's backwards.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      acce245, Jun 27th, 2009 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      Eh, except that by putting your music on an ipod, you still actually have the original copy on your computer (assuming your itunes directory is somewhere on your computer). I would argue that, since I can reproduce my audio CDs in under 10 minutes, or make an entire MP3 cd in under 30, that they are in fact easily reproducible.

      Saying that stealing an mp3 is like stealing a cd is ludicrous. both on the cd and on the computer, the audio file is still software, or soft copies. It is only the disc that is actually hardware, or a hard copy. VHS, 8-track, cassette, vinyl, didn't rely on software, and were in fact hard copies (as you had to analog copy all of them). CDs can be fully digitally stripped, copied, et cetera, and it makes them an entirely different media.

      This is like the whole danger mouse thing, with the blank CD-R. By selling a hard CD with no software (in this case, mp3 or audio), they are effectively circumventing this issue, and legally. Also, don't forget that backup copies of your music are legal, and you don't have to be the one storing them for it to be so (until a court decides otherwise, as this is your property when you purchase it, correct?)

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Havvy, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:32pm

    On Property Rights

    Property rights are meant to create a fair share of limited resources. Music is not limited. Reproducibility is. If you find a way to remove that reproductive barrier, then property rights to music vanish. Unfortunately, people think this is a bad thing, and attempt to place arbitrary limits on reproducibility.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 12:52am

      Re: On Property Rights

      You can't say that Music is not limited. Unless it's created on a computer, music comes from a person's own talent, and it's often rare to find it in large doses. Unfortunately, when you buy a CD, most of your money's going to the people who recorded and wrapped up the music in a nice package, not the talented person who created it. Buying music should be about supporting those people who can entertain us through their music. Not about giving all our money to a recording studio or 'stealing' it in the form of an mp3.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Swapster (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:42pm

    Trading CDs, DVDs, Video Games and Books

    Indeed, I am sure that publishers do not like the idea of selling or swapping media. But that genie left the bottle a long time ago.

    Swapster lets users trade CDs, DVDs, Video Games and Books -- and it's free!

    I think the difference with digital media vs physical media is that you can't easily replicate physical media, and there is certainly a cost associated with it even if you did. Digital media is simply sent over the Internet for next to nothing.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Stan, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 4:00pm

    Not a great argument

    This argument simply does not hold water. The way that it is the same as a cd is because it is a copyrighted piece of material. The reason you can resell that cd is because you can authenticate its origins. The cd comes labeled from the manufacturer, and has a cd case from the same. It is easily recognizable. The same is not true for MP3s. There is no way to find out if that MP3 is the original licensed piece or an illegal copy. For that reason you CAN NOT resell it.

    No one is going to say that an MP3 is exactly the same as a CD, and the RIAA does not say that there is complete similarity between the two. They state that they are the same in as much as they both are copyrighted works. Nice try, but that argument does not hold up to logic or the law.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

      Re: Not a great argument

      This argument simply does not hold water.

      Actually, it holds an awful lot of water.

      The way that it is the same as a cd is because it is a copyrighted piece of material.

      Uh, that doesn't explain how it's the same at all. Yes, they are both covered by copyright. But in many other ways they are entirely different.

      The reason you can resell that cd is because you can authenticate its origins.

      Ah. Can you point me to the section in title 17 where "you can authenticate its origins" is required?

      I'm waiting.

      There is no way to find out if that MP3 is the original licensed piece or an illegal copy. For that reason you CAN NOT resell it.

      Again, the law actually disagrees with you entirely. But okay. Let's play your game.

      If we assume that there is no way you can resell it because there is no way to authenticate its origins, then the same must apply to downloading. After all, based on your own logic, since you can't authenticate the origins, there's no way to prove its unauthorized, and thus infringement.

      That's a lot of water my argument is holding.

      No one is going to say that an MP3 is exactly the same as a CD, and the RIAA does not say that there is complete similarity between the two.

      Actually, that's not true.

      From the RIAA's own "copyright faq": "no different than walking into a music store, stuffing a CD into your pocket, and walking out without paying for it."

      Oops.

      Nice try, but that argument does not hold up to logic or the law.

      Thanks for playing.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Nathan, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Don't agree at all.

    Don't know if it's been said before but the thing with selling CD's is that there's a physical change of ownership.
    Selling copies of CD's is not legal.

    Now if I sell you an MP3 and I send it to you online then the mp3 is not taken off my computer and placed onto yours. You just get a copy of it. Hence, law-breaking.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:50pm

      Re: Don't agree at all.

      Don't know if it's been said before but the thing with selling CD's is that there's a physical change of ownership.
      Selling copies of CD's is not legal.

      Now if I sell you an MP3 and I send it to you online then the mp3 is not taken off my computer and placed onto yours. You just get a copy of it. Hence, law-breaking.


      Sure, but if that's true, then downloading the music is also "just getting a copy" which is different than "stealing."

      That's the point I was making.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    DonPMitchell (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Selling an MP3

    The analogy would be valid if you sold the MP3 and then deleted your own copy. If you just sell a copy, its like burning a copy of a CD and selling it, which is a blatent violation of copyright.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Blogger, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

    I will

    I think I will create some kind of digital used goods marketplace myself. Maybe we ALL should and that way it will be harder for them to close us all down.

    Let's get the ball rolling people. Hit me up if you're interested via my websites contact page and we'll make some market places and link them all together or something.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    BoB, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 7:06pm


    This little article is wrong. The difference between a CD and an mp3 is that when you resell an mp3, it means that you're making a copy of it and selling that. CDs aren't easily reproducible-- So the RIAA is right when they say that stealing an mp3 is like stealing a CD.Functionally, you're stealing a hard copy of the music-- which you can then resell. If mp3s were also not easily reproducible you'd be able to resell those too. This becomes more intuitive when you look at iPods-- it's not illegal to put songs on an iPod then resell that because you're selling away your hard copy of the music-- or at least selling the soft copy in a way that renders it difficult to reproduce.

    Chris
    Columbia Law '07


    This is what you sound like to me:

    MP3s are easy to clone, so it's illegal.
    CDs are hard to clone, so it's legal.

    Counterfeiting a one dollar bill is easy, so it's illegal.
    Counterfeiting a twenty dollar bill is hard, so it's legal.

    The legality of reselling an item shouldn't be established by its difficulty to reproduce. Either they should both legal to resell, or neither should be legal to resell.

    On another note, Nathan made a comment I found interesting.
    "Selling copies of CD's is not legal."

    What about making a copy of a CD for yourself and selling the original? Is making a copy of a CD you own illegal? Am I legally obligated to transfer all copies of a CD along with the resold original?

    Do recording industries record and mix each CD individually? Hell no. They make copies.

    Why are they allowed to make copies and sell them if everyone else is not?

    Music is invented, not owned. Copyrights are for D*cks.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Jonthecomposer, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

    And downloaders are not "pirates" either. That is a term used by the RIAA to criminalize those who download files.
    1) Pirates kill and steal
    2) No killing or stealing in involved when someone downloads
    3) Downloading is EXACTLY THE SAME as copying and keeping a copy locally
    4) Therefore, those who download are NOT pirates

    The act of illegal downloading is most precisely described as making a copy then saving it locally while ignoring copy-prohibitive licensing. Nowhere is stealing involved. Nowhere is piracy involved.

    But what really gets me is how the RIAA could have effectively
    1) Lobbied (and possibly paid off politicians) to implement such harsh downloading laws the likes of which are more monitarily severe than those of rape or murder
    2) So thoroughly bastardized the whole idea behind intellectual rights that it has effectively become sheer propaganda the severity of which is comparable to that of the nazis
    3) Caused so many to agree so thoroughly without real reason
    4) Gotten away with it to the point that it has become LAW

    HOW TF DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!?!?!

    But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Since the law protects the intellectual rights of every artist, whosoever creates a piece can also use THEIR OWN CUSTOM LICENSE for it. That means that the artists can effectively bypass the RIAA altogether. You can even make it illegal for someone to copy-protect your music! So really, the power is in the hands of the artists. So by using laws the RIAA helped to get created, the ARTISTS can turn the RIAA's own greed against them.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anon, Jul 2nd, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    Law of Conservation?

    Alright, if I may ask, the question I believe becomes "what constitutes a copyrighted object?". That is what I'd like to know. I will pose a series of questions I'd like answered, and feel free to mail me and give me an answer as such.

    1) When you buy a CD, what are you purchasing:
    a) the right to listen to the music on this CD?
    b) the hardware on which the music is stored?
    c) the collection of bytes which compose each individual track?
    d) the collection of bytes which collectively compose the entire CD?
    e) other: EXPLAIN

    2) When you buy an MP3, what are you purchasing:
    a) the right to listen to the music you have downloaded?
    b) the software file on which the music is stored?
    c) the collection of bytes which compose each individual note which make up the song?
    d) the collection of bytes which collectively compose the entire song?
    e) other: EXPLAIN

    (FOR ADDED ANALOGY)

    3) When you purchase a VHS tape, are you purchasing:
    a) The right to watch the movie you've purchased on the tape?
    b) the hardware on which the video is stored?
    c) the collection of frames which make up a scene in the movie?
    d) the collection of frames which make up the entirety of the movie?
    e) other: EXPLAIN

    (I recognize that this pair of questions is distinctly different from the first two by basis of the fact that you cannot redeem your ticket to a movie at any time you desire, or multiple times. I still request an answer.)

    4) When you purchase a movie ticket, are you purchasing:
    a) The right to watch the movie you bought a ticket to?
    b) The experience of watching the movie in a movie theatre?
    c) The frames which you are watching which compose a scene in the movie?
    d) The frames which you are watching which compose the entire movie?
    e) other: EXPLAIN.

    I genuinely want an answer to these questions, as I feel it would enlighten me as to the nature of purchasing rights. e-mail is badpath866.survey@gmail.com.

    Go.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Shukov, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 1:14am

    ridiculous

    No one owes you free music. If you don't like the producers policies then don't buy it or go ahead and be a thief and degrade yourself. But please shut the hell up about what you want. Nobody owes you a anything.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    sonali, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    i want to sex with you people sooooooooo bad

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Andrew, Sep 7th, 2009 @ 12:00am

    riaa sucks

    If the RIAA were to die in some sort of fiery explosion right now, well that would just be ok.

    but seriously it is not illegal if the file has no license.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2011 @ 1:15am

    It Ain't About the Law

    Downloading music is no longer about the law. You can do it whenever you want, and most likely, you won't get caught or punished. Stop arguing the itty bitty points of whether something, by law, is legal or illegal. Start thinking by morals. I don't like the recording industry as much as the next person, but I like the artists behind it. And really, their the ones doing all the work.

    When you download an mp3, you're effectively taking someone else's work for free. That person poured their time and effort into that work. What do you pay for when you hire a builder to build your house? You pay for their expertise and time. Their labor is only a very small part of what you pay. It should be the same with music artists. You want their music, you pay! Don't 'borrow it forever' from your friend, who has another copy of it anyway. Don't download it for free either.

    The only problem is, when we buy music, we pay most of our money to the recording studio. There has to be a way to get most of the money to the person who made the music, and a tip to the person who put it together, not the other way around.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This