Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bought a Music CD? Copied to Your Computer?

...then you could be in trouble.

...In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

It will be very interesting to see how this one turns out. Frankly, I don't understand how the RIAA intends to demonstrate that they were "damaged" by this. If someone is using their computer as an alternative to a CD player/stereo set, what's the harm?

HT: RedStates


Jeff Miller said...

Well actually they are suing him for ripping a CD and then placing it in a share folder for a peer-to-peer network.

But they are trying to make a case that this was an unauthorized copy something that has never been ruled on. If they do take up that aspect I certainly hope they smack down the RIAA on this issue.

Andrew K said...

How in the hey did they find out it was in a shared file for a p2p network?