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RIAA Says Ripping CDs to Your iPod is NOT Fair Use...

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Perfectly lawful until we change our mind.....

February 15, 2006
It is no secret that the entertainment oligopolists are not happy about space-shifting and format-shifting. But surely ripping your own CDs to your own iPod passes muster, right? In fact, didn't they admit as much in front of the Supreme Court during the MGM v. Grokster argument last year?

Apparently not.

As part of the on-going DMCA rule-making proceedings, the RIAA and other copyright industry associations submitted a filing that included this gem as part of their argument that space-shifting and format-shifting do not count as noninfringing uses, even when you are talking about making copies of your own CDs:

"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. In this regard, the statement attributed to counsel for copyright owners in the MGM v. Grokster case is simply a statement about authorization, not about fair use."
For those who may not remember, here's what Don Verrilli said to the Supreme Court last year:

"The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod."

If I understand what the RIAA is saying, "perfectly lawful" means "lawful until we change our mind." So your ability to continue to make copies of your own CDs on your own iPod is entirely a matter of their sufferance. What about all the indie label CDs? Do you have to ask each of them for permission before ripping your CDs? And what about all the major label artists who control their own copyrights? Do we all need to ask them, as well?

P.S.: The same filing also had this to say: "Similarly, creating a back-up copy of a music CD is not a non-infringing use...."


and here on their own site they contradict themselves...
(read this asap i predict it will be edited soon)

What is your stand on MP3?

This is one of those urban myths like alligators in the toilet. MP3 is just a technology and the technology itself never did anything wrong! There are lots of legal MP3s from great artists on many, many online sites. The problem is that some people use MP3 to take one copy of an album and make that copy available on the Internet for hundreds of thousands of people. That's not fair. If you choose to take your own CDs and make copies for yourself on your computer or portable music player, that's great. It's your music and we want you to enjoy it at home, at work, in the car and on the jogging trail. But the fact that technology exists to enable unlimited Internet distribution of music copies doesn't make it right.


Posted : 18/02/2006 10:10 am
Posts: 5038
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Short of voluntarily installed spyware (gotta start reading those software licenses!), enforcement could be impossible for currently-owned CDs, which don't generally contain rights management systems. Of course, also consider that when a CD gets load into an internetted PC, one of the first actions (if you've selected the option) is to go to one of the cataloging services and get track info. This is a pretty easy way to track what's going on. But it can be "turned-off."

Then again, iTunes app, WinMedia and that other annoying MM Jukebox could be upversioned to stop ripping CDs! Must go save the old versions of these soon!

Given the already strong movement away from audio CDs to MP3-like compressed audio sold on-line and soon to be widespread new convenient "trusted" media formats (album-loaded memory cards), control of this is coming -- usually in the form of limited copying. Three seems to be the magic number of copies. My guess is that the RIAA would like the standard CD format to disappear ASAP.

-=tension & release=-

Posted : 18/02/2006 5:26 pm
Posts: 5342

Man, they must be hard up if they want us to buy the CD, buy the same song on mp3, and buy the cassette to play in the car.

If the recording industry spent as much cash sourcing new talent as they do prosecuting their own customers maybe music sales wouldn't have slumped they way they have. I don't think it's a question of copyright, or fair use; I think it's a question of having almost no quality product to market.

Which other industry takes its customers to court in this way?


A :-(

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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Posted : 18/02/2006 6:04 pm
Posts: 2261
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Which other industry takes its customers to court in this way? Any industry who's got themselves into a middleman-type position of power, got greedy, had technology pop up around them that will obviously remove the need for their existance and still has enough money in the coffers to throw a few lawyers around to milk it while it lasts... :( - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer

Posted : 18/02/2006 11:04 pm
Posts: 121
Estimable Member

Ahah. I knew this was coming. this is an extension of the MPA?'s Music Publishers Assoc's push to have MXTabs banned from the net for "infringing" On artist royalties. This is bull in its purest most fly ridden form. Us rock types know that most of the hard bands have no sheet music.. Anyway, I thaught that once we bought something we owned a limited copyright to it? I think just off the top of my head to really push this they would have to change existing copyright laws... but well find out soon enough how much they have left in the coffers for lawyers.


Posted : 19/02/2006 6:57 am
Posts: 4921
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It has nothing to do with the MPA - it's an entirely different kind of royalty the RIAA controls. It's got nothing to do with tab, either - the RIAA couldn't care less about tab, because they don't 'own' the songs... the RIAA only cares about actual recordings.

This isn't the first time they've tried something outlandish to 'protect' artists. At one time, they actually wanted to have cassette recorders made illegal - and they actually succeeded in getting a 'royalty' slapped on the sale of blank CDs and tapes.

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Posted : 19/02/2006 2:09 pm
Posts: 5349
Illustrious Member

I don't get this at all. The only way they can make sure we don't rip our legally bought cds is by installing crap on the disc. If they do that people will just download the songs instead. Whats in it for the RIAA?

Posted : 20/02/2006 8:45 am
Posts: 4921
Illustrious Member

Control, Arjen - they can install the same crap on the downloads that they can on the CDs... so they're hoping that DRM software will make them the source for the recorded music.

In a way, they're completely within their rights... they do own the music, after all. On another side of the coin, their actions are increasingly stupid, and I think I've finally figured out what's really going on.

When an artist invests in the creation of art (music, novels, paintings, whatever) there are no guarantees to the artist. If there were no protections against copying, fewer people would choose to risk their efforts on art, and we recognize that we, as society, would be poorer if that happened. So we guarantee exclusive rights to the artwork to the artists for a period of time - copyright. I doubt you'll find any musicians, save perhaps a few young anarchist idealists, who think copyright itself is a bad idea.

But most artists are not business savvy folks. And since they have a protected product, side industries sprang up - from record labels to music publishers to art galleries etc. The typical deal is: you make it, we'll sell it, and we'll split the proceeds down the middle.

50 years ago that made a lot of sense. When I was doing record production just over 20 years ago, the investment in dollars was about 50% higher to get one song recorded than it is today - and that's without adjusting for inflation. The adjusted cost of funding a recording session today is probably one-fifth or less what it was then. Today's sound reproduction is better, too, besides being much cheaper.

Then you've got duplication, artwork, distribution, and promotion. The investment in a single song was substantial, and the 50/50 split was a fair deal.

Today it's digital. No duplication costs at all. No (or low) artwork cost; minimal distribution cost (often zero); low-cost promotion - we're talking e-mails instead of postcards, digital samples instead of review copies, etc. So the whole economics has changed.

That's really apparent in Sony's settlement of the Extended Copy Protection suit. Customers who bought a CD with this 'feature' can choose between $7.50 cash and one free downloaded album, or no cash and 3 free downloaded albums. That tells us exactly what Sony thinks is a fair deal - they are willing to part with two downloaded albums to save $7.50; they value one downloaded album at $3.75.

The albums being promoted today on the Sonymusicstore website range in price from $10 to $15 (excluding the boxed sets). So what Sony is really saying is that 50/50 is not a fair split anymore... what's fair is a split of 65/35 or even 75/25 in favor of the artists.

But with the cost of production dropping, artists can record themselves. New technologies like Pandora make promoting a new artist cost-effective. Distribution channels like CDBaby make it practical. The big labels actually embraced this - because it did their market research for them at no cost! Instead of actually taking a gamble on a new act, only sign the ones who have proven their abilitiy locally - and still keep the 50/50 split! That's a license to print money!!

Until artists like Ani De Franco and others started turning down the big-label overtures in favor of staying independent. Now the labels and publishers are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - it's the gravy train, coming back to mow them down.

What do you do if you have lots of cash, but the source of your income is disappearing before your eyes? Centuries ago you'd raise a mercenary army and invade somebody; in today's society you hire lawyers and do whatever you can to shore up the income for as long as possible.

Last weekend I heard a radio commentator talking about the RIAA lawsuits, and he said something interesting - that he keeps hearing (from the RIAA) that downloading a song is stealing, just like if you stole the CD from a Target store. He agreed with that concept.

But he went on to say that if you stole a CD from Target, you could face prosecution for misdemeanor theft, and would at most receive a $1000 fine; the RIAA gets statuatory penalties of $750 per song, or about 8 times what you'd pay to settle up with Target - and if you stole a CD, Target is actually out money (since they bought and paid for the CD in the first place).

So if the local media is finally starting to figure out that the RIAA/MPA is over-reaching, we'll start to see more and more individual labels and publishers start to realize that what they'll lose - in terms of public sympathy - is far more than the little they'll gain through these tactics. I expect the next 2-3 years will see at least a few of the majors pull out of each of these organizations, and we'll probably see a label or two think about re-structuring the way they contract new talent.

And if the independents get smart about things, we'll see alternatives formed to the RIAA/MPA that include only independent labels - ones that will capitalize on the growing backlash against the 'industry', and lobby for changes in the law that will protect artists in the long term without guaranteeing a cash cow to marketers.

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Posted : 20/02/2006 12:50 pm
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I'm avoiding buying new music because they're doing this stuff. I've got plenty to listen to for a long time to come.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Posted : 21/02/2006 11:47 pm
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I'm avoiding buying new music because they're doing this stuff. I've got plenty to listen to for a long time to come.

AMEN :!: Richochet :D Lots of stuff on the net to listen to :!: The Times they are a changing 8) --the dog

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Posted : 22/02/2006 4:02 am
Posts: 81
Trusted Member

What the RIAA wants you to do (an example):

1 - 1968: buy the Rolling Stone's Beggar's Banquet vinyl LP.

2 - 1971 (or so): buy Beggar's Banquet cassette to listen to in your car. Don't make your own copy by recording the album you bought in #1, it's illegal.

3 - 1987: buy the Beggar's Banquet brand new laser digital compact disc: the Rolling Stones like you never heard them before!

4 - 1995 (or so): buy the brand new digitally enhanced from the original masters Beggar's Banquet CD, because# 3 was crap after all.

5 - 2001 (or so): buy the brand new digitally enhanced from the original masters Beggar's Banquet SACD, because# 4 was crap too after all.

6 - 2005: buy the Street Fighting Man mp3 from ITunes for your Ipod. Don't convert the song to mp3 from the vinyl, cassete, CDs and SACD you bought, it's illegal

6 - Since you're playing guitar, buy Street Fighting Man's tab, don't download it from the internet for free (free if you forget about the high end computer and software you bought and the fee you pay each month to your internet provider)

7 - Give money to the RIAA every time you make a public performance of Street Fighting Man

8 - Wouldn't it be great if you could give money to the RIAA everytime you make a private performance of Street Fighting Man with your buddies, or every time you shout "Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy" in your shower? For the time being, the RIAA doen't have the technical means to control what you're doing in your home, but wait until they can!

Now one question: What does the RIAA want?

If I'm not in the band
Don't mean I'm square
Mercury Rev - Car Wash Air

Posted : 22/02/2006 8:51 am
Posts: 5345
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Blind Lemon Pye asked "Now one question: What does the RIAA want"

Answer: Your money...lots of it :twisted: and another 25 year extension on the copy right :lol:

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Posted : 22/02/2006 9:27 am
Posts: 2261
Noble Member

What does the RIAA want?A poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

I'll buy no more until the industry changes - I'm more than happy to pay bands for music, but I'm not going pay these people for the stunts they pull. Not a chance. - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer

Posted : 22/02/2006 1:16 pm
Posts: 4921
Illustrious Member

Mostly right, BlindLemon. The only parts that aren't are 6-8.

#6 - the RIAA couldn't care less if you're downloading tab. That's where the MPA comes in (the MPA couldn't care less if you download mp3s; that's RIAA's slice of the pie)

#7 - that's neither the RIAA (since they don't own YOUR version) or the MPA (since it isn't a written representation). However, BMI would sure like to talk to your venue and make sure the appropriate licensing fee is collected... they happen to own the public performance rights.

#8 - that's not the RIAA's deal either. But the music publisher who owns those rights, Abkco, is working on it :)

We tend to lump all the greedy elements together, because a lot of their legal tactics sound the same. But there are specific villains for specific rights, and the RIAA isn't even close to cornering the market.

Dead on with 1-5 though. What RIAA cares about is music that's been recorded. So if the Stones or anybody else has put it on vinyl/tape/CD/clay tablets, they don't want you copying it, playing it in your clothing store, broadcasting it on your pirate radio station, etc.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Posted : 22/02/2006 2:13 pm
Posts: 81
Trusted Member

Thanhks for correcting me, NoteBoat, it's fair to give back the MPA, BMI and Abko what belongs to them. Aggregating the villains, or calling them "The industry", lacks precision and an imprecise imformation lacks efficiency... It's good to know the predators by their names.

As I live in Europe, my villains go by other names, but I can assure you that they behave the same and their goals are identical.

If I'm not in the band
Don't mean I'm square
Mercury Rev - Car Wash Air

Posted : 22/02/2006 4:12 pm
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