RIAA: Rampaging Idiots Against America

December 29, 2007

A few months ago, a record company lawyer said that: When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song. That was in the Jammie Thomas case, but it wasn’t the central argument of the case. It does seem to be the central argument in a current case.

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 suit is being brought by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The quote is from a WashPost article (via Techmeme).

I cannot see any shred of sense in the argument that you can’t make a copy, for your own use, of music you have paid for. Even if there was legal or moral sense, I can’t see the sense in suing your customers for something that many, perhaps most, of them do.

For example, I’ve been doing it for decades. Twenty years ago, I bought records (those foot-across vinyl things) and copied them to cassette so that I could listen to them in the car as well as at home.

4 Responses to “RIAA: Rampaging Idiots Against America”

  1. Eroq Says:

    So this would mean that all of the CDs I ripped onto my iTunes are actually illegal copies…great. The extreme end of this scenario is that packs of RIAA lawyer-thugs will soon be walking the streets of major cities and universities confiscating any and all mp3 players from passers-by under the ‘reasonable assumption’ that it contains at least one illegally-copied song.

  2. Adam Says:

    It seems an absolutely absurb way to try and enforce the use of their IP. It’s the RIAA suing people for the notion that, if those MP3s reside on one’s computer, it logical follows that you’re distributing those MP3s to the rest of the world. Which is, of course, patently absurd.

    They haven’t stated outright that this is their strategy, of course, but it the only logical explanation I can come up with for them taking music fans – the very consumers they rely on to make them money – to court. If that is indeed the case, then it flies in the face of the notion of innocence before guilt… Doesn’t it?

  3. ns07 Says:

    This is pretty much the most ridiculous thing I have heard. This is comparable to me taking professional photographs of me and keeping them scanned on my computer as a backup. I guess I should be sued for copyright infringement?

    The RIAA is making a huge mistake. It is fighting the very customers who fuel their business in the first place. People will not stop downloading. I don’t do it anymore, but that’s because I listen to a lot of music on my computer through Pandora.com and other such websites.

    But the people that want to download will download music.

    RIAA will waste their time.

    In the end, no one will win.

    Poor trees…they would be sad to know they are being wasted on court documents for pointless cases.


  4. [...] 3 is true, and Fisher’s article has subsequently been blogged about by many, including me. Assertion 2 has been challenged by many, including Greg Sandoval, blogging at CNET and inviting us [...]


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