"Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: 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."
... wow. I believe this will completely backfire on the music industry. This will only spur more animosity towards them drawing more people to do things illegally so as to not allow the flow of their money to these music nazis.
It has been long legal standing that people are allowed to save media for personal use. Recorded video from tv is what started this. Big Media sued when VCRs came out saying that people could not record and save publicly broadcasted television shows. They were thrown out with their long tails between their legs. If you were to buy a show on a DVD, why couldn't you save it to your media center? That is the purpose of media centers. It has also been long standing legal practice that people are allowed to make backup copies of software they purchase.
So, for Big Music to now claim that it is illegal for people to save their music files to digital format is wholly illogical. If this was the case, then what would be the point of ipods, portable media players, mp3 phones and the like?
I think Big Music has now gone far beyond reality and have jumped off the edge. Their actions will only lead people to seek backlashes against them. No matter how this turns out, Big Music will now be seen as the Evil in the nation. If they win their case, then things will turn out much worse for Big Music.
UPDATE (12/31/07): From Fox News.com....
Schwartz is a partner in DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, the family firm of former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, R-Ariz.
"It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings on his computer," the brief states. "Virtually all of the sound recordings on Exhibit B are in the '.mp3' format. ... Defendant admitted that he converted these sound recordings from their original format to the .mp3 format for his and his wife's use. ... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs."
The RIAA's own Web site is more conciliatory, but implies that the organization reserves the right to go after music "rippers" should it change its mind.Are you mad yet? What about ripping a vinyl record or cassette tape to MP3?? Yep, according to these nazis, you are stealing. Are you mad yet?
"If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings ... you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages," it plainly states before adding that "transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player won't usually raise concerns so long as the copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own [or] the copy is just for your personal use."
However, Schwartz isn't the only RIAA bigwig who's recently implied that those concerns may be raised more often.
Copying a song you've paid for in CD form is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,'" Sony BMG top lawyer Jennifer Pariser testified during cross-examination in the Jammie Thomas case in early October.