In a lawsuit being heard in Arizona, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is arguing that copying legally purchased CDs onto a computer for personal use amounts to unauthorized use.
Sunday’s Washington Post has the story about Jeffrey Howell who is fighting RIAA in court. Though their primary issue with Howell was his making digital audio files available on a peer-to-peer network, The Posts’ Marc Fisher says that their position on copying CDs onto a personal computer is new, and could have a potentially major impact on the ongoing legal battles about digital distribution of commercially produced music.
RIAA’s hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: “If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you’re stealing. You’re breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.”
Whether customers may copy their CDs onto their computers — an act at the very heart of the digital revolution — has a murky legal foundation, the RIAA argues. The industry’s own Web site says that making a personal copy of a CD that you bought legitimately may not be a legal right, but it “won’t usually raise concerns,” as long as you don’t give away the music or lend it to anyone.
Read the Post piece online.