Claim Of RIAA'S View On "Unauthorized" CD Ripping Disputed
December 11, 2007 at 5:44 PM (PT)
Tech and P2P-friendly websites are aflame with news that the RIAA has filed a brief in an Arizona U.S. District Court against JEFFREY and PAMELA HOWELL which claims that ripping CDs to mp3s is a violation of copyright laws and the fair use doctrine. In other words, ripping tunes from a CD to an iPod are "unauthorized."
However, another tech blog disputed that view, raising an important distinction in terms of where ripped CD files are being stored and used.
On page 15 of its briefin the case against the HOWELLS, the RIAA asserts: "It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies ... Virtually all of the sound recordings ... are in the 'mp3' format for his and his wife's use ... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recordings into the compressed mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies..."
According to SWITCHED.COM, that contradicts the RIAA's own arguments made in the 2005 MGM Vs. GROCKSTER case. At that time, A RIAA rep stated that making digital copies of music for personal use was protected.
Not so, says ZDNET.COM's Hardware 2.0 columnist ADRIAN KINGSLEY-HUGHES. He noted that the allegation was "started on lawyer RAY BECKERMAN’s RECORDING INDUSTRY VS. THE PEOPLE blog, asserting "that the RIAA is saying that ripping CDs for personal use is illegal. This simply isn’t true. Instead, what the RIAA is saying is that ripping CDs and then subsequently making those files available to others (by, for example, putting them into a folder that’s shared on KAZAA) is an infringement. The ripping of the files isn’t the issue; the issue is the sharing of those ripped files with others."