I didn't know that was illegal!

Perhaps it was naive of me but I always thought that when you purchased a CD you were purchasing the right to use the music on it for personal purposes without limitation as to the playback mechanism used. Apparently I'm wrong ... at least according to the RIAA. In the trial of Jeffrey and Pamela Howell who, in August 2006, were sued by the RIAA after SafeNet discovered 'evidence' that they had used the KaZaa file-sharing network. The investigator found MP3s that the couple claims were ripped from their CDs and are for their own private use. Quite why they can't produce the CDs or if they did and the 'investigators' don't care isn't clear but it seems that using a file sharing system and having MP3 files is enough to justify the RIAA taking action. In another RIAA trial Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation from Sony BMG, according to an Ars Technica article, "testified that she believed that ripping your own CDs is stealing.

When asked by the RIAA's lead counsel whether it was wrong for consumers to make copies of CDs they have purchased, Jennifer Pariser replied in the negative. "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song," said Pariser. Making "a copy" of a song you own is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'," according to Pariser.

It seems that the recording industry's position is that making copies of music on CDs is not explicitly authorized by the labels and that "the ability to make copies should not be mistaken for fair use." Words should fail me but they don't: If this logic is followed and supported in law then any company with any product that is used in any way that the company contends is not authorized could sue for damages. That is simply ridiculous! If I buy a Black and Decker drill and use it to do something that nets me millions of dollars but that isn't sanctioned by Black and Decker is it reasonable that they get a slice of the action (or all of the action as the RIAA would seem to want). Watch how this issue plays out because if the RIAA wins most of us will be liable for prosecution.

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