Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

RIAA Lawsuits
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The RIAA's made news again, bringing another couple hundred lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers.

Now, I believe the RIAA and recording industry have really missed the bandwagon with regard to figuring out a smart way to get people to willingly pay for digital copies of music, but I do believe they're well within their rights to sue for copyright infringement.

Keep in mind that it is NOT illegal for you or me to download copies of music we like, so long as we restrict it to personal use. Courts have ruled that making copies of TV programs etc. for personal viewing is legal. Making copies for friends is too.

However, using your computer to distribute copies of songs for the public to download is a blatant violation of copyright law, so I have no problem with the RIAA going after people who have done this, especially those who have allegedly done it to the extent claimed in these recent lawsuits.

What I find most interesting recently is one person's lawsuit to prevent the RIAA from bringing these lawsuits in the first place. I don't see how that claim can succeed, nor why anyone thinks it could. Of course I may be missing something... or maybe it will get thrown out of court.

In case you haven't heard of it, last week someone put a digital song up on eBay. He bought this song for 99 cents, and used this exercise as an attempt to test the first-sale doctrine of copyright law, which says that once he bought it (if in traditional media), he could resell it. Digital may not work that way, however, even when he promised not to keep a copy. But eBay yanked his auction, so we don't know the results.

Anyway, back to the RIAA. I think they're losers for the most part, but I don't feel bad for the accused parties with their mass distribution of copyrighted material. Sure the original artists get only a few cents for their work from each CD sold through the RIAA, but that's a heck of a lot more than the nothing they get from file-sharing networks.

Apple seems to have found a great solution with iTunes, and when they get their Windows software out there, I'll have to seriously consider investing in them. Apple's done well with their 10% of the market it seems. And I think they'll do better once they allow access to their music marketplace by the other 90%.

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