Record Industry Goes After Personal Use? The case against Jeffrey Howell


This is a story that has spread like wildfire. In this article from the Washington Post, Marc Fisher discusses how the RIAA has gone after Jeffrey Howell of Scottsdale AZ for converting the music CD’s that he legally purchased to MP3 files. Unfortunately, Marc Fisher did not get the story straight. According to the pleading and supplemental brief submitted to the court, the RIAA is suing because Howell put the MP3 files in the KAZAA share folder. It is really a shame that this and several other reporters have either gotten the story wrong or deliberately sensationalized it because now this story is focusing on the reporting instead of the ever more apparent strategy of the RIAA.

Wes Phillips of Stereophile has written what I consider to be a pretty accurate article about this and the last three paragraphs hit the nail squarely on the head. The RIAA is looking for nothing less than the elimination of the Fair Use principle of the copyright law. The Fair Use principle is what allows you to make copies of copyrighted material. However, the RIAA has its own ideas:

The RIAA’s own web site spells out what they understand is illegal copying of copyrighted material:

Examples of easy ways you could violate the law:

  • Somebody you don’t even know e-mails you a copy of a copyrighted song and then you turn around and e-mail copies to all of your friends.
  • You make an MP3 copy of a song because the CD you bought expressly permits you to do so. But then you put your MP3 copy on the Internet, using a file-sharing network, so that millions of other people can download it.
  • Even if you don’t illegally offer recordings to others, you join a file-sharing network and download unauthorized copies of all the copyrighted music you want for free from the computers of other network members.
  • In order to gain access to copyrighted music on the computers of other network members, you pay a fee to join a file-sharing network that isn’t authorized to distribute or make copies of copyrighted music. Then you download unauthorized copies of all the music you want.
  • You transfer copyrighted music using an instant messenging service.
  • You have a computer with a CD burner, which you use to burn copies of music you have downloaded onto writable CDs for all of your friends.

In his article, Wes writes:

Although it burst as “news” on December 29, there have been indications that the RIAA has been headed in this direction for some time. At the triennial review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), conducted last January by the US Copyright Office, the record labels alleged that, although consumers could make back-up copies without much trouble, such use was “not specifically authorized [by the labels] and should not be mistaken for fair use.”

During the Jammie Thomas trial, Jennifer Pariser, head litigator for Sony BMG, said, “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song,” adding that making personal copies was simply “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy.'”

Considering that the recording industry itself is slowly but surely moving into the Internet age and into a new business model, one has to wonder what is the RIAA doing?

Your turn to talk

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Humor – A Boomer’s Story

Humor – A Boomer’s Story: This definitely falls under the category of “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I found this while browsing Flickr; it was uploaded by loungelistener with the name “Al’s Hat.

Al is our head prop man at the theatre. It seems lately that it’s always one thing after another in his life. Today John (our head carpenter and my best pal) and I had to do a work call at noon. While at lunch, he and I recalled Li’l Abner and the guy Joe Btfsplk, and thought that fit Al lately… one thing led to another, and this hat was born. John helped me round up the parts (and modelled it for this photo with appropriate pout), and I constructed it. Some cardboard, cotton batting, 3M spray adhesive, black & grey spray paint, an old hat, and a coat hanger to hold the cloud up. …oh, and some fishing line for the dangling raindrops too.

View loungelistener’s map

Taken in (See more photos here)

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Blog Your Dash – My School Years

I found this article (Blog Challenge: Blog Your Dash « Lorelle on WordPress) browsing WordPress and it sounded like a rather interesting challenge. When you go to a cemetery, the headstones usually read “Born date” – “Died date“. The dash “-” is everything that you did between “Born” and “Died.” The challenge is to blog “your dash” or, what have you done with your life?

As I think about it, I’m amazed at how I can organize my life in my mind!

From birth to the 60’s – these are my school years. What I remember of this time was the outrageous clothing, the awesome music and those things that were happening in the mainland. I was raised in the Caribbean so, issues concerning the races were pretty much alien to me. Some events that really stood out and I still remember were:

1. The Cuban missile crisis – Although I was a little kid when this happened, I still remember the sheer terror I saw in the faces of the adults (all of them) around me. At the time, everyone really thought that we were going to go to war, a nuclear war.

2. The Kennedy Assassination – I clearly remember that Sunday afternoon. I was playing on a mound in front of my house when I saw our next-door neighbor run out of her house calling my mother at the top of her lungs. “They killed Kennedy, they killed Kennedy!” she kept saying over and over again. At first it did not register but, by the time I got home and turned on the local TV, I started feeling this sad heavy feeling as if a part of the weight of the world had just been placed on my shoulders.

3. The Prep School – I went to a Jesuit prep school from 7th to 12th grades back in the days of having to wear a tie every single day for six consecutive years. This in a place where the temperature fluctuates between 75 and 95 degrees F (24 to 35 C) and a dry day was 70% humidity. Did I mention, no air conditioning in the classrooms?

4. The Music – These were the years of The Beatles, The Doors, Motown, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Etc. These were the years of music like hasn’t been heard before or since. The kicker for me is that, being Hispanic, I was also enjoying the music and the new sounds in Spanish!

5. The Clothes – The bell bottoms! Those miniskirts! Those micro skirts! The bikinis! The advantages of living in a tropical island in the Caribbean! Nuff’ said !!

6. – 1968 – What a defining year! The TET offensive in Viet Nam, Martin Luther King is assassinated, the riots all over the country (The Watts riots), Robert Kennedy is assassinated, Czechoslovakia is invaded by the Soviet Union, Richard Nixon wins the Presidential Election. By then, I was old enough to understand what was going on and I remember thinking that the whole world had gone out of its mind.

7. 1969 – We land on the Moon! For a space geek like me (Yes, I admit it, I was a trekker), it was an incredible experience. When you think about it, what was even more incredible was that the whole world was watching it on television in real-time.

8. 1972 – Nixon wins the elections by a landslide… Then the real trouble began….

What do you think?What has your “dash” been like?
What about your school / formative years?
Were you a geek or a dweeb in school?
If you were to blog your dash – what would your blog title be?

Our Local Weather

If you have ever lived in north Texas, then you have heard the expression “don’t worry, if you don’t like the weather, wait a couple of days!” Well, normally July is the beginning of the hot and dry season here but, this year it decided to rain every day for two weeks! Some parts of the area made it to national news as the flash floods and general flooding made life miserable for some folks of the area.

Well, the weather has now decided to give us back the sun and heat that we are supposed to have. The only problem is that everything is so saturated with water that being outside for more than five minutes is like having a steam bath! While the temperatures are not extremely hot (90 to 95 F – 32 to 35C) by Texas standards, the humidity just kills you.

It’s strange though, three years of drought or near-drought conditions were wiped out in just a few weeks of rain. As if that were not enough, we had days where the freeway (I-35) was shut down a couple of times due to flooding from one of the local lakes. Together with the rivers and creeks, they are just now beginning to return to their normal levels. In the meantime, it is instant sweat the moment you step out of your home or car.

What do you think?
What has the weather been like in your area?
How difficult has it been dealing with the weather?