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RIAA claims CD rips are piracy in lawsuit

updated 02:00 pm EST, Tue December 11, 2007

RIAA on CD Ripping

Converting music CDs to audio files on a computer is unapproved and therefore illegal, the Recording Industry Association of America has said (PDF) in a brief ahead of a crucial Arizona lawsuit. Hoping to support the arguments from group member Atlantic Records in its complaint against the Howell family, the RIAA contends that ripping CDs leads to "viral" copyright infringement; a single disc can result in millions of copies if shared through a peer-to-peer service, the brief claims.

The statement partly contradicts the RIAA's previous stance on the subject. Although the group is careful in the current case to make a separation between illegal file sharing and "space-shifting," or accessing a user's own songs to a different device for listening outside of a regular location, it argues that any transfer of songs that has not been explicitly approved is illegal. This appears to challenge a previous argument the RIAA itself made in front of the US Supreme Court when elaborating its position on legal use of digital music in a suit against the file sharing service Grokster.

"It's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, [and] put it onto your iPod," music label representatives said at the time. "There is a very, very significant lawful commercial use for that device, going forward."

The defendants, Jeffrey and Pamela Howell, have up to January 11th to respond to the brief ahead of a hearing on January 24th.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Could these guys...

    try and lose the PR war any worse???

    "Converting music CDs to audio files on a computer is unapproved and therefore illegal"

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's just about time

    to have a CD shredding demonstation and declare an all out boycott of the music industry.

    only a couple more pronouncements making everyone a criminal should do the trick. :

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fair Use

    This is ridiculous. This clearly falls under fair use, as the RIAA have accepted since the beginning.

    I can only think of one motivation to try this... If they keep trying it enough, someone might settle in a way that helps set precedence.

  1. Rance

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The RIAA has finally gone off the deep end for sure this time. I've got over 1000 CDs, there's no freakin' way I'm going to repurchase 12,000 or so tracks from iTunes. Not that I could anyway, most of what I own isn't even on iTunes. Somoene needs to really step in and consider the rights of the consumer in all of this c***.

  1. Rance

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How do they explain this one away? In the FAQ on the RIAA site, "For more on what the law says about copying CDs, click HERE."

    That takes you to this link:

    Which says:

    # It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes. # It’s also okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but, again, not for commercial purposes. # Beyond that, there’s no legal "right" to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:

    * The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
    * The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.

    How does the RIAA expect to get around that?! Fools!

  1. beeble

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No more CDs for me

    So the RIAA says I can't buy CDs (I only ever rip them to iTunes). Isn't that cutting deep into the most profitable area of business for the labels, their members. Who's interests are they representing here? Not the artists, not the consumers, not the labels. Is there anyone left?

    Oh well, I'll just buy from Apple then.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969


    dont care

    I dont care if this gets deleted by MacNN

    By my responce to RIAA is this.

    FU*K OFF!

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ripping vs. sharing

    Ripping a CD doesn't necessarily lead to "viral" copyright infringement. I've ripped dozens of CDs I've purchased, and never once shared a single one of them. Lately, I've bought CDs with the sole intention of ripping them, then storing the CD away for backup. I'm not a criminal. I give this imbeciles money.

    People are "sharing" music, and that is piracy; focus your efforts on them. But don't claim that the mere act of exercising my fair use rights is piracy, and that, therefore, I am a criminal. It's not a way to inspire consumer loyalty, and it's downright insulting. I hardly ever play a CD, so if you tell me I can't rip it, I've got absolutely no reason to buy it.

    Everyday, these guys tops themselves on the idiocy chart.

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lawsuits coming

    Give the RIAA a couple more years and they will be suing every owner of an MP3 device. Apple, MS et al will be named and all their registration records will besuopenad and we will all be defendants.

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    All of you

    Everyone of you are filthy despicable criminals - you "copied" the article in order to respond to it. It doesn't matter if you quoted it directly, you copied the tone and idea - therefore you stole.


    Mark my words - the day is not far off when we will be able to bend these rec execs over and F••K their greedy, artist-sucking, consumer-s******* asses. Their kingdoms are finally crumpling.

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