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RIAA Claims Ripping CDs for Personal Use is Illegal

RIAA Claims Ripping CDs for Personal Use IllegalJust as it seemed as though the record industry was starting to figure this whole thing out, here it goes and does something that makes us at the Switched offices shake our heads. The RIAA has filed a brief in an Arizona U.S. District Court against Jeffrey and Pamela Howell, an average Joe and Jane couple who have ripped their CD collection to MP3s for easy sharing throughout their home and -- presumably -- iPods. The brief claims that ripping CDs to MP3s is a violation of copyright laws and the fair use doctrine.

The audacity of the RIAA's claim wouldn't be too surprising, given its penchant for overzealous attacks of digital media, if it weren't in direct contradiction of arguments made by RIAA lawyers in a case filed in 2005. In the case, MGM Vs. Grokster, representation from the RIAA explicitly said that making digital copies of music for personal use was protected.

Atlantic Vs. Howell is scheduled to have its first hearing on January 24. Here's hoping that this case gets tossed out, because if the courts find in favor of Atlantic, it will place all of us with digital audio devices on the RIAA's hit list.

[Addendum: Looks like the RIAA has also included language about the fact that the Howells put their files on file sharing networks, which could give the RIAA a leg to stand on here. That said, this case remains interesting due to the language the RIAA is including regarding one's rights to rip his own CDs.]

From Boing Boing



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Tags: atlantic records, AtlanticRecords, howerll, mp3, music, riaa

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