I guess that I won't be buying that iPod, then.

Did you hear that, Apple Computers? Steve? I said, "I GUESS THAT I WON'T BE BUYING THAT IPOD, THEN."

By Moe Lane Posted in | | | Comments (49) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Hi. Do you own a MP3 player? Do you use it for car trips, gym visits, commutes, or just as a substitute for a rather bulky stereo system? Do you have any of your legally bought CDs on that MP3 player? WAIT! Don't answer that last one, because if the answer's "yes" and some lawyer for the RIAA sees it, they'll sue you for copyright infringement.

I am not making this up:

...In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

Via Glenn.

Read on.

I really do sympathize with the record industry. Really, I do. I imagine that the hooker and cocaine markets in California are probably over-saturated with too many buyers and not enough sellers, so it must be difficult for your average record executive to maintain proper levels of mechanistic sex and illegal drug use while on a fixed budget. They really can't raise album prices all that much more, and there's a limit to how much you can steal from even a pop musician before he or she starts noticing, so a revenue drop is nothing short of a catastrophe for these guys. Which is probably why this entire digital media thing freaks them completely out. It's already bad enough that less people are buying their rather sloppy music; imagine the disaster if people could hear the stuff in advance.

But still. Do you guys over at the RIAA really want to mess with America's iPods? Isn't there something about that, I don't know, sets off alarm bells or something?


Well, bad news for Apple, then.

I guess that I won't be buying that iPod, then. 49 Comments (0 topical, 49 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Steve Jobs has probably single-handedly broken the back of DRM laden audio in this country. The Berlin Wall is coming down.

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The RIAA has been squirrelly since Edison started suing, and time has only made things worse. Their problems are compounded by the fact they are middle men who are seeing both ends move away from them. Artists no longer need the services they provide (Well at least not on the terms they provide them). Retailers are now in a position where they can pick and choose what gets sold and the record companies can't say boo.

So you have an industry that sees its reason for existence being rationalized away. They are striking back as best they can.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

to try something really stupid to assure that the audience leaves in droves.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

So a person could legally listen to a CD on their computer, but to rip that CD onto to the computer to listen to would land them in court? Hey RIAA, how are those buggy whip factories going?

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the other third is covered by Champ Bailey.

Jason: I can't wait for Congress to get back to work
Peter: Why's that?

Jason: Imagine you're a lawmaker, and you've got an iPod or Zune as a Christmas Gift...

Jason: What's the first thing you'll want to do? Why, transfer your music and video collections onto it, of course.

Jason: But wait! There's a problem! While it's legal to copy music from your CDs onto the device, it's not legal to do the same thing with your DVDs! Noooooooo!

Jason: And whose fault is that? YOURS. Because you voted for the stupid Digital Millennium Copyright Act back in 1998.

Jason: Naturally, your first order of business next month will be to repeal that boondoggle.
Peter: What makes you think they all got iPods for Christmas!
Andrea: Which one of you kids charged $85 thousand worth of stuff with my Visa?!?

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Henceforth I will be hoarding all my discretionary music-making and listening income so that I can afford a surviving example of these fine machines and the essential materials with which to enjoy them.

It is a little known fact that with just a bit of effort, adequate vibration-dampening, and careful attention to humidity and temperature, one can still use a pair of "speakers" to achieve a brilliantly realistic fascimile of a work of music using this groundbreaking acoustic reproduction equipment.

I didn't know RIAA was going back into the Gramophone business. The mind reels.

Sue everyone. Bring it on.
Idiot tools.

As a strong supporter of Strong Copyright and a person who believes in DRM used to protect the rights of copyright owners.

The RIAA may have just jumped the shark. Let's hope they come back to some version of their senses.

It only seems to get worse.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

It seems to me I recall a provision in the copyright laws that allows you to make a copy for backup purposes. But that may be only for software. Still, I think it also could be applied to music.

I laughed but I was not surprised. I remember a few years ago, they were suing some 80 year old guy for a few hundred thousand for a dozen or so downloads. The guy had no idea that his 9 year old grand kids downloaded a few songs when they visited him, and the RIAA still wanted blood even when explained the ages and situation.

Bottom line is they can sue all they want but the cat (technology) is out of the bag and there is nothing in the world they can do to stop it. I know some people (wink) that downloaded a lot of songs from Napster back in the day but I, I mean the people stay away from such sites now. But everyone I know pass around cd's to copy with no problem. I have a few friends with three or four thousand songs on their computers and MP3's and they got to that number through swaps with other people. Like someone else said, they are an unnecessary middle man who know one likes. They are in the typewriter business and they need to understand that now.

Also, peddling their BS in a brief is one thing, but I would love to see them present it at trial. I would say a minimum of 75% of the jurors would roll their eyes or start to laugh, especially anyone under 35.

Finrod's First Law of Bandwidth:
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it takes the bandwidth of ten thousand.

Seriously, they left this issue unresolved from the days of the first consumer open-reel tape decks. I still remember the unsuccessful anti-home-taping PR campaign of the early 1980's. Most people find private copies of legally owned recordings to be well within reasonable bounds of fair use.


And you know something?

Killin' ain't wrong.

The RIAA and major labels have been screwing artists and consumers alike for generations.

Fortunately, there are very few major-label artists making music worth a listen, much less a purchase.

Me? I'm happy to kick back with an old (but very well cared-for) LP copy of Red Headed Stranger or A Love Supreme rotating at 33 1/3 RPM on the direct drive Sansui and three fingers of Maker's Mark in a glass.

I could not care less if the likes of P.Dummy don't completely maximize their earnings because someone heard home-copied proof that their new music isn't worth buying. I really don't care if the majors are having a hard time paying for A&R representatives, vice presidents in charge of marketing or any other non-musician whose job is to interfere with the artists' creations.

More options exist now for independent artists and the major labels recognize they are becoming irrelevant to changing trends. When any other industry tries to use legal action or legislation to keep itself in business, we call it protectionism.

Declining sales have much more to do with inferior product content than home-copying or file sharing. The RIAA's solution to this problem is to punish the consumer. That's the logic of the music industry for you.


if the RIAA succeeds in this, it will kill off whatever is left of the CD market. Because CDs are no longer anything but a storage mechanism. Basically nobody uses them for playback any more because they're just not convenient.

The record stores realize this - if the RIAA looks like they're going to succeed there will be fallout from them. So I wouldn't worry about it happening too much.

I own... *gets up to count* 83 CDs or sets. The only music on my iPod that doesn't come from a purchased CD comes from things that were made available for download by their creators, or that just weren't made available in the US at all.

But if they start working to prevent me from operating this way, they'll never get a dime from me ever, ever, ever again. I'll just buy from Antiguans who have a WTO waiver from US copyright, perhaps.

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Watch this older video of an interview with the President where he rattles off some music he has on his ipod. He mentions the Beatles, which have NOT been sold in any digital download stores, so the only way it could have ended up on his ipod was being ripped from a CD.

Shhhh... don't let the Dems know -- they'll want to impeach him over it! :)

In Theory (and I'm not an expert with IP or Copyright Laws by any means) it seems to me the RIAA would be right in claiming that any copying constitutes a copyright violation. But in order this also could apply then to anyone who records a television show onto a VCR or DVR. Did they have the expressed written permission of X Production company to copy that show? If you tape it for a friend then are you therefore guilty of unlawfully distributing copyrighted material?

A line needs to be drawn here. I would say it should be considered legal to copy personally purchased CD's to your iPod so long as you don't share them on the web for others to download.

If the RIAA is so concerned about this why aren't they using the same piracy technology that is put on DVD's to prevent those from being ripped onto the file sharing sites?

The only way these techniques ever even *seem* to work, is that the DMCA provides cover for them. But, gee, since US laws tend to stop working off our shores, IT DOESN'T WORK.

Copying off DVDs is easy. You just have to get the software from outside the US is all.

The RIAA members manufacture buggy whips and they refuse to adapt. They instead look to ignoramuses in the Congress to subsidize them. Sadly one of the leaders of that group is Orrin Hatch.

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Is there anyway to legalize all of this to where copyright laws are still respected, and artists get compensation for their works? To me it seems if they could just offer those file sharing sites via paid memberships which would go to site upkeep and paying the recording artists for their works, similar to iTunes in nature.

They could stagger membership accounts by instituting some kind of download threshold on an account, the most expensive level being unlimited or close to that. I don't see how doing anything like that wouldn't be fair you please both sides with it.

to decrypt/copy DVDs. Google "DeCSS" and you'll find it everywhere (heck, I've seen it printed on t-shirts...)

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If they do so, however, they cannot call them CDs anymore, and cannot put the little "compact disc" logo on them. They no longer conform to the standard and Philips has been protecting that standard.

But, customers don't look for the logo, so you'll still get things like the Sony rootkit fiasco here and there.

Mostly, they've been trying, they've just been really ineffective.

We own 3 iPods and 2 new iPhones. Not to mention various computers that have our own CDs that we OWN ripped into Windows Media Player, iTunes, Real Player, etc. Not to mention our BOSE Lifestyle entertainment system and 3 hard drives in our cars, all full of our CD music. What I may or may not have done in the past with Napster, Morpheus, etc. is just a base rumor. If you can't tell, music is the #1 interest in our lives.

They'll take my music away from me when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands. In the meantime I hope they all rot in [redacted].

I hate to sound like a broken record but I could not hate these people more.

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

...a Vinylist!

SF Rockin' the Deaks

Founder and contributor to The Minority Report and Editor for The Hinzsight Report

They are their own worst enemies, at times.

They are technically correct that copying a CD onto your hard drive, and then to your MP3 player creates an "unauthorized" copy (or two) of the music. However, they have not established that authorization is required.

And to a certain extent, the RIAA uses this language to try to push people into settling early. Basically, "we think you're guilty of the following 97 infractions, we'll let you off easy and ignore 90 if you pay up now."

But, in RIAA v. Diamond, the 9th Circuit held that "space-shifting" (moving your content for personal use) was consistent with fair use, particularly since using a VCR to "time shift" broadcasts for personal use was allowed. The RIAA chose not to appeal to the Supreme Court.

And, indeed RIAA v. Diamond has been used as precedent a number of times, and the only time it's been chipped away was A&M v. Napster, where it was basically stated that just because you have a CD of the music doesn't mean you can download MP3s made from someone else's identical CD (which means that all sharing of music files is copyright infringement, even if these files are shared among people who ostensibly already have the music being shared).

All-in-all, space-shifting your music for your personal consumption has been accepted in most courts. It's not settled definitively, but it's pretty clear which way the wind is blowing.

If the RIAA continues to push this more recently emboldened claim that space-shifting your content does not fall under fair use, they are risking ending up at the Supreme Court and losing, whereupon hilarity would ensue.

What type of hilarity? Well, the Supreme Court tends to decide cases a bit more broadly then the parties might want. If you can space-shift your music onto your computer and MP3 player, what about your phone? Can you space shift your DVD collection?

Like a dog chasing it's tail, the RIAA is wasting tons of their own money chasing a ghost.

As it's already been pointed out, people have been copying their own (and others') music since the invention of the tape recorder.

I think book publishers gave up on copy machines a long time ago, no?

All the music I buy now is DRM-free .mpg. I refuse to buy anything else. DRM is nothing but a pain. I have DRM songs that I once bought and now I can't play because I changed computers and the music says it's not authorized. It wants me to jump through all these hoops just to authorize them. To heck with 'em.

No matter what they do, I can always copy my music. Audio signal to recording device to player. It's that simple. Thanks to the laws of physics, there will always be a way to do it. They'll never beat it.

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I'm curious, just how did the RIAA find out that Jeff Howell copied his music collection to his computer? The article doesn't say.

And what about all those people copying their DVDs to hard drives to run their entertainment system?

Yes, I think the spoiled child RIAA needs to be spanked.

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is with the ipod ? There are nicer/less expensive media players. Is it the unlabeled wheel ?
Is it the cult of Apple again ?
Is it a desire to be talked down to by people at the genius bar ?

what gives ?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

1. Apple's design is better, both in form and function.

2. Apple builds its products well. They cost more but they work better and last longer instead of being the disposable pieces of junk many manufacturers make. Apple products don't have a short lifespan by design as, say, a Sony product seems to have.

3. Integration with iTunes is only possible with an iPod, and further makes the thing easier to use. Seriously, have you seen what passes for 'playlist' support on a lot of the players out there?

I've been researching for a while what my next player will be. My specs are simple: AAC and MP3 support, small size, playlist support, and no software lock-in*. Nothing I've found comes close yet.

* This is why I'm moving away from the iPod. With iTunes 7 + the 3G Nano, Touch (and iPhone), and Classic iPods, Apple has made changes on the software and hardware sides to create a mandated lock in that wasn't there before.

I know why they're doing it, and I think it makes reasonable business sense. I just don't have to tolerate it, heh. If I have to I can reformat** and reflash my iPod with a different OS and get away now if I wanted to, as I should be able to because hey, I bought it and it's my hardware. With the new iPods, that's not an option any more.

** The Rockbox dorks only support the pathetic FAT filesystem on iPods.

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Or one of the lossless formats. Most of my music is digitized from my vinyl collection, I wonder if I can expect a summons ;-)

I just bought a 2gig player that handles the lossy formats and playlists cost was $40.00. I don't use Itunes yet. Qucktime is one giant security hole.

You really feel the design and quality is that much higher ?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I'd use lossless if I could get a 40G flash player I think, and note that iPods support Apple's losses codec :-)

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Not to help out the threadjack, but I agree with you about the "cult" of Apple. I have several Apple fanatics in my (extended) family, and the way they surround themselves w/ Apple products is somewhat mystifying. From personal experience, I find Apple products the hardest to work with. They are even worse than Sony with their "proprietary" systems. OS X is the hardest OS to do any REAL computer work on. Not word processing or music or drawing, but programming, hardware, tech support & web management. Windows or Linux(depending on the distribution) are far easier to deal with, IHMO.

Apple products,, stores and services all have the look about them. Apple stores, like Starbucks or San Fransico, always seemed to be where a liberal would like to hang out.

How many liberals can we describe as "smooth, trendy and new(looking)"? The name John Edwards come to mind?

Given that you can use basically all the same tools on the Mac that you can on any given Unix, PLUS all the Mac tools, there's no way that programming on a Mac is anything but strictly better than on any given Unix.

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Many thanks for your "HTML Help for Red Staters". It is very well done. I use it frequently when composing my more content oriented posts.

Proud supporter of McCain '00 and McCain '08

Programming alone, maybe. I'm talking about the whole works. Windows and Linux are far more adaptable. It may not be as pretty or "user friendly". But you can make it do a lot more. Case in point, you can install Linux on anything.
but try to install OS X on any other computer than the "approved" ones, and either you get a slow OS, a bricked motherboard from smashing the comp into the wall, or just frustration.

As far as hardware, take the iMac, for example. The design they had a few years ago(G4:to their credit, I think they have changed this w/ the G5) was impossible for the user to service at all, unless you buy special tools. They demand that you ship the thing in if the slightest problem occurs. Also, when you buy the comp, you end up paying a lot more just for the "status" of buying a Mac. If you don't agree, go to the Mac site, build your own comp, and then build one with the same specs on most PC manufacturer's sites. It usually costs a good amount more for a Mac.

If you are looking for a user friendly, simple OS, Mac might work. High end gaming w/ overclocking? Try not. Networking more than ten computers with third party hardware? Try not. Running most good, large websites? Try not.

Virtually any unix software can be run on a Mac. Therefore, to accomplish any task you can accomplish on unix is at least as easy on a Mac as it is in unix.

You want to just fiddle around in a terminal with screen? You want to run a few X11 apps? You want perl or ruby or python? Whatever you want to do in unix, you can do on the Mac. Seriously.

And what on Earth does having to install OS X on a different computer, have to do with how easy or powerful a Mac with OSX is?

And your complaint about the hardware is two generations old? Come on.

About the only valid complaint you have is the price. But it's worth it.

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My point with installing OS's is Mac's general attitude: we're going to force you to buy our hardware with our software, and if you buy ONE Apple product(like the Iphone, Ipod, OS X, I-Mac), we are going to make your life a living hell dealing with incompatability until you buy more of our products.

I'm mostly criticizing Apple for being so proprietary with hardware and software. Now their comps have, in recent years, have been showing less and less of this with their hardware, but everything else, like the iPhone and iPod, are all more expensive than their competitors. What exactly are you getting for the price, a flashy look? I do everything I do with open-source, easy to use, mostly free programs(I have had trouble running about 60% of them on a Mac. Technically you are right though, ANY program can run on a Mac) But how is worth the price? If I would have bought a Mac laptop, I would have spent approx. 300-500 more. Knowing both systems, I fail to see how it is worth it.

I am done for now. I would be interested to see how many folks around here use Mac v. Windows.

I just got my wife's office moved over to Macs. They were tired of all the conflicts in Windows between software and hardware. Her office is part of a larger University system that is entirely Windows dependent.

They have not had any conflicts working with the rest of the University. Word documents and Excel spreadsheets are traded with no problem.

Email from an Exchange server is checked with ease, as is a calendar.

I don 't know what incompatibility issues you're talking about, but they haven't run into any. Likewise, I use a Mac myself, but also have a PC that I use on occasion -- particularly when trying to see what RS looks like on IE 6 or 7.

Fight On!

I know what you're getting at, but as someone who doesn't care to ever go to Starbucks, I can say that going to an Apple Store is a positive experience. The people are helpful and knowledgeable without hanging all over you. Rather than compare that to Starbucks, perhaps it would be closer to compare it to going to Best Buy or Circuit City or Fry's and asking some computer questions.

from before the Ipod was brought to market. Going strong still. It only came with a whopping (at the time) 64mb of memory originally, I think I have 2GB in there now, which is sufficient for me. It's small (thick though), but when my battery dies I pop in a new AA, and don't have to buy a new mp3 player or send it into the company.
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the other third is covered by Champ Bailey.

Yes by zuiko

I would never by an iPod or iPhone myself. I refuse to install Apple's QuickTime and iTunes junk on any of my machines as well.

I used to use a SanDisk player but now I just use my Blackberry. Holds 4GB worth of songs (upgradeable when bigger MicroSDHC cards come out) and has a very decent MP3 player. I don't want another device to carry around and charge up all the time.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

"I guess that I won't be buying that iPod, then."

Well, that's the plan, as Doug Morris of Universal Music knows:


"Over the years, [Universal] has for the most part used its market power to squeeze money out of others' ideas. And its current moves — DRM-free songs and the Total Music subscription service — aren't about serving consumers, at least not principally. They're aimed at taking on Steve Jobs and, specifically, limiting the power of iTunes."

...this isn't a Republican or Democrat issue. I've always supported the rights of people being able to transfer music freely. The RIAA was wrong about Napster, and they are definitely wrong about this. If we can't buy CD's and rip them to put them on our iPods, then what good is it to buy CD's?

"Politics is the business of trying to convince fools to do the right thing."
-Braden Pace

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