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Archive for the ‘copyright’ Category

Interesting bit of info about the RIAA

Posted by lozenp on August 21, 2007

So as anyone who reads this blog will know, I’m not a big fan of Digital Rights Management (DRM) or any other type of hard-handed copyright technology that prevents me from enjoying something that I legally bought in any manner I would like. As such, the Recording Industy Association of America’s (RIAA) recent string of blackmail lawsuits have really boiled my blood.

Forgetting for a moment that they went after a disabled single mother, that they dealt Internet Radio a crippling blow when they backed the per song fee increase, and that they have tried to cut the legal system out of the picture by sending threatening blackmail letters to people they claim have infringed on copyright demanding $1000, let’s look at how they actually make their cases against people.

The RIAA claims that making songs available over a file-sharing network like KaZaa, Limewire, etc., is copyright infringement. This is before anyone has even downloaded that file. And in a interesting piece of irony, the only way the RIAA can prove a file has been downloaded is when it’s own investigator, MediaSentry, has downloaded that file.

Further, the RIAA has not been able to establish that any infringement has actually taken place, nor do any of their complaints allege any actual acts of infringement, which the Digital Millennium Copyright Act says must take place in order for a case to actually be brought against someone.

The short of it is, with this type of argument if you put a song on the Internet from home, so that you could go to work and put it on your work PC, the RIAA could send you a copyright infringement notice and demand $1,000, even though you’ve not actually done anything wrong.

Once again, I must reiterate that I don’t condone taking songs off the Internet for free. If your entire music library was obtained for free, then I feel you are breaking the law.

However, the type of baseless lawsuits being brought by the RIAA and the Motion Picture Association of America are preventing law-abiding consumers like you and me from being able to enjoy our DVD, CD and MP3 collections the way we want to enjoy them.

A interesting side note to this is that it seems DRM is slowly breaking down, as both iTunes and now Wal Mart are offering DRM-free downloads from their music stores.

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Evil record companies

Posted by lozenp on July 25, 2007

Universal Music Group, who publishes music for the artist Prince, recently went through legal actions to petition YouTube to remove a video that it said infringed on it’s copyright. The video was removed, and let’s hope the hardened criminals are punished to the full extent of the law. Watch the video and come back for my take.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KfJHFWlhQ

No jumping ahead now, really watch the video to get my sarcasm.

Back, ok. How amazingly ridiculous is that? 29 seconds of a 20-year-old Prince song playing in the background of a video of someone’s kid dancing that was probably only put on YouTube so they proud parents could send it to their family. And Universal demands it be removed.

Obviously, the video was put back up once sanity returned, but the fact that it was even a discussion is just stupid. If you noticed, as of about 3 p.m. today there were only 441 views (update, just two days later and following the publicity the story got, nearly 60,000 views). Universal decided this was big enough to take a legal swipe at? It just ticks me off so much to see how far entertainment companies are trying to force themselves into our lives.

If I pay 10 bucks for your CD, that likely has three good songs and seven crappy ones, I should be able to use it as I see fit. No, I don’t want to just give it to other people for free, or sell it myself. But if I want to put Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way” on while my kids takes his first steps and record it, I should be able to do so. I’m not selling the video, in this case it’s only like 20 percent of the song! And what if I have Comcast’s music channel on in the background when I’m taping something? Can I then sue Comcast for putting me in a position to break the law?

Here’s a link to the artists that form UMG, I’m not encouraging anyone to break the law, but if you’re making a home video to post on YouTube, maybe make sure that someone from this list is playing in the background. Jack seems to like Rap, so don’t be surprised to hear some 2pac in the next vid we post on his site. I’d also encourage you to forgo buying full CDs and just buy the songs you want from ITunes or something like it. Labels hate singles, so anything we can do as a consuming public to show them how fed up we are with their invasion of privacy, the better.

Oh, and for those of you who listen to Internet Radio, those days may be coming to an end. Recent moves are now in effect that is forcing Internet Radio stations to pay crippling amounts of money per song played, and we will likely see the amount of stations disappearing. Thanks RIAA.

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The absolute stupidity of DRM

Posted by lozenp on March 2, 2007

So the people over at Gizmodo have declared a boycott of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for the month of March. What does this mean, no buying music the traditional way for the month of March. They have also created a manifesto to go along with their boycott. It’s a great read, I’d highly recommend it.

For those of you who don’t know, the RIAA is the evil group behind DRM, or digital rights management. They are the reason that music you buy from the Itunes store, can only be played on Ipods (sure there are ways around that but for the average user, they’re stuck with Ipod) and they are also the people that have brought lawsuits agains thousands of people across the country for “pirating” music (for the record, I’m against stealing music, but it’s certainly easy to understand why people do it with all the restrictions put on legal purchases).

Here’s the short story: If you buy a CD, you should be able to use it as you like. It’s yours. Short of making hundreds of copies and selling them to people, you should be able to listen to it in your car, on your Ipod, and on your computer. The RIAA wants that to be illegal. If you legally own a DVD, you should be able to make a backup copy of it, play it on your PC, on your DVD player, or put it on your home network for personal use. Not so, says the RIAA’s evil twin the MPAA (Motion Picture Assoc. America). Imagine buying an oven and being told you could only cook pie in it, even though it was a fully functioning oven that could cook any and all foods. Same concept.

Piracy is indeed a problem, but the RIAA really has no one to blame but themselves. Take morals, ethics, legality, etc. out of the picture. If given the choice to own a song either: 1. That is completely free of protection, free for you to use on as many media devices as you own, transfer from PC to PC that you own, play in any car you own, or 2. That same song that you can use on only one of your many media devices, and once you pick that device, that’s all you can use it on, which would you choose. Of course any sane person would say give me the open-ended file. And since the RIAA is so over-the-top with piracy, they’ve locked legal files down to ridiculous levels, essentially punishing the user who does things legally.

Remember taping radio programs back in the day, hoping to hear your favorite song? Illegal, according to the RIAA even though the programming is out on the free, open airwaves. Files you record to your DVR off free tv like ABC, you can’t do anything with them. It’s free TV, you paid your cable bill, you rent the equipment, yet you can’t do anything with those files.

I can’t explain it as well as the links above can, and if you ever get a chance (it’s a long read) take a peek at Courtney Love’s take on the music industry (note it is unedited). It’s eye-popping.

The most shocking thing the RIAA has done recently is this (from Gizmodo):

Recently, the RIAA began looking to streamline the entire lawsuit process by cutting courts, lawyers, and any semblance of due process out altogether. Their new plan is to have ISPs point people to p2plawsuits.com (catchy!) and offer to discount their settlement by $1,000 if they pay up without going to court at all. By avoiding the court system, the RIAA can avoid paying those pesky lawyer’s fees. Even better for them, they plan to require ISPs to retain all of their customer records for at least 180 days in order to be eligible for the $1,000 discount. This would make everyone’s surfing and downloading history available to a non-governmental organization in order to make it easier for them to gather evidence for their intimidation lawsuits.

Basically, the RIAA is attempting to enforce fines on people outside of the legal system, as if I were to send you a fine and tell you to pay my bank account to save time and money. Pure guerrilla tactics, and borderline illegal themselves.

I encourage you to learn more about copyright protection and the idea of Fair Use as it pertains to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. You may not know it, but your rights as a consumer are eroding before your very eyes.

More on this as things progress, and as I learn more about it.

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