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back to article Now RIAA says copying your own CDs is illegal

The Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) has began a legal spat with a man who copied CDs he had bought onto his computer. Jeffery Howell of Scottsdale, Arizon has taken his case to court after he received a letter from the RIAA, reports the Washington Post. The RIAA, which lobbies on behalf of a music industry hammered by …

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Personal use copying

I'd be very interested in finding out if they really are taking him to court only because he copied his own CD's onto his computer, without making them available to others, or if he is sharing. If he is sharing fair play I guess, but if they are taking him to court simply for personal use copying then this really is a indicator of how mental they are trying to make things.

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Paris Hilton

Ridiculous

This is just getting stupid. They are certainly getting desperate to make money from the so called 'piracy loss'.

Would definatly love to know how they found out he made MP3 versions of his own legally bought CDs.

I seriously hope people will lobby against the RIAA/MPAA and take them to court and get them to pay everyone back.

One Day The People Will Beat Them All!

Paris angle - they are as dumb as she is

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So don't get caught using your MP3 player

So.

If you are seen with an MP3 player and not listening to the radio on it you can end up in deep poop because you have made an illigal copy of the latest CD YOU bought.

RIAA: Have foot it sight, can I shoot now

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Ludicrous

There's a point at which the law - rightfully so - fails to give a toss about stuff like this, and the RIAA should do the same. Why do DAPs exist if not to host your own music? They (the RIAA and others) can get stuffed if they think I'm buying hundreds of albums again in crappy MP3 format when I can rip them in Vorbis, FLAC or whatever I like from albums I've already paid for.

No, *technically* you're not allowed to put your CDs on DAPs, just as you weren't allowed to copy CDs to tape for your car, and you're not *technically* allowed to video a lot of stuff off the TV, but people do, have done, and will continue to do so, and in the vast majority of cases such activity is entirely harmless. Hopefully the judge in this case will have enough money and confidence that the RIAA can't bribe or intimidate them senseless, and they'll throw this crap out.

Spirit of the law vs letter of the law, once again.

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Alien

As so they go the way of DoDo

It seems incredulous! RIAA Own website says:

"... 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."

Well done RIAA. Continue the good job..... and I predict extinction in the very near future!

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Everytime they say anything, they get me worked up

I can't be asked to debate this whole mess about personal recordings AGAIN (Wasn't this settled in 1984? COME ON!!), but they are completely alienating any support they have.

When they offer us true, high-quality, non-locked music at a reasonable price (£5/6 an album), I'll be back on boar.

Until then I regard them as a bunch of dinosaurs, and when they make half-arsed comments like this, they set their goodwill back another year.

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Coat

RIAA sues self for copyright infringement and demands that it be forced to admit it's illegal.

Just wait, it will happen. They'll wind up in court against themselves or the people they are paid to represent...

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RE: Everytime they say anything, they get me worked up

er... Back on board. Not back on boar. I don't even know what that is.

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Flame

What a joke!

Oh well I'll just throw away my generic MP3 player as the software that came with it rips CD's to MP3's.

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Oh dear

The time had to come, I suppose. This is the most ridiculous charge against anyone, ever. Why didn't they do this 15 years ago when everyone was copying CDs onto tape to listen to in the car?

How did they find out anyway? And can we expect cease and desist orders against the likes of Apple for daring to provide software for CD ripping that goes as far as to name the tracks and download the album artwork?

I suppose next week we'll have the TV networks filing charges against people who have dared to video/dvd/pvr a tv show?

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Stop

This is a case too far...

...and a case that the RIAA would be well advised to drop immediately.

What exactly are they alleging this person did with the music? It's not clear that they are saying he did anything but rip CDs to his PC. This is an uphill slog for the music industry. I think that the court will look at exactly what copyright says and what you are purchasing when you buy a CD.

When you buy a CD you buy the unlimited right to listen to that music, the music on the CD. The simple act of playing it in a CD player causes the data on the CD to be format shifted to an analog format for your listening pleasure. That aside, you can listen the the disc as many times as you like, whenever and wherever. So you are buying a license to listen to the performance contained on the disc. Ripping the CD to MP3 on your personal computer allows you to make an inferior quality copy of the original. Yet if you are using it for your *personal* use, your use of the music you paid for a license to listen to has not in any way altered, you are still listening to the performance you paid for, and no infringement of rights has happened.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised though, the RIAA believes that playing your boom box amounts to a public performance and is therefore an infringement unless you pay them. What next? Suing the people using iPods if their headphones are turned up to much?

If the RIAA wants to start blithering on about what copyright does and does not allow the consumer to do, they are in my opinion pushing the pendulum too hard and far for their own good, it will eventually swing back and hit them. If you start examining what copyright doesn't allow, then it's fair to start examining what copyright law does allow, and why.

Quite apart from anything else, this case really makes a mockery of the previous attempts at managed copy. The defendant in this case should look carefully at the previous attempts by the RIAA to control the consumer's ability to copy CDs. Previously they have explicitly allowed users to copy CDs, as long as that copy was managed by their software to prevent the copied track(s) from being shared. Look at the various attempts to sell CDs with various copy protection mechanisms. Heck, the latest game consoles come with the ability to rip CDs to their HDD, are we saying that isn't allowed now? That will be news to Sony.

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Bad news for Apple, MS, etc...

If I can't copy my own CD's to my computer for personal use on my personal music player, then my iPod becomes pretty much useless. If this goes through, maybe everyone who bought an MP3 player should sue the RIAA for making their purchase worthless!

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Coat

Clueless

So does it mean that the iPod and other MP3 players are also illegal because they allow music to be copied onto them? And then obviously, iTunes et al are also illegal software because they allow you to 'rip' CDs. So following this logic, the RIAA should also sue Apple, Creative and anbody involved in producing MP3 players and CD ripping software. And then, the CD format is probably illegal too as it doesn't come with DRM so they should sue all companies that produce CDs, especially evil people like 3M and Verbatim who produce writable CDs! And then they should also sue the whole of the music industry for producing music on CD. And therefore they should sue themselves for representing the music industry.

Lost clue. If found, please return to the RIAA.

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So...

Now we can't copy our CDs onto our iPods? I mean, are they really that interested in totally destroying what little business they have left as to remove the only reason people would buy a CD these days? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

If they try to argue that copying a CD onto your computer and copying it onto an iPod are different things, I think that will be pretty much be the end of what little credibility they have left.

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Soon you'll be charged just for LISTENING

What a crock. If the RIAA has its way, soon you'll be charged just for LISTENING. Walk into a mall, pay your pence for the musak ...

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Coat

better idea

ban mp3 players. in fact, ban pc's. if you don't listen to your cd on a stereo, no law suit, we just shoot you. much cheaper and simpler. if you're dead, you can't steal music now can you? that'll learn ya

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This is just sick

I make personal backup's of all my music on my PC and by burning onto other CD's, so I never truely lose an album and so my car doesn't chew up the original. So according to these idiots what I'm doing is illegal.

I've followed and disagreed with what they are doing for a while. I think it is perfectly acceptable for people to download for free 2 or 3 songs from an album, no more, anymore and you can buy the album, or listen to a friends copy.

Sick, this is sick.

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Why not go after the MP3 Manufacturers ?

If the RIAA are only going after this guy because he ripped CDs he'd bought, for his own use (and didn't distribute or share the MP3s to anyone else), why don't the RIAA go after Apple, Sony, etc ? These companies have been "aiding and abetting" in these crimes for years, by selling software/hardware combos to do just this. Just think, Sony Electronics could end up being sued by Sony Entertainment ;-)

Come to think of it, it all comes back to Sony anyway for launching the Walkman, which encouraged people to listen to music they had bought, where ever and whenever they wanted to.

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Pirate

RIAA vs..

M$. I'm sure there was a featurette on the last DRM player that allowed you to 'Rip' from cd to hard drive..

surely the RIAA should go after the facilitators rather than the 'duped' victims of corporate software distributions..

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PJH
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Inaccuracies

The WP article is short on one little detail - he was sharing his mp3's via P2P software - that's how he was caught. And what he is being charged with.

And as far as the 'unauthorised copies' rubbish goes - any copy of a CD has always been unauthorised. This, however, doesn't make them illegal. Or stealing. It only becomes an offense if you start sharing them amongst other people.

It is quite legal to make an unauthorised copy for personal use; always has been since LP's and reel-to-reels were in common use. This is the 'fair use' doctrine in copyright law.

In short, the WP article is just more FUD.

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Pirate

MP3 Players illegal now then?

Is this story really true? I hope so 'cos the RIAA will become more of a joke, the more this story is disseminated.

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Stop

Wow...

they really want to push customers away. This sort of mentality will do nothing to convince people to buy music legally - you pay your money and don't even get fair usage?

If any work is copied for your own use, but not in ANY way distributed, then what's the problem? Are they arguing that you're circumventing natural wear and tear on the physical object (the CD, tape, whatever), and stopping them getting re-sales? But then legal MP3 sales have already undercut this argument. Plus, most people won't re-buy the same work twice.

Bad analogy time: It's like if I bought, oh, a hammer, and Black and Decker sued me for using it as a paperweight. I told you it was a bad analogy.

I'll use a stop icon to allow the obvious music/hammer/icon pun...

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How?

I would love to know how they found out about this. Did they hack into his computer? The irony of the RIAA being pulled up for hacking would be so much fun!

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Fair enough, but it could be better for us

One buys a audio CD to play on audio CD players. If a listener the wants to listen to that tune on the PC as a mp3 or on a mp3 device, then he or she should pay for the mp3 versions, one for the PC, one for the device. If the listener wants to listen to the tune in wma format then the listener should pay for the wma version.

In fact it would be a very good idea to tie a song in whatever format it is released to just one device. This could be done quite easily, with encryption and modified hardware, of course the consumer should bear the cost of the additional technology in the hardware. Then, If the listener wants to listen to the audio CD they bought for their home CD player in the car, it would not work and he/she should buy another copy. A quick 15-30 second audio advertisement followed by an anti piracy warning should also be tagged to the front of every mp3/Audio CD track such that it cannot be skipped. The track/audio CD should not be sold to the listener but leased and set so to no longer play after a fixed time or a fixed number of plays. Should the user wish to continue to listen to the song they are required to refresh the licence at full original cost.

There is a possibility to restrict when audio files/CD can be played. This would require clocks synchronised with world time to be fitted to playing equipment. Again the consumer can face the cost of the extra hardware. Using this model different pricing structures can be realised for the same song. The cost of listening to the song would vary depending on the time of day. The time being set when the consumer purchases the song. A user trying to listen outside of the purchased time period would be met by silence.

Should a user try to bypass any of the above an mp3 file will attempt to phone home and transmit the result of a hard drive/memory card scan to the RIAA HQ and list the user as a subversive and potential pirate. The information would also be immediately and simultaneously transmitted to MI5, MI6, CIA and NSA.

If using a mobile then the call home will be over a premium rate line to help pay for the administrative cost of prosecuting the user. The user will also bear the cost of relaying all the data to other law enforcement agencies.

Yours insincerely

Chief Idea Architect

Recording Industry Ass. of America

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Jobs Horns

WTF!

Er, wouldn't this make using iPods and similar devices completely impossible from a legal standpoint? The very act of ripping music to transfer to the media player creates a copy on the local computer!

I don't listen to CDs except in the car. I buy them, rip them, and use the iPod or computer. The CDs are stored in their cases and my files aren't shared... surely they cannot claim that this previously accepted/expected use is now illegal...

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RIAA need to understand new technology

Nescia sinistra quid faciat dextra?

The right hand of the RIAA prefers to ignore the left hand. Earlier they had said that copying to a computer and thence to the iPod was OK, now that is apparently inconvenient <http://www.electronista.com/articles/07/12/11/riaa.on.cd.ripping/>

When the music companies leave behind their outdated business models and get to grips with how most people are now using music and the black plastic disk is now rarely used, perhaps they will have a chance at survival.

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Regarding the RIAAs uphill battle

In the USofA the recording industry will have a hard time pushing this kind of case, the copyright law contains a specific provision preventing action for non-commercial (as in personal) use.

Here is the specific passage from the law, and a link to the law itself.

"TITLE 17, CHAPTER 10, SUBCHAPTER D, 1008 - Prohibition on certain infringement actions

No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings."

Note that last element includes both digital and analog recordings.

The full law can be found here;

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sup_01_17.html

There is another gem in the law that talks about whether copy control mechanisms are effective. Based on the definition in the law, there are no effective copy controls on music CDs. In which case very little of the infringement stuff would appear to apply. Enjoy your reading. Wonder if the RIAA bothered to read Title 17,Chapter 10, subchapter D, section 1008? One would presume they did not.

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Black Helicopters

unauthorised copies

I assume this means they'll be suing Microsoft (for media player) and Apple (itunes) for providing the means to make unauthorised copies of data? and for selling hardware with the capabilities to play these unauthorised tracks (zune, ipod)

No? oh what a surprise.

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Fair use?

IIRC, that was settled 20+ years ago with cassettes and Videotapes, you know, that thingy about "fair use".

Keeping a backup copy in your PC is just using another medium, especially if you're trying to, say, copy them to your mp3 player, or your iPod.. whatever.

See, there's even a tool for my W300 that does exactly that: it rips a CD, then transfers it to my cellphone. Except part of this LEGAL process involves copying the stuff into my PC. According to the RIAssA, I'm breaking the law.

Strike 'em down. This is borderline maddness from the RIAA.

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Alien

BINGO !!

You said, "But this latest move by the big record companies to hold individuals personally responsible perhaps signals how weak at the knees they have truly become."

I say, right on. These guys are getting desperate. Maybe they can sue me if I buy a CD cause , OF COURSE, I must be going to copy it. :-) RIGHT?

WIth any luck they could bring the music industry to its knees all by them selves. Maybe we could move to a direct from Artist to audiance model where the Artist owns the copywrite and sells the music directly or thru a service like iTunes. Then RIAA would be left out of the loop.

WOOOO, what an idea. Anyone else agree??

PS, Happy New Year.

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Anonymous Coward

What happened to the 1976 Sony case?

I thought that a Supreme Court decision around 1976 decided that "FAIR USE" allowed people to make personal back-ups of ANY of their media (for personal use). Modifying or backing up your own personal materials was considered fair use and should be protected from moral-less jackals like this.

My understanding (not a laywer) is that the Supreme Court decided in the 1976 Sony Betamax case that the benefit that the VCR (betamax) gave to the general public OUTWEIGHED the need of the studios to control their media and make more money on of one person for multiple copies of the same movie. This was supposed to allow ANYONE to copy and share their own personal copies of this media with their friends and families.

Yes there is the 1996 Digitial Millennium Copyright Act, but I believe that bit of legal work also states clearly that any protections etc that it affords CANNOT interfere with people's already accepted fair use of their property. This line was an essential requirement to get the signatures needed to pass into law.

Could someone more educated on this matter than I confirm or deny the above sentiments please?

Either way it appears that the RIAA is trying to re-write the law and steal more rights away from the general public. People should be offended by this and really care about the outcome - this will affect you eventually, and in more important ways than just music. (DNA copyrights are prevent life-saving research from being done - because universities and large corporations are allowed to "patent" already existing genes that they "discover"

Stinks of 1984 to me

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Coat

Shaking my head...

Methinks all the SCO lawyers found jobs with the RIAA.

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"It's not our first choice, but it's a necessary part of the equation."

My observations of their modus operandi suggest that legal action and other heavy handed tactics ARE their first choices.

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UK copyright law doesn't permit copying for personal use

UK copyright law doesn't permit duplicating copyrighted material for personal use.

If this facility in the USA were removed, it would have all sorts of repercussions, not just for music. It would affect software backups, loading software (one image in RAM, one on disk) etc.

I hope they don't get away with it.

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That's it they

have finally lost the plot. Expect white van and men in white coats to arrive any minute. RIAA = Royalty Insane Assholes of America.

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iPod

So are they going to sue every iPod owner, because I'm damn sure that most people have not filled them via the iTunes store, at 79p a track it would cost about £13k to fill an 80gb iPod Classic.

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Jobs Halo

ITunes/WMP/WinAMP/etc etc

So the thousands of songs I have ripped onto my computers (laptop and Desktop) is all illegal now??

Ha, good luck to the RIAA stopping people ripping music. Literally EVERYONE has done it.

What does Steve have to say about this? Seeing as the whole iPod/iTunes business is based on people ripping CD's

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Idiots

How about - we stop copying CDs onto our PCs when you replace CDs that break or get scratched to hell. Also, please supply me with a 25-drive CD tower so that I can pick randomly from 25 CDs when listening.

Bloody morons. The R.I.Ass.A needs to piss off and die, where do they make up these figures for "damages" anyway - sounds like they pulled them out of a hat, or other dark orifice.

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Anonymous Coward

Scotland yard calling; lovey

Never in the field of Human recording was so much owed to so few by so many

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hmm

The fact that the RIAA knew CDs were copied to the PC without them being made available online is a bit worrying no?

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Flame

O rly?

Have they not heard of the law called "fair use"? I'd love them to send me a letter like that, so I can sue them into oblivion. Someone has to.

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Bad news for the RIAA...

Apparently they've not read the United States Copyright Act, sections 107-122.

Hint: It has to deal with FAIR USE. Copying your own media is one of those protections offered under Fair Use.

As long as he bought the CDs/received them as a gift and can provide proof that they're his, there's no legal basis for the RIAA.

Unless he distributed copies, he's perfectly in the clear.

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hmm

well if they are going sue people for buying CD's then putting on their PC's as MP3's, etc, then you might as well just download it via P2P and save some pounds by not buying the CD's

i think they are going way to far

just out of interest what happens with the money RIAA, etc collect? does the artists see any of it, i bet they dont

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Are they having a laugh...

This is ridiculous, all of my 250+ cd's have been ripped to my PC so I can listen to them when I want without messing around getting them out of the cases. Surely they are clutching at staws now.

What about the hard drive music players? Are songs transferred onto your MP3 player illegal? The new Sony mini hi-fi with a hard drive? The 4 grand Bose lifestyle stereo with a hard drive?

There will be a few red-faced lawyers after this one goes to court!

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Broken contract

I don't agree to the RIAA's new terms of use. I propose that the RIAA settle this by buying back my CD collection at the original price.

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Stop

Ugh...

How about a link to the court brief PDF? I will bet anyone here $100 to your favorite charity that the language in that brief has to do with copying the file to the "shared" folder of a file sharing app. It's RIAA boilerplate at this point, and not terribly unreasonable.

Engadget has already said this story was debunked. Just no explanation of the debunking.

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Alert

I can see the next lawsuit

"Man sued for listening to music: RIAA claims 'unlawful distribution' of sound waves"

Are we to be sued for ripping CDs to put on our computers and mp3 players? I wouldn't be surprised if they tried.

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So then

if I scan a book or other copyrighted work into my computer I am an "infringer"?

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Full of christmas cheer, that lot

What a pile of crap, so instead of just criminalising file-sharers, they now want to criminalise everyone?

High time the record labels got a much more professional company to represent them.

Happy New Year all!

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insane

They are, of course, clinically insane. However, their insanity is going to cost a lot of people a lot of money in the short term defending themselves against such a vile interpretation. Given their lobbying budget, they might just be able to make their interpretation stick in the long term. Which would certainly help them finish the task they set themselves of erasing the last vestiges of "copyright" and all its ramifications, thus completely reversing the original 1710 Statute of Anne.

It's also pure greed. Any mention of "artists" in their speeches should be exposed for the lie that it is. Most recording contracts up to quite recently didn't include digital rights for music. So anything the labels are selling electronically on iTunes, Amazon or other places isn't benefiting the artist at all. CD sales are going down as the labels switch to online modes (to the detriment of the artist), yet they still have a cojones to claim that they are "defending the artists".

Vaguely related article here:

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_yorke?currentPage=all

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