Friday, February 17, 2006

My Nemesis Returns

It's been a while, but thanks to BattlePanda, guest-blogging better than Ezra (let me be the 732,576th to make that joke), I learn that the RIAA hates music fans you know, actually listening to the music they purchase. From testimony at ongoing rulemaking proceedings:
Nor does the fact that permission to make a copy in particular circumstances is often or even routinely granted, necessarily establish that the copying is a fair use when the copyright owner withholds that authorization. In this regard, the statement attributed to counsel for copyright owners in the MGM v. Grokster case is simply a statement about authorization, not about fair use.
The "statement" at issue is
The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod.
Translated, this 'clarification' means that their position is that "yes, you may currently place (some) of your music on (some) of your portable devices. But only because we permit it, and we reserve the right to say otherwise at any time. Not that we are planning on disallowing all use with iPods. Just all use with iPod software. Or manufactured by Apple. Did we mention that our parent companies also make portable music devices you should also look into?"

The rationale behind this argument is typically thuggish:
What's funny is that we would expect them to do anything else. Of course they don't want you getting MP3s from your CDs. What the music industry wants is for you to spend $2+ for each track if it's MP3s that you want. Never mind that the costs of distribution are essentially zero, and at $2 a track the costs are about the same as a CD. To the music companies, if you want MP3s you should by MP3s, and if you want CDs you should buy CDs. But if you buy the CD and rip it to MP3s, you're stealing.
Less functionality for twice the price? Where do I sign up? People not being completely docile in the face of naked, faux-moralistic profiteering, react predictably:
My only small solace, is that this insanity is causing so many people just to ignore copyright altogether (which is too bad, but is the logical response to such an abuse of a good concept). Ironically, groups like the RIAA and CRIA are basically encouraging people to do the very things they think they're trying to fight, and at some point, copyright might become so meaningless that their only chance to stop infringment will be to bring a class action suit against the people of the planet Earth. And I'd love to see how that would play out.

Everytime they announce that they think X should be illegal, a couple thousand people (who had never done "X" in the first place) say "that's ridiculous... I'm not giving them any of my money if that's their attitude..." and a whole section of the population who would have made an easy transition from legally buying CDs, to legally buying MP3s online, start downloading songs for free, in an effort to teach these guys a lesson.
The only reason I download mash-ups for free is that I can't buy them. If the song is good enough, I'd probably pay once for each song used. But that's not an option because this newfangled 'mixing' resembles 'art' too much, and we can't have that.

They don't want art, they want mechanistic, formulaic precision. Else how can our next cardboard cut-out, jail-bait, anorexic-in-training, talentless lip-synchersinger go gold and appear on MTV cribs?

But never fear, since the record companies themselves are doing a heckuva job, the feds are going to come in and take over. All my iPod are belong to Michael Chertoff:
Though the DHS has no ability to implement the kind of regulation that Frenkel mentioned, the organization is attempting to increase industry awareness of the rootkit problem, he said. "All we can do is, in essence, talk to them and embarrass them a little bit," Frenkel said.
And not that lack of ability or authority has stopped them before.


Icepick said...

Oh yeah, I forgot that we also agree that the record companies are idiots. That's TWO things!

Pooh said...

George Lucas is a tool. That's 3!