Here's a follow-up to my rant over at Mxrk the other day (which followed up a rant during an MLA interview), my first intellectual property rant of 2008. Chances are it shouldn't be the last- though daughter and dissertations will probably mean otherwise.
Marc Fisher over at the Washington Post recently reported that the RIAA is now targeting users who have copied files from legally purchased CDs onto their personal computers or MP3 players. Let me highlight the keywords: legally purchased, personal computers or MP3 players. According to the RIAA, any copy -repeat: ANY COPY- of a song is illegal. From the article:
At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.
Sigh. Mother-f@#king sigh. Why shouldn't the RIAA take this position? I mean, I'm surprised they didn't stumble upon this sooner. When one stops to imagine the untold
millions billions the RIAA has made thanks to the changes from vinyl to analogue cassette and then from those cassettes to compact disc, it makes perfect sense that they would push for this. Think of the billions of dollars they would stand to make if we had to repurchase entire CD collections as MP3s. [On a side note, my wife got me my first iPod for Christmas-- I've spent the last two weeks burning CDs. Perhaps I should expect a letter from the RIAA?]
Normally I wouldn't be concerned about such nonsense. Except in this case the nonsense has made it all the way to the supreme court. Nevermind the Sony ruling [the pillar of contemporary intellectual property law] or the common sense understanding that purchasing media affords the buyer the right to listen to that media at her convenience. This is what happens when we allow politicians with little knowledge of or experience with digital technologies to make laws. This is what happens when we use legislation designed to protect the public performance of sheet music to govern the distribution of digital files. Ruling the personal remediation of legally purchased files illegal would make the Digital Millennium Copywrong Act seem rational. Anyone who has talked to me on this subject for more than three seconds realizes how pathetic the last statement is.
So here's my solution. In 2008, I'm a solution-oriented kind of person. No more rants, now I'm making plans. Here's the plan, you are going to love it. Here is the list of everyone in the Senate who voted in favor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
<plan>DON'T VOTE FOR THESE MORONS..
Brilliant. The plan has more than one stage. Here's stage two: