Ripping music from CDs to your computer is illegal?

Music JailThe Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a lawsuit against Jeffrey Howell of Scottsdale Arizona for allegedly sharing 54 music files over Kazaa, a peer-to-peer network.

This isn’t really a big deal, since the RIAA is constantly filing cases such as this. What is big news is what they have added to the lawsuit–that ripping tracks off of CDs to a computer is illegal as well-even if you own the CDs and haven’t shared them with anyone else.

Ira Schwartz, the lawyer representing the RIAA’s case, described the situation this way, "It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings on his computer. Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs’ recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs."

What this boils down to is that Schwartz is saying that just ripping music from your CDs constitutes "unauthorized copies," of the music, and thus, you’re in violation of the law.

For gamers, if the court upholds this lawsuit, it could mean that ripping soundtracks and music off of our favorite games to our computers maybe illegal as well–even if we own the games, fair and square.

The suit has wide ranging ramifications. What if you rip music from games and transfer them to your iPod, MP3 player or another music playing device, let alone music that you own from your legal CD/DVD collection?

What if you just whistle the tune? Does this also mean you have broken the law? Or in the most extreme case, what if you are just thinking about the tune in your head?

It looks like the RIAA may have opened up Pandora’s Box and is in for a flurry of counter lawsuits from those who see this as a ridiculous infringement of personal rights.

[via washington post and tomshardware]


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.