iRony

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Boing Boing and Ernest Miller both note with some bemusement a squib up at Huffington Post by former RIAA honcho Hilary Rosen kvetching about the irritating Digital Rights Management baffles on the iPod. Now, I'm in full agreement: It's awfully annoying that I can't copy music I've dumped on the iPod back to my own machine without going through various time-wasting workarounds. But the golden line from Rosen is this:

If you are really a geek, you can figure out how to strip the songs you might have bought from another on-line store of all identifying information so that they will go into the iPod. But then you have also degraded the sound quality. How cruel.

You may also, of course, have technically subjected yourself to hefty penalties under the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And the numero-uno booster of the DMCA when it was being debated? Well, I hate to name names, but it rhymes with Zillary Bosen. How cruel.

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  1. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c105:1:./temp/~c105Y2hH7n:e52661:

    The hefty penalties only apply if circumvention is done “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.”

  2. crimethink,

    Question in regard to this: How is intent determined?

  3. degraded the sound quality?

    what teh fuxxorz?

  4. Cop (to 13-year-old): “All right, you little geek; who sold you those mp3’s? I want NAMES!”

  5. Someone once said that there was probably more support on the Net for the KKK than for the RIAA…

  6. So, big whoop. Hilary Rosen’s on someone else’s payroll now, so she’s spouting her new sponsors’ lines.

  7. IANAL, but: Using current precedent as a guide, intent is determined by one of two methods:

    1) Did you upload the songs to a central server and/or make them available over a P2P network using your own machine as the server?

    2) Did the RIAA target you in a John Doe lawsuit?

  8. rich,

    Good enough for me. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  9. Rich,
    IANAL either, but none of those sound like the “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain” standard crimethink threw out. Of course, overstepping the law is what government and powerful groups like the RIAA do best.

    David T,
    Change that probably to a definitely and you’re spot on. I can’t think of anyone less popular online than the RIAA.

  10. Of course, the standard in the section I linked to only applies to criminal penalties of fines and jail; civil penalties can apply regardless of intent.

  11. Mo,

    As I said, I’m applying precedent, not logic. Uploading has been deemed willful infringement of copyright in other cases, and infringement has a de facto definition of financial harm, which in turn consitutes de facto commercial advantage (disadvantaging one rights holder is advantageous to those not so disadvantaged).

    Interestingly (and you’d probably want to get an actual lawyer to speak upon in this) as far as I understand, it is not yet clear from a caselaw perspective whether or not downloading content (legally uploaded or otherwise) is legal in the US; Canada and the EU, on the other hand, have specifically codified that downloading is NEVER illegal, regardless of how the content got there, but uploading it without the copyright holder’s permission is. (NOTE: This would still render illegal downloading unauthorized content via most P2P software, including BitTorrent, because the nature of P2P is that your computer is simultaneously acting as both client and server, distributing the content to anyone who pulls your IP address out of their search. This is different from, say, downloading MP3s from Usenet binary groups, where the data flow is exclusively one-way unless you post something.) Concensus is that that’s how it’ll play out here too, but that seems to fly in the face of some of the RIAA’s John Doe lawsuits.

  12. rich,
    I wasn?t criticizing you. I was merely stating that contra-crimethink?s posted statement as far as what is illegal, his later statement re: civil penalties not included, that the reality you mentioned is very different from what actually is punished. It was a criticism of the RIAA and how the law is being enforced.

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