Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer that has represented clients sued by the RIAA, was shocked by the industry's latest move. "I couldn't believe it when I read that, the basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."
Although the law does not clearly state that ripping CDs is illegal, the RIAA has made it clear where they stand. The RIAA website even says "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."
Despite the position that ripping CDs is the same as "stealing music" (as an RIAA lawyer put it), lawyers for consumers have pointed to past court rulings that have found "no violation of copyright law" in the usage of VCRs, TiVOs, and DVRs whose main purpose are "to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording."
Beckerman continued on by attacking the failed strategy of the RIAA, which has "created a whole market of people who specifically look to buy independent goods so as not to deal with the big record companies, every problem they're trying to solve is worse now than when they started."
Will the RIAA ever learn however? We can hope so, but for now, to quote the Washington Post, the group is "a classic example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed."
Because its illegal doesn't make it wrong.
Because its legal doesn't make it right.