Music you bought may not be yours to listen to as you please

A lawsuit filed in Arizona shows that the music industry wants to control how you listen to the music you purchase. Jeffrey Howell purchased (legally) about 2,000 songs on various CDs. He then transferred those song s to his personal computer, and has been listening to them from there. And now he’s being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The RIAA’s lawyer, Ira Schwartz, says in legal filings that the MP3 files Howell made from the CDs are “unauthorized copies” of the copyrighted songs.

Now, going after those who download songs illegally or share downloaded songs illegally – that’s one thing. But this is ludicrous. The guy purchased the CDs, and has a right to personally listen to them however he chooses. So long as he’s not “distributing” those songs, how can the RIAA really go after him? This screams insanity.

According to the RIAA’s website, they seem to say you’re only allowed to make an MP3 of a song if “…the CD you bought expressly permits you to do so.” And then, you’d only be able to use the MP3 for personal purposes, as you can’t give it to anyone else.

There comes a point when all this litigation over songs becomes way too much. The recording industry is going to alienate more and more of its customers by getting silly like this. Customers who legally purchase music should be able to use those songs for themselves, in their homes, as they please.

One blogger thinks he knows where this litigation by the RIAA is coming from. For years, music lovers had to re-purchase their favorite music when new technology came out…. vinyl to 8-track to cassette to CD to MP3… Now they’re losing that revenue stream if a person can buy one digital copy and transfer it between all of his digital devices. I had not thought of that, but something tells me he’s at least partly right about this.

However, as another blogger put it:

Who knows if you even have the right to listen to the music when you have friends over. Maybe they all need to bring their own copies. Maybe you need to buy a copy for each room of your house, or one for listening in the morning and one for listening in the evening, or…

The recording industry is not changing with the times, and this could put its financial future in jeopardy. In fact, I hope that music listeners let their wallets do the talking on this issue. Money seems to be the only thing that the RIAA listens to… let’s stop buying their music all together. They may get the message.

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