Back to School with Baloney; RIAA ''Education'' Campaign Peddles Fiction
"The RIAA back to school message is 'Beware of anything free.' Ironically, it applies most aptly to the free 'educational' DVDs that RIAA is peddling to students and to the bogus legal advice on RIAA's 'Campus Downloading' website. Those who have cooperated with the RIAA in distributing this information should take a closer look at the inaccuracies, distortions and contradictions in the RIAA message."
The "FAQ" posted by the RIAA in support of its campaign dismisses the copyright law's Fair Use doctrine as applying only to productive or scholarly works. It suggests, contrary to explicit Supreme Court precedent, that Fair Use has no application to the home recording of entire works. The RIAA's free DVD, however, says that it is OK to make a CD copy for yourself, but is criminal to do so for a friend.
If there is no Fair Use for home recording, why is it OK to make the copy for yourself?
-- Because Mitch Bainwol, RIAA's president, testified in Congress that he does this, and RIAA's legal counsel told the Supreme Court in the Grokster case that he thinks it is OK? -- Or because the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA) prohibits any copyright suit for such "first generation" recordings? But if so - -- Why did RIAA and its members sue XM Satellite Radio over devices that make only personal, first generation recordings, and, -- Where in the AHRA, or in any court decision, does it say that purely personal recordings are legal, burning or emailing a single song for a friend or family member is criminal?
Shapiro, Sohn, and Black pointed to an August 28 editorial in the Greenville, MS Delta Democrat Times (www.ddtonline.com/articles/2006/08/27/news/editorials/edit4.txt) that called out the RIAA for its selective interpretations of the law:
"If (the RIAA's interpretation of the law) is correct, the law makes pirates of everyone who has ever recorded onto a cassette any song from a 45 RPM or 331/3 RPM record. If you've done this, you're a pirate, says the RIAA. The only reason you haven't been sued is the industry can't trace your practices through a computer. ... It apparently hasn't occurred to the industry that many of the people who download songs do so because they want to sample the music before they buy it. In the past, they had radio for this, but ... corporate influence has cut radio playlists to a limited number of songs and has narrowed the types of music that can be played ....."
Shapiro, Sohn and Black also stated that they fully support the idea of copyright education. They believe any copyright education campaign that includes information about consumer rights and responsibilities should be factually and legally accurate and should be developed by a neutral party.
The association and organization heads also noted that large amounts of content are posted free on-line by new artists under 'Creative Commons' licenses. They said RIAA's denigration of anything shared for free is not only inaccurate, but is also dismissive and disparaging of the young artists that the music industry purports to want to nurture and protect. They called on RIAA, and on the respectable institutions that have cooperated with its "education" campaign, to revise the "educational" website -- http://www.campusdownloading.com/dvd.htm# -- and to recall their "free" DVDs.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,100 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA's members account for more than $125 billion in annual sales. CEA's resources are available online at www.CE.org, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry.
CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Defining Tomorrow's Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.
The Home Recording Rights Coalition, founded in 1981, is a leading advocacy group for consumers' rights to use home electronics products for private, non-commercial purposes. The members of HRRC include consumers, retailers, manufacturers and professional servicers of consumer electronics products. Further information on this and related issues can be found on the HRRC website, www.hrrc.org.
About Public Knowledge
Public Knowledge is a public-interest advocacy and education organization that seeks to promote a balanced approach to intellectual property law and technology policy that reflects the "culture bargain" intended by the framers of the constitution.
About Computer & Communications Industry Association
CCIA is a nonprofit membership organization for a wide range of companies in the computer, Internet, information technology, and telecommunications industries, represented by their senior executives. Created over three decades ago, CCIA promotes open markets, open systems, open networks, and full, fair, and open competition. CCIA serves as an additional, and sometimes the only, eyes, ears, and voice, in Washington for our members. Our goal is to proactively protect and promote their legitimate interests, and to advance the broad common interests of our industries.