It is ethical and appropriate for the RIAA to enforce the DMCA by suing people who download
and share copyrighted music on their home computers.
The United States Constitution in Article I, Section 8 protects intellectual property:
“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors
and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
"The U.S. Code protects copyright owners from the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation or
distribution of sound recordings, as well as certain digital performances to the public. In more
general terms, it is considered legal for you to purchase a music CD and record (rip) it to MP3
files for your own use. Uploading these files via peer-to-peer networks would constitute a breach
of the law."
The DMCA “…criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services
that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly
known as DRM) and criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is
no infringement of copyright itself. It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on
Digital Rights Media is software locking used to assure copyright holders that (in this case
music) their work remains in their control. DRM seeks to prevent users from ripping and
uploading music to a file sharing network. While there is debate over DRM preventing fair use
of music as stated in the US copyright code, why should fair use rights be granted to those who
will inevitably illegally share the music on the internet? Digital Rights Media for music has tried
and failed and is no longer a valuable discussion as most major record labels have ceased locking
These are laws passed in order to keep our capitalist economy thriving and innovating; those
who break the law should be punished. John Locke’s philosophy of private property sums this up
quite nicely in stating what is taking out of the common and made into something unique gives
the individual the right to control what is done with it. The copyright laws are passed in order to
prevent a state of war.
The keyword in this debate is “home computers”, meaning the RIAA is targeting tech savvy
teens and pre-teens in which their parents ultimately take the heat if a lawsuit is filed. Targeting
individuals like this does not stop the flow of pirated music; the RIAA should focus and use the
DMCA to its advantage by taking down popular torrent sites such as mini nova and the pirate
bay and other illegal peer-to-peer file sharing websites. In addition to this the RIAA should
embrace innovation and look at the statistics; digital sales are growing and tangible CD sales are
declining rapidly. Sony BGM CEO states that "In '09, we're going to be around 50/50 between
physical and digital."
According to mini nova’s official blog, On January 8th of last year they reached the 1 billion
download mark. So ask yourself why the RIAA is wasting time going after single individuals
who cannot download a billion songs in a lifetime by themselves instead of going after the
source for all those downloads, mini nova?
In an article written by ars technical it states: “The RIAA's ongoing campaign to stamp out file
trading by suing consumers is old news. But when details of one of their latest lawsuits became
public, it was too good to pass up. A suit filed recently in US District Court named 83-year-old
Gertrude Walton as a defendant, accusing her of serving up over 700 songs onto peer-to-peer
networks. Now, the RIAA has gone after grandmothers before. In 2003, they mistakenly targeted
a 66-year-old woman for allegedly sharing gangsta rap. But this case goes a bit further, as Mrs.
Walton actually passed away in December 2004.”
A family in Georgia exclaims: "I don't understand this," said James Walls. "How can they sue us
when we don't even have a computer?"
Patricia Santangelo, a divorced mother of five children, is one of the thousands of victims of
lawsuits by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) aimed at P2P filesharers.
The record companies say her computer and internet account were used to illegally distribute
copyrighted music through P2P networks.
In an article entitled “Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse,” on EFF.org, The
Electronic Frontier Foundation filed suit today against Universal Music Publishing Group,
asking a federal court to protect the fair use and free speech rights of a mother who posted a
short video of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song on YouTube. YouTube was issued a
DMCA takedown notice and the mother’s video was removed from youtube.
On the Electronic Frontiers Foundation website they clearly state why YouTube was quickly
compliant with the notice: “In particular, copyright claimants are increasingly misusing the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to demand that material be immediately taken down
without providing any proof of infringement. Service providers, fearful of monetary damages
and legal hassles, often comply with these requests without double-checking them, despite the
cost to free speech and individual rights.”
From the EFF report RIAA at four: RIAA spokesperson, “When you go fishing with a driftnet,
sometimes you catch a dolphin.”
The volume of downloads sold to date continues to pale when compared to the number of files
swapped over P2P networks—an estimated 5 billion each month. In other words, the number of
files shared on these networks was over 35 times greater than the number of songs purchased on