RIAA Goes After “Personal Use” Doctrine: Are They That Stupid?

Above is the title of an article by gadfly John Dvorak in PC magazine – the part before the colon. Dvorak comments on the possibility that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will start to sue people who rip CDs they’ve bought onto their computers or MP3 players. They would argue that the doctrine of “fair use” did not apply to this practice.

At first blush this appears ridiculous, but as the RIAA justifies its existence by suing anything with ears there might be something to this rumor. If the RIAA believed that ripping legally bought CDs was piracy they’d have to convince a court. They probably could find a gullible judge and prevail in court at least for a little while. The next step would be to ban time shifting with DVRs. At this point the lethargic public would rouse and squash the RIAA.

But all this is pretty far fetched. The record companies, the RIAA’s bosses, have begun to sell MP3s without DRM. Thus they’d have to start suing themselves. Given their understanding of their own business they might be stupid enough to sue themselves, but the odds are against it. Of course if they sued themselves and won they might get such a huge judgment that they could sustain their failing business with the proceeds.

If at first you don’t succeed sue, sue again.

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