In summary, the RIAA wants to be able to hack into a person’s computer and delete the “stolen MP3’s” on the hard drive. Also,

My question is this: how would they know which MP3’s have been “stolen” and which are legally owned. For example, I am a CD junkie, and I own 500-600 CDs. I like to copy them onto my computer and let it shuffle through them at random. I’m not sharing the songs in any way, and they are all legally mine. How would the RIAA know the difference between them and something that has been downloaded from KaZaA?

Also, would they be allowed to do this before they can prove that they won’t damage anything else? Suppose they decide to hack into someone’s computer looking for stolen music files and don’t find any, but accidentally delete all the files necessary for his or her home business?

That article says so little it is pretty much worthless but it does say that proposal is old and no longer part of the new proposal. So it seems your fears have no foundation.

My guess is that you would have to be sharing the MP3s for them to even know you have any (or even exist). The intent was likely to erase mp3s you are sharing, which you do not have the legal right to do even if you bought the CD.

Revtim, I understand that I don’t have the legal right to share the files. That’s why I don’t. I guess what I’m wondering is what kind of criteria the RIAA would use to determine into whose computer to hack, and how they would determine which files to delete.

What I was trying to say is that they would determine what PC to hack by who’s sharing. It is by sharing that one shows their MP3 to the world, including the RIAA. The RIAA would not know or care if they were legally obtained, but hack you because you would be sharing them.

Because you are still violating copyright. You have no right to make copies of those songs unless you’re the copyright holder.

So if the RIAA finds songs on your hard drive, unless you can prove you own the copyright (i.e., you wrote and performed the songs – buying the CD does not give you any copyrights), you can be held liable for a copyright violation.

The RIAA is more likely to go after people who are sharing out music from their computer and not bother with someone who’s just too lazy to slip a disk into the CD drive. But if they wanted to go after you for that, they could.

So by your reasoning I can’t make cassette copies of my CD’s to play in my car?


I’d bet you’re not supposed to, no.

The status of copyright and fair use, and the Audio Home Recording Act as applies to “ripping” is hardly well-defined.

See this faq on the EFF website.

It does note that ripping to computers may not be fair use, as computers aren’t covered by the AHRA, but that there’s been no specific court test as yet, and “many lawyers believe these activities are legal if done for personal, non-commercial uses under the copyright doctrine of ‘fair use’”.


Marley that’s actually a grey area under most “fair use” laws. The courts haven’t ruled either way yet because they recognize the possible legality of making copies for “time shifting purposes” – for example someone to tape a TV show so that they may watch it at a later time.

The Copyright Acts of the U.S. and Canada have not legislated it yet under the respective “fair use” and “fair dealings” provisions, but up and coming revisions to the Act in (both countries) are expected to feature ammendments that deal with it. It will likely end up being some kind of ammendment to the “private study” aspect in copyright law (e.g. I could photocopy a chapter of a book without fearing reprisals for copyright infringement because in the course of my “private study” I would much rather mark up a photocopy with doodles in the margins rather than ruin my expensive textbook.)

I expect the legal standpoint the RIAA will use as an approach isn’t the owning of the MP3s (because you could have used a legal pay-per-download service) but rather the “sharing” which would be unauthorized distribution of copies – that is undeniably illegal.

Hmm… but hacking? That’s like punishing someone without due process. I foresee some serious problems and I don’t think it’s going to be a viable solution that would be sanctioned by law.

Sure brings up some SERIOUS privacy issues. Then again, I don’t know how many people consider privacy important these days.

So I’m not even allowed to copy them for personal use? That doesn’t seem right to me. But then again, I’m the one asking the questions, aren’t I?

I’d say (IANAL) that making mp3s from CDs you own for your own personal use would be okay. As much a I hate the RIAA I don’t think they’re going to try cracking into just anyones computer. Most likely they’d only want to do it if you where sharing them on usenet, Kazaa, Gnutella, etc.
As for the legallity of it, I think they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Think of it this way: Say you think I stole your computer. You can’t just break into my house to see. Even if I did take it you’d be in trouble for breaking and entering. If the RIAA thinks someone is sharing warez then they need to go through the courts just like anyone esle.

FyreFiend - I recall the RIAA wanted to be able to hax0r people’s machines if they had reason to believe you were infringing copyright. Can’t cite, but IIRC, it was posted on slashdot. Predictably, most people were excited at the prospect, as they could write some random software, and then crack RIAA machines with impunety, saying merely “I thought they were ripping me off”.

Really, the RIAA has no idea who’se mp3s those are. They could be Mettallicas, they could be from, they could be recordings of your last attempt at stand-up humour. IMHO, it’s a dream they have.

You don’t have a legal right to, no. However, cassettes are considered “approved media,” so you cannot be sued for doing so.

Your hard drive is not approved media. Neither is a CD (that could be rectified easily enough, BTW, but the CD manufacturers don’t want to pay the money.

Read the law before you say “bull.”

Not according to copyright law. Copyright is the right to have copies. Unless you have the copyright, or have been granted permission by the copyright holder, you don’t have the right to make copies. It’s as simple as that.

This is exactly the problem. RIAA has been sending cease-and-desist letters to people they think are infringing, and this has included threatening some original artists who posted some MP3s of their own work which happened to have filenames similar to other copyrighted works. They’ve also threatened people who posted reviews of copyrighted works (not the works themselves) but used the original work’s filename. Apparently RIAA has neither the time to actually look at the content to see if it is the protected work they think it is, not the technical expertise to realise that an HTML file containing a review is not a ripped MP3.

You’ll have to forgive my ignorance of copyright law, as IANAL either. However, I thought that it meant you were not allowed to make money off of copies you made. I thought that as long as it was for personal use only, it was okay.

So if I was a musician (and I am, albeit a piddling local artist), would I have any recourse if I wanted to encourage the sharing of my own work?. Of course, I wouldn’t want another major distrubitor infringing on my copyright and manufacturing my work for their profit, but I would like to see my work actually get listened to (since radio is an utter at this point).