Wednesday, January 09, 2008

WaPo makes a mistake according to the RIAA

The Washington Post reported the other day that a man in Arizona was being sued by the RIAA for ripping a CD on to his computer. The RIAA says WaPo got it totally wrong, and that the illegal act was placing it into a "shared" folder for a filesharing program to access. The most interesting part is that Cary Sherman, the President of the RIAA, makes an evasive move in regards to the question whether or not its OK to copy music to your computer:
I think that is a question you just can't answer in the abstract. That's the problem. There are a hundred hypotheticals you could come up with to try and come up with whether its legal or illegal in this particular set of circumstances. And you can go down that path trying to figure it out case by case and it just makes you realize that sometimes the law just isn't as clear as you'd like it to be.
We can't speak for all copyright owners and say whether its legal or illegal. And Its going to vary from case to case anyway. Copyright law whether we like it or not is very complicated, but that's why we're tried to make clear.
Hear it here.

I sympathize with Sherman, because the RIAA was misrepresented, even if copyright law hasn't kept up with technological advances. I freaked out after reading the article and even told my activist media class that ripping CDs was now considered illegal. I hope that this misreporting will lead to better journalism and free, accessible, and useful adult education on copyright. I feel that there's too much of a focus on children and teenagers when it comes to media literacy when there's a huge demographic of adults who just don't understand (myself included and the RIAA) the repercussions of exponential technological growth. Media literacy groups must reach out to adults in order for a big faux pas like WaPo's to be avoided in the future.

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