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What is Proof of Music Ownership?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the possession-is-9/10ths-of-the-law dept.

160

scottsk asks: "What is proof of music ownership? I can't find a good answer anywhere. Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought. What must that person produce to prove the music was purchased legitimately? Is producing an original commercially sold CD with the music acceptable, or is some further proof of purchase needed (cash register receipt, cancelled check, etc.)? What if a person has digitized a commercial cassette, like digitizing a photo? Must the person carry the cassette around forever, or is just the cassette insert sufficient? (What about an LP record that has been digitized?)" Now, what happens if you've lost all of your property in a fire, but still had an off-site digital backup of your legally purchased music somewhere? Does the loss of the original property invalidate the legality of the backups?

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160 comments

Dog and homework? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15938586)

Maybe they do a judgement call similar to know if the dog has really eaten the homework?

The truth of the matter... (5, Insightful)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938598)

...is that we really don't own anything.

Re:The truth of the matter... (1, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938641)

Close enough. I presume the questioner is really talking about digital music files on some sort of "consumer" controlled media, like a home computer or an iPod.

The reason he can't find a good answer is because you don't own them. You possess them. You own a car, or a CD. If if the music is your original work you own the rights legally associated. These all have a legally definable title.

A digital file does not, so you cannot prove you have one.

I do wonder, however, why he thinks anyone actually would be hauled into court, or, having been so, feel he would be compelled to demonstrate legal possession. The accuser must present evidence that you do not legally possess them, and you only need argue to refute the evidence. Proof of legal possession is certainly an affirmative defense, but hardly the only one, especially if the claim is weak to nonexistant.

If found liable the damages would be on the order of a buck a CDs worth. The huge claims for damages by the RIAA in their p2p cases are for distribution, per copy per song, which could be many thousands of instances per song, not just one, plus whatever criminal fines apply to exceeding certain limits of ditribution value.

A hundred songs would run you less than ten bucks in actual damages. Who do you figure is taking you to small claims court over that?

KFG

Re:The truth of the matter... (1)

aneurysm36 (459092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938768)

A hundred songs would run you less than ten bucks in actual damages.

way cheaper than itunes! =D

Re:The truth of the matter... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938871)

. . .way cheaper than itunes! =D

This is one of those nights where I'm posting while my attention is actually hard on other things, so I screwed up. I neglected that there are actually two rights payments to make, one for rights to the song and one for rights to the recording.

So make it less than twenty bucks, which is less than the filing fee for small claims court in most places (although loser pays that). And of course paying a small claims judgement borders on a voluntary act. There's no court ordered enforcement.

You could try to put a twenty dollar lein on their house or something I suppose.

In any case you can see how much of your "purchase" price is actually going to something other than simply paying for the rights. Somebody is getting seventy five cents on the dollar (after bandwidth charges) "extra" money.

KFG

Re:The truth of the matter... (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939159)

Somebody is getting seventy five cents on the dollar (after bandwidth charges) "extra" money.

But those extra 75 cents go towards employing people and keeping an industry going, which is good for the economy, right?

The truth of the matter...Right side. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15938777)

Agreed. It's really an odd question. It's really not that hard to stay on the right side of the law.* It's when people try to be devious that all the problems start.

*The main thrust is easy to understand for legalese. It's the gray areas, and corner cases you may need a lawyer to explain.

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (3, Insightful)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938993)

You own the music like you own a book. It's only since companies like Microsoft have started asserting that you paid $XXX for nothing other than the right to click on a 'Yeah, I sell you my soul' button and it's only the clicking of the button (and subsequent agreement) that gives you any right to the software on the CD that you ostensibly paid for ... (god what a run-on sentence) that people have been able to swallow the idea that they don't really own the music that they 'buy' at the store.

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939029)

It's only since companies like Microsoft have started asserting that you paid $XXX for nothing other than the right to click on a 'Yeah, I sell you my soul' button . . .

I've posted about; and gotten shit over it, that issue before. I remember the world before that happened. I remember the first "Save Mickey Bill" as well.

However, even before we "saved" Mickey you owned a book, but you did you not own the book's text. That is specifically what is protected by copyright.

Books and CDs are property. You buy it; you own it. "Content" has certain rights associated with it. Do not license rights. Buy property. Used property is cheaper and doesn't support the RIAA, although you run the risk of being considered a pirate statistically.

KFG

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (1, Insightful)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939399)

You own the book, you own the text. What you don't own is the right to distribute copies of the text you own.

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939441)

What you don't own is the right to distribute copies of the text you own.

Because you do not own the text. That is why you have to pay royalties to stage a play.

KFG

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939508)

What you don't own is the copyright. Copyright is not the text itself. It is a right with respect to the text.

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939540)

Copyright is not the text itself. It is a right with respect to the text.

Copyright is a right; an abstract concept, to a monopoly on the text; another abstract concept.

Which is why I may owe a royalty for speaking it. Speech is an instance of the text.

KFG

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939775)

Not to get to picky but lets try to to keep sticking the word legal in front of right. I have the right to copy anything I so choose at any time and in any manner, I do not have the right to deny use of something but I certainly have the right to copy.

Whilst at this current time in the evolution of human society, the greed of the minority has abridged the rights of the majority, the assupmtion that this will be true for all time is patently false.

It is expected that human society will continue to evolve and petty greed will not continue to be the sole motivator for the creation of new ideas, open source software being a case in point (GPL only being a neccesity to fend off the greedy).

Re:The truth of the matter... (owned) (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939816)

Not to get to picky but lets try to to keep sticking the word legal in front of right. I have the right to copy anything I so choose at any time. . .

I have elsewhere/when avered that I accept Jefferson's assertion that copyright has no place in American Constitutional government. Monroe's arguments also have some merit; and of course prevailed, but his defense of his arguements (that The People would not allow unjust expansion of artificial monopolies) have proven falacious.

. . .petty greed will not continue to be the sole motivator for the creation of new ideas. . .

However, I have no idea where you get the idea that this is the case. Most of the "creative types" I know never expect to make a dime from their creations. Creation is its own motivation and reward. Don't confuse the trees with the forest.

KFG

And if you look at the BSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15938840)

Absolutely nothing will be good enough for them. Sure, you might have dated recepts for *every* CD. You might have recorded in a dated book with numbered pages each and every CD you ripped, what program, version & settings you used. You might have logs, affadavits, and everything else but really, when you get right down to it...

You're not a customer to them, you're a pirate. You're not entitled to make any use of the music other than listening to it by yourself or with immediate family and up to three (3) friends (any more than that and they'll probably consider it a "public performance," which you need to compensate them for).

Personally? I don't give a crap. I don't intend to let them find me or sue me, I don't intend to buy their crap, and whatever things I already have, I'll make any damn use of that I want to. And if they don't like that? That's just too damn bad.

Re:The truth of the matter... (0, Flamebait)

musonica (949257) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939039)

In the capitalist west, you don't own music, the music labels try to own you, all your rights, your firstborn and any dead relatives you might have....

Slashdot != legal advice (4, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938599)

IANAL (but cpt kangarooski is), but it would seem to me that once you purchase a work it is yours. You have made backups for just the reason that happened ... the originals were lost.

If you're talking about the RIAA busting down your door and asking you to prove that you have a legally purchased copy of any of those CD-Rs with "their IP" on them, then I think you can be safe knowing they have to prove that it is more likely than not that those are the result of infringement.

Re:Slashdot != legal advice (1)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938624)

IANAL either (damn bar exams!) but it seems to me that the copyright act does not explicitly grant the right to make a backup of a sound recording. That would have to fall under the fair use provisions of section 107. The only section that speaks of archival copies is 117 relating to computer programs. But, using that as a guide, use of the backup must be discontinued when continued possession of the original ceases to be rightful. I take that to mean that if the original is destroyed, but you still have a right to use it, you can still use the backup.

Re:Slashdot != legal advice (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938656)

. . .it would seem to me that once you purchase a work it is yours.

And that is why Michael Jackson owns Yesterday and Paul McCartney owns Tomorrow. Sorry, but I get a bit of a kick out of that one.

The rest of us, however, have to purchase copies on physical media, and we then own that media, or license copies of files.

KFG

Re:Slashdot != legal advice (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938819)

Come on! You knew what I meant. You own the copy. And if you purchased a valid copy, you have the right via fair use, to make private archival copies of any of your bought works.

Re:Slashdot != legal advice (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938918)

You own the copy.

If you purchased a CD you own the CD. Period. You may or may not have certain fair use rights to the works on that CD.

If you purchased a file license you own nothing. You have been granted limited rights. Period.

If you purchase the copyright you actually "own" the song (weeeeeeeeeell, you have certain monopoly rights with regard to the song; defined by law).

However, as for the idea of the RIAA suing you for possession, I dealt with that issue in another post. They're rapacious assholes, but even they decided to "temporarily suspend the productive settlement discussions" with a dead guy, although I suppose they could still come back claiming that he's being unresponsive.

KFG

Re:Slashdot != legal advice (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940182)

If you're talking about the RIAA busting down your door and asking you to prove that you have a legally purchased copy of any of those CD-Rs with "their IP" on them, then I think you can be safe knowing they have to prove that it is more likely than not that those are the result of infringement.

The RIAA will most likely be knocking at your door (not busting it down) because it traced hundreds of downloads or thousands of uploads to your account. Klamath Falls man downloads $4,500 music file fine [katu.com] (August 7, 2006)

The situation changes, of course, if your jeweled case CD-Rs begin turning up in flea-market sales with photoshoped alblum art.

What is Proof of Music Ownership? (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938603)

> What is proof of music ownership?

Copyright registration in your name.

Subconscious copying (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938615)

Even a copyright registration in your name is not conclusive proof of ownership, as George Harrison found out the hard way. Bright Tunes Music successfully sued Harrison and his publisher for subconsciously copying "He's So Fine" by Ronald Mack into "My Sweet Lord". Google1 [google.com] | Google2 [google.com] | Inevitability [slashdot.org]

Re:Subconscious copying (4, Interesting)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938807)

John Fogarty, who was sued by Saul Zaentz for allegedly plagiarizing himself , might be an even better example.

Subconscious posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15938866)

Ladies and gentleman. Tepples is going to beat that one case into an unrecognizable pulp, or he passes from this life. BTW here's the definition of precedent [lectlaw.com] in case Tepples wants to argue his way out that way. Read the footnotes while you're at it Tepples, dear.


THE QUESTION OF LIABILITY FOR INFRINGEMENT
The suit was conducted in two phases, which makes perfectly good sense in litigation of this type. (footnote 6) It would be a waste of time for Harrison to prepare and deliver the financial information necessary to determine the amount due to Bright unless the judge found that Harrison had plagiarized, at least in part, HSF. The trial on the issue of liability was conducted on February 23-25, 1976. At that trial, the judge was called upon to make an analysis of the music of both HSF and MSL. (footnote 7) Both sides called expert witnesses to support their contentions, and Harrison himself testified about the process that occurred in writing MSL. After hearing the testimony and considering the evidence, the judge found MSL did indeed infringe upon HSF's copyright.

The Court noted that HSF incorporated two basic musical phrases, which were called "motif A" and "motif B". Motif A consisted of four repetitions of the notes "G-E-D" or "sol-mi- re"; B was "G-A-C-A-C" or "sol-la-do-la-do", and in the second use of motif B, a grace note was inserted after the second A, making the phrase "sol-la-do-la-re-do". The experts for each party agreed that this was a highly unusual pattern.

Harrison's own expert testified that although the individual motifs were common enough to be in the public domain, the combination here was so unique that he had never come across another piece of music that used this particular sequence, and certainly not one that inserted a grace note as described above.

Harrison's composition used the same motif A four times, which was then followed by motif B, but only three times, not four. Instead of a fourth repetition of motif B, there was a transitional phrase of the same approximate length. The original composition as performed by Billy Preston also contained the grace note after the second repetition of the line in motif B, but Harrison's version did not have this grace note.

Harrison's experts could not contest the basic findings of the Court, but did attempt to point out differences in the two songs. However, the judge found that while there may have been modest alterations to accommodate different words with a different number of syllables, the essential musical piece was not changed significantly. The experts also pointed out that Harrison's version of MSL omitted the grace note, but the judge ruled that this minor change did not change the genesis of the song as that which previously occurred in HSF.

With all the evidence pointing out the similarities between the two songs, the judge said it was "perfectly obvious . . . the two songs are virtually identical". The judge was convinced that neither Harrison nor Preston consciously set out to appropriate the melody of HSF for their own use, but such was not a defense.

Harrison conceded that he had heard HSF prior to writing MSL, and therefore, his subconscious knew the combination of sounds he put to the words of MSL would work, because they had already done so. Terming what occurred as subconscious plagiarism, the judge found that the case should be re-set for a trial on the issue of damages.

This ruling as to the copyright infringement was upheld on appeal with little comment. The appellate court noted that an infringement can be established when the holder of the copyright demonstrates that the second work is substantially similar to the protected work and the second composer had "access" to the first work. Harrison conceded that he had indeed heard HSF when it was popular, thus establishing the second point.

Harrison's main argument on appeal was that it was unsound policy to allow a finding of plagiarism based on subconscious copying, as there was no evidence that he purposely appropriated the melody of HSF for use in a composition he claimed as his own. This position was rejected by the appellate court, which pointed out that the Copyright Act did not require a showing of "intent to infringe" to support a finding of infringement.


http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/mysweet.htm [vwh.net]

Subconscious suppression techniques? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939001)

Tepples is going to beat that one case into an unrecognizable pulp, or he passes from this life.

I'll quit repeating it as soon as somebody shows me how to prevent myself from making the same mistake that Harrison made.

Harrison conceded that he had heard HSF prior to writing MSL, and therefore, his subconscious knew the combination of sounds he put to the words of MSL would work, because they had already done so. Terming what occurred as subconscious plagiarism, the judge found that the case should be re-set for a trial on the issue of damages.

So how do I recognize whether a song that I have written contains such a subconscious plagiarism before I go and publish it?

Re: What is Proof of Music Ownership? (1)

lowid (24) _________ (878977) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938830)

> What is proof of music ownership?

Copyright registration in your name.


Technically it's just once the music is in tangible form (e.g. a recording, sheet music, music box, whatever) you own the copyright. However, if somebody ever sues you, you'll have a much easier go of it in court if you registered with the library of congress.

Re: What is Proof of Music Ownership? (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939221)

Score:5, Informative???

Try Score:-5, Misinformative.

US copyright law (and pretty much everywhere else) is quite clear on the disiction between ownership of a copyright and ownership of particular copies, and on the distinction betwen transfer of ownership of copyrights and transfer of ownership of particular copies. When you buy a book, or music, or whatever, you receive no ownership of any copyright in those works, but you DO in fact become lawful owner of that particular copy of that work. The copyright holder does NOT retain any ownership rights in particular copies once they transfer those particular copies.

-

Re: What is Proof of Music Ownership? (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939614)

copyright != ownership. Own is defined as "to possess as property". Property must be tangible. The comments on this story seem to mostly be discussing what "owning" an abstract concept means. It means nothing.

Re: What is Proof of Music Ownership? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939887)

Property doesn't have to be tangible. That said, creative works aren't property, mainly because they're so damn non-rivalrous.

Re: What is Proof of Music Ownership? (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940001)

What intangible things would you commonly characterise as "property" or "owned"*?

Also, I don't understand what rivalry has to do with whether something's property?

[*bearing in mind, as you claim to be a lawyer, that this is a discussion about the common (formal) not the legal usage of the words--which varies considerably between jurisdictions anyway]

Re: What is Proof of Music Ownership? (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940054)

What intangible things would you commonly characterise as "property" or "owned"*?

Debts, easements, stock in a company, etc.

Copies are property, and works are not. Copyrights could easily be considered to be property, but I think that this would be a bad idea.

Also, I don't understand what rivalry has to do with whether something's property?

A DVD -- the tangible disc -- is rivalrous in that either you can have it, or I can have it, but we can't both have it simultaneously. If I want to watch the DVD in Boston, and you want to watch the DVD in LA, we can't do both without tediously shipping the DVD from one of us to the other. A movie -- the information on the disc -- is nonrivalrous in that we can both use the movie simultaneously, simply by making another DVD with the same movie on it, transmitting it to one of us, etc.

More simply, rivalry means that in order for one person to gain a thing, another person has to lose it. Nonrivalry means that everyone can gain a thing without anyone losing it.

Generally, something is property if it meets three criteria: 1) the owner can use and enjoy it; 2) the owner can lend it to others and demand its return, and; 3) the owner can dispose of it, either by conveying it to someone else, or destroying it.

Creative works don't really meet numbers 2 and 3. Copyright is an attempt to simulate -- somewhat -- what it would be like if works were property. We don't do this just because we can, but rather for some public policy goals that I won't get into here, but which are not intended to help artists other than coincidentally. It's meant to benefit the public first and foremost.

Better Question: Does it Matter? (4, Interesting)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938604)

I assume that you're wanting to know what the courts would say if someone was charged by the RIAA for "stealing" music that they already owned.

Honestly, I think that the RIAA would try to put a some spin on it (like that you're not allowed to use backups from another person's license or some shit). I don't think this would stop them.

Anyways, to answer the rest of your question: I'd guess you'd need the reciept; how else are they to know that you're the one who bought the cassette or that you didn't buy it after you were charged?

Re:Better Question: Does it Matter? (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938621)

I don't think that possesion of unlicensed music is a crime. Copyright violation *is* a crime. So, if you have a burned CD of Tool, no one will haul you into court. If, however, you are distributing burned CDs of Tool, you'll preobably be facing a pretty hefty fine.

On a similar note, you can download all the music you want. If you could somehow modify the bittorrent client to not upload a single bit, you could use isohunt and mininova to max out your collection legally. No one would harass you.

But, the first bit of copyrighted music you upload makes you a copyright violator. You did not have permission to upload that 1 or that 0.

Re:Better Question: Does it Matter? (2, Informative)

Catamaran (106796) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938714)

you'll preobably be facing a pretty hefty fine


Or a pretty stiff jail sentence. From COPYRIGHT FELONY ACT [usdoj.gov]:

"(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, with a retail value of more than $2,500;

Re:Better Question: Does it Matter? (3, Insightful)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938629)

Anyways, to answer the rest of your question: I'd guess you'd need the reciept; how else are they to know that you're the one who bought the cassette or that you didn't buy it after you were charged?

Unfortunately, this would fail in the case of gifts. I could always give you my copy of the music/movie/whatever and could claim that I purchased it as a gift for you (possibly true). This is a valid scenario where someone else is shown as the purchaser of the music. It gets even harder if you pay cash, or go to a store where they give a receipt with the amount on it, but not the item description (used music store, eBay, buy from a friend, etc.).

Re:Better Question: Does it Matter? (1)

PsychoSkorp (670766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938692)

Does anyone know anyone who keeps receipts of every record/tape/CD/digital download that they buy? Sure, maybe it is a good idea to do that now, but many people have recordings that have been transferred/archived to digital media because the original media was degrading (cassettes) or too bulky to store and delicate (records.) A lifetime of original media can be transferred to digital media, and there is no sense in repurchasing it again. Most people don't keep detailed files of their music purchases, and that sort of behavior is quite ridiculous. Do you (or anyone) seriously believe that the act of transferring a 20 year old ABBA record to MP3/OGG in 2002 and promptly throwing it out constitutes "stealing"?

Movable Criteria (2, Insightful)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938614)

"Proof" for whom? For the RIAA, I strongly suspect that there is no possible evidence which you could produce which they would deem sufficient.

For a court of law? I don't think that it's ever gotten that far in court yet.

Re:Movable Criteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15939871)

What must that person produce to prove the music was purchased legitimately?

Nothing whatsoever. The burden of proof is on the other guy to prove that you haven't purchased it legitimately.

Winning (2, Insightful)

Walzmyn (913748) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938618)

The way the RIAA and the courts have been going, probably the only way to *PROVE* you own some music is to win a court case and have the courts say that you do.

catch-22 (4, Informative)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938619)

This is why the RIAA isn't invading people's homes and going through their CDs and hard drives. Yet. They'd *like* to say that you are only entitled to one copy of each work you purchase, and if it's destroyed you'd need to buy another copy. But they're already raising tons of consumer discontent and if they push it much farther they risk a huge backlash.

Re:catch-22 (1)

GuruBuckaroo (833982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938973)

But they're already raising tons of consumer discontent and if they push it much farther they risk a huge backlash.

I'ld like to agree with you on this, but how long as this been going on? How long as the discontent been building? My fear is that it has reached its peak, and started to wane - at least in the non-technical public's eye.

Honestly, what we need is a watershed moment - ??AA doing something that will piss off everybody, not just us geeks, and enough people to keep it in focus. I don't trust ??AA to do this themselves - I think they know they've got the tiger by the tail - and nothing will force Iraq and Politics off the news screens until after the 2008 election, at the earliest. (Pardon me showing my US slant on things)

Not Something to Worry About (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15938633)

The question is flawed. The music companies aren't suing anyone for possession. They are suing them for providing copies to others.

The question should never come up. (4, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938665)

It's legal in the US to record music from the radio, to rip it from your CDs, to record it on a cassette tape from another cassette tape or CD or LP, to download it from the Internet (but not to upload it, and of course P2P filesharing technology makes everyone a redistributor), to stick a microphone out your window and record it from your neighbours stereo...

So, given that, the burden of proof is on the RIAA. And they know it, why do you think they go to such efforts to catch people actually using P2P software to get their music fix?

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938927)

I was with you up until "legal to download it", and possibly "neighbor's stereo". Of course, both of these things are such petty offences that no one actually cares, given that you aren't committing more wholesale violation, but strictly from an academic standpoint, could you provide some sort of citation, especially for the "legal to download"? (Unless you were talking about music you already owned, in which case... well... I can't seem to find if/where it mentions archival copies of anything but computer programs in Title 17... I think it's generally considered "fair use"?)

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938963)

Of course, both of these things are such petty offences that no one actually cares, given that you aren't committing more wholesale violation, but strictly from an academic standpoint, could you provide some sort of citation, especially for the "legal to download"?

I think this is one of those absence-of-evidence, evidence-of-absence things. There are no examples of anyone being prosecuted solely for downloading (AFAIK), and common sense dictates that if the uploader is making a copy by sending the file to the downloader, then the downloader isn't making a copy, because there's only one copy being made.

Re:The question should never come up. (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939382)

Where I come from (UK) data going into RAM and back is defined as copying, so in the case of downloading the file is copied from memory to the hard disk. To listen to it, it is copied from the hard disk to memory, etc.

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939587)

Interesting. I don't think that's the case in the US.

I assume the UK copyright laws have exemptions for the "copies" your software (or your CD player with anti-skip buffer) makes as it plays a file (CD) you've legally purchased?

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939632)

No. It doesn't have such exemptions (for software anyway) which is why EULAs carry more weight over here. We do have incidental copying exemptions obviously (for Internet caches and such like) so that might apply to music CDs.

The other interesting issue here is, given case law interprets our vague copyright law to include copying into RAM, logically, the courts should also accept the copies you keep in your own memory as a violation.

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939551)

Possession is illegal. It's not just a game of "who made the copy". And saying that the data is only copied once, at the sending end, proves that you know little about how computers work.

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939576)

Possession [of an unauthorized copy] is illegal.

Cite? I don't believe it is in the US.

It's not just a game of "who made the copy".

Again, yes it is. Copyright is the right to make and distribute copies. Possession has nothing to do with it.

And saying that the data is only copied once, at the sending end, proves that you know little about how computers work.

Gosh, you're right, it's a wonder I've managed to make a living as a programmer and network admin for nearly a decade.

The copies which copyright concerns itself with are the ones that are fixed in a persistent medium. Paper counts. Hard drives and CDs count. RAM doesn't count, electrical signals on network cables don't count, and router buffers don't count. Under those criteria, there's one copy before the file is sent (on the sender's hard drive), and two copies afterward (another one on the receiver's hard drive).

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939687)

The copies which copyright concerns itself with are the ones that are fixed in a persistent medium
As pointed out by the first-cousin-once-removed post, in some jurisdictions, such as the UK, copying to a transient medium like RAM is still a violation. [Although, under UK law, some specific exceptions for transient media (to allow Internet caches and alike) are covered by section 31A of the 1998 act as amended.]

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939909)

It's legal in the US to record music from the radio

Sometimes. It depends.

to rip it from your CDs

Sometimes. It depends.

to record it on a cassette tape from another cassette tape or CD or LP,

I'd say so, yes.

to download it from the Internet

Sometimes. It depends.

to stick a microphone out your window and record it from your neighbours stereo...

Sometimes. It depends.

the burden of proof is on the RIAA

Yes, but it's not much of a burden.

why do you think they go to such efforts to catch people actually using P2P software to get their music fix?

They're much easier to catch. If I rip CDs in the privacy of my own home, in a manner that is unlawful, RIAA simply won't know about it unless I tell them that I did it, or they happen to be in my living room, or something. When you operate on public portions of the Internet, it's a lot easier for them to take notice as a practical matter. It's like you're doing it in Times Square, and rather than have to bother to have actual people looking over your shoulder, they can just have some computer programs make the initial identifications.

Also, it's perceived as a more significant problem.

Re:The question should never come up. (1)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940067)

This brings up a similar question I've had since day one. If time-shifting of content for personal use is legal, does it mater what method a person used to time-shift the material? For example, if I record a song off of the radio, is that more or less legal than if I copied that same song from a friend or download online after hearing it on the radio? If the process you use to time-shift isn't relevant, then it should be legal to have a copy for personal use of anything that was ever played over the open radio waves.

Moot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15940165)

But that point is moot, since it just came up now.

Depends on your goal - and the RIAAs (2, Insightful)

NixLuver (693391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938670)

Let's face it, folks. The RIAA has an agenda, and it's fairly transparent. They want, eventually, for you to pay some amount every time you access media. That's the only way they can assure their revenue stream into the digital age. Well, that and producing new talent, but they'r enot exactly great at taht, are they?

Two Thoughts (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938697)

What is proof of music ownership? I can't find a good answer anywhere. Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought.

First Response:

Criminal court? He doesn't have to prove shit, innocent until proven guilty, right?

Civil court? The accuser still needs a preponderance of evidence. Just about anything from physical media, to a receipt, to testimony by a friend that he saw the guy make the purchase ought to be enough reduce the accuser to less than a preponderance.

Second Response:

If this is about one of the MAFIAA's [mafiaa.org] "sue 'em all and let God sort it out" lawsuits then chances are it doesn't matter if he has legal ownership or not. Those suits are about distribution and not simply possesion of a copy.

No way I'm going to double-check and go dig through USC Title 17 [cornell.edu] on a Friday night while under the influence of tequila, but I don't think it's illegal to receive an unauthorized copy, just to make the copy or to distribute the copy. Feel free to dig through the spaghetti code on the other end of that link to find something that says otherwise.

PS, all typos and poor logic are the sole property of Padron's Resposada.

Re:Two Thoughts (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939020)

PS, all typos and poor logic are the sole property of Padron's Resposada.

Sue 'em all and God will know his own? Sounds more like Torquemada to me.

Be careful of what you ask (2, Funny)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938759)

Sure you are making an observation, but what could happen over an argument like this is astounding. If you'd like, I'm sure the record store in conjunction with the recording label would be more than happy to keep a database of all your purchases. Of course, on this database, would be your personal information. Purchases, phone number, residence, number of people in your household, what your interests are, email addresses so on and so forth. They are making enough excuses without our helping. If I purchase it, and tell them its mine, they will back off. Or pay the consequences.

Thievery, title, and use right... (4, Insightful)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938801)

Now, what happens if you've lost all of your property in a fire, but still had an off-site digital backup of your legally purchased music somewhere? Does the loss of the original property invalidate the legality of the backups?

(I am not a lawyer, etc.) There's no express right to make a backup of an audio recording, but leaving that aside, what's the point of a backup except to prolong access to the recording beyond the life of the original media? From the legal perspective, it's silly to even make a backup if one loses the right to use it in the event the original media is destroyed.

Now, the question of theft of the original media is slightly more interesting. A thief obtains no legal title to stolen goods, so if ones original media were stolen, one might retain constructive possession of the originals. That constructive possession would, if we assume the backups were themselves legal, permit the continued use of the backup media.

I wonder whether there's any precedent as to what would happen if the originals were later destroyed by the thief - would the use right terminate? If we assume that destruction of the originals in a house fire would terminate the right to use the backups, then I imagine no use right would be retained if the would-be thief hadn't stolen them but destroyed them and left the pieces in the possession of the owner. Wacky.

-Isaac

Re:Thievery, title, and use right... (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939482)

Now, the question of theft of the original media is slightly more interesting. A thief obtains no legal title to stolen goods, so if ones original media were stolen, one might retain constructive possession of the originals.

Thus making the thief guilty of copyright infringement.

Probably the only situation in which both "sides" can agree that copyright infringment is also theft!

Re:Thievery, title, and use right... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939937)

Thus making the thief guilty of copyright infringement.

Oh? Which exclusive right of the copyright holder would the thief have infringed upon? I know that you're not going to say it was distribution, because the distribution right is the right "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending" and ordinary larceny isn't any of those.

Re:Thievery, title, and use right... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940093)

Lighten up man, it was a joke. The original post was full of enough twisted logic to begin with, I was just riffing off it.

Re:Thievery, title, and use right... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939930)

There's no express right to make a backup of an audio recording, but leaving that aside,

Well, there's a couple of things that can be used for more or less the same thing: 17 USC 107 and 1008. (Do be sure to read the definitions in sections 101 and 1001 lest you misunderstand 1008 like most people do)

From the legal perspective, it's silly to even make a backup if one loses the right to use it in the event the original media is destroyed.

Why? The right to use a recording in general isn't the same as a right to have access to a particular recording. Besides, the right to generally use recordings isn't part of copyright, so no copyright holder could give you such a right. Rather, the right to use a specific copy is one that comes from owning that specific copy, just as the right to use a hairbrush is held by the person who owns the brush.

one might retain constructive possession of the originals. That constructive possession would, if we assume the backups were themselves legal, permit the continued use of the backup media.

I'm still wondering who the hell would care, and what that person's basis for caring would be.

That's easy. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938876)

Just fill in the unknowns in the following equation:


(Mass of Lawyer) x (Mass of Lawyer's Paralegal Team) x (Mass of Lawyer's Bill) x (Mass of Lawyer's Favourite Pick-Axe) / (Witnesses Brains Eaten) = (Righteousness of Lawyer's Case)


Whoever has the greatest righteousness owns the music. This is true even when there IS no music. A guy got sued in England for copying silence - and lost. On the other hand, there have been lawsuits over sampled music used by scratch and rap artists for years, and the copiers usually win. Issues such as interpretation, fair use, etc, have not made the situation clearer. Rather, they have become so stuffed with subclauses, exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions that it is impossible to be sure of anything.


(Some ancient Greek music has yet to be deciphered - nobody is quite sure of the notation of the really early stuff. They are also very clearly out of copyright. But I'll bet you anything you like that if any of the pieces is ever solved and is any good by modern standards, music execs will try to claim ownership somehow.)

A Good Lawyer (2, Interesting)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938881)

The law doesn't say what constitutes proof of ownership, that's what the jury is for, so a good lawyer is probably going to get you a lot further than any object or piece of paper you can produce.

Ummm... (2, Insightful)

okmnji (791276) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938955)

I believe the proper response for this is "mu".

Your question presupposes that there is a need for individuals to prove that they purchaced some music. I say that there is not. Should a group of the RIAA ilk take consumers to court for owning supposedly pirated music, then the RIAA or the group like them will need to prove to the court that the music is indeed illegitimate; "beyond a reasonable doubt" for criminal cases, and they must have sufficient evidence for strong suspicion for civil damages (IANAL, so I don't know all the legalese speak for the necessary evidence in a civil case).

Where they get you, however, is when you distribute said music. Getting everyone at work to upload all the music they own to the jukebox server, is what RIAA et. al. defines as "stealing". Most people here think this is a good idea, but it does violate copyright laws (since you're basically making a local copy each time you listen to a song on the server), and is not covered by Fair Use.

If you have digitized music, copyright laws and DMCA have little chance of harming you in court, because the onus is on the litigant to prove that you violated these laws. If there is any way that you could have happened upon DRM-free copies of the music, any lawyer worth the $100 you pay for an hour in court will get the case promptly thrown out, and most likely will get the prosecuting party to pay the bill for wasting everyone's time.

Re:Ummm... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940005)

Should a group of the RIAA ilk take consumers to court for owning supposedly pirated music, then the RIAA or the group like them will need to prove to the court that the music is indeed illegitimate; "beyond a reasonable doubt" for criminal cases, and they must have sufficient evidence for strong suspicion for civil damages (IANAL, so I don't know all the legalese speak for the necessary evidence in a civil case).

Well, only the government can prosecute a crime. If RIAA et al sue you, it'll be a civil suit. The burden then is one of a preponderance of the evidence. To put it another way, whatever fact is most likely is true. If they can show a 51% likelihood that you infringed, and you can only show a 49% chance that you didn't, then you infringed. The 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard is only in criminal trials.

If you have digitized music, copyright laws and DMCA have little chance of harming you in court, because the onus is on the litigant to prove that you violated these laws. If there is any way that you could have happened upon DRM-free copies of the music, any lawyer worth the $100 you pay for an hour in court will get the case promptly thrown out, and most likely will get the prosecuting party to pay the bill for wasting everyone's time.

And so, this is wrong, in that while they do have to prove their prima facie case, merely 'any way' that could explain the facts without unlawful activity isn't good enough for the defendant. It has to be the most likely way. It's not about what's possible; it's what probable.

Not a Likely Scenario (1)

shrapnull (780217) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938965)

The whole point of the RIAA's lawsuits is to instill fear, so the likelihood of actually going to court to defend yourself is practically nil.

The first thing they do is offer to settle for some "low, low" rediculously inflated fee. If you actually _do_ pony up the legal fees to defend yourself, chances are they will drop the case and concentrate on their less financially motivated defendants.

You will never have to prove you bought music, simply because they will only call your bluff and take you to court if they can thoroughly ruin you financially and make an example out of you.

Whether you actually _bought_ the music is of absolutely no consequence to them (ask any 9 year old girl, grandmother or dead man ever sued by the RIAA).

Well ... (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938971)

1) I don't think anybody has ever been sued by the RIAA merely for having music or even downloading music -- they've only sued people for uploading/sharing music (though they might like to claim `illegal downloading' and things like that.)


2) however, if you want to look at another industry that has had similar problems, look at the BSA [bsa.org], The Business Software Alliance. I'm not sure where they get the authority, but they do occasionally do raids on business and require that the business prove that it has legal licenses for all the software they use.

From what I've heard, in many cases even having the original media and license sticker things has not been deemed to be sufficient proof of ownership, and businesses have been forced to purchase additional licenses even though they had a seperate copy of the software for each computer it was installed on. However, I'm not certain of the details here, so I could be wrong.

Re:Well ... (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939957)

I don't think anybody has ever been sued by the RIAA merely for having music or even downloading music -- they've only sued people for uploading/sharing music (though they might like to claim `illegal downloading' and things like that.)

Well, downloading can certainly be illegal, and there have been numerous opinions to that effect by district and circuit courts. Really, no one even seriously argues otherwise.

But downloaders are somewhat harder to track down, and less worthwhile in terms of the effect on other infringers if they're shut down, so they're probably the lowest priority of RIAA et al. Uploaders and network providers are better targets and a more efficient use of resources.

I'm not sure where they get the authority, but they do occasionally do raids on business and require that the business prove that it has legal licenses for all the software they use.

Offhand, I'd guess that they either 1) get an ex parte seizure order as part of an infringement suit, using 17 USC 503, or 2) show up at the business and threaten to get such an order if they aren't allowed in to poke around.

definition of property (1)

NotInTheBox (235496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938984)

Can children inherit their parents video/audio recordings?
How are they to proof that the recordings are legit?
How about resale (second hand book or record stores)?

It would help if copyright would end after some years but somehow they keep extending it.

Also think of how iTMS is handeling resale, inheriting, divorce, etc... any event where ownership needs to be transfered...

What we have here is a conflict in the definition of property.
Without the right and ability to resale (transfer of ownership) you don't have any property.
Without property rights you can not have an open and free market.
Without an open and free market you can not have fair prices or honest competition.

Is a book property? A CD? A DVD? A iTMS movie?

Re:definition of property (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939271)

..........any event where ownership needs to be transfered.........

Possession is nine tenths of the law. If you have it, someone else has to prove it is theirs before it can be taken away from you.

In the case of DRM itunes files, your password to the account is your key. If you no longer want your music, you can give/sell your key and someone else can have your music.

Re:definition of property (1)

NotInTheBox (235496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939451)

Is that account not personal?
May you transfer it to someone else?
Can you have several accounts active at once on one computer.

While this may solve the question of inheriting stuff.
However it is limited to a whole account: All the media you've bought.
Maybe a good idea to create a new account every time you buy something?

Re:definition of property (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939529)

....Maybe a good idea to create a new account every time you buy something.....

The ITMS account is associated with a credit card, so that would have to be transferred to the new account also each time. I don't know if one credit card can be used for several accounts. maybe someone else here on /. can tell you that.

What happened with implied innocence? (5, Insightful)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938990)

What happened to "Innocent until proven guilty"?
Why do -I- have to prove the mp3 in my mp3 player is legal? Why can't my word suffice? Shouldn't RIAA have to prove I obtained it illegally?
They say I got it from p2p. I say I ripped it off a legal CD I misplaced later. Until they -prove- I actually downloaded it from p2p I should be innocent, shouldn't I?

Re:What happened with implied innocence? (3, Insightful)

dirk (87083) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939924)

Because there would never be a crime that was successfully prosecuted. Transfer this theory to RL theft. You come home and your house is empty. They find me in possession of everything missing from your house. I say " I stopped by his house and he gave it to me, I didn't steal it". Why isn't my word good enough? Prove that he didn't tell me I could take it all. Because there is another person with a different opinion whose opinion is just as valid (until one of you is proven correct).

While you are assumed innocent until proven guilty, there is already evidence against you if you make it to court. It is nearly impossible to prove a negative such as "prove I didn't buy a cd and rip this track off of it".

Re:What happened with implied innocence? (2, Insightful)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940063)

In case of theft there's usually much more evidence than the stolen wares. The wares only prove you're either of 4: thief, fence, uncautious buyer (from the thief), framed. 2 guilty, 2 innocent. It's up to the invastigators to find out which one and that's where the rest of the evidence kicks in. If you outright say "he gave it to me" it limits the options to thief, framed. Now given enough proof of burglary - fingerprints in places where they should not be, witnesses and alibis of both sides, criminal records, consistency of interrogation results.

In extreme case you can walk into someone's house, pick something moderately expensive up and walk out and with enough cheek simply get out of court innocent. But this takes lots of time and skill and quite a bit of money and works only once, maybe twice. OTOH treating this rule lightly especially with connection to "campaigns" like "war on drugs" leads to extremely easy framing anyone. Just drop a few bags of pot into their property them anonymously tip the police, and voila, instant guilty.

Same here.

Re:What happened with implied innocence? (1)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940159)

When people get a license to use something big and valuable, there's almost always a signed contract involved detailing the rights of each party, and each person keeps a copy of that contract. When license distribution is scaled down to the retail store level, are the rights of the copyright holder reduced because they failed to get any kind of contract signed, nor have they kept track of who they have given a license to? I think it just goes to show how many problems there are with retail distribution of licenses. As the other RIAA article in slashdot says today, many people believe that owning the cd gives permission to copy and provide to friends. There's simply not an understanding by people that they are being sold a license rather than ownership of the material. It seems like the best solution is for the industry to keep a list of everyone they have granted a license to and to have some kind of agreement that you sign at the register. And I don't consider that a violation of one's privacy since you are free to not get a license, and therefore not be on the list.

When it comes time to sue a person for copyright infringement, the RIAA needs to show that either they never gave you a license or that you violated the license that you signed. Click through agreements wouldn't be enforceable, so you'd need a master agreement that you sign and mail in before using an online service. And I'm sure stores would quickly implement master agreements that you sign to get a frequent customer card that you just swipe at checkout.

Yes, this is all a pain in the butt, and to be honest, that's probably why the RIAA never implemented it in the past. Plus, implementing it in the future would imply that everyone in the past is not bound by the same terms. However, has the RIAA lost some of their protections by not keeping track of their licenses?

P2P not proof either (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940176)

Even then, you could own a copy and just not be bothered to rip it yourself (say you needed to pay for software), so you downloaded it instead. Or you forgot your CD at work and really wanted to hear a certain song. Etc.

rip to ogg (2, Interesting)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939036)

Rip your cd's to ogg. While that doesn't guarantee that you haven't violated copyright, it's unlikely that a large collection of music files in a minority format were all acquired through file sharing.

An unlikely scenario (3, Insightful)

caenorhabditas (914198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939045)

You'd never be brought to court for illegally possessing music, you'd be brought to court for illegally distributing music. And it's quite easy for them to show that you don't have a copyright, as typically only a limited number of these exist for any given song.

When jackbooted thugs start yanking the iPods of folks walking down the street and demanding to know where the listener obtained the song, then we'll have this problem. Until then, you're only sued for unlawful distribution.

Re:An unlikely scenario (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939657)

Multiple people cannot have the copyright on the whole of the song (although obviously different bits could be owned by different people).

Re:An unlikely scenario (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939985)

Multiple people cannot have the copyright on the whole of the song

Sure they can. There are two circumstances in which this can occur:

1) The work is a joint work, in which case copyright vests in all the authors under 17 USC 201(a)

2) The copyright can be transferred in toto to multiple people under 201(d)(1).

The result is a copyright that is treated like a tenancy in common, with the copyright holders having undivided ownership in the entire copyright. They can then exploit the copyright however they like, so long as they account for profits with the other co-tenants, and don't transfer or grant exclusive interests in the work to others without complying with section 204.

Re:An unlikely scenario (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940043)

I realised this just after posting (but couldn't be bothered clarifying). The point still stands that the OP was slightly misleading as most works probably aren't under joint ownership (as is implied), and where a work is under joint copyright you would, I assume, need the permission of all joint holders. I have no idea about the particulars of US law you mention as IANALOEAUSC (or even a US citizen).

Re:An unlikely scenario (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940068)

where a work is under joint copyright you would, I assume, need the permission of all joint holders

No, only one of them. They have to account for profits amongst themselves, and obviously couldn't transfer any interest other than their own (which means no unilateral transfer of exclusive rights), but otherwise they can do as they like.

I have no idea about the particulars of US law you mention as IANALOEAUSC (or even a US citizen).

Meh. I find that /. is pretty US-centric, and I'm a lawyer in the US, familiar only with US law, so that's what I centerally fall back on. If you're in a country that draws its law from the UK, I would imagine it to be similar to ours in this respect.

Not a lawyer and not sure if it relates but (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939103)

under dutch law at least to proof you own something you need to keep the receipt around. Nobody does this offcourse and worse in many shops they do not even give you a receipt (strictly speaking illegal as hell) so in daily practice it is a case of the police having to have some kind of proof/suspiscion that you are not the legitimate owner. Such as an accusation from somebody else that they are in fact the legit owner.

Even better, the sale only "counts" as legit if you paid a reasonable price for it in case of you buying it from a thief. This could be intresting in the case of allofmp3.com. It means if I buy a 100 euro item for 10 and somebody else then claims it was stolen from them my receipt don't matter shit. I loose the item because I had no reasonable expectation the sale was legit. It could in theory be used to sue allofmp3 buyers who could have known that the sale was too good to be true. In this case your receipt could even be the proof of your crime.

In practice unless malice is very clear the police just take away the item in question and do not charge for being involved in fencing.

But anyway this is pure speculation by a non-lawyer.

But yes it is a very real problem yet it nothing new. Consider how do you proof the loss of possesion. Say in case of theft or a fire. "Yes your honor, that empty spot on the wall used to be where my undiscovered Rembrandt used to hang. Please tell the insurance company to cough up the millions, in small bills please."

In a fire how do you proof that the charred remains of your CD-collection are in fact all rare special editions and not jumble sales 5 for a dollar from your local supermarket grab bin? Keep receipts and keep photographic evidence. The police love it if in case of a theft you can hand over a stack off photographs off your possesions. It makes their work so much easier. Not the capturing of criminals but the damned sorting out who the fuck all the stolen stuff belonged too. Dutch police recently had a funny case because of it. Couple of kids stole peoples door mats. Harmless enough except that they were caught and the doormats confiscated to be returned to their rightfull owners according to the law. Except offcourse nobody is going to bother about a doormat so the police is now stuck with them for the legal term they got to keep such items. So please won't you come by and pick up a doormat. PLEASE! Evidence? Just point to the one you like.

All theory aside yes it is a real problem of how to proof that you own what you own. You should always keep receipts and in case of gifts note who they are from so you can get the receipt from them. Nobody is going to do that and in daily live we just deal with this and accept "normal" claims as most likely to be true. So that break in could loose you a TV and a VCR and a gaming console but NOT a TV and a Plasma and a project and a VCR and a DVR and every gaming console ever launched unless you hand over some proof.

But does the music industry even care about proof? Since they seem to be against media-shifting (copying music from CD to MP3 for example) in general and have a weird view on ownership anyway I am not sure a receipt of you having owned the LP is enough to defend you against downloading the MP3 version of the LP from somebody else. More important it is no defence for the person who is uploading that music to you (for now most of the cases are against uploaders, not downloaders).

For now all you got to hope is that things like RIAA lawsuits happen to other people. Most stuff does. Don't worry be happy and try not to think that to other people, you are other people.

straw man question (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939126)

Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought.

The only scenario where that might happen is if you're caught shoplifting.

The RIAA has never brought suit against someone in the terms that you describe. They've brought suit against people for distributing music, not posession. In which case, your proof would be a contract/license of some sort that gives you the right to distribute the music.

In the case of fire or theft ... (2, Informative)

Rip!ey (599235) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939175)

In the case of fire or theft, hopefully you had insurance, so you will get replacements anyway. Of course, the insurance company will probably want proof as well.

A friend of mine was in that position recently. They managed to find a recent photograph of their living room, clearly showing their CD collection sitting in some stand alone CD racks. That was enough to keep the insurance company happy.

License? (1)

Kalkin (199527) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939444)

One of the primary arguments that the RIAA has floated is that they're actually only selling you a license for the music.

Nothing stating that the license is via CD-playback. They've suggested in the past that ripping your CD to your iPod is not legal, which is pretty implausible - I doubt that anyone doesn't rip CDs, once they have an iPod. (I know one out of X, where X is a large number.)

In my mind, if they're just selling a license to play the music you bought, then it should be legal to play it for yourself on that license. Wherever it is...you're licensed to listening to only one of those copies at a time. You can't listen it to the same time that your SO listens to it at a seperate location. It's impossible to enforce, so I'm sure they want stronger DRM to push it on people...except that DRM violates the agreement on what a CD is.

IANAL.

Re:License? (2, Insightful)

sepluv (641107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15939709)

If they are selling a license, what are its terms, when did you agree to it and when was it explicitly stated that they were not selling you the CD when you handed over the cash?

The RIAA and its agents claim that they are selling you the CD (not a license to the music). The shop gives you the CD in exchange for money; they are, therefore, by definition selling you the CD. Even if they aren't, you have physical control over the CD so the assumption is that you own it.

If the claim you need a license to use your own property (which is bullshit), then every single person who uses a CD they have bought is in violation (as you agree to no license when buying a CD).

Re:License? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940012)

One of the primary arguments that the RIAA has floated is that they're actually only selling you a license for the music.

With regards to CDs, tapes, records, etc. where have they said this, actually? I've never noticed it, and I'm pretty certain that it's just believed by brainwashed computer geeks who not only unquestioningly accept the idea that licenses in ordinary consumer transactions are lawful or even a good idea, but that it's commonplace outside of computer software.

N.b. that mere restatements of the law (e.g. don't make copies of this CD) aren't licenses.

legal proceedings (1)

animaal (183055) | more than 7 years ago | (#15940014)

It's an interesting question. What it boils down to is the outcome if it came to legal proceedings.

If we're dealing with copyright infringement as a civil matter, then it comes down to the balance of probablilty. In a court, if there is a record of a house fire, you are probably ok to a collection of MP3s. If there's no record of a fire, and you can't produce a few hundred origial CDs, you're probably in trouble.

However, the industry seems to be treating piracy as a criminal matter, e.g. "piracy is a crime!". This allows stronger scare tactics. The flip side of that coin is that it has to be proven beyond all reasoable doubt that you did in fact illegaly obtain the music. So, if there's any chance at all, based upon the evidence, that you may have backed up your own music and then lost the originals, you have to be assumed innnocent.
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