There’s been a lot of talk and confusion about the Washington Post story in re: the case against an Arizona man being sued for sharing MP3s over the Internet. One bit of the story was rather shocking, and we said so: it included the notion that the RIAA believes it’s illegal to copy a CD to your hard drive or put it on an MP3 player.
This is actually pretty well settled law, as we understand it: it’s Fair Use. However, the RIAA apparently wants it to be different, since they asserted in the Arizona trial that the defendant had broken the law when he did so, even before he started sharing the music online, and even though it was only for the latter act that he was being sued.
Ever vigilant, Wired’s Threat Level blog has taken up the story, most interestingly in their attempt to get a straight answer on the basic question: is it or isn’t it legal, as the RIAA sees it, for a person to buy a CD, rip it onto their computer, and copy it to their iPod?
They won’t answer. Instead, they provide a link to a long, obfuscatory statement that appears to say “it’s not legal, but we probably won’t sue you for it.” When Wired tried to get clarification — again, it’s just a simple yes or no answer — they clammed up.