According to this story the RIAA is thinking about prosecuting us for copying music from CDs, which we have purchased or otherwise own legitimately, to an MP3 player.
Of course, that would mean prosecuting virtually everyone who owns an MP3 player. It seems unlikely that the RIAA would try to prosecute the entire market for their product. It’s bizarre that they’re threatening this. I thought that the right of music owners to copy LPs to audio cassettes was settled years ago. What is the essential difference between dubbing an LP to cassette and copying songs from a (purchased) CD to an MP3 player?
The eighth commandment forbids “not only such theft and robbery as are punished by this magistrate, but God views as theft also all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to get our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or by deceit, such as unjust weights, ells, measures, goods, coins usury, or by any means forbidden of God; also a covetousness7 and the misuse and waste of His gifts” (Heidelberg Catechism Q. 110).
According to this understanding of the Eighth Commandment, we ought not deprive the music companies, artists et al of their goods by stealing music. Downloading without paying for it is the same as walking out of a store with CD without paying for it. The music belongs to those who produce and sell it.
Once one has purchased the music, however, I can’t see how copying songs that I own lawfully from one medium to another for my personal use deprives the music companies (I almost said “record companies”) or artists et al of revenue that is rightfully theirs. They must argue that we have to buy the same music in every possible format.
The music companies and artists et al have a right to protect their interests just as the grocer has right to protect his. If I leave the grocery with an apple for which I have not paid, I am a thief. If, however, having paid for the apple, I take it home and make juice out of it, I have not deprived the juice people of any revenue. On the argument being proposed by the RIAA the juice companies should come after me for making juice from an apple!
I think not. I guess the RIAA’s trial balloon is made of lead.