In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
Copied your CD to your hard drive? RIAA says you broke the law. Synched that to your mp3 player? RIAA says you're gonna burn.
As technologies evolve, old media companies tend not to be the source of the innovation that allows them to survive. Even so, new technologies don't usually kill off old media: That's the good news for the recording industry, as for the TV, movie, newspaper and magazine businesses. But for those old media to survive, they must adapt, finding new business models and new, compelling content to offer.
The RIAA's legal crusade against its customers is a classic example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed. Four years of a failed strategy has only "created a whole market of people who specifically look to buy independent goods so as not to deal with the big record companies," [Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA] says. "Every problem they're trying to solve is worse now than when they started."
I know a lot of bloggers poke fun at the Oregonian for being a little behind the digital curve, but can you imagine the O suing you for photocopying an article and posting it on your cubicle wall?