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RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby SlyckTom » Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:24 pm

There was a bit of shock and awe which reverberated among everyone that has ever ripped a CD. According to a flurry of news reports from blogs such as "Recording Industry vs. The People" and "The Washington Post", an Arizona man who was sued by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) was targeted for ripping tracks from his CD collection.

The mere suggestion by the RIAA that ripping CDs is illegal was enough to ignite tensions throughout the online community. Surely, something as common as ripping a few tracks from an honestly bought CD was covered under fair use? By the looks of things, suddenly it appeared not to be true.

However, if such a fact was true, it would be the first time in the history of the RIAA's efforts to stem P2P usage that the organization sued someone for simply ripping CDs. No one to this date - except as testified by the Washington Post and RIVTP - has yet to be held liable for copyright infringement for material being stored on an MP3 player/hard drive/etc for personal use.

Yet with an untold number of writers, blogs and news sources all trying to sum up the complexities of the file-sharing landscape, it’s very easy to make a simple mistake. It's not a stretch to see how the Washington Post or RIVTP may have misconstrued the truth. The confusion stems from a quote by the RIAA's legal counsel Ira Swartz in a legal brief:

"Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .MP3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs."

Ok, so our defendant did rip his CD collection and store it on his hard drive. So far, our defendant still hasn't broken any laws. However there's a key point here that was looked over - his shared folder. Once the defendant committed this act and participated on a P2P network, he was now potentially liable for copyright infringement.

The RIAA's Jonathan Lamy vigorously defended his organization's position to News.com and reconfirmed to all those concerned that indeed fair use ripping is still legal, “The Washington Post story is wrong. As numerous commentators have since discovered after taking the time to read our brief, the record companies did not allege that ripping a lawfully acquired CD to a computer or transferring a copy to an MP3 player is infringement."

In any case, the Washington Post article is rather confusing to those who've consistently followed P2P dramatics. If he indeed was caught for ripping tracks, how was he caught? The Post was partially right for stating that he was caught for ripping tracks, but of course that alone was not illegal. What's illegal is where he decided to place those ripped songs - on P2P networks.

There's been a harsh reaction to the Washington Post and RIVTP's articles. However the mistake has been corrected in the virtual world (the actual article hasn't been edited) as the correct information is now more prominent than the error. We all make mistakes, and with a complex topic such as copyright infringement and the nuances between civil/criminal law, fair use/copyright infringement, it's a forgivable one.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Paladwyn » Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:28 pm

I dunno, it seems that the RIAA is attempting some damage control here... even when this says...

RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."


So, only if it's in your shared folder? Or is the RIAA just making sudden amends to their statements. Unauthorized copies fall under what exactly? Whatever they deem it to be so at the time of trial, I would assume.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Repzak » Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:40 pm

This is completely logical, and was the only way to read their brief. That doesn't mean they didn't try to ever so slowly start moving the goal-posts with the very careful wording they used. Not quite saying it's illegal - but going very, very close.

As the article says:
Patry does, however, caution that recent statements made by the RIAA and included in Fisher's story reflect the group's growing tendency to use language as a means of control.

Fisher quoted Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, who testified recently in court that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song."

Patry disagreed.

"This new rhetoric of 'everything anyone does without (RIAA) permission is stealing' is well worth noting and well worth challenging at every occasion," Patry wrote. "It is the rhetoric of copyright as an ancient property right, permitting copyright owners to control all uses as a natural right; the converse is that everyone else is an immoral thief."


This is the real issue and the one that needs to be focused on. And this case is indeed another example of exactly this. But claiming too much can backfire as seen by the "support" the misreporting of this story in the Post has given the RIAA. It's worth noting that the early blogs about this was much more correct in simply calling the wording and motives into question. I read the Post piece, and it IS just wrong and opinionated no matter how much I dislike the RIAA.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby curzlgt » Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:50 pm

Yep.

Ray misunderstood and misinterpreted both the brief and the argument. Sadly, he is far from the copyright law expert that he claims to be. Unfortunately for them, a lot of journalists jumped aboard. Doubt that Ray will be considered such an expert, without the proper fact checking, ever again.

Though a great thing did come from this..........

the record companies did not allege that ripping a lawfully acquired CD to a computer or transferring a copy to an MP3 player is infringement."


This is as close to the RIAA admitting that riping for personal use, is fair use, as I've ever scene :twisted:
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Dazzle_2 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:59 pm

What's illegal is where he decided to place those ripped songs - on P2P networks.


I find this bold assertion worrying, is there a copy of an examination of this guys drive or are you taking the word of folks whose business it is too sue the poor and helpless ?

Clarification would be nice before I for one retract any of the words I have posted around the net regarding this "potential" (good word to use in cases of uncertainty) denial of the copyright act provisions for fair/personal/educational use.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby curzlgt » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:00 pm

Dazzle_2 wrote:I find this bold assertion worrying, is there a copy of an examination of this guys drive or are you taking the word of folks whose business it is too sue the poor and helpless ?


Do you really believe they are targeting the "poor and helpless"? where is your evidence, or is it merely righteous opinion?

Dazzle_2 wrote:Clarification would be nice before I for one retract any of the words I have posted around the net regarding this "potential" (good word to use in cases of uncertainty) denial of the copyright act provisions for fair/personal/educational use.


What exact clarification, and from whom, would it take for you to retract your statements?
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby ShawnSpree » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:30 pm

It doesnt matter.. ONce my cd hits the hard drive.. Its as good as illegally distributed!! Screwing the RIAA 1 dollar at a time. Plus its nothing I bought and just older stuff from when music was actually good.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby jjadedd » Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:41 am

Somehow, the logic trail that's being laid out just doesn't follow for me.

The RIAA now clarifies that ripping a legally obtained CD (rhetorical question: Does that include a loaned copy from a library?) to one's hard drive (non-shared folder) results in an 'authorized copy'. That file remains an 'authorized copy if it is downloaded onto an MP3 player (presumably if the MP3 player is only for the use of the immediate family of the individual that legally obtained the CD). The minute that the folder that the authorized copy is in is made available to the public at large (i.e., shared), it now becomes an 'unauthorized copy'. It's the same file, but it's state of authorization flip-flops as the folder it's contained in is shared/not shared.

Really hard to grasp the logic of this legal nuance.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Paladwyn » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:14 am

I see alot of people are indeed getting the point. The RIAA can vaguely put out a statement and alter the focus of the statement at any time, in such a manner that it would bend the rules to their whim.

It would be kinda like saying "Well, ripping your CD is kinda illegal, it's not something we are really going to pursue...unless it's like this case where we can and will use it, should it strengthen our case, and MAYBE if we throw enough garbage at you it will make you look like some kind of lawless scoundrel and MAYBE one charge will stick.

I've got a 12 year old step daughter who uses this logic well. Nags and asks a hundred times for a hundred different things, finally you just get fed up and say "Fine, have it your way...do whatever you want."
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby curzlgt » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:11 am

jjadedd wrote:Somehow, the logic trail that's being laid out just doesn't follow for me.


Ok, see if you can follow this............

jjadedd wrote:The RIAA now clarifies that ripping a legally obtained CD (rhetorical question: Does that include a loaned copy from a library?) to one's hard drive (non-shared folder) results in an 'authorized copy'.


No. they are saying that putting the files one rips from a disk that said individual purchased, in a shared folder, making them available to those that did not purchase said files, is unauthorized. And to answer your rhetorical question, of course copying for personal use, and even more so for, making available for others to copy, files that you got from your library is unauthorized. dah! Would you tell your daughter its ok to zerox every page of harry potter she borrowed for the library?

After I ripped all my cds years ago, thats just what I did. I gave them to the local library. At that time I realized that the copies i had made for myself, and those I given to others countless times over, were then "unauthorized". So what? its a risk v. reward proposition, suck it up people! If you buy it and make a copy for personal use, no prob. If you give away, or sell, the original copy you purchased, or any subsequent copies, you are violating the spirit and law of copyright and fair use. Man up! (US)

jjadedd wrote:That file remains an 'authorized copy if it is downloaded onto an MP3 player (presumably if the MP3 player is only for the use of the immediate family of the individual that legally obtained the CD).


Nope, so long as the copy is made from a purchased disk, and is for your personal use.

jjadedd wrote:The minute that the folder that the authorized copy is in is made available to the public at large (i.e., shared), it now becomes an 'unauthorized copy'. It's the same file, but it's state of authorization flip-flops as the folder it's contained in is shared/not shared.


yep, thats how it works, and when one choses to do that, in the US, they should know that there can be repercussions, however unlikely.

jjadedd wrote:Really hard to grasp the logic of this legal nuance.


No its not really. man up. If you legally purchase music, in the US, you have the fair use right to make copies for your personal use. When you give away copies to other people, or your original copy, you are violating copyright and fair use. Its really not complicated at all.

Paladwyn wrote:It would be kinda like saying "Well, ripping your CD is kinda illegal, it's not something we are really going to pursue...unless it's like this case where we can and will use it, should it strengthen our case, and MAYBE if we throw enough garbage at you it will make you look like some kind of lawless scoundrel and MAYBE one charge will stick.


Except it not like that. They are saying that ripping personally purchased music, and putting in a shared folder, "making it available" to others that didn't purchase the music, is a violation of copyright law. period. quit buying into RB's obviously interested take on things, and own up to what you are doing.

Paladwyn wrote:I've got a 12 year old step daughter who uses this logic well. Nags and asks a hundred times for a hundred different things, finally you just get fed up and say "Fine, have it your way...do whatever you want."


yeah my GF is like that, and logic and law are the farthest thing from her mind. "teach your childrem well"..............
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby pr4wn4 » Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:40 am

until recently this exact situation was illegal in Australia.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Paladwyn » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:03 am

curzlgt wrote:
Paladwyn wrote:It would be kinda like saying "Well, ripping your CD is kinda illegal, it's not something we are really going to pursue...unless it's like this case where we can and will use it, should it strengthen our case, and MAYBE if we throw enough garbage at you it will make you look like some kind of lawless scoundrel and MAYBE one charge will stick.


Except it not like that. They are saying that ripping personally purchased music, and putting in a shared folder, "making it available" to others that didn't purchase the music, is a violation of copyright law. period. quit buying into RB's obviously interested take on things, and own up to what you are doing.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'm not owning up to what I do, I know that I download and share music/movies/programs which is against the law, but I'm quite far from the list of big time. I'm just saying that they tend to be a fit finiky on their laws. They would LOVE to say "Ripping is illegal" but they can't, it would be suicide for them to do so, but when they start to blur the lines (ie: sharing folder - even if you aren't 'sharing') it starts to make things tricky. Ok, how about I don't put them in the "sharing" folder, but in a folder called "private" and this folder is one of the many that are shared. Or what if it isn't shared, but others use the computer and copy your music. These are things they may not be able to control, but if they can prove that you have violated, will use it against you. DRM was implemented so that you couldn't move your music around from player to player, which yeah, violates the fair use...but was a step in the direction of making ripping illegal.

It just gets hairy when they say "Well, it is ok...and it isn't ok, depends on how we feel at the time."

People that knowingly infringe usually have no problems in saying it, and don't really have to justyify their actions, I'm worried about the innocent people out there who will get caught in the crossfire, who have done nothing wrong, or don't know what they are doing is technically wrong (ie: used a p2p program which shared all their music on their hard drive and they didn't know it did that.) There were a few programs that did that...

curzlgt wrote:
Paladwyn wrote:I've got a 12 year old step daughter who uses this logic well. Nags and asks a hundred times for a hundred different things, finally you just get fed up and say "Fine, have it your way...do whatever you want."


yeah my GF is like that, and logic and law are the farthest thing from her mind. "teach your childrem well"..............


Logic and Law are the farthest thing from each other as well, same with Justice and Law.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Golgo1 » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:10 pm

Just a quick point on ripping songs from a library CD. As i understand it, it actually WOULD be legal to rip all the content from a library disk, as long as it wasnt shared... and as long as you deleted it when you returned the disk. (it would just be stupid :) ) It comes down to the whole point of Fair Use and why they said 'legally obtained'
If it is legally obtained, you are free to use the contents as you wish for YOUR OWN PERSONAL USE. that means no sharing. You can rip it and burn it and play it backwards all you want. When you return the disk, it is no longer your content, so all your copies must be destroyed.

I agree that the whole mess is just a result of RIAA using confusing language and trying to blurr the issues.
RIPPING/COPYING is completely seperate from SHARING.
while they often happen in proximity, neither is a requisite, nor a result of the other.
When there is possible confusion in these stories, for the most part, I just separate HOW the content was obtained, and WHAT was done with it. They are usually two seperate things... especially according to the law
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby LurkinHawk » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:44 pm

Uhmmmm... could this be a slight kink in the RIAA's logical argument?

I have a home network. I have file sharing turned on for the computers in my home network, including one older comp I use as a poor man's "network attached storage". Each of these machines have a HDD with a Shared folder (this is rather essential to the idea of common workgroup files). None of the machines in this private home network possess any p2p software.

Yet, if I rip a purchased CD and put the files in one of these shared folders in order to use the Media Center capabilities of this system, I am now, according to the RIAA, a miscreant copyrighted content sharer? :shock:

Yeah, I wanna see that argument resolved, you betcha.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Paladwyn » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:51 pm

Golgo1, I agree...

They wanted to blur the issue in an attempt to confuse people. I know the guy was sharing it and whatnot...I understand that. It was how the wording was done and how it confused people. It was kinda like "Lets suggest ripping is illegal, without ACTUALLY saying it.", in an attempt to maybe stray some people from doing it at all. It's this kind of confusion that can ward people off from it.

In Canada here, it's perfectly legal for me to borrow a friends CD and copy it for myself, as long as I don't give anybody else that copy, or make any more copies of it. You can lend out the CD to 6 people, they all can make a backup copy of it...and no laws are being broken. It is kinda weird.

What's even more funny is when they say you can make a backup copy of a program, it even says it in the manual "You may make one backup copy of this program for personal use.", then encrypt the disc with copy protections. Isn't that infringing upon MY rights to make my backup copy? So, if these companies can bend the rules to make things easier for them, then why can't I bed the rules to make things easier for me?

I'll tell you why - bank accounts and lawyers.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby hiro81 » Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:01 am

Clearly designed by RIAA to cloud the issue in the average consumer's mind, as well as the court's. The brief completely fails to address the underlying issue that the mp3s ripped from a CD are not an exact copy of the data on the CD, and their lack of material or real value. Can't really blame RiAA for trying it anywas, they are total scumbags aferall..
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby Dazzle_2 » Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:25 pm

Dazzle_2 wrote:
I find this bold assertion worrying, is there a copy of an examination of this guys drive or are you taking the word of folks whose business it is too sue the poor and helpless ?

Do you really believe they are targeting the "poor and helpless"? where is your evidence, or is it merely righteous opinion?

Dazzle_2 wrote:
Clarification would be nice before I for one retract any of the words I have posted around the net regarding this "potential" (good word to use in cases of uncertainty) denial of the copyright act provisions for fair/personal/educational use.

What exact clarification, and from whom, would it take for you to retract your statements?


Yes I do Curzlgt, feel free to show me how many upper revenue bracket defendants they have threatened to sue, or are you basing your opposition to my statement based on your record of attacking Ray Beckerman who often states a similar claim.
I notice thus far that all posters here have so far been unable to answer the question I placed here on the forum either so it seems we are dealing with an emerging case of possibly two diverging sets of facts one made by a known "bender of the truth" and the other from someone who has not so far to my knowledge spoken about the matter, it seems logical to place the onus on the accuser to prove their case here.

The clarification that I would like to be made clear btw is that the alleged shared folder was actually shared as shown by an independent "examination" of the hardrive and confirmation that a p2p program was installed, if this was the case then this guy took a gamble and lost, thats down to him, but if this is not the case then that too should be made clear as its a matter of concern to many that the recording industry are trying to use these cases as a method of "creep" to extend their rights way beyond the original intention of the grant of those rights.

I await your post of extra information that decides the truth of the matter for me at least.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby curzlgt » Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:08 pm

Dazzle_2 wrote:Yes I do Curzlgt, feel free to show me how many upper revenue bracket defendants they have threatened to sue, or are you basing your opposition to my statement based on your record of attacking Ray Beckerman who often states a similar claim.


1) I don't know how I'd find that information anymore than you would be able to find the proof that they are targeting those with low income. So what I'm asking is that if you personally believe it, or do you believe it because this is something that Ray /others claim?

This whole episode further puts Ray's "credentials", as an "expert", in question, imho.

2) Yes, Ray often makes the same claim. However, when I asked him the same question awhile back, his response was that, in his experience, it was usually low income people. He also could not provide any objective evidence to back up the claim. Im' afraid that his experience is very limited, he has prolly hear from a few hundred, and thats likely a very generous estimate, of the 22,000+ "victims".

3) Imo, they are not targeting any income or demographic group. I have a hard time seeing how they would even do that, from a logistical, a legal, or a financial aspect.

a. What we know of the RIAA's methods of finding their "victims" can be summed up as follows (unless you can present some objective evidence to the contrary, or I have misunderstood what I have read of it in the past).........

1st - they contract out to another company, that has agents that engage in actively downloading a file/s from a "victim" that has made the file/s available for download. The agent takes a screen shoot of the downloading, and captures the "victim's" IP address.

2nd - they ask or supina the "victim's" internet provider to provide the name of the "victim".

3rd - they send out their demand / "extortion" letter.

b. Any more than that, as far as doing credit checks, background investigations, ect., is mere speculation.

c. It seems like pretty easy logic to me to think that a lot of those 12,000+ that have settled, come form a very diverse background income and demographic wise. Just like the file sharers come from diverse financial and ethnic backgrounds.

d. In the US, can they even check someone's credit before actually filing a lawsuit?

Dazzle_2 wrote:I notice thus far that all posters here have so far been unable to answer the question I placed here on the forum either so it seems we are dealing with an emerging case of possibly two diverging sets of facts one made by a known "bender of the truth" and the other from someone who has not so far to my knowledge spoken about the matter, it seems logical to place the onus on the accuser to prove their case here.


I suspect this will all come out at trial, if the defendant doesn't settle.

Dazzle_2 wrote:The clarification that I would like to be made clear btw is that the alleged shared folder was actually shared as shown by an independent "examination" of the hardrive and confirmation that a p2p program was installed, if this was the case then this guy took a gamble and lost, thats down to him, but if this is not the case then that too should be made clear


I agree with this completely, and thats what the trial is for.

Dazzle_2 wrote:as its a matter of concern to many that the recording industry are trying to use these cases as a method of "creep" to extend their rights way beyond the original intention of the grant of those rights.


Agreed there too. Thats why I call BS on their making available argument. Without actual downloading of the file in the shared folder, no infringement has occurred.

But always remember, these cases are happening in the US, and are civil cases. As such, the plaintiff need not prove beyond a reasonable the "guilt" of the defendant. they must merely present a preponderance of evidence that they were harmed by the defendants actions. The making available BS is merely one facet of their case from what we have scene so far.

But what this case, brief, and argument by the RIAA does not try to do, is to make the act of copying a file that one purchased legally, for personal use, an unauthorized or illegal act.

That is how Ray, and subsequently many in the media, interpreted the action. They were wrong.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby MrFredPFL » Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:24 pm

come on now, curz. it's child's play for anyone to correlate a zip code to a likely income demographic, even if you are willing to assume that no further investigation is done, legally or otherwise.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby curzlgt » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:52 pm

MrFredPFL wrote:come on now, curz. it's child's play for anyone to correlate a zip code to a likely income demographic, even if you are willing to assume that no further investigation is done, legally or otherwise.


:lol:

thats a pretty unreliable correlation don't you think? Wham's correlations are more logical that that one :P
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby multivariable » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:03 am

curzlgt wrote: :lol:

thats a pretty unreliable correlation don't you think? Wham's correlations are more logical that that one :P

I don't know about US zip codes, but in Australia post codes (our equivalent) are deemed highly reliable indicators of socioeconomic status, so much so that school funding and other such policies are based on them. You'll have to do better than than in your attempts to undermine Ray Beckerman. :P
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby MrFredPFL » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:04 am

i really hope you're joking, curz. it's a common business practice.

edit: thank you, multi.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby curzlgt » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:37 am

Well first off, is there any evedience of that kind of targeting going on?

Second, while it me be useful in sales targeting, where the object is to spread a wide net, yet still narrow the chances of your pitch getting to the maximum applicable audience, I'm not sure how effective it would be in this instance. I use targeted marketing, including zip codes all the time. But when I target to zip codes alone, which I seldom do, I know that a lot of the effort and money will be wasted. I like to get far more specific, including factors like: Age range, sex, median household income, median home value, home ownership vs renter status, ethnic background, etc.......

I just don't see them useing zip codes. Especially if their true goal was to go after the poor and "defencless". but I could be wrong..............

Why go after the poor, when they could go after the middle class? A much larger demographic, who would be much easier to get the few grand settlement out of, yet still couldn't afford to fight it in court?

All that claiming that they are going after the poor and defenseless does is to generate more sympathy, and paint the RIAA as that much more evil. It just doesn't make business sense in my opinion. Remember, the RIAA is a business organization first and foremost, and a bunch of heartless monsters second :P
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby DepecheNode » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:47 am

Hey, Curzie...

Take it light on RB. He's not the sharpest, but he is pulling the wagon... :wink: Give him props.

As far as thinking they're striking at the heart of the poor, that's RB's M.O. It's his clientelle... low to mid-low income 'fight-the-good-fight-for-the-downtrodden' type accused.

Zip codes, Fred? C'mon... :lol:

All they need is to see how quickly an answer shoots back after the initial warning. Quickly from an attorney translates to retainer (higher income). Slowly or self-composed answer means 'prolly not too liquid (but you might get a guy like me just to screw with 'em... :wink:). Which would they pursue?

Nothing was won or lost over this incident. Chalk it up to zeal on RB's part. I don't begrudge him that, because it's got to be hard to stay motivated where's he's at in this community.
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Re: RIAA: CD Ripping Not Illegal

Postby multivariable » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:10 am

DepecheNode wrote:Zip codes, Fred? C'mon... :lol:

All they need is to see how quickly an answer shoots back after the initial warning. Quickly from an attorney translates to retainer (higher income). Slowly or self-composed answer means 'prolly not too liquid (but you might get a guy like me just to screw with 'em... :wink:). Which would they pursue?

I'm sure Fred can answer for himself, but for my two cents the dismissively condescending laughter reply just doesn't cut it.

I'd be willing to bet that the "Quickly from an attorney translates to retainer (higher income)"-type reply infrequently occurs because these people rarely appear to be targets of the RIAA, and that the results are highly correlated to zip-code whether or not this is a deliberate ploy.
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