Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A letter to the Toronto Star

Re: New copyright law would cut artists’ earnings (June 9)

I'm not really sure where Sophie Milman sourced her legal advice, but she's wrong when she writes that "just as with vinyl-to-cassette prior to 1997, ripping songs to a DAR is actually against the law". It's generally agreed that ripping music from a CD to your computer constitutes 'personal use' under the law. [Exclusive to the blog!: Nor is it technically illegal to file-share in Canada, as courts have shown unwillingness to find defendants guilty and the police lack the resources or desire to pursue music pirates, especially those who do so for personal use.] It may not be explicitly legal - neither, for that matter, is abortion - but it's certainly not illegal. If Ms Milman was looking to make a legal argument, she probably should have made sure that she knew the law, first.

I suppose that it isn't surprising that the music industry would play the levy card again, but the old suggestion that we be charged repeatedly for the exact same recording is indicative of the lack of creativity that got the recording industry into this mess in the first place. And just as the industry tried (hopelessly, and with still dubious legal grounds) to shut down file-sharing rather than find ways to profit from it, their efforts to police personal use is likely to only further alienate their customers. If only they spent as much time and resources in making these new formats into a unique and value-added experience worthy of our money...


James said...

with still dubious legal grounds

That blows my mind to this day. And Torrent sites are still getting shut down on the same (lack of) basis, right? Nutty.

neilshyminsky said...

This is why Canadian law enforcement basically stopped pursuing most varieties of electronic piracy 3 or 4 years ago. But they've been trying to enshrine American-type anti-piracy laws that whole time. I'm sure they'll get it, eventually, too.