The Washington Post reported yesterday that the U.S. music industry’s knuckle rapper, the RIAA, has come up with a new argument in a lawsuit against a defendant it claims has violated copyright.
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. [emphasis in original]
But Endgadget is now reporting that the Post and others got it wrong: the RIAA is still suing Howell for downloading tunes, but is making the statement in passing that copying a CD to MP3’s on your hard drive is illicit, something they’ve been saying sotto voce for a while now, apparently. The RIAA has been suing Howell for a number of years, and it seems that one of the issues has to do with whether the fact that music files are sitting in a peer-to-peer directory on your computer constitutes illegal copying.
Whatever the exact state of play is — and wouldn’t it be great if these reports contained links to the actual documents? — I’d say the RIAA continues to play the stumbling Goliath flailing at the gigantic crowd of Davids.