Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hey Sony, I guess I'm a pirate

I missed this last week, but according to Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, in testimony she gave in the trial Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas:
Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'," she said.
So there you have it. If I rip any of the CDs I've purchased since the music CD was cheap enough for me to afford in the mid 1980s, then I'm a pirate. And I guess you can throw in all those DVDs I've been ripping lately as well, and leaving them on my home-brew DVR to play back and watch.

Why have I been ripping?
  • The primary reason is preservation. A number of the CDs and DVDs I own are rare/out of print, and I wanted to make my own copy and then put the original away. As time marches on I am slowly archiving them all and putting the digital content (mp3 and mp4) on big fat 500GB and 1TB drives, to be played back when I want them.
  • I want a high quality digital reproduction. Right now the best I can do is 320KB mp3. I know there are probably better encoders, but 320KB sounds a lot better than any sample I've ever listened to that came off the Internet.
  • I don't like 99% of what passes for music these days. I listen to the Moody Blues, the Beatles, CSNY, The Eurythmics, etc, etc, etc.
  • Ease of playback. For example I have a Nokia 6133 flip phone that can take a micro SD card. I have a 1GB card loaded with a small sampling of my library, and I use the ear buds that came with the phone to listen to those songs when I'm out walking Max. I can see now the RIAA brown shirts running me down by the side of the road because I've made an unauthorized copy from CDs I originally purchased.
  • Removal of crap from DVDs. I've long since grown tired of all the ads that appear before the movie starts. This is the same thing I have to put up with at the cineplex. Those ads, along with increasing ticket costs, have incentivized me to stop going to movies unless it's about something really want to see. And then, when I purchase the DVD of the same movie, I have to put up with it again. No thanks. So I go and find the track that has the movie, and rip it. After that, no fuss and no muss, and the DVD goes back into its cover and back on the shelf.
But of course, Sony BMG would like copying everywhere to be illegal like it is in Australia. And it's the same Sony that sprung the anti-copying root kit back in November 2005. No, I'm not surprised that Sony has such an attitude. And it's that attitude that has driven me away from purchasing anything Sony-made. No electronics, no music, no DVDs, not even going to a movie from their studio. I vote with my pocketbook and attempt to persuade others to chose something else besides Sony. That's why I buy Olympus and Canon cameras, Apple Macs and iPods, and just about any other studio when it comes to music and movies. It's also one major reason why I own a Wii.

In fact, speaking of gaming consoles, just to show you how little I think of Sony, if the only choice open to me for a new game console was between Sony's Play Station 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, I'd choose Microsoft in a cold New York minute. And you know what I think of Microsoft.

I'm not sharing, especially online. Not just because I do believe it is stealing, but simply because the studios have gone totally insane in their attempts to control "their" content. I'm going to continue to do what I've been doing; making copies for personal use, and avoiding all things Sony.

Here's a little dark humor about movie piracy from The IT Crowd:


Update

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation comes this February 15, 2006 article, in which they point out the hypocrisy of the RIAA with regards to copying content you already own via CD. In particular they quote Don Verrilli before the Supreme Court as saying:
"The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod."

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