Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

What is Proof of Music Ownership? 160

Posted by Cliff
from the possession-is-9/10ths-of-the-law dept.
scottsk asks: "What is proof of music ownership? I can't find a good answer anywhere. Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought. What must that person produce to prove the music was purchased legitimately? Is producing an original commercially sold CD with the music acceptable, or is some further proof of purchase needed (cash register receipt, cancelled check, etc.)? What if a person has digitized a commercial cassette, like digitizing a photo? Must the person carry the cassette around forever, or is just the cassette insert sufficient? (What about an LP record that has been digitized?)" Now, what happens if you've lost all of your property in a fire, but still had an off-site digital backup of your legally purchased music somewhere? Does the loss of the original property invalidate the legality of the backups?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What is Proof of Music Ownership?

Comments Filter:
  • by Fyre2012 (762907) on Friday August 18, 2006 @10:50PM (#15938598) Homepage Journal
    ...is that we really don't own anything.
  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @10:51PM (#15938599) Homepage
    IANAL (but cpt kangarooski is), but it would seem to me that once you purchase a work it is yours. You have made backups for just the reason that happened ... the originals were lost.

    If you're talking about the RIAA busting down your door and asking you to prove that you have a legally purchased copy of any of those CD-Rs with "their IP" on them, then I think you can be safe knowing they have to prove that it is more likely than not that those are the result of infringement.
    • by Aneurysm9 (723000)
      IANAL either (damn bar exams!) but it seems to me that the copyright act does not explicitly grant the right to make a backup of a sound recording. That would have to fall under the fair use provisions of section 107. The only section that speaks of archival copies is 117 relating to computer programs. But, using that as a guide, use of the backup must be discontinued when continued possession of the original ceases to be rightful. I take that to mean that if the original is destroyed, but you still hav
    • by westlake (615356)
      If you're talking about the RIAA busting down your door and asking you to prove that you have a legally purchased copy of any of those CD-Rs with "their IP" on them, then I think you can be safe knowing they have to prove that it is more likely than not that those are the result of infringement.

      The RIAA will most likely be knocking at your door (not busting it down) because it traced hundreds of downloads or thousands of uploads to your account. Klamath Falls man downloads $4,500 music file fine [katu.com] (August 7

    • If the RIAA's minions ever acquire the legal authority to "bust down my door" for any reason whatsoever, this society has far greater problems to concern itself with than ill-gotten music.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday August 18, 2006 @10:52PM (#15938603) Homepage
    > What is proof of music ownership?

    Copyright registration in your name.
    • Subconscious copying (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)

      Even a copyright registration in your name is not conclusive proof of ownership, as George Harrison found out the hard way. Bright Tunes Music successfully sued Harrison and his publisher for subconsciously copying "He's So Fine" by Ronald Mack into "My Sweet Lord". Google1 [google.com] | Google2 [google.com] | Inevitability [slashdot.org]

      • by Ray Radlein (711289) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:56PM (#15938807) Homepage
        John Fogarty, who was sued by Saul Zaentz for allegedly plagiarizing himself , might be an even better example.
    • by Alsee (515537)
      Score:5, Informative???

      Try Score:-5, Misinformative.

      US copyright law (and pretty much everywhere else) is quite clear on the disiction between ownership of a copyright and ownership of particular copies, and on the distinction betwen transfer of ownership of copyrights and transfer of ownership of particular copies. When you buy a book, or music, or whatever, you receive no ownership of any copyright in those works, but you DO in fact become lawful owner of that particular copy of that work. The copyright h
    • by sepluv (641107)
      copyright != ownership. Own is defined as "to possess as property". Property must be tangible. The comments on this story seem to mostly be discussing what "owning" an abstract concept means. It means nothing.
      • Property doesn't have to be tangible. That said, creative works aren't property, mainly because they're so damn non-rivalrous.
        • by sepluv (641107)

          What intangible things would you commonly characterise as "property" or "owned"*?

          Also, I don't understand what rivalry has to do with whether something's property?

          [*bearing in mind, as you claim to be a lawyer, that this is a discussion about the common (formal) not the legal usage of the words--which varies considerably between jurisdictions anyway]

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by cpt kangarooski (3773)
            What intangible things would you commonly characterise as "property" or "owned"*?

            Debts, easements, stock in a company, etc.

            Copies are property, and works are not. Copyrights could easily be considered to be property, but I think that this would be a bad idea.

            Also, I don't understand what rivalry has to do with whether something's property?

            A DVD -- the tangible disc -- is rivalrous in that either you can have it, or I can have it, but we can't both have it simultaneously. If I want to watch the DVD in Boston
      • by westlake (615356)
        Property must be tangible

        This is not been true of any commercial society in the modern era. It wasn't true in ancient Samaria. The Origins of Value [oup.com]

  • I assume that you're wanting to know what the courts would say if someone was charged by the RIAA for "stealing" music that they already owned.

    Honestly, I think that the RIAA would try to put a some spin on it (like that you're not allowed to use backups from another person's license or some shit). I don't think this would stop them.

    Anyways, to answer the rest of your question: I'd guess you'd need the reciept; how else are they to know that you're the one who bought the cassette or that you didn't buy it after you were charged?

    • by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      I don't think that possesion of unlicensed music is a crime. Copyright violation *is* a crime. So, if you have a burned CD of Tool, no one will haul you into court. If, however, you are distributing burned CDs of Tool, you'll preobably be facing a pretty hefty fine.

      On a similar note, you can download all the music you want. If you could somehow modify the bittorrent client to not upload a single bit, you could use isohunt and mininova to max out your collection legally. No one would harass you.

      But, the
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Catamaran (106796)
        you'll preobably be facing a pretty hefty fine

        Or a pretty stiff jail sentence. From COPYRIGHT FELONY ACT [usdoj.gov]:

        "(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, with a retail value of more than $2,500;

    • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:04PM (#15938629)
      Anyways, to answer the rest of your question: I'd guess you'd need the reciept; how else are they to know that you're the one who bought the cassette or that you didn't buy it after you were charged?

      Unfortunately, this would fail in the case of gifts. I could always give you my copy of the music/movie/whatever and could claim that I purchased it as a gift for you (possibly true). This is a valid scenario where someone else is shown as the purchaser of the music. It gets even harder if you pay cash, or go to a store where they give a receipt with the amount on it, but not the item description (used music store, eBay, buy from a friend, etc.).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by John Hasler (414242)
      > I'd guess you'd need the reciept...

      You don't need anything.

      > ...how else are they to know that you're the one who bought the cassette or
      > that you didn't buy it after you were charged?

      You've got it backwards. They are the ones who have to do the proving.
  • Movable Criteria (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ray Radlein (711289) on Friday August 18, 2006 @10:55PM (#15938614) Homepage
    "Proof" for whom? For the RIAA, I strongly suspect that there is no possible evidence which you could produce which they would deem sufficient.

    For a court of law? I don't think that it's ever gotten that far in court yet.
  • Winning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Walzmyn (913748)
    The way the RIAA and the courts have been going, probably the only way to *PROVE* you own some music is to win a court case and have the courts say that you do.
  • catch-22 (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Friday August 18, 2006 @10:58PM (#15938619) Homepage
    This is why the RIAA isn't invading people's homes and going through their CDs and hard drives. Yet. They'd *like* to say that you are only entitled to one copy of each work you purchase, and if it's destroyed you'd need to buy another copy. But they're already raising tons of consumer discontent and if they push it much farther they risk a huge backlash.
    • by Eil (82413)
      You, sir, overestimate the American sheeple.
    • by pete6677 (681676)
      What sort of backlash would that be? Nobody ever buying a CD again? The record industry could require that you give them a key to your house for every CD purchase, so they can enter any time to check for copyright violations, and there would be a lot of people who would go along with it. Sure, some would object, but they would sell plenty of music anyway. Remember we are, afterall, dealing with an American public who thinks Jessica Simpson has some sort of musical talent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:05PM (#15938633)
    The question is flawed. The music companies aren't suing anyone for possession. They are suing them for providing copies to others.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by scottsk (781208)
      The question was speculative - it has nothing to do with current suits. I've wondered about this since I got rid of my cassettes.
  • It's legal in the US to record music from the radio, to rip it from your CDs, to record it on a cassette tape from another cassette tape or CD or LP, to download it from the Internet (but not to upload it, and of course P2P filesharing technology makes everyone a redistributor), to stick a microphone out your window and record it from your neighbours stereo...

    So, given that, the burden of proof is on the RIAA. And they know it, why do you think they go to such efforts to catch people actually using P2P software to get their music fix?
    • It's legal in the US to record music from the radio

      Sometimes. It depends.

      to rip it from your CDs

      Sometimes. It depends.

      to record it on a cassette tape from another cassette tape or CD or LP,

      I'd say so, yes.

      to download it from the Internet

      Sometimes. It depends.

      to stick a microphone out your window and record it from your neighbours stereo...

      Sometimes. It depends.

      the burden of proof is on the RIAA

      Yes, but it's not much of a burden.

      why do you think they go to such efforts to catch people actually using P2P soft
      • by argent (18001)
        It's legal in the US to record music from the radio

        Sometimes. It depends. [etc...]


        Can you provide an example where any of these things are illegal, in the USA which is where the RIAA operates?

        And without examples of someone who was also distributing the material: for example, using P2P software, or playing the music at an event.
    • by bhmit1 (2270)
      This brings up a similar question I've had since day one. If time-shifting of content for personal use is legal, does it mater what method a person used to time-shift the material? For example, if I record a song off of the radio, is that more or less legal than if I copied that same song from a friend or download online after hearing it on the radio? If the process you use to time-shift isn't relevant, then it should be legal to have a copy for personal use of anything that was ever played over the open
  • Let's face it, folks. The RIAA has an agenda, and it's fairly transparent. They want, eventually, for you to pay some amount every time you access media. That's the only way they can assure their revenue stream into the digital age. Well, that and producing new talent, but they'r enot exactly great at taht, are they?
  • Two Thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:23PM (#15938697)
    What is proof of music ownership? I can't find a good answer anywhere. Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought.

    First Response:

    Criminal court? He doesn't have to prove shit, innocent until proven guilty, right?

    Civil court? The accuser still needs a preponderance of evidence. Just about anything from physical media, to a receipt, to testimony by a friend that he saw the guy make the purchase ought to be enough reduce the accuser to less than a preponderance.

    Second Response:

    If this is about one of the MAFIAA's [mafiaa.org] "sue 'em all and let God sort it out" lawsuits then chances are it doesn't matter if he has legal ownership or not. Those suits are about distribution and not simply possesion of a copy.

    No way I'm going to double-check and go dig through USC Title 17 [cornell.edu] on a Friday night while under the influence of tequila, but I don't think it's illegal to receive an unauthorized copy, just to make the copy or to distribute the copy. Feel free to dig through the spaghetti code on the other end of that link to find something that says otherwise.

    PS, all typos and poor logic are the sole property of Padron's Resposada.
    • PS, all typos and poor logic are the sole property of Padron's Resposada.

      Sue 'em all and God will know his own? Sounds more like Torquemada to me.
  • by isaac (2852) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:55PM (#15938801)
    Now, what happens if you've lost all of your property in a fire, but still had an off-site digital backup of your legally purchased music somewhere? Does the loss of the original property invalidate the legality of the backups?

    (I am not a lawyer, etc.) There's no express right to make a backup of an audio recording, but leaving that aside, what's the point of a backup except to prolong access to the recording beyond the life of the original media? From the legal perspective, it's silly to even make a backup if one loses the right to use it in the event the original media is destroyed.

    Now, the question of theft of the original media is slightly more interesting. A thief obtains no legal title to stolen goods, so if ones original media were stolen, one might retain constructive possession of the originals. That constructive possession would, if we assume the backups were themselves legal, permit the continued use of the backup media.

    I wonder whether there's any precedent as to what would happen if the originals were later destroyed by the thief - would the use right terminate? If we assume that destruction of the originals in a house fire would terminate the right to use the backups, then I imagine no use right would be retained if the would-be thief hadn't stolen them but destroyed them and left the pieces in the possession of the owner. Wacky.

    -Isaac

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rjmars97 (946970)
      Sony doesn't seem to agree with you on the idea that you can still keep music if your CD was stolen. EFF has a breakdown of the EULA that comes with some Sony CD's: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004145.php/ [eff.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
      Now, the question of theft of the original media is slightly more interesting. A thief obtains no legal title to stolen goods, so if ones original media were stolen, one might retain constructive possession of the originals.

      Thus making the thief guilty of copyright infringement.

      Probably the only situation in which both "sides" can agree that copyright infringment is also theft!
      • Thus making the thief guilty of copyright infringement.

        Oh? Which exclusive right of the copyright holder would the thief have infringed upon? I know that you're not going to say it was distribution, because the distribution right is the right "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending" and ordinary larceny isn't any of those.
    • There's no express right to make a backup of an audio recording, but leaving that aside,

      Well, there's a couple of things that can be used for more or less the same thing: 17 USC 107 and 1008. (Do be sure to read the definitions in sections 101 and 1001 lest you misunderstand 1008 like most people do)

      From the legal perspective, it's silly to even make a backup if one loses the right to use it in the event the original media is destroyed.

      Why? The right to use a recording in general isn't the same as a right
    • by coyote-san (38515)
      What if the original CD itself is considered the 'backup'? Wouldn't that make your fire argument moot?

      Ten years ago this would have been dismissed as a silly question. But today -- how many people listen to the original CD vs. the same song ripped to an iPod or copied onto a disposable CD for the car? I think a substantial number of people take this to its logical extreme -- they play a CD once to rip it, then toss it into a box in case they ever need to re-rip it. If the original media isn't the 'backu
  • by jd (1658)
    Just fill in the unknowns in the following equation:

    (Mass of Lawyer) x (Mass of Lawyer's Paralegal Team) x (Mass of Lawyer's Bill) x (Mass of Lawyer's Favourite Pick-Axe) / (Witnesses Brains Eaten) = (Righteousness of Lawyer's Case)

    Whoever has the greatest righteousness owns the music. This is true even when there IS no music. A guy got sued in England for copying silence - and lost. On the other hand, there have been lawsuits over sampled music used by scratch and rap artists for years, and the copiers usu

  • A Good Lawyer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flooey (695860) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:19AM (#15938881)
    The law doesn't say what constitutes proof of ownership, that's what the jury is for, so a good lawyer is probably going to get you a lot further than any object or piece of paper you can produce.
  • Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by okmnji (791276)

    I believe the proper response for this is "mu".

    Your question presupposes that there is a need for individuals to prove that they purchaced some music. I say that there is not. Should a group of the RIAA ilk take consumers to court for owning supposedly pirated music, then the RIAA or the group like them will need to prove to the court that the music is indeed illegitimate; "beyond a reasonable doubt" for criminal cases, and they must have sufficient evidence for strong suspicion for civil damages (IANAL, s

    • Should a group of the RIAA ilk take consumers to court for owning supposedly pirated music, then the RIAA or the group like them will need to prove to the court that the music is indeed illegitimate; "beyond a reasonable doubt" for criminal cases, and they must have sufficient evidence for strong suspicion for civil damages (IANAL, so I don't know all the legalese speak for the necessary evidence in a civil case).

      Well, only the government can prosecute a crime. If RIAA et al sue you, it'll be a civil suit.
  • The whole point of the RIAA's lawsuits is to instill fear, so the likelihood of actually going to court to defend yourself is practically nil.

    The first thing they do is offer to settle for some "low, low" rediculously inflated fee. If you actually _do_ pony up the legal fees to defend yourself, chances are they will drop the case and concentrate on their less financially motivated defendants.

    You will never have to prove you bought music, simply because they will only call your bluff and take you to court i
  • 1) I don't think anybody has ever been sued by the RIAA merely for having music or even downloading music -- they've only sued people for uploading/sharing music (though they might like to claim `illegal downloading' and things like that.)

    2) however, if you want to look at another industry that has had similar problems, look at the BSA [bsa.org], The Business Software Alliance. I'm not sure where they get the authority, but they do occasionally do raids on business and require that the business prove that it h

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773)
      I don't think anybody has ever been sued by the RIAA merely for having music or even downloading music -- they've only sued people for uploading/sharing music (though they might like to claim `illegal downloading' and things like that.)

      Well, downloading can certainly be illegal, and there have been numerous opinions to that effect by district and circuit courts. Really, no one even seriously argues otherwise.

      But downloaders are somewhat harder to track down, and less worthwhile in terms of the effect on oth
      • by dougmc (70836)

        Well, downloading can certainly be illegal, and there have been numerous opinions to that effect by district and circuit courts.

        Citations, please. I'm not aware of any court rulings/opinions that stated that `downloading copyrighted music' was illegal, at least not in the US. I'm not quite ready to say it's legal (and I'm no lawyer), but I'm not aware of any cases where downloading by itself was found to be illegal.

        And of course, even if you do produce these citations, that still doesn't mean tha

        • Re:Well ... (Score:4, Informative)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @03:26PM (#15941491) Homepage
          Citations, please.

          We agree that plaintiffs have shown that Napster users infringe at least two of the copyright holders' exclusive rights: the rights of reproduction, 106(1); and distribution, 106(3). Napster users who upload file names to the search index for others to copy violate plaintiffs' distribution rights. Napster users who download files containing copyrighted music violate plaintiffs' reproduction rights.

          A&M Records v. Napster, 239 F.3d 1004, 1014 (9th Cir. 2001).

          [W]e do not hold that a computer owner who downloads copyrighted software onto a computer cannot infringe the software's copyright. When the computer owner downloads copyrighted software, [he] possesses the software, which then functions in the service of the computer or its owner.

          CoStar Group v. LoopNet, 373 F.3d 544, 551 (4th Cir. 2004).

          Last June the Supreme Court held in [Grokster] that a distributed file-sharing system is engaged in contributory copyright infringement when its principal object is the dissemination of copyrighted material. The foundation of this holding is a belief that people who post or download music files are primary infringers. [Aimster], which anticipated Grokster, made the same assumption.
          BMG Music v. Gonzalez, 430 F.3d 888, 889 (7th Cir. 2005)

          I guess it depends on how you define `seriously', because I see people arguing otherwise all the time.

          Actually, I think it depends on how I define 'people,' because I have yet to see anyone who knows anything about US copyright law argue otherwise. Plenty of knowledgable people, including myself, will argue that it shouldn't be illegal, but everyone will accept that it is at least prima facie illegal.
          • by argent (18001)
            These citations are all in cases involving P2P technology where the software doesn't provide an easy way to download without uploading as well, so there was no class of defendants who were simply downloading without being redistributors as well.

            Do you have any citations that don't involve P2P software, in which someone who merely recieved the copy was prosecuted successfully?
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:56AM (#15938990) Journal
    What happened to "Innocent until proven guilty"?
    Why do -I- have to prove the mp3 in my mp3 player is legal? Why can't my word suffice? Shouldn't RIAA have to prove I obtained it illegally?
    They say I got it from p2p. I say I ripped it off a legal CD I misplaced later. Until they -prove- I actually downloaded it from p2p I should be innocent, shouldn't I?
    • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Saturday August 19, 2006 @07:52AM (#15939924) Homepage
      Because there would never be a crime that was successfully prosecuted. Transfer this theory to RL theft. You come home and your house is empty. They find me in possession of everything missing from your house. I say " I stopped by his house and he gave it to me, I didn't steal it". Why isn't my word good enough? Prove that he didn't tell me I could take it all. Because there is another person with a different opinion whose opinion is just as valid (until one of you is proven correct).

      While you are assumed innocent until proven guilty, there is already evidence against you if you make it to court. It is nearly impossible to prove a negative such as "prove I didn't buy a cd and rip this track off of it".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vo0k (760020)
        In case of theft there's usually much more evidence than the stolen wares. The wares only prove you're either of 4: thief, fence, uncautious buyer (from the thief), framed. 2 guilty, 2 innocent. It's up to the invastigators to find out which one and that's where the rest of the evidence kicks in. If you outright say "he gave it to me" it limits the options to thief, framed. Now given enough proof of burglary - fingerprints in places where they should not be, witnesses and alibis of both sides, criminal reco
      • Because there is another person with a different opinion whose opinion is just as valid (until one of you is proven correct).

        Erm. It's not exactly an opinion in the case you describe. He could swear under oath that he did not give you permission to take anything. The RIAA on the other hand could not swear anything relevant under oath, so unless they have any other substanstive evidence, they got nothing, just like the OP says.
      • Transfer this theory to RL theft.

        Stop reading dirk's message after this point. Arguments about copyright based on physical objects, trespassing, adverse posession, or other scenarios that involve an act that deprives the victim of the use of the object, land, and so on... these arguments are all invalid, irrelevant, pointless, and simply nonsensical.

        You'd be better off arguing that someone had stolen something from you by taking a photograph of your house and garden.
    • by bhmit1 (2270)
      When people get a license to use something big and valuable, there's almost always a signed contract involved detailing the rights of each party, and each person keeps a copy of that contract. When license distribution is scaled down to the retail store level, are the rights of the copyright holder reduced because they failed to get any kind of contract signed, nor have they kept track of who they have given a license to? I think it just goes to show how many problems there are with retail distribution of
    • Even then, you could own a copy and just not be bothered to rip it yourself (say you needed to pay for software), so you downloaded it instead. Or you forgot your CD at work and really wanted to hear a certain song. Etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RomulusNR (29439)
      That only applies to criminal cases, not civil ones.
  • rip to ogg (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fyoder (857358)
    Rip your cd's to ogg. While that doesn't guarantee that you haven't violated copyright, it's unlikely that a large collection of music files in a minority format were all acquired through file sharing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Then share them all, so we can all benefit from this tactic without having to bother buying and ripping the CDs.
  • by caenorhabditas (914198) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:24AM (#15939045)
    You'd never be brought to court for illegally possessing music, you'd be brought to court for illegally distributing music. And it's quite easy for them to show that you don't have a copyright, as typically only a limited number of these exist for any given song.

    When jackbooted thugs start yanking the iPods of folks walking down the street and demanding to know where the listener obtained the song, then we'll have this problem. Until then, you're only sued for unlawful distribution.
    • by sepluv (641107)
      Multiple people cannot have the copyright on the whole of the song (although obviously different bits could be owned by different people).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        Multiple people cannot have the copyright on the whole of the song

        Sure they can. There are two circumstances in which this can occur:

        1) The work is a joint work, in which case copyright vests in all the authors under 17 USC 201(a)

        2) The copyright can be transferred in toto to multiple people under 201(d)(1).

        The result is a copyright that is treated like a tenancy in common, with the copyright holders having undivided ownership in the entire copyright. They can then exploit the copyright however they like, s
        • by sepluv (641107)
          I realised this just after posting (but couldn't be bothered clarifying). The point still stands that the OP was slightly misleading as most works probably aren't under joint ownership (as is implied), and where a work is under joint copyright you would, I assume, need the permission of all joint holders. I have no idea about the particulars of US law you mention as IANALOEAUSC (or even a US citizen).
          • where a work is under joint copyright you would, I assume, need the permission of all joint holders

            No, only one of them. They have to account for profits amongst themselves, and obviously couldn't transfer any interest other than their own (which means no unilateral transfer of exclusive rights), but otherwise they can do as they like.

            I have no idea about the particulars of US law you mention as IANALOEAUSC (or even a US citizen).

            Meh. I find that /. is pretty US-centric, and I'm a lawyer in the US, familiar
      • by Xtifr (1323)
        > Multiple people cannot have the copyright on the whole of the song

        Actually, for any given instance of a song, there's usually at least three copyrights on the whole of the song: the songwriter's copyright on the composition, the performer's copyright on the performance, and the recorder's copyright on the particular recording. The last one mainly comes up with bands that allow taping [wagnerone.com] at their live performances, especially when multiple people are recording the same show, but it exists, and it matters.
  • under dutch law at least to proof you own something you need to keep the receipt around. Nobody does this offcourse and worse in many shops they do not even give you a receipt (strictly speaking illegal as hell) so in daily practice it is a case of the police having to have some kind of proof/suspiscion that you are not the legitimate owner. Such as an accusation from somebody else that they are in fact the legit owner.

    Even better, the sale only "counts" as legit if you paid a reasonable price for it in ca

  • straw man question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:50AM (#15939126) Journal

    Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought.

    The only scenario where that might happen is if you're caught shoplifting.

    The RIAA has never brought suit against someone in the terms that you describe. They've brought suit against people for distributing music, not posession. In which case, your proof would be a contract/license of some sort that gives you the right to distribute the music.

  • In the case of fire or theft, hopefully you had insurance, so you will get replacements anyway. Of course, the insurance company will probably want proof as well.

    A friend of mine was in that position recently. They managed to find a recent photograph of their living room, clearly showing their CD collection sitting in some stand alone CD racks. That was enough to keep the insurance company happy.
  • It's an interesting question. What it boils down to is the outcome if it came to legal proceedings.

    If we're dealing with copyright infringement as a civil matter, then it comes down to the balance of probablilty. In a court, if there is a record of a house fire, you are probably ok to a collection of MP3s. If there's no record of a fire, and you can't produce a few hundred origial CDs, you're probably in trouble.

    However, the industry seems to be treating piracy as a criminal matter, e.g. "piracy is a crime!
  • Which is: if the RIAA doesn't sue you, then you own it.

    Duh. :-)

  • Let's assume some random person is hauled into court allegedly for having music that he has not legitimately bought.

    That's a ridiculous scenario and won't happen.

    You don't get in trouble for having stuff that you're not supposed to have. You get in trouble for copying stuff in ways that are not permitted under Fair Use.

    And the getting-in-trouble-for-copying can happen whether or not you already legally have the stuff. Don't ever forget the my.mp3.com case, where mp3.com was transmitting music (from CDs

    • Not necessarily. First off, the BSA is a private entity and has no more jurisdition over you than I do (at least until my plan for world domination gets a little further along ;)). If they show up and "offer" to perform an audit, you are well within your rights to call security or the police to escort them out. You are also well within your rights to prosecute them for tresspassing if they come back. THEY HAVE NO AUTHORITY OVER ANYTHING UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM.

      Here's how my experience with the BSA wo
  • Everyone that has been sued for copyright volitions has been sued for distribution, not for possession. There has been no case of anyone being sued because they downloaded music, only cases where they were sharing music. The very reason why this is done is because of this grey area of 'proof' of ownership. I am not saying that this is good or bad, just that it is a moot legal point because no one is sued for possession of material, only distribution.
  • Does the loss of the original property invalidate the legality of the backups?

    This one is simple to answer: Of course not! However, when challenged in court, it might be difficult to prove.

    This issue starts with: "What do you actually BUY when you pay for a CD in a shop?".

    You surely buy a round item, a plastic case, and some paper.

    You also get the right to put the round item into an electronic device, which can play the sounds encoded on said round item. This however, is a limited right: The copyright own

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

Working...