Re: Napster: thoughts and comments?

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 12:48:34 MDT

"Emlyn (onetel)" wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > Napster is not in violation of copyright law because it does not itself
> engage
> > in the distribution of MP3 tracks for profit, it produces software that
> allows
> > people to trade MP3 tracks, with NO method of exchanging any payment for
> the
> > trade of MP3 files. Napster software users MIGHT be in violation of
> copyright if
> > they are charging a fee for the distribution of MP3 files via the Napster
> > software, which Metallica and the rest of the recording industry has not
> been
> > able to prove.
> >
> As I understand it, you don't have to charge money to violate copyright,
> just damage the author's ability to make money from their work by it's use.

This isn't true. You have to be actively charging money for providing others
with the specific enjoyment of its use and NOT paying Metallica or its record
company a royalty. Playing Metallica in your backyard for a cookout is not a
violation of copyright, even though your use of their CD in providing free music
to other people who might not own their CD. The recording industry would love to
force everyone to pay for every single instance that they listen to a song, but
there is no practical means to force this, and that is not what copyright is
for. Copyright protects the uncompensated copying of an officially published
version of the music in any hard media format, like records, CDs, sheet music,
etc. that is reproduced for the purposes of earning money for or via that
reproduction. For example, when I was in the school band in high school, we once
had to throw away all of our xeroxed copies of a Beatles tune and buy a copy of
sheet music for each member of the band because a record company exec that
attended one of our concerts had threatened a lawsuit if we didn't, simply
because we charged admission for the concert. If the concert had been free, we
would have been ok...

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