I wanted to throw my 2 cents in on a point that Kassia made during her post on Monday:
Should it really be illegal to download an MP3 version of a song (or album) you’ve already legally purchased? Doesn’t legal precedent offer consumers a right to make a copy for personal use? Why is that we have turned the rights of consumers upside-down just because the music industry played its collective fiddles while the labels were burning?
So it started me wondering. Maybe it should be illegal to download an .mp3 version of a song that I already own if — and only if — it becomes illegal for the music industry to sell me another version of the exact same song that they’ve previously sold me.
So, as a theoretical example, how can it be illegal for me to download the who’s next version “Won’t Get Fooled Again” from bittorrent when I’ve paid for that exact version of that exact same song a half-dozen times?
If I’m really just buying a license to listen to just that version of that song, and the fact that I also purchased that delivery mechanism — vinyl, cassette, CD, mp3 — of that song is irrelevant, which means that I don’t have the right to do whatever with that delivery mechanism for personal use, then, can they really have it both ways?
Shouldn’t I be allowed to trade my vinyl copy for a pro-rated discount on those original nine songs for all future versions of the album?
Now, some might say that when I buy a new CD, I’m getting an upgraded version of the music that the CD holds — it sounds better, so I should pay a premium. As a matter of fact, that was pretty much the excuse for the initial higher prices of CD in the 1980s in the first place.
And, was kinda bullshit, since they usually sold crappy-ass cassettes for the same amount (or more, if I’m remembering Wherehouse’s “want a tape, add a buck” campaign of the 1970s) as vinyl albums, despite the cost to manufacture a cassette being significantly lower. I guess that we were paying for the convenience.
Either way, no way we should be paying a premium for .mp3 downloads, which are to CDs as cassettes were to vinyl.
So I ask again, if the head of litigation of Sony BMG can seriously claim that ripping even my own purchase is stealing, then that would seem to indicate that I’m paying for the specfic music, and not the object that delivers the music. So isn’t just as illegal for them to expect me to pay again for a music that I’ve already purchased as CDs or cassettes or vinyl?
I’d love for somebody to explain to me the legalities of what seems to a dumbass layperson like me as a having-it-both-ways stance.