Musical move to the middle

Dennis Kennedy has a good article on fair use of music in Corante’s Between Lawyers blog. This is an article that a lot of the people on the inside of the the debate probably has moved beyond a long time ago (I think I have seen something from EFF, or at least from EFN, the Norwegian sister organization) on what rights should be legalized (time-shifting and such), rather than what technologies should be protected.
Anyway, I liked the tenor of the article, the focus on uses rather than technology, and the attempt to find a balance I have been wondering about the LP-to-net conversion question myself, incidentally – I have a caseful of old LPs sitting around, does that give me any kind of justification for downloading the music there (Deep Purple, yeah) from a file-sharing network, since converting directly is impractical?
At a recent debate on this, Jon Bing, an IP and technology law professor made the rather sensational statement that “you cannot go down to very specific examples when considering laws” (the discussion was about the market for DRM-breaking software for legal use, when making it would be illegal). I would disagree – it is precisely in these detailed discussions that laws are tested. And the LP-to-iPod issue is precisely one of those questions, where the rule of “previously bought” crashes into the rule of “downloaded illegal copy”.
And wouldn’t it be nice if we moved this discussion towards the middle, rather than continuing the shouting between the record company tech dinosaurs and the everything-should-be-free fanatics?

About these ads