The RIAAs mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members creative and financial vitality. In support of our mission, we work to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA fights piracy that it defines including four specific forms. One of these forms is defined as online piracy is the unauthorized uploading of a copyrighted sound recording and making it available to the public, or downloading a sound recording from an Internet site, even if the recording isnt resold. Online piracy may now also include certain uses of streaming technologies from the Internet. (Company Profile, 2000) The RIAA claimed that Napster was enabling and encouraging copying and distribution of copyrighted material.
The RIAA experts contended that it was technically possible to use the Napster system that only indexes or allows songs that have been authorized. The RIAA did not want to shut Napster down but have Napster play by the same rules as everyone else. The RIAA claimed that Napsters New Artist Program, which obtained permission from 17,000 artists to distribute their music, would stay intact. The RIAA claimed that Napster was hurting CD sales.
The RIAAs claim was legitimate because the District Court has agreed with them. However, in a study by Mark Lantonero from The Norman Lear Center Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, titled Survey of MP 3 Usage: Report on a University Consumption Community, the results were opposite. The sample frame for the study consisted of 3,300 USC students. College students were the biggest users of Napster due to their access to faster university servers that maintained faster connections. The margin of error based on the sample size was approximately 2.5%. The study found that 63% of the students who download MP 3's were buying the same number of CDs and 10% were buying more.
39% said that after listening to MP 3's they often would buy the CD. This was because 39% rated CDs higher quality than MP 3's. Although the sample size was small (3,300), other surveys have proved these results to be accurate. The RIAA claimed that not only is Napster affecting CD sales but also having an adverse effect on the ability of legitimate companies to deliver and market music online.
(RIAA, 2000) The courts, to determine a finding of fair use, review the four factors. Courts have routinely held that wholesale copying and distribution of the work as a whole is not a fair use. The RIAA was using this against their claims that Napster was infringing. The First Sale Doctrine allows a consumer to resell or give away the copy of the music that the consumer has purchases. But it doesnt allow you to give away a copy and keep another copy for yourself. The Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992 covers devices designed or marketed for the primary purpose of making digital musical recordings and provides these devices and their manufacturers with some protection against copyright infringement.
The devices covered are supposed to incorporate technology to prevent serial copying. The manufacturers are also supposed to pay a royalty to copyright owners. General-purpose computers are not covered by the AHRA. But Napster claimed that the AHRA did not limit the scale of noncommercial consumer copying of music. The Sony Corp. of America vs. Universal City Studios, Inc. Supreme Court case of 1984 was being used in Napsters defense.
The Sony Corporation manufactures home video tape recorders (VTR's). Universal City Studios owned the copyrights on some of the television programs that were broadcasted on the public airwaves. Universal City Studios brought an action against petitioners in Federal District Court, alleging that VTR consumers had been recording some of respondents' copyrighted works that had been exhibited on commercially sponsored television and thereby infringed on Universal City Studios copyrights, and further that Sony was liable for such copyright infringement because of Sony marketing of the VTR's. Respondents sought money damages, an equitable accounting of profits, and an injunction against the manufacture and marketing of the VTR's. The District Court denied respondents all relief, holding that noncommercial home use recording of material broadcast over the public airwaves was a fair use of copyrighted works and did not constitute copyright infringement, and that petitioners could not be held liable as contributory infringers even if the home use of a VTR was considered an infringing use. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding petitioners liable for contributory infringement and ordering the District Court to fashion appropriate relief.
The RIAA was claiming that Napster did not have any non-infringing uses that were commercially significant. The RIAA also claimed that copying off a television program was different than copying and distributing off a CD. Napster was claiming that they were comparable to Sony because they were providing the directory that enables users to use it for non-infringing purposes. The question that came to the court from these arguments was whether Napster was encouraging copyrighted material to be distributed through Napsters directory. When looking at a copy of the Napster Copyright Policy it stated that: Napster respects copyright law and expects our users to do the same. Unauthorized copying, distribution, modification, public display, or public performance of copyrighted works is an infringement of the copyright holders rights.
You should be aware that some MP 3 files might have been created or distributed without copyright owner authorization. As a condition to your account with Napster, you agree that you will not use the Napster service to infringe the intellectual property rights of others in any way. Napster will terminate the accounts of users who are repeat infringers of the copyrights, or other intellectual property rights, of others. (Napster Copyright Policy, 2000) Users agree to this policy before they are able to download the software..