Re: [SLUG] Novell's CTO Blog - new entry

From: Paul M Foster (
Date: Wed Apr 26 2006 - 22:19:22 EDT

Ken Elliott wrote:
> Steve >> Well there is this little thing called fair use law. It allows
> Steve >> copying as long as money is not exchanged.
> Paul >> I guarantee this broad definition would *not* stand up in a court of
> Paul >> law. Copying and distribution under the fair use clause is not
> Paul >> precisely
> Steve >> Again, read the law.
> I did. The law states:
> ----
> In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a
> fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
> (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a
> commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
> (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
> (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
> copyrighted work as a whole; and
> (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the
> copyrighted work.
> ----
> So it would appear that copying songs and sharing said copies would effect
> item 4. I believe Paul is quite accurate.
> One other thing - according to the letter of the law, it is NOT stealing,
> but it is copyright violation. Morally, I agree that it is stealing. The
> difference being that the violator would be a (morally) a thief that doesn't
> go to jail. That's why RIAA has to sue - it's a civil violation, not a
> criminal violation. PS- IANAL...

Aside from all this, it doesn't actually matter what the law
specifically says. What matters is how courts *interpret* that law. You
can argue the literal meaning of a law in court until you're blue in the
face, and still lose. (This is the fault of poorly written laws and
inept interpretation by courts.) And judging by case law, I'd say the
court(s) would take an exceptionally dim view of making 1000 (or
1,000,000) copies of a music CD for your friends, gratis.


Paul M. Foster
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