Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Court Ruling Denies EMI Access to Millions of Personal MP3 Files

On his blog, Michael Robertson reports, "A New York Judge has denied a request by EMI to force MP3tunes to turn over all music files for its 125,000 users. For now, this means the contents of personal music Lockers will remain private. "

This is is great news. MP3tunes rightly argues that the contents of the online Lockers are private, much like a safety deposit box at the bank. They also cite technological and logistical issues involved with delivering terabytes of password protected music.

To this I'd like to add that EMI, large as they may be, are not the be-all and end-all of music. They have no reasonable expectation that all of the music files originated with EMI artists; that they were obtained through any but normal, legal means; or that the contents of any specific Locker contains even one EMI song. Theirs is an unconstitutional request amounting to illegal search and seizure so that they can mount a fishing expedition... for what? Time and format shifting are horses that were beat to death so long ago that they don't even stink anymore. Sony vs. Universal City Studios, Inc. (the "Betamax case") killed arguments to the contrary 'way back in 1984. EMI's argument is far too shaky to be setting a precedent that could have the record companies poking into any form of online storage.

Nevertheless, the Luddites at EMI offer this ridiculous argument (by which I mean it's worthy of ridicule). Fortunately, this case has a judge that made the right decision; let's hope the trend continues. The whole greedy rights-trampling lot of cretins at EMI (and also the RIAA) deserve to be taken to the legal woodshed and given a good old fashioned ass-whuppin'.

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