Throw out those mix tapes just to be safe

At least one lawyer for the Recording Industry Association of America has flipped his gourd. If the contention hidden away in a brief in a peer-to-peer filesharing lawsuit is any indication, you better throw away all those party mix tapes you made with your dual cassette recorder back in the ’80s.:

at least one lawyer for the Recording Industry Association of America, the Big Four record companies’ lobbying arm and primary legal weapon, considers the copying of songs from your own CDs to your own computer, for your own personal use, to be just as illegal as posting them online for all to share, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Arizona.

This is one thing I’ve never understood about the peer-to-peer hysteria. Did I miss the similar wave of panic when the first dual cassette machines came on the market? Certainly you could argue that it’s more efficient to start up Kazaa or (the old) Napster than to trade cassettes with your friends, but the principle is exactly the same.

Of course, the bottom line in both cases is that the record companies are charging far more for the content license than the cost of the media and that is what makes the piracy attractive. The record companies clearly have the right to set their price where ever they like, but given the ridiculously low cost of providing an mp3 and the wide availability of free and legal online sources (online radio, MySpace, etc.) for streaming songs, ignoring the demand curve seems like the real source of the “problem.” An industry largely targeted at teenagers and 20-somethings might want to consider setting the price where marginal revenue equals marginal cost. Perhaps they should retain a couple more economists and a few less lawyers.

[tags]mp3s,lawyer,RIAA,profit maximizing price,economics[/tags]

Lawyer: Ripping MP3s Illegal, Grounds for Lawsuit

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