The RIAA has a website,, which among other obviously misleading statements has a page on the law that strongly implies visiting a copyrighted web page could get you a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.

What the Courts Have to Say About Illegal Uploading and Downloading

[…] “When a person browses a website, and by so doing displays the [copyrighted] Handbook, a copy of the Handbook is made in the computer’s random access memory (RAM), to permit viewing of the material. And in making a copy, even a temporary one, the person who browsed infringes the copyright. […]”

[…] If you do not have legal permission, and you go ahead and copy or distribute copyrighted music anyway, you can be prosecuted in criminal court and/or sued for damages in civil court. Criminal penalties for first-time offenders can be as high as five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Of course they omit the fact that these criminal penalties are only for those who have willfully copied more than $1000 (retail value) of material in a 180-day period. And I really hope the RAM argument is invalid; I much prefer the server makes a copy theory.

(Thought: if loading something into RAM is making a copy, isn’t looking at it the same? “The copy in her memory isn’t fixed, she’ll forget it soon.” Neither is RAM, it can be overwritten and will go away if the power is pulled. “The copy isn’t tangible, you can’t pick it up like you can with the RAM.” If you pick up the RAM, you’ll lose the data. “With the RAM you can make a perfect copy.” You can also remember some text and write down a perfect copy.)

posted January 05, 2003 11:58 PM (Politics) #


Wireless “Security”
Ideal PDA
install in cron.yearly
Is the Treo ideal?
Classic PowerPoint Presentations
How Misleading Can You Get?
growth spurt
Get your $20 from the music companies!
Apple Goodies
TiVo and Macs and Networks, oh my!
“I helped hijack an airplane”

Aaron Swartz (