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leed
12-12-2007, 07:05 PM
RIAA files supplemental brief in Atlantic v. Howell; argues personal copies ripped to computer are unauthorized

In Atlantic v. Howell, a case against a pro se litigant in Arizona, the RIAA has filed a supplemental brief in support of its motion for summary judgment. The Court has given Mr. Howell until January 11th to respond, and has scheduled a hearing for January 24th at 2:00 P.M.

The RIAA's brief makes the novel contention, contradicting its lawyers' arguments at the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster, that making personal copies of songs from one's CD onto one's computer is an infringement.

In the US Supreme Court, the record company lawyers said:

The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their Website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod. There is a very, very significant lawful commercial use for that device, going forward.

http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2007/12/riaa-files-supplemental-brief-in.html

The RIAA has told a court that ripping your CDs to MP3 format is "unauthorized" and illegal, in a brief filed with the Arizona US District Court where Atlantic Records is suing Jeffrey and Pamela Howell. The last time this issue came up, in the Grokster Supreme Court case, the RIAA's lawyer said that ripping CDs was not illegal and was implicitly authorized by the record labels.
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/12/11/riaa-you-arent-autho.html


In a case against an unrepresented defendant the RIAA has included a statement into the brief for summary judgment

Defendant admitted that he converted these sound recordings from their original format to the .mp3 format for his and his wife’s use. (Howell Dep. 107:24 to 110:2; 114:1 to 116:16). The .mp3 format is a "compressed format [that] allows for rapid transmission of digital audio files from one computer to another by electronic mail or any other file transfer protocol." Napster, 239 F.3d at 1011. Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs’ recording into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs.

While some of the argument relates to the defendant putting the mp3 files into his Kazaa shared folder, the wording clearly tries to get case precedent for two items

*
That the the use of mp3 encoding implies that infringement is taking place
*
That the copying of CD tracks into mp3 on your computer is an unauthorised use of copyrighted product.

I have said previously that the end game for the recording industry is to charge for every time you listen to a song, essentially making you subscribe to music rather than to own it. The concept of fair use means nothing to them but lost revenue.

Copyright was not intended for this, it was meant to stop people playing your music and claiming it was your own. We have already extended this to cover exploitation of the work and into what you can do with music that you have purchased. And how this industry have managed to get so much influence on what so many governments legislate completely boggles my mind.
http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/007456.html


Recording Industry Tells Court (Again) That MP3s Are a Crime
By Ryan Singel EmailDecember 11, 2007 | 3:12:57 PMCategories: Copyrights and Patents, RIAA Litigation

Does the Recording Industry Association of America think that you have the legal right to rip MP3s off CDs that you own? The evidence says the RIAA thinks you are a criminal if you make MP3s out of your late 80's hair metal CD collection, but probably won't sue you unless you send that MP3 to a friend or share it on the internet.

In a court filing (.pdf) that's being much discussed on the internet today, the RIAA appears to say no when asked that question by a judge in an Arizona suit against Jeffrey Howell for sharing songs on the Kazaa file sharing network.

The RIAA doesn't quite say MP3s ripped from one's own music collection are illegal, but instead refers to them as "unauthorized copies."

But the judge's question was plain:

Does the record in this case show that Defendant Howell possessed an "unlawful copy" of the Plaintiff's copyrighted material, and that he actually disseminated that copy to the public?

The answer was convoluted. The RIAA said the copies were unauthorized and that by putting the unauthorized copies in the Kazaa share folder, Howell was guilty of distributing copyrighted works.

The RIAA's website clarifies what it means when it says unauthorized copies.

If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you’re stealing. You’re breaking the law, and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.

What does the site say specifically about ripping your CD or making a backup copy?

There's no legal "right" to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:

* The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
* The copy is just for your personal use. It's not a personal use – in fact, it's illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.

That's reassuring. The millions of Americans who ripped their music collections to listen to on their home media centers and portable digital audio players are considered thieves by the Record Industry, but you can rely on the goodness of their hearts not to sue you.

Also remember that in the case against Jammie Thomas, the record industry was much clearer on how much they hate their customers.

Sony's BMG's anti-piracy officer Jennifer Pariser was asked by record industry attorney Richard Gabriel if ripping songs from a CD was legal. She said no -- that's "a nice way of saying, 'steals just one copy.'"

I originally thought after reading the filing, that Ray Beckerman at Recording Industry vs The People and Boing Boing were overplaying this (as Mike Masnick at TechDirt thinks), but on a closer read, Beckerman was absolutely right when he broke this story.

I tried to call the RIAA for clarification, but their phone system, like the record label's business model, is stuck in the early 80s. There's no voicemail -- not even an answering machine -- for their press contacts. The phone just rings out.

Thoughts, opinions?

DFSniper
12-12-2007, 07:12 PM
im sorry, but thats a bunch of crap. thats like saying you cant photocopy pages from a book so you don't have to carry the whole thing with you!

oldironmudder
12-12-2007, 07:16 PM
OMFG, what is this world coming to? Oh ya, its going down the drain. Better yet, skipping the drain & city sewer lines & going straight to freaking hell!!!!!


Their pissed about not making every possible cent they can off us. Im all about supporting the companys & bands & that mumbo jumbo by buying a 'real' cd from the store. The only times Ive ripped a cd was to put the music on my computer so I didnt wear the cd out. And have a back up that I could burn for MYSELF when the 'real' cd finally took a crap on me.


OK, Ill take a break & get some more coffee. Whos next for a rant?

leed
12-12-2007, 07:18 PM
OMFG, what is this world coming to? Oh ya, its going down the drain. Better yet, skipping the drain & city sewer lines & going straight to freaking hell!!!!!


Their pissed about not making every possible cent they can off us. Im all about supporting the companys & bands & that mumbo jumbo by buying a 'real' cd from the store. The only times Ive ripped a cd was to put the music on my computer so I didnt wear the cd out. And have a back up that I could burn for MYSELF when the 'real' cd finally took a crap on me.


OK, Ill take a break & get some more coffee. Whos next for a rant?

Well, basically, what this is saying to me, is that A. iTunes will get raped. B. Everyone will have to carry CD's around now, no more MP3 players. C. How impure the reality of music has become now. It's all about money, the musicians have become greedy, and are really all in it for the money.

But here's the thing. They didn't generalize "MP3 Player formats," the specified ".MP3." Which means ripping and converting to .AAC, .M4P, .WAV, .WMA, .A lot of other formats technically are legal.

oldironmudder
12-12-2007, 07:22 PM
Everyone lets stop going with te trend & go back to LPs!!!

I have a pretty good selection between what i have here & left at my dads plus the ones he has.

Charfizcool
12-12-2007, 07:27 PM
do Not Avoid The Swear Filter!

badlandsrox
12-12-2007, 07:27 PM
[QUOTE=leed]. How impure the reality of music has become now. It's all about money, the musicians have become greedy, and are really all in it for the money.QUOTE]


Its not the musicians so much as the RIAA, there the ones who are turning into the greedy ones, not the musicians (aside from a select few)

DFSniper
12-12-2007, 07:42 PM
well, if they want to revert progress, guess its time to pull out the old boombox and my dad's metallica tapes!

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/51/140251068_973a47a88b.jpg

leed
12-12-2007, 08:26 PM
[QUOTE=leed]. How impure the reality of music has become now. It's all about money, the musicians have become greedy, and are really all in it for the money.QUOTE]


Its not the musicians so much as the RIAA, there the ones who are turning into the greedy ones, not the musicians (aside from a select few)

But it is. Take iTunes, for example. Musicians are pissed because they go through a record company, the record company takes a huge portion of the money, and the rest goes to iTunes (5 cents per song sold or something) and the Musicians. The Record companies will complain about their losing money and then the Musicians will complain about losing money.

Hoppy11
12-12-2007, 09:05 PM
And it is also illegal to dl music on limewire and copy dvds and that is stopping us now? Its a bunch of crap.. no one is going to stop doing it.. for one I pods would be practically worthless because alot of people do buy the actual cd's put them on their computer and then to their ipod so they don't have to lug a ton of cd's around.

badlandsrox
12-12-2007, 09:07 PM
exactly, the record company is taking the lions share for doing nothing, thats whats making the artists want more money... their hard work goes to the execs at labels, and they just get whats left over

leed
12-12-2007, 09:53 PM
exactly, the record company is taking the lions share for doing nothing, thats whats making the artists want more money... their hard work goes to the execs at labels, and they just get whats left over

I guess I'm coming from a different perspective. I myself am a musician, and all of our stuff was non-profit. Everything we did, any money made would go straight to donations, and that includes when we auctioned ourself off for 7000 dollars. I don't know, I guess to me, it seems that the point of music has changed in musicians. It's become a source of income, as opposed to a source of joy, being able to watch hundreds upon hundreds of people enjoy something you make. Personally, that would be enough as it is for me. That being said, I am also not playing music for a living, so I guess it's guaranteed too be different. But at the same time.. A lot of artists that complain about it.. Certainly are not losing any money.

Iono, basically whatever I say is pretty one-sided.

HelpDeskHustler
12-13-2007, 03:18 AM
any industry that sues it's consumer deserves to be "stolen" from IMO.

Drefish99
12-13-2007, 07:16 AM
I bet Al Gore is behind this.

Critical
12-13-2007, 07:23 AM
It's been fairly conclusively proven that copying CDs that you own onto your computer for the purpose of placing them on a seperate playback device (MP3 player) is covered under fair use. Either the RIAA lawyers missed that fact, or they are trying to completely put their bosses, the recording industry, out of business.

Here's (http://w2.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php) a good link that describes fair use, and why the RIAA is not looking good here.

DFSniper
12-13-2007, 07:26 AM
thank you! i was thinking of fair use all day yesterday, but couldnt come up with the word!

Critical
12-13-2007, 07:32 AM
any industry that sues it's consumer deserves to be "stolen" from IMO.

The point that the RIAA is making is they are not, in their eyes, sueing their consumers, they are sueing those individuals who are stealing their product, i.e., downloading music from the internet without paying for it. In that instance, they would be, legally, correct and required to do so in order to maintain their rights to the product.

Do their motives and methods have serious flaws that end up going after legal music owners, yes. But just remember this, if you steal something, it's a crime.

What industry are you in? If I steal your ideas/product are you going to say "that's cool, enjoy it, have fun"? No, you're going to get your crap back from me and have me thrown in jail and fined, for as long as possible and as heavily as possible to discourage the next would-be thief. Why should music be different?

bamf-hacker
12-13-2007, 08:34 AM
well, if they want to revert progress, guess its time to pull out the old boombox and my dad's metallica tapes!

WATCH IT!!! I have Metallica tapes :D

battlechaser
12-13-2007, 01:43 PM
Not that I condone stealing music. But shutting down the internet's "MP3 pipeline" isn't going to fix the damage already done in the wake of the dreaded Napster.

Consumers are tired of paying $20 for 11 - 2 minute songs. Compound that by the bands any one person listens to and the frequency of new albums. Thats alot of money.

One band, even though I don't really like them, I definitely respect them for their last contribution. Radiohead. They allowed the customer to download their new album "In Rainbows" from their site, allowed them to choose what they wished to pay for it, and sent them the number of songs they felt the money warranted. Cool idea, and the money went straight to the band. No Record Company. Who I think we all have to agree... are in league with Satan himself.. ;)

DFSniper
12-13-2007, 02:00 PM
ah yes, the record companies and video game markets... one is in league with satan, the other wants to take over:
http://www.megatokyo.com/strips/0033.gif

just thought i'd lighten the mood...

but seriously, the ONLY way to stop people from copying music is to create a digital format that cannot be recoded for playback on a home computer (into .MP3 or .WMA) and create a foolproof copy-protection system (i found ONE cd like that, i think it was the first Velvet Revolver CD). that means there would be no way to upload music online, which means no more previews/demos. i say this because all you have to know is the URL to a song, and you can find the directory that stores it. so if you did want to show off a song on your website, it would have to be in a format that couldnt be converted to play on your computer, and im pretty sure thats not possible, because if you can create an online media player for it, someone can create a media player codec for it.

HelpDeskHustler
12-13-2007, 02:08 PM
One band, even though I don't really like them, I definitely respect them for their last contribution. Radiohead. They allowed the customer to download their new album "In Rainbows" from their site, allowed them to choose what they wished to pay for it, and sent them the number of songs they felt the money warranted. Cool idea, and the money went straight to the band. No Record Company. Who I think we all have to agree... are in league with Satan himself.. ;)
Not to mention, they also made close to 4x more money than they make on normal albums because all profits went to them rather than through a studio/label.

calebh
12-13-2007, 03:20 PM
no wonder, the dumbasses were sharing it on kazaa. the reason RIAA wants to squash unprotected formats is because people do just that. i like mp3 precisely because it isn't protected and i can do whatever i want with it. but i also try to buy real CDs before i download anything. the vast majority of stuff i download is unavailable elsewhere. but people aren't always so nice to their favorite artists...

of course the court will rule against the couple. what they were doing is illegal. but there's no way the court will rule against ripping to mp3 for personal use.

badlandsrox
12-13-2007, 04:02 PM
My opinion... Music stores should have a self dispensing music machine rather than CD's, what is that you may ask? nothing... yet... that i know of... so if there isnt anything like it, its now patent/copyrighted :P... so anyway, instead of having row after row of CD's, have a machine that has all those CD's plus countless others, and have them all saved on a huge hard drive somewhere in the back room, and then people can choose songs they want, and rather than by 6 CD's for only 6 songs you like, you get one CD with the music you want, therefore reducing pollution, and it would be legal, and the CD's would be professional quality, with silkscreened labels.

and btw, although this may seem like a pipe dream... its not... i dont need drugs to make me weird crazy etc... i do it fine by myself thank you very much :P

calebh
12-13-2007, 04:20 PM
up until the backup and digital watermarks bit, that was actually a really good idea. lol. backing up the CDs 300 million americans buy would be insane, and those files would just be asking to be sold off to dataminers. digital watermarks would prevent me from bringing a CD of mine to a party at my friend's to play. i'll pass.

or the record companies could just stop being greedy bastards. ha

battlechaser
12-13-2007, 04:35 PM
Not to mention, they also made close to 4x more money than they make on normal albums because all profits went to them rather than through a studio/label.


Exactly. I think more bands should just cut out the middleman. Cheap music for us, more profit for them.

As for Radiohead, apparantly the album is now going on iTunes, as well as the hard copy debut Dec 31 (Canada) and Jan sometime (USA).

BTW DF, nice pull with megatokyo.. I haven't read that strip since highschool... good to see they're still around.. :)

badlandsrox
12-13-2007, 04:43 PM
up until the backup and digital watermarks bit, that was actually a really good idea. lol. backing up the CDs 300 million americans buy would be insane, and those files would just be asking to be sold off to dataminers. digital watermarks would prevent me from bringing a CD of mine to a party at my friend's to play. i'll pass.

or the record companies could just stop being greedy bastards. ha


yeah, i got kinda little carried away :)

DFSniper
12-13-2007, 04:45 PM
My opinion... Music stores should have a self dispensing music machine rather than CD's, what is that you may ask? nothing... yet... that i know of... so if there isnt anything like it, its now patent/copyrighted :P... so anyway, instead of having row after row of CD's, have a machine that has all those CD's plus countless others, and have them all saved on a huge hard drive somewhere in the back room, and then people can choose songs they want, and rather than by 6 CD's for only 6 songs you like, you get one CD with the music you want, therefore reducing pollution, and it would be legal, and the CD's would be professional quality, with silkscreened labels, and some kind of backup built in so that the CD could be repurchased for say a loonie if it were lost or scratched, etc. and if the record companies want to be so greedy, have an attachement that attaches to your Stereo, that reads digital watermarks on the CD to prove that it is yours, and thus preventing unauthorized sharing etc. while this may seem crazy, it is quite possibly the only way to stop greedy record companies from sueing etc.

and btw, although this may seem like a pipe dream... its not... i dont need drugs to make me weird crazy etc... i do it fine by myself thank you very much :P
we have one of those on post at the Exchange. you put your SD or other media card in, and you can download just about any song from any cd. it charges it to your credit card, and its less than $1 per song.


BTW DF, nice pull with megatokyo.. I haven't read that strip since highschool... good to see they're still around.. :)

thanks. i read it religiously, along with TWB and Questionable Content. i think they're working on book 5 now.

cyberthrasher_706
12-14-2007, 12:35 AM
[QUOTE=badlandsrox]

But it is. Take iTunes, for example. Musicians are pissed because they go through a record company, the record company takes a huge portion of the money, and the rest goes to iTunes (5 cents per song sold or something) and the Musicians. The Record companies will complain about their losing money and then the Musicians will complain about losing money.
Do you realize that musicians only get "paid" about 10 cents for every album sold. But wait, they have to pay back their advance for recording the album in the first place, we better take another 7 cents of that before we give it to them. That leaves the musician with an average of 2.5 - 3 cents per album.
Another thing, They are absolutely right when they say that ripping music to your computer should be illegal when file sharing networks are also installed on the same computer. Many of these programs claim to only search your "shared" folders but they also search other parts of your computer as well. Basically what I'm saying is if you're part of a file sharing network than chances are you are illegally distributing that personal use backup copy. I admit that I immediately backup every cd I buy to my hard drive but the only program that touches mine are a media player and nothing else. Man, I really need to get to sleep, that didn't make much sense.

Critical
12-14-2007, 04:05 AM
No, it made sense. However, it's a bit draconian to tell people that they have to choose between using music and using file sharing programs. If a person can't figure out how to limit their computers file search, they almost deserve the nice, friendly letter the RIAA will send them.

What we have to remember here is that, obviously from the examples cited here, as well as many other places, the recording industry (that runs RIAA) is in it's death throes, or close to it. As more groups like Trent Reznor and Radiohead leave their labels and go it alone, it'll get more interesting. The number I always heard was that the band got $0.79 per album through the industry. Radiohead is averaging more than that, even when you factor in the fact that they have to pay their own costs. When it will get the most interesting is when producers start not renewing their contracts with the labels. Because, honestly, any number of bands can opt-out and go it alone, but until the producers start doing it, it'll only be the huge names that either don't need more money and want to give back to their fans, or up and coming artists understand getting value from free.

cyberthrasher_706
12-14-2007, 10:37 AM
The number I always heard was that the band got $0.79 per album through the industry.

That's about the amount, depending on the contract, that the artist gets before paying back the debt. The way they do it is the company takes their share and pays out what they want, sets aside this little bit for the artist than does the math and figures out how much of that amount they need to take in order to get their money back from the advance.

My connections slow right now so I can't do multiple quotes, but, about doing it for the love of the music; Of course they're in it for the music and alot of artists donate large portions of their earnings once they get some status but you have to remember that inorder to bring us the music and get it out there in the mainstream market, music has to become a career and therefore the only source of income. Many of these guys spend their entire lives on the road to gain fans and provide for them while leaving their families at home. By stealing music by downloading it or putting their music on the network for someone else to download people are taking food and shelter from the families of the musicians and making it very likely that the record companies will drop the artist because they aren't selling any albums to pay back their debt and make the company some money (I am not debating at all the record companies are greedy, but it's mainly the Big 5 that are causing the problems). We put these artists in their place because we like what they do. If you appreciate what someone does for you, and most of them pour out their entire life spirit to make sure that you are entertained, than they deserve to at least be able to provide for their families. A good way to say thank you for them giving their all so you can enjoy some music and hopefully get something out of it would be to support them and not steal or enable others to steal. They're not getting much from the CD sales but at least they're getting something. When you download illegally they aren't getting anything.

pinkanese
12-14-2007, 12:32 PM
Everyone lets stop going with te trend & go back to LPs!!!

I have a pretty good selection between what i have here & left at my dads plus the ones he has.
Oh I love you!

About a week ago I finally got a USB tutntable, so I have been spreding a lot of tiem ripping my dad';s old vynils to my couputer, who needs CD's most pop music is crap anyway.

HelpDeskHustler
12-14-2007, 12:51 PM
I have a better idea, lets all stop being sensationalist consumers and just not buy crap we don't need and actually get something done in society.

DFSniper
12-14-2007, 01:03 PM
claus, my friend has one of those coca-cola style shirts that would be a perfect refute to what you just said:
http://www.2008tshirts.com/images/products/CAPITALISM.jpg

HelpDeskHustler
12-14-2007, 01:17 PM
claus, my friend has one of those coca-cola style shirts that would be a perfect refute to what you just said:
http://www.2008tshirts.com/images/products/CAPITALISM.jpg
Yea, you enjoy it until you die an unfulfilled life that was based mostly on stimulating illusionary aspects of your consciousness, but we can argue that later.

calebh
12-14-2007, 01:19 PM
No, it made sense. However, it's a bit draconian to tell people that they have to choose between using music and using file sharing programs. If a person can't figure out how to limit their computers file search, they almost deserve the nice, friendly letter the RIAA will send them.
i have to say i agree. lol

battlechaser
12-14-2007, 03:14 PM
Man... when I moved I had to give away my turntable... :(

Such a sad moment... that and realizing my mom had put a bookend on my CCR album... *grumble*..

Critical
12-14-2007, 05:29 PM
claus, my friend has one of those coca-cola style shirts that would be a perfect refute to what you just said:
http://www.2008tshirts.com/images/products/CAPITALISM.jpg

Where'd he get the shirt? I want one!

DFSniper
12-14-2007, 05:40 PM
i have no idea. i would just google it. i found a couple examples when i was searching for the logo.

timbertiger20
12-14-2007, 05:47 PM
Hmmm......did SP take over the RIAA.........wait don't respond to that comment!

So where does it state I can't take their music and record it right from any broadcast available. I find it fairly easy to record from XM/Cirrius and even absolutely free HD music over the air waves. Guess they should stop broadcasting and see what that does for their sales! I also have found no rule preventing that in any way, If I had the time and money I'd go start something......LOL

newkid
12-14-2007, 05:57 PM
this isn't hardly going to stop anyone, including me. I bough t the music I'm going to do what I want with it

Critical
12-14-2007, 05:57 PM
Nowhere does anyone state that you cannot record from the over-the-air broadcasts. What is prohibited is then distributing that content.

Trust me, I'm no friend of the RIAA, but there is certain, specific language and meanings that are are particular to copywritten/patented material. We need to remove the emotion of how idiotic/mean the RIAA is, and instead, focus on why they are doing it. Then, start poking holes in the business model, not by breaking the law. That only supports their cause, as demonstrated by the last case that went to court.

cyberthrasher_706
12-14-2007, 06:10 PM
Thank you

colonel_moo
12-15-2007, 09:16 AM
im sorry, but thats a bunch of crap. thats like saying you cant photocopy pages from a book so you don't have to carry the whole thing with you!

umm, you're actually not supposed to do that

newkid
12-15-2007, 09:21 AM
umm, you're actually not supposed to do that
my 6grade teacher better hide then

DFSniper
12-15-2007, 09:22 AM
im pretty sure thats covered under fair use as long as its for personal use and you arent trying to distribute it or make money off of it.

HelpDeskHustler
12-15-2007, 09:43 AM
Education purposes have some clause that allows them to do it.

Critical
12-15-2007, 08:06 PM
That would also be Fair Use.

One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the Copyright Act (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

the nature of the copyrighted work;

amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.