Okay, the quote is not from the RIAA but, rather, taken from this Dec. 30, 2007 WashingtonPost.com article, Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use.  According to the reporter, Marc Fisher, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), “In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell . . ., who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, . . . maintains that it is illegal for someone, who has legally

purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.” [emphasis in the orig.]

The case is Atlantic Recording Corp. v. Howell.

In fact, the RIAA Web page concerning piracy does state, in pertinent part:

[T]here’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 . . . Enjoy the music.

However, like the Minnesota PGP case that I characterized in another post as widely misrepresented, I believe that the position of RIAA and Atlantic in this case appears to be similarly misconstrued. If one actually reads the supplemental brief, Atlantic makes clear that the gravamen of the claims isn’t the possession of a backup copy of legally purchased materials but, rather, the fact that the backup copy resided in a folder share that was utilized by a file-sharing program:

It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings on his computer. Exhibit B to Plaintiffs’ Complaint is a series of screen shots showing the sound recording and other files found in the KaZaA shared folder on Defendant’s computer on January 30, 2006. Virtually all of the sound recordings on Exhibit B are in the “.mp3” format.  Defendant admitted that he converted these sound recordings from their original format to the .mp3 format for his and his wife’s use.  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.”  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. Moreover, Defendant had no authorization to distribute Plaintiffs’ copyrighted recordings from his KaZaA shared folder. Each of the 11 sound recordings on Exhibit A to Plaintiffs’ Complaint were stored in the .mp3 format in the shared folder on Defendant’s computer hard drive, and each of these eleven files were actually disseminated from Defendant’s computer. Each of these actual, unauthorized disseminations ofPlaintiffs’ copyrighted works violates Plaintiffs’ exclusive distribution right under the Copyright Act. In addition, Defendant unlawfully distributed all 54 of Plaintiffs’ Sound Recordings by making unauthorized copies of the recordings available to other KaZaA users for download.

Id. at 15-16. [citations to the record and authorities omitted; emphasis supplied].

Notably, Atlantic complained that Howell had spoliated evidence of his alleged wrongdoing, an allegation that we’re seeing raised more and more often in litigation, as lawyers start catching on to electronic discovery practices:

One of the best ways to test a defendant’s denial of responsibility for illegal file sharing would be to look at the contents of the defendant’s computer hard drive, which would show, among other things, the existence of peer-to-peer software programs, the user’s chosen preferences for the use of such programs, the dates of use of such programs, the profile of the individual using such programs, and any sound recordings that were downloaded using such programs. A forensic examination might also provide indications of particular instances of distribution from Defendant’s shared folder. That information, however, has now been intentionally “wiped” from Defendant’s computer. Defendant’s intentional destruction of this evidence severely and irreparably prejudices Plaintiffs’ ability to prove their claim against Defendant and warrants harsh sanctions.

Supplemental brief at 14.