Back in 1994, the music industry saw the popularity of mp3 format, a compressed – lossy – digital audio format, however available in small file sizes in the PC community. The format provides a convenient way to store songs from CD (compact disc) to the hard-disk and was considered best practice to ensure longevity of the expensively purchased CD. All these advantages were also made it possible for mass distribution over the internet. This raised RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) concern on illegal ownership of copyrighted music, which initiated the development of copy-protection prevention technology within the CD.
RIAA’s legal action to ripping (conversion from CD to mp3) practice started in October 1998, soon after the first digital music player, Rio player, was launched to the market in September. RIAA argued that “the Rio player violated the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act because it was a digital recording device and was capable of distributing pirated copyrighted music” (internetnews.com, 1999). The decision of federal court in California ruled in favor of Diamond Multimedia System Inc.’s Rio Player. The key points in the ruling were that: The device itself did not do the recording, but creates a copy from computer’s hard drive to render portable use The function is consistent with its main purpose, the facilitation of personal use
The ruling set precedent for digital download technology as it essentially says that file transfer is not considered as a crime. On the other hand, act of recording or circumventing the digital copy protection is. This gave birth to peer-to-peer sharing technology such as Napster in 1999, which further elevates the popularity of mp3 files within music enthusiasts. This was also gave birth to other digital audio players such as Creative’s NOMAD Jukebox, Cowon’s iAudio and Archos’s Jukebox, in the year of 2000. Jupiter communications predicted that this practice (digital music) will be worth around USD 1.4...
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