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RIAA says consumers shouldn't expect DRM servers to run forever

Nilay Patel

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Man, these Copyright Office triennial DMCA hearings seem to be some kind of competition for media-industry lawyers to present ridiculous arguments -- just a couple months after the MPAA tried to convince us that videotaping DVDs was an acceptable alternative to ripping, the RIAA's claiming that consumers shouldn't expect their DRM servers to stay online and allow them to play their music to play forever. No joke. The argument comes as the Copyright Office decides whether or not to allow a DMCA exemption for breaking DRM, and RIAA lawyer Steven Metalitz's position is that copyright owners shouldn't be required to "provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works," since "no other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards." Of course, that's only partially true, since properly maintained physical media and DRM-free content theoretically can be played forever, but why acknowledge reality when you can jack up your legal bills making completely absurd arguments that make your porcine, slowly-decaying clients seem even more doomed than before?

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