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Sunday, October 21, 2007

RIAA versus all my scratched albums

Ed Bott has been posting some really interesting questions and commentary with a survey and some blog posts on the topic of digital ethics:

One thing in particular that caught my eye is the discussion of scratched CDs:

[...] What the RIAA is saying, in that official document, is that if your CD gets scratched you can go buy another copy. Sorry, no. For what its worth, Ive been burned too many times by CD players and changers that mangle discs. The very first thing I do when I buy a new CD is to make a copy for use in the car. Then I rip the tracks from that CD to a home server and use those copies for the Media Center PC in the living room or the computer in my office and for filling up our portable music players. (Digital media ethics: its personal.)

I'm pretty sure Ed Bott is the same age as me, so this isn't going to be news to him. However, maybe he forgot that back in 60's and 70's and before, if your album or 45 got scratched, as they so often did, you were basically out of luck. Back then, our alternatives to scratched records were:

  1. Trying to get the record store to exchange your record (that was not even gonna happen);
  2. Record them on a cassette tape (the quality was, in a word: Ugh!); or
  3. Go buy another copy.

So, it's interesting to me that scratched CDs gets so much focus in the argument to copy music these days. Hey, I'm not arguing on behalf of the RIAA. I can't stand 'em. I'm just pointing this out for historical purposes.

For those of us spending our hard earned babysitting and paper route money on our beloved music, we just lived with the scratches. My favorite scratch was on Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Lucky Man." It's in my head right now. I wish you could hear it.

Posted by Marie at October 21, 2007 10:54 PM


Marie, thanks for the comments! Back in those days I couldn't take my LPs into the car, so I copied them to tape first. The quality ranged from good enough to very good if you had the right equipment, which I always did. I usually made a tape copy immediately after buying an LP. And I was a fanatic about handling those vinyl discs, too, precisely because they were so scratchable. Of course, that doesn't mean they never got scratched... So yeah, we lived with those scratches, just as I live with several prized books that have damaged spines or are waterlogged from being dropped on the ground near a swimming pool.

Posted by: Ed Bott at October 22, 2007 8:22 AM

People copy CDs because they can. Any excuse given for doing so is pure rationalization. They know it's wrong. If they could copy their car, their groceries, their MONEY, they'd do that, too, and the despicable RIAA would have a few more supporters.

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