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7.2. The Players

As soon as you start trying to look into the current state of MP3 law as it pertains to copying, distributing, digital devices, and patents, one thing becomes immediately apparent: The whole situation is a mess and a minefield. Dozens of laws, acts, protocols, specifications, and precedents come into play. Most of them are interdependent in some way, and some of them come close to contradicting one another. One of the reasons why most people are so lackadaisical toward MP3 copyright issues is because it's all so difficult to figure out. While several sites exist for the purpose of explaining it all to the layman, many of those sites also have their own interests at stake, and may not give you the straight dope. And God help anyone who tries to go straight to the laws as written. The author of this book has determined that trying to make sense of all that legalese can cause brain damage.

The best you can do is to start sifting and sorting through the various published opinions and summaries presented out there and try to piece it together for yourself, keeping in mind that many documents conceal their own hidden agenda. Here, then, is a quick guide to "the players"—the most significant laws, acts, recommendations and specifications that affect the legality of MP3 copying and distribution.


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