Imagine that you’re only a NYTimes headline skimmer and note the peculiar way in which all forms of copyright infringement are being associated with "downloaders" in this particular headline, even though the infringement at the heart of this issue is NOT P2P: Defiant Downloads Rise From Underground
The protesters billed the event as “Grey Tuesday,” calling it “a day of coordinated civil disobedience,” during which more than 150 sites offered the album for download. Recording industry lawyers saw it as 24 hours of mass copyright infringement and sent letters to the Web sites demanding that they not follow through on the protest.
“The Grey Album” is a critically praised collection of tracks created by Brian Burton, a Los Angeles D.J. who records as Danger Mouse. Mr. Burton created the album by layering Jay-Z’s a cappella raps from “The Black Album,” released on Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella label, over music he arranged using melodies and rhythms from “The Beatles,” commonly known as the White Album.
Mr. Burton did not seek permission from EMI, which owns the publishing rights to the White Album. When EMI learned that Mr. Burton was distributing “The Grey Album” early this month, its lawyers sent him a cease-and-desist letter, and Mr. Burton complied.
[...] Jonathan Zittrain, a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, said the issue is indeed a gray one. “As a matter of pure legal doctrine, the Grey Tuesday protest is breaking the law, end of story,” Mr. Zittrain said. “But copyright law was written with a particular form of industry in mind. The flourishing of information technology gives amateurs and home-recording artists powerful tools to build and share interesting, transformative, and socially valuable art drawn from pieces of popular culture. There’s no place to plug such an important cultural sea change into the current legal regime.”