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Copyright Infringement In the News 697

Posted by michael
from the we-hate-our-customers dept.
Lots of newsbits about copyright infringement today - let's mash them all together with some egg whites and breadcrumbs and see what we get. marklyon writes "The DOJ announced that they are planning to prosecute filesharers under the The No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act. John Malcolm, a deputy assistant attorney general, made the pronouncement at the Progress and Freedom Foundation's annual technology and politics summit Tuesday. Cnet has extended coverage." Reader M_Talon writes "According to this article on ZDNET the RIAA is using one of the DMCA's more nasty clauses...the right to subpoena an ISP for a suspected pirate's personal information. They want to force Verizon to reveal the customer's information, and Verizon is refusing on the grounds that the pirated material isn't on their servers." Reader MattW writes "Apparently some theaters are consenting to run anti-piracy ads before movies. After all, these are not a bunch of fat cats we're talking about -- piracy now threatens the livelihood of the rank and file workers of Hollywood. After all, the movie studios are having a terrible year, right?" Finally, the Washington Post (probably one of the last articles we post from their site, as they go registration-required) discovers spoofed files on Gnutella, and public radio is reporting that the RIAA will drop their suit against listen4ever.com, since it's, uh, gone.
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Copyright Infringement In the News

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  • ...if the value of the work exceeds $1,000. Violations are punishable by one year in prison, or if the value tops $2,500, "not more than five years" in prison.

    I guess this means that we can copy Crossroads (Britney Spears movie).. no way that was worth $1000
    • by rockwood (141675) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:42PM (#4114374) Homepage Journal
      Not exactly! if Hollywood calculated estimated sales of ten million videos and they only sold eight million, and meanwhile discovered that you had copied the movie against their wishes - They could turn around and say that the losses were due to your illegal activity.

      Don't get me wrong.. I think the movie and record comapnies should all jump off the highest building they own, but stranger things have happened when they start using their money and suing the average defensless Joe.

      I figure they could state it in two different manners
      1 - If you had the movie stored on your system and also had a p2p program of any type installed - they could say that sales losses where diretly effected by your sharing of the movie.
      or
      2 - They could state that if you copied the movie (especially if on DVD), and bypassed their.. umm.. 'security' measures, that you most likely shared that process with others. Thereby cutting into their profits.

      Either way the movie and recording companies will continue to strong arm the public until the complete foundation falls apart at the seems. And when it does it will creat a mini-anarchy of a turning point in all of this.

      Until then, I suggest that we continue to fight and argue and hold on tight for the ride.

    • by KelsoLundeen (454249) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:50PM (#4114440)
      Yeah, but the Crossroads with Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid) is pretty cool. It's definitely worth more than the Crossroads with Britney.

      BTW, this is off-topic, but ...

      Today is a sad day. My Oscar Goldman action figure with the exploding briefcase finally tumbled from my computer. Oscar hit his head. The head cracked.

      The briefcase still explodes, though.

      Steve Austin, who for 26 years always rode shotgun with Oscar Goldman, has now moved two inches to the right on my "bionic" shelf in order to fill the space that Oscar left. I've still got the Jamie Sommers action figure, the Bionic Transport and Repair Station, and the Maskatron figure. (Although Maskatron has lost his mask.)

      Anyway, if you don't know Oscar Goldamn and his exploding briefcase, you're too young.

      Now, for something on-topic:

      The obvious question -- if this NET act is the law that puts 14 and 15 year olds in the super-high security, DEFCON 1 lockups in Colorado and Illinois for swapping N'Sync and Britney -- is how, exactly, is the $1000 figure calculated?

      I'm sure a case could made that each song on each CD -- on the millions of CDs -- are actually worth in excess of one thousand dollars -- each! -- due to distribution costs, royalty payments, hotel bills for executives, Hilary Rosen's swank house in the Hamptons (the price for which has surely been amortized over the millions of Britney CDs littering the land), and MPAA Jack "Maddog ... GRrrrrrrr!" Valenti's ivory golf clubs and matching bath towels.

      (And no, I have no idea if Hillary has a house in the Hamptons or Maddog Jack has ivory golf clubs ...)
      • by mwjlewis (602559)
        This is my take on the 1,000 dollars. If they find more then 1,000 dollars worth of items on your computer(s), then you would be responsible for that one year. ie. CD = 15 dollars it has 15 songs = 1 song = 1 dollar. 1000 songs = 1000 dollars.

        They can not prove, unless they have hard evidence that you have been sharing those files with others, therefor you are only liable for, what YOU have on your computer(s). Although with evidance, you could very well be liable for up to: 5 years. Doh.

        What does this teach us, Load a small, simple OS; Load VMware. Load a second OS of choice in VMware. copy all p0rn, warez, divx, mp3's, etc to VMware, shutdown VMware - Encrypt. Boot VMware to RAM drive. Decript and play- when the door bell rings. kill the power. They see nothing but.... a large amount of encrypted data. They can't even see what the OS is.

  • If the RIAA keeps attacking ISPs like this, especially the big ones who are obviously resisting, it may be their demise. Sure, the RIAA has a lot of money, enough to buy people off and pass legislation but the amount of money they can devote to this pales in comparison to the amount of money the ISPs can spend.
    • Re:good news! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by martissimo (515886)
      they dont need to keep taking ISP's to court, they just need to get a precedent set that this quote from the article does indeed apply to the situation:

      At issue in the RIAA's request is an obscure part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that permits a copyright owner to send a subpoena ordering a "service provider" to turn over information about a subscriber

      After the precedent is set most ISP's will just hand over the subscriber's name is my guess... of course there's always a chance that the precedent goes the other way, but it looks like a long shot from the wording of that quote.
  • by M-2 (41459) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:34PM (#4114300) Homepage
    From the ZDNet article on the DOJ's actions:
    Under the NET Act, signed by President Clinton in 1997, it is a federal crime to share copies of copyrighted products such as software, movies or music with anyone, even friends or family members, if the value of the work exceeds $1,000. Violations are punishable by one year in prison, or if the value tops $2,500, "not more than five years" in prison.
    So who decides if it's something they can proscecute? "I ripped the new Flopping GNoberts CD and put it on KaZaA!" That's an $18 CD, so it's not prosecutable until enough people download it to bring the total over $1000? It's another bad use of a law which can be easily abused to deal with the situation. This is the same sort of thing as the Kevin Mitnick case, where Sun claimed that he'd stolen $600,000 of source code... that they were giving away for free. I guess that Hillary Rosen and Jack Valenti thought the DoJ needed more exercise, so they got the guvmint jumping to conclusions again.
    • Better not make take a picture of your friend standing in front of a piece of modern sculpture... otherwise it's off to the brig with ye!
    • So its obvious that they will go after the big file sharers. If you put one CD on KaZaA, they they won't bother with you. If you have 1,000 songs up there, they'll say 1 song = $2.50, 1000 songs = $2,500, and they'll subpoena you.

      The law says:

      (2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000.

      That's subject to interpretation though; does a work worth $0.00001 posted on KaZaA fall under this penalty if there are 100,000,000 users of KaZaA? Or do they have to prove that 100,000,000 users actually downloaded it? I'd be willing to bet that since the law says "distribution", that means that $1,000 worth of piracy has to take place. It wouldn't count if the RIAA downloads the same $1 song 1,000 times, they have to document 1,000 different people downloading it.

      I'm not in favor of file sharing, I'm just intrigured by this flap.

    • by ebyrob (165903) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:27PM (#4114750) Homepage
      It's another bad use of a law which can be easily abused to deal with the situation.

      Point taken, the law ain't perfect. However this gives me hope that the DOJ is at least *trying* to punish the actual wrongdoers instead of just controlling everyone like the RIAA would like to do.

      If copyright actually is important and should continue to be viable, then going after copyright infringers in this manner is exactly what is needed. Sharing CD's openly with hundreds of people isn't fair use. It is copyright violation. This law might unfairly punish copyright violators, but at least copyright violators are the only ones punished. That's already light-years better than legislation like the DMCA, which is billed as solving the same problem, but which adversely affects all content users.

      Translation:
      Don't rip any CD's and put them on KaZaA, unless you like to play russian roulette.

      Also, if someone gets in trouble for something they did before this law was updated, scream bloody murder.
  • All they're doing is making themselves look even more like the assholes they sure seem to be... Their whole way of dealing with file sharing will go down in history as one of the biggest P.R. debacles of all time. The really scary thing is that these are (suppositely) smart, educated people. Why then do they act like a bunch of scared school children then? I just don't get it. Will someone please explain it to me - like I was a six year old?
    • "The really scary thing is that these are (suppositely) smart, educated people. Why then do they act like a bunch of scared school children then? I just don't get it. Will someone please explain it to me - like I was a six year old?" They have a monopoloy and it was never threatened with significant change until the internet became popular. They are trying to use the approach of using a gun to kill a fly (or maybe a piano?). To sum it up: Its all about control and dominance. I really do hope to see some backlash from major ISPs.
  • usenet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tiedyejeremy (559815)
    is usenet the solution to p2p networks? shhhh, but why aren't the RIAA and MPAA going after giganews, easynews, etc?
  • Hrm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Auckerman (223266) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:37PM (#4114329)
    How NOT to get busted.


    1. Don't distribute works you don't own the copyright for.


    2. Don't distribute works whose total value is more than $999.99US


    3. Don't distribute works whose total value is more than $999.99 US for more than 180 days.


    The government kinda shot itself in the foot with this one. It will be damn hard to prove that you have distribute works for 180 days whose total value is more than $999.99US.

    • The government kinda shot itself in the foot with this one. It will be damn hard to prove that you have distribute works for 180 days whose total value is more than $999.99US.

      Nyah, it's easy. The RIAA has someone download 2000 copies and they're there.

    • Or you can just follow #1 and #'s 2 and 3 will apply.
  • Wrong Name (Score:5, Funny)

    by BigJimSlade (139096) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:38PM (#4114336) Homepage

    "The DOJ announced that they are planning to prosecute filesharers under the The No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act."


    This bill is actually entitled Make'em Stop, Period--No Electronic Theft (MS.NET).
  • The majority of Americans want to free music. They want to share.

    The majority of Americans do not see digital piracy as theft. The majority of Americans also do not see picking flowers at a public park as theft, or sneaking a grape at the supermarket. The majority of Americans drank alcohol before the legal age. Technically, we should all be in prison, but these minor crimes don't really hurt anybody, and so they are overlooked. Why, then, is the DOJ going after file sharers?

    Isn't this a fucking democracy? Why is the majority submitting to laws made by the whims of the same companies that release O-Town records and other toxins into the environment? Why am I the only one sending daily letters to his Senator, that Clinton bitch, begging for support for our digital lifestyle?

    I don't want to go to jail for pirating the new Pearl Jam or Queens of the Stone Age albums. I bought them anyway, but since I didn't clean them from my WinMX serving directory, i'm technically abetting piracy. This laxness could get me 5 years in a federal "pump me in the ass" prison, and that is wrong. I don't think I deserve it. I don't think my crime is that bad. I don't think that I'm depriving anyone of actual property or actual money they might have actually made, and I don't think the majority would argue with me.

    So why are we letting it happen?
    • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:49PM (#4114430) Homepage
      At different points in the United States, the majority also thought that Women shouldn't be able to vote. Not too long later, a majority of the US thought that segregation was legal, and that discrimination was fine. However, the governemnt stepped in and determined that, in these cases (and many, many more) the majority of the US was wrong. We live in a democracy, but we are not ruled by a mob.

      In other words, we listen to the majority but protect the individual from that same majority. We have copyright laws for a good reason, and they should be protected.
      • protection implies some sort of harm. So far no company has been able to demonstrate harm from filesharing. As the summary points out, people still go see movies and buy dvds. CD sales are down, but that is more readily explained by the 18$ price tag. Until someone can demonstrate that filesharing, and not ridiculous pricing or Clear Channel, is destroying an industry, they aren't deserving of this level of "protection."
        • I hate to use you as a foil, but I've seen this far too much. I'm sorry, but that is just an idiotic argument.

          Here's your proof:

          If there is ONE person that has downloaded a song without paying for it, the industry has been damaged by EXACTLY that one song. QED.

          And yes, it's irrelevent whether more music has been purchased or not through the use of filesharing because of the supposed added promotion ("Hey man! I wouldn't have bought this album if I hadn't downloaded it first!"). It's up to the copyright holder to decide if they want to use this oh-so-l33t new promotion method.

      • True, but (Score:3, Informative)

        by hey! (33014)
        copyright laws don't fall into the category of laws you are describing (laws which were created to protect individuals from the majority mob).

        Copyright laws were put in place purely and simply for the good of the public.

        Lord Macaulay, in his famous 1841 speech before the house of commons, succinctly summarized the reasoning behind copyright laws in the English speaking world:

        The advantages arising from a system of copyright are obvious. It is desirable that we should have a supply of good books; we cannot have such a supply unless men of letters are liberally remunerated; and the least objectionable way of remunerating them is by means of copyright.

        The preamble of Article 1, Section 8 of the US constitution also states the purpose of the copyright and patent powers (if not their scope):

        To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

        Copyright does not protect authors, it creates a bargain between the public and authors whereby the public refrains for a period from unlicensed copying his works in return for his producing those works. The idea of natural rights to intellectual property have been around for some time, but they are not the basis of copyright, nor have they ever carried much weight until now.
    • Isn't this a fucking democracy?

      No, it's not. It's a constutional republic, and you're response shows exactly why that is. Just because the majority want something from the minority doesn't mean you get it. Do you think it was OK when the white majority in this country held the black minority in slavery?

      I'm sure I'll get flamed away and modded down for even making such an extreme analogy, but it holds. Just because these companies make millions of dollars a year, doesn't mean it becomes OK to steal from them.

      • by Rader (40041) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:42PM (#4114870) Homepage
        Ok then. So where is was the government in protecting the REAL minority, the artists, when the RIAA/Big-5 stole their intellectual property rights forever.

        The fact of the matter is, the industry is playing both sides of the fence with their money. They're buying legislation so that 14 years olds don't "steal" from them. And they're buying legislation so they can steal from the artists.

        As much as they like to paint the picture that WE are stealing food from the children of musicians... THEY have been doing it so well -- long before the internet was even born. Bo Diddley died a penniless man. Today's B stars are similar to indentured servants. Even some A stars.

        No business should be given the god-given right to be profitible. Yet this is what they're DEMANDING from our government. They claim 5% loss last year and blame it on me? My company lost 14% due to last year's recession. 10% layoffs were our present. Oh! If only I could blame a bunch of kids and then sue them instead.

        My parents are slowly going out of business due to eBay. Maybe they should sue eBay, eBay's ISP, and the users who use eBay! That's the life of businesses: competition, good business plans, make money, lose money, research, technology, customers, product.

        The Big-5 have enjoyed a life of being a monopoly. Price fixing. Cheap/free labor. And more and more government protection.

        There is definately something wrong here, and it doesn't begin to start with file sharing.

    • Isn't this a fucking democracy?

      As a matter of fact, it's not. It's a Democratic Republic. Which means that the majority of our elected representative's views become law and are enforced, for worse and for worser, by the executive branch.

      If you want this to stop, vote for statesmen instead of lawyers and politicians. Voice disgust over the evident usurping of legislative power by John Ashcroft and his Assistant Attorneys General. Creative enforcement of questionable code of law is NOT what the executive branch is charged with.

      People are too damn lazy anymore. Speak up and be heard... the first step may have to be convincing the businessmen and special interest lobbyists who buy the politicians to see things our way (think EFF), while slowly replacing the politicians with real statespeople who have a freaking clue and are not swayed by their payola, but instead genuinely represent the interests of their constituency.
    • by koreth (409849) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:56PM (#4114497)
      No, it's not a democracy, and that's fine by me. The alternative is mob rule -- "whatever the majority thinks, goes" means any minority that the majority doesn't like is pretty much screwed. Regardless of the merits of this particular case, I think it's desirable for a government to protect wronged parties from the whims of the majority.

      And you're not the only one writing to your representatives about this, though I doubt many others are doing it daily.

    • The majority of Americans do not see digital piracy as theft. The majority of Americans also do not see picking flowers at a public park as theft, or sneaking a grape at the supermarket. The majority of Americans drank alcohol before the legal age. Technically, we should all be in prison, but these minor crimes don't really hurt anybody, and so they are overlooked. Why, then, is the DOJ going after file sharers?

      Your examples are bad. Sure, you can pick flowers for free in a public park (though watch out for the park rangers, and if everybody did this there would be no more flowers left to pick), but unless you have the skill, you can't get a professional-quality flower arrangement for free, nor should you expect to. You can sample a grape at the grocery store, but if you want the whole bunch you have to buy it. Same for if you want a salad containing grapes (either buy the grapes and make the salad, or buy the salad). You're confusing constituent pieces (musical notes and words, for lack of any better way to break up a song) versus a complete product (a finished song or album). I can see a case being made for filesharing to "preview" an album (although most online places where you can buy CDs also allow you to sample those CDs, as do many brick&mortar stores). However, it's a very easy step from "I'll just download this one song to see if I like it" to "I'll just download this whole CD, because I don't want to pay for it". (Let's not make this an argument about CD prices -- yes, they could and should be lower. If you don't like that, vote with your money and don't buy. However, that doesn't give you the right to then go and steal the music anyway.)


      Isn't this a fucking democracy?

      Nope. It's a republic. You vote for people you think will represent your views properly, but that does not mean that they will. And if they don't, then you don't vote for them again.


      I don't want to go to jail for pirating the new Pearl Jam or Queens of the Stone Age albums. I bought them anyway, but since I didn't clean them from my WinMX serving directory, i'm technically abetting piracy.

      Simple solution -- clean those out of your WinMX directory. Quick, simple, and saves you from a trip to the big house.


      I don't think I deserve it. I don't think my crime is that bad.

      Nobody ever does. On the upside, you'll fit in very well in prison, where everybody's innocent.


      I don't think that I'm depriving anyone of actual property or actual money they might have actually made, and I don't think the majority would argue with me.

      Possibly true, but then probably not. If you've downloaded more than a couple songs on an album and kept them around without buying that album, then they've lost a sale (apparently you like the songs if you keep them around and still listen to them, and you would've bought the album if you couldn't just steal the songs). Maybe you didn't have the money to buy the CD, but then that doesn't give you the right to just steal the music. ("Your honor, I was flat broke but I needed a car, so I just took one from the lot. I felt I was entitled to it because I couldn't afford one and I really needed it.")

      • ("Your honor, I was flat broke but I needed a car, so I just took one from the lot. I felt I was entitled to it because I couldn't afford one and I really needed it.")

        You've just made one distinction. By taking that car off the lot, I have deprived another person of their property. If I download a digital copy of "Christie Road" by Green Day, who have I deprived of property? By the same logic, I'm stealing from an author by using a library.

        No, I don't know how to fix the industry so that the laws make sense, but keep in mind that copyright was originally 20 years. The classic example is the buggy whip industry and Henry Ford.

        "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit."
        &nbsp-- Robert Heinlein
      • The whole concept of "losing a sale" being theft is a serious fallacy. If I listen to your song on the radio and don't buy the album, you lost a sale. If I walk past your CD in the record store, you lost a sale. If my friend tells me the album sucks, you lost a sale too. Can't very well put me in prison for not buying your shitty album, as much as you'd like to -- this isn't Italy, 1939, yet.

        You say, "but it's different when you download the mp3. You can burn it to CD and get the same product!" Bullshit. It is not the same product. It is compressed and crumbly. It lacks the cover art. You can't tell me this doesn't have value, because people with computers still buy CDs.

        You say, "but people can rip the album perfectly and burn that!" True. But this kind of quality freak is the same type who has already bought your cd. I should know...I AM him. Last week I bought Deltron 3030 after being entranced by the MP3...an album that my loser friends have been trying to get me to buy for years. I spend about $200 every month on music. The record labels should love me. Instead, they want me to go to prison.

        5 years in prison equals $12k in "lost sales", guys. Do the fucking math.
    • Yeah, but what if you started sneaking more than one grape. Let's say you grabbed 5 of them this week, a little more the following week, and let's say that in 3 weeks you're grabbing taking a pound of grapes a week. Now let's say that one day you notice you're not the only one doing this, but instead you notice a great number of people sneaking out a pound of grapes or more. A month later you notice that 3 out of every 4 people is sneaking their grapes out. And you mention this to some out of town friends who say that their supermarket is the same way, and so is the supermarket of all their friends, regardless of where they live on the Earth.

      You see how this can get out of hand? Your one snuck grape now has the possibility of putting the grape farmers out of business.

      I'm not trying to play devil's advocate here, I'm just saying you have to look at the big picture and think to yourself that while what you're doing isn't going to effect the recording industry, a million of you probably will.

      I for one think the thing that makes this case so important to the DOJ is money. Grape farmers and people against underage drinking don't have anywhere near the financial backing that the RIAA does. Not to say they have DOJ members in their pockets or anything, but financial contributors come from all walks of life and sometimes you have to grease the wheels a little.

      One more thing from my soapbox. When I download a mp3's, it's for the simple and basic reason that I can think of a hundred better things to spend my 15 bucks on rather than a CD. I've never kidded myself into thinking by downloading the latest cool new song or cd that I was in any way any type of freedom fighter or revolutionary. I was at best a cheap bastard, at worst a petty thief, but never delusional.
    • Perhaps you haven't ever been an activist. The majority of Americans I meet want to protect businesses and are willing to sacrifice democracy to protect capitilism.

      I do not agree with this myself and would rather be broke and free than a rich slave. It appears that those smarter people like yourself are being lazy and not using buying power and advocacy to broadcast a louder message.

      In this world many people have to be locked up and lose all rights before people realize what they gave away.

      The drug war is an excellent example. For many years a minority has said locking everyone up will not help. However the majority refused to listen and wanted more prisons. Now I see more and more Americans changing their view as their friends and families are locked up. I saw a special by John Stosel on ending the drug war that would have never been on TV 20 years ago.

      Lock up their loved ones, then they will fight!
    • There's a ton of non RIAA music out there. Start at mp3.com where lots of unsigned bands offer their tunes; and then go to concerts by local bands, and buy from the artists directly.

      If you don't like the RIAA's rules, don't play by them .. but that means don't buy (or distribute) their stuff.

    • Read this next line and remember it over the next couple of years:

      Intellectual property is the new drug war.

      Ideas, including creative offerings like music, are becoming contraband. In this case, ISPs are being targetted as suppliers in as much as they offer the bandwidth for sharing those ideas. The RIAA and MPAA fancy themselves as the idea cartels.

      Truth is, "the majority" obviously is not submitting to any related laws. We're burning CDs left and right. That's our right under fair use practices. Let's be honest though. Sharing these tracks over P2P however does put fair use at odds with copyright infringement. Argue about artists getting a paltry share of the take all you want. You should buy what you listen to.

      However, the RIAA and MPAA are criminalizing anyone and everyone who wants to share the sound, and the government is only too happy to help. They want to sell us music, and punish us for enjoying it. It's akin to the CIA funding and arming the Afghanis against the Soviet invasion in the 70's and 80's while another government agency, the DEA, wars with heroine suppliers from...AFGHANISTAN!

      The only way this gets stopped is steadfast civil disobedience. If^H^HWhen they sue, someone has to ride it out all the way to the Supreme Court and have the DMCA stricken from the books. Easier said than done, and somebody's checking account and life will probably be martyred, but life would be a whole lot better in the wake.

  • If I see one of these in my theater, I'm walking straight out to the box office and demanding a refund for the film I was about to see. It's bad enough that I now PAY to get a constant stream of "buy our crap" before the movie I came to see, but to sit there and have my morals and ethics insulted? Feh.

    Hollywood is starting to believe their own press and it's time people started to remind them that they are ONLY ENTERTAINMENT.

  • hrmmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rhadamanthus (200665)
    Don't you think that putting up adverts in theaters to tell people to "go to the theater, instead of downloading movies" is a little counterintuitive?

    I mean, I would assume most people in the theater are ummm... going to theaters?

    As a whole though, fuck the MPAA and the RIAA.


    MPAA: Movies and TV, generally suck. I only get the occasional movie if its really good. Otherwise your prices don't justify a product I'll watch maybe once or twice.


    RIAA: I'm stealing music you stole (more or less) from the artist. What goes around comes around...

    ----rhad

    • I can't wait to see one of those theater propaganda pieces so I can boo loudly. If 70 million people are committing a felony offense like these assholes are setting it up, it's a pretty good sign that the law is anti-democratic and counter to the will of the people, counter to common sense, and against the welfare of the public. You simply can't justify it and credibly claim to believe in democracy.

      Fuck the RIAA. Fuck the MPAA. Fuck'em with the broomsticks they rode in on. Frankly I don't care if all the musicians go broke. I'll still buy from the thousands of non-famous artists I like, just like I do now, I'll still go see their shows, and maybe I won't have to listen to manufactured crap anymore. Don't worry Lars, I'll still buy you a beer.

      There will be no such thing as free speech when you have to buy a government-approved, licensed, and specially tracked "Digital Rights" certificate.


  • Larry Kenswell, on new formats to combat copying.
    Quote: "What we'll see is new media coming out that will have a lot of flexibility built into the format," said Larry Kenswil of Universal Music Group.

    Yeah, flexible as in "Flexible to do what WE want it to do in your computer/mp3 player/home audio system."
    This statement takes *huge* balls to make with a straight face.

  • The record labels have been spurred to action by figures they find terrifying: The number of "units shipped" -- CDs sent to record stores or directly to consumers -- fell by more than 6 percent last year, and it's widely expected to fall 6 to 10 percent more by the end of 2002

    I'll tell you why I stopped buying CD's. It's because a CD used to cost about $11 when they first came out, and now that the technology is available to produce them for $.05 a piece they cost about $25.

    Hey RIAA, stop selling the damn things at such a ripoff price, and we will start buying them again. (And no, I don't burn them either, I just don't listen to the new (CRAP) music that is being forced down our throats.)
    • I don't buy music from the RIAA or movies from the MPAA or cable from AOL-TW because they are corrupt and pretty much purely evil corporations. I don't begrudge them profits, but I do begrudge them for taking control of fair use, limiting consumer choice, and repeadtly being accused, tried, convicted/settled of price fixing and market manipulation.

      But true, $25 is pricey.
    • Yeah, whatever the hell happened to the promise of cheap CDs?

      I actually do remember buying my first CD -- and I remember I paid less for that first one ($13.99 at MusicLand store in a local mall) than for the CD I just bought recently ($15.99 at Best Buy).

      I mean, I suppose the logic is that, well, the price for artists and distribution have skyrocketed, but AFAIC, that's the last time I buy into something based on the promise of "cheap" things to come.
  • You know, there just isn't enough room in the court systems to " prosecute filesharers under the The No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act. ". Last time I checked Kazaa had some what 20 million downloads of the program or something? I am sure that everyone has downloaded one thing they don't own on Kazaa.. 20 million people in court. Yea right! The cops don't hand out that many speeding tickets each year.

    I think that alot of people use these services for legit uses, but not everyone. I think it's absurb though, that I they want to get rid of a service that I can be using for legit purposes just because of some people! It's like canceling the Ice Cream party for the whole class when some kids are bad, even though some of the kids in class are being good (well, it was a good 3rd grade analogy, but that's where the RIAA and MPAA's logic level is)

  • by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:45PM (#4114398)
    This quote from the anti-piracy PSAs in movie theatres article is way to save the children for my taste:

    "downloading movies instead of buying a ticket or a video would hurt the industry's behind-the-scenes workers, including makeup artists and custodians"

    Now I am not advocating theft of their property - what I am upset about is the rampant attempts by media to skew your opinions on a subject with emotional connections. Iknow I know... its *always* been happening - but these days it is so much worse than it ever was before - as the causes that the media is used to convey information for are more and more plastic and manufactured.

    the media is continually trying to sway public opinion through emotional manipulation. Putting you in a position where if you dont agree with the opinion or dont have the emotions they want you to then you're automatically a terrorist - or hate the children etc....

    (I know I am not articulating this as well as I would like... but I think that you get the point) I am just so tired of the slant that is put on all the information out there. Is there no place that I can get information - generic and straight forward without the emotinal buzzwords and hyperbole??

    • To quote George Carlin:

      "Fuck the children!"

      You are completely right, people drag out senseless emtional things to get other people to do things. Classic sales technique. I for one am sick and tired of "America the Beautiful" being played before a movie starts. I love my country, but what real good is playing a silly crappy remake of that song doing before I watch a movie filled with violence?

      Pbur
  • by Myuu (529245) <myuu@pojo.com> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:45PM (#4114406) Homepage
    "Apparently some theaters are consenting to run anti-piracy ads before movies."

    My city's big theater already has a poster on their ticket booths saying 'Pirates Not Allowed...blah blah blah...MPAA' with a picture of a pirate.

    Our plan is to go into the theater with a video camera and one of us dressed as a pirate and yell out "Arrr...thats discrimation".

    Hehe...just something to do to toy with those coporate bitches.
  • by Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) <rich.harkins @ g m a i l .com> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:45PM (#4114407)
    Was anyone else a little miffed at the chart to the right of the Washington Post article which seemed to imply that increasing blank CD sales were the cause of the leveling off of CD sales? Could it *possibly* be that blank CD sales rose so much higher because blank CD's were being sold at commodity prices? Now a good number of those blanks may very well have been for pirating, but I'll bet a good number of them were for software backups, saving personal photos, and other legitimate uses.

    Music CD's, OTOH, have remained at the same stinking price (for the most part) for the last 5 years. Want to sell more of something when the demand/market share ISN'T increasing? Do you want to actually slow piracy? Charge a reasonable amount for a product that's in LESS demand! These guys just can't seem to understand that the CD buying market itself is not the same as it was 25 years ago -- thers is just too much supply for the demand.

    • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:49PM (#4114433) Journal

      You know something is wrong when the Soundtrack CD for 'Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery' and the DVD, including commentary tracks, deleted scenes, and all the other DVD goodies, are the EXACT SAME PRICE.

      • Sorry, but in this case I have to pull out my free market cap. The correct price for an entertainment product is whatever the customer is willing to pay.

        This, of course, does not mean that I support measures such as the DMCA (by definition, it implies less free market), or the blob known as intellectual property as the law currently recognizes it.

        • Sorry, but in this case I have to pull out my free market cap. The correct price for an entertainment product is whatever the customer is willing to pay.

          Exactly. CD sales are going down because they are not at the price that the customer is willing to pay, i.e. the incorrect price. However, the entire problem here is that the RIAA is trying to recoup its losses by blaming their lack of sales on piracy and getting a piece of somebody else's action through levies and court settlements because of it.
    • I can only speak for myself, but I go through an average of 15 CD-R's a month making weekly backups of my source code (I'm a software contractor), backups of any necessary data files, and my own installation CD's I send to my clients. So yeah, I'm buying probably 2 or maybe 3 100 CD-R spindles a year, as some disks inevitably become frisbees... and this has *no* effect on my music CD purchases.

      While I don't boycott the RIAA completely, generally I only buy around 3 CD's a year as I think most music nowadays is pure shit.

      This year has been the exception though as I've actually bought probably 10 CD's, but that's only because Ozzy has rereleased some of his old CD's with bonus tracks.

    • Yeah seriously, I go through blank CDs like they are candy. They're freakin' all over the place, it doesn't mean they all have music on them. In fact, most don't. I'd like to see that chart compared to the decline of other storage mediums like floppys and zip disks. The CD-R is, for the most part, the removable storage medium of choice for most offices and homes. Why does it always seem like the RIAA is looking at things through a pin hole. And that suit and pants comment by Hilary Rosen, is she on crack?
  • by soulsteal (104635) <soulsteal&3l337,org> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:47PM (#4114414) Homepage
    Hmmm, I hope someone puts it up on KaZaa or else I might never see it....
  • by Xenopax (238094) <xenopax AT cesmail DOT net> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:47PM (#4114419) Journal
    <rant>
    I know this has been pointed out before, but isn't the whole point that they go after copyright infringers and not the software makers that produce napster and kazaa?

    Now, granted, they are doing both. But we can't bitch when the government is going to prosecute the people who are infringing on copyrights. Just because the RIAA is involved, and the term DMCA has been used, does not mean that what is going on is wrong. Say what you will about "but the RIAA is EVIL!", it doesn't make infridging on their copyrights right (as in anywhere close to legal), and they and the justice department has every right to take people who do to court.

    Now, you may also have issues about current copyright law. Granted, it isn't very good, but if you want the copyright law changed then bitch about the copyright law to your congressmen or representative. Don't take a stand on this issue, as far as they are concerned everyone who trades music on the net is a criminal, and you can do nothing about that. Convince them that the copyright law is way to long, many of our problems would go away if we could reduce it to something sane like 10-15 years.

    And for all of those "we'll make a better system based on trust to trade music files" but don't want to play the political game, you are idiots. Who do you think they are going to prosecute? You and everyone else who uses that system. The only fight we have is in politics, there is no technical solution to this problem. As much as you would like to think you'll win this battle whipping up some code in C, you are going to find there is nothing you can code that will keep the handcuffs off of your hands.
    </rant>
    • yes, and no.
      Yes I would perfer they went after the copyright nfringers, but with proof. I don't want anybody to be able to say, we think someone might be commiting a crime, please gives us all the information on your users.
    • There were already plenty of tools for enforcing copyrights. Why do we suddenly need a whole new raft of laws because of the Internet?

      If the companies really want to go after major P2P nodes then they can do the legwork and file a civil lawsuit just like they did against the guy cranking out VHS tapes in his garage.
    • The only fight we have is in politics, there is no technical solution to this problem. As much as you would like to think you'll win this battle whipping up some code in C, you are going to find there is nothing you can code that will keep the handcuffs off of your hands.

      I wouldn't be so sure. This is what systems such as trust-network, anonymous networks such as GNUnet [ovmj.org] are supposed to resolve. As long as we're allowed to have general-purpose computers, open networks, and good bandwidth, I think technical solutions can stand up. If we don't have general-purpose computers, or open networks, we've got other issues. Destroying our bandwidth is probably one of the few non-immoral attacks that can be effected, but an attempt at doing so likely won't succeed given the average persons's desire for it (for whatever reason).

      I'm leaning towards the idea that the politics will change, not because we affect today's politicians, but because the up-and-coming persons of society are being conditioned differently (supporting things such as Napster). We might just have to out-live the current generation of politicians.

      Keep in mind I'm not certain that a new cycle of politicians will help. Greed and powerlust is ageless.

  • by +_-repo-_+ (315890) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:47PM (#4114421) Journal
    " Chernin argued that piracy will not only hurt creators of original content but also consumers if movie studios lose so many ticket sales that they begin cutting expenses. He said online piracy does not seem to have the same stigma as shoplifting.

    Chernin also decried efforts to download copies of the latest Star Wars installment. About 10 million people tried to download "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" and "Spider-Man" in the weekend after its release, and 4 million succeeded, he said. "

    It just struck me as odd that the two movies the guy is talking about made just a little bit of money. from http://movies.yahoo.com/boxoffice-alltime/rank.htm l

    #5 Spider-Man $403,820,726
    #13 Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones $298,843,836
    • It just struck me as odd that the two movies the guy is talking about made just a little bit of money. from http://movies.yahoo.com/boxoffice-alltime/rank.htm l

      #5 Spider-Man $403,820,726
      #13 Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones $298,843,836


      That was my initial reaction too. But think about it this way - does the fact that the movies cited made a lot of money make the theft any less wrong? The law should not discriminate for or against people based on their wealth. If you believe Chernin that a theft took place then it doesn't matter whether the movies made or lost money. Its still theft.

      On the other hand if you don't believe it was theft then the amount that the films made is also irrelevant to the argument.

      Either way the box office take of Star Wars is not the issue.
    • Where does this guy get off quoting that 10 million people tried to download Episode two in the first weekend? That's a mighty bold statement. I'd like to see Chernin back it up with some facts or supporting evidence. How did he log or track all these attempts? How does he know that 4 million were successful.

      It is in fact Some Wild Ass Guess (SWAG). He like the rest of the RIAA droids pull these numbers out of their ass and Congress is accepting them at face value. It's pure bull!

      It's as ridiculous as it would be for Linus to stand up and say that 5 billion people attempted to install Linux and 3 billion were successful, making his operating system the most widely used in the world. How would he possibly know?

    • 4 Million downloads of those two movies, eh?

      Well, let's assume that those movies are both in VCD format and requires two CD each (a typical format). That's a total of 1,300 MB per movie or 2,600 MB for both of them.

      (4,000,000 downloads) * (2,600 MB downloaded) = 10,400,000,000 MB downloaded. That's 10.4 Petabytes (Petabytes = 10^15 bytes). To put that into a little bit of perspective, that would take over 47079.4 years to download that much data through a 56kbit dialup modem.

      Now, perhapps those movies were encoded in a more space-saving format, such as Divx. That's about 700 MB per movie and 1,400 MB for both. The total downloaded would be 5,600,000,000 MB, or 5.6 Petabytes. That's still a heck of a lot of data.

      I seriously doubt that these two movies were downloaded 4 million times during the weekend of their initial release.
  • where you can get arrested for listening to music.

    Is it just me, or has this gone too far. It's time to break out some good old vigilateism on these control freaks. Time to organize.

  • Hah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VivisectRob (550902)
    Gee... Hollywood isn't having a terrible year this year because they release stuff like xXx and Spy Kids 2...nope... it has to be the media pirates...
  • by Necromancyr (602950) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:49PM (#4114431)
    In related news the RIAA has begun a lawsuit against anyone with the sensory organs known as 'ears' and the throat muscles and tissue responsible for sound creation (refered to herein in as the 'voice box').

    This combination allows millions to 'listen' to any music and then replay it back by 'singing' the song. This will allow thousands to hear songs without purchasing them. The ramifications on the CD industry by these criminals is completely real, and must be stopped, according to the RIAA.

    The lawsuit is believed to exclude deaf-mutes, though they are being examined for the ability to feel vibrations and possible replay them by tapping the rythm out on any surface available.
  • NET? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sllort (442574) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:50PM (#4114444) Homepage Journal
    No Electronic Theft Act. Ok.

    Here's the definition of theft [dictionary.com]:


    \Theft\, n. [OE. thefte, AS. [thorn]i['e]f[eth]e, [thorn][=y]f[eth]e, [thorn]e['o]f[eth]e. See Thief.] 1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

    Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position ; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief. See Larceny, and the Note under Robbery.


    Emphasis mine. That should be easy; no file sharing programs remove files from RIAA hard drives. Problem solved!

  • Selective enforcement of laws (2600, anyone?) allows them to selectively threaten people for leverage (e.g. making region-free players hard to get.)

    Uniform enforcement, on the other hand, or even the widely-publicized appearance of uniform enforcement, brings the issues out of the geek ghetto to where the voting public confronts it.

    Best thing that could happen would be for the RIAA to file criminal charges against Aunt Martha for letting her friends copy her Burl Ives recordings.

  • Ok, I used to pirate music and gamez when I was a kid. But since then I have realized that it is just the same as stealing that CD or game from the store. And I don't shoplift. :)

    Anyway, I think that they are using a wrong approach to tell people that software or any other piracy is a bad thing. Currently, it seems that they just wish to publish the capture of the big fished. What I suggest, is that they would nail a couple of "innocent" senior citizens with one pirate CD instead. Anyone, who is not nowadays thought as a pirate but still has one or two illegal copies will do. That should make people think.

    Meanwhile, they should ofcourse nail the big ones too, but these joe average cases are the ones that should be passed to media, I think.

  • The most frightening thing about all of this is how the corporate copyright holders are redefining the definitions used in the laws.

    It's obvious that these laws were passed with the intent of punishing people who copy and sell copyrighted material for financial gain, meaning money. But they are so scared by Peer to Peer sharing that they have simply redefined "financial gain" to cover any exchange of anything by anybody.

    People have a deep urge to share. "I'll give you a copy of mine if you give me a copy of yours" is not motivated by financial gain.

    But now a law that was designed to prosecute the guy who runs off a 1000 copies of Photoshop and sells them through the mail is being used to make a criminal out of me, my kids and virtually everybody I know.
  • Chernin argued that piracy will not only hurt creators of original content but also consumers if movie studios lose so many ticket sales that they begin cutting expenses.

    Well well. While the rest of us are cutting our expenses and companies are going bankrupt left and right, the darling movie industry can't seem to even comprehend the concept.

    I'll start to feel sorry for the movie industry when they actually lose money for a few years in a row. Actually I won't feel sorry at all, I'll feel like the theory of evolution has just been validated.

  • The RIAA has bludgeoned its way into a critical issue here. The subpoena provisions only apply to material covered by 17 US 512(c), material on a service provider's system or network at the direction of users. The question, then, is whether or not a system owned by the user of an ISP is on that ISP's network or not.

    My take on it is that it's like the phone system; anything upstream of the NIB belongs to the phone company and is on their network, anything downstream is on the user's network. This works for DSL and dialup, and a similar line could be drawn for cable. Unfortunately, it's quite possible that a sufficently incentivized court could decide that by using an ISP, you are putting your computer on THEIR network, and thus 512(c) applies.

    This would be very bad, not just because of the subpoena clause. This would allow 512(c) takedown notices of items stored on your own machine. Host your own website with material the RIAA doesn't like? If it's on YOUR network, 512(a) absolutely protects your ISP from any monetary liability regardless of any takedown notices, and against injunctions in most cases. They'd have to sue you directly to get results.

    But if the courts rule that your website is on your ISPs network, they can send a 512(c)(3) takedown notice, and your ISP would have to either cut your website off immediately or risk liability.
  • When the corporations are the ones writing the laws... whats the point of following them?

    Unfortunately, the government is now the enemy of the people, the only option is civil disobedience (that is, not changing the habits we have such as copying cd's for our own person use which used to be perfectly legal)
    • "Civil disobediance". I can respect that. But if you were going to perform REAL civil disobediance, you would walk up to the porch of your local police station, and begin distributing copyrighted works in a highly public fashion. Secretive civil disobediance isn't civil disobediance. It's just some punk secretely breaking the law.

      C//
  • Legalized DOS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kalidasa (577403)

    The labels are also supporting a bill, now under consideration in Congress, that would make it legal to "impair the operation of peer-to-peer" networks, such as LimeWire. That could be done, for example, by overloading file-sharing services with so many requests that they slow to a crawl.

    And does Congress realize that this will also affect everyone up and down the line, including the backbones, the ISPs, and other users on the same nodes in cable broadband systems?

  • Self serve... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turnstyle (588788) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:57PM (#4114508) Homepage
    For those that just want to avoid the p2p networks, and instead serve their collection to themselves and to their friends, I humbly offer my software Andromeda [turnstyle.com], which can be used to stream MP3's and other files. It runs on a web server with PHP or ASP, and works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. If you want to control your own media archive, it might do the trick.
  • Irritating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @04:58PM (#4114520) Homepage Journal

    After all, these are not a bunch of fat cats we're talking about -- piracy now threatens the livelihood of the rank and file workers of Hollywood. After all, the movie studios are having a terrible year, right?

    Yeah! After all, we ALL know that it's OK to steal from people if they have more money than you. The bastards!

    If you're going to make a point about whether something is right or wrong, it doesn't help your case to bring out irrelevent facts about how rich someone is. Right is right, and wrong is wrong.

    • Right is right, and wrong is wrong.

      hmmm... is the way that the money they have was made "right"?

      just saying... since there is such a clear demarcation of right and wrong.

  • "It seems Listen4ever has performed a disappearing act. If it stays offline, the RIAA will withdraw its suit later today."

    I always thought a good Slashdotting would smack the RIAA in the eye, never thought it'd happen this way though.
  • by willow (19698) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:04PM (#4114562)
    I guess going after the WorldCom and Enron executives who
    perpetrated massive fraud and theft on their shareholders,
    employees, and customers is just too hard for the DOJ. It's
    much easier to surf the internet for tunes, subpoena an ISP for
    personal records (thereby avoiding doing any work), and bust a
    14 year-old kid who can't afford a new CD since his Dad was
    was swindled out of his job and pension by the economic
    damage resulting from widespread, unprosecuted corporate fraud.

    A troll? ....
  • Best Quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grumpman (64344)
    "All this smacks of desperation," says Eric Garland, president of BigChampagne, a company hired by major labels to measure online file-sharing traffic. "When you've got a consumer movement of this magnitude, when tens of millions of people say, 'I think CD copying is cool and I'm within my rights to do it,' it gets to the point where you have to say uncle and build a business model around it rather than fight it."

    You'd think they'd get it eventually, but I guess some people never will.
  • NET is good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:08PM (#4114586) Homepage Journal

    I know everyone's got a point of view on this matter, ranging from "all information should be free at birth" to "all information should be controlled and tolled".

    My view is best expressed by first clearing up the confusion about nomenclature.

    "Copyright"

    I think Fair Use includes the ability to make copies, so I don't buy Jack Valenti's argument that making a copy of a DVD is, or should be, illegal.

    Also, there are too many cases where the free flow of information can be unduly inhibited by onerous technical burdens just to protect the current business models of RIAA and MPAA members.

    I think they should rename the concept "CopyCharge".

    Owners of the current copyrights should have the exclusive right to distribute for charge.

    Of course that includes money. But also, in all fairness, I think it should include Napster-like barter exchanges where "if I give you access to X copyrighted material then you give me access to Y copyrighted material".

    I think everyone should respect copyright ownership in that way.

    Thus, I don't have any problems with them prosecuting people who actually distribute copies of material for compensation when they don't own the "copycharge" right.

    I do have a problem with heavy handed tactics where the flow of all digital information is restricted just because of some lawbreakers. It's just like crowbars. Yes, they can be used as burglary tools, but they're also quite useful in many other circumstances.

    Yes, please, by all means prosecute actual burglars. No, under no circumstances, should you outlaw tools. That's why I view NET as great, but other laws such as DMCA and CB.... as abominations.

  • This isn't flamebait. I hate the RIAA/MPAA and will continue to do what I can to prevent them from castrating technology to the point where its just another content delivery system.

    That being said, is prosectuting end users for copyright violation bad in itself?

    The absurd technological measures that they are proposing to "protect" their content will have far reaching and long lasting implication on what we can do with our hardware (whether or not I ever load file sharing software or "consume" any of their content).

    Prosecuting someone who shares a bunch of teeny-pop (who is probably a minor) seems to be a much less damaging use of their money.

  • The record labels have been spurred to action by figures they find terrifying: The number of "units shipped" -- CDs sent to record stores or directly to consumers -- fell by more than 6 percent last year, and it's widely expected to fall 6 to 10 percent more by the end of 2002.
    Those drops are already hitting the industry hard. Labels are laying off employees, ditching artists, slashing budgets for tours and videos, and combing their back catalogues for reissues that cost almost nothing to release.

    So let me get this straight. Because they are supposedly losing money to file sharing (which lets say they are) they've had to ditch artists, slash budgets for tours and videos, and reissue music out of their back catalogues.

    Now, consider the recent trends in music with many many really crappy bands being made by the record companies for the record companies (think N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, etc.) and also a number of not really all that good bands getting publicized to death. Now think about some of the music in their back catalogues (Pink Floyd, The Who, The Doors, Steve Miller Band, Santana, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, etc.. etc.. etc...).

    Is the fact that people would rather buy good music than the crap the RIAA has been forcing down peoples' throats so surprising to the RIAA? Hell, if anything the supposed lost revenues seem to have made an improvement!

  • by AntiNorm (155641) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:09PM (#4114608)
    The Ten Commandments [resentment.org] of the RIAA:

    1. Thou shalt have no entertainment before me.
    2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any device by which thou mighst render my copyright protection ineffective.
    3. Thou shalt not take the name of Britney Spears in vain, for I will not hold him guiltless who disrespects her.
    4. Honor Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti, that thy days of entertaining thyself might be long and pleasurable.
    5. Thou shalt not download MP3s.
    6. Thou shalt pay inflated prices for thine CDs.
    7. Thou shalt pay unto me a tax for the blank media which thou acquirest, compensating me for heathen pirates.
    8. Thou shalst allow me to search thine computer at my fancy, to ensure that you are virgin from illicitude.
    9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's MP3 collection, lest ye be tempted to download MP3s from him.
    10. Thou shalt not seek out alternatives to me, for I am the one true RIAA.
  • One where the authorities are powerless to stop those things that they hate, and where they couldn't identify those using it?

    I've been thinking about something like this, ever since reading William's Otherland. In it, there is a virtual reality network only accessible to the hackers of the world, by invitation only. Completely non-technical, not to mention VR, but it started me thinking about how you could go about something like this.

    If you care to hear more about this, read my work in progress page [24.125.76.224] about it...

    WARNING: I do tend to rant a bit, so it's not exactly prim and proper.
  • The ultimate goal is to retire the so-called "Red Book" CD standard that was developed in 1980 by Sony and Phillips, and which is embedded in nearly every recorded compact disc sold today.

    I own a 200 disc DVD/CD changer made by Sony. I have nothing but good things to say about this product, as it plays CD, CD-Rs, and DVDs quite well. It has one minor issue though: it won't play anything but Red Book compliant CDs. For example, I have to burn copies of all the CDs I buy that use the new "Enhanced CD" format in order to use them in this player. The replacement cost for this product is US$800. The exact player I own is still for sale in the US. Anyone want to venture a guess as to whether Sony will be liable if they deliberately make this product obsolete and fail to warn potential consumers?

    I have no incentive to replace this player if it is made obsolete by the RIAA. Whatever anti-piracy technology they create will be cracked and then I'd be forced to replace it again with the next anti-piracy-compliant music technology. No thanks.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:24PM (#4114724) Journal
    (I wrote this last night when I saw the article. I decided the Post article wasn't worth submitting to Slashdot, but since someone would inevitably, this was worth writing. Contextual disclaimer: I used to work for The Post.)

    I honestly have to wonder whether the music industry paid to put propaganda on the front page of The Washington Post, because David Segal has been around long enough to know better than to write a piece like "A New Tactic in the Download War [washingtonpost.com]" (8/21/02).

    Segal repeatedly points to falling sales of CDs and implies that piracy is the cause:

    "The record labels have been spurred to action by figures they find terrifying: The number of 'units shipped' -- CDs sent to record stores or directly to consumers -- fell by more than 6 percent last year, and it's widely expected to fall 6 to 10 percent more by the end of 2002. Those drops are already hitting the industry hard. Labels are laying off employees, ditching artists, slashing budgets for tours and videos, and combing their back catalogues for reissues that cost almost nothing to release."

    Yet he neglects to mention that every industry has been hit hard and is laying off people -- even the news media. If CD sales fell 6 percent last year, I'd say the music industry is doing extremely well, because the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 9 percent in that same period (including the post-9-11 recovery).

    Segal goes on to say sales are "widely expected to fall 6 to 10 percent more by the end of 2002." Guess what? The Dow has fallen over 10 percent since the beginning of the year, on top of last year's 9 percent loss, and the economy is widely expected to get worse. Could it be that people are spending less money on trivial things like CDs because they have less money in their pockets? Or because their retirement savings have been wiped out? We would all like to be patriotic and buy an album a day, but one must have priorities. At least until CDs become edible and wholesome.

    "There's evidence, though, that Americans are spending more time than ever listening to CDs," Segal continues.

    What is Segal's evidence?

    "Market surveys suggest that more blank CDs (CD-Rs) than recorded CDs are now sold in the United States."

    Perhaps Segal could explain how an increase in CD-R sales constitutes evidence "that Americans are spending more time than ever listening to CDs."

    CD-Rs are also facilitate fair-use activities. The 40-something who has just discovered CD-Rs decides to put his deteriorating record collection on CDs so he can listen to them for years to come. The 20-something creates a custom mix of his favorite songs from several CDs so he doesn't have to take his eyes off the road to change discs on his way to work.

    CD-Rs are also used to archive data. We live in an age where the data repositories we depend on, from the computers in our homes to the physical documents in the World Trade Center, are no longer safe. They can disappear in an instant when anything from a software glitch to a terrorist attack occurs. It stands to reason that people look to the CD format to archive their tax documents, emails, family photos, scans of their kids' artwork and anything else that's important to them.

    What mother couldn't turn up enough content to fill a spindle-full of CD-Rs a month? And as she realizes the potential for storing memories and documents, she begins to collect even more. She takes more digital photos and more video of her family. She starts scanning in old family photos and scanning the catalogues for a moderately-priced DVD-R burner because she needs more space.

    CD-Rs are also quickly replacing the floppy disk. Floppy disks wear out, they are susceptible to magnetic fields, they don't mail very well, they're slow, and they only hold 1.4 megabytes of data. A DSL user can download 1.4 megabytes of data from the Internet faster than he can read 1.4 megabytes of data from his own floppy drive. CD-Rs will not wear out in your lifetime (unless you microwave them), they are impervious to magnetic fields, AOL has proven that you can transport them in many creative, inexpensive ways, they offer fast data transfer rates and they hold at least 650 megabytes of data. There is also evidence of a growing market for CD-Rs to be used as frisbees, travel mirrors, cetrifuge shrapnel and kid-safe Chinese throwing stars.

    However, Segal's "evidence" proves nothing about American listening trends.

    Segal also mentions the music industry's support of a bill that would make it legal to "impair the operation of peer-to-peer" networks and follows it up with a quote from RIAA chairwoman Hilary Rosen in which she announces that the industry has a "history" of being "generous with consumers," and that it is simply looking to enforce its existing rights.

    Segal tries to present the appearance of a balanaced story by noting that the bill's "strategy has generated plenty of skepticism." This is true. However, the only skepticism he cites is the industry concern that "foolproof locks... don't exist in the digital realm."

    He neglects to mention the larger concern: that the wording of the supported bill would make it legal for the music industry to attack any network it "suspects" may contain pirated files. It allows big business to engage in unrestrained vigilante justice on the digital frontier with the kind of attacks that have brought down major Internet services like Yahoo and ETrade in the past. These attacks are currently federal crimes, for good reason. The bill would give the music industry the legal authority to shut down any service on the Internet indefinitely, without a court order or subsequent review. The Washington Post may want to bear this in mind the next time it publishes an unfavorable review of a music album.

    This shoddy journalism smacks of the kind of factually incorrect propaganda corporations distribute in their press releases.

    Segal's article fits well with the music industry's propaganda campaign. At a time when the bill is being considered in Congress, a front-page story in the only Washington paper that ends up in every Congressman and Senator's office highlighting the alleged need for legislation to save the industry and combat lawlessness is worth its weight in gold.

    I find it exceptionally difficult to believe that the music industry could "buy" this story. I also find it hard to believe that a seasoned reporter like Segal could be lazy enough to write this article and that a front-page story would not undergo the scrutiny necessary to uncover its deep holes and steep slant. The most plausible explanation I can find is that The Post is so genuinely concerned about the implications of the bill it wants to secure its place on the industry's alleged "generous" side.

  • by OrthonormalBasisVect (600812) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:27PM (#4114741) Homepage
    After purchasing some recent CDs and trying to use them legitately at work, but failing miserably due to the new copy protection being equal to 'you can't use the damn thing period' I was getting pretty miffed.

    Then I wanted to move some DVDs into a form I could actually watch on a plane (pda), cause my laptop screen is too big for cattle class and I find that even owning such a tool would make me a felon...

    And now I reflect on how the DoJ wants to make these bold statements, but when it comes to protecting me from

    1) having my software cracked and put up on a foreign site (along with a lot of other victims)

    2) having my 401K raped (actually I don't invest in tech, but I still got nailed due to overall market misery)

    they could care less about me or any other average citizen other than when some entrenched interest thinks we need to have something else taken away from us.

    I come to the sad conclusion that the government that governs me does not in any way shape or form represent me or my interests. It's getting worse every day, and the common consensus at this time from the system to the average slashdot reader is that we're criminals, and anything done to us is perfectly fine, but anything we do is inherently bad.

    Methinks the time for massive digital civil disobediance is upon us. Since we're all already guilty before the fact, since it's perfectly OK to assume we're bad and act accordingly with zero proof, who the hell wants to be hung for a sheep. Time to be a wolf, I say.

  • by necrognome (236545) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:34PM (#4114794) Homepage
    Yeah, I was one of the "thieves" that downloaded Attack of the Clones the day after its release, denying the movie industry of its precious profits.

    Oops! I forgot to mention that I waited in line 3 hours to see it on opening midnight, and that I saw it 3 more times, including once on a digital screen. That's $40 for tickets (NYC prices). Yeah, MPAA, that download was one hell of a "lost sale."
  • by carrier lost (222597) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:50PM (#4114919) Homepage

    What happens when someone finally builds a machine that allows you to duplicate simple objects?

    We will we not allow a device this fantastic to exist?

    That would suck.

    MjM

    I never mod down...

  • by lightspawn (155347) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @05:53PM (#4114942) Homepage
    I wish there was some kind of P2P network to only offer legal content, so that I'd be able to stay away from the crud promoted by the RIAA and its partners. Imagine being able to download gigabytes of completely legal music, which is already available out there but not so easy to find - or tell apart from the mainstream music. If you have a thousand hours of music, are you still really compelled to buy Britney's latest?
  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday August 21, 2002 @08:53PM (#4115980) Homepage Journal
    I'm suprised they didn't link to this article:

    http://news.com.com/2100-1023-954651.html [com.com]

    "The vast potential of broadband has so far benefited nobody as clearly as it's benefited downloaders of pornography and pirates of digital content"

    Chernin, the president of the owner of the Fox corporation, decries the Net's lack of morals. Isn't that delicious?

    "The truth is that anyone unwilling to condemn outright theft by digital means is either amoral or wholly self-serving."

    Irony meter going off the scale!

    Make no mistake about it, this is a culture war with trillions of dollars at stake. It is becoming more and more clear that Hollywood isn't just being greedy, they actively hate and fear the Internet. They would destroy everything we have built rather than adapt to reality.

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