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Fast CD-R Drives Make For Twice the Piracy 524

Posted by michael
from the double-your-pleasure dept.
Bowie J. Poag notes this Register story about an RIAA copyright infringement bust in New York. The RIAA claims the operation had the equivalent of 421 CD-burners, which, translated from RIAA-speak, means "156 CD-burners but some of them were fast". How they expect anyone to take their statistics seriously is beyond me.
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Fast CD-R Drives Make For Twice the Piracy

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  • by nother_nix_hacker (596961) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:20PM (#4893197)
    ...does that mean I have half a cd burner?
    • by roseblood (631824) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:27PM (#4893268)
      So, a 40x cd-r is far faster than average? What the hell are they using as a baseline? I can write at 40x myself. To me that is avreage. I went to the store, I saw 50something, 40, and 32 available. That makes 40x about average (average really would be something between 40x and 42x...seeing that the 50somethings were probably 52x)

      Funny math. Next thing you'll see is that your PC is a few thousand times faster than the average computer! (ENIAC as basline? Maybe a 8mhz 286?)

    • by uncoveror (570620) <webmaster@uBLUEncoveror.com minus berry> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:58PM (#4893509) Homepage
      156=421? Is this the new math? Even when they are busting real pirates, [dontbuycds.org] the RIAA fudges the numbers. Their dishonesty demonstrates that they are a criminal syndicate themselves. Read more about why no consumer should buy their products at dontbuycds.org [dontbuycds.org]
    • by Steve Franklin (142698) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:22PM (#4893656) Homepage Journal
      These are the same "statisticians" who think that the continual seizing of multimillions of dollars worth of drugs ("street value" of course) equates somehow to "winning the war on drugs." The RIAA's logic assumes that there is an infinite demand for pirated CDs and that, therefore, any increase in speed of reproduction equates to an increase in sales. No wonder, is it not, that they can't wrap their brains around the idea of increased sales through increased exposure? These characters cannot grasp the very simplest concepts of economics. Would anyone wish to speculate on whether this results from a perspective hatched in the very nest of monopoly conditions?
      • by MacAndrew (463832) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @06:45PM (#4894150) Homepage
        I know everyone hates statistics, but that's not really the issue here -- it's basic arithmetic. I mean, they can't add and multiply properly, either by accident or design, but as soon as they're caught at it they undermine their already limited credibility.

        This reminds me of virtually any tax debate in Congress, excpet there it is at least partly statistics -- trying to extrapolate from known values and economic relationships to determine future revenue. WIth the RIAA, at least in the present example, we see simple nonsense. Of course, this sould be the work of the PR people, a group not known for math skills. :)

        As for "the idea of increased sales through increased exposure" that's a matter for speculation, and a decision I feel that is wholly up to sellers to determine, not the consumer. I imagine the relationship of publicity (earned at the sacrifice of some profits) to ultimate profits (the number they really care about -- not sales) is a curve of some sort, with diminishing returns beyond a certain point of giveaway music. More efficient piracy will not advance the game, rather it may give the beneficiaries an added sense of entitlement, and reduced obligation to pay the big bad record labels for anything. This is not so much civil disobedience as yielding to temptation while feeling justified for just desserts or educating the greedbags.

        On the publicity point, recall that Napster and P2P are pull not push mechanisms; you have to request what you want, thus you already know something about it and probably like it. This is less likely to spur sales than push, where the studios would promote music that is not yet established, and which they believe need promotion.

        Someone MUST have done a decent study of this question ... anyone have a cite? The biggest problem is estimating the returns from schemes that have never been tried. In other words -- statistics and, worse, speculation.

        As an ethical matter marketing should be left to the sellers, with input from consumers but not pressure in the form of piracy. They have a right to be stupid; we do not have a right to coerce. If I were the seller, losing music to piracy would not immediately dispose me to start giving "samples" away for free -- I might go the RIAA route, even if it were illogical. Psychologically, it has to be a decision they feel they made on their own, or that upstarts demonstrate to be viable. Also, if the sellers can make more money not giving out free music, I can't blame them for a second.
    • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:49PM (#4893833)
      ...at midway through a burn, is your cd half empty or half full? If you are burning it in an empty house, and the burn hoses up, and you scream, does anybody hear? Honestly, I think those RIAA folks are doing the more of the good drugs their talent does.
  • by miguel_at_menino.com (89271) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:20PM (#4893198)
    This is the equivilant of 40 first posts, isn't it?
  • by Have Blue (616) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:20PM (#4893200) Homepage
    If we pirate 1,000 songs but all of them were crap, we're innocent?
    • Good point, that could be a serious argument to try to show the RIAA being a hipocryte, and not trustwrothy.
    • Re:Does this mean... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by smitty_one_each (243267) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:42PM (#4893385) Homepage Journal
      Worse still, if you have a script that generates an arbitrary number of 4:33 .mp3s of nothing, you can violate John Cages [mindspring.com] copyright in truly efficient fashion.
      Now, if the product is a copyright violation, is the script itself a violation as well? What does the I-ANAL crowd think?
      • by yokem_55 (575428)
        Actually, 4'33" isn't actually silence. It's all the "unintentional," and random environmental sounds that go on wherever its "played". As such, there is no real creative "composition" that can be copywrited and just making absolutely silent mp3's 4'33" long misses the point of the song. However, I do think that a recording of the "performance" of the song can be copywrited, but such a recording would not be completely silent.
  • by spazimodo (97579) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:20PM (#4893205)
    that gave us 2002-1900 = 100th Anniversary of Quantum Physics
  • Or does this seem like a story about the RIAA acknowledging that people can copy cd's...with a cd-r?

    My god the humanity! They'll be able to make their own cd's! Why wasn't this reported before.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:21PM (#4893215)
    This first post is being sent over a cable modem and is like 15 regular first posts!
    • You mean, this 1st post is being sent over the cablemodem and becomes equivalent to a 15th post...

      Wow, it really works!
    • Re:15 first posts (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WCMI92 (592436)
      "This first post is being sent over a cable modem and is like 15 regular first posts!"

      So if I download something with the T1 at work it's like stealing 1,000 songs? And if I burn them with my 24x burner, it's like burning 6 CD's?

      Methinks we have discovered the formula that the RIAA/MPAA/BSA uses to come up with their "piracy" statistics...

      Calculate what could have been copied on PC equipment circa 1987 and multiply by Moore's Law...
  • by dagg (153577) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:22PM (#4893220) Journal
    Example #1:
    One library of congress = 29 trillion (in british units) copyright violations.
  • by utexaspunk (527541) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:22PM (#4893221)
    not the individual consumers. Not that individual consumers are pirating cd's any less, but these are the guys you can catch outright without creating new laws that restrict our rights.
    • by EggplantMan (549708) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:05PM (#4893556) Homepage
      ... but these are the guys you can catch outright without creating new laws that restrict our rights.
      Yes, and there is a reason for that, which is that copyright laws were originally created with these sort of operations in mind. Copyright law was designed, in part, to stop others from profiting from your material (sans agreement).

      What we are suffering from today is a perversion of copyright; the notion of intellectual property, which has been regarded (legally) as actual property, and so we come to the absurd situation where someone can be considered to have 'stolen' intellectual property (and thus harmed the owner) without:

      • depriving the owner of the property
      • profiting from the property

      Thus when entities such as the RIAA assert that 'theft' of intellectual property is costing them money, they are asserting that the following process is taking place:

      • theft of intellectual property
      • ???
      • (LOSS OF) PROFIT!!!
      • by Sancho (17056) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @06:23PM (#4894014) Homepage
        Times change. Surely you don't think that as technology increases and new concepts are created, new laws shouldn't be made to govern them?
        We live in a world where information has value. Laws have been created/altered to take that into consideration. Remember, IP laws were originally created to prevent stagnation--if someone can't make a living off of their IP, they won't continue creating it.
        That hasn't changed. What has changed is the fact that copies of the information can be had for pennies. For some reason people can't seem to conceptualize the fact that there is something wrong with copying something you don't have the rights to. They seem to think that because they haven't actually taken anything away from the original owner, it isn't theft. They're right--it's not theft in the conventional sense. But it is still a violation of copyright laws. It is, to some extent, immoral because the creators of the IP had a good faith agreement with the population (through the government) that their IP will not be used without compensation. By living in a country which acknowledges and respects IP, you agree to follow those laws. You agree in the same way that you agree to obey any other law. You don't break the speed limit (or if you do, you deal with the consequences). You don't hurt or injure others. If you don't like a particular law, there are (usually) ways to go about trying to repeal them.

        You say that the RIAA asserts that 'theft' of IP costs them money. Whether this is correct or not is up for debate (although I am inclined to believe that more people don't buy music they have downloaded than actually do, and I suspect that there are some people who would have bought the music if they hadn't had it available for "free"), however it is against their law and it is within the RIAA's rights to enforce their copyrights. They may actually lose money in these enforcement practices--it's impossible to say for sure--however it is within their rights to control their IP.

        You can call them foolish, you can cite examples where they would make more money by allowing copyright violations, however that does not give you the right to illegally copy their property.
    • Piracy for Profit... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sterno (16320)
      The important difference with these guys is that they are pirating music to make money off of it. Consumers who make copies and distribute them are doing it for free. Actually, more acurately, consumers are PAYING to pirate the music since they have to have a broadband connection to be able to do it, a decent CD ripper/burner, etc.
  • Statistics? (Score:5, Funny)

    by pi radians (170660) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:22PM (#4893222)
    How they expect anyone to take their statistics seriously is beyond me.

    Who, the RIAA's or The Register's?

    (ba-dum-bum-cha!)
  • by ath0mic (519762) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:22PM (#4893226)
    By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco Posted: 14/12/2002 at 00:31 GMT

    "Perhaps the truth is less interesting than the facts?" asked Amy Weiss, the RIAA's Senior Vice President of Communications recently in this email to The Register.

    It's a question which has baffled many of our readers, and us too. Perhaps it's a kind of Zen koan, which needs to be repeated many times before making sense. If so, we can't report any success.

    But the RIAA seems to be having a few problems with the facts itself.

    Yesterday it issued a press release announcing a piracy bust in New York which unearthed 421 CD-R burners.

    Only there weren't 421 burners, but "the equivalent of 421 burners."

    In fact, there were just 156. How did the RIAA account for this discrepancy?

    "There were only 156 actual burners, but some run at very high speeds: some as high as 40x. This is well above the average speed," was the official line yesterday.

    Apparently another example of the Association's difficulty grappling with new technology. After the RIAA's website was hacked, with large sections rendered inaccessible, spokespersons explained the difficulties were due to a sudden upsurge in popularity.

    Well, that's one way of putting it.

    The other curious aspect of yesterday's release is the use of Secret Service agents in the bust. The Secret Service, we naively presumed, was employed to protect high-ranking elected officials.
    • by Apreche (239272) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:33PM (#4893308) Homepage Journal
      Actually the Secret Service has 3 very specific jobs. One of those jobs is to bodyguard and protect important people. That is the most commonly seen job. Their second job is cathing people who counterfeit money. Their third job is catching h4x0rz and pirates.
      If you are a computer criminal, depending on the exact circumstances of your offense you will either be visited by customs, secret service, FBI, or local police.

      As for this whole 156=421 thing. Does this mean I can sell my burner on ebay? It's pretty fast can I say 2 CD burners! only takes up one drive bay!

      There's nothing wrong with burning CDs for personal/fair use. However, despite the number of burner discrepancy, this was an actualy piracy operation. It's not only illegal but not right. People like that should get busted.
    • "The other curious aspect of yesterday's release is the use of Secret Service agents in the bust. The Secret Service, we naively presumed, was employed to protect high-ranking elected officials. " Actually thats just part of the Secret Service's [ustreas.gov] job. They are officialy under the treasury department and are also in charge of counterfeiting investigations and some other things... I'm not sure how ileagle CD copying falls under this, but they don't just protect politicians and civil leaders.
    • The Secret Service, we naively presumed, was employed to protect high-ranking elected officials.

      The Secret Service's original purpose was to catch conterfeiters. That's why they are part of the Treasury dept (although this will change with Bush's re-org)
    • Actually, the Secret Service is a part of the Department of the Treasury... it's two primary missions are protection as mentioned, and enforcement of laws regarding financial crimes, which this most certainly was. From http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/mission.shtml The United States Secret Service is mandated by the U.S. Congress to carry out two distinct and significant missions: protection and criminal investigations. The Secret Service is responsible for: the protection of the President, the Vice President, and their families, heads of state, and other designated individuals; the investigation of threats against these protectees; protection of the White House, Vice President's Residence, Foreign Missions, and other buildings within Washington, D.C.; and security design, planning, and implementation at designated National Special Security Events. The Secret Service is also responsible for the enforcement of laws relating to counterfeiting of obligations and securities of the United States, investigation of financial crimes including, but not limited to access device fraud, financial institution fraud, identity theft, computer fraud, telecommunications fraud, and computer based attacks on our nation's financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure.
    • by swb (14022) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:09PM (#4893585)
      The Secret Service, we naively presumed, was employed to protect high-ranking elected officials.

      This is the big problem with Federal law enforcement -- there's so many different law enforcement arms, and few of them like to cooperate with the others. I heard on NPR that they want to form yet another to combat terrorism! Why not have:

      (1) FBI -- Enforce federal criminal statutes, including counterfeiting and narcotics, as well as felon apprehension. This gets rid of the DEA, the non-protective Secret Service roles and the Marshalls Service. Essentially focuses on criminal acts comitted in the United States.

      (2) Homeland security. Immigration, border security, customs, counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and government protection, including Presidential Security. Eliminates border patrol, customs service, and the rest of the Secret Service function. Essentially focuses on crimes involving extra-national activities and government security.

      The constitutional standards for (1), which would mostly involve US citizens, could then be kept higher without a risk to national security.
  • by Archfeld (6757) <treboreel@live.com> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:23PM (#4893230) Journal
    Wholesale pirating and distribution is BAD. This is the kind of thing the RIAA SHOULD be pursuing and is the reason for them actually exsiting.
    • by SpookyFish (195418) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:36PM (#4893347)
      Sure it is, and I agree 100% -- but when they try to pull this kind of crap with the numbers, they are losing even *more* credibility among the tech-savvy crowd (if that's possible).

      If they keep this stuff up, eventually everything they do will be dismissed as wrong -- no one will even bother to look for the merits.
      • by namespan (225296) <namespanNO@SPAMelitemail.org> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:19PM (#4893643) Journal
        The curious thing is that they could have come up with a completely legit figure: the production capacity of the operation in terms of some number of copies per unit of time (say, discs per day) based on the speeds of the burners and perhaps loading/latency issues.

        Why would they issue some half-assed stat like the one given when they could have done this?

        Two answers:

        1) They're not competent enough to do that
        2) They are, but have a motive that precludes them from presenting a clear picture.

        It's alot like the Iraq isssue. I've read convincing arguments for an Iraqi invasion from German Marxists... and the stuff our right-wing hawkish administration presents "has a certain syrup, but just doesn't pour." (Gertrude Stein phrase, I believe). Why is it so hard to make a convincing case when there's a convincing case to be made? I think it's the wrong motives. They keep even otherwise adequately intelligent people from seeing the obvious.
        • 3) They believe the public is too stupid to understand (or care about) a useful metric. Given their behavior so far, I think it's the most likely scenario.
    • Agreed.

      I'm all for freedom of speech and lebensraum to use what I legally buy, but "35,000 finished CD-Rs, 10,000 DVDs" can hardly be concidered fair use. No matter how fast the drives used to make them were.

      I don't appreciate the creative math of course, but 35k pirate cds is not something to stand up for (assuming no twiddling was done in that figure)

    • by drDugan (219551) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:53PM (#4893473) Homepage
      why exactly is copying bad?

      because it is illegal?
      because the music industry makes less money?
      because we won't have as nice music if the music industry struggles?
      because someone is making money doing things that are illegal?

      I have come to the point in my life where (right and wrong) and (legal
      and illegal) are now completely separate, and surprisingly, not even
      aligned completely.

      Should we have laws that support a bloated industry that controls
      access to information -- simply because they have existed in the past
      and have enough money to have laws passed that perpetuate their
      existence? I think not. after the repeal of some law in 1996 that
      limited media channels to 40 stations, clearchannel now owns like 1400
      stations (estimate) and have has one of the top 4 stations in like 90%
      of all metropolitan areas. One source.

      In fact, I think people like music, and people will always make nice
      music and it will be available. we have the ability to make it
      happen. simply fuck the money part. for all of you who start jumping
      on me about how naive that idea is -- ask yourself first how much you
      depend on the 'current context' of "it's just the way things work now"
      to judge that idea.

      However: regardless of legality, should we even have a centralized
      organization that, in effect, makes decisions about what music is
      popular and available, and at what price? I think not.

      And if you think about it long enough -- and this one will draw flak
      I'm sure -- I've also come full circle on the social contract for
      intellectual property. In most cases, the contract is no longer
      helpful to society, it's just benefitting the ip holders. In effect,
      without much explanation here, I conclude we should scrap/eliminate
      the majority of our IP protections, or at least change them
      significantly.

      If people are interested I'd be glad to share my views on why IP has
      come so far its generals bad -- but that is much longer post.

      As for my initial question -- I reject ALL of my hypothetical
      answers. In fact, if you go even a very little bit outside our current
      context, it's pretty easy to see that copying is NOT bad at all, at
      least in the (right and wrong) sense.

      • by DarkVein (5418) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @08:52PM (#4895117) Journal
        why exactly is copying bad?


        because it is illegal?
        because the music industry makes less money?
        because we won't have as nice music if the music industry struggles?
        because someone is making money doing things that are illegal?

        I have come to the point in my life where (right and wrong) and (legal
        and illegal) are now completely separate, and surprisingly, not even
        aligned completely.


        Good and bad need to be quantified. They're inarticulate words for such maters. Let's substitute those for moral and amoral. Let's also consider "copying" to mean "propogating of idea or art", as this is the subject being discussed. We'll also ignore the fact that every action a computer takes is a copy.

        Immediately with this defintion, most slashdotters will think "copying is good!" The reasoning is that all sciences and arts benefit when their practicioners are exposed to new ideas. Programmers and engineers are intimate with this notion, as their occupations firmly rooted in and built upon the idea. The paradoxal result is that value is attributed to information; information becomes valuable. These are seperate things.

        So, here we have the two sides of the coin: Scientists and Artists can further their crafts by being exposed to new works. On the other side, the copyright side, Science and Art is furthered when its practicioners are given incentive to create and explore. Copyright, and Copyleft; Only one of them has federal backing.

        The copyright side says that any copying diminishes the incentive to create new works. The RIAA says this penalize artists and society, but the RIAA also calls decreasing profit growth rates (market saturation) a loss. The first part is true, but only some times.

        And there is your answer. Copying is "bad" as long as it removes the incentive to create new works. The great divide is between the letter and spirit of the law. The letter leaves interpretation open that the incentive for new works should come from the author, while the spirit is simply that "new works" be incented [reference.com] (not a Bushism). Progress is the spirit, and the spirit doesn't give a damn about ancestral authors, so long as they are given their due.

        Society always builds on the works that came before. Cultural progress is retarded when access to previous works is restrained. Because these new works are built upon previous works, they compete with the ancestral work. Because this competition diminishes the author's incentive over time, the past always tries to control the future.

        I feel this is evidence of a strong imbalance in the current system. The drive for survival is normal, but when it is given force over the struggling newborn, something is sick. Free societies must restrain the past from controlling the future.
  • Equivalent (Score:2, Funny)

    by rela (531062)
    the equivalent of 421 CD-R burners

    Is that like 'the equivalent of being pregnant'?

    Either they're capable of writing CD-Rs, or they're not, sheesh.

  • You see... (Score:5, Funny)

    by WickedClean (230550) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:24PM (#4893235) Homepage
    It is mathematics like this that allow companies such as Worldcom and Enron to cook their books.
  • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:24PM (#4893237)
    So does this mean that if I pay twice as much as I should for a CD (as we all do with the industry's fixed pricing) that I've really bought the equivalent of two CD's?
  • by User 956 (568564) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:25PM (#4893244) Homepage
    From the article:
    The other curious aspect of yesterday's release is the use of Secret Service agents in the bust. The Secret Service, we naively presumed, was employed to protect high-ranking elected officials[*]. Perhaps this is a further indication of who's really in charge.®

    Uhh... no.. actually, the Secret Service was created to track down counterfeiters [bbc.co.uk].
    • by nukem1999 (142700) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:32PM (#4893303)
      Did you read what the [*] referenced?


      *Bootnote: In fact the task of talking into one's sleeve at a press conference only came 28 years after the Service was
      founded [secretservice.gov] in 1865, to combat counterfeiting. Back then, there was no FBI, or equivalent federal agency, and the Presidential protection role was formalized in 1913.
    • counterfeit money (Score:5, Interesting)

      by recursiv (324497) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:34PM (#4893328) Homepage Journal
      From your linked page:
      The other crimes investigated by the USSS include counterfeiting of US currency; the forgery or theft of US Treasury cheques, bonds or other securities; telecommunications fraud; identity fraud; credit card fraud; and other crimes against federal financial organisations and infrastructure.


      As you should now be able to see, none of this applies to any of the CDs which were being burned at higher than average speed.
  • Statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:25PM (#4893247)
    What you are missing is that these silly statistics aren't designed for the general public--they are designed for POLITICIANS.

    The **AA doesn't give a damn what the general public thinks--this is all PR for bought-and-paid-for politicians. The lobbyists will show up, wave around these silly statistics, flash some money and boom! suddenly there will be more laws/levies/taxes on recordable media faster than you can type 'cdrecord'.
  • Let's say the "average" is 24X... I have a 12X burner. I guess that means I have the equivalent of 0.5 burners... I'm not a threat! Yay!
  • "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

    C'mon, such a huge percentage of all statistics out there are dubious. Did you really think the RIAA is above a little "data cooking"? ;)
  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:26PM (#4893256) Homepage
    In accordance with the RIAA logic, I can now beat any speeding ticket by claiming to have the equivalent of more than one car! For example, if I were busted doing 60 in a 20, I can claim I have three cars. After all, it's 3x faster than the average driver travels through such a zone. Stands to reason that I simply have the equivalent of 3 cars driving at a legal speed and therefore I am innocent.

    Yeah... I think that'll work...

    Would someone PLEASE bust them for lying. I can't even consider this "spin doctoring." You can't make a claim with any amount of seriousness that a "fast" cd writer is the equivalent of two or more "average speed" drives. I can't decide which is worse: Scientology or the RIAA.
  • by SpookyFish (195418) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:26PM (#4893258)
    So now if I gnutella on a T3 am I suddenly stealing 28x the music because it's "really fast"?!

    Just another sign of these idiots' attempts to ignore the progress of technology out of sheer stupidity and too much laziness to develop new business models that embrace it.
  • ...that I have precisely TWO 4x burners, for a total of 8x, so I must declare that I own "2/3 of a burner". Ahhahhah.

    But I use the Evil Commie P1-r4t OS Linux... maybe the RIAA will come get me for that one ;)
  • by Montreal Geek (620791) <marc @ u b e rbox.org> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:28PM (#4893273) Homepage Journal
    This is amusing.

    I would think /.ers already knew our four letter friends (MPAA, RIAA, etc) lie through their teeth at every avaliable opportunity. They keep saying how p2p is running them into the ground (yet keep posting remarkable profits) and how nobody buys CDs anymore because of it (yet they manage to sell hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of carefully marketed trash from Dion and Spears).

    The fact that they count funny when doing a "bust" of evil pirates is exactly what I'd expect. I'd be surprised if they came out with an announcement stating that

    "A small copying operation have been shut down, with less than two hundred cd burners seized. While this operation ran for profit and is fairly unequiovocally bad, we don't expect it has significantly impacted our business either way and is basically insignificant compared to the much vaster amounts of copying done privately by millions of individuals which we can do nothing about and never will."

    -- MG

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:28PM (#4893276)
    RIAA says the damage could be as high as 90million.

    These groups, I'm sure, don't use take into account "Opportunity cost". Just because I bought a pirated CD for $2 (or obtained it for free), doesn't mean I would also pay $20 for a legimate copy if no pirated copies existed.
  • by efuseekay (138418) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:28PM (#4893280)
    They have 800 CD burners, but most of them are slow.

  • 421 !=156 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:33PM (#4893313) Journal
    At least not until the price of buying 421 CDs has come down to the price that 156 CDs would cost you retail right now.

    As Benjamin Disraeli said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics". We all know which kind were looking at here.
  • by jdhutchins (559010) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:36PM (#4893344)
    I know this sounds redundant, but how did they get 421? If one CD-R drive is 40x, does it count as 40 CD-R drives? If they did it that way, then it would seem like most of the drives being used were fairly slow, because otherwise the number would have been higher. It was a professional pirating business, so I'm guessing many of the drives would have been at least 24x. If each drive is at least 24x, then 156*24 = 3744. With the numbers they gave (and the speed of a CD player counts as many times), the average CD-R speed is just over 2. But that seems hard to believe, because these are (were) professionals, and they would have had the money to get faster CD-R drives.

    The only reason the RIAA published this number is to make the media grab it more. This is the same thing they did with "Everyone using Napster is pirating music", which wasn't exactly true (many were, but not all). The media ate up the RIAA's headline, and ignored the real truth behind it.
  • ...Why my auto insurance is so high!

    The automotive insurance companies must use the same "math", and since my car is so fast they are charging me like I have two (possible three :-) )...

    ...I feel much better now

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...we would say they that it's the equivalent of 0.36 FAST CD-Rs.
  • by Malicious (567158) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:37PM (#4893353)
    So, if they cost the industry $90 million, assume they were selling their CD's for 1/3rd the cost of Retail, Minus expenses... these guys would have made roughly 10 MILLION dollars. Why do they have less than 200 Fast CD burners?

    Doesn't add up. RIAA's math skills should be used to power interstellar space ships.

  • Millions of C64 page requests flood the register article!

  • by loony (37622)
    Glad we just had a threat about these new drives - do they count tripple?
  • What? No DVD burners? Yet they got 10,000 DVDs. Where did those come from?

    And if there were DVD-Rs there, did they count them in the CDR numbers?

    Since DVD 18 can hold roughly 17 gigs, did they count that as 18+ burners?

    When the RIAA reports these numbers, it makes me wonder how they do their taxes.

    "Well, let's see. I gave a dollar to the kids in Ethiopia, and there are 3 million kids, so I'm going to write this off as the equivelent of 3 million dollars, because I don't know which kid is going to get it. Hmm, that sounds about right..."

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:42PM (#4893381)
    According to the RIAA press release [riaa.org] - in the footnote:

    "The Recording Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry."

    Indeed. Well, their supporting facts to indicate that they represent the entirety of the recording industry includes this:

    "RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States."

    So, you've heard it here, folks. 90% = 100%.

    The proof of the corollary theorem, 1 = 2, is left as an exercise to the reader.

  • by Kiwi (5214) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:43PM (#4893386) Homepage Journal
    These kinds of busts of people who willfully infringe on copyright is the kind of activity that the RIAA should be using, instead of attempting to encumber everyone's computers, regardless of the guilt of the computer user.

    When the HRAA (home recording rights act) was passed, it set a dangerous precedent of being presumed guilty. No matter how one wished to use home stereo equipment which can copy audio digitally, one was treated like a media pirate.

    For example, when I was burning a CD of my own music (which I own the copyright on) two years ago, I was not allowed to make a digital copy of one of my songs to the new CD. What happened was that a flag saying the song was a copy was set; my CD recorder does not allow me to make digital copies of copies. It assumes that all such activity is piracy, even though I use this equipment to make copies of my own songs.

    In addition, the CD player forces me to pay extra for CD blanks because it assumes that my activities are copyright infringment activities. In other words, I have to pay the media companies royalties for the privledge of copying my own music. Fortunatly , there is a bug in the firmware which allows me to work around this issue and use far more inexpensive "computer" CDR blanks.

    The RIAA and MPAA are trying to cripple computers in a similar manner, which such abominations as the SSSCA. They should stop treating honest computer users like criminials and start persecuting people who willfully engage in piracy.

    People who do not think piracy is a problem are mainly in the US, where it is not the kind of problem it is in other countries. In México, for example, one can hardly walk down a street in a shopping district without noticing stands where people sell burned copies of music CDs, complete with inkjet printouts of the cover art for the CD. These kinds of sales do hurt the profits of the RIAA. Obviously not to the extent that every person who buys a burned copy is someone who would have bought a legitimate copy otherwise, but certaintly to a lesser extent.

    The people who willfully pirate music and movies need to be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law; I will go so far as to say that the law needs to be set up to make persecuting these people easier. But only the guilty should be punsished; methods for duplicating and distributing music and movies, which are very helpful for promoting independent artists, should not be crippled by the media companies.

    - Sam
  • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:43PM (#4893389) Homepage Journal
    I thought this sort of math was only applied to drug busts.

    "We estimate the marijuana had a street value of 4.5 million dollars."

    (Yes, if you sold it one eighth at a time to desperate, confused rich people.)
    • There are a lot of wisdom in those words.

      Big guys wanna take out the small guys, but big guys need to spin doctor it enough so that small guys look bad, so no one really notices the big guys' work in the noise. Big guys get to keep high prices and big guys make big government very happy. Small guys not very good as they undercut prices of the 'goods'. Big government keeps 'save the children' people happy because they are getting rid of the small guys. Also big goverment labelled small guys as 'Terrorists or Funding Terrorists', so that big guys are even more happy.

      All in all more drug trade profit == more money and "donations".

      'nuff said.
  • by Cheese Cracker (615402) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:43PM (#4893392)
    A man who fucks for 15 minutes before delivering the cream to the woman, result in a baby.

    Therefor, a man who fucks for 5 minutes before delivering the cream to the woman, must result in triplets.

    Of course, we're just talking about successful cases here... and I don't want to think about the poor guys who comes after 30 seconds...
  • by Tekmage (17375) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @04:48PM (#4893428) Homepage
    Holy obfuscation Flying-Mammal-Man!

    First, congrats to the RIAA for shutting down a real piracy operation. However, if they wanted to get the idea across without messing with the facts, why didn't they say something like "...able to churn out X CDs a day..."? They obviously went through the trouble of doing some sort of calculation to come with that 156 burners = 421 average burners, why not put it in real world terms? Shouldn't be too hard to come up with really big numbers like:

    (x_burners)(average_CD_burnt_per_minute)*24*60

    Lets say average_CD_burnt_per_minute (aka burn rate) of a 20x burner burning a 70-minute CD is:

    20/70min = 0.286 CD/min

    You have a fascility churning out:

    156*0.286*24*60 = 64,247 CDs/day

    Now isn't that a much more impressive number? (assuming I've got me numbers correct; my brain only half-works on Sundays, which is how I average more than a whole brain during the week ;-)
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:53PM (#4893850)
      But having the ability to make 64,247 CDs per day is not illegal. Making 64,247 CDs per day is not illegal. Making 64,247 copyrighted CDs per day is not even against the law. It's only illegal when you are making CDs to which you do not have copyright permission and then distributing them.

      It seems like the RIAA wants the CD burner to be equated with piracy, because they want to be the only ones who can legally make CDs of any kind, forgetting that other people can create and release music content too.
  • From the other side (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kmahan (80459)
    Since the RIAA is cracking down on piracy and scaring people into not making personal copies of their own CDs it stands to reason that this is cutting into the profits of CD Burner and Media producers. It seems to me (using the RIAA's own logic) that the RIAA should be charged a certain amount per CD/DVD they sell to give back to the Burner/Media producers to make up for the losses in revenue. But then again, I could be wrong.
  • by CaptainPsyko (632409) <Kcausin@@@hamilton...edu> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:02PM (#4893539) Journal
    The Register article seems to have replaced a mistake with a mistake.

    From http://www.secretservice.gov/mission.shtml [secretservice.gov]

    The United States Secret Service is mandated by the U.S. Congress to carry out two distinct and significant missions: protection and criminal investigations. The Secret Service is responsible for: the protection of the President, the Vice President, and their families, heads of state, and other designated individuals; the investigation of threats against these protectees; protection of the White House, Vice President's Residence, Foreign Missions, and other buildings within Washington, D.C.; and security design, planning, and implementation at designated National Special Security Events. The Secret Service is also responsible for the enforcement of laws relating to counterfeiting of obligations and securities of the United States, investigation of financial crimes including, but not limited to access device fraud, financial institution fraud, identity theft, computer fraud, telecommunications fraud, and computer based attacks on our nation's financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure.


    I don't see anything there about IP law, Fraudulent CD's, or other Piracy or theft laws. The Secret Service protects the president, and investigates Counterfeit CURRENCY, Securities Fraud, Bank Fraud, and other Financial Crime Thats why they are part of the Department of the TREASURY

    So what were they doing at RIAA's latest Bust exactly? Though the Register did get the SS's role wrong, they were right in presuming that they really shouldn't have been part of this bust.
  • by deego (587575) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @05:18PM (#4893637)
    heh, the article doesn't even talk about any "pirated" music being discovered.

    All it says is: 421 (equivalent) burners were discovered. We are almost at a stage where possessing a cd-burner is outlawed--because it can be used to commit a "crime"... While possession of guns remains legal.
    • by DreamingReal (216288) <dreamingrealNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday December 15, 2002 @08:02PM (#4894765) Homepage
      Read the article -
      raided a major music piracy operation in New York City, leading to the capture of 35,000 finished CD-Rs, 10,000 DVDs, the equivalent of 421 CD-R burners and the arrest of three individuals.
      While I agree with your point, make sure you know the facts before making it... otherwise you'll look like the RIAA. :)

    • Ooo, and cars, don't forget cars - after all, it's possible to commit a crime with a car. Add baseball bats to your list too. And chainsaws. And axes. And duct tape. And knives. And pencils. And hammers. And piano wire. And cement. And syringes. And ...

      Guns don't kill people any more than spoons make Rosie O'Donnell fat.
  • by FleshWound (320838) on Sunday December 15, 2002 @08:26PM (#4894948)
    If the RIAA fudged the numbers on the count of burners seized, they could very well have fudged the numbers on the seized media count.

    Perhaps the "35,000" CD's that were recovered were really 32,500 700MB CD's, but since they have a greater capacity, they "qualify" as being 35,000 650MB CD's.
  • Woof!

    (I know. It's bad. I'm sorry.)

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