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Comment It first the pattern (Score 1) 241

Just like the grossly exaggerated claims that were made a few years ago by Edward Withacre (then CEO of SBC). Or so many other "industry heads" like the music execs who want to endlessly resell you different copies of music you've already purchased, whatever stands in their way of "maximizing shareholder dividends" is anathema, and should be destroyed at all cost. Consumers being nothing more than opportunities to fleece money from.

It's a pattern, a chronic need to do this; but a phenomenon which in no small part probably is also due to their need to posture for the home crowd in order to retain their cushy jobs. These people can't be that utterly dumb Rather, and whether we'd like to admit it or not, we'd do and say the same if we were in their position. Because to get to that position would have meant being capable of stepping over so many carcasses of dead rivals, and having burned so many bridges to get ahead that saying stuff like this is only a logical extension of this alpha-dog mindset.

TL;DR: meh nothing to see, business as usual, move along. No need to get worked up about another garden-variety troll comment.

Comment Simply quite elated at this (Score 1) 112

For the sake of 'the rest of us', glad to see that the sheer obscenity of something that was probably conceived as making sense in the minds of merger-happy investors and money managers didn't come to pass.

Before celebrating too much, let's keep in mind that this may just be a temporary reprieve. They are sure to try again.

Comment Re:It's about the gangsters and hoes, really. (Score 1) 218

You're confusing two totally different aspects of music licensing.

One pertains to the publishing (a.k.a. "mechanical royalties" = "the song" as recorded by anyone) and the other is ownership of that specific sound recording. The owner of the publishing is not necessarily the same as that of the sound recording, more often than not it's someone totally different.

Also, double-whammy because foreign artists cannot collect from US radio, so US artists and sound recording copyright owners are reciprocally prevented from collecting income for the rest of the world, that money goes to "black box".

Radio stations on the entire planet are all paying for these performance fees of copyrighted sound recordings. Only the US differs, because of this backwards exemption dating back to the 1930's

Please consider toning down the rhetoric, these sort of knee-jerk uninformed comments are not flattering to your understanding of this particular situation. I'd wager that if you look closely enough, any large corporate business is just as venal, without fail. Merely an opinion...

Comment Some additional things to consider (Score 2) 218

This situation is clearly something that few understand. We have two different aspects of copyright here On one hand we have ASCAP and BMI as well as Harry Fox Agency who have responsibilities to handle the income from radio play on behalf of their member songwriters and their publishers.

However due to an exemption granted by US Congress around 1937 terrestrial radio was granted a limited reprieve from paying the owners of the sound recordings (not publishers, who get paid) any royalties in order to build their broadcasting networks. You would think that by now they have built them after almost 80 years?

To add insult to injury, because this ruling prevents foreign copyright owners from collecting any performance royalties from their material being broadcast by US radio, these countries around the world reciprocate and deny US owners of sound recordings any income from music they own that gets played on radio stations around the globe, which unlike the US typically do pay sound recording owners for the use of this material.

Clearly, most if not all radio stations around the rest of the world do pay sound recording owners for use of songs in their catalogs, and still manage to thrive.

But the lobbying power of the NAB (National broadcasters' association) and the dizzying amounts of money they've spent spreading FUD on making US radio like the rest of the world would be the death of them -> the famous campaign "The Day They Killed The Music" which should really be renamed "The Day They Killed Fat Corporate Profits To Radio Mega-Conglomerates".

Because even though terrestrial stations across the entire planet have managed to thrive and survive while paying such fees to sound recording owners for all of these years, somehow in the US enacting this legislation would make them die off. Well, one thing for sure: they'd make less profits because they would have to share some of the income with the very people who created the sound recordings; yes, those that they have gotten in the habit of using for free.

It used to be that "one hand washes the other" because radio play ensured such massive sales that those who got their music played reaped a huge windfall in record sales. So it was tolerated, and no one in their right frame of mind would have dared challenge this. But now that record sales are down to a trickle of their former glory, it's looking as if the exemption has run its course and it doesn't make sense anymore to let radio stations benefit from this anachronistic advantage that hurts sound recording owners doubly by also denying them income from play of their masters overseas.

Again: sound recordings, not the musical compositions themselves nor the publishers who represent the interest of those who wrote them.

Lastly, a few years ago terrestrial radio was obviously quite keen on forcing Internet radio startups (unwanted competition) to pay these royalties to sound recording owners they themselves are exempt from. Surely they could anticipate that by doing this, someone was going to eventually challenge their hegemony, and call for fairness across the whole spectrum of broadcasters. Classic case of pot calling the kettle back.

They've gotten away with it for so long, and built empires from this exemption. It's time for this anachronistic advantage to be erased. One thing we can be sure: they'd rather spend billions making sure it never turns into law rather than spending the same paying it to the owners of the sound recordings whose catalogs they built their business model around, by using them for free for so many decades.

Comment It obviously can only mean one thing (Score 1) 894

Even though the consequences of posting as yourself are sometimes really positive, in such cases as what happened with Charlie Hebdo it would seem that anonymity is going to become the norm in criticizing, lampooning or using one's constitutional rights to make fun of whatever we feel like doing.

Because somehow, since religion is belief-based it's becoming more and more difficult every single day to keep people believing in these localized fairy tales when we are all able to compare notes by using uncensored, real-time communication networks. And the more this happens, the more upset and frustrated those who are trying to remain in control are getting; and in their desperation the less of a sense of humor they can afford to have as the very survival of their belief-based system is at stake.

While I am not necessarily condoning any approach, it's fairly obvious that Anonymous (the loose group claiming this name) and 4chan have the right idea. In order to get one's message across in this day and age, more than ever privacy and anonymity are going to be very important liberties; certainly worth making sure they remain something we have access to.

Thanks in no small part to people such as Lenny Bruce, who had the courage to stand up for those rights when they knew all too well that it would destroy their careers when no such options existed.

Comment Re:Remember the context (Score 1) 749

So if I always listened to music in a concert hall with a 25000 watt speaker system then I might care. But instead I always listen to my music through earbuds or my car stereo or even my home stereo - where, as you say, "The difference in audio quality may not really be apparent".

So, to answer the question of the thread, NO, I can't really hear the difference between Lossless, Lossy Audio.

The people doing this are called DJs and their audiences. In case you haven't noticed, this whole EDM trend has sort of really blown up in recent years. It's not a fringe phenomenon anymore.

A few of these DJs (not many) have endeavored to try and keep providing their audiences with the best-possible audio experience. There's no question that lossy audio has less 'depth', punch, 'inner dynamics' whatever you may want to call it which has nothing to do with frequency response, but certainly relates to psychoacoustics and perceptually how it makes people feel.

The very imperfect vinyl still sounds much smoother and deeper (especially the bass) on these very large-scale sound systems. Many UK dubstep DJs still insist on playing vinyl. It's immediately apparent during gigs when the next digital DJ comes on. Their digital files may sound cleaner, but lack that punch, what sound system culture enthusiasts refers to as 'weight'.

Comment Remember the context (Score 1) 749

While I agree that for most consumers it's really a bit of a moot point, the following may need to be kept in mind:

The difference in audio quality may not really be apparent when something is played back on earbuds or tiny computer speakers, rather than on a concert hall-sized system. These differences are very hard to pick out - even in an audiophile home situation - but become far more obvious once these same recordings are played on a 25,000-watt sound rig in a large auditorium.

Like taking a jpg logo you just lifted from a web site and blowing it up to a large billboard on the side of the road. Pixelation will occur, but won't be noticeable until you scale up to those large sizes. And yes, before someone dismisses this as irrelevant, do not forget the thousands of professionals who play recorded music for millions across the planet every week on those large sound installations. (granted, most of whom do not care one bit about audio quality)

But the difference is there, it's just a shame that no one wants to take the time to actually do these listening tests in large-scale environments with proper acoustics (clubs, concert halls, auditoriums). It should be added that if the venue in question has horrendous acoustics and tons of reflections, none of this will obviously matter.

These perceptual compression algorithms do in fact strip out the very essence of what bind the sounds together, the inner dynamics (so to speak) and it's truly a shame that by now it's become the new 'normal'. Even though vinyl is far more imperfect, on large-scale installation it has a much smoother presentation and the bass really comes out in ways that the castrated digital files do not seem capable of generating. The human ear is extremely sensitive to a lot of this once these details become noticeable due to the size of the room.

Comment There are days I really wonder (wishful thinking) (Score 1) 522

Some days, after reading about the same type of posts from allegedly-clueless politicians over and over again, I truly wonder if we're not the ones being played here.

It feels as if they exactly know how to propose things that will set us off, and the precise language that guarantees people getting up in arms about it.

Maybe they're really the craftiest, most masterful trolls there ever was? Elevating the art of trolling to heights the kiddies cannot even dream about? At least on Slashdot, it never seems to fail either!... just an observation in passing. (I do realize that this is fantasy, and in fact this dude is probably another brick added to the 'series of tubes' wall, which has reached pretty mighty heights if I may say so myself)

Comment No one mentioned Truecrypt? (Score 3, Informative) 307

Buy a humongous hard drive (3Tb is good). Make a giant Truecrypt partition, like at least 1 Tera, ensuring that it's the type that can accommodate files larger than 4 gigs. (NTFS for Windows, HFS+ for OS-X)

Copy all those movies to this partition while it is mounted. Unmount it... Then just mount it again with password when needed to either watch a movie or copy new ones into the partition.

If you run out of room, make a second partition on the same disk with the same password.

All done.

Comment My take on copyright law and public domain (Score 1) 309

TL; DR version: The Internet has pretty much made these outdated copyright laws somewhat irrelevant, merely an annoying series of obstacles that forced all of humanity's cultural traffic to reroute itself around them.

The only time the public domain issue might be a problem would be for those who want to make products for commercial exploitation. One suggested solution might be to crowd-fund them if production budgets are needed, and just give the result away for free!

As long as there is no expectation of direct financial gain and we manage to stay globally connected (regardless of who controls the copyrights), our cultural heritage is pretty much guaranteed to safely survive.

Comment those proverbial chickens are coming home to roost (Score 4, Insightful) 166

Given Apple's current stances on these very issues, I don't expect they're going to get a lot of sympathy here

Yet beyond the mere satisfaction of seeing the bully take a couple, it does highlight how inherently flawed the patent system has become, and that whether copyrights, patents or trademarks, it's all become so lawyered up as to defeat the very purpose of these limited protections.

That it arguably poisons the well for the rest of us and human innovation at large is something future generations are going to have to come to grips with; in the meantime as I don't see any short-term end in sight. Not a good time to be a start-up in that space.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux