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Shut Down Metallica, Not Napster 772

Metallica has every right to fight for its interests. But the unleashing of lawyers on more than 330,000 Napster users -- many of them kids -- who allegedly downloaded the band's music last week is an outrage, a punitive and thoughtless assault on privacy and freedom. . It's time to bite back against this corporatist band. They've made some great music, but Napster contributes a lot more to the world than they do. Take note: P.S. Tomorrow, Slashdot will be taking questions for a Metallica interview. (Read More.)

Metallica ought to be stopped cold.

The band's efforts to identify and intimidate 335,435 fans and Napster users for alleged copyright violations are a shock. In the perfectly legitimate disagreements regarding the distribution of free music online, this action goes way over the top. It invades privacy, is a blatant act at intimidating mostly younger Net users, and sets a dreadful precedent for resolving the many issues raised by the Net concerning who can own, control and disseminate intellectual property.

This an issue for anyone who believes in a free and open Internet, not just music downloaders.

Yesterday, the band's attorney said his firm will deliver close to 60,000 pages of documents to Napster today, asking that the site block all the indidividuals named from its service. The announcement sent shock waves through the online music community. Napster and a handful of other music-swapping sites have allowed hundreds of thousands of computer users to open their hard drives and share music files online. People can remain "superficially" anonymous but Napster can track individual users to their computers. And that's just what happened: Metallica's Los Angeles attorneys (who also represent Dr. Dre in his suit against Napster) say they hired NetPD, an online consulting firm, to monitor the Napster service this past weekend. The company came up with more than 335,000 individual users who had made the band's content available online.

Artists are perfectly justified in worrying about how they will get paid for their work as the sharing of online music grows. But Metallica has legitimized a wholesale invastion of privacy, and a pointlessly punitive campaign. It's targets include many younger children and younger consumers who have no idea their online movements are being tracked, and who certainly have the right to pursue individual cultural interests without worring that they're being watched.

The implications of Metallica's bone-headed move (this from a group that markets itself as rebels) are awful. Parents, school administrators or political parties will be further inspired to hire consultants to track the movements of kids -- and adults -- who might be listening to music, reading books or visiting websites that are not-approved, or are controversial in some way. One of the miraculous things about the Net is that it has opened up all kinds of information to people who were previously denied access. Metallica seeks to reverse this liberation in the interest of more royalties.

Many people online will now feel justifiably intimidated about moving about freely on the Net for fearing that someone is watching and planning a court action or lawsuit. This chilling effect is particularly outrageous, since the legal issues Metallica professes to be worried about are already being threshed out in negotiations between the music industry and MP3.com and in courts in New York and Los Angeles.There is no reason to go after some of the Net's most vulnerable users -- kids -- or to establish a precedent that privacy can be wantonly violated and free Netizens intimidated every time some company, artist, or group is worried about maximizing profits.

Apart from all these other concerns, Metallica's action is dumb and nearly insanely self-destructive. Even music industry executives are beginning to concede that sites like MP3.com and Napster are helping bonding an entire generation to many different kinds of music, something that is good both for artists and their industry.

Metallica's fingering its own fans on Napster isn't a step forward towards artists' controlling their art. In addition to protecting their own work, artists also have a responsibility to protect freedom and creativity. Metallica's name-gathering is an ugly, excessive and noxious assault aimed at curbing the free movement of information and ideas that characterizes the Internet, while doing little to resolve the many copyright, commercial and other issues involved in the free music controversy.

Everyone reading this can name at least a half dozen alternative sites and programs that have boomed in recent weeks even as the music industry, Metallica and Dr. Dre have moved against Napster and MP3.com.

There is simply no justification for a band to go after hundreds of thousands of its own fans, mostly kids, for the purpose of intimidation. Said Metallica's attorney Howard King: "I don't know if it's going to put a chill on the user end, but it certainly is going to show other artists what they can to do get their work out of Napster."

Metallica and King both ought to know that the action will certainly "put a chill on the user end," to put it mildly. This issue is no longer about money and copyright.

Metallica is invading its fans' privacy, challenging the ability of others to move freely and privately about the Net and the Web -- perhaps the hallmark social, creative and educational feature of the Internet. The band's action will not improve the life or work of a single artist. It will advance the interests of the greedy and invasive corporatists moving aggressively to turn the Net into the cultural and commercial equivalent of a Disney theme park.

Artists have the right to fight for their interests. But Metallica's move against hundreds of thousands of music lovers is outrageous. It needs to be fought tooth and nail.

Step One: Let's Shut Down Metallica's attacks on computer users, not Napster. Stop buying the band's music. Urge everyone you know to do likewise until Metallica calls off its legal Rottweillers, leaves kids downloading music alone, and agrees to slug the issue out in court and other venues where it belongs.

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Shut Down Metallica, Not Napster

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  • Some of us have been doing it since that stupidass Black Album :).

    The Second Amendment Sisters [sas-aim.org]

  • by br4dh4x0r ( 137273 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:50AM (#1094298)
    Once again Jon Katz has delivered a 5k rhetoric that he is unwilling to back up.

    Once and for all, Jon: if you are for freedom and privacy, let me post the text of every book you've written to the web and allow it to be viewed and downloaded.

    If you are unwilling to do this, you have no right to vilify Metallica for trying to protect what is rightfully theirs.

  • http://www.dimensionmusic.com/news/news.php?id=253 6

  • Napster said that they would block any user pirating MP3s on their system. They just needed a list. So this is what Metallica did. Stealing MP3s is illegal. Get over it. If you want to do it fine, but don't whine when you get caught or Napster blocks you. If CDs cost too much, don't buy them. Eventually the market will evolve where they are cheaper. But the bottom line is that it is theft, plain and simple. Argue it any way you want but it is still theft. It's their music to sell as they want for however much they want. That is a free market. If it costs too much buy someone elses music that is cheaper.
  • Metallica has every right to fight for its interests. But the unleashing of lawyers on more than 330,000 Napster users -- many of them kids -- who allegedly downloaded the band's music last week is an outrage, a punitive and thoughtless assault on privacy and freedom.

    Sorry, but this just isn't the case. Lawyers are not going to be unleashed. They are just going to ask Napster to ban the users, as Napster has in the past stated they would. There's a difference between unleashing lawyers on people and tryiing to have them blocked from a service. Sorry, katz, get the story straight next time. As for a punitive assault on freedom, since when has it been an assault on freedom to take someone to task for doing something illegal? Don't for a moment think there's anything legal about using Napster to download or host Metallica mp3s (the few users who already own the music aside).

  • by dentin ( 2175 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:55AM (#1094303) Homepage
    The lawyers would have obtained the addresses of people _exporting_ metallica tracks, not those attempting to download. Downloads they would not have been able to track. But making known copyrighted material available for public download is definitely illegal according to current copyright law (not that the law is practical or enforcable, but thats a separate issue).
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:55AM (#1094304)
    1) This is such an excellent point I'd pay $5 to be able to moderate it up a point.

    2) Even if we can't post the text of every book with Katz's name on it, can we at least post the text of the book WE wrote? (follow .sig link for details)
    Have Exchange users? Want to run Linux? Can't afford OpenMail?
  • Hear, hear! If Jon Katz has an idea for changing
    the system of distributing music, let's hear it.
    But until that time, what those 300K people are
    doing is stealing. No other way to describe it.

    I think we should go ahead and post Jon's books on
    the internet, and see how he responds.
  • by magic ( 19621 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:56AM (#1094307) Homepage
    Now that it is illegal to collect personal information on people under 13, didn't Metallica and NetPD themselves violate the law by electronically collecting user information on a large number of people without ascertaining their ages (presumably some of the 300k+ Napster users lister are under 13)?


  • I'm sorry Jon, but you are wrong. It is exactly those kids, and not Napster, that are committing the crime here. It is those kids who are ruining it for those of us that want sensible laws regarding mp3s.

  • by EricWright ( 16803 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:57AM (#1094310) Journal
    Jon, do you just not get it? This has nothing to do about the freedom to pursue cultural identity, or any other such crap. It's about breaking the law. Granted, you may not like the law. I don't like the law. I do know that if I break the law, there may be 'consequences and repercussions' to those actions. Deal with it.

    You don't like current laws? Work to change them. This isn't working to change them. This is much more like preaching to the choir.

    You don't like current music distribution mechanisms? Work on changing that, too. I will warn you that encouraging people to steal from artists isn't the best way to convince those artists to part with the fat cats of the recording industry. They may only get 50 cents per disc, but when someone downloads music via Napster, Gnutella, etc. the artist gets squat.

    And another thing: How is monitoring someone's network use invasion of privacy? I didn't realize there was any such thing as personal privacy when one is in public. Believe me, the internet/WWW is most certainly public. It's not like they sent the feds into someone's house and took a small boy at gunpoint... oh, wait. That's another thread! Anyway, when you have a central server like Napster, you have to assume that any traffic across it is open to scanning.

    Now get off your high horse, quit whining about persecution of criminals and do something useful with your time (like buying off a few sympathetic Congressmen :)

  • This is going to be the most painless Boycott in history. I mean, it's not like I'm going to ever buy a Metallica CD anyway when I can just download it from Napster.

    Down with Music! Power to the people!
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:58AM (#1094315) Homepage Journal
    I am usually one of the people that supports your opinions for the most part. There have been a few times (regarding religion) where I disagree and this is one of them.
    I am all for anonimity on the internet but lately I have been struggling with people who claim anonimity as the cure all and anything otherwise is an invasion of privacy. I am truly tired of people not taking responsibility for thier own actions. I understand that most of these people on napster are high school kids or college students but enough is enough.

    I use napster. All the time. I want to hear an album before i buy it. I want to know if all the songs are what I want to hear or just one good song. Eight times out of ten I buy the album if I like it enough. I have no problem paying for stuff. Not if it's worth it. But there are people who have completely stopped buying cds and are flocking in droves to napster to download album after album with no concern for the artists welfare. I used to be one of those people. To some extent I am. Maybe it's because I'm getting older but some things are just wrong. Mp3's in and of themselves are not illegal ( despite what the RIAA says ) but copyrighted music being distributed via mp3 without the sanction of the artist IS. There is no way around this. Whatever you think about copyright laws, it is just plain illegal.

    Stop trying to get something for nothing. Grow up and take some fucking responsibility for your actions. When i was a child i spake as a child and all that.

    And for those of you thinking I'm trying to make a point about opensourse software with that last comment about something for nothing you can blow it up your ass. I'm a rabid opensource advocate but this is something completely different. Don't read more into it. Flames and comments welcome.

  • >There is no reason to go after some of the Net's >most vulnerable users -- kids --

    Oh won't somebody think of the children!!
  • Katz is right. Sort of. While I agree that Metallica's behavior toward Napster users is rather sickening and should not continue, we ought to be careful not to act like we have the legal (or even moral) high ground here.

    Going after users who appear to be offering Metallica MP3s that they might have a legal right to have isn't diplomatic. In fact, it's also very stupid, as the vast majority of Metallica fans aren't law-abiding citizens deeply concerned about the protection of intellectual property - at least, none of the ones I happen to know. But it is a legal action to take against people who are possibly violating the law.

    Personally, I'm not going to buy anything at all connected to Metallica after this, and I urge everyone else to do the same thing. Just please don't get all indignant and righteous about your actions.

    I'm not really an elf, I just play one in AD&D.

  • by br4dh4x0r ( 137273 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @06:59AM (#1094319)
    The ability to trade audio files that are in the public domain. The problem is that less than one percent of the files available at any given time on Napster fall into this category.

    And honestly, do you think the kid that wrote the software was thinking "Wow! I can trade John Philip Sousa songs with my friends!" when he started it? I kind of doubt it.

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:01AM (#1094321)
    Jon, this article has several passages almost identical to this [cnet.com] article, including:

    The announcement sent shock waves through the online music community. - Jon

    The massive number of individual names to be unloaded on Napster's front door could send shock waves through the online music community. - C|Net

    "Yesterday, the band's attorney said his firm will deliver close to 60,000 pages of documents to Napster today, asking that the site block all the indidividuals named from its service." - Jon

    "The band's attorneys will deliver close to 60,000 pages of documents to the small software company Wednesday afternoon, asking that Napster block all of those individuals from the service." - C|Net

    There's also several references to the "chilling effect", paraphrasing the C|Net article. Jon, are you trying to get yourself and slashdot sued?

    What's worse, why is slashdot interviewing Metallica? I mean, it would be like Linus asking Bill Gates to take a look at his kernel. Do you really want to stir up a hornet's nest? I see no productive conversation emerging from the interview and it will likely duplicate the answers given on last night's Metallica chat [artistdirect.com] from Artist Direct.

  • Step One: Let's Shut Down Metallica's attacks on computer users, not Napster. Stop buying the band's music. Urge everyone you know to do likewise until Metallica calls off its legal Rottweillers, leaves kids downloading music alone, and agrees to slug the issue out in court and other venues where it belongs.
    Does this sound like a bad idea to anyone other than me?

    I mean, we have a band here fighting its hardest to get 335,000 users band from Napster for illegally distributing mp3s. This piracy of Metallica's intellectual property hurts Metallica because they lose money on it (supposedly), and this is why they're getting these users banned.

    Now, Katz wants us all to boycott Metallica music. If we do that, Metallica will be sure to lose money.

    But doesn't that just give Metallica PROOF that they're losing money because of MP3s... "Your honor, we have here record sales from the pre-Napster era. And we have record sales from around the time we discovered 335,000 people distributing our songs. As you can clearly see, the record sales have gone down, indicating that the illegal distribution of MP3s does hurt profits..."

    I don't know about you, but this may seem like a pretty stupid plan of Katz's.....


  • by ooky ( 109417 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:07AM (#1094341) Homepage
    I'm sure this comment will be repeated many times here today but I don't care.

    I just started using napster a few weeks ago. I've primarily used it to try out new bands and new songs from bands I already like, and download old music that I used to have and wish I hadn't lost/sold to used cd shops/had stolen from me during college. Some songs I've downloaded even though I already own legitimate copies - I just want to be able to listen to the songs on my computert at work and not have to lug my cds in.

    After this kind of blanket attack by metallica, without them even trying to find out if music downloads could help them in any way (which I'm sure it could - I've bought 10 cds to date because of the mp3s I've loaded - AND I can even burn my mp3s onto CD. But the sound quality just isn't there after compression/decompression of the files...) I don't even feel like listening to their music anymore. I got a few metallica songs off napster, BUT I ALREADY OWNED and HAD PAID FULL PRICE for ALL of them.

    This is the type of situation which makes me wish that real worls karma was reliable, predictable, and immediate enough for me to see the effects soon! Fuck off, Metallica!
  • My question on the whole mess... how do they know that they downloaded this information? Wouldn't they have to sit and watch the systems to see what's moving in and out? Does this constitute a wire tap which, last I checked, requires a court order? So they happen to have the file available in Napster. What if they own the album in question? They have a right to make a copy of it for there own purposes and then give it to others if they also have the album.

    Did the lawyers go to each of these people and say "Excuse me. We checked your computer and you have the songs One, Master of Puppets and Leper Messiah. Do you own these albums and have proof that you paid for them?" I own a decent CD collection and have no proof that I actually paid for them so with this logic I could be arrested for shoplifting or robbery because I can't prove where it came from.

    Metallica used to be really lenient about their fans making bootlegs of their music and such. I'm wondering what happened to those times. Probaly realized just how much they were loosing in terms of money. Now by this act they are going to loose even more as they make their fans mad. They have a right to protect their work but this is ridiculous. I'm not spending any more money on them that for sure.

  • It's insane to go after your fans. All this will do is cause their popularity to dwindle to nothing.

    Yes, they have a right to protect their interests. That is NOT the issue, the issue is HOW they are protecting them.

    What's next, you start tracking the movements of someone "suspected" of stealing (without any proof) an artists music ? You "follow" them around online (what I would call the equivalent of cyber stalking) for the sole purpose of harassment at a later date.

    I would have thought that what they did was a violation of those people online rights. Is it legal to track someones downloads of mp3's ? What about the religeous right wing people tracking people who get abortion information, or birth control information ? What if a the KKK used this to track people who support anything that they hate ? What if the anti-semites used it to track jews online so that they could harass them later ?

    If this starts happening, more and more ISP's are going to stop logging who is on what and they will just delete all log files after 24 hours (just to avoid any possibility of lawsuits - no info, they can't be forced to supply it).

  • by brevity ( 155464 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:09AM (#1094346)

    This has always been an article of faith in the Free Software community as I know it. Larry Wall didn't like the GPL, so he created the Artistic License. Was he wrong? Maybe, but it was his right to choose how his handiwork was distributed.

    Even if you hate what giant corporations do to music and culture, trading MP3s of copyrighted material violates an implicit agreement that the artists thought they had with their fans. Personally, whether it is illegal or legal is irrelevant to me. There's someone out there who has made choices in their life, maybe foregoing other means of employment because they thought music was a steady source of revenue for them. (Yeah, I know Metallica are probably millionaires -- but so what? Hardly anyone in the music biz reaches that level of success.)

    That said, I am all in favor of Napster and Gnutella and FreeNet, for privacy reasons and because I think it will be better for our culture if we have a non-corporate channel for music. However, I am willing to wait for a new generation of artists who embrace this technology wholeheartedly.

    Giving away one's work sans copyright is a revolutionary act. Trading copyrighted music is NOT a revolutionary act. It's just selfishness.

  • by monaco ( 37517 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:09AM (#1094347)
    Many people online will now feel justifiably intimidated about moving about freely on the Net for fearing that someone is watching and planning a court action or lawsuit.

    Well, good, they should! I see far too many people comporting themselves in a way that they may regret later. Does anyone use Usenet? Ever checked your posting history in Deja [deja.com]? Unless you set your x-noarchive header, everything you've said in a newsgroup is available. I envision data-mining companies forming profile databases just based on usenet posts alone, nevermind all the public messageboards that track your IPs.

    It's targets include many younger children and younger consumers who have no idea their online movements are being tracked, and who certainly have the right to pursue individual cultural interests without worring that they're being watched

    Ignorance is NO EXCUSE. And I'm sorry, in a perfect world everyone would have the right to do web stuff anonymously, but this just isn't the case. You have to watch your own ass. *snickers* "individual cultural interests", that's rich. "Mom, I'm gonna go steal some CDs from Tower Records, so I can induldge my cultural interests in the latest album, 's ok with you?"

    As for whether Metallica has the right to persue users: sure they do! I mean, sure, it's a stupid PR move, but there's nothing patently wrong with persuing people who are ripping you off. They could certainly handle the situation in a more positive way, but that's their choice. To call it an "assault on freedom" is absurd. "Wahhh! I can't distribute pirated music anymore! Metallica is SO MEAN!"

  • by FPhlyer ( 14433 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:10AM (#1094350) Homepage
    The good news is this:

    Mettalica is part of the old world of popular music, in which teenage kids worship rock stars because they are marketed to them as being larger than life. Though Mettalica continues to exist, they will see their emphasis on the minds of the masses wane as MP3 (or the next generation of multimedia compressed file format) turns the traditional recording industry on it's ear.

    The beauty of MP3 is not that it allows people to bootleg and distribute copyrighted material. The beauty is MP3 is now making music available that would otherwise never be heard. Real musical art has found it's greatest medium... the internet.

    So quit downloading those illegal Brittney Spears M3s. Forget bootlegging Mettalica's precious recordings. Those artists were created for mass consumption. Find those MP3s created by all those garage bands around the world. Sure. Some of it may suck, but there is some good music out there... and it's free.

  • They said pirating. Can they state for certain the people downloading the music don't have the CD and the rights to listen to it? Some people don't want to cough up the $30 for AudioCatalyst so they can make high quality rips of their own CDs and aren't adept enough to find a freeware program to do so.

    He's right too, most of the users are probably minors. Is Metallica going to drag thousands of 13 year olds to court? Even if they are trying to defend their copyright they're looking like asses in the attempt. I don't want to back them up by buying a CD. I'm gonna go buy Limp Bizkit's CD instead, and support a band that isn't afraid of technology.

  • >They may only get 50 cents per disc, but when
    >someone downloads music via Napster, Gnutella,
    >etc. the artist gets squat.

    ... Because I just bought The Mighty Mighty Bosstones new CD, "Pay Attention" last night, on the first day of it's release.

    But I had downloaded many of the songs that appear on Pay Attention via Napster weeks ago. Those MP3s just made me that much more anxious to get the actual CD and hear the songs at full quality, AND hear the songs I coundn't find an MP3 for.

    So tell me, Mister Copyright Guru....

    If, by virtue of my having downloaded the MP3s ahead of time, "the artist gets squat", just where does the Bosstone's royalty money from my CD purchase go? If "the artist gets squat" where does the money I'll pay for admission next time I see them live go? If "the artist gets squat" where does the money I'll pay for a T-shirt at the show go?

    Obviously, none of that money goes to the Bosstones, because, as you say, when you download MP3s, "the artist gets squat".

    So just where DOES the money go?

    I'm waiting.

  • by ajcook921 ( 180914 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:13AM (#1094363)

    Wake up and smell the coffee people! Is the music industry trying to stop the online exchange of music? Do you think that they're really that stupid?

    They know darn well that the genie is out of the bottle. Last week its IRC, yesterday its Napster, today its Gnutella, tomorrow its ???. The RIAA is well aware of this.

    So, if you're an Armani wearing, cigar chompin, secretary screwin music executive, what is going through your mind? Stop the inevitable? No way. All they need to do is DELAY the inevitable.

    Face it, the music industry is sitting on a cash cow. Make a CD for $1 sell it for $16 (okay, so middlemen get a cut). These guys make BILLIONS per year. Even if it costs them $10, $20,...$100 million to unleash a pack of lawyers on internet upstarts like Napster, they've won the battle merely by DELAYING the full onset of online music.

    The music industry will milk their current business model for what its worth (I give it 5 more years or so). They will have web sites where you can download music for free, just like on Napster, but even easier. You heard me right. Free. Dont believe me? Why are Time-Warner and AOL merging? hmmmmmmm. You'll still pay for it, but it will be disguised in the form of an AOL access fee and perhaps an all-you-can-download monthly subscription fee for non-AOLers. Expect more record label mergers with ISPs in the future.

    I believe the point at which the record labels make their transition to online distribution will be when broadband internet becomes common for the masses. At that point, they will have no choice but to switch over. All the hundreds of thousands of people with DSL, Cable, and college dorm T1s still only make up a small portion of the music consuming population (think global).

    The point I'm trying to make is that 1) the only way to collect real money from Internet music content is to control the gateways to the Internet and 2) traditional CDs and tapes still have quite a bit of life left. These people know exactly whats happening.

    I still love Metallica but I think they've been talking to the wrong crowd and are ill informed as to the real developments that are occuring. I think some industry execs figured that recruiting a Metalica or a Dr. Dre to carry out their delay tactics would have more credibility than the RIAA could attacking directly. If poor Metallica could see how much Stephen King pocketed with his recently released $2 online book (minus the middle man), they'd probably go after the execs that put them up to this and and Kill'em All.

    "Master of puppets are pulling their strings...twisting their minds and smashing their dreams...." oww i just smashed my head on my monitor...

    P.S.: I think this issue has huge implications that extend way beyond online music. What we're dealing with here is content of any kind being exchanged.

  • First off, applause to Jon Katz! He's an awesome force at work for our community, and I'm certainly glad he is on our side.

    Second, I think we need to turn the majority of our focus to this interview with Metallica. We need to compose thoughtfull, and point-making questions. Our intentions should not be to make Metallica out to be some evil hypocritical band, but to show them that not only are their fans against these actions, but that such actions are totally destroying a digital goldmine that they can take full advantage of.

    So I would like to urge everyone to think about some questions to ask Metallica. This is a rare opportunity for our community to be heard. We need intelligent questions to be posted. Don't hold anything back, but don't troll.

    In fact, do what I'm doing right now. Put together some questions ahead of time. That way you can post them right in.

    Equally, if not more importantly, we need INTELLIGENT MODERATION! Those who will be blessed with moderation points, I urge you to use them more wisely than ever! You are the ones who will ensure that those questions reflecting our community most are asked. YOU ARE THE KEY!

    Lastly, we need to thank Metallica. Although, their recent legal actions have hurt our feelings. We need to remember that they are volunteering their time to listen to their fans. They're participating in online discussions, and subjecting themselves to a slashdot interview.

  • There is nothing inherently illegal about MP3's, or copying them, or even sharing them - but you can't say that downloading music you haven't paid for is any more correct or moral than taping a CD borrowed from a friend. Most everybody does it, but it's not right, fair to the artist, or legal.

    Most of the efforts to stop MP3 as a format have been analogous to the blank tape tax we suffer here in America. This is different. Metallica and Dre have suffered real (but hard to quantify) financial harm by the actions of these users. My only problem with Metallica's action is that many of these Napster users may have only made the files accessible - it is likely that nobody downloaded Metallica songs from them.

  • by gus2000 ( 177737 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:16AM (#1094379)

    You have hit the nail exactly on the head.

    I think that I am going to start buying his books, scanning them in page by page, and posting them for everyone to download. Then what will you do Jon? Will you write an article praising me for opening up a whole new world of thought to all the 11 year olds out there? I didn't think so...

    Until you develop the bravery to open source all of your work, and until you can prove to the community that you would not go after one of us with Andover's team of lawyers if someone started to freely distribute your work, you have no right at all to criticize other artists, especially not when the are acting within the law.

  • by gregor ( 6723 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:22AM (#1094390)
    Napster said that they would block any user pirating MP3s on their system. They just needed a list. So this is what Metallica did. Stealing MP3s is illegal. Get over it. If you want to do it fine, but don't whine when you get caught or Napster blocks you. If CDs cost too much, don't buy them. Eventually the market will evolve where they are cheaper. But the bottom line is that it is theft, plain and simple. Argue it any way you want but it is still theft. It's their music to sell as they want for however much they want. That is a free market. If it costs too much buy someone elses music that is cheaper.

    I was at Metallica's chat last night, and this was certainly the impression that they gave. According to them, the list was only to back Napster Inc, into a corner for not following their own Acceptable Usage Policy. The ``list'' was only done to put the legal ball back into Napster's court in an attempt to make them look bad.

    They also went on to say that they're using their cult following and status as the Almighty Metallica to help new, upcoming bands continue to profit from the current economic guidelines that rose them to success. They say they're out to protect other bands who don't have the money to defend themselves, and they're out to protect their right to choose the distribution channels of their music.

    One of the things that they were constantly slamming home was the fact that they have nothing against the mp3 format as a music medium. They say they are against Napster, Inc, from profiting $$$$$ from Metallica's music instead of Metallica earning the $$$$$ from their music. Napster Inc, according to them, is simply an IPO hungry company of leaches who seek giant profits off of musicians work.

    That's what the Almighty Metallica is saying- while I'm a hardcore fan, I'm feeling torn whether to follow the band that has helped me grow stronger throughout my life, or to instead follow my own heart and say that what they're saying is bull#$%*. And, even as a platinum fan club member, I'm leaning towards the ``Metallica- you guys have changed'' feelings of my heart.

    And that makes me hurt inside.
  • Would that be an "invastion" of the privacy of "indidividuals"?

    Apparently Katz doesn't even respect his audience here enough to proofread this drivel before posting it.

  • When are artists going to start stand up to record companies? Granted right now they don't have a better distribution channel but the day will come. The situation is almost like any other industry. In the medical community, doctors have never stood up as a group against HMO abuses, drug company abuses, etc. Engineers have never stood up against corporations that pollute or make otherwise poor products that benefit the company but harm society. Why don't artists stand up against record companies, who charge too much and put out the worst drivel possible?

    Limited distribution is possible right now, though. Charge a few bucks for a cd length amount of material. Hell, metallica could do this today! It's not like they need huge amounts of marketing. To me this is the middle ground of the argument. As long as we're living in a capitalist society, money has to change hands somewhere. I have no problem giving a few bucks to artists I listen to, and I don't care if it makes them rich. More power to them if they're that good.

    No one in the slashdot community seems to take this stand. It's either the "holier than thou" "how can you steal from artists you pathetic pirate" argument or the "fuck the man" argument. It's almost as polarized as a debate on religion.

    Back to my original topic. Why are so few artists really interested in online distribution methods? Well, people are afraid of change, but actually I think its the "ethical" side. My idea of ethics in the topic is not the same as what society usually deems as ethics. If you are a professional (engineer, doctor, etc) the "ethical" way to go about things is to keep your mouth shut. Don't be a rat. This is unfortunate and doesn't really help the cause of humans as a whole. People are afraid they might lose their small gains for the small chance to do good for everyone. This situation is no different. Hearing Lars Ulrich spew out comments like "how dare these napster users commodify our music" when that's exactly the function of record companies to begin with makes me sick. Jon Katz' opinion aside, doesn't anyway really want to protect some freedom? Or creativity? The more things change the more they stay the same is the perfect cliche, I think.

    Obviously more time is needed for the technology to mature. The game is not over for either side, the outcome is not determined. The internet is neraly impossible to censor, yes, but never underestimate the power of the record companies OR the government taking donations from them.
  • I nominate Jon Katz to go deliver his rant to Metallica.

    Both Napster users and Metallica are guilty. Napster users for blatant piracy of copyrighted material, and Metallica for being so self-righteously reactive (not necessarily a bad thing). I think that Metallica could have handled this a little bit better, and some of the things said and done is just not well thought out.

    The Internet, MP3, Napster - these are things that grew out of people's desires. Does that say that we are a society of criminals? No. Maybe people are just tired of paying so much to all the middle-layer entities taking such big cuts of the money that people were willing to pay their favorite artists, not the record labels and/or distributors and managers and agents and such.

    Maybe people are tired of large corporate entities controlling what they can see/hear/consume and how much they are getting charged for it.

    Metallica and artists have to remember, it's not about them, it's about us, the people, the fans. Without us, they are absolutely nothing. The problem I have with Lars/Metallica is simply that they have gotten too full of themselves. I believe that they should get paid for their work, after all, work is work and you should get paid for it. But maybe they should watch and listen a little more. If lots of their fans are downloading their music instead of buying their CDs, they should ask themselves, why are they doing that? Do the fans think that our music is not worth shelling out $15-$18/CD? Are our fans a bunch of thiefs? Maybe something else can be done to work with the fans rather against the fans?

    No matter what Metallica says, the Napster users who download their music are most likely fans of their music. To take the actions they have taken is definitely fighting against their own fans. I'm not saying what the Napster users are doing is right, I'm just saying it's certainly within Metallica's power to overlook such things and possibly work out a solution that would be more ideal.

    This whole fiasco just says to me that Metallica (and Lars specifically) is greedy and egocentric, and not that they are fighting for what's due them.

  • by kwsNI ( 133721 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:26AM (#1094407) Homepage
    I see both points here. Metallica has every right to protect their music. Napster's policy (at least since I started using it 6 months ago) has been to ban anyone that is brought to their attention for pirating copyrighted material. I expect Napster to live up to this policy and ban the people doing illegal things and I really don't have a problem with that. It's a fair policy.

    Now, back to what John Katz said. Metallica hasn't, legally speaking (IANAL), done anything that they don't have the legal right to do. However, I don't think they are doing the most reasonable thing.

    Metallica has always claimed to be about their fans (forget the 10's of millions of $$$ that they make:) yet they just went off and stuck at their fans. Are the fans doing something wrong? Yes. But Metallica needs to realize that you don't get very far when you piss off all your fans.


  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica@@@supjessica...com> on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:27AM (#1094409)
    Make a point...

    Make a small MP3, in it just say something like "Metallica, Leave Napster Alone!"

    Now copy this MP3 over and over with different names, such as the ones below:

    Metallica Sucks.mp3
    Boycott Metallica.mp3
    Metallica, Leave Napster Alone!.mp3
    Metallica, Go To Hell You Suck.mp3
    Metallica Are Sellouts.mp3
    Metallica Hates Their Fans.mp3
    Sell All Your Metallica Stuff on eBay!.mp3
    Metallica And Dr Dre Have No Brains.mp3
    Delete All Your Metallica MP3's!.mp3
    Microwave Your (Metallica) CD's!.mp3
    Metallica's Live Shit IS Shit.mp3
    Death To Metallica.mp3
    DIE DIE DIE Metallica!.mp3

    now share these MP3s on napster... People who search for metallica will see that
    The lawyers searching for people trading metallica MP3s will see that
    and if everyone does it, they wont be able to track down the real MP3s from ours
    and maybe metallica will finally realize how many fans they are causing to hate them.

    (my library screen shot [elitemrp.net])

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • Metallica has the right, as copyright holder, do do it. It is the correct thing to do in the current model. Naming 300K Napster users is nothing more than a scare tactic; They want to make damn sure their music isn't being traded illegally, so they're going to push every proto-script kiddy offline.

    But what I don't understand is Katz calling Metallica boneheaded. If you had sold your life's work into the horribly flawed monopoly model, wouldn't you be fighting for album sales? You can't sell you music online without the record companies permission, and even if you do they insist on the sane 95/5 cut.

    Perhaps we should get the actual figures on who makes what from Metallica's albums, and call them on it tomorrow. Say all 300,000 names are downloads of a single song. Thats 25,000 albums. Say Metallica makes a buck off of each album (Who gets the other $16?). They prolly paid the lawyers more than that before even entering court.

    Anyone from the recording industry have better figures??
  • "There is no reason to go after some of the Net's most vulnerable users -- kids -- or to establish a precedent that privacy can be wantonly violated and free Netizens intimidated every time some company, artist, or group is worried about maximizing profits. "

    1. they're not violating net privacy. they haven't released the names or IP's of the individuals. They've just asked Napster to ban them from the Napster network for breaking the Napster TOS (thou shalt not break copyright law). They haven't included them (yet) in the lawsuit.

    2. there is every reason to go after kids. if kids don't learn that pirating intellectual property is wrong, then they will continue to do it. yes, they should get slapped on the wrist. this is illegal and should remain illegal. and they're lucky they're only getting slapped on the wrist. if they were doing the same thing with software, they'd be getting their asses sued off and both you and I know that.

    3. as with everyone else... if you're so for giving away intellectual property, why don't you put all of your books, in their full format, online in the form of free-downloadable pdf's with no encryption on them and allow everyone to download them without money, email addy's, or any guarantees?

    4. this is not about maximizing profits. metallica produced an album. there are costs involved in producing the album, marketting the album, and selling the album. making this music IS THEIR JOB. that's how they pay their bills. regardless of how much money they make doing so, it is not our right to say "you've made enough money off of selling these albums, we're just going to rip some mp3's and distribute them since we should be allowed to because you charge us too much for cd's and it should all be free in the name of privacy and free digital transmissions."

    5. kids knew they were doing something wrong. they were getting all the music they wanted for free. and if they had a burner, they were creating all of the mixes and cd's they wanted for the cost of $300 for the burner plus $1 for each cd. hell, they were even selling them to their friends. they knew it was illegal, or had to be... it was the biggest scam since selling "Olde Time Lemonade" that costs $2.00 for a big jar for 25 cents a glass. Don't give me that bullshit they didn't know they shouldn't be doing it.
  • Okay, let's see...

    1. Metallica is bad for wanting to protect their rights. Katz screams invasion of privacy.

    2. People steal Metallica's music. Katz says good.

    3. I'm starting to bleed from scratching my head over this one.

    From what I can gather, Metallica should be making music and charging nothing for it. I think Katz should produce books and charge nothing for them.

    Katz, Metallica has broken no laws (well, with regards to this case). Some of the people using Napster have committed theft.

    Let's cheer for the criminals and boo Metallica?

    What the fsck is wrong with you? Are you just trying to justify your theft of people's comments for the Columbine book?

    I've been a Metallica fan for a long time. I still am. Check the .sig. Their music isn't up to the old standards, but that's life. They've done nothing wrong or illegal in this case. They have every right to protect their rights. If one does not fight for his own rights, who will fight for him? I don't think Metallica has a right to get Napster shut down, because it can be used to legally trade non-copyrighted materials. But, Metallica is well within their rights to stop people from giving away their music. Period.
    then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way
  • "Stealing MP3s is illegal." There is a problem with this statement. You CANNOT assume that everyone on Napster is trading illegal music. You can't. Period. Here is wher NetJunkie doesn't have a CLUE... "If CDs cost too much, don't buy them. Eventually the market will evolve where they are cheaper." It's amazing how WRONG you can be. CD prices have done nothing but go up since their debut in the mid-late 80's even though the cost of producing them has plummeted. What's the most expensive part of a CD? The jewel case. Yet the cost of buying a CD has gone up and up, well past the cost of vinyl LP production. The price of CD will continue to go up and we will continue to be gouged.
  • by Tower ( 37395 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:33AM (#1094430)
    aside from nearly a nearly word-for-word copy of the c|net article (bad enough), he makes some really outrageous statements, none of which have any relevance to the industry or law...

    I won't ever buy 90% of the music that I've heard on mp3, and the other 10% is my own stuff anyway. If I can get one Metallica song for free, what the hell. Saves me a whole lot of money. It's really not encouraging me to buy the CD. Granted, it *did* encourage me to purchase Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, but it also stopped me from purchasing the Episode 1 soundtrack (all DVD concerns aside).

    The point is, Jon saying that this band should be stopped from taking action against people that are stealing from them is a ludicrous position. It doesn't matter how much money they've made before, or how much they are losing, but they are being treated unjustly as artists. More power to them for standing up for their rights. I wish them luck, if only to set an important precedent.

    I'm against invasion of privacy and all that, but hell, don't use the service if you don't want your illegal activities tracked! If you break the law using somebody's system, be prepared to stand the consequences. Deal, people.

    I wasn't going to buy any Metallica merchandise before, and this isn't going to change anything, but it almost makes we want to support them.
  • How about a link to that C|Net story?

    *cough*... try looking at his post again... *cough*

  • Looking at this from an analytical standpoint... You downloaded the mp3. The band got squat. Cause and (lack of) effect. What the band DID get money from is that you then went out and paid money for the album. Had you less scruples, you could have waited for someone else to buy the album the day it came out, rip it to mp3, and let you copy it. You didn't, good for you. But the fact remains the same: TMMB didn't get squat just because you dl'd a clip of theirs. You said it yourself: 'just where does the Bosstone's royalty money from my CD purchase go?' (Emphasis added).

    That's like saying that, because I listen to a particular band on the radio, they get money from it. No, they only get money if I'm inspired enough by what I hear to actually go out and buy the album.

    Granted, the fact that you liked what you heard led you to the decision that you should go out and get the album. Had you not had access to mp3s, do you really think you couldn't have come up with some other way to listen to the music first? Most music stores will let you listen to the album in the store before you ever shell out money for it.

    Copyright Guru... that's funny. I didn't realize that knowing that copyright violation is a crime makes my a guru. Hell, I must be a freaking Linux genius. I mean, I not only know about it, but I can use it too! Oooo... I think I'll add that to my business card:

    Eric Wright, Ph.D.
    Software Engineering Consultant
    Copyright Guru

    Sorry my response took so long. SlashDot is being awfully slow today.


  • by RossB ( 29052 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:35AM (#1094435)
    But the bottom line is that it is theft, plain and simple. Argue it any way you want but it is still theft. It's their music to sell as they want for however much they want. That is a free market. If it costs too much buy someone elses music that is cheaper.

    This is NOT a free market. If it were a free market, I could make as many copies of any song that I wanted. The copyright laws take away my freedom to make copies of things and thus its not a free market anymore.

    The copyright laws were setup to further arts and science. People felt that if anyone could make a copy of anything then people who write books or songs couldn't make enough money to live. The writers do the work and the copier would make the money. If they writers couldn't make a living off their work it would suffer. So we set up a system of copyrights to allow writers to make a living off their work so their would be more of it for me to enjoy. The only reason we have a copyright system is so I can hear more music (or whatever) in my life.

    This system, however, has been twisted into a system of profit. The copyright laws were not set up to give big companies profit, which is how people are starting to look at the laws. For instance "How is Meticalla going to make any money." Well you know what, they have made enough, they don't need sales of their old records to make then want to publish a new one. As a matter of fact, if they stopped making money on their old ones, maybe they would come out with new ones.

    Another argument is "if it cost to much don't buy it" doesn't float either. I, as the government, have restricted my right to copy certain things so that people can make money off of them, only so they want to create more. However, when the price of these things they created goes out of my reach and someone says "Don't buy it if it cost to much." Then I hear less music in my life, which goes against why we set up this system in the first place.

    So we need to change the system, and napster is one way of doing that.
  • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:37AM (#1094438)
    Yes, Napster said that they would take action against users whom they were notified were copyright infringers. However, you should be aware that they took this position not because they think it's right to censor the Internet, but because they are required to do so by law.

    Which law? That's right, our very favorite law: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Napster "asked" for a list of names just like your ISP is required by the DMCA to "ask" for the names of everyone hosting deCSS on their servers. They are exactly the same application of exactly the same law.

    If you'd be thrilled with the MPAA asking the ISPs of everyone listed on 2600's catalog of deCSS mirrors [2600.com] to take down their sites and revoke their Internet access, then you have every right to revel in Metallica's plucky invasion of Napster users' privacy. If instead you'd think that it was a misguided and overzealous application of an unconstitutional law which is not in the public interest, then you should think the same think regardless of whether the illegal content is deCSS.c or enter_sandman.mp3.
  • They're musicians, not rocket scientists. Some lawyer comes to them and sayt that "This company is costing you $X per day and I think we can stop them." These guys aren't the cream of the crop intellectually. They're a bunch of white bread suburbanites who would be pumping our gas if they couldn't play instruments and make "tough" faces when someone brings a camera around.

    This is not the 1960's. Rock is not the vanguard of social and societal commentary and change. These guys aren't forward thinking revolutionaries. They're a garage band who 15 years ago wrote and played some original tunes.

    My point, once again, is that these guys aren't evil. They've got lawyers, managers, and record company execs all over them what else do you expect them to do?

  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:38AM (#1094443) Homepage
    Stealing MP3s is illegal. Get over it.

    No, creating the MP3 is illegal. Trading it is an issue after the fact.

    Bzzzt. Wrong.

    MP3 is nothing but a file format. Provided I have a CD I have a perfect right (acknowledged by courts and basically everybody except for RIAA) to make MP3s off the CD tracks and use these MP3s -- at home, at work, in the car -- wherever I want. Making MP3 from my own music is completely legal.

    Now, making those MP3s available for public download (what you call trading) happens to be a copyright violation. But making the CD tracks themselves available would be exactly the same violation: there is nothing specific to MP3s here.

  • by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:39AM (#1094445) Homepage
    This is not "theft" nor "pirating". Distributing unlicensed copies of IP is violating the copyright of copyright holder. This is all that these people are doing.

    Intellectual property laws were designed to increase the dissemination of information (the reason why all copyrights expire a certain time after the author's death). Now we have people that will buy the likeliness of dead people, so they can continue the franchise and make a buck.

    Copyright violations, as with other violations of contracts and licenses, should not be held under tort law. They should be held as breaches of contract. Copyright violations are criminalized due to the fact that there have been many lobbies for them. Guess why? To protect the interest of the individuals?

    Corporate interests of course, and to that theme I question you on what happens when only a few large corporations dictate the supply of the "free market"?

    Why, an oligopoly of course, but a cartel should be a more appropriate in this case.

    Everything has flaws, but the gaping flaws in your beloved "free market" in the context of the music industry is so obvious. Please retake Econ 101.

    The last thing we need debating on legislation is strong emotions. If you close you eyes, sure, you'll see what you want to see, but you're no different than being blind.
  • by rechsmjr ( 56506 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:40AM (#1094448)
    The views expressed in this article totally lack reason and substance. The piece advocates no position at all; instead, it's pure rhetoric, designed to be emotionally inflammatory rather than persuasive or rational. To wit:
    The band's efforts to identify and intimidate 335,435 fans and Napster users for alleged copyright violations are a shock. In the perfectly legitimate disagreements regarding the distribution of free music online, this action goes way over the top. It invades privacy, is a blatant act at intimidating mostly younger Net users, and sets a dreadful precedent for resolving the many issues raised by the Net concerning who can own, control and disseminate intellectual property.
    You seem to be making the following argument:
    Unfair copyright law + Right to lawbreaker's privacy outweighs the rights of copyright holders. It's a romantic argument, but it totally ignores the rule of law. The fact is that if I go to Blockbuster and rent The Phantom Menace, then make copies of it and hand it out to all my friends, my right to privacy isn't going to protect me from the rule of law.

    There is simply no justification for a band to go after hundreds of thousands of its own fans, mostly kids, for the purpose of intimidation. Said Metallica's attorney Howard King: "I don't know if it's going to put a chill on the user end, but it certainly is going to show other artists what they can to do get their work out of Napster."
    Your repeated focus on the fact that most offenders are kids is irrelevant and inflammatory, and I'm offended that you chose this cheap tactic in a nearly transparent effort to raise the ire of your readership. It's appalling.

    I'd guess that most software pirates are kids, also, I can't remember meeting a warez sysop in the old days that was over 17. Do you defend the rights to privacy of illegal siteops on the basis of the fact that intellectual property law is outdated and ambiguous?

    How about the DOS attacks? The mean age of these kiddies seems to be about 14 -- let's hear your argument that the anarchic nature of the internet combined with a user's right to privacy equals special protection for the lawbreakers.

    Like everyone else, I believe the record industry is screwed up, and it's governed by 50-year old ideas about cannibalization and control that don't hold true anymore. The music industry would make a lot more sense (and money) embracing the technology instead of running scared.

    But I also believe that the only coherent and meaningful argument in favor of Napster is that copyright law is immoral and injust, and must therefore be resisted, or at least ignored. I don't think that's a good argument in this case, but at least it makes sense, and it puts you on the side of something.

    Which side of the Napster debacle is Jon Katz on? Oh, he's Pro-Child.

  • Sometimes the laws are wrong and we know this is the case when the majority of the population break the law when given the chance.

    I'm not sure I agree with that as a reliable way of determining right or wrong.

    Consider this example: If 90% of the population decide to beat up the other 10% just because they don't like them, is that therefore right?

    I'm not going to go into a detailed discussion of what is "right", however - that particular topic was debated at length in the recent RMS interview. But I thought I should point out that such a simplistic view doesn't quite work...


  • by toofast ( 20646 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:46AM (#1094463)
    I just read the link the parent poster refers to (Slashdot publishing our posts without our authorization) and if these statements are true, who is Slashdot to editorialize a subject concerning privacy and copyrights???

    If Metallica play a concert publicly, their live performance does not become public domain.

  • by unquiet ( 64767 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:47AM (#1094465) Homepage
    Katz' wrote: "Metallica has every right to fight for its interests" and "Artists are perfectly justified in worrying about how they will get paid for their work as the sharing of online music grows". It seems pretty clear to me that protecting their property is not the problem that he's writing about. It's their methods that Katz takes issue with.

    Unless you believe it's OK to track down surfers on the web; sic attorneys on them (many of whom assumed that if the music was available, it was OK to download it); and to use intimidation as punishment while the 'jury is still out'... then perhaps your obvious disenchantment with Katz over other issues is coloring how you read this particular article.

  • When did Metallica CDs cost more or less than others??? This is the whole idea - there is no free market for music. The prices for new CDs are essentially fixed. Where is your free makret???

    Two words: Dischord Records. [southern.com]

    Am I the only geek who didn't sleep through the Eighties? You are all going to wake up one day and know which side you've been sleeping on.

  • Warning: Before reading this I will warn you, this post will probably contain profanity because I am very angry at Metallica

    Now ever since slashdot and Jon Katz started attacking Metallica, Dr. Dre and the RIAA for exerting their rights granted by law to prevent theft of their copyrighted materials I have been vociferously on the side of the RIAA et al. This situation changed after I read this article [yahoo.com]. My points of contention are the following:

    First Metallica is talking about spearheading a lobby to push "government" to get involved in the Napster proceedings, specifically "There has to be some laws and guidelines to go by before it gets too out of hand and sucks the life out of musicians who will stop making music," and this has to be done "before this whole Internet thing runs amok.". Now as if it isn't enough that my rights have been robbed by UCITA and DCMA some drug-adled rock group wants to create even more restrictive laws to preserve the status quo. Instead of being like Off spring [yahoo.com], Limp Bizkit [yahoo.com] and Chuck D [yahoo.com] and realizing that a paradigm shift is taking place. If there is no outside intervention (i.e. from the government) eventually the RIAA as it currently exists cannot continue enforcing it's cartel like behavior which include illogical pricing of CDs and cassettes, raping of musicians financially (TLC sell millions of albums and are bankrupt???) and the bribing of radio station executives to play only member chosen material. The RIAA is fit to be replaced by a pro-artist digital distribution model that can benefit consumers (lower prices) and artists (more money instead of 50 cents per dozen song CD, 50 cents a song or more) alike. The only thing that will kill this revolution and stop it from ever happening is if the government steps in and passes laws that reinforce the status quo. Die Metallica

    Secondly Lars Ulrich stated "The goal is clear and simple: Put Napster out of business." in their online chat session yesterday (which I missed due to taking finals, AAAAARGH). After reading the Halloween documents and all the MSFT internal emails that circulated when the DOJ case was active, such comments have instantly struck a negative chord within me. Now for a more rational response, Metallica wanting to ruin Napster as a company because of the behavior of it's users is the stupidest, vendetta-motivated shit I have ever heard. I am black and have never entertained thoughts of ruining slashdot because I browsed at -1 and read some ACs racist rants. I have never entertained thoughts that AOL should be destroyed because some of its users were rude to me in a chat room or sdent me spam. If Metallica has a problem with Napster's users that is fine, but to attempt to destroy the company due to the behavior of a percentage of it's customers is wrong.

    Finally, I have tried to find the online firm NetPD that metallica claims to have used and cannot find hide nor hair of them on the Internet neither with Google, Yahoo nor at netpd.com. The reason I have sought them out is because until I see all 60,000 pages of logs showing 335,435 people downloading songs by Metallica in one weekend I refuse to believe it.

  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:53AM (#1094476) Homepage
    But the bottom line is that it is theft, plain and simple.

    You know, I want to confess to a crime.

    Yesterday at work I printed out an email I got and brought it home.

    This is theft, plain and simple. Actually, triple theft. First, I stole my time from the company while I was reading that email. Second, I stole the computer and printer resources used for this. Third, I stole a sheet of paper (on which the email was printed) and brought it home.

    This all is clearly illegal. I am a thief. I bow my head awaiting punishment.

    [for the thinking-challenged: if you throw a word such as "theft" around and apply it to things like .mp3 copying, pretty soon the word will lose any meaning.]

  • by Dharzhak ( 124289 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:59AM (#1094486)
    Some of us have been doing it since that stupidass Black Album :).

    Yep. I knew that no good would come from Mr. Rock producing their albums. He also produced such musical geniuses as Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, the type of bands that Metallica loved to hate in their early days. It's a sad thing to watch a band go from fighting the establishment to becoming the establishment. I find it ironic that their web site has the quote, "And if I close my mind in fear Please pry it open." Seems their minds are closed in fear these days.

    "Then I'll get on my knees and pray we don't get fooled again." --The Who

    Guess what, gang...we got fooled again.

  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @08:00AM (#1094488) Homepage Journal

    I'm this close to disabling Jon Katz articles in my profile...if it weren't that he has that train-wreck sort of "stop and gawk at all the carnage" appeal, I probably would.

    Jon, where are these lawyers you refer to in your first paragraph? As far as I know, Metallica hasn't yet named any of the 335K users as codefendants in any of the 10 "John Doe" slots they've got listed. All they've done was had a private agency look at Napster and compile a list of all the names showing up as having Metallica stuff. Hell, you or I could do exactly the same thing just by doing a search on "Metallica" and taking a screenshot of all the names that came up.

    They haven't threatened to sue any of them; it would take much more time and effort than it would be worth. They've just asked Napster to carry through on the promise it's been hiding behind. "We'll block any user who you can show us is trading illegal MP3s," they say to Metallica & Dr. Dre. So Metallica's ponying up a list of names, and what Napster does in response could have a lot of power to help or hurt them--if they meekly remove those users, they could take a lot of the wind out of Metallica's legal sails.

    This reminds me of a poem I once came across...

    Tobacco is a dirty weed. I like it.

    It satisfies no normal need. I like it.
    It makes you thin, it makes you lean,
    It takes the hair right off your bean.
    It's the worst darn stuff I've ever seen.
    I like it.
    --Graham Lee Hemminger, Penn State Froth "Tobacco"
    Nobody can honestly say that rampant MP3 trading of stuff you didn't buy is not illegal. No one. People can, and do, try to justify why they do it (myself included)...but in the end, their arguments come down to knowing it's a bad thing, but, like the verse says, "I like it."

    While Metallica may be making a rampant P.R. blunder, and their "art vs. commodity" quote belongs right up there with some of Danny Quayle's famed utterances, I can find no legal fault in what they're doing. They're perfectly within their rights. I'm an amateur writer, and if I ever write something worth getting paid for, I'll be very annoyed if someone rips it off without paying me.

    As for Jon's much-vaunted "chilling effect"--well, maybe people need to be chilled. Hello, MP3-traders of the world, this is your wakeup call! Stuff you do on the Internet is traceable! It always has been, and unless you take extreme precautions, it always will be. If you make information publically available, as your userID on Napster when you put a song up for download, it's not an "invasion of privacy" to collect and collate that information.

    This is why we say never to post stuff to the Internet (when the saying originated, it was "to USENET," because that was the only publically-postable area of the Internet back then) that you wouldn't want your parents, kids, future employers and employees, etc. to see. We cheer and hoot and holler when this is used to track down spammers--but oh how conveniently we forget that it's a double-edged sword. If you do something that's illegal , why yes, you can be tracked down and held accountable. Surprise!

    Wake up, grow up, and get real. "Because I want to!" is not sufficient legal justification to be able to do something.

  • By no means is this issue concluded - there is a standing legal argument that the copyright holder may determine acceptable copying uses.

    The issue is definite -- under the current law, users have "fair use" rights that the copyright holder can do nothing about. It is the law (Home Recording Act or something like it) that defines what's acceptable copying. Of course, the copyright holder can grant additional rights over and above the "fair use" rights, but it cannot take away "fair use".

    On the other hand, DMCA is a successful attempt to basically get rid of "fair use" altogether. Under DMCA the the users have no rights other than what the copyright holder gives them -- provided the content is "protected". Thankfully, the audio CDs are not "protected" in any way and thus do not fall under DMCA.

  • I'm starting to get the feeling that Jon is becoming such a crusader, he's lost track of what he's really fighting about. Or, more appropriately, his moral compass isn't really guiding his ranting over freedom and privacy.

    Slashdot has a proud history that I'm glad to take part in of supporting peoples rights, and I'm so far in agreement over most issues I'm surprised to disagree with Jon so much here. I think the DeCSS lawsuits are garbage, I think the DMCA is a PoS, and overextended copyright law, and more. But here, Jon, you're just way off base.

    I've been reading slashdot since the napster debate started, laughing at people suing over a directory service. It's been absurd. All along, my thoughts have been: if you want to get the pirates, you'll have to sue the users. Personally, I'm amazed they're actually doing it. It's obviously going to cost them a ton more to pay the netPD people and the lawyers than it will help save/make them. So they're putting their $$ on the line to save other artists.

    Obviously, Napster represents more than a community of music pirates. Lots of people (not me, of course, really! ;) use Napster to sample this song or that, because you can't use a listening booth from your computer when you buy all your CDs online (and mp3 sounds better than the garbage protocols that they ARE trying to use to "securely" play music). The music industry needs to recognize the opportunity -- but companies have more ways to lose than win. The artists, however, have more ways to win than lose, and as soon as they recognize that, they'll look for more ways to embrace legitimate electronic distribution. I'm hoping some major stars will sign non-exclusive agreements with record companies that permit them to sell their songs electronically. In any event: Metallica isn't acting in the interests of the professional artists who are often abused on Napster. While it is indeed amazing they are going through the trouble, there's no legitimacy in complaining about their protecting their property. It most certainly should not be required to be free. It DOES take away their incentive to produce music, bit by bit.

    Finally, there's a big educational opportunity. With all the press, someone should really analyze (survey says...) what the REAL cost is to the artists. I'd like to see a breakdown of people who got metallica mp3s online, and see what the percentages were of:

    People who pirated the music who WOULD have bought it if it wasn't available

    People who pirated it first, and bought a CD because of it, who wouldn't have otherwise

    People who pirated (technically) the mp3, but own the CD already (for me, its faster to napster a copy down than it is to rip a copy of a CD)

    It's often portrayed, either out of ignorance or for PR value, that the users pirating copies of a song are, in fact, costing each artist $16 each time, and obviously that's not nearly true. Such information might help convince artists to get online in a productive way.

  • by locutus074 ( 137331 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @08:09AM (#1094505)

    Um, they've already said that the full text of the book will be available online [slashdot.org].

    So I fail to see why you're making such a BFD on that particular point.


  • by DrStrange ( 72008 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @08:11AM (#1094509)
    many of whom assumed that if the music was available, it was OK to download it

    Point: ignorance of the law is not / was not / can not be justification for breaking the law, and that is the law. If some "kid" downloaded a Metallica mp3 and did not know it was wrong to do so, then maybe the parents should be held responsible for not keeping tabs on their child.

    The internet was not meant to be annonymous so users could do as they please without recourse. If I break the law on the internet I fully expect to be tracked down and punished appropriately and if your interests ever get violated on the internet I can assure you that you would want the same to happen.
  • No, creating MP3s of stuff you own, to use yourself, is not illegal.

    Giving them to other people is.

  • by DaveHowe ( 51510 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @08:13AM (#1094517)
    Napster said that they would block any user pirating MP3s on their system. They just needed a list. So this is what Metallica did.
    I can't find much to complain about with this one either (and I am usually in the front row with a rock when it comes to stoning the unbeliever)
    The My-MP3 issue aside, Napster made a credible offer to remove anyone found infringing copyright from it's service; Metallica have taken them up on that, as is their right. If they find themselves blocked from Napster, then they can move on to Gnutella or something newer - I can't see a problem here.

    Stealing MP3s is illegal. Get over it.
    Stealing MUSIC is illegal - MP3 shouldn't be a special case. and yes, you weaken the entire legitimacy of MP3 by using it for piracy, but that is because it isn't as established as CDR and audio tape are.....

    If you want to do it fine, but don't whine when you get caught or Napster blocks you. If CDs cost too much, don't buy them. Eventually the market will evolve where they are cheaper. But the bottom line is that it is theft, plain and simple. Argue it any way you want but it is still theft. It's their music to sell as they want for however much they want. That is a free market. If it costs too much buy someone elses music that is cheaper.
    Indeed - if Metallica went ahead and actually sued the kids doing the passing of these MP3s, then that would be an outrage (no matter how much in the right they were) - but I can't see the difference between this and discovering that a school audio lab was being used for illegal audio tape piracy - and doubt a judge would either.

  • by paulm ( 37073 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @08:16AM (#1094521)
    If Metallica play a concert publicly, their live performance does not become public domain.

    Yes, but if a band records a concert and decides
    to sell the recording of it, they do get
    to keep the crowd noise on the recording. This
    does enhance the performance and is an actual
    part of the content, but they do not have to get
    permission from the fans in the crowd.

    This is just the other side to your imperfect
  • >Hear, hear! If Jon Katz has an idea for changing
    >the system of distributing music, let's hear it.
    >But until that time, what those 300K people are
    >doing is stealing. No other way to describe it.

    While I agree with your point, I think even Metallica's lawyers would agree that those 300K people are _not_ stealing. They're not people who downloaded free Metallica music, they're people who by using Napster, made the music availible for _other_ people to steal.

    This is probably more akin to leaving a book in a photocopier on the street such that anyone can use it to make a copy - your intention might be that only people with a right to make a copy are to use it, but you're not checking up on that right first (mp3.com style), thus you have knowingly left it vulnerable to copyright abusers. I don't think this carries the same moral weight as perpetrating the copyright abuse yourself - you have performed an action with an ostensibly legitimate purpose, but that action also opens the door for someone to perform a criminal action with greater ease. _Lots_ of accepted things fall into that catagory

    Hmmm, now that I phrase it that way, I'm not sure I agree that these 300K people can be said to be in the wrong - I _know_ that most of them will, in fact, have done wrong, but opening a HDD containing copyright material to the net should not be an illegal action - the person who abuses the connection to make an illegal copy should take the full responsibility. (Not because HDD owner is entirely innocent, but because in many cases, especially in fields other than mp3's, they _will_ be legitimate and the repercussions of being able to prosecute someone for this action are Bad. Eg extreme, unrealistic example - you get fined because your CD wallet (once you have personal copies on your minidisc) fell out of your pocket and you didn't notice, thus your negligence resulted in a situation where a pirate could have accessed and copied copyright material.)

    Hmm, now it's sounding scarier, so I'm thinking that maybe the lawyers can't actually do anything substantial to these people, else they could sue me for losing my CDs on the same point of law.
    I don't think we've got the full picture here. I sure as hell haven't.
  • The price of LP's never went down because of Cassettes.
    If you take into account inflation, then there's no way the price of an LP in 1980 would cost less than 1970.

    The reason album sales are up is the same reason they always go up.
    You hit the nail square on the head there, mon ami!


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @08:36AM (#1094549)
    The views expressed in your sig are completely alien to the concepts of open source, freedom of speech, and community that I am familiar with. So when they are expressed as the "typical slashdot person"'s views, I would have to disagree. If I write a book about politics and I quote Clinton, Bush, or Nixon, I can say, "And a past president has said, 'I did not have...'" There is nothing immoral about such non-specific quoting.

    As for Katz and digital copies of his book, it would seem a little weird of him to not put a digital copy of his book online (unless he signed a contract that prohibits him from doing so). I reference www.codebits.com/p5be, (Perl 5 By Example) as an excellent example of a high quality book available online, and paid for by advertising. There's no reason Katz couldn't do the same.

    It's not copyrights we are fighting against, and it's not that we're fighting against the music industry because we want music to be free. No, I would gladly pay for music, and I traditionally do pay for music. I want material available on the media that are most convenient for me, and I don't want the producers/distributers of content, such as Metallica, Katz, or the Library of Congress, to fight against certain types of media because they're afraid of them or uncomfortable with them.

    Give me quality mp3s to buy, and I will buy mp3s.
  • So what's the next step? If I were in Napster's shoes, right now I'd do the following:

    1) Block all 335,435 users from Napster, but make sure that those 335,435 users received either email or were directed to a web page that made it clear that they have each personally been cut off from Napster at the specific direction of Metallica and their lawyers, and also provide the phone number, mailing address, and email address of Metallica's lawyers, and the feedback email address for the band.

    After all, Metallica isn't asking that Napster block only their songs. Metallica is asking Napster to completely cut off 335,435 people from the entire Napster service.

    Metallica has made the mistake of dragging their fans into this mess, and if Napster actually bans those 335,435 users, the end result will be that Metallica has about 335,435 fewer fans.

    2) A few days later, after the madness dies down, provide a web page where those banned users could click on a button to certify that they have removed the files, and be instantly unbanned.

    I don't think that Metallica or the RIAA have a particularly good strategy here.
  • I've noticed that Jon Katz does this in the past. I forget which story it was that I first noticed this. He actually lifts entire quotes from other sources without ever citing them. I found it a little disturbing at first, but then thought that since it's not real journalism anyway, he'll probably get away with it (not that it's right even if it's not real journalism). Some guidelines for citations might be in order for Jon.

    I think Jon needs to be more concise also. Is he getting paid by the word or something?

  • I was going to have a full reply to this, but I just don't have time today, check my user info (recent posts) for answers to all your questions. For a quick reality check tho....

    It doesn't matter if the law sucks, that's what the court system is for.

    The court system is too slow to keep up with the current rapidly changing environment. We need to skip a couple steps to catch up.

    Litigation isn't a bad thing, it is designed to get to the heart of the matter -- setting precedent or shattering laws that don't work!

    I'm skipping straight ahead to that shattering laws that don't work part. How do you shatter something? Break it willfully, purposefully, and repeatedly. Putting 300,000 kids in prison in not even close to a realistic solution.
  • Lets try a little rehash. Very few words will be changed, but this should prove a point:

    The MPAA said that they would block any user hosting DeCSS on their system. They just needed a list. So this is what the DVDCCA did. Hosting DeCSS is illegal under the DMCA. Get over it. If you want to do it, fine, but don't whine when you get caught or the MPAA catches you. If you can't to watch DVD's in Linux, don't buy them. Don't write a player. Argue it any way you want but it is still illegal. It's their trade secret to sell as they want for however much they want. That is a free market. If it costs too much, buy VHS.

    Hmmmm.. And again:

    The US Gov't said they would stop any crypto user. They just needed a list. So this is what the NSA did. Using crypto is illegal. Get over it. If you want to do it, fine, but don't whine when Big Brother cracks down on you and you spend 5 years in a federal prison without being charged. Argue it any way you want, but it is still illegal. That is 'democracy'. If it doesn't work, hope the people that DO vote don't vote stupidly. Oops, too late.

    Get my drift? You can say 'illegal' all you want, but what's gonna happen when something that you don't find illegal is made to be that way? When the day comes that everything is watched by Big Brother? All this article says to me is that it doesn't even take a Big Brother, just some investigators with some spare time to invade your privacy. Wake up already, this isn't about piracy. This is about your rights. Watch them slip away.
  • Using Napster to trade illegal copies of copyrighted works is against their stated policy, and it's against the law. There's really no arguing that point. If Metallica goes after people who steal their works, I say more power to them. I'd rather see them go after the abusers of Napster than Napster itself. Napster can be used legitimately. But if you use it to break the law, well - you just might get the consequences.

    It makes you & Slashdot look bad to say "If Metallica is going to assert their rights against theives (many of them are kids!) then by golly, let's not buy their CDs anymore!"


  • I agree with the idea of not buying any more Metallica stuff, but not enough people will ever do it for it to be effective. Metallica sells out every concert these days, do you think that's going to stop because some people don't like how they deal with Napster? Not enough people care about this issue to make a difference.

    That said, Will Pendarvis, the dj on K-ROCK [krockradio.com] in New York wants people to email him to petition Metallica to come to NY. From his page on the station's website:
    Let's tell Metallica, Kid Rock, Korn and System of a Down know that we want them to play a show in our area. Their scheduled show at the Meadowlands was cancelled. I'm collecting e-mails from folks who feel the same way. I'm going to collect them all and send them to the all the bands, their managers and their record labels. Send your e-mail now! krockdj923@aol.com
    I just found out some very disapointing news. The Metallica, Kid Rock and Korn show that was scheduled for Giants Staduim this summer has been CANCELLED. Through a very extensive investigation, here's what I think is going on: Kid Rock is unable to make it to New York on July 20th due to a scheduling conflict. Something must be done.
    While I work on things from this end, here's what you can do:

    E-mail these guys at their websites. And get your friends to do the same. Just make sure you include "K-Rock" in the text as well as "Giants Stadium show".
    And please feel free to contact me if you have any other ideas that would persuade them to reconsider.
    Here's some site addresses to help ya out. Good luck!

    So here's the email I sent him:

    >Date: 30 Apr 2000 23:28:25 EDT
    >From: Evan D. Hoffman
    >Subject: metallica @ meadowlands
    >To: krockdj923@aol.com

    As much as I would like to see Metallica live, I refuse to spend any more money
    on any of their products as long as their suit against Napster continues.
    Metallica has proven to all its fans that the only thing it cares about is the
    almighty dollar. The hypocrisy of Lars's words is remarkable -- it is sickening
    that he considers trading music for free wrong but trading music for money
    Putting aside the fact that Metallica is not exactly living paycheck to
    paycheck these days (perhaps you know what their gross album sales are for the
    past few years, I imagine it's in the tens of millions), I simply do not believe
    MP3 causes artists to lose any money at all. Before I started listening to
    MP3s, my CD collection consisted of mostly Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan
    CDs. Using MP3 as a try-before-you-buy system, my collection has expanded to
    include Pearl Jam, Ozzy, Alice In Chains, and many other artists -- including
    Metallica. I now own four Metallica albums, and if not for MP3, I wouldn't own
    any. So tell me again, how are they losing money? Granted, not everyone
    purchases the albums for songs they download, but in those cases they wouldn't
    have ever bought the song in the first place, so again there is no money lost.
    And regardless of Metallica's position on MP3s, that's no reason to sue
    Napster. They have no control over what's sent over the network.
    You should have people check out www.paylars.com if they haven't already, it's
    great. Of course, since I already paid for all my Metallica songs, I didn't
    donate anything.
    I realize this is not the kind of message you were looking for if you want
    messages to send to the band to get them to come and play, but I thought an
    alternate viewpoint may be needed.
    Anyway, the only way I will go see Metallica is if I get to see them for free,
    so either they can do a free concert a la the Napster-friendly Limp Bizkit or
    I'll just have to win them from you guys.


    __________________________________________________ ___

  • Normally I agree with most of what Jon Katz says. Such is not the case with this article.

    Jon Katz whines about 330,000 users having their "privacy violated." And some of them are kids. My god! Think of the CHILDREN! That should be your first clue that he's full of hot air.

    The firm Metallica used to find these "kids" didn't do anything the kids themselvesdidn't do in the process of findind the music they stole. They did searches -- but the firm wrote down the usernames of people they found rather than actually downloading stuff.

    Metallica would be *entirely* justified in adding these 330,000 law breakers (and make no mistake, that is *exactly* what they are!) to their lawsuit, but they have not. They have strated that they will not. Instead, they simply ask that Napster obey their own publicly stated policy of blocking known pirates.

    You can argue until you are blue in the face that record companies are greedy, glutonous pigs, but the fact is that the law gives them certain rights over the material they produce.

    Metallica's actions have proven to be incredibly mild compared to what they *could* be doing. They are taking measures to stop hundreds of thousands of pirates right now (without hauling them off to JAIL, where they legally belong!) and trying to stem one of the big causes of the problem in stopping Napster.

    Napster is not a good thing. It is JUST a tool for piracy. It does not legitimize online music, it legitimizes piracy -- the THEFT of other people's work. And why does this tool exist? Why does it prosper? Because we all have this entitlement mentality. We are *entitled* to music. Why should we have to pay for something which musicians work hard to make, which record companies spend lots of money to promote and distribute...

    Katz: Stop whining. Nobody's privacy got violated. If you are standing in a crowd you cannot reasonably expect privacy. Likewise, if you are letting people download files from your computer, you cannot reasonably expect privacy. Metallica's actions are NOT heavy handed. The RIAA's actions against My.MP3.com are heavy-handed: They are using the letter of the law to crush competition despite the fact that no actual piracy has been committed. Metallica on the other hand is witnessing more piracy occur in *one day* than has likely happened in the past *10 years*. (before Napster)

  • by Tweezer ( 83980 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @09:02AM (#1094597)
    Probably not. I'm guessing that NetPD just gave a list of the usernames to be blocked. I doubt they did anything more than that.

    I say we SPAM their ass. We all load up Napster with a bunch of text files named Enter Sandman.mp3 or something like that. I doubt it would be possible for NetPD to actually download and listen to each song to verify it is indeed Metallica.
  • Inside the liner notes, James talks about Lars' impressive record collection, and had this to say: "[It was] fucking huge. When Lars first came to the States, he had all these singles with devils and pentagrams and rough-looking guys with leather jackets on the covers: Motorhead, Diamond Head, Witchfynde, Sweet Savage, Tygers of Pan Tang. I would stay over at his place for days at a time, making tapes of his records and sleeping on the carpet." Wow! What a dedicated pirate James was back in those days, bootlegging Lars' collection round the clock. Shouldn't those bands be compensated? Is there a statute of limit on copyright violations?
  • until I see all 60,000 pages of logs showing 335,435 people downloading songs by Metallica in one weekend I refuse to believe it.

    I don't think they said 335,435 people downloaded songs by Metallica, they said something along the lines of 335,435 people trading Metallica music which I think means 335,435 people had Metallica in their upload directory. I've never used Napster, but I doubt that there's a way to get a list of everyone who's downloading songs (from the client side, anyway).
  • No he did'nt bother reading the article, he's just followng the crowd of sheeps, bashing Jonkatz just because it's the thing to do, and maybe collect a few karma points this way.

    Recipe for collecting karma points on slashdot currently:

    • Act as an NRA flag holder
    • Bash Jon Katz, preferrably without reading the article
    • Spot what has been moderated it up, and plagiarize it
    • Push libertarianism to the absurd
    • Worship money
    • Call your opponent a Nazi and/or a commie

    Et voila.

    ObFlame: Metallica is for retarded acneic teenager. MODERATE ME DOWN!!

  • What if, instead of simply stealing your car, someone came by and copied it, driving away in an exact replica of your car, but leaving the original intact and unchanged? It may change your answer a lot or not at all, but the question must phrased correctly.
  • Um... Did you read the article?

    Katz wasn't saying that the band didn't have a right to protect their intellectual property. The point that Katz was making is that their actions were pointless if their goal was to establish legal precedents for distributing music on the internet. MP3.com is already dealing with negotiations about that.

    But Metallica's actions don't seem to be geared towards legal precedents. They seem to be geared towards terrorizing young netizens, so that they are afraid to download music, no matter WHAT gets decided.

    Metallica's seem to be aimed a lot more towards terrorizing people than anything else.

    And that is what the point of the article was. Katz was not condoning the actions of napster users. He was condemning Metallica's intimidation tactics.
  • why haven't CD prices dropped in the last ten years?

    I know that this is slightly off topic, but that's pretty simple. Greed, and inflation.

    Why is it that CDs are still more expensive than tapes, even though it's cheaper, faster and more reliable to press CDs than to duplicate tapes (no moving parts, less material, greater demand)?

    Simple. When a consumer-media industry decides that their general unit price should be higher, they adopt a new format, and put lots of marketing behind it.

    Look at DVDs, for example, $6-$10 more expensive than their VHS counterparts, yet they're cheaper to make.

  • Normally, I don't think Katz's articles are as bad as most people do. But this one went way too far.

    How is this an outrage? The individuals that Metallica is going after did commit a crime, after all. What happened to everyone thinking it was rediculous to be suing Napster -- after all, wasn't there a recent ruling saying that companies aren't responsible for what goes through their networks?

    Metallica is taking a much more rational course of action by going after the people who are actually breaking the law. This is aside from the fact that Katz seems to have conveniently forgotten Napster's offer to shut down any accounts that they were told were trading the band's music. If you want to bitch at anyone for a "thoughtless assault on privacy and freedom," this time it's Napster's turn to take the heat.

  • <i>...making those MP3s available for public download (what you call trading) happens to be a copyright violation... </i>

    Close, but technically false. Making them available for download is not a crime. Actually transferring them is. It's quite possible (and has been true for me in my Napster usage) that one can "list" a copyrighted song without it ever being transferred, particularly if one likes obscure bands or does not stay online with Napster very long.

    For Metallica to claim I broke their copyright requires them to show I transferred a file to a person who did not own a legit copy. To have a real legal case (AFAICT, IANAL), they would have to mount a sting for each person so accused: attempt to actually download a file from me (and confirm that the file really was "their" content).

  • Jon might not come after you, put his publisher's lawyers would. Typically an author signs over their copyright for 5, 7, 10 whatever years to the publisher, or the exclusive right to print two runs, or whatever. It depends on the contract, but odds are, he couldn't give his work away even if he wanted to.
  • You don't have to stop buying the music, you can make the music. Here is an easy way to voice your opinion and protest. 1. Make a recording of yourself voicing your opinion on the Metallica-Napster issue. 2. Convert the recording to an mp3 file. 3. Name the mp3 file: Metallica_is_Wasting_My Hate.mp3, Metallica_is_Fading_to_black.mp3 or some other pun of a metallica song. 4. Share the newly created file on napster. Now you can't be banned for voicing your opinion. So, if Metallica wants these files off of Napster, they want to prevent Free Speech.

    Added Bonus: If they list you as a "copyright violator" on their next list, you have a slam-dunk libel case.

  • So, Metallica has called Napster's bluff. Napster never expected to be handed such a huge pile of complaints, and has neither a mechanism nor the resources to process them.

    Therein lies the one legitimate objection to Metallica's action. Yes, they have every right to file complaints or take legal action against people who illegally copy and distribute their works -- given legitimate grounds for suspicion in each individual case. I find it rather difficult to believe that a pile of a third of a million names was subjected to even the most cursory check to eliminate bogus hits on a "Metallica" word-search (e.g. descriptions of a song as resembling Metallica's style, clips short enough to qualify as legitimate fair-use excerpts).

    If they've done a bonehead word search and identified every name that came up as an infringer on that basis alone, their lawyers had better understand defamation law as well as they understand IP law.

  • See this [riaa.com] and the thread started here [slashdot.org] by me the other day.

    While the suit over the Rio may have determined that MP3 playback devices are not illegal, it is still the opinion of RIAA that under the current law you cannot legally rip copies of your CDs yourself.

    Me, you and the EFF [eff.org] may think that is BS, but as far as I know this still hasn't been settled in court.

  • The court system is too slow to keep up with the current rapidly changing environment. We need to skip a couple steps to catch up.

    Yah, so let's cut out the thoughtful and deliberate review process and act from the hip. I know the computer market is changing fast, but that doesn't mean that right and wrong do.

    Each new technology pushes the envelope, but that doesn't mean we should give up trying. Let the court draw a line in the sand this year, and in 2 or 5 years, they'll adjust it as necessary. They have made good decisions (Sony v Connectix, etc), they are just reactive. That's the nature of the system. It's not broken, it's thoughtful.

    I'm skipping straight ahead to that shattering laws that don't work part. How do you shatter something? Break it willfully, purposefully, and repeatedly.

    Civil disobedience and all of that? The whole point of civil disobedience was to put yourself *in* the way of the law and make an example of how it is unjust. Otherwise, you are just protesting from the sidelines -- and anyone can do that.

    Are you advocating that people tell Metallica that they are pirating the music so that they can be prosecuted? If you are willing to do this, I take my hat off to you.

    Putting 300,000 kids in prison in not even close to a realistic solution.

    First, nobody is going to prison. Copyright violation is a civil matter, and certainly not a felony.

    Second, Metallica has yet to sue these kids. This is just a list of people to ban from Napster.

    Finally, so what? Sure, that's alot of kids... but don't you think it brings home the point? This isn't a distant battle between 2 faceless giants, but affects you too. ("Poor little Johnny didn't know it was wrong to steal" -- heh, riiiiight). Besides, everyone will get their day in court (unless you are really advocating that people work outside the system).
  • I'm sorry but the Home Audio Recording Act of 1992 was amended in 1998 to allow digital backup copies as a means of fair use. The info on the RIAA web site is out of date and does not acknowlege the amendment added to it.

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    He actually lifts entire quotes from other sources without ever citing them. I found it a little disturbing at first, but then thought that since it's not real journalism anyway,

    It may not be real journalism but Katz has got a lot of people fooled. A recent NY Newsday article referred to him as a "first amendment scholar"!! I nearly puked!
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @10:02AM (#1094660)
    I just read the article you linked to [yahoo.com]:

    "There has to be some laws and guidelines to go by before it gets too out of hand and sucks the life out of musicians who will stop making music," said James Hetfield, Metallica guitarist and singer.

    I can't believe Hetfield said that with a straight face. He's supporting the RIAA and at the same time saying that Napster will suck the life out of musicians? What about all the musicians that have made the RIAA millions and have been left with nothing?

    I think Metallica's problem is that they are too far past their prime. Don't get me wrong, I still love most of their music, mostly stuff prior to the Black Album. S&M is actually pretty impressive, but how many many times can a band do that for an encore when they run out of good original music. They need a business model where crap can be sold as if it's gold.

    Contrast this to the bands that support Napster. Limp Bizkit has a new album coming out. If their record label does nothing to promote it the fans will still run out any buy it because it has value. How about Public Enemy and Cypress Hill? They're not getting the promotional support that they used to, so they'd rather be able to move the music themselves. Then there are the several musicians that I know personally that have never been involved with the recording industry yet. They support Napster because it will allow their music to be distributed without signing away their creations to a record label.

    "For the doubters out there, Metallica will carry on for the next 20 years," Ulrich said. Whether you're around for the ride or not, that's your problem, not ours."

    Honestly I don't think I could take another 20 years of the crap you guys will put out Lars. I'll still listen to the pre-Black albums I have. After all, there was a time when you guys were for real and listening to your music made me feel good. Thanks for the good music and I'm sorry that I can no longer continue to support your career. You will be missed.

  • You ask, "what do they expect napster to do?"

    This puts me in mind of an exchange in the film "Goldfinger"; one of my all-time favorite scenes:

    James Bond has been captured by his enemy, Auric Goldfinger. 007 has been strapped on his back to a gleaming gold slab (at least 10 million bucks' worth). A high power laser is cutting into the slab and will soon reach Bond's crotch, vaporizing a vital part of his anatomy, not to mention it will keep slicing up through his entire torso and head.

    Bond: "What do you expect me to do? Talk?"

    Goldfinger (laughing): "No, Mr. Bond - I expect you to DIE!"

    (The above is from memory; I'm sure it's not a perfect rendition, but very close).

    Or how about this. It's like Robbie the Robot in "Forbidden Planet". Walter Pidgeon is showing his pride and joy off to Leslie Nielson. He gets Nielson to give him his "blaster" (gun), hands it to Robbie, and calmly instructs the robot to fire and kill Nielson. Sparks dance over Robbie's "brain", and there is an ominous buzzing and clicking. The robot cannot obey the order because its prime directive is not to harm human life (apologies to Asimov). But it must obey a human's order! But it cannot! And so on... So it is slowly short-circuiting, destroying itself because of the insoluble dilemma it is faced with.

    Napster essentially said if a user broke the rules the user would be blocked. Metallica thought about this, and sent them a bazillion names of users allegedly breaking the rules. Napster CAN'T POSSIBLY block them all. It would take eons to accomplish, one name at a time. (Still less!) - they can't even begin to think about investigating them all.

    Metallica expects napster (figuratively) to DIE. I'm sure they figure the chances are fairly low the move will succeed to its ultimate logical conclusion (napster giving up - dying), but it's a fairly clever turn of the screws.

    It has nothing to do with how easy it would be for a clever blocked user to keep circumventing the blockage (which you correctly point out would be easily accomplished, though armed authoritarian thugs could always break down his door in the dead of the night and take him away).

    It's a case of the vulnerability of a server-oriented system. The ultimate solution? Make the whole thing a distributed system, with no central vulnerable point (gnutella or something like it).
  • The more I read of Katz, the less surprised I am about him being kicked out of various post-secondary institutions. I'd kick him out of any liberal arts program with the fallacious logic he regurgitates.

    It's been said many, many, many times before, but for the slow of learning, here it is again: Metallica is within their rights to sue.

    We don't have to like it, but the truth hurts. Sure, everyone knew that what they were doing was illegal regarding MP3 trading an such.

    After all, who hasn't run a red light? Or broken the speed limit? Or run a stop sign on a deserted country road at 0300 in the morning? To get away from moving violations, one last one: smoked pot at one point or another?

    There we go. Sins, stones, throwing, all over again.

    The problem is really evident when everyone starts doing it. What's the point of having red lights at intersections if everyone runs them? (Ahhh, Montreal...so what if I can't turn right on a red light, because tabernacle, I can RUN RIGHT THROUGH IT!)

    An artist is not going to suffer if one or two (or a thousand) pirate their music (the signal to noise ratio is low). They will if hundreds of thousands (or millions) do (lots of noise, no signal).

    Sure, it's the new economy, but the old laws are still around. Plain as day.

    Oh yeah, while we're at it, do you even own a Rottweiler? Quit propagating a negative stereotype on a perfectly fine breed. It's not as if they're as bad as journalists.

  • by JonKatz ( 7654 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @10:43AM (#1094697) Homepage
    Boy, is the e-mail flying on this one. Good stuff, pro and con.

    One point. People keep asking me, thinking they are devastatingly clever, whether I'd be happy to give my books and articles away. Here's the sitch:
    I can't give people permission to download my books (my publisher would sue me) but I can give people permission to download my columns and reprint them on the Net and Web. I get no copyright or other royalties for them, and a few years ago, or in print, I would have.
    So I constantly give permission to link, mirror and distribute my work. I feel it makes me more valuable, though I'm certainly not valuable.
    I make some money on books through advances, but have never earned royalties on any of my books. I would be happy to go to a flat fee for writing..that's what I do on /., and otherwise, am happy to see my work distributed (books are a very tiny part of my income..maybe 10 per cent) for free. Consider this permission to link, reprint and post my columns anyplace, at no charge. This is, in fact, the model the music industry will be using in a few years I predict.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @11:35AM (#1094738)

    I haven't seen a shred of evidence that mp3 trading actually harms artists. That's an unsubstantiated claim made by the RIAA. I've bought many CDs after I downloaded some mp3s and realized that I actually liked the songs. I doubt that I'm some kind of special case. I don't think artists are being harmed. It's probably even helping them.

    Fans of groups WANT to support those groups. They just don't like the fact that they have to get screwed over by the RIAA in order to show their support. The RIAA doesn't care about the artists. They exist for the sole purpose of protecting the record industry's profits. The fans DO care about the artists they like. The RIAA is just getting in the way now. Cut them out and we could buy our music a lot cheaper, thereby supporting the artists, and we could buy a lot more music, thereby supporting even more artists rather than just those on the top 40. Additionally, we could listen to music that we haven't heard before. If we like it, we naturally want to support that artist so that they keep making more music.

    While I'm sure that trading mp3s is currently illegal, that doesn't mean it should be, and I'm not sure there's any way to fix the situation right now. Someone is gonna have to come up with a new way of doing things that will be beneficial to both artists and fans. Unfortunately, if the RIAA doesn't get their cut, they'll do everything in their power to stop any change from happening. I'm not sure there is a way to get rid of the RIAA without breaking a few laws. That's probably what will have to happen if artists are to see that there is another way that won't require them to sign their life's work over to a corporation. I hope something can be done to change the current situation to benefit artists and their fans the most, rather than treating them as employees and consumers, respectively.

  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @11:52AM (#1094753) Homepage Journal
    I take _serious_ exception to one thing you said up there. Sure, Metallica are being noisy and stubborn and not a little bit controlfreaks on this issue, but you said: "Napster has contributed more to the world than Metallica".


    Napster is a service. They are _facilitators_. They are not making a contribution as much as they are helping along interactions.

    Metallica are a band. They create art. Sure, it may be crap art, sure they might not be able to make as good art as they used to, but let me tell you about a guy named Ernesto Cortazar and maybe you'll understand a little better...

    Ernesto Cortazar [mp3s.com] is the king of Easy Listening on mp3.com. He dominates the charts, sometimes in genres that aren't even Easy Listening- he dominates the Classical charts in spite of many complaints that his music isn't really Classical- he has 11 CDs available on mp3.com, _all_ a humble and reasonable $5.99- he's earned over 29 thousand dollars in downloads alone, again on mp3.com.

    Ernesto makes music that would make a Metallica fan puke! He's totally committed to Piano Easy Listening, love songs, the complete 'not even new age' approach lacking only the candelabra on the piano. But he _means_ it. That's what he _likes_. I am telling you from the viewpoint of a musician (one who's only made $54 off downloads and makes infinitely less 'easy listening' music, except for "Wood Dragon": mp3.com/ChrisJ [mp3.com]) that Ernesto contributes more to the world than Napster, because Napster _facilitates_ and Ernesto _creates_.

    By the same token, of _course_ Metallica contributes more to the world than Napster! You don't have to _like_ what they contribute, but saying they contribute less than Napster is damned insulting because Napster never wrote a song in its life! It's not _about_ contributing, any more than TCP/IP is about contributing. It's about _communicating_.

    I could wish that, instead of trying so hard to tear Metallica down, you spent some of that effort trying to build the musicians who _do_ cooperate and share and communicate, up... yes, of course I say that as I'm a (and only one of the) token slashdot musician, and of course I would like to actually be able to buy strings more often and get more of the tools I use to create with. But frankly I would be nearly as happy to see you go out there and hype Ernesto, or Bassic [mp3.com] who also makes plenty of money by, again, doing what _he_ genuinely enjoys, which is Mike Oldfield-influenced synthesizer music that's very pretty and peaceful, most of it. These people are doing things the right way, as am I... must the whole story be about tearing down Metallica, can't some of it be about building up us?

  • the fact that Metallica was able to find 335,000 people illegally trading their songs sounds like it would take the wind out of the sails of people like Katz.

    They have no way of knowing how many of those people are actually acting legally, i.e. have already bought the song. If I have an album on cassette/vinyl, and "upgrade" it to mp3 via Napster, it's completely legal. Metallica may hate it if they want people pay for albums all over again on CD, but that's just tough.

    Is there no conceivable situation that will cause him or those like him to say 'oops, I guess people are ripping off artists'?

    What if some people *are* acting illegally, but would never actually have bought the album at the monopoly CD price, even if mp3 did not exist? Then Metallica is losing precisely nothing from these people copying their music. Whether or not you think illegal copying is morally wrong, you can't claim that every instance of copying denies the copyright holder another royalty payment.

    Taking both of the above into account, that 335,000 figure probably needs a substantial reduction. I hope that people in the first category I mentioned don't get their accounts shut down due to Metallica's threats, without anyone bothering to discover that they aren't actually breaking the law.

  • When CD's were in their infancy - and thus a vulnerable format - didn't all the record companies insist that CD's were 'only $15 until production gets up' then presumably it gets cheaper, no?

    Why is it then that CASSETTES are cheaper than CD's? I will bet every penny I have that it cost more to mass produce a tape than a CD. SO why then is the price so unrealistic. BECAUSE THE RECORD COMPANIES HAVE AN UNSPOKEN AGREEMENT TO CONTINUE RIPPING US OFF.

    Legally, due to anti-trust laws, record cannot discuss pricing among themselves, as this would be evidence of price-fixing. They seemed to have arrived at fixed priceing regardless.

    Metallica fingers 300,000 Napster pirates? Weren't they an anti-authoritarian band, before they "left their anger on the barber shop floor"? Former glory or not, say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss.

    I WONDER what effect say 300,000 signatures to Washington DC would do regarding recording industry price fixing and Metallica's possible involvement (as a label) in CD price-fixing.

    These kids may be guilty, but their parents can vote! I hope Napster contacts these named users and successfully gets them to become a PAC lobbying group to put some constraints on these out of control copyright laws. Where do I sign up??

  • by divec ( 48748 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @01:46PM (#1094839) Homepage
    I don't think Jon Katz was suggesting that Metallica are outside of their *legal* rights.
    Nobody can [] say that [] MP3 trading of stuff you didn't buy is not illegal. [...] Their arguments come down to knowing it's a bad thing, but, like the verse says "I like it."

    I think you are confusing "illegal" with "morally wrong". I agree nobody can deny it's illegal. But whether it's morally wrong is a matter of opinion. For instance, there's a point of view that says downloading mp3s purely for try-before-you-buy purposes is morally ok. I might certainly believe, in some circumstances, that an avid fan who had no money would be acting morally soundly if he obtained some copied music.

    What Katz seemed to be saying is that Metallica were being cruel and stupid. As has been pointed out, many of those 335K users may be acting legally or trying before they buy. Metallica can't possibly have examined each of these 335K cases in detail, so they're bound to be burning the fingers of plenty of true fans as well as all the casual users. I hope (probably in vain) that they find that their CD sales and concert audiences drop and then put two and two together and stop doing this. Using the law to kick fans who really, really like you is stupid, shortsighted and (I think) somewhat gratuitously nasty.

  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2000 @07:56PM (#1094958) Homepage Journal
    You hate double standards? Why is it ok for you to deprive the poor helpless advertiser of the revenue they need to keep their cupboards stocked with Ramen noodles, but it is not ok to similarly deprive poor crybaby Lars of the revenue he might have had if you bought his crappy CD instead of downloading it?
    I'm not likely to be arrested for using Junkbuster, as much as the advertisers might want to. I could morally justify my stance on using Junkbuster, but that's entirely beside the point, for this and for MP3s. (Besides, the technology to block ad blockers does exist, and pages could use it if they wanted--but they know that this would cause such an uproar among their users that, compared to the handful of pennies of revenue they lose from it, it's not worth it.)
    You will say, the difference is legality - distributing illegal mp3s is illegal whereas junkbuster is not yet illegal. Frankly, if the advertisers had their way, they would make it illegal
    That may be so...but they don't. :) The fact of the matter is, everyone who uses Napster has some sort of moral justification for it, simply so they don't have to be all depressed that they're such an Evil, Bad Person for trading MP3s. No, they tell themselves, "Hey, it's not as bad as (foo)," or "The law is wrong," or even "Nobody will ever find out."

    The simple point I'm trying to make, and which people keep ignoring and shoving their moral justifications at me, is that 99.99% of the sort of MP3-trading that Napster promotes is illegal. Regardless of whether you think it's wrong, or I think it's wrong, or whether you or I somehow manage to talk ourselves out of thinking it's wrong. Regardless of whether we think Metallica are a bunch of (expletive deleted)s for filing suit. It's against the law. All the Jon Katzian "But...but information wants to be free! This will lead to Big Brother controlling the Internet!" slippery slopes in the world will not alter that one simple fact.

    I am just so tired of all the moral justification and posturing, on both sides. If you knowingly do something illegal, you face the consequences, and all the moral posturing in the world won't save you. What's so hard to understand about that?

It was pity stayed his hand. "Pity I don't have any more bullets," thought Frito. -- _Bored_of_the_Rings_, a Harvard Lampoon parody of Tolkein