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Metallica Remains Silent 330

As you may already know, 30,000 Napster users have appealed to Napster on the basis that they feel they've done nothing wrong in the recent Metallica-inspired crackdown on accounts. Rap artist Dr. Dre has turned in his list to Napster, and we can only assume that there will be appeals there, too. Also, after numerous attempts and promises from Metallica's publicist, we still haven't gotten Metallica to answer the questions that our readers asked on May 4th. We have made several good-faith efforts to work with Metallica and their publicist, but it looks like they're never going to respond. On the lighter side, The Onion has posted the sad news about Kid Rock, and someone sent this image to us. [Updated 18 May 2000 7:40 GMT by timothy] Metallica's publicists have promised to try to get our questions answered "early next week," and that would be both more fun and more satisfying for all involved, I'm sure, than stony silence and accusations. Attn: Lars: The real debate is online :)
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Metallica Remains Silent

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  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @10:50AM (#1063125)
    Forget the browser. They should sue Microsoft for their "Network Neighborhood" piracy software. As we all know, the only purpose of the Network Neighborhood is to allow people to access files on each other's computers, including MP3s of copyrighted songs.
  • The obvious answer is to use freenet, which is being built so that even the file TRANSFER is anonymous. You can't see who's downloading from your box. They can't see whose box they're downloading from. With any luck, features like this will work their way into gnutella and mabye even napster in the future.

    I'll grant you that freenet is still a work in progress, and that its anonymonity features may not be perfect...

    But,like cryptography, it doesn't have to be PERFECT. It just has to be good enough that breaking through becomes more trouble/expensive than it's worth.

    (very hypothetical example here...)
    After all, if it turns out that it takes the NSA a week on a Cray to break the crypto key and expose a raw IP; do you think for a second that the NSA considers it worth their computer time to help a bunch of burned out metalheads harass their "fans"???

  • Anyone remember Zoog Zoog Sputnik? They had adds on their album. Hair care products if I remember correctly.

    The hurting, the hurting...
  • hot bowls of grits down their pants. i can understand, it might ruin their hard rock image

    I know that hot grits down my pants would stop me from being rock hard...

    Oh, you said "hard rock". My mistake...
  • I'm sorry, but Napster was created to get music without paying for it. Sure there are independent artists out there, but that's not what the users are sharing and downloading. If people wanted independent music, they could just go to

    How can a company be allowed to exist when it's sole purpose is violating copyright laws? This isn't about the freedom of information, it's about getting music people are too cheap to pay for.

    Instead of whining about how expensive and unfair CD prices are, why don't you let artists and record companies know you're willing to buy CDs at $5/CD instead of $15-18/CD? Hell, last night I bought 12 CDs for $126.xx. If you know where to shop, you can get them at much less than full price. (Although I'd much rather cut out the record companies and pay the artists directly.)

    "That car is too expensive, and that's unfair, I think I'll steal it!" This is no different.

    People need to grow up and start telling artists to find a better distribution model. If you downloaded an album, it could let you listen to it a few times, and then pop up with a dialog box, "Send $2 to the artist?" I know I'd be happy to pay 20% of what I normally spend on an album.

    450 CDs in my collection and growing...
  • Well, atleast I'll give my own name because I can stand up for what I believe.... That's why I created the message board on the site, to find out what people think. It's a free country, so if you think accurately describes your position on this issue, then so be it.
  • MD5 shouldn't ever output the same signature for two different files... And the volume of metallica songs isn't that large... even with all the variations of encoders and quality, etc... there would probably only end up being 10,000 or so unique signatures that needed to be blocked... As they found more, they could add those on to the list, and still be possitive that they weren't blocking anything that shouldn't be blocked.

    Thinking about it, if Napster really wanted to try to show itself as being responsible, they should start incorporating the signatures into their software to make it easier for artists to opt themselves out of their "service". An artist could just call them up and say hi, i'm so and so and i'd like you to block all of my songs from being downloaded, except for these 3 specific ones, which i want to distribute on Napster.

    It's completely managable and feasible...
  • Oh, and having just read the post above mine I'd like to point out that both my brother and his girlfriend are making money out of music, although neither is yet signed to a record deal etc.
    They're not making much cash at the moment as they are both still in school, taking A levels (UK exams at 18 years old), which takes a large amount of their time, but both could probably support themselves on the level of income they could get if they where gigging full time. This is without any distribution of recorded music, just on word of mouth and a few demo CD's that are sent around to tour promotions people.
  • What I am curious about - since the laywers for Metallica are making an accusation that the Napster users who were offering Metallica songs for download are breaking the law - and if any of those users were *wrongly* accused, what remedy do they have?

    If I am wrongly accused of a normal crime, I have channels I can go through to see recompense. What recompense does DMCA allow? Any?

  • Wow! All three of them suck! Amazing how poor minds think alike...
  • Hey! Aren't 1040 forms public data? It seems like every year I hear about the President and Vice President's tax filings, including earnings, deductions, etc. Does anyone know how to go about getting this info from the IRS? It sure would be helpful if we could document the fact that Metallica's members make $x/yr, and how little they have lost due to Napster...

    My 2 bits.

    - REv.
  • by adimarco ( 30853 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:58AM (#1063137) Homepage
    Metallica are well within their right

    Technically, I have to concede this point. I do not, however, agree with them. Their efforts in this regard indicate such a lack of understanding of the current state of technology that i wonder if they're still using 4-tracks to record their work.

    i like their music too, but if i intentionally illegally copy their work then i must suffer the consequences.

    i don't like their music any more. your masochistic overtones indicate that you are a troll, whether you know it or not. fuck it, i'll bite.

    if i intentionally copy their work it will be solely as an act of civil disobedience to demonstrate the sheer stupidity of attempting to treat information as physicaly property given the ease of duplication. people argue over whether or not "information wants to be free." information already is free. there is no room for argument on this point. anyone trying to treat it any other way is living in the past, denying reality, and will be appropriately left behind as the revolution moves forward.


  • by irix ( 22687 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @10:00AM (#1063139) Journal
    What they should offer as a remedy is the ability to download MP3's from a Metallica controlled website. That would require some sort of registration with Metallica, that would also include proof of purchase for the albums that have been bought. Sort of like a fan club distribution.

    Yeah, kinda sounds like [] doesn't it? You know, where they could determine that I actually had the CD before I could listen to the MP3?

    Of course, what sounds like a rational idea to 99% of humans ends up being shut down by RIAA [].

    The RIAA and their members aren't going to make anything available online until they figure a way to screw you at least as badly as when you buy a CD.

  • by NetFu ( 155538 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @11:12AM (#1063141) Homepage Journal
    Read the About Us page [] at their website.

    I'm not sure who's "paying the bills" right now, but I'm sure the long term goal is to set up Napster as a web-based equivalent of a brick-and-mortar record label. More people certainly know about Napster than Gnutella, etc. They mention "proprietary MusicShare technology" that their client uses, so I'm sure they could try to parlay that into some kind of subscription-based service.

    Remember that all these software clients are just at the beta or preview stage, so once they are finally at the release stage, they could also sell the client software for profit. And, since they control the database of MP3's, they could easily make it so older/beta clients would no longer work.

  • Or, on the other hand, they could just sue you anyway. You don't need the permission of someone to sue them. Otherwise, our courts would be very, very empty places.

    That "notice" was propaganda, designed to frame the issue as Metallica vs Users, instead of Metallica vs Napster. Unfortunately for Metallica, and especially bad for the RIAA, the badly written DMCA appears to be firmly on Napster's side. They are complying with the law fully.

    When the RIAA wrote the DMCA and presented it to Congress to rubber stamp, the ISP provision was intended to protect themselves, and the rest of the members of the long-established good-old-boys media-conglomerate club. They never imagined that an outsider company like Napster would be able to use it to protect themselves against attack by the Entertainment Trust.

    Not their first mistake, and probably not their last.
  • by Raptor CK ( 10482 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @10:05AM (#1063148) Journal
    Nothing, you idiots! Dr. Dre's dead, he's locked in my basement!

    Ok, now *I'm* violating copyright for quoting Eminem, right? Oops. :-)
  • by EvlG ( 24576 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:12AM (#1063151)
    The subject line says it all; Metallica has already alienated lots of their fans. Listening to the Napster users' appeals isn't going to change their public image; they have commited a MAJOR screw-up; it's even likely that they realize it, but can't turn back now.

    The damage has been done; I can't say I feel sorry for them.
  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @10:05AM (#1063153) Journal
    Increasingly, popular bands write ad jingles, for instance. It's easy to imagine a CD sponsored by a company.

    I can just see it now....

    "Hush little baby don't say a word
    And never mind that noise you heard
    It's just the beast under your bed
    In your closet, in your head!

    Exxon Gas! You car'll go fast!
    Funnnncoland! And Disney're sponsoring our band!"

    I honestly shudder at the idea of corporate patronage being the trust behind advancement of the arts... :)

  • That is, why Metallica hasn't answered yet. Did they *promise* us an interview, is it something that their publicists had said previously might happen or what. If this is something they agreed to, hell even if it isn't, it really paints them in a bad light. Also would it be possible to update with exactly which questions got sent along? It may provide some insight into their reticence.
  • Sigh. You know, before this, i was willing to give Metallica the benefit of a doubt. No longer.

    Fucking cowards.

    If you were half the men you were back when you had to work for your "art", you'd have the guts to face your fans.

    On the off chance that anyone from Metallica or their management is reading this... you've just lost a fan who has been with you for 15 years. I will not buy the music of a bunch of cowardly has-beens who will lash out at their own fans through the long arm of the Authority Figures you so boldly pretend to stand against, but don't have the guts to speak to those same fans face to face and answer our honest questions.


    If you ever really were what you posed to be at all, and not just puppets on strings.

  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @10:06AM (#1063158) Homepage Journal
    Just use "dd" to append a single bit to the end of the mp3. The MD5 sum will still be completely different.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Metallica are well within their right, and i agree with them - i like their music too, but if i intentionally illegally copy their work then i must suffer the consequences.
  • Besides, for Napster to proactively identify Dr. Dre or Metallica songs would be expensive and bandwidth intensive. It would require additional bandwidth to actually download the songs, and personnel to listen to the songs to determine whether or not they were actual Dr. Dre songs, or other songs that happened to have the same title.

    Dr. Dre just hired the same outside contractor as Metallica to identify his on-line fans so he can have them banned from Napster. I doubt that this contractor did the work for free for either of them, yet Metallica and Dr. Dre want the courts to force Napster to do the identical work without compensation.

    They just want a free handout. The law clearly says that it is their responsibility to identify copyright infringement, yet they want to force Napster to do their work for them, and they don't want to pay for it.

    That makes them THIEVES.
  • So you really think that this Napster thing is going to destroy the majority of Metallica's fan base?

    I can't say that I agree. In fact, I think you're dead wrong. Many Metallica fans have stuck with them since the 80's and into the 90's and agree with them in their quest to stop the piracy of their music. I'm one of them.

  • As a DJ, I have a certain interest in having the original copy of an album. The colors on the label and the original, un-[encoded/decoded] feed make a big difference in a booth on a 5,000 watt system. If we win and the industry changes in the MP3 direction, I sure hope the CD market doesn't collapse (this is all hypothetical, as it *probably* wouldn't). If I was forced to burn my own albums at 3 per week and the record labels were sending my URLs instead of CDs, I think I'd quit.

    I fully support, who has been honorable and actually provides original CDs. They have been sadly grouped with Napster mainly due to the fact that they both provide MP3s. Supporting Napster to me is like supporting Cable Descramblers. It's kind of neat, but I feel kind of funny (that funny feeling means it's WORKING!).

    On another note, as we have seen before, Metallica is a puppet, strings attached, and I think we are pestering the wrong target. Why don't we try to pull the weed up from the roots? Let's ask these questions to the recording industry!

    Hmmm... too much caffeine?

  • The deceased band member would be Cliff Burton, who died in an accident with their tour bus in.. 86?

    Master of Puppets, the background song, is a Metallica song of the album titled Master of Puppets. And it probably was the actual song :) I've found that if you listen to it when you're thinking of another word that sounds similar, it does sound like that words instead of "master".

    The sucking cock reference would be that their musical style changed quite quickly in the early 90s I believe, from very heavy to more mainstream. Personally I like both, but Metallica was labled as sellouts by many people for cutting their hair of all things. Bah.

    And thank you for watching A History of Metallica. Heh.
  • If Napster truly did not want people to use their service for piracy, they could easy stop it. How hard would it be for Napster to hire a couple of people to police their service? Just go around looking for pirated songs and ban anyone who has pirated songs offered (after a warning to remove the pirated material, of course).

    Not their job. The DMCA makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the copyright holder to notify Napster of violations.

    That's what's so delicious about this. The law is malfunctioning exactly as designed.

    I'm sure the RIAA would be more than happy to provide them with a list of copyrighted songs.

    Song titles are not copyrightable. Next time you're in a record store, thumb through the Phonolog. Most song titles have multiple entries -- because songwriters tend to re-use the same song titles over and over again for different songs.

  • I must respect Dr. Dre's move here. If you're going to protect your work, THAT is the way to go about it. Don't penalize people, don't jump down their throats, simply take a technologically valid and sound approach to blocking work that specifically matches your work. It's definitely a good move, and you can tell he consulted a programmer before making his press release. That to me is a sign that he is tech-savy enough to eventually release his own work in mp3 format, if he can find a way to profit from it.
  • Whowa. wheres the cave you live in?

    BTW, the labels were accused of pricefixing and recently settled with the Justice dept.

    HellO? brain in there?
  • In case anyone missed it, Howard King, the lawyer in this case has accused the metallica file sharers of being liars, because every one on them was 'making Metallica tracks available for upload' [].
    This man is a fool.
    Additionally, what's to stop the profusion of the warez naming convention arising? How long before m3t4771c4 or similar is de-rigeur?
  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @10:18AM (#1063189) Homepage Journal
    The more I think about it, the crazier this seems. Metallica finds thousands of people online willing to donate their disk space and bandwidth to share their music with others - presumably because these people enjoy the music - and their first response is to have them thrown off the service ASAP.

    Surely such energy could've been harnessed for the betterment of everyone involved. Why not work with the fan community rather than against it?

  • Someone else might have posted this earlier in the discussion (or in one of the previous Metallica discussions), but there is a hilarious spoof on the whole Metallica Napster issue here: Its funny as hell, but you'll need Macromedia Flash to see it. P.S. - Theres a whole lot of other funny, non-napster related, stuff on the main page ( ) for anyone interested.
  • Nothing will end up happening here becouse they really, as far as I can see, have a legal leg to stand on. If they file suit, the burden of proof is on them. There is no way they can provide a 'beyond a reasonable doubt' case here. But then, it all depends on how they charge. In some cases, all they need is a 'reasonable' doubt to win, but still.. How the heck can they legally prove that one individual pirated their music? 'Someone hacked my account, really'. Maybee I just don't get it. No one signed anything using the service. My understanding of a digitcal signature is certainly not just 'typing your name' in a text box. It is some 'key' that can be used to uniquely identify an individual. Anyone can type 'Rob Malda' in a text box. Should Rob be then held legally liable for the things done under that entity? I should think not..
  • I tried out gnutella, and it seems like 90% of the mp3's out there in gnutella are metallica mp3's. How ironic!
  • I used to be one of Metallica's biggest fans. In 1989 I won a particularly grooling radio contest revolving around Metallica trivia which basically boiled down to me getting:

    • A copy of every Metallica CD that was ever available in stores.
    • A couple of promo CD's that only radio stations got.
    • A small collection of video tapes (Cliff Burton tribute, "Two of One", etc.)
    • The one I was most stoked about, two front row tickets & backstage passes to meet these guys in Philadelphia.

    It's kind of ironic. On the "Two of One" video, Lars makes some kind of rant about how MTV sucks and this is probably the only video they'll ever make. Of course, now every time Metallica comes out with a new CD, they are bending over for MTV and doing promos left and right. You see their videos all the time. They all got haircuts, and became good little MTV soldiers.

    When I met them, I could see the fame getting to Kirk first. He wanted nothing to do with the fans. He hid in his dressing room and only came out to get a fresh batch of women. Lars was just the opposite; the girls were on him, and he said "These other people are waiting patiently... have some consideration." The man who impressed me the most at the time was Jason; he and I split a hoagie and shot the bull about who knows what. He seemed real down to earth. Of course, he hadn't yet had a chance to let the concept of fame and fortune sink in.

    Fast forward 11 years. The fans mean nothing. MTV airtime and record sales are everything. Most of the people downloading Metallica MP3's (myself included) are likely to own legal copies of the music that they are downloading. In my case, it's faster to download than to rip it myself. If I'm on Metallica's Black List, let them come, I am legally covered.

    What I have gotten out of this is a real distaste for Metallica. Their attitudes about the establishment were apparently as big a draw as the music itself. Now that they are puppets of the establishment that they used to sing against, going after their own fans, the music has lost its appeal. I've got no interest in their music anymore. This reminds me very much of the big baseball strike of a few years back. I used to have season tickets behind first base for the Phillies... now I have zero interest in professional baseball.

    Instant assholes. Just add fame, fortune, then stir.

  • *hehe* I could point you towards other noise artists who literally were doing just that- cat something_or_other > /dev/snd :) personally, I think that's cool- some people have put a lot of effort into finding picture data or programs that sound neat when played as audio. That's not what binary is: binary is the performance of a shortwave radio picking up some sort of satellite, run through a homemade three-band compressor being played like an instrument :) all of the Hard Vacuum album will sound more or less like that, it's 'noise' music. If it had a beat or notes it wouldn't be noise music :) it's impossible to explain, if you like it good and if you don't then don't DL the other Hard Vacuum tracks or buy the CD :) You're gonna freak when you start listening to 'anima', that's just as different :) want a pointer to the guy on who's doing noise music from raw computer data? That would be Monessen [] :)
  • And congratulate /. on another violation of the DMCA.

    Napster hack []
  • It would be nice if they answered the questions posed to them, but think of it this way: Metallica would never have answered any meaningful, penetrating questions. To do so might have tipped the hand of their label (and, by extension, the recording industry). Any answer that they gave would have given us some insight into their motives, into what they're really trying to accomplish here.

    Perhaps they didn't like the obvious rudeness of some of the messages. After all, nobody likes to have insults hurled at them and questions couched in inflammatory language thrust in their direction. I think they chose not to answer because they didn't want people to find out the extent of their dealings with the industry in suppressing speech and information exchange. In short, they didn't want people to see them as hapless stooges with no real understanding of the issues.

    Metallica has a legitimate case: many people are illegally distributing their work. But the erosion of the right to free expression--a right that is fundamental to the nature of the Internet--is not the way to combat the problem.

  • wohoo! that artical had a great quote, I think I'm going to start using it my sig :)

    "In five years there will be software available to download movies."
  • As of now no one has personally been sued because of Napster, Scour Exchange, etc. That however, is going to change and programs like Gnutella are going to force that change.

    The scary reality is that Gnutella is going to force artists to go after the individual user who is pirating their music. It is true that Metallica has said they will not go after the individual person, but that doesn't mean the next artist won't. I think things will change severely if people themselves are dragged into court because of copyright violation.

    Gnutella and its clones are backing artists into a corner, and pretty soon they are going to come out swinging. It won't be pretty.

  • by goingware ( 85213 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:17AM (#1063239) Homepage
    This conversation cannot possibly be complete until you have viewed this flash animation about Metallica vs. Napster []

    (And yes, I know you're likely to have to reboot or go to someone else's machine to view the animation, but trust me it's worth the effort).


  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:17AM (#1063241)
    ok - so the md5sums (digital checksums of files) will indicate BITWISE copies of songs.

    easy way to get around it: append 1 second of near silence to the end of the song and voila; the md5sum is now different.

    rename the file slightly and its impossible to tell which song is a literal copy of a cd and which is 'almost the same'.

    music industry still doesn't get it.

    price the music realistically and the "crime" will go away. just like booze in the early part of this century.


  • this [] ModernHumorist episode of 'Encyclopedia Brown - Case of the Missing MP3's' just kills me :))
  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:18AM (#1063249) Homepage
    Metallica was supposed to be the rebel band, the hardcore band, the antisocial band, the party band, the crazy band, the band that pissed your parents off. I'll bet than many of the geeks here grew up listening to Metallica, or still do.

    But as will all things, the rebels become conservative. Metallica isn't worried about changing the world, they just want their piece of the pie. They've become part of the status quo.

    It's the same with Dr. Dre. Wasn't he supposed to be a bad gansta from da hood? For anyone who didn't know it already, I think these debates have pretty much revealed him to be no different from any of the other so-called artists.

    Art is about art, not money. Ask the great painters and composers and sculptors who died poor and alone.

  • Those of you using Napster, please target the following artists for starvation:

    • Limp Bizkit
    • Marilyn Manson
    • Bloodhound Gang
    • Hole/Courtney Love
    • Yoko Ono
    • All ubiquitous boy/girl groups/singers/etc

    I promise to make it worth your while. Thanks for all your help on Kid Rock.

    Keep hope alive!

  • But it is undeniable that art made for art's sake is superior to art made for monetary gain, the same way software made for software's sake (eg: GNU) will ALWAYS be superior to software made for profit alone.

    Profit is for here and now. Making something that is =good= requires something for the future. Just looking in the here & now will get you nowhere.

    I think Metallica's attitude to their music is commendable. I think they'd have done everyone a favour thinking more carefully about MP3's and Napster, though. BUT IT IS STILL THEIR MUSIC! They can release it under whatever licence they choose! Same as any Open Source programmer.

    To argue that Metallica should not restrict binary copies of their music is stupid. The GPL does it all the time! So what's your problem?

  • sorry but i'm one of those crazy people who think sharing and stealing are two different concepts. Current copywr^H^Hright law doesn't agree with me, but that's why i think we should change it. Click the .sig for more details.

  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @12:46PM (#1063265) Homepage Journal
    "Metallica remains silent"... if only.

    I have to shrug and cheer on the napster kiddies- even though they're being dumb- honestly, there's lots of good music out there _already_ being made by people who understand this stuff. The big record companies, the MTV bands, are just locked in a sick codependent relationship and it's dumb to support it at all. People are frothing at the mouth over the 'right' to download metallica for free but... why Metallica, exactly? What have they done, what has Dre done that's so great? Open your mind, listen to other music- there is SO MUCH music out there of all kinds and people still fixate on what they are fed, like Windows users.

    Still, whatever: never try and teach a pig to sing, etc.

    The last time I posted to an mp3 thread on Slashdot, someone or other pulled me aside (in ASCII) and said, basically, "Give it up- people don't want to listen to you because you AREN'T metallica, you're wasting your breath". And certainly I've seen some evidence of that. But I've also occasionally seen a person or two like what I have to say, or like the music I pointed them at. Turns out I had some decisions to make- am I doing it to beat Metallica, or am I doing it for me, because I make music like some slashdothackers write code?

    I chose the latter.

    So, I went quiet for a bit, rather than arguing loudly that I ought to be listened to seven times in every mp3 thread. And since the last time I posted, I cut an entire new album, "Cirrus" [], which is the anti-metallica ;) it's ambient music, with more of an edge to it than your usual musak ambient stuff, done with a synthesizer I took apart and hacked with the electronics of. I finished up the "Dragons" [] album, and made the CDs of both Cirrus and Dragons available (they're $5.99: a previous poster thought all CDs should be under $5. I'd do that in a heartbeat but $5.99 is as low as will allow me to go- still beats $17, doesn't it?), and "anima" [] is still there, and "Extended Play" [] and "Hard Vacuum" [] (I wish the confounded site would put anchor points in so I could have these links refer to the spots on the page where the songs are) and I even went back and put up 700x700 cover jpegs of all my covers. This lets you see what the CD will look like a little better- and can also be used if people want to just download the songs and the cover and burn the CD themselves (which I am happy to let people do- that's why I'm making it so easy to do).

    And, after about two days of rest, I'm going back into the studio to do yet another album. These days I prefer to just DO MUSIC rather than bitching about Metallica. If you think my music sucks, check again in a week and I'll have done something else. Check again in a month and God knows what I'll be up to. If you haven't checked in a week or a month, there's new stuff. It's like any form of art (or indeed the art of programming)... you learn by doing, not by arguing about it.

    These days I get really crappy page stats, the idea of 'push' marketing totally failed me. When I stopped pushing, people stopped showing up. So I'm giving up and going with 'pull' like I should have all along- just plain trying to do good music, lots of it, huge amounts of it with something in it for just about anybody. Every now and then I'll mention that somewhere (like I'm doing now) but don't expect a recurrence of the BUY MY ALBUM [] stuff- that was fun but the time I spent doing it was time not spent doing more music.

    ...just as the time Lars and Metallica and Dre are spending attacking their own listeners is time that they're not spending making more music.

    Sorry guys- not optimal. You may be on top of the heap now, you may be in a position to turn the screws on your fans and squeeze money out- I'm in no such position- but check back in ten years and we'll see who's better. You keep right on playing with lawyers and I'll keep on playing guitar and bass and programming synthesizers and stuff... and I can only say, in all honesty, I don't think I will ever, ever need or want to be as stupid and shortsighted as you are being.

    Get back to the music- or get pushed out of the way. It might take a while- that's OK, I and a legion of hipper mp3-oriented indie musicians have all the time in the world, and we're not tied up with perverted entertainment industry contracts like you guys are. Enjoy your glide back to the bottom, 'cause there's plenty of air beneath your wings but there's no power in your engines. (heh, thinking in aircraft metaphors- as it happens the next album I'm doing is on the theme of cool WWII aircraft :) ) Cheers, all the slashdotters who've checked out my music- and all the slashdotters who haven't and won't :) 'cause we're all in the same boat, really, aren't we?

  • If you run strings on the napster beta6 client you'll find what looks like a user survey. Targeted marketing fodder, perhaps?

    Another funny thing is when you watch what files the beta client is acessing you'll see that it reads your MS-aIEeeee! cookies, history and cache datafiles.
  • go read the thread on the shugashack [] about what you have to do to get napster working. I believe it leaves some reg keys lying around even after install, and you have to manually remove them before reinstalling.


    Fsck the millennium, we want it now.
  • No, tax forms are not public information. Politicians will release them as part of their public disclosure (makes them look good) but that's their choice.

  • Microsoft, on the other hand, got a lot of bad press, when Bill Gates commented that they would NOT give ANY money to any charities any time soon.

    What are you talking about? Microsoft gives huge amounts of money to charity.

  • "Dr. Dre has requested, however, that Napster simply delete his works from their directory rather than blocking users from using the service at all."

    I'm sure Dr. Dre is going to get raked over the coals for this. To be fair, it's possible that he meant to block at the directory level, rather than simply deleting users.

    Honestly, it's a little disingenuous for Napster to claim that they can't block individual music at the directory level. They certainly could look for all the Dr. Dre songs and block those individual titles. There's not going to be that many combinations. Yes, users can just rename the files, but it's a war of attrition that Napster will eventually win. Eventually, the renaming will get unrecognizable, and people won't be able to find the songs anyway.

    In any case, none of this is going to stop Gnutella anyway. But I predict that Napster is going to go down.


  • Here's another related funny picture [].
  • by jlgriffiths ( 98499 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:22AM (#1063295)
    The Washington Post printed a fairly well-informed article [] today explaining how Gnutella is different from Napster and why it's got some people scared.
  • From a legal standpoint, you're right. But ethically, it's not right.

    I disagree. The enforcement of Metallica's copyrights is not the job of Napster. Napster has no legal or ethical obligation to perform copyright enforcement services on Metallica's behalf without compensation from Metallica.

    The DMCA says so. The RIAA, and all of the record companies paid a lot of money for the law, and they must abide by it. The law clearly places the responsibility for notification infringement on the copyright holder. Napster has complied completely with both the letter and spirit of the DMCA in every way.

    Whether the DMCA is an ethical law is another question.

    But to continue ...

    Microsoft includes a "Network Neighborhood" feature with Windows that allows two people to play MP3s from each other's computers. This creates no ethical imperative on the part of Microsoft to develop a "blacklist" of filenames that may not be shared in the Network Neighborhood. The FTP program can be used to transfer MP3s back and forth, but the various companies that provide network software have no ethical imperative to employ elaborate content checking on the part of third party copyright holders who do not pay them.

    In fact, Napster can be and is used for completely legitimate, authorized trading of copyrighted songs. Many bands, including Metallica, have authorized the free trading of concert recordings by their fans. Other bands have made studio recordings available freely as MP3s for promotional purposes -- just as the entrenched record industry uses promotional records and other materials for exactly the same purpose. The purpose of Napster is to facilitate legal activity, just like the purpose of the Network Neighborhood is to facilitate the legal activity of authorized data transfer and file sharing. The actions of Napsters' users no more reflect on Napster then the actions of someone who robs a bank and uses a Ford as a getaway car reflect on the Ford Motor Company.

    Napster knows there are copyright songs on there. It knows the law is being violated. They just don't care because they rely on users sharing copyrighted songs for the majority of their userbase.

    Well, that's your opinion on Napster's motivation. My opinion is that Napster is probably resisting demands to regulate content because the law says that once you start regulating content, you become responsible for that content. This seems more likely to me then your theory that their primary motivation is to facilitate criminal activity.

    Did I say song titles? I said SONGS. You even quoted me saying songs and not song titles. You're looking for a technical loophole, and that's dishonest. First of all, the majority of mp3s list the artist in the filename (for the exact reason you state above). Second, most people share multiple files from the same artist, so that could be a secondary check. Finally, a person could simply download the file and check it manually as a last resort.

    I'm not being dishonest. I'm simply one step ahead of your argument. It isn't a technical loophole. Your theory is fundamentally flawed.

    You can't identify a song without listening to it.

    MP3s are, as you said, identified by their filename -- presumably their song title, possibly including the name of the artist. For Metallica to demand that Napster ban a song title that they happened to use is Metallica claiming an intellectual property right that they simply do not have. Metallica simply has no legal authority to prohibit the distribution of songs containing the word "Metallica" in their titles.

    Also, Metallica has stated that they have absolutely no problem with people sharing MP3s of their live concert recordings. Banning the use of certain filenames would have the effect of stopping the distribution of live Metallica MP3s as well as studio recordings.

    Finally, for Napster to simply ban, for instance, songs with the word "Metallica" in them, would result in people deliberately misspelling song titles, like "Meta11ica." All this would accomplish would be to pollute the Napster namespace, with no benefit to Napster, Napster's users, or third party copyright holders.
    Also, the notion, advanced by others, that checksums can be used to identify copyright infringement is not useful. All that a checksum can verify is the integrity of a file transfer. Anyone who has ever ripped a CD knows that bit errors happen all the time. The odds are that if two people rip the same track, they will end up with at least one random bit error in the audio file, which will result in a different checksum. If Napster were to start examining checksums, the result would simply be that people would simply use a utility to change one or two bits before creating the MP3, which would result in a different checksum.

    And finally, for Napster to outlaw, for instance, the sharing of any file with the word "Metallica" in it would have the side effect of silencing criticism. If I were to write, perform, and record a song called "Metallica sucks" and put it on a Napster server, title-based censorship would effectively censor my song.

    Fact is, the only practical way to positively identify a Metallica song is to incur the bandwidth expense of actually downloading the song, and the expense of hiring a human to listen to it and decide what the file contains. The bandwidth and staff requirements of your proposal would be extremely expensive.

    What Metallica wants is for Napster to implement an expensive, labor and resource intensive program of proactive copyright enforcement services on their behalf. When Metallica went to an outside consultant to identify some 300,000+ users with files matching the names of Metallica songs, I doubt that the outside consultant did the work for free. I'm sure that they were compensated for their work.

    Why should Napster be required to perform essentially the same service on behalf of Metallica for free?

    You wouldn't have to get every single copyrighted song. Just make it a big enough pain in the ass to share copyrighted songs that people stop bothering.

    Your proposals constitute a technically workable method for a copyright holder to identify specific instances of probable copyright infringement, but nothing in the law requires Napster to do this work on behalf of any copyright holder. Remember, copyright is an entirely synthetic right. Copyright did not legally exist until it was invented, and the justification of copyright is not based on natural law, it is a Constitutional restriction on free speech, for the sole purpose of promoting the arts, that is based on statute and regulated by the copyright acts, the DMCA among them. Nothing in the law creates a legal imperative on the part of Napster to "make it a pain in the ass" for their own customers to use their product, and there is no moral imperative to do so either. The only moral imperative on the part of Napster is to follow the DMCA to the letter, which is exactly what they have done.

    Again, if Metallica wants Napster to proactively enforce Metallica's copyrights, which would be expensive and labor intensive, then Metallica should take the ethical approach and offer to compensate Napster for the work done on behalf of them and their record label, rather then take them to court to try and force Napster to perform ongoing, expensive work for them for free.

    I call that stealing.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @01:12PM (#1063299) Homepage Journal

    Metallica was supposed to be the rebel band, the hardcore band, the antisocial band, the party band, the crazy band, the band that pissed your parents off. I'll bet than many of the geeks here grew up listening to Metallica, or still do.

    I think that's a very stereotypical way of looking at metal bands. I'm a metal fan (and I was a Metallica fan back when they played metal) and I never really saw them as "rebel", "hardcore", "antisocial", or "crazy". What set the good metal bands of the 80s apart from the mainstream was that they weren't crazy. They were reasonable. They were down to earth "regular guys" who didn't wear makeup and spandex or dresses. And they played damn fine, intelligent music.

    Metal is still like that, actually. When Iced Earth or Nevermore plays at a club in your town, you can meet them in the bar afterwards, maybe buy 'em a beer. (And they deserve it too!)

    So if you're gonna ask what happened, ask this: whatever happened to the guys who played from the heart instead of getting their ideas from the marketing department? Whatever happened to the guys who would never degrade themselves by making a video for MTV, thereby implicitly endorsing corporate entertainment? Whatever happened to real people, making music you can bang your head to?

    Yeah, Metallica, persecute the toolmakers instead of the people who are using it to copy your music. "Seeking no truth, winning is all, find it so grim, so true, so real."

  • The main argument behind all of this is that the "artists" feel as though they are being cheated. They're making $99 billion instead of $100 billion, or whatever. Oh, boo hoo.

    What are they doing with the money, besides buying fancier cars and bigger houses?

    These artists, in an effort to squeeze every last dime from their audiences, are letting down the facade. They're showing that they're not really artists, just some people out to make a quick buck.

    Fsck 'em if they can't take a joke, I say.

  • My question is who is behind this? I'm really curious what Metallica will have to say if/when they ever respond to the interview. IIRC their manager has been extremely vocal against MP3s for a long time. One wonders if it isn't Metallica proper that is behind this as much as their label/etc. As for Dre, I'm not as surprised. Listen to any of his stuff all the way back to NWA - all he talk's about is making tons of money and fucking lots of women :) Oh yeah, and he talks a lot about stealing things too, which strikes me as a bit hypocritical in light of recent developments.

  • That's very sad. The very vehemence of your words is rather telling, don't you think? The original poster wasn't really saying anything all that astounding, was he? That being rich and well off implies some responsibility on your part to others less fortunate? That's just common sense, except for those who never grow up, who think they live in an isolated bubble of entirely their own creation.

    Grow up, Slashdotter.
  • When Iced Earth or Nevermore plays at a club in your town...

    Eek, I think my head would explode if I actually heard Warren (is that his name?) singing live. :-)

    "Seeking no truth, winning is all, find it so grim, so true, so real."

    Hetfield: Ouch!
    Lars: Ouch!
    Hammet: Ouch!
    Newstead: Ouch!
    Burton: Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
  • Allow me to respectfully suggest that you, sir, are on crack.

    I agree to this. Metallica does have all the right in the world. However, the wealthier you are, the more responsibility you have to share that wealth.

    Unilateral assertions regarding the moral and ethical responsibilities of other people aside, this is a shocking thing to say. You seem to concede that Metallica's rights have been abridged, but justify it on the basis of the fact that they've got money. Please explain to me how your assertion differs signifigantly from the following statement: "I agree that rich people have the rights to things they own, but they have a responsibility to let other people take it."

    Microsoft, on the other hand, got a lot of bad press, when Bill Gates commented that they would NOT give ANY money to any charities any time soon.

    Clearly, we do not live in the same world. I refer you to The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation [], the largest charitable foundation in the world, which gave $57 million dollars this year to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa []. Or to the official "Microsoft Giving" page [].

    Perhaps you were thinking of Eric Raymond, who warned charitable organizations against hitting him up for money []?

    There is also the other factor, that what you give to the world, you get back threefold. It really is good karma to give things away. Within limits, of course, (gotta maintain that self sustaining balance) but the better off you are, the more you're able to give.

  • Why not anonymously post all their songs to alt.binaries.mp3.metallica and alt.binaries.mp3.dr_dre? Actually someone else will have to do it, since I have none of their CDs and don't feel like downloading all the MP3s just to post them somewhere else (God knows I wouldn't be listening to them.)
  • A master can say it better than me:

    "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit. That is all." -- Robert A. Heinlein ("Life-Line")

    Music and all forms of artistic work are changing, as copyright is becoming harder to enforce or protect. The entertainment industry that depends on it might hold back the tide and keep a repressive status quo. They might not.

    We might have 1/10 the number of band's in 20 years. We might have 10x the number. Nobody knows the mid-term or long-term consequences of letting the clock tick. We DO know that the industry as it is now will be radically changed. But, we can make some guesses (with DMCA, UCITA, Sony Bono copyright act, or WIPO) as to what will happen if the clock gets stopped.

    The only people guarenteed to win are those who have a product that other people want and are willing to voluntarily pay for.

  • I completely agree.

    A local radio station plays 3 Metallica songs at 5 every day to entice some extra listeners. I was cool with it, until I heard about their actions. Now, if a Metallica song comes on, I turn the channel.

    Just so everyone knows, I don't have a single Metallica mp3 on my hard drive. Listening to their music feels pretty cheap now. Too bad, I was a big fan... oh well, I like folk better anyway. :)

  • Art is about art, not money. Ask the great painters and composers and sculptors who died poor and alone.

    So unless an artist is willing to suffer a completely miserable and lonely existance, his art has no merit? I suppose Pablo Picasso wasn't an incredibly talented artist? The Beatles didn't contribute anything worthwhile to culture?

    I am an artist and a musician. I spend MY MONEY to pay for the website that I use to advertise my band. I don't earn money, I don't allow others to advertise on my site with banner ads or affiliate programs or anything. I'm supporting all this stuff by going to a job I dislike and working all day for a company that will never acknowledge my contribution, or care about what happens to me.

    I have to spend my free time (the time other people spend chasing women, or playing sports, or drinking beer) pursuing my art, which is the only really important thing IN my life. I would much prefer it if I could get to the point where my art was able to support me.

    As far as my personal beliefs are concerned, I think that people trading my mp3s around is a good thing. If I could get a million people to download my mp3s for free, I could probably get 50,000 - 100,000 to make a purchase... and I could sustain myself quite well off of such a fanbase. So I don't necessarily agree with Metallica's stance or their tactics, but I really hate to hear that artists OWE the world their art, and that if they don't feel like doing it for free, they ought to just quit. We don't expect doctors to cure us for free out of their love for healing. We don't expect movie actors to work day jobs and act only in their spare time (and if we did, the quality of their medical care & their movies would be negatively impacted)

    Let's face it. The WHOLE WORLD would be better off if there was no such thing as money, no such thing as power, no such thing as a rich or a poor man. If everybody worked for free and everyone recieved the same benefits and treatment, the world would be a wonderful place.

    But as long as our world ISN'T that beautiful dream, as long as people are required to work and earn and contribute just to get by.... why SHOULDN'T artists be compensated just like anyone else? I don't think that anyone would argue that a world without music or art or literature or movies would be a very dull place to live. Why do you expect artists to fulfill your preconcieved notions (poor, lonely, crazy)? Isn't it enough that they enrich your lives and give you choices as to what you can see and hear and feel? Isn't it fair that they be allowed to earn a living if they are capable of doing it? Should they be punished because their "wares" are easy to steal?

    I think not.

    -The Reverend
  • The purpose of Napster is to facilitate legal activity, just like the purpose of the Network Neighborhood is to facilitate the legal activity of authorized data transfer and file sharing. The actions of Napsters' users no more reflect on Napster then the actions of someone who robs a bank and uses a Ford as a getaway car reflect on the Ford Motor Company.
    What color is the sky on your planet?

    I like using Napster, I really do, but a more proper analogy would be Ford making a bulletproof, high-speed sports car with a stealth mode, and advertising it as being "perfect for those summer getaways, wink wink nudge nudge." Sure, it could be used for legitimate purposes, and probably would be by some. But with that particular combination of features, it becomes laughably obvious to anyone who looks at it for more than five seconds what it was really intended for.

    Sure, there are some MP3s out there that are meant to be legitimately swapped around. But the vast majority of MP3s available, and hence that are traded by Napster, are illegal. I've used Napster since shortly after it came out, and I can count all the "legit" MP3s I've seen in all that time on the fingers of both hands. There's just no way around that, and if anyone tries to tell a judge that Napster was meant for strictly legal purposes they'll be laughed right out of the court.

    Napster's creator had to know what people would use it for when he created it. He couldn't coin such an astoundingly killer application without having at least that many smarts. In fact, I seem to recall it having been created to facilitate trading MP3s of all kinds because all the websites for that purpose stank.

    Suppose someone started a dynamite or firearm factory and gave them out for free to anyone who wanted them? Could he get off the hook by claiming, "But I only made it to facilitate the legal purposes of clearing stumps or hunting. I'm not responsible for how other people use it"?

  • Regardless of the manouvers that have cheezed off many of their fans, this lawyer for Metallica is only fanning the flames by calling the protesting Napster users "liars" in blanket statements. There's an argument that Metallica can make regarding the protection of their copyrights, but it does them no good to needlessly offend tens of thousands of their (former?) fans in the process.
  • I've not doubt that someone representing Metallica read through the various posts relating to the topic here on Slashdot. If so, they'd have to see that's there is a rather overwhelming "bad Metallica" vibe. It'd probably be bad PR to play the interview game here.

    Of course, it's possible that they learned from the live chat, which did little to improve public perception of Metallica's intentions.

    Now, the real question is, can Metallica be held responsible for mislabelling these users as "pirates"?
  • by Capt Dan ( 70955 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:29AM (#1063359) Homepage
    This is kinda off topic, but for a while now I've been wondering, how does napster make any money?

    I mean, assuming they got venture capital to start with, they have to have some sort of business plan...

    But the client is free...

    And I have yet to see advertising on their website or within the client itself... (other than ads for themselves...)

    What's up? Who's paying their legal bills?

    Or am I missing something obvious?

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
  • Intentionally ignoring criminal activity is immoral and unethical.

    There's a guy down the hall playing an MP3 right now. Am I obligated to pick up the phone and call the RIAA? I go to the library, and I see someone photocopying an entire magazine. Am I supposed to call the police to have him arrested? I drive home from work, and notice that I'm the only one not speeding. Should I be on the phone to the police, reading off lists of license plates? If I see someone shoot someone else with a gun, I'll be right on the phone, but there's infringements of various laws going on every second of the day, and honestly, the ones that don't hurt anyone, I don't necessarily care about. Maybe you're different.

    Metallica is completely capable of detecting copyright infringement on Napster without any help from Napster. They proved it by doing exactly that. The law places the burden on the copyright holder to identify copyright infringement, and Metallica has done so. So what's the problem? Metallica has proved that they are fully capable of protecting their own self interests on Napster.

    Again, it isn't Napster's job to do Metallica's work for them. If Metallica wants Napster to perform a service for them, identifying copyright infringement, that the law clearly says is the responsibility of Metallica, then they should pay them for their services, just like Metallica paid the third party that identified the copyright infringement in the first place.

    If there is a filename called "Metallica - Fade to Black.mp3", you can assume that it's a Metallica song.

    That would be possible evidence of a copyright infringement, but proving that it was a copyright infringement would require downloading the song to make sure. I say that it's immoral to perform censorship based on assumptions.

    If the person denies it, Napster could simply check the file itself. I said this in my last post, which you pointly ignored. More dishonesty.

    Actually, I directly addressed this point. Yes, Napster could, if they wanted to, download every song. That would defeat the entire point of Napster. The point of Napster is to serve as an index. They don't have the bandwidth required to download millions and millions of MP3s, they don't have the personnel to listen to them and identify the copyrighted ones, and they shouldn't have to.

    Metallica identified over 300,000 users that they claimed had Metallica songs. What would be the bandwidth costs of downloading 300,000 servers x N files per server? How many staff members would be required just to sit there and play back the first few seconds of 300,000 x N MP3s to determine what they are? That's just one band out of thousands. How can you seriously claim that your proposal is realistic?

    Now, of course, we find why you are against this. You don't believe in copyrights.

    You completely misunderstand me. It isn't that I don't believe in copyright. The point that I was trying to make is that the only moral obligation with regard to copyright is to follow the law, and only to the limited general extent that following the law is moral. Copyright law in and of itself does not perform the moral purpose of protecting a natural right. If you maliciously wack someone over the head with a 2x4, then successfully find some twist of law to justify your actions, even though you are unpunishable under the law, you are morally in the wrong, because you have infringed upon that person's right to walk down the street without being assaulted, which most people would recognize as a natural right.

    The purpose of copyright is not to protect people's rights. The purpose of copyright, as explicitly spelled out in the constitution is:
    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    The authors of the constitution recognized that copyrights and patents were special -- that copyright was NOT a natural right, like life, liberty, and dispite your claim to the contrary, property. They felt it necessary to not only enumerate Congress' authority to pass copyright and patent laws, but also to justify the creation of them -- something that occurs nowhere else in the Constitution.

    Copyrights are a restriction of free speech. The only possible justification for patents and copyrights is their constitutional purpose -- to promote the creation of more inventions and more speech. Not to "benefit artists." Not to "benefit consumers." To promote the creation of more speech. Copyright has nothing to do with morals. It has nothing to do with ethics. It is a constitutional compromise, created for a specific purpose. It trades away part of the natural right of free speech -- the right to repeat and build upon other people's speech -- in exchange for what is hopefully a public benefit.

    I especially disagree with your statement that copyright law is "for the benefit of the consumer", which implies that copyright is only intended to benefit people who pay for copyrighted material. Copyright law is for the benefit of all persons, whether they are a paid consumer of the copyrighted material or not. That's what fair use is for -- to allow all persons to benefit from copyrighted materials, not just paid "consumers". Otherwise, one could argue that giving someone your newspaper after you're finished with it would be immoral. Letting your friend borrow your CD would be immoral. Founding a public library would be especially immoral, and a gross violation of thousands of authors rights, because all that a library does is make copyrighted materials available to the public without payment to the authors.

    How is it moral, and considered a highly upright act to found a public library, but immoral to do the same thing on your computer?

    I also said I never expected Napster to do what I said, because it's clear that they wouldn't have a userbase if they did. You dishonestly ignored that as well.

    I just didn't think that it was worth addressing.

    You said:

    The fact is that they don't want to stop these people because they know that very few people would bother using their service if they prevented people from sharing copyrighted material.

    You seem convinced that Napster was created for no other reason then to exist as an ongoing criminal enterprise. That's what the RIAA wants you to think, and apparently they have succeeded. If Napster was created for this reason, then why would they set themselves up as a huge, public target?

    Ok. I said this before, but again, if Napster were to start regulating content, it would legally become responsible for the content. Napster does not want to become legally responsible for content that they cannot control. Would you? If you had two choices of action, one of which would make you legally responsible for OTHER people's illegal activity, would you do it? Napster would probably LOVE it if people were to stop using it to trade major-label artists, and use it soley to trade songs by artists who approve of free digital distribution. That would get the record companies off their back.

    You seem to think that Napster has a moral obligation to destroy their service, and I disagree.

    There is a fundamental change occurring right now in the way young people find and choose their music. Up until now, most young people would pick and choose their music by listening to radio stations. Record companies were so anxious to get their songs on the radio that they even went so far as to illegally pay DJs to favor their songs, because radio play meant everything. Without radio, your records would not be heard, and if they were not heard, they would not sell.

    Now, more and more young people are turning to the net instead to pick and choose their music. If the record companies had been smart, they would have been on the ball -- creating web sites where fans could listen to their songs. Instead, they dug in their heels, refused to embrace digital music distribution, and now they are screaming bloody murder when new companies are doing exactly what they didn't do.

    I believe that as time goes on, more and more bands and record labels will discover that MP3 distribution improves their record sales, and authorize trading of their MP3s. At the same time, fewer and fewer bands and record labels will maintain a "no mp3" policy, once it becomes unprofitable, and as the amount of legally available material goes up, the amount of material legally hosted on Napster will also go up. The fact that online mp3 distribution is still in its infancy should not be held against Napster.

    Just because the record companies have successfully maintained a stranglehold monopoly on music distribution for nearly a century does not give them any intrinsic right to continue their monopoly in the face of changing conditions.

    Napster didn't create the rules, but they are following them. Actually, given that the DMCA was drafted by the RIAA, MPAA, and other corporate special interest groups, and rubber-stamped by congress, one could reasonably say that the record companies DID write the rules. However, now that this asinine law is in effect, they have to follow the law, and they have just realized that the law applies to them, and they don't like it. They want the law to just apply to other people. They want their companies to be protected from lawsuits by the burdensome notification/removal legal mechanism, but they don't want to have to be bothered with having to follow the law themselves. That's what this is about. Napster IS following the law, and they are not in the wrong.
  • "...was just a freight train heading your way." (in the form of a technological and social change your sorry dinasaur ass couldn't be bothered to adapt to).

    I thought I was the only one so consiquent in my disgust. I used to have a couple of Metallica CDs ... not any more. They made pretty cool frisbies before shattering against the brick wall of my building, adjascent to the dumpsters.

    The one (count them, one) metallica mp3 I had (with the SF symphony, singing the exact same song
    I already had recorded on my VCR) has been deleted, with prejudice. In this respect, Metallica may have achieved its goal. However, the money this has netted them (exactly $0) doesn't even beigin to offset the money they've lost in future CD sales (including older Metallica stuff I used to have on my "to acquire" list).

    Oh, and I reused the videotape to record an episode of "Sliders." I am now, most happilly, metallica-free, and am surfing and elsewhere for my music needs.

    The RIAA and their lackeys could have held on a few years longer, if they weren't actively pushing their erstwhile fans and customers toward vastly more palitable alternatives such as []. Through their actions they have considerably shortened their window of oppurtinity to adapt and survive the coming changes, a situation which is entirely their loss (and the consumers' gain).

    Good riddence to Metallica and all those of their ilk.
  • Earlier this week I caught a Charlie Rose interview with Lars Ulrich []. To tell you the truth he put up some pretty convincing arguments for banning MP3s on Napster. Lars pointed out that what they were objecting to was digital copies or their digitally recorded albums. He openly supports fans recording live performances. When the other guy in the interview accused him of being greedy he took the pragmatic stance by saying that though the record companies have a virtual monopoly, all Napster is trying to do is become the new monopolist (with no revenue going back to the artist). Lars also seemd to focus on the Artists right to coltroll the artistic work. I'm not sure that is a valid point. My personal feeling is that while the artist has the right to decide how to produce the art, it a general way it can't be called art unless the audience sees/hears it. The expression is controlled by the artitst, but the audience controls how they see/hear/interpret it. In this way I think it is valid to record performance and redistribute it since the recording itself becomes a new piece or art. Maybe Slashdot needs to interview Napster and really press them on their goals for generating revenue. Is their model based on finding the best online MP3 content and servicing it to the consumer, without the artist getting a cut? Is the software ging to eventually cost money? Will they start pushing ads down to Napster clients?

    At any rate I can respect someone for standing up for what they believe is right. If someone basically crapped over all my work and then flipped me the bird when I ask them not to steal my work, I reckon I'd get a little pissed myself.

  • by ReadbackMonkey ( 92198 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:30AM (#1063368)
    There is nothing wrong advertising MP3 players if they do infact have plans to begin distributing their music *themselves*, from *their* website. Of course since they probably don't.. the point is moot.

    My personal thoughts all along have been that;

    a) Although it is in contradiction to the stance that the band has taken against commercialism. They do have a right, in our society, to be reimbursed for the work that they do. If they want to ban Napster users, who might or might not (depending if they own the albums), be stealing music, then they should be able to.

    b) This stance does them no good publically to appear so advesarial (SP?) to their listening public. What they should offer as a remedy is the ability to download MP3's from a Metallica controlled website. That would require some sort of registration with Metallica, that would also include proof of purchase for the albums that have been bought. Sort of like a fan club distribution.

    For those of you who never belonged to a band's fan club, the band usually sends out singles once a year to its members. If they were to distribute such singles off their website they would gain; direct contact with their fanbase; a distribution system that would eventually allow direct to consumer selling, they could double the normal price of a single, and the consumer would still be seeing a savings.... anyway, I'm rambling.. bottom line is Metallica is wrong to be attacking Napster, right to be asking Napster to ban fans, and wrong not to be offering those same fans the opportunity to purchase or recieve copies of those songs directly from Metallica..

    anyway just my $0.02, (well 0.01 cents since I'm in Canada.)
  • The only Napster users Metallica targeted were those who were distributing copyrighted Metallica songs. This is illegal, the last time I checked.

    I know I'm picking a nit here, but, strictly speaking, when I offer a file for download, be it via FTP, http, or some other protocol (e.g. napster), I am not distributing anything.

    Users have to proactively come to me and take the aforementioned data. I am not shipping it to their machines, they are taking it from mine, by their own actions.

    Now, if I spammed a newsgroup, or sent out a bulk emailing, of Metallica music in, say, mp3 format, then I would be guilty of distribution. No doubt the courts will redefine distribution to include having something in a location others might be able to copy it from, just as they absurdly redefined the notion of a "person" to include corporate entities, and no doubt they can enforce such legal and linguistic absurdities with the use of force, but even with the collective gun of the RIAA and its lackey, the US Government, in my face, I will be no less correct in saying "you are full of shit, I didn't distribute a thing." Alas, being right won't stop the bullet from splattering one's greymatter all over the wall, so the victory, if such it is, is only moral, at best.
  • If Napster truly did not want people to use their service for piracy, they could easy stop it. How hard would it be for Napster to hire a couple of people to police their service? Just go around looking for pirated songs and ban anyone who has pirated songs offered (after a warning to remove the pirated material, of course). I'm sure the RIAA would be more than happy to provide them with a list of copyrighted songs. The fact is that they don't want to stop these people because they know that very few people would bother using their service if they prevented people from sharing copyrighted material.

    That's why this is different than something like FTP. The vast majority of people use an FTP application for legitimate purposes. I suspect that it's probably harder to find non-copyrighted material on Napster than it is to find copyrighted material.

    Of course, I'm just bitter because people put "Anime" into their list but never have any anime songs shared.


  • Hey, I love Strange Loops.

    Interesting stuff on the binaural beats! I am afraid I can't outright do music directly using this, as it is patented. However, some of my ambient stuff does similar things just by accident, so think of it as a milder version or something :)

    Hope you don't think it's all like Stratus- I think that's going to continue to be a problem as I keep doing different sorts of albums :) as long as you don't mind the eclecticness you should have fun downloading stuff. Mind your head now ;)

    I agree with you about the bind we are in. There's just too much information out there to sort through... the thing is, the MTV/Top 40 approach fails horribly when confronted with a wide range of people. You can try to force all people into one mold, but it never completely works, it's artificial. It's more natural for people to form different opinions about things.

    ...back to the studio...

  • Have a look at the Jeffrey Zeldman interview. Those comments were pretty bad, but he passed with flying colors. Granted, he isn't as big, and he's not involved in a court case... but at least he was decent enough to answer.

  • this method has promise... that is until they make napster clients that filp a random bit in the id3 tag.

    Don't even have to do that. Different people will put different info in the ID3 tag, so my version of an MP3 will have a different MD5 signature than yours will of the same song.


  • Lars was on KROQ this morning. If anybody recorded it and could throw it up on napster that would be gret.

    Anyway, his whole argument is that it is their music and they should be able to distribute it how they want to. They don't care about money, they are rich. They don't care about the fans, they make the music for themselves.

    That pretty much sums it up.
  • Metallica Remains Silent

    Phew. Thank you Napster!

  • will only purchase the pre-fabricated, made-for-mass-marketing, custom-built-to-go-with-MTV music from at best three to eight "top o' the charts" different bands in each of the styles that most mainstream music seems to fall into nowadays

    This is a grotesque over-generalisation. There is a lot of cheesy rubbish out there, largely because that's what most people want. There's also a lot of quality not-so-mainstream music available. You are making a lot of gross over-generalisations here.

    However, amidst all of that volume, there's remarkably little musical production of quality comparable to that of even one of the least fine Mozart symphonies.

    Mozart was one of the best musicians of his century. The best musicians of our century also produce quality music.

    it's not Average Joe who chooses what gets played/sold/toured, it's the record company.

    What a load of hogwash. If the record company don't produce music that people want to listen to, they go out of business. The record company don't dictate what we want to listen to, and no one is forced to buy anything they don't want to hear.

    And as you yourself say in the next paragraph, practical and widespread micropayment technology might make it feasible for many bands to be "underwritten" by many people at once, each paying a trivial amount,

    Well if that's such a good idea, why aren't people doing it today ? Is it because the copyright model is in fact vastly superior ?

    Sure, such a scheme would certainly mean the ruin of most absurdly well-paid, hugely-followed mega-bands that account for today's music market. But it's nothing short of necessary.

    Sounds like neo-Marxist rhetoric to me. Kill the big evil landlords/bands and take all their money.

  • So music from the Classical and Romantic periods is lacking in plurality, richness and diversity. Riiiiiiiight.

    (1) Note: no rebuttal offered.
    (2) You're comparing hundreds of years of music history to today's music. Let's compare say a 40 year window of the Romantic period and see how it compares in richness and diversity to music of the last 40 years, from bebop to cool jazz to fusion to latin jazz to hip hop to metal, etc etc etc.

    As we speak, that choice is made by the marketroids in the big RIAA labels

    This is outright false. I have purchased several albums from small labels. I choose what I listen to. The record companies need to produce music that people want to listen to to stay in business. There is no "thought control" conspiracy here, the record companies try to produce music that people want to hear. This doesn't mean that everything is "mainstream" either. There are a lot of niche labels that cater to niche markets.

    What the original poster proposes is no more than a pay-by-worth system: one pays to support music one like.

    The problem is that most of us don't have the money to feed a band, so this calls for some kind of distributed payment system. As far as distributed payment systems go, copyright works better than anything else.

    Either way, by eliminating the middleman, the control over what we listen is put back into the hands of the listeners

    ... or at least those listeners who can afford to pay the salary of AN ENTIRE F*CKING BAND out of their disposable income. I guess under your system, I don't qualify, I can't afford to hire a band. I'd rather just buy a CD !

    he way I see it, just about anything would be better than the current state of musical dictatorship.

    ou state your "dictatorship" conspiracy theory as though it's an irrefutable fact, when in fact it's merely a theory and a very dubious one at best ( moreover, one which I don't accept ).

  • by TheDude[40oz] ( 170907 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:40AM (#1063399) Homepage
    Both Metallica and Dre were anti-almost-everything bands that put out some damn fine music. Then they got popular. They were still good until they got too rich for their own good. They stopped creating art and started creating shit to sell for profit. Once they became profit-oriented instead of art-oriented, they started going downhill, and eventually ended up as what we see today: two formerly damn fine bands afraid of being forgotten and losing their huge piles of money.

    Smokedot []
    Drug Info, Rights, Laws, and Discussion
  • Insults do not substantiate your arguments ( or lack thereof ). If the labels are pricefixing, that's something that the DOJ need to handle ( it's called a "collusive oligopoly" and as such violates the free market definition ). However, my point is that market forces will (usually) tend to hold prices down. This appears to be the case -- most of the small record labels do not offer substantially better prices than the larger ones. The markup seems to occur at the several points of distribution. If you need to import the music, there are also possible import duties or other hidden taxes. Keep in mind that each markup is by a percentage, so the price increases exponentially with the number of middlemen. Sure, a CD costs about 5 times as much as it cost to press it. How much does it cost to manufacture $50- jeans ?

  • by XJoshX ( 103447 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:32AM (#1063401) Journal
    Los Angeles, CA -- Today the New Kids On the Block (NKOB)
    continued the the record industry's war against Napster. The New Kids
    management gave a copy of 5 Napster users who had illeagally put
    NKOB songs on their virtual servers. "This probably doesn't even begin
    to touch the number of napster users pirating our art!" said former
    NKOB member Jordan Knight Thursday. "We have evidence that
    their may be as many as 9 people on napster with our songs!" New Kids on the Block
    joins Dr. Dre and Metallica in the ongoing war against music piracy.
    "I think we're the ones hit hardest" said Knight, "Metallica and
    Dr. Dre have sold millions of albums in the last few years; We've
    only sold 7 since napsters introduction and I think it's quite
    apparent piracy is to blame."
  • Honestly, it's a little disingenuous for Napster to claim that they can't block individual music at the directory level. They certainly could look for all the Dr. Dre songs and block those individual titles.

    While lyrics and music may be copyrighted, song titles are not copyrightable, and are re-used all the time by different bands for different songs.

    The effect of such a title-based ban would be to block other bands' songs because they happened to have the same, or similar name to Dr Dre's songs.

  • Art is about art, not money. Ask the great painters and composers and sculptors who died poor and alone.

    Well, let's be a little realistic here. Yes, some artists died poor and alone. But in the old days, I would say the majority were sponsored by upper class rich people, the church, or royalty. Much of the best art was commissioned work: The Last Supper, The Sistine Chapel, most of Michaelangelo's sculptures, etc. The Mona Lisa, on the other hand, was done purely by Da Vincy (sp? -- I'm having a brain fade) over 20 years for the sake of art.


  • by goingware ( 85213 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:33AM (#1063413) Homepage
    In case you haven't heard or haven't got around to trying it out, you can download Gnutella [] clients for a variety of platforms from here [].

    Rather than a single application, gnutella is a public protocol with numerous independent implementations, and it is architected to survived both nuclear blasts and lawyers - there is no centralized server.

    There is some anonymonity, although it is far from perfect (I'd like to see both the downloads and searched done through encrypted channels) but because there is no central server, search engine or user registry there is no central point of control (or chokehold).

    There probably aren't as many titles available as through Napster, but that's mainly because it's not as well known. But if I run Gnutella now, let's see how many files there are available this afternoon... well I'm tired of waiting, it's over 3700 hosts, 413,000 files, and 7,700,000 MB. So even though there may be fewer files available than Napster, there's a lot out there.


  • oh, and I forgot about this. md5sums on literal RIPs of cd tracks will all resolve to the same number.

    BUT, each mp3 encoder works slightly differently. how the hell can they track md5sums if I use lame (for example) and give it a different quality setting, or use a different min/man vbr setting?

    or, suppose I release a patch to lame or blade (etc) that changes just a few bits. imperceptible to the ear but will easily defeat their scans.

    all in all, this ia a pretty lame attempt at id-ing compressed songs digitally.


  • can be fond here [], courtesy of Camp Chaos [].

  • My day job is internet application development, and my full time hobby is a little independant punk/industrial label ( You could say I speak PERL and powerchords. The point is this - I'm kind of on both sides, so here's my two cent insight: MP3 is a double edged sword, and you just have to find ways to make it work for you as an artist, instead of fighting it. Points to ponder: - Bands, especially big ones, make thier money at the concerts. The CD sales keep them fed between tours, the tours buy them houses and cars. For small time bands like the ones I work with, CD sales usually come out red - it's just a way to get people to the shows. - EXPOSURE is enemy #1. If you are the greatest band in the world, you're still working at wendys if no one has ever heard you. CDs have to cost about four bucks for the band to even consider pressing them - too much for 'fans' to buy on spec. Compilations are cool, but again, no following, no comp invites. Opening shows up for other bands is good, too, but, whoops, the band doesn't know who you are! Distribute MP3's for free - a pretty good price for the demand scale - and you get instant exposure. - Piracy isn't new it's just easier. You wouldn't think fans in your own home town would be too cheap to buy your cd for four bucks, but MY OWN FRIENDS dub my stuff. Not that I sympathize with Metallica a whole lot, but imagine putting your heart into your music, and then finding it dubbed on some twenty year old tape deck (MP3s don't sound as good as CDs - see ARS TECHNICA's comparisons) in your best friends car! My limited experience in the music industry has taught me what metallica fails to grasp - you better learn how to make it work. 'it' is what the fans are doing. getting high and mighty about your copyrights looks good to the lawyers, but piss off your fans and see how much money you really save. The world is adjusting to new opportunities through technology, and the old garde is going to make it ugly. I wonder if Guttenheim cought much flack back in the day?

  • Remember last year's "interview" with John Vranesevich [] of AntiOnline? Not only did he refuse to answer the submitted questions, his response was dismissive of and insulting to the questioners.
  • > Metallica has already alienated lots of their fans.

    I saw something a few days back when I flipped channels across a public access station. A low grade video had the text "napster narcs" superimposed on it, so I stopped to see what it was. The music was apparently Metallica (not sure; I don't do heavy metal), and the titles alternated between the above and something like "This is what Metallica sounded like before the started sucking cock". There was also a link to a web site, which I checked out but didn't bother bookmarking. It was just a single paragraph of rant against the band, basically addressed to Lars and telling him that one of the other band members (deceased?) was probably rolling over in his grave over the whole thing.

    One funny thing was that behind the video someone (Metallica?) was singing "Obey your master!", and no matter how carefully I listened, it always sounded like "Obey your Napster!" It sounded like too professional a recording to be a knock off, though. Any Metallica fans out there? Or ex fans who haven't nuked their CDs? If this as a Metallica song, give it a listen and see if it doesn't sound like "Napster" - maybe they were doing some unanticipated prophecy.

    At any rate, the point of this long rant is that it isn't on /. that you will find trashing Metallica over this.

  • by gboone ( 109346 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:37AM (#1063428)
    How did Mozart and Beethoven survive? Afterall, they weren't paid for CD sales either.

    In their chatroom appearance recently, Metallica said that one of their goals was to educate fans. [The chat was a lame PR pitty-party which avoided any clued-in questions from the other participants.] More likely, they're receiving a crash course in techology. So I'm hardly surprised that they blew off Slashdot.

    Perhaps they're starting to realize that their "Let's fight for Good(tm) by suing pirates" crusade is hopelessly misdirected. Their industry is changing with technology--viewing these technological shifts as a simple piracy issue is hopelessly misguided.

    The current model only works because CDs are expensive to produce and distribute. But as music becomes trivially cheap to exchange, is that the end of professional music? Will the artists starve?

    Hardly. Painful though it is to use the names Mozart and Metallica in the same post, an even cursory look at history shows that artists have flourished for a very long time without expensive, monopolistic distribution schemes and lawsuit bullying.

    Musicians of the future will be supported in the same way Mozart and Beethoven were:

    Patronage. In the modern case, it may be corporate or governmental support, perhaps like auto-racing teams, in echange for logo or ad messages. Or think of it like an investment: companies put money into talent in the hope their tours will be profitable. (Isn't this what the record companies do now?)

    Comissioned works. Poets and sculptors are often hired to create works for the public. Increasingly, popular bands write ad jingles, for instance. It's easy to imagine a CD sponsored by a company.

    Performances. Of course, popular acts already make a good portion of their money from tours.

    The new technology kills the costs that necessitated the big companies: 1) access to fans via printing and advertising, and 2) manufacture and distribution of the music. Both are now effectively costless.

    Smart bands will figure out that CDs aren't just art, they're also ads for their band. They'll get their word out as far as possible with the Napsters and Gnutellas, then reap the rewards of name recognition and touring fees.

  • Did they *promise* us an interview, is it something that their publicists had said previously might happen or what.

    They promised us an interview. It was never presented to me (or anyone else, for that matter) as a 'possibility' thing. It was always talked as a definite, a 'when,' not an 'if.'


  • by elgardo ( 117823 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:48AM (#1063433) Homepage
    ...the entire society has changed. For those of you (the majority, I assume) who watched Fame back in 1980, go see Center Stage. Not nearly as good as Fame, but in a way, the difference between the two movies represent the social differences between 1980 and 2000. It is sad, really.

    For the "Metallica has all the right in the world" advocates... I agree to this. Metallica does have all the right in the world. However, the wealthier you are, the more responsibility you have to share that wealth. Look at McDonald's, for example - they solved a lot of PR problems just by starting to donate to charities. Microsoft, on the other hand, got a lot of bad press, when Bill Gates commented that they would NOT give ANY money to any charities any time soon.

    There is also the other factor, that what you give to the world, you get back threefold. It really is good karma to give things away. Within limits, of course, (gotta maintain that self sustaining balance) but the better off you are, the more you're able to give. And it will only do you good in the long run.

    Of course, I am now actively boycotting anything that comes out of RIAA, and I'll be buying my CDs from non-RIAA organizations like instead. Not because they are executing their "rights", but because they are being greedy, and are radiating bad karma.

  • I'd like to see both the downloads and searched done through encrypted channels

    Well, you couldn't do the download through encrypted channels. It's unreliable enough as it is through a direct link; can you imagine what it would be like when it also has to travel through 1 or more other hosts? "All riiigghhtt... that 200 meg download is almost done... Doh! An intervening host must've disconnected!"


  • Patronage and commissioned works are interesting beasts. In both cases, someone has the power to get out a message of their own, using a popular or talented artist as a mouthpiece.

    In the case of patronage (which, in our modern day and age, could well involve fairly binding contracts), a powerful entity (an individual, a corporation, a government) might be able to further the spread of propaganda favorable to them, using the artist(s) to do the dirty work. The average joe would be none the wiser. People who know how to read between the lines are few, and often in no position to speak effectively against lies and blatant manipulation of the public.

    Commissioned works summon the same specter, but on an individual, not necessarily extended-contract basis. This has already been done before; every major belligerent during the First and Second World Wars commissioned artists to create propaganda posters and films.

    I think the best route would be for performers to give live performances and sell (on a direct-to-customer basis, with as few middlemen as possible) copies of their works. But this is my personal opinion, and I could easily be wrong.

  • by kirwin ( 71594 ) on Thursday May 18, 2000 @09:52AM (#1063441)

    This post is protected under Copyright, DMCA, ASPCA, and has a patent pending.

    Master of Napster

    End of m-p-3, crumbling away
    I'm your source of implication
    Banks that pump with fear, sucking money clear
    Leading to corporate destruction

    Find them, Net-PD
    More is all we need
    We're dedicated to
    How I'm suing you

    Come download faster
    Away with Napster
    Our cash burns faster
    Away with Napster

    Napster of Puppets I'm pulling your strings
    Warping your mind and trashing your dreams
    Blinded by greed, just buy the CD
    Just call my lawyer, `cause I'll hear you scream
    Just call my lawyer `cause I'll hear you scream

    Free music, no way. Were R-I-A-A
    Loss of cash becoming clearer
    Sound monopoly, financial misery
    Chop our breakfast on a mirror

    Download you will see
    More is all we need
    We're dedicated to
    How we're suing you

    Napster of Puppets I'm pulling your strings
    Warping your mind and trashing your dreams
    Blinded by greed, just buy the CD
    Just call my lawyer, `cause I'll hear you scream
    Just call my lawyer `cause I'll hear you scream

    Napster, Napster, Where's the song that I've been after?
    Napster, Napster, You promised mp3's
    Laughter, Laughter, All I hear is corporate laughter
    Laughter, Laughter, laughing at my cries

    It's not worth all that, stupid little spat
    Just a rhyme without a reason
    Neverending ways, drift on jury days
    We don't even know the reason
    Download you will see
    More is all we need
    We're dedicated to
    How we're suing you

    Come download faster
    Away with Napster
    Our cash burns faster
    Away with Napster

    Napster of Puppets I'm pulling your strings
    Warping your mind and trashing your dreams
    Blinded by greed, just buy the CD
    Just call my lawyer, `cause I'll hear you scream

    Ha ha ha ha

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson