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Napster Wars 463

barjam wrote to us with the news from the MP3 front. Apparently the RIAA has filed to have Napster pull all major-label songs from Napster. There's another take from Canoe on the story. The Canoe article states that the RIAA has gone a step further and wants to have Napster shut down on a preliminary injunction.
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Napster Wars

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  • All of these formats have or can be broken. I don't care how good your crypto algorithm is, the simple fact is that audio must be decoded and sent to the soundcard. And right when this happens, it is quite easy to take this data stream and write it to a file. This is before the DAC or any other sort of degradation occurs. Long story short, nonwatermarked digital audio will be around for a long, long time - at least until someone can get proprietary soundcards into all of our machines. Fat chance. I haven't lost any sleep over MP4, SDMI, or any secure format.

    Ditto for DVD-Audio. Audio DVD will present a ton more data, meaning much bigger MP3s, but I have a hard time seeing it gain mass acceptance by the general public. The gain just isn't that great. 192khz sampling at 24 bit is just totally worthless, as far as I'm concerned. Take the average CD user, who plays it in their car, discman, or tinny computer speakers, and you simply aren't going to notice a difference. Ditto for 96khz - who the hell wants to buy four more speakers simply for the pseudoenjoyment of added channels. Digital music, in its current form, is just fine, thank you. The only new innovation I could see that would take hold would be a size reduction. Aside from that, it's trivial to downsample DVD-A into a more palatable-sized MP3/4. With bandwidth doubling faster than Moore's law anyways, who knows, maybe we'll be able to pirate them in their entirety soon.

  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @05:30AM (#1005959) Homepage Journal
    Hehe, yea, her b.s. pissed me off too. []

    The funny part, IMHO, is when they start to bring morality into the equation. Record Executives and morality, that's almost as funny as that Seagram's guy decrying pirates...when his grandfather was a bootlegger (the real kind).

  • "You'll have a hard time finding a record store that carries used CDs
    and major label new releases, because if the store is found out, the label will stop distributing new CDs to them or refuse to allow them to
    advertise they have those new releases in stock. "

    That would be clear prior restraint of speech and no court would uphold any such "refusal."

    What you mispelleed here is the label will not contribute to coop advertising, leaving the independent record store to fend for its entire advertising budget (while the mainstream record store gets advertising money -- which is where a
    substantial portion of what "the label gets."

    I'd be willing to bet 10% of the label revenue goes to advertising.
  • Down in Tennessee gas is $1.25 and people are complaining about that.

    Forgive the offtopic comment, but $1.25 is NOTHING. The average price for a gallon of unleaded gas around New York is $1.63. I saw on the news last night that the average price in Chicago is $2.06 per gallon. Not to mention that in most other countries the prices are often double that.

    I guess it's all relative, but (back on topic) like the record industry, oil companies engage in price fixing. They set gas prices for areas as small as one block, based on economic surveys (how rich people are, how many of them drive big SUV's, etc). However, just like with record companies, the oil industry has once again come under investigation as to their pricing methods. With any luck, we'll be paying exactly what we owe in due time.
  • Napster could probably get a pretty strong argument against blocking song names. I'm sure there are MANY songs with the same names, some of these bands are RIAA puppets, and some are little garage bands in North Dakota. Blocking by song name will affect the legal downloads too much. (Yeah, it's there, honestly!)

    I suppose they could have it block by band name, but still... say there was 'Free Band - I hate metallica because they're total sell outs.mp3"... I don't know how they're thinking of pulling this off :/

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @05:37AM (#1005983)
    Just out of curiosity, exactly what does your comment have to do with the subject at hand, namely Napster? Exactly who is insisting that Napster go around deleting files from everyone's hard drive?

    The RIAA is hoping to dupe a judge into doing just that. If I were the judge in question, I would be furious with the RIAA for attempting to make such an ass of both the judge personally and the legal system as a whole.

    Or was this meant to be a non-sequitur?

    I can't speak to the poster's initial intent, but his comment most certainly was not a non-sequitur.

    Napster does not store any files on its servers. It facilitates the exchange of files between client machines only, with no traffic going to the napster server at all.

    It is basically a big index, much like the old FTP indexes that circulated around the internet in text format in the days before the world wide web. It tells people where they can find things, nothing more. Last I checked, this was a protected form of speach (although the DMCA, not to mention the fiasco that is The War on Drugs, may have eroded this particular right).

    Insisting that Napster remove content is insisting that Napster invade individuals personal computers and delete files, an illegal act in most jurisdictions.

    The original poster's satirical comments that the editors of slashdot had better remove all the illegal content from the poster's personal computer, "or else," serves to illustrate the stupidity of such a demand rather well, actually.

    In short, the RIAA is making an ass of both itself and the American Justice system.
  • by mobiux ( 118006 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:35AM (#1005984)
    I suppose that this is the right time to do it. All the college kids lost thier high speed lines. They won't get the huge backlash that they would of if it were mid school year.
  • From the article:
    The record industry can give you a Britney Spears, an 'N Sync or the Monkees. The real thing markets itself. And news of quality spreads fastest by word of mouth.
    -- John Perry Barlow, Greatful Dead lyricist and road manager, fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

    Anybody out here a former taper for the Grateful Dead? If you don't know what I'm talking about, anybody could go into one of a Dead show and record it and distribute the tape without paying a fee of any kind to the band, and their shows always sold out, and their albums sold like crazy.

    Phish has been doing the same thing, to great success. Phish concerts are online within hours after their shows, yet their live two-volume CD A Live One still sells very well. I have a friend who has over a thousand hours of Phish concerts on CD, all off the net. He still goes to shows. If he and his wife see them four times a year that's two hundred bucks to Phish, record label be damned.

    Barlow's right: the "artists" most at risk from Napster are manufactured contrivances like the New Kids on the Block, designed by actuaries and focus group reports to have a high statistical likelihood of appealing to fourteen year olds. Real art, however, does not need to be rammed down your throat. When you find it, you'll know it. The way to find something that really turns you on is when a friend e-mails you that first .mp3 with a note saying "Let me know what you think of these guys. They'll be in town in a couple of weeks."


  • The "Recording Industry" is more accurately called the recording distribution industry. When you buy a CD for $17 at a store, the store gets $2; the shipper gets $0.50; the manufacturer gets $0.50; the copyright holder gets $2 (which may or may not ever get to the artist--just ask John Fogerty how much he makes off of Fortunate Son); and the label gets all the rest. Recording and production costs are amortized over the production run of the album and are artificially inflated by the industry itself.

    The "Industry" just controls distribution, and boy do they ever control it. You'll have a hard time finding a record store that carries used CDs and major label new releases, because if the store is found out, the label will stop distributing new CDs to them or refuse to allow them to advertise they have those new releases in stock.

    So now there's an entirely new way of distributing music. And the current distributors are scared. They are terrified of their own obsolescence, and they are swaddling their greed in a rhetoric of justice. They don't care about music, or artistic integrity, or artists' rights. They care about their money, and absolutely nothing else in the world. The new reality is that the link between artist and performer is the music itself, not the industry's permission to distribute it.

    We need Columbia Records for music the way we need buggy whips to drive a car. They're just not part of the equation anymore.


  • by BilldaCat ( 19181 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:39AM (#1005994) Homepage

    The Post ran a HUGE story on Napster today, Chuck D, etc.

    It can be found here [].

  • by mszeto ( 133525 )
    Like they're ever going to stop MP3s. Its too late. Stop crying over spilled milk. Your money and your power will not stop the innevitable - Digital music IS the FUTURE. Price gouging on plastic disks will no longer make you money. You better cut down your fat companies, because your going to start having declining sales. The days where you could charge whatever you want for something that costs you nothing to make is over.
  • Artificially low? That would only be true if someone (the government) subsidized fuel producers so they could deliver their product cheaper.

    Rather, the price is artificially high in other countries because of heavy taxation.


  • Erm, that's not quite true. I believe the deal with the RIAA is so that is liscenced to make internal copies for their mymp3 thingy. They might decide to release some stuff for free, but at least RIAA would get the control to say what's released and what's not.

    Anyway, the settlement was only about letting carry on with the mymp3 thingy, where the user already owns the music. Aka not free.

  • That should be simple. Napster doesn't have any major-label songs on Napster.

    I might, but Napster doesn't :)
  • The band Phish released MP3s that you could listen to for free three times, then a window popped up that reuqired you to enter a credit card number and pay some small amount of money to continue listening to the song (apparently, an executable was appended to the WAV file before it was encoded... You couldn't remove this prompt, or extract a WAV file with WinAmp).

    Could anyone provide a link to some information about this whole limited-listening Mp3 concept? I can't quite seem to understand how one could append an executable to a wave file, then encode it in Layer-3, then have it execute every time the mp3 was decoded... Mp3 codecs don't have a provision for *running executables* in the music, do they?

    However, if they do, I should suggest that Metallica release a new album for download... it will have an executable attached to the end of each mp3 track that will demand your credit card number after each playback. If you say 'no', it will delete all mp3s (most of them are pirated anyhow), all your jpegs (most of them are porn anyhow), and forward itself to everyone in your Outlook address book.

    In conclusion, I don't believe the Phish story (cough). Please enlighten me.

  • I bring this all up because I still buy CD's at the same rate I used to... but I use Napster to sample them first...

    I won't spend $15.00 on a CD that has ONE SONG I like. Screw that, I'll download that one song (or rip it off a friend's CD). But if there are 3-4 songs I like, I have no problem paying for it, and getting the cover art, lyrics, etc.

    I mean, let's face it. If I like an entire album, it's a huge pain to download EVERY song, convert them to wavs, burn them to a CD that won't have the same quality or scratch resistance that a factory disc has....

    So maybe the record industry won't be the hardest hit... maybe it'll be those "artists" who had one catchy song in them, and were hoping to sell 5 million albums based on that one single...

    heyyyyy Macarena......

    David Wong []
  • by rao ( 118784 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @05:41AM (#1006018)
    An argument I often see on Slashdot, "Copyright violation is condoned whereas GPL violation is condemned. Since both are violations, we are hypocrites".

    Most programmers believe in sharing. We believe that knowledge only grows by sharing. What little we offer- by way of designs, algorithms and code- we hope enriches humanity. Never has altruism been advocated as a way of life; and never has it been practiced each day so faithfully. GPL protects our deep desire to share, learn and grow as a people.

    Contrast that to what Copyright stands for-its implementation today-and, I believe you will have your answer.

    Although Copyright and GPL, explicitly say what you can do with what you hold. One does not bind knowledge in fetters.

  • .

    "If the courts allow Napster and services like it to continue to facilitate massive copyright infringement, there is a grave risk that the public will begin to perceive and believe that they have a right to obtain copyrighted materials for free," -- the RIAA

    "[A] government of the people, by the people, for the people" -- Abraham Lincon

    The RIAA seems to forget something - all these laws that the "public" dosen't understand, or disregards... the "public" are the ones who define the laws. Oh, sure, in the short run, you'll see lots of fines, even some people with jail time. But if the pendulum of public opinion *really* swings to the concept that there is nothing wrong with Napster, the laws will be disregarded, ignored, and then changed.

    There are plenty of laws on the books that are ignored, some with rather serious reprocussions that were considered "vital" at the time that they were written and passed into law. When was the last time a married couple was charged with sodomy for oral sex?

    As an occasionally aspiring artist myself, I know it's not in my best interest to see the IP laws pass out of vogue, but all laws are, in the end, a fiction created by people agreeing. I'm *not* saying that it *will* happen, just that in cases of the public opinion versus a law always causes the law to eventually lose.

    And don't even try to say "America isn't the internet". This is not an internet issue... it's the RIA_A_, and the IP laws of America apply.


  • Kind of proves his point, though.

    Bit of a self fulfilling thing going on.
  • Hello, Napster, Inc. I thought I would give you the solution for building the index of "blocked songs". It's pretty easy, and I won't even charge you my usual consulting fee!

    First, take your current index. Accumulate the names of songs and bands for a week or two. Sort this list and eliminate duplicates. Now go through and identify the few hundred or so legitimate titles (I might be too generous, there...).

    That is now your blocking list. Now take some of the $15 mill and hire a staff to review logs of transfers. The number of transfers should now be a trickle, so you probably only have to start with one person. Heck, Yahoo has a staff of hundreds of reviewers! Surely a small staff to maintain the blocking list shouldn't be too difficult?

    Of course people will rename the songs, but you just keep adding the new variations to the list. Eventually, the songs will be so renamed that people won't be able to find them anyway.

    No, no! Don't thank me. I just aim to be a service to the community.


  • You are wrong.

    unless it's expressly given to you for free, you must pay for it. Without payment, the incentive goes away.

    Without cost, there's no need for payment. The payment for art comes from celebrity.

    If the recording industry was truly gouging customers, then they wouldn't be able to sell any records.

    If Microsoft was gouging customers, they wouldn't be able to sell OSes. That's the power a monopoly gives you. It removes choice and allows for price fixing.

    Sharing is not wrong, never has been, never will be. It only hurts artists who suck (which is another reason why the RIAA is against it).

  • ... like Germany, there's a frightening tendency:
    Almost all universities are moving from their old internet backbone to a new one with a new pricing model. The old one was kind of a "flatrate" while the new one uses a volume-dependent pricing model. Since the change is coming, all "private" users outside the university have to accept more or less regular portscans and other "measures" to "ensure" there are no servers running on their machines.
    Since i read a little about the pricing model, I more or less think that it's a big scam to get a legal backdoor to our computers.

    Paranoids everywhere, Unite!

  • $1.25/gallon is no big deal, Cripes, it was $1.25/gal in MA over 10 years ago when I was in high school, making $4/hr! Geez.

    As for CDs, why is this always brought up to justify copyright infringement via MP3 files? Where have you people been for the last 10 years? At least here in Canada, 95% of the CDs I've seen have been around CAN$17 for the last decade, with HMV having blowout specials for really popular new releases around $13.99.
    Of course, that's only at the 333 Yonge Street location. If you go into the Eaton Centre location or any other Mall location those same discs are often $4 more!

    Hey, you ever notice that mall record stores prices are higher? I guess you have to take what's around you.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • I'd be very interested in seeing the comparison in campuses with depressed CD buying nearby and campuses which have banned napster. Anyone have a copy of the full report including which colleges were in the study?
  • > If an artist chooses non-redistribution as a license, it should be honored

    I agree with you. Real life is not that simple however.

    Ideally, the good thing about an artist being allowed to choose whatever licence they please is that many will choose different licenses and that, together perhaps with the price and the quality of the product will allow consumers to decide which product is best for them. A problem arises though when most of a market is controlled by one company (or many cooperating companies) because they find themselces able to charge higher prices and use more restrictive licenses and the consumers don't have much choice. What you have is something resebling a monopoly by it's nature.

    When this happens to the point that the market doesn't like it, the market will do something about it. If the industry wasn't contorlled by en elite few this would probably involve boycotting certain products or brands for example in order to avoid certain licenses, but in the case of the music industry that's just not possible due to the tight control held by a few very powerful ppl. It seems the consumers have taken what they see as the only other option left. To ignore the license and break the law.

    I am not saying that is the best solution, but if someone knowingly breaks the law and it prepared to do whatever it takes including jail as a result of their actions then I won't stop them. Some ppl think it's worth the risk in order to highlight the problem to others.
  • I saw on the news last night that the average price in Chicago is $2.06

    Yup. Right now, it is cheaper to buy aviation fuel ($2.00/gal at OXI) and fly than it is to buy automobile gas ($2.06/gal) and drive. How odd the world is becomming...
  • IANAL (gotta start it off with THAT one), but in court, if you can prove a smaller case to be true, it is a very strong point against larger cases. I'm sure napster does not have the revenue to hire as many lawyers and specialists, or to dedicate the resources and time as lycos or hotbot. Napster has been served a few blows as it is, and htey have lost a lot of ground as it is.

    RIAA is just using a steel chair on the wounded knee. Prove that a smaller, yet weaker company, is wrong, it's easier to shut down the larger ones.

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @07:24AM (#1006084)

    Napster is not morally wrong. Certainly not in the world that we live in today. What I think IS morally wrong is the fact that these corporations continue to try to expand their control over copyrighted works, and even worse, continue to have the copyright term-length extended. The whole reason we have copyright was not so that huge corporations could buy up everything in sight and own it and profit from it forever. It was to expand the amount of creative works in the public domain that everyone has free access to. The idea was to give artists an incentive to create by allowing them to have exclusive control over their works (to the extent that was allowed by copyright laws) so that they could profit from them for a limited period of time (originally 14 years I believe). Now, works that were created and/or copyrighted in my lifetime will probably not enter the public domain in my lifetime. THAT is morally wrong! So, don't expect me to shed any tears over whatever money/control the record industry thinks they're losing to "pirates." As far as I'm concerned, the record industry and others like them are the true pirates that have stolen more from us than we ever could from them.

  • That want Napster to "pull" copyrighted songs?! Do they still just not get it.

    This makes me gag almost as much as Yahoo! refering to Napster as a "Web Site."

    I don't understand what they are trying to do. Even if they succeeded to get Napster to close down operations in the morning, they'd have gotten themselves absoloutly nowhere. There would be something else in it's place before you could say "Chocolate Spread!"

  • by Acy James Stapp ( 1005 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:42AM (#1006099)
    > "Most in the online business community recognize that what Napster is doing threatens legitimate e-commerce models and is legally and morally wrong."

    Translation: We don't know how to make any money off of napster. We don't give a shit about the morality of it, but we do have lots of lawyers.

    > "If the courts allow Napster and services like it to continue to facilitate massive copyright infringement, there is a grave risk that the public will begin to perceive and believe that they have a right to obtain copyrighted materials for free,"

    Translation: This scares us shitless.

    > "The record companies are trying to shut down Napster--an entirely legal system of file sharing that reflects the heart and soul of the Internet"

    Translation: Everyone knows that napster is used almost exclusively to violate copyright, but it does have legitimate uses, so the law is on our side. Yeah!
  • Without copyright the GNU GPL would not exist.

    ...and would be unnecessary, as the very freedoms it seeks to protect would be inherent.
  • Insisting that Napster remove content is insisting that Napster invade individuals personal computers and delete files, an illegal act in most jurisdictions.

    Wrong. They are seeking an injunction to force Napster to block transfer of music at the index level. This has nothing to do with "invading individual's personal computers" or some such nonsense.

    I don't know why people think this is so impractical. You just have to look at the names of the songs. Sure, people can just rename them. But it's a war of attrition that Napster will win. Eventually, the songs are renamed so much that nobody can find them anyway.


  • As for CDs, why is this always brought up to justify copyright infringement via MP3 files?

    Probably because when CDs first came out, the record industry claimed that the prices would drop substantially after the format had been widely adopted by consumers. Guess what? Didn't happen. The prices never fell a bit. The record companies have been fixing CD prices and ripping off the public to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year. Of course it's ok for them to steal from us, but if we steal from them, then watch out. They'll turn their lawyers loose on us. Hypocrits.

  • Try over here in the UK - we're paying over 80p/litre here.

    The best maths i can do at this time puts that at around $4.80.
  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:44AM (#1006118) Homepage
    Of course they're not including bands like Limp Bizkit and Offspring in this, right?

    After all, those bands have said they like their songs being traded on Napster, and RIAA works on behalf of the artists, right?


    What? What do you mean the RIAA is an evil corporate entity? No! I feel like I just found out Santa Claus wasn't real!!!
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @06:45AM (#1006122)
    It would be interesting to create a set of remixed tracks, each track itself consisting of the maximum allowed length sample from a number of different songs... each track in the set would contain a sample from a slightly different time index into the original song.

    Thus, songs could be "striped" across multiple mixed tracks which could then be distributed freely. All you'd need is an index to tell you which "mixes" you needed to get back the whole original song you were interested in.

    If enough people were involved in the distribution of different tracks, how could they sue anyone even if they found out who you were?
  • by DGregory ( 74435 )
    Until a couple weeks ago I hadn't ever used Napster at all, so I decided to download it and see what it's all about. One of the things I did on there was do a search for "Celtic" and it came up with Loreena McKennitt, which I listened to and decided I really loved her songs. I decided I wanted to buy one of her CDs for myself, and also thought that my friend would like one for her birthday. So I went to the music store and was COMPLETELY disgusted with the price of the CDs (I hadn't gone CD shopping in awhile...) I ended up getting 2 at $17.99 (+5.75% tax) each but I definitely wasn't happy about it. I looked them up on later and they have them for $13.99. Which is better, but still a lot if you take shipping into consideration.

    I wonder if there's anything the average person can do to help with the "war for cheaper CDs". They're seriously gouging us.

    Not to mention I found out that it isn't the foreign people setting the prices for gas. Down in Tennessee gas is $1.25 and people are complaining about that. What the hell is this, who is setting the gas prices so high? It's harming the gas stations who are having lots of people drive off without paying.
  • You don't even need to throw away your Napster client, if Napster the company goes under. Just cruise to Napigator [] and you can connect to the open servers at, culvernap and a bunch of places. Or if you use gnapster, you can automatically connect to these servers, which have nothing to do with the Napster company.
    What are the weapons of happiness?
  • by omarius ( 52253 ) <[moc.gnorwlla] [ta] [ramo]> on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:44AM (#1006125) Homepage Journal
    [To the tune of "My Sharona"]

    So you want to share some songs
    Share some songs
    When your Napster's gone you'll use my Gnutella

    RIAA Copyright qualms
    Copyright qualms
    They will never find you with my Gnutella

    Screw Metallica, and the rest, never gonna stop
    I won't give it up. I'm gonna rock. You'll never
    catch me with my... my... my... my WOO!

    m-m-m-my Gnutella!
    m-m-m-my Gnutella!
  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    Do you support GNU software being able to choose their own license, or do you support ignoring the GPL as well?

    I would support ignoring the GPL if all other copyrights and licenses could be ignored as well.

  • Puhleez - Americans don't know how cheap their gas is.

    European gas is US$4-6/gal (mostly due to taxes, I'll admit). As a side effect, their cars & cities are a helluva lot more efficient about using fuel than ours.

    (I'm an American BTW, these are just my observations when I've been overseas.)
  • information...

    >For the first time, the industry is providing hard statistics on how much material on Napster it believes is breaking copyright law.

    What are the statistics? Who took them? How much were they paid? Was the process reviwed by both sides to insure that it is at least partially fair?

    I understand not dismissing a case based on these "statistics" but before an actual injunction is heard I hope they come up with more than this.

    Devil Ducky
  • MP3s can't be play limited as far as I know, but winamp plays other formats that can be like liquidaudio, WMA (Microsoft's windows media architecture), MJuice, and others that do have copyright controls and follow the SDMI guidelines.

    There is also work on a format called MP4 that is an enhancement to MP3 in that it allows files to be encrypted and allow copyright controls as to who can play the file.

    Though on pricipal I stay away from such systems since I don't like technologies that limits my rights to access music I own. I can make perfect digital copies of my CDs and play them on any digital device I have, any system that replaces CDs for me will have to allow the same. It does not look like audio DVDs will be it for me.


  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3.phroggy@com> on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @07:33AM (#1006139) Homepage


    The MP3 files that you locate using Napster are not stored on Napster's servers. Napster does not, and cannot, control what content is available to you using the Napster browser. Napster users decide what content to make available to others using the Napster browser, and what content to download. Users are responsible for complying with all applicable federal and state laws applicable to such content, including copyright laws. As a condition to your use of the Napster service and browser you agree that you will not: (i) use the Napster service to infringe the intellectual property rights of others in any way....
    Napster's terms of service and copyright dispute policy is here [].


    You understand that all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages or other materials ("Content"), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from which such Content originated. This means that you, and not Yahoo, are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email or otherwise transmit via the Service. Yahoo does not control the Content posted via the Service....
    Yahoo's terms of service is here [] and their copyright dispute policy is here [].


    CNN is a distributor (and not a publisher) of content supplied by third parties and Subscribers. Accordingly, CNN has no more editorial control over such content than does a public library, bookstore, or newsstand. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, Subscribers or any other user of CNN Interactive, are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of CNN. Neither CNN nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content, nor its merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.
    CNN's terms of service and copyright dispute policy can be found here [].


    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster.

    If Napster loses, we're all in trouble.


  • While I can't speak for everyone unhappy with copyright, but supportive of the GPL, my view is that sometimes you need to fight fire with fire. If there was no copyright, then there would be little need for the GPL, but there is copyright so we have a right to protect ourselves using any means nescessary, even copyright itself. Think about peacekeepers - ultimately their aim is to eradicate violence, but in order to achieve this they must use violence or the thread of violence themselves. It is simply being pragmatic, not hypocritical.


  • by goliard ( 46585 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @08:43AM (#1006143)

    A current story [] at The Register [] reports on two new Napster usage polls. One shows most of the people using Napster to pirate music are not college students, as widely believed. The other indicates that users are buying the CDs they sample online.

  • Without cost, there's no need for payment. The payment for art comes from celebrity.

    Newsflash: "celebrity" is not the "payment" that everyone wants. Celebrity doesn't get you a house, or food, or supports your family; money does.

    You're essentially saying we should get rid of copyright, and with the assitance of digital media, the cost associated with obtaining any bit of information drops to 0. This means that producing information is unrewarded by the market: you can make a $75 million dollar movie, but since someone could (legally, now, since copyright is no more) get a digital copy and project it to audiences and not give you a cent, you'll likely never see a return on that investment.

    But, you say, there are other ways to make money other than producing content, like advertising, product tie-ins, endorsement contracts! You're right... and that's where all the effort would be: the only thing that gets you more when it's distributed more is advertising. Digital content (and that's a broader term every day) would have to be advertising or it wouldn't be worth making.

    Yes, you'd still have live performances of your favorite bands, they'd make money that way. And you could always go see a play somewhere; those would still be good since they need you to want to pay for a seat. But just about all of the benefits of distributable media, be it moving pictures, music, or even just words, would be lost because we find it easier to reward creators with "celebrity" rather than our dollars.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:48AM (#1006156)
    I find it very interesting that has become an ally of the RIAA in this effort, particularly since they give away mp3s of their artists music.

    As a customer of theirs, I find this particularly troubling. What they are saying, basically, is that the mp3's are gratis, but not libre: they want traffic to their web page, so they don't want you sharing music the artists have authorized you to download for free, and presumably therefor to share with your friends.

    One expects such a cynical rape of the justice system by such amoral entities as the RIAA, but to see a relatively new startup who is not only an underdog, but a self-styled representative of change in a corrupt industry, engage in such cynical ploys simply to keep the traffic to their website up is very distasteful, to say the least.

    I must say, in light of this news, I will be giving serious second thoughts to purchasing any additional CDs from As they have been the only ones I have been purchasing CDs from in the last year, I suppose this could mean an end to yet another vice (and more cash for other hobbies instead).
  • They can go ahead and remove all the copyrighted songs from Napster. Within about 20 minutes you'll just start to see stuff like:
    • Mettalika
    • Brytni Spiers
    • M-and-M
    • Broose-remove-Spring-me-stene
    These are all legitimate garage bands, I swear!

    "What I cannot create, I do not understand."

  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:49AM (#1006159)
    Hard rock band Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre have trolled...

    Hmm... I didn't see these guys post. They must have been moderated down fast...
  • by Spirilis ( 3338 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @04:50AM (#1006160)
    OpenNAP - [] -- someone's already beat ya to it ;) And [] for a list of Napster servers, including the main napster servers, and other OpenNAP servers.
  • Here's the difference; record companies have the reputation of ripping people off over the years, and they're making millions off of starving artists....

    Dude, they're not starving. It's all the drugs and booze that makes them look like that.
  • What has always worried me about the mass conglomeration of labels (who make up RIAA) is the fact that since their inception, they have been trying to find a way to still claim to represent musical artists, while trying to find ways of avoiding paying for them. I posted a comment here [] explaining my views on it. I won't repeat myself here, but I personally think that their method of slowly replacing musicians on major labels with manufactured 'employee' artists is possibly the worst thing to happen to music in a long time. I'm not saying that there is no place for manufactured pop, but to slowly erode every contemporary alternative form of non-classical music into obscurity is a travesty they have/had every hope to commit. I believe their plan is to use marketing to make their 'artists' the only music widely available.

    Although Britney, N'Sync and co. do a roaring trade on Napster, it's also the place to get material from bands that are nigh-on impossible to find outside specialist shops (hard to come by in a non-city environment), and bands who have been dropped by their labels in the last few years and have had their albums deleted.

    What makes me laugh about the whole Metallica thing is there is no way they would have been signed in today's musical climate. They not only relied on bootleggers and word-of-mouth, but on independent labels such as MFN, and sympathetic people like Johnny Zazula to enable them to survive until being picked up by Elektra in the mid-80s. If they were trying to be signed today, they'd have to go to image consultants, focus group meetings, and prove to these arse^H^H^H^Hpeople that they can sell something, before they were as much as offered a pre-contract memo, let alone a record deal!

    It annoys me that the labels can get away with slowly narrowing the focus of what constitutes 'contemporary music' until nothing is left but that which they produce, which they can price/distribute as they please. RIAA is nothing more than a cartel of people who care about nothing but label profits, annulling any alternative method of distributing music that isn't theirs, and, this is the bit which gets my hackles up no end, claiming they're doing it for the good of the artist. Artists that have already made their millions are sympathetic, because they have nothing to fear anymore. But what about those who are being forced out? What about those who can't afford stage school or image consultants? How much talent are we denying here?

    I see my friends who were promised a shot at recording in the late 90's being throttled with their pre-contract exclusivity memos, forced into silence by a system that doesn't feel it needs them anymore. Where's the justice in that?

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @10:39AM (#1006170)

    What have you, as a member of the public, ever done to earn the right to freely listen to music someone else wrote?

    Good point. Here's another. Why should I, and other members of the public, grant a seemingly unlimited monopoly to those who do write music or other creative works? What are we getting out of it? The right to pay for the same music over and over, forever? No thanks. That's not what copyright was intended to do, and for good reason. The deal has to be fair for both sides. Giving artists a monpoly that lasts longer than any of us will be alive is not in our interests. Why then should we do it?

    I'd much rather ditch copyright laws and let them fend for themselves than keep the current system in place. Maybe there wouldn't be as many "artists" out there, but the ones who still create will be creating because they love what they do and want everybody to share in it. Those are the kinds of artists that make things worth looking at, reading, listening to, etc. They did it long before copyright was ever created and they'd do it long after copyright is gone.

    Realistically though, I think copyright, as originally created, is a good thing. But it's been twisted into something that no longer serves the public interest. It now serves only corporate interests. Corporations will continue to survive long after we mortals are long dead. They'll continue to profit from their ownership of these works. We'll be in the ground, never having gotten anything in return for our granting of the monopoly that the corporations are enjoying.

  • If there was no copyright, then there would be little need for the GPL,

    How do you figure that? That GPL is enforced using copyright. The GPL forces people who use the software to follow the rules of GPL, like a) forcing availability of source code, and b) not being able to use GPL code in a closed product.

    If there was no copyright, you would have a license such as BSD, which is basically unrestricted.


  • Can someone please explain the difference between music which is covered by copyright and software which is covered by the GPL?

    The question is badly formed since the GPL is a *licence* governing the use of copyrighted material, so you are really comparing apples to.. err... apple seeds. :-)

    Here goes anyway: the GPL guarantees your right to use the licenced intellectual property freely, including redistributing it, and forbids you from imposing new conditions on anyone you restribute it to. It is a guarantee of freedom. As such, it is in a completely different class from the conditions that the RIAA is trying to impose on the use and distribution of music.

    [offtopic] Rob, there is a new BUG in slash that prevents offline composition. Error message: Invalid form key! Sheesh, this bug has been in for weeks, does this say anything to you about the need to make the slash code truly open?????
  • The public pays for the enforcement of the copyright laws. It's not free to send the FBI to kick down someone's door you know.

    This enforcement of a monopoly on that bit of copyrighted material is balanced out by the value to society when that work becomes available for all to use. If a work is popular and costs more to protect, likely it'll be worth more to the people.

    Why on earth should we the people foot the bill to protect something we'll never benefit from? That's like if Microsoft or the old AT&T billed us for a mandatory donation to the Monopoly Protection Fund.

    Monopolies are bad, having one entity control all of something slows down innovation. In some cases though, a temporary monopoly is good because it lets the developer shamelessly rake in the profits, for a period of time. It's a trade... "You develop stuff for us that's cool and we'll make sure you're the first one to profit from it." Without the give and take the laws don't benefit both parties.

    See as how to public (That's you and me) are one of the parties to this, if it doesn't benefit us (we protect Disney's copyrights all our life and they never go to the public domain) then we have absolutely no incentive to help protect these copyrights.
  • If they own the copyright and put the songs up for download on Gnutella, wouldn't it be legal to download them? After all, the copyright holder is making them available for free download via Gnutella.

  • So to end copyright, which isn't the problem, you are going to just ignore it?

    Napster does one thing, it makes theft easy, anonymous, and simple enough that you don't even think about it. I really don't see the fire fight here, what I see is a piece of software that makes it painless and risk-free to steal. How exactly do you see this as fighting fire with fire? What is the result you expect?

  • I think it was Wednesday, Hillary Rosen and the guy from Gnutella were on Talk of the Nation. Maybe I am just partial, but the guy from Gnutella was very cool, and Hillary was, well, a total bitch. She played the part of Dragon Lady very well.

    She was sitting there absolutely lying to all the NPR listeners every time she opened her mouth. Finally, near the end of the show, she said that "Napster was bad because Metallica had to tell them who to remove," or something like that. The Gnutella dude spoke up and said, "But that is what the DMCA - which the music industry pushed so hard for - says they have to do!" Then Hillary had the gall to poo poo his comment.

    I really wish that comment had happened near the beginning of the show.

    The more I hear the RIAA and their ilk spout off, the more I want to punch something. Preferably Hillary Rosen's nose.

  • It's apparent to me that Napster in it's present form is not going to be around much longer. Enjoy it while you can, folks - hoard those songs.

    What I hope is that when the huge-scale Napster operation crumbles, Gnutella or possibly Freenet will step in and fill the void. Sure, they're already here and they work, but what is needed is the SCALE. It's that HUGE community of users that makes it so convenient to find virtually any song you like. So spread the word. If Napster kicks it, I hope like the public will move to a more subversive version of the same distributed filesharing system - and with more than just songs.

    If Gnutella or Freenet becomes widespread, that will only make the present community of Napster users stronger, and make it more evident that nothing can be done - especially if it crosses international boundaries. It might even sway the public's paradigm of intellectual property, showing that now, they old system CANNOT work.

  • RMS and the GPL advocates would I'm sure love a world where copyright - even on GPL programs - was a non-issue. So long as it's consistent and copyright can't be ignored on GPL and then asserted on the plagiarized proprietary version.
  • What is a "fair price" for a CD, such that you would buy (pay money for) all your music and stop downloading copyrighted music without paying for it? To keep things simple, let's assume that all single CDs are priced the same.

    What about being able to download MP3 at maybe a buck apeice (and there was some way to do it and be charged securely WITHOUT having to enter your credit card number every time)? That would be great. Also, I'd do it much more often if a much larger percentage of the money went to the artists themselves (or a kill-the-backstreet-boys fund.)
  • Apparently the record companies didn't blow too much dough marketing Billy Pilgrim. I've never heard of them. I doubt they lost much more than the cost of producing the master. Which they made back about a million times over with the sales of the latest N'Sync or Britney Spears albums. I'm not sure how many sales the Billy Pilgrim albums have made, but all of the money from those sales went to the record company. None to the artist. Record labels aren't in any danger of losing money. They make enourmous profits. They aren't taking any real risks. They have too much control to actually lose money in the end.

  • Perhaps it would be rendered unusable, but not before something takes its place.

  • Nope, that's trademarks.

    You can let people copy your copyrighted works for years, then specifically attack certain ones only and still have a strong case.

    It's trademarks that force you to attack everyone you notice in order to set the precedent of defending your trademark, or else it becomes legal for other people to use it.
  • Why I want to know is how can many of you people support GPL'd software, and disapprove of people redistrubiting it at will ("sharing" in RMS's terms), but be all for violating a music artist's license?

    Call me naive if you like, but Napster isn't only trading illegal MP3's of bands. The point of Napster is that it's a musical distribution network. The fact that people are using it for trading illegal MP3's is one thing. However, shutting down Napster for this reason is going way too far, IMHO. That would be like making bricks illegal, because you can throw one through a window, and steal items in a store.

    Warning of redundancy warning. What Napster allows is a distribution channel independent of the record companies. In the bad old days, if you wanted people to hear your music, you had to distribute your records/tapes/CD's to stores around the country and radio stations(enter record companies). But now, in the internet age, you just put some MP3's on your harddisk, and provide pointers to them via an informational hub, like Napster. Such that people around the globe can find them. And what this does is bypass the record companies, and their sources of revenue.

    Silly utopian suggestions for future music.What Napster et al provide is a sort of musical revolution. I'd ultimately like to set up a musical version of Cheap-Bytes, where the music is in some form of public domain (and copyrighted by the artist, not a record company). So, you go to a website, order some CD's for $2 apiece, and each item you buy has an option to donate $1 (or other amount) to the artist. So, what's the difference for paying $2 or $3 per CD? not much (okay, it adds up when you buy hundreds), but this allows money to go directly to the artist and to the production of the CD. This bypasses much of the middle-man (read record companies) which I think is a good thing.

    Rant about the record companies. The record companies piss me off for a few reasons. Firstly, they amass significantly large fractions of the artists work, merely for distributing it. Music prices are ridiculously high to account for this, and hence the artist gets only a minute fraction of royalties. Secondly, they manipulate (or attempt to) the populace in really annoying ways, IMHO. For instance, say the new Big Bad Boys album gets recorded, and obviously these companies want to make as much money off it as possible. So they use their power to coerce the radio stations (usually Top-40 radio stations, which I hate) to play Big Bad Boys music all the time. Anyone in the radio business care to comment as to whether record companies offer money or other goodies in exchange for playing albums with so much airtime? I get so sick of hearing the same songs on the radio, which is why I mostly listen to the cool (mostly free?) college radio stations around here in Boston. Finally, the profit-making maximization keeps out good music. For example, I've seen many a friend's band get rejected from record labels, due to the fact that the music was different from the current norm. The exec's would say, "This music is real hip, but now record us something we can sell." Ie, this music is really good, but the music of today that sells is in these few genres, so that's all we'll market. And hence, that's the only music that these companies put on the radios, so that's what sells to the kids, and hence that's the type of music the record companies sign on. An ugly vicious circle. Witness the many musical revolutions, coming from the garages and small clubs, until the record industry caught up with lost revenue. (examples include punk, grunge, electronica, etc)

    So, hopefully the next generation of musicians can bypass these record companies, and put their music on the web directly, and sell actual CD's, T-shirts, and other things to make their money, and remove the record companies from the picture. Music would be cheaper to buy, and the artists would get (hopefully) a larger amount of proceeds.

    Regarding the illegal downloads on Napster.And sorry, I now realize I forgot to talk about the part I quoted above, dealing with GPL advocates violating a music artist's license. I can tell that you I've never downloaded an illegal MP3. What alot Napster users are clamoring for, whether they realize it or not, is some sort of musical revolution (or change, if revolution sounds too violent). Possibly it may come about as I've detailed above. And as per your quote regarding artists choosing non-redistribution as their license, I'd point out that it was the record companies that put these clauses into the artist's contracts. For artists to make it , they had to sign some such contract or other, as record companies provided the only way to get their music out to the crowds. Now, with Napster and others, the record companies are becoming obsolete.

    Okay, sorry for the long-winded arguments

  • The way I understand it is that record companies basically serve as a bank where musicians can get a loan to produce and market an album. This basically how Lars Ulrich explained it. Now, when the album goes on sale, all the money made from sales goes to pay the record company first, and the artist doesn't see a penny until the loan is paid back. What I want to know is this: What happens if the album doesn't sell enough to cover the loan? Does the artist still own it? Are they beholden to the record company to produce more albums? What happens?

  • No, piracy is not OK in my book and I can see why artists are very concerned about the possibilities of ripping them off big time due to digital distibution.
    That said, yes: I do believe that the major labels and their representing bodies are big time shmucks, completely unclear about the concept.
    Neverless, it's not about loss of $ and they couldn't care less about the artists they pretend to represent. It's about loss of their stranglehold of the distribution channels and more then anything else its about loss of POWER .
  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    Does the artist still own it?

    Should be:

    Does the artist still owe it?

  • Can someone please explain the difference between music which is covered by copyright and software which is covered by the GPL?

    On another thread today, I noticed concern by posters that SCO might attempt to use GPL code in a proprietary version of linux, or at least in a proprietary add on. That must be fought against at any cost as it violates the license.

    However, music, which is released under copyright, can be freely downloaded by anyone to use as they wish because "information (and music?) wants to be free"? and they can't stop us anyway?

    Oh, I forgot. Its because music costs too much... The artists/record companies are making too much money, so its ok to violate their license. And so if a linux distro (say red hat, just for an example) starts charging money, then it's ok to violate the GPL and release your own closed source version of that, right?

    Or am I missing something?

  • But what is the difference between quoting for artistic reason, and quoting for storage? How do you define that?

    The outside observer might see no difference at all - the idea I outlined would work just as well with random snippits of songs here and there in a tune of me saying "Number Nine, Number Nine..." over and over again - I can just say it's art, and the next mix might be some guy doing a easily compressed drum solo for an hour with a few other samples of songs thrown in. It doesn't matter even if you have only one sample per "artisitc" mix as long as you have enough different tracks to hold the whole thing eventually - the key is in the indexing.

    Sure, it could be used to pirate songs - but it could just be used to put back together a kind of service where you just say what songs you have and get access to them whereever you are - after all the client could request just certain portions of song held together on the server and then reassemble them on the client. It could even be three seperate companies that made sure between them that none held a whole song.

    Not very secure to be sure, but then again if they wanted a secure option they shouldn't have shut down a fairly secure solution already in place - All I want to do is listen to the CD's I already own at work without having to cart them back and forth, risking damage and loss.

    The whole idea does hinge on being able to use small samples of songs without an artists permission. I don't know if that is legal, but my original post was a response to someone who thought that it was legal to do so, and thus is already assumed by my post.
  • The way I understand it is that record companies basically serve as a bank where musicians can get a loan to produce and market an album. This basically how Lars Ulrich explained it. Now, when the album goes on sale, all the money made from sales goes to pay the record company first, and the artist doesn't see a penny until the loan is paid back. What I want to know is this: What happens if the album doesn't sell enough to cover the loan? Does the artist still own it? Are they beholden to the record company to produce more albums? What happens?

    No, the artist doesn't owe the record company any money. If the label drops them after one bad album, the label will NEVER recover that money (unless for some reason, the album later takes off). That is what most people don't factor into the cost of a CD. PRobably not more than 50% of CDs (and that's being VERY generous) make back the money that wasd spent to make them. The rest of the CDs have to make the money to pay for themselves, and to give the record companies enough money to cover their losses. For every N'Sync there is a Billy Pilgrim [] that, no matter how good they are, has a CD or two, never really takes off and makes money, and the record company drops them and takes a bath.

  • <i>"If the courts allow Napster and services like it to continue to facilitate massive copyright infringement, there is a grave risk that the public will begin to perceive and believe that they have a right to obtain copyrighted materials for free," Valenti said. </i>

    You radio and broadcast TV? And libraries! Godless libraries, treating information as something other than a commodity...shame! SHAME! Don't they know they are promoting illegal and immoral behavior? Don;t they realize they are undermining the sacred trust of intellectual property? Libraries lead to lawlessness! Burn them all to the ground, I say!

    SoupIsGood Food
  • Right on!

    This has been the thought running through my mind -- that the Open Source / Free Software community not only relies on, but is extremely vigourous about protecting THEIR rights via the GPL, etc.

    We jump all over Microsoft and others for omitting pieces of source, yet, while we're willing to say 'MP3 is here to stay, deal with it,' we don't seem prepared to say 'hey, FTP has been here even longer!'

    To demand people honor the GPL while arguing that music companies "don't get it" and we should support copyright violation shows the entire movement at it's worst: Just a group of folks that want stuff for nothing.

    If we were as rabid about flaming those who violate other's copyrights, and avidly pushed to end online piracy, THAT would be a good thing.

  • The sales of there music is a source of income it gives them more time to write good music. Take that away and the artist will for the most part go away.

    So you think the only way for music to exist is through a "music industry" that creates an artificial scarcity and then capitalizes it? You mean there's NO OTHER WAY to make money with music other than selling recordings of it? I know that's not what you believe, but it's what you just said.

    I've seen this "people will only make music if they are guaranteed an income" argument and it's crap. You have read to far into what you wanted me to be saying. Let me clarify.

    . If the artest wanted you yo trade there MP3's for free (and a lot do) that is sharing but if you take it with out the person who created it telling you you can that is stealing.

    First off, since you want to split hairs (and some need splitting) I am not "taking" a copy. I am "making" one. This takes no resources from the creator. The only thing that is being transferred is IP. I don't think our government should be expected to control and dole out IP to the same degree it does for PP (phyiscal property.) Why? Because to do so in the context of the Net involves a tremendous overhead, which become the value of the IP. The stealing part is defined by the law. I want to change the law, rather than face a future where $10 of the $15 I pay for a CD is to make sure it costs $15.

    You spean like Marx did and communisum failed. Why? Because the incentive to work was gone and the government had to force people to work.

    This is a fun point. Communism failed because scarcity exists (and it ignores human nature). To cut a long story short. People eating your potatoes for free when each one costs you a set amount to grow quickly gets old. People listening to your music when each copy costs you absolutely nothing to make increases your standing as an artist. This value can then be molded into money in any of a number of ways, including the ability to sell CDs. This is, IMHO, what right needs to be protected, the right to sell, and not the right to use. Trying to defend the right of an artist to control the (private/personal) use of their work is silly. Policing who is selling it becomes a bit more possible.

    The government can use force to create a monopoly no one else can. (by force I mean physical).

    The goverment can also use force to create an artificial price for a product that allows them to use marketing to override and extinguish a better consumer product. And they can use force (in the sense of laws) to destroy new competitors in a market, like, say, the market for music services. This is happening right now.

    People dont buy them. Why? They are not a good (by good I mean a lot of things avablity is one of them so is compatiblity).

    Yes, people don't buy them because M$ used marketing, compatibility and availability (OEMs) to keep competing products out fo the public's mindshare. This is very nearly the same thing the RIAA has done. Bill Gates also argued vehemently against people stealing his software. You see, if he didn't have the massive protection of IP, he could never have used the money to break all those other laws.

    Your logic is flawed and stupid. Get a grip and stop trying to start shit.

    Show me where. I've got a firm grip, thanks.
  • This article details just how screwed most artists get w/ major labels: c.html

    But the short story is:
    1) they still owe the money
    2) they are still in their contract until they fufill the requirements (x albums) but the record co. determines how much (if any) money it will invest in future projects. I imagine it's very hard to finish off your 3 album deal with no money. Especially since you're usually required to distribute through your label, which charges an arm and a leg.
    3) the artists have little or no control over marketing and distibution. so once you're signed the record company can trump any negotioation by threatining to not release/distribute/market your album - a death sentence for a band (see #2). If you're "lucky" they'll actually like your work and spend a small fortune promoting your album - which must be recouped before you see any cash - you'll have a plaitnum album and take home less $$$ than a good sysadmin, if you get anything at all. But at least you'll have some power to re-negotiate.

    It gets pretty evil when the record company tells you how you ought to deal w/ production: which producers, studios, etc. While one could make an album pretty cheaply, major labels don't feel terribly inspired to release cheap albums. And a lot of the services that you use are purchased from the record company, so the record company is on their honor to not gouge the artists on the prices.

    I'd strongly recommend reading "the problem with music" (to inspire further research) before getting involved w/ a label. A lot of kids have NO CLUE what they're dealing with when they're courted by A&R.
  • Aww but you have to remember the Judge already threw out the motion to dismiss the case on the bases that it was just a service. The reasoning the Judge had was that the sole purpose of Napster was to distribute Copywrighted songs thus it should be held accountable for what the users on the service were distributing.
    I believe Napster will win though. Mp3 style distribution's are here to stay. Hopefully with that 15 mill they'll hire some dam good lawyers.
  • In a similar vein of offering more Napster information, TVT Records [], one of the largest independent record labels in the US filed suit against Napster Inc []. It seems that the RIAA and the major labels aren't the only ones after Napster.

  • That's not entirely true. If you look on the right side of an artist page, you'll see a number called "Payback Earnings". If you click that, you'll note that there are stats on how many plays the artist has (from the webpage and "MP3 radio stations, etc"). The artists get compensated per play so it's hardly just in's interest to promote their webpages. The artists make out as well.
  • What he's saying is that it won't be long before people start renaming their mp3 files to "etallica - Unforgiven" or "3333 - Unforgiven" (where 3333 is a new code for "Metallica" that people have begun using. What does Napster do then? What happens when they change again? And the next time? And the next? For every band?

  • I assume you are referring to the MTV sitcom "The Real World", but I can't see for the life of me what your point is. And the word is "fucken", not "frigging".
  • I thought it was gravity..?

    Actually, it's inertia. Gravity keeps us stuck to the surface of the planet, and the planet in orbit around the sun. And the sun together.

  • I'm not saying that copyright should be repealed. I'm saying it should be reformed. The term-length should be rolled back to what it originally was, instead of allowing corporations to own information and works forever, which is what is happening right now. Fourteen years is plenty of time to profit from an artistic work. It's plenty of incentive for artists to create new things. There's absolutely no good reason for these works to become the permanent property of some corporation. After the creator of the work has been given a reasonable amount of time to use his exclusive control to make a profit, the work should be added to the public domain.

  • Right. I would completely support copyright in its original form, with a term of 14 years instead of the indefinite period we now have.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    RIAA's 5 Step Process:
    1) Destroy the concept of the artist by promoting one hit wonders you can low-ball on contracts and then dispose of conveniently. The public forgets quickly.
    2) Tightly control distribution and sales to maximize the price of music. Sprinkle a few tolerable tracks among seas of crap so that people have to buy many overpriced CD's to get the songs they want.
    3) Tightly control radio play and promotion so that you can determine who will become popular. Remember, you can't afford to let a real artist slip in as they'll want a reasonable contract.
    4) Now that you have achieved complete world domination and have a direct tap upon the wallets of the populace, exploit whereever possible, force people to pay $70 to see the artificial artists "play" live.
    5) If the consumer finds some way to break this chain, bring out your legion of lawyers. Piss off everyone you can, and crush these traitors like the scum they are. Make sure they resent you for trying to control an artistic expression. (*)

    (* note, handwritten in the margin) Are we really sure this will make them buy more? The rest of it sounds great but this last line doesn't seem right.

  • That's all well and good, but what happens when people who can spell try to search? Assuming that you've changed the ID3 tags (Napster can use those as well), people searching for "Metallica" and not "Mettalika" will find nothing. As far as they're concerned, all of the Metallica music on Napster is gone.
  • by t0m f00l ( 188009 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @05:18AM (#1006301)
    Peer to peer file sharing of *illegal* materials is already illegal. What they can't do is enforce it. It's like sharing illegal software with your friends via ftp or something. They can't do anything about it, whether it is illegal or not.

    What it does is send a clear message to all those who have been doing it out in the open and even making a business out of it.

    I certainly think the "fine line" is simple to distinguish.
  • If it's because of the price of CD's, split cost between 5 people and make copies.

    Isn't that just a scaled-down version of what everyone using Napster is doing though? One perosn buys the CD, rips it to mp3s, and shares it with the (Napster using portion of the) world.

    The only differences are scale, and (dis)organisation...


  • Just out of curiosity, exactly what does your comment have to do with the subject at hand, namely Napster? Exactly who is insisting that Napster go around deleting files from everyone's hard drive?

    Or was this meant to be a non-sequitur?


  • Well, file sharing is here to stay. It's been here forever, and no one can legitimately try to bar it. But what can be done is to shut down Napster and any other service that attempts to make money without compensation to the producers of the music (artists) and the financers of their attempts (labels)...
  • Oh, all is clear now. We should threaten legal action to enforce the GPL, because we like it, and boycott anyone who threatens legal action to enforce any other license because we don't like it.

    Oh, yeah, and this isn't hypocracy.

    By your logic, we should scrap the copyright system, and replace it with a mandatory GPL equivalent.
  • If I record a song with the intention that no one be allowed to listen to it except in a special room I've constructed just for that purpose, I should be able to ensure that everyone who listens to it does so in my little room - forever.

    No you shouldn't.

    You don't seem to understand that copyright was intended to allow exclusive control (to a certain extent, and with exceptions for fair use) for a limited time (which has been ignored for quite a while now as the length of copyright keeps being extended) in order to encourage artists to create works that will be added to the public domain at the end of the copyright term. That's why copyright exists. Not because someone thought that creators should be able to have absolute control forever... that's just what the corps would like you to believe. It does not serve the public interest for our government to grant unlimited, perpetual monopolies to creators.

  • The history is important. It shows that the idea of absolute control and permanent ownership are relatively new ideas that bear little resemblance to the original purpose of copyright.

    Given that, I think it's time we decide whether we really think that the government should be granting permanent monopolies on information and creative works, nearly all of which will eventually be owned by a corporation of some sort eventually, simply because the creators die. I don't see any justification for it. Why should anyone be given a government enforced monopoly? Why should the people of this country support it if they will see little to no return for their protection?

  • I will not work unless I am free to decide (within reasonable limits) the terms of it's use and distribution.

    Here's the real problem. The "reasonable limits" have gone well beyond any sane reasoning. I don't have a problem with copyright as it was originally created. I have a problem with what it has become. Namely a permanent right for corporations to buy up every piece of IP they can get their hands on and control and profit from the works indefinitely. That's a far cry from the original intent of copyright, which was to increase the amount of creative works in the public domain (i.e. free for all to use). Copyright originally lasted for 14 years I believe. Now, works that are created and/or copyrighted in my lifetime will likely not enter the public domain in my lifetime, if ever. IMO, the corporations that have pushed for copyright term extensions are the real thieves.

  • by TomatoMan ( 93630 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @05:10AM (#1006336) Homepage Journal

    This is from; here's the Napster hour segment of the show at 28.8. otn/20000607.totn.01.rmm []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @05:21AM (#1006340) what the RIAA is trying to do by shutting down Napster. What I find amusing is that it's very possible that they have no idea how solid the MP3 distribution system is outside of Napster.

    As some above have said, (and I'm not trying to be redundant) there are many other places to get MP3s, most of which existed before Napster. [] used to be an amazing source for them by listing searchable FTP sites full with albums and singles. There's always other less dependable websites like [] and LycosMP3 []. There are all BIG, well-known WWW sites, which, although not quite 100% reliable are well established. This does not cover the thousands of pages you can find if you go to Hotbot [] and search for 'mp3'.
    Then, of course, there's IRC. Here again, there are hundreds of communities across dozens of servers all working on one thing: getting/trading MP3s. (My recommendation is to try some of the IRC servers on the Eris Free Network []).
    Then of course, you've got other Napster-like clients like GNUtella [], FreeNet [], and Globalscape's CuteMX [] (most of these share more than MP3 files).
    And college students will always have the trusty, reliable LANs where students share their large collections.

    Ok, so you knew this already. Bottom line: MP3 is not going away, not now, and especially not at the hands of the RIAA. If they are only half as smart as their lawyers are blockheaded, they would work with some of these companies, as well as organizations like the Frauenhoffer Institute [] to develop a replacement for the MP3 file format. One that maybe sounds twice as good for half the file size, so you can get 320kbps encoded songs for 3MB or so. New technology is the way to fight MP3. If enough people think it's worth it to pay $0.50 for a song that sounds twice as good and can be downloaded in half the time, guess what? They'll be more likely to get that song as opposed to an .mp3 file. Relatively secure encoding already exists. The band Phish [] released MP3s that you could listen to for free three times, then a window popped up that reuqired you to enter a credit card number and pay some small amount of money to continue listening to the song (apparently, an executable was appended to the WAV file before it was encoded... You couldn't remove this prompt, or extract a WAV file with WinAmp).

    If Lars is reading this, spend money on getting new media developed, not on paying your lawyers. You may win against Napster, but not against MP3.

  • Why I want to know is how can many of you people support GPL'd software, and disapprove of people redistrubiting it at will ("sharing" in RMS's terms), but be all for violating a music artist's license?

    If an artist chooses non-redistribution as a license, it should be honored.

    Or are many of you saying that we should ignore the GPL and companies can start redistributing binary version of gcc at will?


  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @01:47PM (#1006394)

    Copyrights were originally created TO SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST. Otherwise, we, the public, would have no interest in enforcing them. What does the public get in return? Nothing anymore.

    That copyright no longer serves this interest is largely due to lobbying by corporations who buy up copyrighted works, and heirs of people who created these works. Neither of these groups has actually produced anything of real value to the public, yet they seem to think it is their right to continue to live off of the fruits of someone else's labor for all eternity when even the creator wasn't supposed to have that right. There was a rather short time limit on copyrighted works for a reason. It wasn't meant to give ownership of the work to the person who created it. It was meant to give temporary exclusive control over the work so that the creator could profit from it before it became public domain. That doesn't happen anymore and as far as I'm concerned the public has every right to take what they want now. The corporations have already fleeced us of our rights and are busy working on our money.

  • by David Wong ( 199703 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2000 @06:04AM (#1006401) Homepage
    You don't even have to go that far with it. The music companies aren't doomed to extinction, but they'd better damned well change they way they do business if they want to keep the same profit margins. As in, offer us something we can't get off Napster.

    In fact, the biggest reason I root for Napster is because I know it will force the music distribution people to offer us more, or offer us the same for less money, in order to keep our business. They've been gouging us on the price of CD's since their debut, and now the pressure is on.

    You listening, Columbia? You want me to buy the new N'Sync album, rather than just download the tunes? Well, what kind of deal are you willing to make me, you greedy bastards? (insert evil laughter here)

    Come on, guys. You can spend millions on your lawyers fighting pointless lawsuits for the next ten years, or you can use that money to bring your company into the digital age. Deal with the new reality.

    -David Wong []

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham