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The Internet

Freenet Music Venture; Napster-like ROM Swapping 199

artg writes "The Guardian is reporting) that Ian Clarke and others are creating a company called Uprizer to provide a legal Napster replacement. It apparently relies on voluntary contributions from users, but full details are secret until December." In other news, we've had a number of submissions concerning a Napster-like program called RomNet. The main difference is the swapping of ROMs -- looks cool.
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Freenet To Join Music Biz; Napster-like ROM Swapping

Comments Filter:
  • Funny coincidence - I was listening to Neil Young (Harvest) yesterday when I wrote that comment.
  • How about this? Let's NOT close down the crack house down the block. Okay, so the hookers and guns are dragging down the neighborhood and keeping everyone inside, but the dealers have a right to express themselves by selling crack.

    The fact is that it was not a free speech issue! The ab.warez.* groups have no legitimate use -- they are explicitly for the illegal copying of software created by people who do not wish to have their software copied in such a manner. Anything that can be legally transmitted by such a forum is by definition off topic. Anything that is on topic is illegal.

    IANAL, but it seems that this is not a moral issue, it's a legal one.

    /Brian
  • Anyone else find it ironic that the above post was lifted without permission from the RIAA, without even including proper attribution?

    FWIW, it appears to come from here: http://www.riaa.com/MD-US-7.cfm [riaa.com]
  • Well, developers would get hold of GPLd works from their distributors, for free, as per the GPL, then modify them and create "derivative works", and then distribute these derivative works in binary only form, using my system. Clear enough for ya?
  • Currently, copyright law allows something that the FSF and others consider to be wrong, namely allowing someone to put computer code under lock and key and claim ownership of it, depriving all others of any right to make use of, modify, or in many cases even look at the code in question.

    Exactly. But you're mixing apples and oranges, namely freedom and morality. I have the freedom to cheat on my wife. However, it is morally wrong to do so. If we legislated adultery and made it illegal, we would get a net loss of freedom, but a net gain of morality.

    That's the basis of how the FSF argues it. A loss of individual freedom (i.e., the freedom to withhold changes to GPL source code) in exchange for a net gain of morality.

    I actually would have more respect for the FSF if they would stop the language battle and just come out and say what they mean. Unfortunately, they deliberately confuse "individual freedom", "group freedom" and "morality" in order to make their points.

    The FSF's goal and philosophy call for a world in which all information is available to everybody under what amounts to BSD style conditions,

    That is absolutely, positively wrong. The FSF's goal and philosophy call for a world in which everyone is FORCED to share information. The BSD license does not have forced sharing. The BSD license, in essence, says "I am sharing this with you in the true spirit of sharing... without the expectation of something of return. We hope you find this useful. Use it in any way you like."


    --

  • You know, people like yourself are what made this country (the US) what it is today.

    More and more, I am agreeing with the NRA. The solution to all our problems is definitely MORE GUNS.

    Think of it as giving Darwin a helping hand.
  • It doesn't matter if it's "intellectual property" or physical property. You don't automatically get the rights to something just because you want it.

    If you write a love note to Sally, the whole world doesn't automatically get the right to read it, even though you "distributed" it to selected members of the world (Sally). Even though it doesn't cost you anything, you have your reasons for not wanting everybody to have the note you wrote.
  • I know that companies like Nintendo don't really enjoy the idea of people creating emulators and ripping roms, reasoning that after playing the older games, people will stop buying the new ones.

    On the other hand, I don't know of any serious legal action going on against ROM sites or emulation sites, and the companies don't seem to pay too much attention to the issue.

    So why do we need a Napster-like ROM trader? I've no problem finding any ROM I want on the web. I guess it's just for convenience's sake ...
  • 1)Rip off music without buying the CDs? 2)Rip off software so programers can't make money? 3)Rip off games, so that more won't be put out? 4)Spam screens with porno ad pop-ups?

    All of this steps on Copyright (and Copyleft) and prevents ppl from making the money they deserve.
    Don't get me wrong, I have mp3s, and own ROMs, but I go buy the 'real thing' if I like what I see/hear. And as far as porn, all for it, but, their are ppl who don't want to see it, and I don't want to deal with the pop ups.
  • You know, as much as I like the idea of ROMNet and the fact that I can get some of those rare NES games I could never find, something like this isn't helping to push peer-to-peer file sharing any. The existing file-sharing programs, major ones like Napster, Gnutella, and Freenet, are just being pointed to as yet another mode for piracy by the respective industries, and in many cases, it's simply unwarranted. I think that peer-to-peer file-sharing is a great idea and it should be pursued, but I think if more programs such as the ones mentioned pop up, they will just be unfairly demonized as havens for pirates.

    --
  • either that or it's a totally new media paradigm that up until about a year ago never existed in the known history of the universe. And people like to talk about it, but hey that's not a good excuse for the cynical whiner who worries about how many banner ad impression C|net gets when /. links to them.

    --
  • If it's this simple, why are CDs more expensive than cassettes, which are more expensive to manufacture than CDs?

    Furthermore, the banter about the CPI going up 60% is a crock as well. Other media haven't followed the CPI either (although movies in my area have gone up a tad).

    The fact of the matter is, we've been being overcharged for CDs for years. True, their margins are probably shrinking due to higher production costs, but make no mistake: the recording industry is nowhere near losing money.

  • Beta generally means no known bugs. I'd say the author probably knows about quite a few. Alpha means feature complete, known bugs. Clearly it is alpha, not beta.
    ---


  • >>By all measures, when you consider how long
    >>people have the music and how often they can go >>back and get "re-entertained" CDs truly are an
    >>incredible value for the money.

    Well, lets take another angle on this. Since the actual cost of producing the physical CD is only a SMALL part of the whole equation, the lions share goes to the recording company, the artists, the cost of producing the music, the artwork, promotion, etc etc. Following so far? So once the music is produced, the medium that is used to convey it is an extremely small portion of the overall cost.

    Following so far? Good.

    Now explain the price discrepancy between an casette tape and a CD of the same 'artistic work'.

    Oh yeah... there isn't any explanation, except for price gouging. I can buy BLANK CDR discs for $1 (with a jewel case). I can only imagine what it costs 'the industry' to stamp out CD's - maybe 40 cents? So why is a CD always at least $5 more than a tape. Cut the bullshit about 'quality' - they are post produced from the same master work.

    The rise of Napster (et all) also comes from the fact that it is generally IMPOSSIBLE to buy A SINGLE SONG. If there is a song i like i have to drop down $20 for the CD. Give me a freaking break. Charge me $2/song - deliver it electronically and I'm responsible for supplying the medium. I'd spend a fortune. But that isn't possible. There isn't a legal way to do it.

    Just as the recording industry has fought producers of custom, made to order compilation CD's (vending machines etc) in order to maximize profits. Well, the cows are tired of being milked.

    People have been taken advantage of by the recording industry for a quite a while - the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Be interesting to watch the subsequent oscillations.

    j
  • Believe me, if I had the time and expertise to create an ultra-efficient P2P file-sharing application, I would, but I do not. /. is a forum where ideas can be batted around; I am not commanding you to code an application I want, I'm merely offering a suggestion--take it for what it's worth.
  • How can you even compare files to drugs? Lets take a step back and look at the BIG picture. "Please stop drawing so much attention to it, and maybe we can avoid a lengthly..." you draw an even greater amount of attention by even comparing file swapping to drugs. drugs kill. file swapping does not.
  • This isn't another generic Freenet-will-kill-intellectual-property article. The Uprizer project will sell music. The description is vague (and the spec is secret until December), but evidently it will use some form of Street Performer Protocol [counterpane.com]. Anyone want to guess how this will work?

    Maybe artists will release two songs and "threaten" to sign with an RIAA distributor unless they get enough contributions to live on.

    Maybe they'll release the really catchy refrain to a song, and withold the rest (so you can't get it out of your head by singing it).

    Maybe they'll play half a fugue and request payment before returning to the tonic...

    - Michael Cohn
  • Thank you for taking the time to explain about freenet. When the subject was first brought up, it sounded like a pipe dream akin to the Open Windows project. After reading more info at http://freenet.sourceforge.net/ it still sounds vaporish. From the FAQ:

    "On Freenet, whatever you do, your identity is still revealed to the first Freenet Node you talk to. The anonymity that Freenet offers is really just obscurity in the fact that it is hard to prove that your node wasn't proxying the request for or insert of data on behalf of somebody else (who might also just have been proxying it)."
    "to attain true anonymity you have to send the message through an external network of anonymous remailers first "

    This is what originally made me think of the meta-web anonymity issues. Freenet is taking us no further along than non-trivial implentations of encryption. And as for removing or censoring information, isn't the DeCSS mirroring phenomenon proof enough that it's really hard to whack *all* the moles?

    I remain unconvinced.
  • The so called War on Drugs is not about people's health, it is (like all wars) the continuation of politics by other means. The "War on Swapping" will only come into being if one side in a political struggle sees it as useful in repressing the views, opinions, political activity etc. of the other side. This might happen, but it won't come from RIAA.
  • just looking at this, and according to what i can see on their site, it looks as though this program just transfers .zip files. anyone see a potential problem with this for trojans, etc?
    -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
    v.3.12
    GCS d-(--) s+: a-- C+++$>++++$$ UL++$>++++$$ P+>++++$ L++>++++$ E--- W++$>++
  • It seems to me that freenet is not really the right tool for the job. Freenet is intended as a way to anonymously post stuff in an uncensorable way, it has NO search mechanism, and its fairly bandwidth intensive -- all downloads get routed through the freenet software. Why do we need this level of protection, especially for a service that is supposed to have a way to be 100% LEGAL by ANYONE's definition??? If they don't plan to get sued, why the heavy crypto, etc?

    ---
  • I wasn't saying "go out and rip PS/2 games kids, rip off Sega if you can, storm Nintendo!" What I am saying is... Activision isn't making money off of Barnstorming anymore. Why not release it into the public domain and have a legal repository of such. Why hold onto a license that isn't EVER going to be used, when the game is plenty of fun anyways?

  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3@ p h r o g g y.com> on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:35AM (#888673) Homepage
    Uprizer is being touted as a direct descendent of Napster, the online song-swapping company that last week lost its battle against the recording industry over alleged copyright infringement.

    Lost its battle? My understanding was that the trial won't actually begin for another six months; the RIAA got a prelimminary injunction and Napster was granted their appeal. Exactly what battle are they talking about?

    --

  • Upriser == Fairtunes + Napster.

    We've just released a draft of our Music Payment Protocol [fairtunes.com] so any ambitious soul can integrate the Fairtunes voluntary payment model into something like opennap or XMMS or WinAmp..

    Matt
    co-founder
    Fairtunes Inc. [fairtunes.com]

  • Slightly off-topic, but as of yesterday the Ontario Court of Appeal has just put Canada's pot law into limbo:

    The National Post [nationalpost.com]
  • I'm a ROM developer. Before you insult, look at my NES work: GNOME vs. KDE [gte.net] is a GPL'd game; Who's Cuter? [gte.net] is what you get when you cross Precious Moments with a Rorschach inkblot.
    <O
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! [8m.com]
  • Check out the stats [fairtunes.com] at Fairtunes [fairtunes.com] a website which enables you to send voluntary payments to ANY artist online.

    People are usually sending between $5-$20US. Since there is no minimum limit a few people have put through transactions as low as $0.15. But usually people are being very generous. And I guess it's interesting to note that more money is being sent to "no-name" artists than the big name top 40 bunch.

    Matt.
    co-founder
    Fairtunes [fairtunes.com]

  • So I would be paying, more AND less. More of the money would go to the artists who provide the content.

    Sure, definitely. If we're talking about specific charges set directly by the artists, then they could certainly charge less, but make more.

    I'm interested, though, in the concept of collective payment. The idea that everyone (in general) pays toward a fixed sum, beyond which all is free (beer). So, any given person might pay a buck, if they thought the product was fair, or thirty bucks, if they thought it was supreme. Once supported to whatever pre-determined level, the product would simply be available to anyone interested.

    It's not a *fair* model, but is it a viable one?

    "So we're not home and dry."


  • I think that it is a shame that software companies get all pissed off about people trading software titles that they don't even publish anymore.

    Publishers have very good reason to want to protect these games even though they're not currently available for sale. As the fervent interest in emulators and roms indicates, there is currently a demand for these 'classic' games to be played. There have already been numerous shrinkwrapped emulator packages sold with a limited number of games (Microsoft Arcade, Activision whatever-it-was, Namco Museum -Playstation release only, etc). Games publishers have a potential to tap into this demand, but they won't be able to so long as these ROMS are being pirated over the net for free. Imagine this meeting of marketing execs:

    Exec #1: "Seems like a lot of people still love to play Wizard of Wor. Hundreds of thousands of people are passing the roms around to play on their computers."

    Exec #2: "Sounds like an opportunity to make some money!"

    Exec #1: "Maybe we should license the Wizard of War rom to some company so they can bundle it with their emulator?"

    Exec #1: "Great idea! All those hundreds of thousands of people currently playing wizard of wor for free would gladly pay $49.95 for an emulator bundled with it and a few other games. This is giving me the same tingles I felt when we came up with DIVX [discarnate.com]!"

    Exec #2: "We're so smart."


    Seth
  • This place is getting positively oppressive. If you say somthing a little toungue in cheek some bible thumping lefty mods you down. You post a reply to a question someone askes thats slightly off topic you get modded down. Get a friggen life losers. Use your mod points to move stuff you like up not the stuff you disagree with down. Bunch of book burning politically correct morons. I'm strating to see why people give up posting honest commentary and start flaming.
  • This is ludicrous. Businesses do not have any intrinsic or legal right to make money. If customers are "destroying your business model" then your business model sucks and deserves to fail.

    Interestingly, though, this was Napster's defense against the preliminary injunction. Their argument boiled down to, "If our music service is cut-off we will have to layoff employees and go out of business" (how they make money off people downloading music is anybody's guess, though).

    Why do you have a double standard? Why do you think it is OK for Napster to make this argument, but not for the record companies to make it?

  • Oh, good for you. I'm glad to see you taking a morilistic stance on other peoples behalfs like that.

    Sarcasm, eh? Well, next time I see a crackhead stealing your car stereo, I'll make sure not to take a morilistic stand on his behalfs...
  • Absolutely.... I consider myself very much a political conservative, but I'm all for ending the "war on drugs". Any true conservative should realize that things which let government get larger and increase taxes, like this pointless "war" should not be acceptable.

    Comparing drugs to copying software is pretty ludicrous to begin with, though. I don't know anyone who can honestly say copying some CDs caused their health condition to deteriorate, for starters....
  • The difference, of course, being that RIAA can drop a trackable ID onto the chip and charge for every exchange.

    Thanks...but no thanks, I get enough banner ads on Web sites already, I don't need one on my Rio.

  • While the RIAA does not collect information on the specific costs that make up the price of a CD, there are many factors that go into the overall cost of a CD -- and the plastic it's pressed on, is among the least significant. CD manufacturing costs may be lower, but it takes more money than ever before to put out a new recording.

    Your cost analysis is interesting, but ultimately flawed. I refer you to the much more interesting speech [salon.com] on the subject given by someone actually involved in this process.

    But don't believe for a minute that the recording industry is the only one to use these tactics. There is an interesting analysis of the book industry and the advantage of going your own way here [nomediakings.com]. It would be interesting, to say the least, to see what would happen should musicians follow a similar road.

  • by burris ( 122191 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @07:51AM (#888686)
    The only way that will happen is if music recordings no longer becomes "copyright-able". The reason why sharing recordings is illegal is because the recordings are copyrighted. It doesn't matter that it's music, the same applies to anything that's copyrighted.
    Just because something is Copyrighted doesn't mean you can't legally share it with Napster. There are tons of artists who have given permission to trade their music but still retain the Copyright. Live concerts by Metallica, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, Phish, Grateful Dead, etc... are all legally tradeable on Napster (or anywhere else).

    Burris

  • I'm sick of liberals whining about "sweat shops" and how children in Third World countries are being paid a dollar a day to put together sneakers for ten hours straight. Of course, if it wasn't for that dollar, the child would probably just curl up in a ball and die...
    Just like they were doing before the United States.
    Sorry if that offends leftists, but profit is why we are where we are today.
    So thats who to blame!
    Nike are working hard to feed poor children
    ..............I hope this was just a bad joke.
    Guess what, folks, if you can't compete, you don't deserve to be in business
    Guess what, folks, if you break the law, you don't deserve to be in business.

  • Bible-thumping *lefties*? Man, I wish there were some of those where *I* live. Sigh. Ahem. Sorry for more off-topicness, I be quiet now.
  • What part of BETA don't you understand?
    I don't wan't to flame, but when it says beta, I expect things to be unfinished, possibly broken. You should forward your issues to the author at jetro3@a1isp.net
    ---
  • "The philosophy behind the GPL is that people should be allowed to use their data however they want (including sharing with others)."

    No. That's the philosophy behind the BSD license. It is very hard to violate BSD-style licenses and almost no benefit is gained from doing so.

    The GPL is a different animal. The GPL's philosophy is that people should program collectively and unselfishly to create a good product. Hoarding of code (releasing binary-only derivatives) is discouraged and outlawed. Under the GPL, people cannot use data however they want but must share it with others.

    Both licenses "use the existing IP laws to make this so".
  • Is anyone else getting sick of stories about software that promotes rampant piracy? Maybe these stories deserve a new slashdot category...
  • Insightful? Who would use it? People who want to download GPL'd binaries without getting the source code. Oooh, the rebels! Actually I can already download binaries from many distributions but they also have to offer the sources. With your GPLnet, people would get the exciting ability to download GPL'd code without source available. Who cares? Who would bother offering it? You can't exactly offer the downloads for money, as a business. You'd have to get the money somehow, then you could be tracked down and sued for violating the copyright of the authors. And it wouldn't be a case of 33,000 violators in that case.
  • (-1 Lame, Old and Tired)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This sounds like just another way to pirate music, and I dispute the claims that "We intend to stay vigorously on the right side of the law." There is no way that this is EVER going to happen, particularly when he follows this comment up with "We are really keen to help the small guy. We want to democratise the process so you won't need to sell your soul to the devil to get a recording contract". The public have already greeted websites offering free MP3s of unsigned artists with disinterest, and the public will never buy into this unless pirated music is available.

    A lot of bullshit is spoken about how artists don't want to "sell out" by signing with a record company. Every musician, if given the chance, would sign a record deal and anyone who claims otherwise is lying (this is simply a case of sour grapes, because they have never been offered a record deal). There is a very good reason why there are so many unsigned bands around - 99.9% of unsigned bands produce unlistenable shit.

    The public do not want to support the "small guy". They want finely crafted, highly polished music - the sort of music which only the big recording companies can produce. The public will only be interested in this project if it can provide them with the Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Eminem records that they know, love and copy from Napster. If this project is to make money, the only way it will do so is by the piracy of music produced by the major labels.

    I'll leave you with a final quote from the article: "The public pays, but collectively rather than individually." This sounds just like piracy to me - the greed of a few people pirating music on Napster, means that the majority suffer through paying higher prices in order to subsidise the pirates (check out this link [bbc.co.uk] for proof).

  • I don't get this Uprizer story:

    The London-based founder of Freenet, the software that allows digital music downloads, is setting up a new company in the US, designed to directly challenge existing copyright laws.
    and
    "We intend to stay vigorously on the right side of the law."
    and
    Mr Clarke explained how the new venture would bypass copyright protection laws by citing the example of Stephen King, the blockbuster novelist, who is asking for voluntary payment for each online instalment of his latest novel.

    So, they're not breaking or challenging any laws at all. They're asking people to pay for the music they want.

    It is also unclear how Uprizer, which will use the open source Freenet software, is to make money.

    Uh, by taking a share of the money raised? Seems simple enough to me. Oddly, no one seems to wonder how Napster is going to make any money, or Helix Code or Eazel or...
  • My question to the world is: would you pay with a system like Ian Clarke's? Would you voluntarily pay to support the creators of the stuff you like? Would you pay more than you would elsewhere? Less?
    "So we're not home and dry."
  • Okay, I may get strung up by my toenails for suggesting this, but anyone who seeks to live long enough to outrun the next court date in this arena really needs to work with RIAA, not against them. Simply put, they're running scared. Why?

    See, until now, the companies that make up RIAA have run the entire network -- from A&R all the way to producing the CD's. Napster and its ilk seek to remove the production end from the business, where the real money is made. In fact, they're also gobbling up A&R as well, as the A&R process becomes more democratized.

    What does this do to the average record label? It simply puts them in a position where all they're doing is helping to organize touring (oftentimes done as a by-the-band function) and marketing. That is a low-margin area, as it's pretty cost-intensive.

    Granted, how RIAA and its constiuents screw over artists is legendary. While the politicians are overlooking the IP rights to other things, they need to look at how IP is getting squelched for individual artists. But if you want to be successful in the digital (compressed) music world, you have to work with RIAA, not against them. Just guard your wallet.


    --
    <><
  • I like all the stories about Napster, the RIAA, Gnutella, and new forms or file sharing. I think it would be very appropriate to have a new category for this since it is generating lots of stories and "The Internet" doesn't seem like a specific enough heading. I imagine there are also plenty of slashdot readers who are sick of these stories.
  • I'm not saying that there aren't cases, even including ones like this, where Freenet is very useful, I just think that the application being talked about isn't (for the majority of stuff shared) one of them.

    There is a 50% chance we will have Tippor Gore as our next first lady. Can you say "War Against Music?" She has a history (as a senator's wife) of stirring up lynch mobs of mothers to try and censor music.

    If dub-uh-yuh gets elected, don't count on an age of enlightenment either ... he enjoys support from those who tried to run the Maplethorpe exhibit out of Cincinnati and imprison the Art Museum's curator.

    The point being that both major parties have an appalling record when it comes to civil liberties and freedom of expression. FreeNet may well become the only place artists can distribute their work without the likes of Tippor and the Religious Right stirring up the modern day equivelent of a lynch mob against them.

    That being the case, why not build a responsible system for reimbursing artists upon a solid infrastructure designed to make it impossible for their work to ever be censored by anyone, anywhere?
  • Many people thought then, as they do now, that if enough people do it, how can they make it illegal? Well, last I checked, Marijuana is still illegal, despite how many people have used it. ,
    However, this attitude allowed "drug users" to win America's first war on drugs [ohio-state.edu]

    You're creating another War on Drugs...
    Come now. That's like someone beating up his wife and saying that she made him do it.
  • If someone wants to play the original "Castlevania" again, chances are he has the original cart stashed away in a closet gathering dust - either because of a dead NES or because it's too much work to hook it up again. If he doesn't, it only costs a dollar to two to acquire.

    And, if he owns the original cart, he has a right to the original ROM - much like people have a right to tape CDs to play in their cars. He can't give the ROM to all his friends (unless they too have the original cart), but he can have the ROM without breaking copyright laws.

  • Well, I guess I was hoping that at least something on that list would disturb everyone. Since a lot of people around here don't respect IP, I thought (and apparently Streetlawyer thought too) that maybe some other form of information transfer would be offensive in some way. I really thought the privacy angle would work.

    One very defensible position would be to say that no information sharing ever infringes upon the rights of others. (And of course, any activity that infringes upon no one's rights should be unrestricted. (The immorality of War on Drugs comes to mind.))

    To say that information sharing never infringes upon anyone's rights is a fairly bold assertion, though. I wish some of you people would just come out and say it.

    I wonder if people would continue to hold that position if they saw naked pictures of their mothers/daughters/wives on the front page of the newspaper, along with a listing of all their credit card numbers (and usage histories), ex-girlfriends' reviews of past sexual performance, current partner's rebuttal to the accuracy of those reviews, their salary history, and quotations of everything they ever said behind someone else's back. All anonymously published, with no way to hit back.


    ---
  • No. The philosophy behind the GPL is that people should be allowed to use their data however they want (including sharing with others).

    Good God! Maybe you actually read what Gnu [gnu.org] is about, instead of making unbelievably wrong assumptions about it.

    The philosophy of GPL is NOT "that people should be allowed to use their data however they want". There are very specific restrictions on what people are allowed to do with GPL code, including 1) Source code must be distributed, 2) Source code which isn't GPL'd becomes GPL'd when GPL code is used within it (the "viral" aspect of the GPL).

    If there were no IP laws, the GPL would be impossible.

    If anything, you're thinking of BSD-style licenses, which are almost unrestricted.


    --

  • A pipe can be used to smoke tobacco, or marijuana. Unless you are using it to smoke marijuana it is perfectly legal.

    A more pertinant example is king size rolling papers, of which it is estimated 99% are used for marijuana.

  • A typical music fan who buys a CD might use that CD at home, take that CD in the car, make a tape of that CD, - or using it as part of a compilation, play that CD with friends and for friends, and keep that CD for many years.



    That's funny. Didn't Hilary Rosen say that making copies of your CD, so that you could keep one at home and one in the car, was not an example of "fair use"? Let's all be glad she's not the webmaster there.

  • by wishus ( 174405 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:39AM (#888718) Journal
    uprizer won't work. they are talking about helping the smalltime and unsigned bands - and those are not the MP3s most people want. They want Britney Spears.* And neither Britney Spears nor her label are interested in micropayments.

    Besides, if I want unsigned artists, I can go to mp3.com.

    wishus

    * I probably misspelled Britney. I am sure to get flamed for this.
    ---
  • by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:42AM (#888722) Homepage
    The market for peer to peer file sharing is already diluted, with most (Napster, Scour, etc.) concentrating on multimedia files. I do not want a program that only targets a specific niche, as I will then need XX different programs just to share all of my files over a network. FreeNet will probably only capture a small user base because of its complexity and the implications of storing portions of other people's potentially illegal information on your computer.

    Instead of integrating micropayments or encouraging users to pay for downloaded songs, I would like to see a content-neutral *efficient* file sharing system. It should be both like Microsoft File Sharing/FServes, where you find the name of friends computer and download his files, if you have the right password, and Napster, where you can search the entire network for unprotected files. It should not require a central server but, unlike Gnutella, which is incredibly inefficient, it should immediately query the "server" that it connects to for all IP addresses that it is connected to, cache ALL hosts, and immediately announce itself to the network. It should not respond to search requests unless it has a hit--all file system information should be cached in memory.

    I want flexibility and performance, not a program designed to handle only a certain type of file that the developer allows. The web has evolved into what it is today because it is a trivial task to extend HTML to embed new multimedia enhancements, and it can link to files of all types. Why should we accept file-sharing programs that are unneccesarily restrictive?
  • Artists would be better off creating their own sites for fans to download.......
    The problem is that it is very expensive to run a server that can handle lots of fans downloading big music files. You need lots of bandwidth and that is still pretty expensive.

    Check out Mojo Nation [mojonation.net] which is a distributed file system that makes it inexpensive to publish something that is very popular while maintaining a way to get paid. It reduces the load on individual servers by spreading files out among different hosts (redundantly) and uses market economics to prevent the "tradgedy of the commons" problem...

    Burris

  • And yet the amount that artists receive is negligible, whilst the record companies think a record's flopped if they've posted less than 10% profit!

    It's disingenuous (or 'just plain wrong', to put it another way) to say that the record company pays for marketing, playlisting, etc. Certainly they pay initially. But then they charge that to the artist(s) concerned, so it doesn't actually cost them anything! The promotion costs are then indented against the artist's next record, so if the artist's next album doesn't make enough of a profit (and bear in mind that the artist is on a crap deal where they only get a few cents per CD sold), then the artist ends up owing the record company, in spite of the fact that the company may still have made a decent profit on the record! And that's why only the most extremely successful artists make enough to retire on - the rest get stuck in share-cropping hell, trying to cover their existing debts. This has remarkable parallels with the indenture system of the feudal society, and with how smugglers of illegal immigrants get their victims to 'pay off their travel'.

    The concert tour was actually the main way for artists to make money - artists never used to make anything on recordings, so they played live, and the proceeds from that went directly to them instead of to the record company. Even the Beatles didn't start making real money on recordings until much later in their career, although no doubt it gives the surviving members a nice cash boost each year now. This is doubly true for session musicians, who may only be paid for a week's work recording an album, but get 6 months guaranteed work off a tour.

    Artists are starting to get wise to these problems, and are getting more bolshy with their record companies. I'm sure this accounts for the rise in 'manufactured' groups of boy- and girl-bands (911, Spice Girls, Take That, etc, etc). These guys are just doing it bcos the record companies are paying them more than McDonalds would, not bcos they actually _want_ to be real musicians, and certainly not bcos they're at all talented.

    As for CD sales - no doubt many groups don't make much in sales, just as many paperback books don't really go anywhere. The problem - cost. In the UK, £15 for a new CD release is about average. Now that's a fair amount of money, and I'm reluctant to spend that on a CD when I don't know if I'll like it - hence the appeal of being able to listen to extracts on Napster or suchlike, or having the CD available on the trial stands in the shop (I found one of my favourite CDs, by Porcupine Tree, just by sticking on the demo headphones in a music shop). It's almost worse when you know there's only one good song on the whole CD (eg. Mariah Carey's Music Box) - is it worth paying £15 for one song? If you can't afford to write off the cost of a CD, you will never experiment with new artists or genres, and consequently sales will suffer.

    Grab.
  • Used to be copyright was good for just 14 years, with a 14 year extension possible (in the USA). Now corporations have extended this to (75? 95?) years after the author's death.

    No one in their right mind pretends this is for the public good. It benefits corporations only. Well, lawyers who battle over it, and the politicians whose pockets were lined, yeh, they got some benefit too, but I digress :-)

    As far as I am concerned, they have stolen information from the public, and napster and all these other so-called "pirates" are simply stealing back what was once theirs. I don't care that they also steal back more than what the corporations stole in the first place, because the corporations started this war on public access to info, and the public will finish it (and them!).

    It's like the old Aesop fable about the monkey who was so greedy that he would not release a few peas from his handfull and thus could not get his overfull hand out of the jar. The corporations are so afraid of losing even the tiniest bit of control that they are going to lose it all.

    Too bad, so sad.

    Lest the conclusion jumpers out their misconstrue this, I don't hate businesses, I just hate greed and the over-powerful.

    --
  • And, of course, in a world without IP protections, it's impossible to add restrictions to code you distribute. If you distribute some code with source, and I distribute changed code in binary form, someone else can reverse-engineer your code, write equivalent source, and distribute that.

    Heck, that can be done even if the initial author doesn't distribute source.

    So, essentially, the net effect of abolishing intellectual property would be that everything would have an implicit GPL license attached to it. I don't think the FSF would have a problem with that.
  • Trust me, a Napster for ROMs(whether they be arcade, console, etc) would be a blessing. Finding MAME ROMs(that aren't corrupted or for earlier versions of MAME) are difficult to find. I find myself going through 20 pop-up ad windows, "top 100 sites" and referral sites(meaning they don't have anything but links to sites that may have it), and end up at a dead-end with a 404. With the harassment of Dave's Classics that prompted them to remove the ROMs, and video game companies that won't wake up(or are out of business), a Napster for ROMs is much needed for those who wanna play some old-school games.
  • Actually, they should post a quickies like story every couple weeks to list the new startups and idea for online file sharing. This article had two totally unrelated stories (RomNet and Upriser) which is a good start, but thery are not covering all the possible stories, like say Fairtunes.com. The only simple way to cover all these unrelated stories would be with something like quickies since these stories are really not big enough for a whole article.

    Note: Fairtunes.com is a way to send money to musicians, i.e. Upriser == Fairtunes + Napster.
  • OK, wait a second. Let's assume for the sake of argument that I am right. Why are you arguing with me?
  • by qnonsense ( 12235 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:58AM (#888748)
    You just don't get it, do you? No one ever said IP laws are bad/wrong. The purpose is not to abolish them. Copyright, patent, trademark, they all are very useful concepts and are needed. Without them, the global economy would collapse, and even if you're anti WMF, WTO (as I am) you can't really think that would be a Good Thing.

    But on the other hand, free speech is just as important. The post you are replying to points out hypocrisy of /.ers who rant and rave over GPL violations but see nothing wrong with pirating anything and everything under the sun, claiming it's free speech.

    What Napster is doing is illegal. They are (or are hoping they will be) profiting from piracy. Gnutella isn't and is therefore probably fine. The users of Gnutella may be breaking the letter of the law, but it is too hard to track them and too costly to prosecute them.

    The GPL isn't using the system against itself, as you claim. The GPL is using the system for just the purpose the system was created. The purpose of the GPL is to protect property and limit it's use. The RIAA is, at this point, using the system against itself. By resisting electronic distribution and charging too much, they are encouraging the their own (and the system's) destruction.

    <RANT>IMHO information does not want to be free. It wants to be created and used.</RANT>

    The RIAA is trying to halt the use of information. They killed the single as a medium and charge too much for records. As a result they are being hit hard by mp3 piracy. If the RIAA wanted to solve this problem once and for all, they could adapt their pricing schemes to reflect the new and drastically lower cost of duplication and distribution and LET US LISTEN TO THE MUSIC WE'D GLADLY PAY FOR .
  • by leppi ( 207894 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:49AM (#888749)
    I think the reason that these stories are getting posted is because not everyone thinks that sharing music should be CONSIDERED piracy. There are a number of reasons why one would hold such a belief, ranging from music being an art form that should be shared, to the sharing of music actually ENCOURAGES people to buy albums/go to live shows. Most importantly we have seen that time and time again, artists have stepped forward and said "It is not us that hates [insert your favorite music sharing program here], it is the RIAA; They see it as cutting into their profits." Well, Lars aside anyway. :)

    I think that you are really simplifing the issue by just saying "software that promotes rampant piracy". The fact that this topic poses so many interesting questions, and is such an IMPORTANT issue to talk about in a global network environment, demands its continual mention.

    -- leppi
  • Do you not understand the concept of Stolen Property?

    In my closet there exists a sock that has not been used (by foot or any other appendage) in a little over 6 years. In all likelyhood I'll never wear this sock again. But guess what? YOU DON'T MAGICALLY GET THE RIGHT TO THIS SOCK! IT'S MINE, DAMN YOU!
  • If you write a love note to Sally, the whole world doesn't automatically get the right to read it, even though you "distributed" it to selected members of the world (Sally).

    But can Sally distribute or publish it? You sent it to her, so she owns it now, surely, or is she prohibited from publishing it because you have copyright? I don't see that your example is valid, which is the same problem as with the sock fellow. You may be right, and music "sharing" may be wrong, but you need to come up with some beter arguements and examples.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @08:38AM (#888760)
    Many would define freedom as "The ability to do anything I want with the this piece of code", as you implied in your original post. [ ... ] In other words, I am not allowed to do what I want with the code, even if I make my own changes to it. People are NOT allowed to "use their data however they want", as you asserted.

    Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Currently, copyright law allows something that the FSF and others consider to be wrong, namely allowing someone to put computer code under lock and key and claim ownership of it, depriving all others of any right to make use of, modify, or in many cases even look at the code in question.

    The FSF's goal is to counter this. Unfortunately, because the law as it stands favors those who would restrict information, specifically source code to software, the FSF had to write guarantees into its license to protect the freedom of the code from those who would alter it and then hide their changes behind existing copyright laws.

    The FSF's goal and philosophy call for a world in which all information is available to everybody under what amounts to BSD style conditions, but the current state of the law fosters and encourages a form of intellectual vulturism and predition that has forced their hand, namely to write specific protections into the license requiring others to behave in an ethical manner. The law should do this, but it doesn't, so the license must.

    The BSD license, unfortunately, has no such protections.

    I for one won't consider releasing my material under the FreeBSD license given the current legal climage. All software I write is under the GPL because it achieves what I want, the guarantee that anyone can use my code for whatever purpose they want, as long as they share it with the rest of us.

    I have written a Free Media License which does the same thing for other media (photographs, movies, movie scripts, music, etc.). Anyone can use my material, as long as they release the derivative product under the same, emmenently fair, conditions. What I do not want is some hollywood mogul using my stuff to make a movie, then turning around and suing me when I use DeCSS to decrypt the resulting DVD and watch it on my Linux box. As the GPL does for software, so my license does for media: namely protects the rights of everyone, at the expense of not permitting predators to take our work and make it their own, with the full force of government regulation and the gun to back them up.

    FreeBSD is appropriate for some things, but there are a whole hell of a lot of projects for which it is singularly inappropriate (ditto for any other license you can name, including the GPL).

    To summarize: the BSD license represents an ideal of where most of us want to be one day, but as long as the law is stacked so heavilly against freedom of information, the GPL is what is needed to get there.

    The GPL is a means to an end, not the end itself.
  • So, essentially, the net effect of abolishing intellectual property would be that everything would have an implicit GPL license attached to it. I don't think the FSF would have a problem with that.

    Actually, they would because the GPL currently requires that source code be distributed with binary executables--and in a world without IP protections, I could tell rms to go jump in the lake instead of posting the source code to NiftyDIFF that I built using the GNU diff sources.
  • I for one won't consider releasing my material under the FreeBSD license given the current legal climage. All software I write is under the GPL because it achieves what I want, the guarantee that anyone can use my code for whatever purpose they want, as long as they share it with the rest of us.

    But doing away with IP won't guarentee that someone will share his source code (or source code modifications) with the rest of us. That is, a world without IP restrictions is not equivalent to the license requirements provided for by the GPL license.

    Unless you also want to do away with secrecy and privacy and permit strangers to sift through your computer without your permission to look for the source code.

    The reality is this: if I distribute something without source code, the FSF says that I'm not freely giving away my source code. But giving away sources is something that takes an act of will: simply distributing the binaries is insufficient because it requires someone to reverse engineer my code. (Of course some people's programming styles are so obtuse that reverse engineering may be desirable than examining the original sources. But they are hopefully in the minority.)

    A world free of IP is also not equivalent to the license restrictions of a BSD style license agreement because BSD explicitly forbits suing the original author of the code as one condition of using the source code--that is, it makes it clear that the source code is to be used "as is." In a world free of IP, people would also be free to sue each other for defective code: only by a license agreement which can be enforced through copyright can I legally short curcuit a lawsuit by saying to the court "see--he agreed not to sue me as a requirement of using this code."

    (This "don't sue the author" restriction is also part of the GNU license, by the way.)

    To summarize: the BSD license represents an ideal of where most of us want to be one day, but as long as the law is stacked so heavilly against freedom of information, the GPL is what is needed to get there.

    No, because the GPL makes distributing the source code a requirement of distributing software--something which could not be enforced in a world free of Intellectual Property law unless we were also to do away with secrecy and privacy convenants as well. (Because only then can we go in and get the source code for ourselves rather than waiting for the author to cough the code up.)
  • Then explain to me the motivation behind moderating down an off-color comment that was on topic. It has to be either political correctness or bible thumping. Did you read my origional post? It was a tongue-in-cheek and definetly on-topic. Who else would waste the effort to mod down somthing they disagree with rather than mod up somthing they agree with. If theRegister.co.uk posted stories 24hrs/day like /. I'd just go there all the time anyhow. Especially since /. is now little more than a glorified CNN tech website. TheRegister posts the news faster and they aren't too politically correct to have a little fun. I guess the recent reference on MSNBC referring to Slashdot as a bunch of Technosnobs is becoming true. I guess all good things must come to an end.
  • Copyright is a privilege that society affords to content creators. It involves denying the rest of society the right to do various things that basically do not affect the original creator, and do not require trespassing or sock-drawer-raiding, and in no way deny anyone the use of their socks. We use the term "intellectual property" because property is a close analogy, and makes it easy to understand. It isn't a property issue, it's a rights issue. The law doesn't grant the copyright holder ownership in the property sense, it denies society the right to do what they want with their own property (eg, a DVD). Note that I am not taking sides, just pointing out a different way of looking at the law.
  • I recently got a job at a big technology retailerand one of the questions on the "exam" they give is if you have pirated software or music. I had to put yes. I can just see it in twenty years when people in this generation become politicians and are asked "Have you ever used Napster?" The Bill Clinton of 2020 will have to say "I used it but I didn't download."
  • I emailed the creator of RomNet as soon as I saw that there was no Linux client, asking for either protocol docs or the current source.

    He says that he won't distribute docs, though he will "at some point hopefully build that client".

    So, my question is, are there any generalized versions of a Napster client-server model? Something with modules for getting info on the given files, perhaps communicating this to the server via XML (easy to do fields)? Don't say GNUtella; GNUtella is a completely different paradigm. It's distributed client-client, not a client-server/client-client model like Napster.

    Napster, for me at least, is much much faster than GNUtella, sucks less bandwidth (from me), is easier to find things on, and has more of the MP3s I want. I think it's the right model, performance-wise.
    ---
  • by freebe ( 174010 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:24AM (#888780) Homepage
    What's next? Hot 0-day w4r3z, because information wants to be free? It'll happen soon, and what will be provoked? Another War on Drugs.

    This new "file-sharing" bent among young people perfectly mirrors the start of the Drug Revolution. Many people thought then, as they do now, that if enough people do it, how can they make it illegal? Well, last I checked, Marijuana is still illegal, despite how many people have used it.

    You're creating another War on Drugs, except this is the War on Swapping. It'll be moderately successful and waste huge amounts of govt. resources. Do you want to see file swapping where drugs are today - where you can be fired if you've ever been known to swap a file? Please stop drawing so much attention to it, and maybe we can avoid a lengthly and costly War on Swapping. By flaunting your illegal activities, you create the next War on Drugs.

  • No one ever said IP laws are bad/wrong.

    Actually, quite a few people have said that. Among them are Eben Moglen [columbia.edu] and Brian Martin [edu.edu]. If you look at just a subset of the IP laws then there are a whole lot of people who've said they're bad... including the Free Software Foundation [gnu.org] and The League for Programming Freedom [mit.edu].

    Without them, the global economy would collapse

    That's speculation. Perhaps you're right. Perhaps not. Even if you're right, is this really so terrible an outcome? Will there be riots in the streets of Paris if they can't get American movies? Will American college students invade Washington DC with firearms if they can't get Japanese anime?

    The purpose of the GPL is to protect property and limit it's [sic] use

    Others have already responded to this part, but it's important enough to warrant reiteration. The purpose of the GPL is to promote free software [gnu.org] which is, at its core, the freedom to share with your friends and with the whole of society. The only denial of freedom in the GPL is the part that denies you the right to deny other people the right to share. A lot of people don't seem to grasp this, which is why we see this debate over and over (ad infinitum) on slashdot.

    [...] reflect the new and drastically lower price of duplication and distribution and LET US LISTEN TO THE MUSIC WE'D GLADLY PAY FOR

    Here, I think you're absolutely correct.

  • HAHAHA! That was awesome. Okay, if the poster reads these replies, I think that was a hilarious joke, keep it up man. Please don't be discouraged by the fact that the average retarded slashdot reader can't even tell what is a joke and what isn't.

    sig:

  • Of course, the most important component of a CD is the artist?s effort in developing that music. Artists spend a large portion of their creative energy on writing song lyrics and composing music or working with producers and A&R executives to find great songs from great writers.

    If you look at the prices for classical music CDs, where the "great music" is free and the artists are long dead, it shows that that argument is nonsense.

    In fact, the classical music CD market shows clearly what is happening: record labels limit the choice of consumers by picking only a few artists, marketing the recordings to the hilt, and charging enormous amounts of money for those CDs. Artists likely don't see much of that. And, frankly, I doubt the situation is much different for other genres.

    Another factor commonly overlooked in assessing CD prices is to assume that all CDs are equally profitable. In fact, the vast majority is never profitable.

    And why aren't they profitable? For most artists, it can't be the small percentage the artist gets. With digital technology technical production costs are minimal. And pressing CDs is, what, a few cents now? So where does the red ink come from? It must be the money they spend on buyin shelf space, endorsements, artwork, marketing and promoting artists that wouldn't stand a chance by word of mouth or true consumer preferences.

    In fact, flooding the market with promotional materials for your product does not add value to the product. Neither does buying shelf space to the exclusion of other, smaller players. So, the lack of profitability is not related to any benefit to the consumer. Rather, the consumer pays record labels to allow them to limit the consumer's choice.

    In the past, with limited shelf space, there may have been some justification for this. With on-line music, there is none. The record industry and its money-gobbling corporate structure is an inefficient anachronism, made obsolete by the Internet and technology. Let's hope that they can't use their accumulated wealth to interfere with the free market mechanisms that, rightfully, ought to drive them out of business.

  • But if RomNet is really Napster for video game ROMs, it's illegal as all hell.

    That's not at all clear. Many kinds of swapping may well fall under "fair use". The legal system and legislation will ultimately clarify those issues.

    And it is also well worth debating whether content that is decades old, not available commercially, and of social interest, should, in fact, receive copyright protection. 100 years ago, the copyright on many things being swapped would already have run out, and it is well worth discussing (IMO) whether we should bring copyright back into such a more sensible, conservative framework.

  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:25AM (#888788) Homepage
    Yep, I and a few other investors are going to be setting up another distributed file-sharing scheme which allows software companies to distribute binary-only executable files of software for a fee. We think that the main attraction of the anonymous, distributed system will be to developers who wish to use sections of GPL'd code, but who don't want to abide by the free software licenses. The distributed nature of the network, with no central directory, will make it impossible for any Free Software or Open Source zealots to stop the spread, or to abuse the "copyright" system to prevent me and my investors from exercising our "fair use" of their work.

    Whatcha think, Slashdot? Does it "sound cool"?

  • Pretty good try, Streetlawyer, but it looks like everyone missed your point. Try this...

    I'm going to set up a distributed file-sharing protocol so that marketers can share people's buying histories, browsing histories, social security numbers, and profile information. They'll be able to do it anonymously and without accountability, so they won't have to worry about those darn privacy laws.

    Or maybe...

    I'm going to set up a anonymous distributed file-sharing protocol so that kiddie porn enthusiasts can swap pictures of 8-year-old naked boys and girls having sex with 40-year-old men. The distributed nature will make it impossible for the government to interfere with it.

    Or maybe...

    I'm going to set up a anonymous distributed file-sharing protocol so that neo-nazis can swap hate literature and holocause refutations without being subject to the German laws against those things.

    Or maybe...

    I'm going to set up a anonymous distributed file-sharing protocol so that heroin wholesalers can make arrangements with their street dealers.

    Or maybe...

    I'm going to set up an anonymous distributed file-sharing protocol so that Microsoft executives can discuss methods for manipulating the market, decommoditizing protocols, etc. without having to worry about any of it being tracable to any of them and getting subpeonaed in anti-trust or civil suits against them.

    Maybe one of those will push the right buttons? Your GPL idea didn't really work, because no one would really want the binaries in question. There's no "us-vs-them" conflict to play on.


    ---
  • No, it's not "yours". Society has granted you certain rights for a limited time, as a tradeoff to encourage you to share. But, by law, that's not the same as owning a sock or any other kind of physical property.

    And it would be bad if it were otherwise. For example, multiple people may have developed the same "intellectual property" at roughly the same time, but only one person will be granted rights. Why should that person own ideas that the other person invested just as much time and effort in? A limited time grant of rights is a compromise. "Intellectual property" is different from physical property for those and many other reasons.

  • by AstynaxX ( 217139 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @07:04AM (#888794) Homepage
    "Flaunting" illegal activities is used by the masses as a way of voting with our actions, stating rather loudly that the law is wrong. Why is the law wrong?

    Music: MP3's do indeed promote sales of music, as many audiophiles demand far greater quality to their music than MP3 can provide. Thus, they download a song, if it sounds interesting, they pay for the better version. Also, there is an element of 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' in that any band supporting MP3's and sharing of them will likely see their fan base and therefore revenue grow as a result.

    ROMs: Ok, N64 ROMs are blatently illegal, but old, no longer published titles are simply rotting away. Many folks still love the original Final Fantasy. There's a certain crispness to Super Mario Bros. If Nintendo et al would publish some compilation of the golden oldies, then they would have a case. As it stands, they just want to keep the old stuff away from us so we are forced to buy the new stuff if we want our 'fix'.

    -={(Astynax)}=-
  • Well, last I checked, Marijuana is still illegal, despite how many people have used it.

    The world is coming around. California permits marijuana for 'medicinal' uses (so broadly defined that any doctor could prescribe it for any reason). The federal gummint threatens any doctor issuing such a prescription, but if it's ever tested in court, I believe they'll lose. Many people, including some conservatives, believe that drug use should be legalized. I think that this attitude will eventually prevail, especially as more and more people realize what horrible damage is being inflicted on civil liberties in the name of "the war on drugs".
  • Actually, you might already be able to use freenet or gnutella to do any of these actions.

    As well as swapping

    1. Government, Corporate, or Personal Secrets
    2. Software of any kind (software piracy is pretty much what the ROMs are about)
    3. distributed slander and libel campaigns

    I'm not creative enough to think of more.

    It's not truly anonymous, as someone has to give someone an IP number. But this may be fixed or improved in the future. Since there was no cost to the creator for these copyings, is this hurting anyone? Yes, if future merger plans get stolen, Cracked versions of Oracle software become more pervasive than registerred copies, or missile defense system information gets leaked. What if someone desired to slander a business competitor? Would the near anonymity of this system help? You bet.

    -Ben
  • Even though the RIAA's lawsuits have helped boost Napster's popularity [yahoo.com] they claim that they will keep on fighting Napster to the bitter end. When asked if they would settle the response from an RIAA exec was ``Napster doesn't even have a business plan. There's really nothing they could offer us in settlement talks except a mailing list of people who want free music,' ". Read the story for yourself here [yahoo.com].

    Any so called legal alternative to Napster will face bitter opposition even if they are willing to pay the RIAA, just look at what's happened to MP3.com [yahoo.com], they've shown that they'll pay an arm and a leg and yet only a few labels have settled with them.

  • Have we been trolled?

    the customer is NOT right if the customer is (potentially) destroying your business model..

    This is ludicrous. Businesses do not have any intrinsic or legal right to make money. If customers are "destroying your business model" then your business model sucks and deserves to fail.

    How far have we sunk that people think that businesses' rights supersede their own?

  • by connorbd ( 151811 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:55AM (#888803) Homepage
    RomNet. Oy.

    A few years back I tried to convince Boston College to stop carrying the alt.binaries.warez.* groups on their Usenet server because there is simply no legitimate purpose for those groups. I still think I was in the right, even though some criticized me for it and the BC legal department wimped out because of an alleged free-speech issue.

    I don't know if I'd do the same thing today, since Gnutella and FreeNet have rendered the piracy issue moot. But if RomNet is really Napster for video game ROMs, it's illegal as all hell.

    Good or bad, I can't say. There is a case to be made for a myMP3.com-type model, but the console companies will never let it happen (just ask Sony and Nintendo, who truly despise the emulator market even though their hardware is probably loss-leadered).

    /Brian
  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @05:57AM (#888806)
    Sounds great, after all information wants to be free...

    I think someone should also start up a net to facilitate the trading of people's medical records, details of their contacts with their lawyers, and credit card numbers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think "the Internet" is pretty specific. As everyone knows, "Internet" was another word for "child pornography" from 1993 to 1998. In the brief period between 1998 and 1999, it meant "hackers", and now it means "Napster".
  • by Zebbers ( 134389 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2000 @06:11AM (#888809)
    Actually, Marijuana has become legalized for "medicinal" use in several states. And though it's a work in progress...it is happening. Also, a number of states have very low penalties for marijuana possession of low, personal quantities. We are talking 50$ fines here. Why? Because people realize how ignorant it is to ban a substance like that. You would think the gov't would've learn from prohibition that attempting to eliminate things like drugs...creates *MORE CRIME*. Not vice-versa. And that legalization makes regulation that much easier. Not to mention use safer. Just look at the quality of alcohol compared to the old cotton gins. :P

    And by the way...you analogy is quite off. Filesharing would be the pipe. A pipe can be used to smoke tobacco, or marijuana. Unless you are using it to smoke marijuana it is perfectly legal. Same with filesharing technologies. As long as there is ONE, legitimate, common use...itself will stay legal.

    Filesharing is more along the lines of consumer rights, copyright holders rights, etc, etc. And not criminal actions. YES, copying things can be a crime..but the majority of laws regarding these issues are civil, not criminal and the criminal laws are only there to enforce a handful of the civil laws. It's a FAR cry from any war on drugs. The war on drug's intention is not to protect idividual people from frying their brains, but to protect society from them and the activities they bring. As opposed to filesharing being to protect specific entities from other entities, and not society as a whole.

    I could go on and on..but I won't. It just saddens me to see people like you who submit so easily. "Face it, we can't win. Just go with the flow, so it doesn't get deeper." Thats bullshit. Our country is screwed up, yes. But the heart of it can still function, but most choose not to use it. Look around, most people are complacent, and will take what is handed to them.
  • You're creating another War on Drugs, except this is the War on Swapping. It'll be moderately successful and waste huge amounts of govt. resources. Do you want to see file swapping where drugs are today - where you can be fired if you've ever been known to swap a file? Please stop drawing so much attention to it, and maybe we can avoid a lengthly and costly War on Swapping. By flaunting your illegal activities, you create the next War on Drugs.
    So your thinking here is that if the government says it's illegal, we shouldn't do it, to avoid pissing off the government. You're saying it's our fault for wanting to smoke pot and trade ROMs, not the government's for getting its panties in a knot over it.

    Fuck that. I am the government. The US civil rights movement, dodging the draft during Vietnam, protecting the lives of Jews in Nazi Germany... all these things were illegal. I'll try to make swapping ROMs legal when I can, but in the meantime I'm going to be a criminal. I feel it's my duty as an American not to obey stupid laws.

  • I really like ROMs. I think that it is a shame that software companies get all pissed off about people trading software titles that they don't even publish anymore. I mean, how else are you going to get it? They aren't making any money off of the stores that trade antique games and such, and quite frankly, you don't always find what you're looking for at these stores. I can see it if the company actually plans on licensing out the game to someone, but really, all that comes out of the license is a rewrite, which is technically a different game, and probably utilizes new hardware and such. So what if I want to download Castlevania, the original one? If they come out with a new version for Nintendo's new system, it's not really going to be the original anyways. I am glad that ROMNet is around, its' a great idea... What I am not glad about is people holding onto licenses and letting such great games die. I hope that people can start to be kinder about such things and just let 10 their 10 year old games out into the public domain.

  • Do you not understand the concept of Stolen Property? In my closet there exists a sock [...] IT'S MINE, DAMN YOU!

    (Sigh....) I was hoping that we wouldn't have to go through this again. But here we go....

    Copyright infringement is not theft. The laws that apply to physical objects (like socks) do not apply to intangible things (like large numbers, which some people call "software" or "digital music recordings" or "ROMs").

    You cannot steal something that has no physical reality. To steal means to deprive someone else of a possession. If I make a copy of a ROM (or music recording, or whatever) that you've created, then I have not deprived you of anything, and therefore I haven't stolen from you.

    Under current law in some parts of the world, copyright infringement is a crime. But it is not theft (nor is it rape, nor murder, nor any other crime but copyright infringement). It does not fall under the same section of the law books, and it does not carry the same penalties.

    PLEASE, PEOPLE, STOP spewing this nonsense about "theft" and "stealing" and "piracy" -- those are propaganda words used by copyright holders. The issue at hand here is copyright, not physical property. Thank you.

  • I think the reason that these stories are getting posted is because not everyone thinks that sharing music should be CONSIDERED piracy.

    The only way that will happen is if music recordings no longer becomes "copyright-able". The reason why sharing recordings is illegal is because the recordings are copyrighted. It doesn't matter that it's music, the same applies to anything that's copyrighted.

    I have no sympathy for Napster or anyone who defends Napster.
    --

  • Fairtunes (www.fairtnues.com [fairtunes.com]) two weeks ago launched it's voluntary payment system to artists on the web. Yesterday we posted a draft of our Music Payment Protocol [fairtunes.com] that would enable (open source) developers to use our system to build voluntary contributions into plugins and Napster-style downloading programs. We are looking for comments and suggestions on the protocol. The beta server for it will be up by the end of the week.

    Matt.
    co-founder
    www.fairtunes.com [fairtunes.com]

  • You see, the purpose of the GPL is to help bring about the happy day when IP laws no longer restrict us. So if there were a network that let us "route around" copyright/licensing laws the GPL would no longer be needed.

    The difference between the GPL and the RIAA is that the GPL is using the system against itself.
    --
  • I'm not *trying* to be thickheaded about this, just tell me what the differences and advantages are.

    The problem with the internet, and the world wide web built upon it, is that it can be censored. Servers can be identified and physically removed from the net, their owners punished or coerced into removing content. Ditto with web pages, ftp file stores, and email / mailing list servers.

    On the other hand, USENET was less susceptible to this, as it was in many ways distributed, in a different form than freenet and with different goals, but distributed nonetheless. Information was copied and propogated throughout the net, multiple times and in many directions. Censoring a USENET article was difficult if not impossible, but, alas, the same is not true of the other internet services, in particular the web.

    FreeNet is designed to insure anonymity by default (current anonymous remailers and the like are non-trivial to use, even for experienced users like myself. Not hard, once you know what you're doing, but non-trivial, and certainly a challenge if you're new to it). It is also designed to make it impossible for anyone to remove content of any kind, regardless of whether or not they have a gun to their head (metaphorically speaking).

    It is an effort to bring the advantages of anonymouty and USENET-like distributed and replicated information to a broader class of internet services. There is even a web-freenet interface under development -- the goal being that one day even the world wide web, or a freenet variant, will be impossible to censor.

    Hopefully, this will bring anonymity and freedom from fear to even the most casual user of the net, not just the technically savvy elite.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Cost of a CD

    A typical music fan who buys a CD might use that CD at home, take that CD in the car, make a tape of that CD, - or using it as part of a compilation, play that CD with friends and for friends, and keep that CD for many years. That's probably why most consumers, when asked, describe CDs as a good value. At the same time, when asked directly whether CDs cost too much, some consumers will say yes! Why the contradiction? Because some consumers don't understand why the sales tag on a CD is so much higher than the cost of producing the actual physical disc, a cost, which in fact, has decreased over the years.

    While the RIAA does not collect information on the specific costs that make up the price of a CD, there are many factors that go into the overall cost of a CD -- and the plastic it's pressed on, is among the least significant. CD manufacturing costs may be lower, but it takes more money than ever before to put out a new recording.

    Of course, the most important component of a CD is the artist's effort in developing that music. Artists spend a large portion of their creative energy on writing song lyrics and composing music or working with producers and A&R executives to find great songs from great writers. This task can take weeks, months, or even years. The creative ability of these artists to produce the music we love, combined with the time and energy they spend throughout that process is in itself priceless. But while the creative process is priceless, it must be compensated. Artists receive royalties on each recording, which vary according to their contract, and the songwriter gets royalties too. In addition, the label incurs additional costs in finding and signing new artists.

    Once an artist or group has songs composed, they must then go into the studio and begin recording. The costs of recording this work, including recording studio fees, studio musicians, sound engineers, producers and others, all must be recovered by the cost of the CD.

    Then come marketing and promotion costs -- perhaps the most expensive part of the music business today. They include increasingly expensive video clips, public relations, tour support, marketing campaigns, and promotion to get the songs played on the radio. For example, when you hear a song played on the radio -- that didn't just happen! Labels make investments in artists by paying for both the production and the promotion of the album, and promotion is very expensive. New technology such as the Internet offers new ways for artists to reach music fans, but it still requires that some entity, whether it is a traditional label or another kind of company, market and promote that artist so that fans are aware of new releases.

    For every album released in a given year, a marketing strategy was developed to make that album stand out among the other releases that hit the market that year. Art must be designed for the CD box, and promotional materials (posters, store displays and music videos) developed and produced. For many artists, a costly concert tour is essential to promote their recordings.

    Another factor commonly overlooked in assessing CD prices is to assume that all CDs are equally profitable. In fact, the vast majority is never profitable. Each year, of the approximately 27,000 new releases that hit the market, the major labels release about 7,000 new CD titles and after production, recording, promotion and distribution costs, most never sell enough to recover these costs, let alone make a profit. In the end, less than 10% are profitable, and in effect, it's these recordings that finance all the rest.

    Clearly there are many costs associated with producing a CD, and despite these costs the price of recorded music to consumers has fallen dramatically since CDs were first introduced in 1983. Between 1983 and 1996, the average price of a CD fell by more than 40%. Over this same period of time, consumer prices (measured by the Consumer Price Index, or CPI) rose nearly 60%. If CD prices had risen at the same rate as consumer prices over this period, the average retail price of a CD in 1996 would have been $33.86 instead of $12.75. While the price of CDs has fallen, the amount of music provided on a typical CD has increased substantially, along with higher quality in terms of fidelity, durability, ease of use, and range of choices, including multi-media material, such as music videos, interviews and discographies. Content of this type often requires considerable production expense and adds a whole new dimension that goes beyond conventional audio.

    In contrast, CD prices are low compared to other forms of entertainment and one of the few entertainment units to decrease in price, even though production, marketing and distribution costs have increased. In a USA Today article entitled, "Spending a Fortune for Fun: The cost of entertainment is rising along with our willingness to pay it ," the reporter observes, "though some factions of the industry see price resistance -- CD prices are relatively low and home videos rentals are still a bargain -- consumers don't seem to balk at the rising price of fun in this strong, family-friendly economy." The prices of other forms of entertainment have risen, on average, more rapidly than has music or consumer prices, with most admission prices for other forms of entertainment having increased more than 90% between 1983 and 1996.

    By all measures, when you consider how long people have the music and how often they can go back and get "re-entertained" CDs truly are an incredible value for the money.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer

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