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Education

Universities Refuse To Ban Napster 318

sachsmachine writes: "The Harvard Crimson is reporting that MIT, Stanford, Duke, and UNC are refusing a Metallica request to block Napster, and that Harvard will likely do the same. Nice to see our institutions of higher learning sticking up for online freedom ..."

[Updated 14:07 GMT by timothy:] fredder adds another small evidence of persistent sanity: "I received this email from the powers that be at Duke University this morning:

'Duke has declined a request from the attorney representing several music performers to ban access to napster.

I do wish to remind all students that your license to use Duke's computing networks is predicated on legal use only, and that copyright infringement is not a permitted use.

Tallman Trask III'"

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Universities Refuse to Ban Napster

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  • My officemate's roomate is one of the network administrators for UCLA. He says that the biggest reason that UCLA allows the use of Napster on its network is that schools are in cutthroat competition to attract the best students, and the ability to download songs over the 'net is one of the criteria that kids use in determining what school to go to.

    It's more than a little ironic that in the same town that the RIAA and MPAA are based in, a state-sponsored school is refusing to kowtow to them.

    thad

  • by RGRistroph ( 86936 ) <rgristroph@gmail.com> on Friday September 22, 2000 @07:39AM (#761199) Homepage
    Old Man Kensey says "Like it or not, current US law treats intellectual property as property, with penalties for theft, illegal use, etc."

    This is completely false. Separate Titles of the US code lay out remedies and penalties associated with patents and copyright, and they differ considerably from the remedies and penalties for crimes such as vandalism or theft.

    Why don't you go read the code in question ? It's on the web. The site I use is:

    uscode.house.gov [house.gov]

    You might want to download the entire document of Title 17, in which case this page is the best:

    uscode.house.gov/download.htm [house.gov]

    Today 600 people are going to post an uninformed post to this story. That's because all of them think the US Congress actually gave Metallica and those other artists a complete monopoly on what is done with a song they record. None of them read Title 17, Chapter 1, sections 106 through 115, especially the various secions whose titles begin with the phrase "Limitations on Exclusive Rights:", and looked very carefully at the different privileges a copyright of a sound recording gives you over a written work.

    But you can be the first, Old Man Kensey!

    And if you can show me where it says that I am violating any privileges the US government has handed out, when I transfer a copy of a sound recording to another individual and don't receive any money for it, then I will buy you a steak dinner (or equivalent, if steak isn't your thing). I'm serious about this. Be careful, because all the places where it says that you can't do something, it generally says "as allowed in secions 106 through 115" or something similar, and those sections include the "Limitations on Exclusive Rights" parts.

  • "I'm disappointed in the attitude [the universities] have taken, which is 'we don't know anything, we don't have any responsibility unless we know anything, tell us who's infringing and then we'll take decisive steps,' " King said.

    Well, sir, TOUGH SHIT. It's your intellectual property, it's YOUR job to defend your rights to it. Not the Universities. Not anyone else's.

    Life sucks.

    - A.P.

    --
    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • by DarkbladePDX ( 204080 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @07:40AM (#761203) Homepage
    Um, actually, I don't support copyright violation. I _also_ don't support the supression of a legitimate means of data replication and transfer simply because _some_ people are using it thusly.

    When the RIAA forgoes that little hidden piracy fee on audio tapes and actively starts to enforce copyright on recorded music by going after the individual violators, then they have an ethical leg to stand on. While they're attempting it this way, they can go hang.

    Remember, Xeroxes aren't illegal, jut some uses of them. No matter _how_many_ xerox users are using them for print "piracy", xeroxes remain legal. Period. The same argument applies to Napster.
  • by |DaBuzz| ( 33869 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @06:40AM (#761204)
    It still amazes me that a group that worships the virtues of the GPL (which is a binding contractual agreement to which the originator of a work provides for it's exact usage, forcing the user into terms he may or may not agree with) are so quick to rally around the open violation of copyright laws.

    Look at it this way. The GPL is your bible, it's your life and when someone breaks it, you're quick to jump down their throats ... well for the recording industry and yes, the artists, copyright laws are their bible in a way, and when someone breaks them, they have the right to try and stop it.

    What will you do when Napster/Gnutella becomes a trading ground for those who decide the GPL is obsolete and distribute programs that purposely violate it? You'll go ape shit and you know it.

    Sure the RIAA is the devil, but hypocrisy on such a mass scale doesn't fall short of being satan himself.

    Napster is not about freedom ... it's about theft, plain and simple. If you don't believe it, read through the court documents describing how the original board characterized their application. Here's a hint, they made NO MENTION of independent artists ... their main goal was to allow users to find ANY song they want and download it for free. Where do people hear songs they want? You guessed it, the radio. How many independent artists are played on the radio? You guessed it again, zero.

    If you're so unhappy with the status of the commerce of art, stop buying it ... make your own, but to blatantly break the law and then act like it's you're right, this just makes you look like a scolded child throwing a temper tantrum, not to mention the fact that at this point, any credibility your argument once had becomes negated.

    There are plenty of worthy things to rally around folks ... the "freedom" to rip someone off is not one of them, no matter how upset you are that CDs still cost $16.
  • -----Original Message-----
    From: Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
    [mailto:EXECUTIVEVP7@LISTS.PSU.EDU]On Behalf Of Executive Vice President
    Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2000 5:56 PM
    To: EXECUTIVEVP7@LISTS.PSU.EDU
    Subject: NAPSTER and COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL - VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE!

    Dear Penn State Student,

    As you may have heard, computer programs like Napster and computer networks have made copying copyrighted material including music and videos easier than ever. The press has reported this phenomenon widely and there has been considerable discussion of it in the Penn State community. You should know that copying of copyrighted material without the permission of the owner is a violation of state and federal laws as well as University policy. The University regards these violations as a very serious matter.

    The University has done initial scans of its networks to determine the use level of programs like Napster. These scans do not examine the content of a particular computer in any way but do determine traffic characteristics. The scans suggest that some students may be making extensive use of Napster and other programs that can facilitate illegal copying of copyrighted material that belongs to another person, group, or company. There is also evidence that computer viruses have been transmitted in the process that owners may not be aware of.

    Although it is not the intent to curtail legitimate use of such software, the University has an obligation to ensure that its networks and computers are not used to violate the law or University policy. While some seem to take violation casually, the penalties for copyright infringement are serious. All users should be aware of Penn State's program of continuous review of network traffic to identify copyright violations, viruses, or other unsanctioned activities.

    If you are responsible for a computer that is attached to the Penn State network in any way, your use of that network is subject to such review. If the review uncovers symptoms of problems discussed above, you will be contacted for further review of your network use. Assistance will be available to eliminate any problems that exist. This will improve network performance for all network users. If the University receives notice that you have used the University network to infringe copyrighted works, your account will be suspended.

    Appropriate use of the Penn State computer network and respect for the copyrighted works of others will help to ensure continued access to the widest possible array of software for all University users.

    Sincerely,

    Rodney A. Erickson
    Executive Vice President and Provost

    PS: For further information or questions, contact the Center for Academic Computing (helpdesk@psu.edu), Computer and Network Security (security@psu.edu), or your local campus computing organization. Students in the Residence Halls can contact ResCom (rescom@psu.edu).
  • Once the lawsuit is actually put in place, most universities, including those with deep pockets, will fold and try to get out of the suit as quickly as possible ; it's not good to the college to run a lawsuit that is orthogonal to the school's business. Remember, Metallica already named several schools as lawsuitees, and the schools quickly folded.

    The only time schools will defend themselves in suits is when the vision of the school is in danger -- a good example is the anti-affrimative action cases against Univ. of Michigan, as the school believes it has every right to use affrimative action in application processes.

  • From the Princeton article:

    "If you know there exists a use of a program which is infringing on intellectual property, how can you ignore it? Princeton is choosing to overlook a problem that they know exists," he said. "Its response seemed like a summary without a discussion of what is right and what is wrong." -- Howard King, Metallica/Dre's lawyer

    Note the "... a use of a program". He didn't say "the use". So, we can assume that there exist other, non-infringing uses of the program. Doesn't that kind of hold up the test for Fair Use? Granted, the non-infringing uses have to be proved significant (I believe that's the wording), but I wonder how hard that can be.

    Disclaimer: IANAL
  • There is one in particular, the author's name escapes me at the moment, but he IS a musician, who argues why Napster is a great thing for musicians

    John Perry Barlow [eff.org], lyricist for the grateful dead, co-founder of the EFF.

  • Really, if Universities behave as they should, the conversation should be simple:

    Lars: Ban Napster
    University Administrator: Is Napster illegal?
    Lars: Well, not exactly...
    UA: Well then, push off. We don't censor the members of our communities except where required to by law.

    Unfortunately, there's been a trend towards hiring business-types, not academics, as University administrators. Nobody could ever quite put their finger on why that was a bad idea besides saying that "they don't understand the culture of academic freedom." Here's a fine example.

    The lesson: when your school solicits input into hiring their next president/VP/dean, tell them to go with an academic.

    Greg

  • I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but it seems to me that the RIAA is playing with fire in supporting the DMCA. The precedents this law sets in infringing individual freedoms can surely be extended to limiting artists freedoms as well. US politicians are currently hammering Hollywood for marketing to children violent material. Not long ago the politicians were chastising the record industry for the same thing and now we have warning labels on albums and many stores that won't stock these albums. (As an aside, I wonder how many of Metallica and Dr. Dre's albums have warning labels...) To my mind that's a form of censorship.

    Listeners and artists alike lose by things such as the DMCA and warning labels because both put limits on getting music from musicians to listeners. But then again, I guess the RIAA represents labels, not artists, so this doesn't bother them.

  • Another article [dailyprincetonian.com] in the Daily Princtonian says that Pricneton University refuses to ban Napster as well.

  • by CMiYC ( 6473 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:16AM (#761225) Homepage
    I work at the computing center for Purdue and our Assistant Director has stated that they will not ban Napster or any other service for that matter (e.g. porn). However, they caution us because if anyone comes with a court order they will not fight for the students. So he says if we want to hang ourselves we're more than welcome to.

    ---
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:16AM (#761227)
    That link should be this [harvard.edu].
  • Kudos to these Universities for recognizing there's a larger issue here rather than just whittling away at users' access just because it's the easier, less risky thing to do

    I seriously doubt that. These Universities are the ones smart enough to realize that this minimizes their risk. If they do nothing and are sued, they have an easy case that it isn't their responsibility to police their students. However, if they *DO* try to censor their networks, they are safe for the day, but suddenly set precedent for ensuring legal use of their networks... Then they suddenly become liable for future infractions. When the next "big thing" comes along and the RIAA wants them to block it if they don't/can't/won't, they are really in trouble.

    Still, it is good to see some universities not being bullied around so easily.

  • While I am not sure where I fall on the matter of whether or not Napster should be banned on university networks, I believe that there are some other important things to look at when considering such a ban.

    The following is an excerpt from the University of Chicago's IT acceptable use policy. [uchicago.edu]:
    In general, University faculty, students, and staff may use University information technology (which includes privately-owned computers connected to the University network) in connection with the University's core teaching, research, and service missions. Certain non-core uses that do not consume resources or interfere with other users also are acceptable. Under no circumstances may faculty, students, staff, or others use University information technology in ways that are illegal, that threaten the University's tax-exempt or other status, or that interfere with reasonable use by other members of the University community.
    I believe that a few important issues are raised in that policy. Universities are academic institutions, with educational goals at the heart of their existence. Network access is believed to further that mission in obvious ways. Now, the nasty part of Napster is how much bandwidth it can consume, especially if a user's computer is serving as well as receiving files. On a single computer basis, even moderate use isn't a heavy bandwidth concern, but when you consider the aggregate total bandwidth consumed by all the computers with Napster installed, especially those which are unwittingly serving, then you have bandwidth usage levels which present a problem. Bandwidth usage at such high rates by Napster users can arguably be seen as interfering with reasonable use by others on the network. Sure, there are ways to reduce this problem, such as a limiting of bandwidth at the router, but nevertheless, other concerns remain.

    Some will be quick to point out that much of the network traffic on a university network is not used for academic reasons. Indeed, I will be posting this comment via a campus network. But many universities, and as shown above, the University of Chicago, do accept some personal use, but they do make it clear that such uses may not overly consume IT resources or interfere with others using the IT resources.

    So, I would ask, do universities have the right to pick and choose, as they seem to be doing? At quick glance, I'd say that they do... it's their network, it's their IT staff that have to deal with bandwidth bottlenecks and service outages. They foot the bill for the network (granted, with money in part taken from student's tuition payments, though aren't those payments made for the education, which the acceptable use policy is intended to aid, by keeping usage in line with the university's mission) so don't they get to make the decisions how it should best be used?
  • You make one fatal flaw - you assume we're all big believers in the GPL.

    Remember, not all of Slashdot follows a single 'party line'. Some of us have diverging opinions. I personally have some issues with the GPL.

    And regardless of one's beliefs in the GPL, it's one thing not to sanction illegal activity, it's quite another to punish legal activity in trying to root out illegal activity.

    To put it another way, while I'm very much against running over pedestrians with my car (and believe those who run over people on purpose should be arrested), I'm not going to blame Mitsubishi if someone uses their product to run me over. Blame the copyright infringer, not Napster or the people actually using the service for legal purposes (yes, there are legal purposes).


    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • These organizations have been against EVERY technological of procedural development which might be perceived as any kind of change in information storage and dissemination since the invention of the player-piano roll.

    And they have NEVER won. Not ONCE. There is NO development which they opposed that has NOT come into being to the betterment (and profit) of the community, including their members.

    They don't abet ANYTHING. They only know how to obstruct.

    How long are people going to support this bunch of utter and complete loser, this pathetic bunch of knee-jerk-offs.?

    RIAA, MPAA, Luddites all, and about as effective.
  • In the case of Harvard I can tell you that web access isn't adversely affected because our Napster traffic is small enough not to cause a heavy network load. And there's also a seperate UNIX cluster for Comp Sci majors who need to use a faster computing environment.
  • ---
    have you ever been denied a position, promotion, or raise for no reason other than because you are a white male?
    ---

    Nope. Although I have seen someone hired in for a higher position who clearly did not have the skills necessary to do the job. I know - I had to train her.

    Despite the fact that I liked her as a person, the main reason she got her job was because she was a hispanic female.

    Racism is racism - giving someone an unnatural advantage is just as bad as pushing someone else down.

    I understand that white males are underrepresented in the penal system, but are you so sure that's just because we're also underrepresented in the drug using/selling and violent crime communities?

    Of course, that's not a politically correct thing to say, but so be it.


    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • It simply prevents anybody else from copying somebody elses code, and THEN copyrighting and/or patenting it (read: buy their very own government sanctioned monopoly).

    How is this far off from ...

    It simply prevents anybody else from copying somebody elses work, and THEN distributing and/or performing it in public.

    You may not agree with copyright law and find IP law "draconian", but the law is the law ... if you want to change it, change it through the proper channels, don't advocate the blatant violation of it.

    If your position had validity, you would treat it as such and go about making change properly and not getting into a pissing match just for the sake of watching yourself pee.
  • 'Reasonable efforts' does NOT mean denying the general public the right to use a tool. This debate is similar to the old Betamax decision, when VCRs were being presented as doing nothing but copyright violation.

    In the Supreme Court's opinion (who should certainly be qualified to judge copyright issues), "The sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. INDEED, IT NEED MERELY BE CAPABLE of substantial noninfringing uses." Notice that it doesn't actually HAVE to be substantially used in a non-infringing way, just that such a use has to be POSSIBLE. Quoting the District Court with approval, the court went on to say, "WHATEVER the future percentage of legal versus illegal home-use recording might be, an injunction which seeks to deprive the public of the very tool or article of commerce capable of some noninfringing use would be an extremely harsh remedy, AS WELL AS ONE UNPPRECEDENTED IN COPYRIGHT LAW."

    And for all those napster users who defend their right to use napster by saying they would never have bought the album, well the courts agree with you. Even when an entire copyrighted work was recorded, the District Court regarded the copying as fair use "because there is no accompanying reduction in the market for plaintiff's original work." Additionally the Court stated, "A use that has no demonstrable effect upon the potential market for, or the value of, the copyrighted work need not be prohibited in order to protect the author's incentive to create.""
  • Think about it: copyright is about restricting copying, and GNU is fundamentally about promoting copying.

    Wrong.

    Copyright law is about controlling the copying process to ensure the artist's work is protected in the way they choose. The GPL is also about the copying process to ensure that the owner's wishes are kept intact. This means if the person wants their source always available, that's their copying REQUIREMENT. What if I want to use a GPL piece of code in my own product and NOT give out the source. Your GPL is RESTRICTING my right of copying the initial GPL'd product.

    If a band wants their work only shared within local circles and NOT on the global scale that is Napster, that is their right as well.

    You want rights via the GPL, but don't want other who don't agree with you to be afforded similar rights thru copyright law. That's both sides of the fence my friend, and you can't play on one without being a hypocrite on the other.
  • I don't really know how serious your suggestions are, but I believe that more vigorous enforcement of laws will not only affect guilty people, but innocent ones as well, as authorities try to stamp out more crime. Thus, your freedoms are more eroded. However, my original post was about first amendment freedoms - freedom of speech. We're now talking about abuse of the 4th amendment, in particular unreasonable search and seizure.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @07:06AM (#761265) Homepage
    Ok, obviously the universities aren't required to police the online activities of their students, but how the hell do you justify pirating music (not the only napster use, i know that, now hush) as "academic freedom" and "access to information"?

    You don't. But in any truly free nation, you are innocent of any crime until you have been proven guilty. Simple use of Napster does not necessarily mean music piracy, so Metallica has no right to ban Napster, thereby punishing innocent people right along with the ones who are actually committing crimes. The US legal system was founded on the now somewhat cliched saying that it is better to let ten guilty people go free than to punish a single innocent person, and for Metallica to think they have a right to supercede that system is nothing more than hubris. They certainly have a right to their money if they want it, but that right is outweighed by the right of innocent people to not be punished for things they did not do. And that's the only fair way to do it, because while Metallica can always make more money, you can't "un-punish" an innocent person when the damage is done.

    Coming from a school where most of the classes require some (if not all) work to be done on or based on the web, knowing I'm paying $30k and I'm not gonna be able to do my homework because a bunch of slackers who won't be there next semester because they're d/ling music truly pisses me off.

    This is a legitimate concern, and a good question. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to it. I do know that the students who are downloading music are paying just as much for the network access as you are; keep that in mind. Also note that you're paying no small amount, judging from your post (you wouldn't happen to be at RIT, would you?) At that rate, your college should be able to afford the necessary bandwidth upgrades. It should also be possible to establish some sort of bandwidth-limitation/traffic-shaping system, such that a portion of the network would be guaranteed reserved for student work use, with harsh penalties for using that portion of the network for any other purpose.
    ----------
  • Finally, a some people with a clue about how the net is supposed to work.

    It should not be up to carriers to 'selectively' ban services and protocols. Not at all. They are providing network access. Period.
  • And regardless of one's beliefs in the GPL, it's one thing not to sanction illegal activity, it's quite another to punish legal activity in trying to root out illegal activity

    How is blocking napster punishing those who are partaking in legal activity? If you're not trading/downloading copyrighted works without permission, you SURELY can find another way to get your legal MP3s. Napster is a tool that the majority of it's users use for illegal purposes. The legitimate uses (however small) are NOT specific to the Napster tool, they are simply facilitated by it. If you're getting legal MP3s, Napster is not your only outlet for such activities.

    Just as a handgun is a tool of crime, it also has legitimate uses. Are students allowed to carry guns on campus or keep them under their pillow at night? Hell no. Why should any other tool that is mostly used for criminal activity be allowed? (And I'm not a gun control freak either, there is a time and place for everything and when I'm on campus, I'm a visitor and if they deny me something I like to do, I can either accept it or leave. My "rights" do not extend past my own personal property in most cases.)
  • I was amazed how King totally avoided even thinking about the actual law. I mean really, what color is the sky on his planet? The law specifically states that the plaintiff must provide the ISP with specific circumstances. Don't lawyers read the laws anymore?

    When I think of Howard King and the RIAA, a quote comes to mind:

    When that clue finally arrives, it will be like a fist through the screen. - Doc Searles
  • What if I think Jim Crow laws are illegal? Is it wrong to continuously and continually break those until they're repealed? What if I think it's wrong to ban [pick your race/gender] from attending public school? If I, being of the banned race/gender, force my way in as an attempt to get those laws repealed, is that wrong?

    Seems to me that much was done in the way of breaking laws of the early century that DID do a lot towards the cause...

    Just a thought.
  • I seriously hope you're not comparing people who freely distribute their software to the money grubbing corporations that we call the music industry.

    No, but just as those who utilize the GPL to distribute their works chose a certain distribution requirement standard, those who use copyright law to distribute and protect their works should be allowed to do the same. You may not agree with copyright law, that's fine .. use copyleft, but don't deny those who DO agree with copyright law the ability to utilize it and protect their works just as you have done via the GPL.

    What happens when someone takes your GPL'd tools and does something with them against the GPL's terms and justifies it by saying things like the GPL is draconian or obsolete and doesn't apply to the "new internet age"? You'd be in the same boat with Lars, will you help him paddle at that point or continue to deny him his right to stay afloat with the terms of use he chose to apply to his original works?
  • Ok, I'm a student at Kansas State and I personally can't wait until we ban napster traffic. As one of the few law-abiding students on campus my bandwidth has been seriously getting shot to hell (speeds of 20k/sec are getting frequent as a highpoint... I'm even getting 5-6k/sec). Do I have a serious interest in the legal issues surrounding Napster? Yes. Do I care about academic integrity and freedom of information? Very much so. The problem is that bandwidth is being used almost exclusively to download copyrighted music at most schools. This alone is more than enough reason to, if not an outright ban, severely restrict access to Napster to allow, if for no other reason, bandwidth for academic purposes.
  • Last night on the local news (KCNC, local CBS affiliate), I heard that the University of Colorado has decided not to ban Napster, but to adopt a "wait and see" attitude. Kudos to them for not caving in...

    Eric
    --

  • "Completely false? Copyright law explicitly recognizes the right of a copyright holder to sell, license or transfer their various rights. Anything US law recognizes can be done with property, the copyright code recognizes can be done with rights to a work."
    No. Copyright law doesn't "create property." Lars Ulrich's privilege, that he has complete control over the making of money from the song "One", is simply created wholesale by Congress, just like the right to pick up a welfare check under certain circumstances, or the right to pick up a check for not planting tobacco if you are one of a certain class of farmers.
    If Congress takes my real property, they have to pay me. But Congress can declare that they won't pay people not to plant tobacco, or that they are canceling patents and copyrights, and they don't owe anyone anything. Just because a bunch of people who were making a lot of money off of the copyright/patent system started using the words "intellectual property", doesn't mean it is property.
    After all, how can I buy a CD, which then becomes mine, and do anything with it that results in stealling from some guy I never met ? I can copy that a thousand times, and sell it, I'm not taking any real property from Lars Ulrich. What I am doing is analogous to starting a mail delivery service in competition with the US Postal Service; the Federal Government took away my right to do that, so that the US Postal Service could make enough money to guarantee delivery to remote areas and better service everywhere. (I think it was a great trade.) We used to do the same thing with Ma Bell and the telephone service -- that wasn't such a good deal, so we canceled it, and we didn't own Ma Bell anything for taking away her monopoly "property" any more than we'd owe Lars money if we quit dealing with him. (Personally I think the current trade of thousands of peoples individual, and largely unexercised, rights to copy things and sell them for extra reward to those who create new stuff is working out great.)
    So US law doesn't treat the privileges that copyright gives you the same as real property. If you steal real property, that is covered under Title 18, in the criminal code. But if you operate a business that Congress has reserved for someone else, that is a different matter. The way Congress dealt with it (pretty clever, I think) is to get the US Attorneys and prosecutors largely out of it, and allow the people who wrote the work to seek money in court. This way only those copyright privileges which are worth it are enforced, which is efficient.
    "I said nothing about transfers of a single copy of a single work. But let's be clear: making a copy and transferring the copy is not a "transfer", it's making and distributing an unauthorized copy. So ripping MP3s from a CD and making those MP3s available on Napster (or MP3.com) doesn't fall under the exemptions in section 109."
    I'll say something about transfers of many copies of a CD from one person to another: it is completely legal so long as I received no compensation. I can buy a Metallica CD at Tower Records, rip it to mp3's, and email, ftp, or otherwise give those files to thousands of people, as long as I don't do it for money. Congress has never (yet) given away my right to do that. You correctly note that in some places a "transfer" refers directly to a transfer of the copyright, as in when a musician sells the copyright the studio, while I was using "tranfer" as in the middle initial of "ftp". So ?
    The copyright holders have to show that I am violating the privileges congress gave them; I don't have prove that every file I transfer, or every photocopy I make, is legal. That's why the fact that you found one exemption which didn't apply to non-commercial mp3 trading doesn't really mean anything. The burden of proof is on them.
    Here's a hint: look at section 107. I'll quote verbatim the first half a paragraph (all emphaisis is mine): "-STATUTE-
    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature . . ."
    Wow. By the second sentence they already got that commercial nature thing in !
    Now what follows is vague and difficult to interpret. There is a reason for that: congress wants the "fair use" provision to allow you do to all the normal things you would do with something you bought, and not allow the copyright holder to charge you once to get it and then again to use it. They are afraid that if they explicitly spell out what fair use is, the big copyright holdrs will invent a medium where the normally accepted use falls legalistically outside fair use, then congress will have accidently granted them the right to control how the works are used instead of how money is made from them. And the essential conflict of this whole napster/mp3 thing is that that is exactly what the RIAA and friends want to do; they want to sell you something for a limited use, so you have to buy more of them, like a company making cars that break after 80,000 miles.
    You say "No fair citing "fair use" either -- wholesale reproduction of a work is generally not accepted as fair use."
    Come on OMK! "Generally accepted" ? Microsoft Windows is generally accepted. The point of my post is, screw the "general acceptance" that says mp3's are illegal -- show me the law! Where is it? Are you claiming that steak dinner ?
    Here's my summary to my longest slashdot post ever:
    Copyright holders of music have not yet bribed out of congress a restriction on the non-commercial sharing of music files. But they want it. They have before them an example of how copyright holders of computer code mostly succeeded in getting privileges not granted to them by congress -- this is the software piracy wars of the late 80s. It is legal to make a copy of your windows95 disk and give it to friend to use, so long as he is not using the OS to make money, as in for a job or at a company. The big code copyright holders launched a huge campaign against this. All of the court cases that went to trial always dealt with a company having multiple copies to make money with, or someone selling copies of the code, but with a big publicity campaign they managed to convince the average American to buy more copies of software than they needed to. So the big music copyright holders are going for a repeat play.
    But you can help me stop them, OMK ! Challenge people who say that mp3's are illegal. Post responses to those stupid slashdot napster defenders who make the argument "It's illegal but justified because . . ." Fight this insidious piece of marketing propaganda aimed at scaring us into giving huge amounts of money to the copyright holders, as well as giving up rights without going through the channel of our representatives in the government. We can stop them.
  • Your problem is this: both these actions, the second more than the first even, are classic examples of 'fair use'. The laws about fair use were passed by making them include taxation to the RIAA by way of compensating them for noncommercial copying. However, at the moment the RIAA is going to great lengths to eviscerate fair use, so 'should be allowed' or even 'is allowed' is kind of academic- they frankly don't care if the law says it is okay, they are above the law and they make the law and they say it is not okay and will use anything they can to punish you for it.

    In all honesty, and this is after spending half an hour grovelling through google finding references to the Audio Home Recording Act, I'd say: wait a year, ask again. It could be misleading to point you at the actual law when prime movers of that law now repudiate it and act as if it doesn't exist. I think fair use is going bye-bye where not explicitly sanctioned (musicians: explicitly permit fair use of your recordings, if you own the rights!). To tell you the truth about fair use at this point would be misleading- losing those rights is basically inevitable. You'll still be paying a tax on stuff like DAT tapes, though, and CD-Rs labelled for music copying (perhaps all of them, I'm not certain of the exact accounting)

  • The GPL is meant to keep the fluidity of information happening. Violation implies an attempt to restrict the flow of information.

    The behavior of the RIAA around copyright is meant to freeze the fluidity of information and turn it into the most proprietary stuff imaginable, with jail and fines for violators- violation can mean commercial piracy but more and more often implies the noncommercial, unrestricted flow of information.

    How difficult is this to understand? Look at it in terms of information flow and it will make more sense.

  • Granted that Napster can be used for legal purposes... granted that Napster often IS used for legal purposes... there is still the legitimate issue of bandwidth.

    As pointed out previously, Napster accounts for a *huge* amount of university LAN traffic. A system administrator who is perfectly Libertarian might have to shut down Napster access for no other reason than to protect the network's mission-critical traffic: supporting academic research and administration.

    Bandwidth management is the answer. There are plenty of tools out there that will allow an administrator to allow Napster (and whatever other traffic types that may be a problem) to peacefully co-exist with mission-critical traffic, dynamically scaling back Napster to tolerable levels whenever the mission-critical applications are in demand. This stuff has existed for several years (disclaimer: I work for a company that makes bandwidth managers, and yes, we DO classify Napster, thus enabling system admins to keep Napster around when they otherwise would be forced to squelch it). There simply has to be the will to use these tools (and the budget).

    Look on Napster's website. They even have a FAQ on the bandwidth issue, what to do about it, and where to get the solutions. Students should tell their administrators about this FAQ when presented with the bandwidth argument.
  • Would you suggest the same for budding Libertarians?

    Yes, I would. In my world it's far more important that people get involved. You can modify your beliefs on the fly. My first political action was in support of the Conservative party and NAFTA. Needless to say that my political beliefs have changed, but I think that having gotten involved was an important first step.

    I don't think that what I believe is the gospel truth. Even libertarians have stuff to say that's worth listening to (if only to think about why we think what we do).

    ------
    If you believe in political freedom and freedom of action, then your real test is when you're faced with the most fucked-up, morally-repugnant, stupid demagogue you ever believed could exist. If you can understand giving him/her/it the right of freedom of speech, then your are firm in that belief.

    Supporting their beliefs, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.

  • http://www.dailyevergreen.com/daily /news/1.html [dailyevergreen.com]

    (don't know how long that link will work, their web design isn't very efficient)

    The president et al says they will not ban it until it is banned. Or so the newspaper says, and the newspaper is known for it's less than superior journalism (including how to write a sentence that makes sense). Their big point is that they will not presume that students are using the network for illegal activities, but students (by policy) can still get in trouble if they are "caught" copying copyrighted material. Like someone else mentioned earlier, I wonder how they would be caught?

    While the university will almost immediately halt a user (by removing your net access) from running a game server or FTP server on their network, you can use napster all you want.

    You can't use napster in the computer labs, though, as those are state computers and even more restricted.

    We were one of the schools to get the infamous letter from the lawyers... both the student gov't and the residence hall association immediately enacted 'bills' to take an official stance against removing access to napster, although neither of them really control what happens on the network or university policy on such things. The RHA and ASWSU bills seem to more PR than policy oriented.

    -nicole

  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:17AM (#761303) Homepage Journal
    Columbia is refusing to give in [columbiaspectator.com] as well, saying:

    "Columbia University supports academic freedom and individual responsibility and does not preemptively review or monitor the contents of the files of its faculty, students, or staff that are accessible on the University network. ... The University also does not block the use of any particular method of communicating or transferring information such as ftp, http, Napster, gnutella, e-mail, web drives, irc, etc., all of which can be and are used for legitimate communication and file exchange""

    Isn't it nice when administrators actually get it?
    --
  • The DMCA is inconsistent with the legal defination of an Enhanced Service Provider...to paraphrase from a web site I visit( http://www.wickednews.net ) in their FAQ(Which is a quote from an O'reilly book I believe)... ISP's are legally defined as Enhanced Service Providers, aka those companies which provide a transport service of some type, but take no interest(or responsiblity) in that which travels over the pipe...they therefore cannot be held legally responsible for what is being brought over the pipe, so long as they in no way sensor the material or take any contol of it. An Excellent example is AT&T, who cannot be responsible for two Bank robbers planning a heist over the phone. An example of a Company not fitting this description is AOL, they do sensor their content, and therefore do not fit this description. This works as well for Cable modem and DSL access, its just an internet pipe, and by legal defination the sevice company cannot be held responsible for your world domination plans on your web site. The rights of an enhanced service provider are guanteed legally by the Constitution of the USA, in this country, therefore the DMCA should be struck down as Unconstitustional, ANY LAWYERS want to make yourself famous and strike this puppy down for us.
  • I have been making some windier posts [slashdot.org] to the same effect. No one seems to get your completely valid point, which I'll repeat (you are much more succinct than I):

    "It's yet to be established that this noncommercial vastly expanded fair use copying is illegal."

    However, I think you should get some balls and exercise your rights to the fullest while you can. This philosophy of "I'll stop now not to piss off the people who are going to win anyway" is pathetic, more suited to some European peasant a few centuries ago than a high-tech modern person like yourself. If I had that opinion, I certainly wouldn't advertise it -- Jesus, aren't you afraid that your Mother or other family members might read this one day and see what a spineless little bend-over you are ? Why don't you at least pretend to have some character, so your children don't have to be ashamed ?

    However, I think that making and distributing copies in order demonstrate the quality of a commercial recording facility is probably not non-commercial use. So you can't post high-quality sound recordings of copyrighted vinyl as avertisement for your business (if that is indeed what you were suggesting). I think the slightest taint of commercialism would be fatal. What you could do is make the cuts and post them on gnutella/napster without any reference to your self or your enterpise, as a hobbiest's effort. This anonymous strategy has two good qualities:

    1. It is actually legal
    2. And they can't catch you anyway
  • Clearly, in light of, e.g., the Overlap Case, MIT was thinking

    "Oh, thank god! Another Supreme Court case! We'll finally get some alumni donations again!"

  • AHRA specifies that any non-commercial use of digital home recording equipment for copying music is not actionable.
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @11:12AM (#761317)
    Well, I was an undergraduate at Harvard until my graduation in May and I have to say this is a new spin for Harvard. Last year Harvard's Office of the General Counsel received a cease and desist bully-letter with no legal basis from the MPAA that a student (me) was distributing DeCSS which they determined was illegal, even though no legally binding court injuction in our district had been issued. Harvard got down on its knees like a two dollar whore for the MPAA and threatened me to force me to remove DeCSS from my own computer and to cease electronic distribution of this "illegal" software. University administrations are NOT our friends in this area. Perhaps Harvard's General Counsel's office has had a change of heart, but I am seriously doubtful. They have NO qualms about following the pack on these issues but they are too chicken shit to stand up for their students rights on their own.
  • The Big Schools have InterNet II, courtesy of federal subsidies, that is not rattled by mp3 music files. InterNet II is about 30 times wider than what other broadband users can get. InterNet II is also closed to only a 130 big schools and governemnt labs.
  • A prior post about UT Knoxville [slashdot.org] from 00/09/11. Hopefully, someone there will have some more specifics on the policy.

    Visit DC2600 [dc2600.com]
  • On the contrary, they've already exposed themselves to a potential lawsuit, whereas complying would have left them in the clear. Several universities were named in the Metallica lawsuit; they all backed down and blocked access. These universities have refused to do that, even though on the surface they have nothing at stake.

    "hey guys, this is your fight. Leave me out of it. I'm not fighting for either one of you. But if the police ask me questions, I will tell what I know."

    Let's not confuse the issue here: if students can be shown to be using the technology to infringe, then the university has a responsibility to take action. Infringement is infringement, and for better or worse it is illegal. The issue is that these companies plus Metallica want to outlaw technology that can be used for infringement, which is ass-backwards. The business environment has changed, threatening to make them rethink their previously successful business models, and they're trying to get the legislature and the courts to change it back. It doesn't work that way.

    -

  • The GPL is a response to both copyrights, and draconian IP laws. Without copyrights or IP, it wouldn't be needed. It simply prevents anybody else from copying somebody elses code, and THEN copyrighting and/or patenting it (read: buy their very own government sanctioned monopoly).

    If our copyright/IP laws weren't so hopelessly screwed up, we wouldn't need the GPL.
  • I suspect that, if Napster is shut down because it has no substantial non-infringing use - as Judge Patel has ruled - the universities will have a much tougher time justifying their stand.

    If Napster is shut down, the Universities won't have to justify thier stand -- no sense in blocking something that no longer exists! :P

    --

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @07:26AM (#761326) Homepage Journal

    the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, requires that ISP's take reasonable steps to put an end to copyright violations which they are made aware of by the copyright holder.

    I just love the way some lawyers try to expand a law well past the breaking point. King told them "a bunch of students are using napster", not "Joe Johnson IP address 192.168.1.1 is offering Metallica songs on napster". In other words, he only made them aware of a potential for copyright violations, not an actuality. Thus the university is not required to take any action.

    Otherwise, a single lawyer with a mail merge system could shut down the U.S. part of the internet: "Dear ISP, since you have users, there is potential for abuse of our copyright. Please stop your users from accessing the internet IMMEDIATLY or else!"

  • That's not the same.
    If the RIAA said 'Student X is using your network to pirate MP3 in violation of XXXXX laws' then the university is bound to act. Several universities have said this already.

    If they say 'ban this software from your campus' they are NOT obliged to act, the software itself is not illegal.

  • As a side note.... even if napster is told to shut down in court, due to being sued, that STILL does not make the software 'illegal'. It only makes it illegal for napster to provide their service.
  • How about my freedom to charge you $5,000 for my music if I so choose? Or my close source IDE? Or my freedom to sue your ass for violating my IP rights? Whether you believe patents, IP laws, or closed source are "bad", continuing to break those laws is not doing much to help your cause.
  • If they had a CLUE they would use QoS and other techniques to shape napster traffic. A trained monky can do this even on Cisco's LOWEST end 2500 T1 box. But they don't, and they don't.

    If you ask me, they are either lazy, or looking for an excuse to buckle that won't attract the ire of their students.
  • Writing in from Brown to say that my school, all though it has not been asked by King to close down napster, closed it down last year. BUT, it was not because of legal issues; it weas taking up more than half our bandwidth! As of eariler this week, however, napster is back up. The head of computing stated that if we had the bandwidth, it never would have gone down in the first place. I am glad to report that it seems Brown is another great school that will most likely stand with its peers and laugh at the RIAA and all its minions.
  • by small_dick ( 127697 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @08:49AM (#761342)
    Many of these Universities have leading edge legal departments -- full of fairly smart people, to say the least.

    The recent prosecution of an *individual* for sharing files is almost admitting what many have said from the beginning -- it's not the pipe or the software that commits crimes, it's the individual.

    If this can be proven, Lars, Metallica, RIAA may be in for some major corporate lawsuits, and even class action lawsuits for denying individuals access to their software and internet, not to mention a reasonable expectation of privacy (netcop should watch out, too).

    Hopefully this will come to pass. I'd really enjoy seeing these bastards get wiped out for violating our civil rights.
  • ---
    I don't deny that this sort of thing happens. I am curious, though, how you are so sure that's why she got the job.
    ---

    Trust me, it was pretty obvious. It wasn't because of the way in which her skills fit the job at hand (not that she was without skills, but you'd expect a minimal amount of knowledge - imagine a Windows tech not knowing where to find the Start Menu without being told ... It was that sort of thing).

    I hesitate to go into too much detail because she is a nice enough person, but the fact is that she had absolutely no skills to justify the position she was given. It's not her fault, I suppose.

    ---
    What about compensating for an unnatural disadvantage?
    ---

    Depends on what you mean by compensation. If an employer is breaking current laws on discrimination, that's one thing. But it's quite another to promote people. For one, people who may never have had the unnatural disadvantage are rewarded, while people who were not responsible for those kinds of disadvantages are punished. That's like punishing someone for a crime they did not commit, so that you feel better for not catching the criminal.

    ---
    And while we're at it, am I to assume that you favor 100% taxation of all inheritence?
    ---

    No. I believe that whenever possible, people should be left alone and allowed to maintain responsibility for their own lives. If I work my entire life and save my money intelligently, I should be able to decide where to put my money. If it's to fund the education/lifestyle of my kid, that's a good thing. I shouldn't be penalized. I would hope in turn that they would do that for their own kid.

    I'm just annoyed at the idea that it's society's responsibility to equalize people. In this country you have freedom to make a better life for yourself, but you don't have any sort of guarantee that it will be given to you. If someone goes out of their way to harm someone we should step in, but otherwise refrain from promoting or demoting people based on anything other than their merit.

    ---
    As a matter of fact, I am. Every stat I have ever seen indicates that within each of the black, white, and latino demographics, drug users/sellers make up the same percentage.
    ---

    If this is true, then it should be stopped. But the answer is to punish ONLY the bad cops/lawyers responsible and say "Start punishing people based on their crimes", not say "You need to start arresting more white people so it doesn't look so bad". When you do that, how is it morally any different than what they're (supposedly) already doing? What kind of message does that send?

    ---
    I just have a hard time with the idea that white males are at a disadvantage in the US.
    ---

    Depends on how you look at it. Are we as a group living in poverty? No. But are we as a group being unfairly blamed for the actions of very few and being told that merit is second only to political correctness? Seems that way.

    Racism is racism. It sucks either way. It's even worse when one type is villified, while another type is actively encouraged.

    ---
    Of course, none of this has anything to do with Universities banning Napster....
    ---

    Nope, I guess it doesn't. :>



    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • by flatpack ( 212454 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:23AM (#761345)

    Has no-one else realised that Napster is the perfect front for the RIAA? Whilst they present a pose of innocence to the world, headed by Shawn Fanning's oh-so "innocent" posturings, the truth is that they are an organisation funded by the RIAA for the sole purpose of letting them lobby the most restrictive of laws into reality.

    Shawn Fanning was nothing more than a willing stooge in the RIAA's plans to bring in a new tyranny of intellectual property laws. In return for paying him a large sum of money, the RIAA purchased his services as front man for "Napster", a piece of software knocked up in about half an hour by RIAA techies. He then started up the Napster company with the sole purpose of providing a music piracy service that was as blatent and as visible as possible, an aim in which he has done exceedingly well in.

    Now the RIAA has the impetus to get all kinds of restrictive laws but into place by a Congress dazzled by the "threat" that Napster poses to the music industry. And it's working like a charm, and everyone has been fooled. When the RIAA gets what they want, Napster will quietly fold, all involved will get their paychecks, and we'll be the ones living under the Big Brother regime that KKKlinton approved.

  • by ReverendGraves ( 233320 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:24AM (#761351) Homepage
    Actually, there are a number of schools that -are- banning access to Napster, though not for the reason that corporate entities such as Metallica would prefer. Plattsburgh State University, in NY, for instance, banned access to Napster not because they support the Evil Music Industry attempt to stop free trade of music, but because a school of 4000 students served by a single T1 can simply not handle the traffic that Napster tends to bring. This is about the only reason I can see that a school would have reason to ban access to Napster, or gnutella, or other similar services... bandwidth limitations.
  • Well, what I recall is that taping a show from, say, HBO is illegal in that it goes against copyright (just like that little FBI warning at the start of all legal video tapes, that conveniently let you start dubbing right before the movie starts <g>)

    And I agree; Napster itself should not be punished for this. The users who use it illegally should be punished. It's almost as if I were to get drunk and go driving, hitting a pedestrian, and so the pedestrian sued the car maker because it allowed me to break the law. Absolutely rediculous.
    ------

  • by riggwelter ( 84180 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:24AM (#761353) Homepage Journal
    Oxford's response would most likely be:

    "I say, one of those horrid greasy beat combos have asked us to ban something called Napster. Well, I don't know what it is, but if 'Metal Liker' don't want it at our university it must be a favourable item. Request denied"

    --
  • by ResHippie ( 105522 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:24AM (#761354)
    It's not about pirating music, in this case, it's about taking a stand.

    I'm overjoyed to hear that these well known universities hdave decided to not be bullied by the RIAA. If they choose to not support their students, well, so be it, virtually every college student is over 18, and therefore a legal adult. They can make their own choices.

    College is about learning, not just about facts, but about life and ourselves. Yeah Napster can be used for bad things, but it can also be used for good things. I use it to find live tracks of bands that I can't hear on the radio anyway. And I don't use gnutella, cause it just doesn't work for me, I dunno, maybe gotta try harder.

    They point is, that colleges shouldn't be bullied into becoming the parents of their students. They already have parents, and they are old enough to accept responsibility for their actions.

  • > [...] just like Napster doesn't go out and get illegal copies of music by iteslf.

    And that's just the problem, isn't it?

    We need a fully automated version of Napster!
  • Ouch. So what you're saying is that UCLA is knowingly allowing (a mostly) illegal activity in order to gain competitive advantage (or parity) with other schools.

    This would look really bad if it were established in a court of law. As a Bruin alum, I just hope they don't get smoked on this too bad.
  • That's crap. College radio is there for the college students not all those crappy garage band albums I got, time after time after time when I was music director. I'd put them out and let people call their own shots, but 3/4s of the discs I saw never got played. Sure I hyped them up because I liked the promotions people, but the bread and butter of a *GOOD* college station are the students and the local listeners, appease them and you'll have a better station for it.

  • ---
    How is blocking napster punishing those who are partaking in legal activity? If you're not trading/downloading copyrighted works without permission, you SURELY can find another way to get your legal MP3s
    ---

    The point is, they shouldn't have to find some other way to trade legitimate MP3s.

    Going back to my car example, if someone started cracking down on all car drivers because some of them were involved in hit-and-runs, should I say "oh well" and just ride a bike? I shouldn't have to - it's not my fault not everyone drives their car responsibly. I shouldn't be blamed.

    ---
    The legitimate uses (however small) are NOT specific to the Napster tool, they are simply facilitated by it. If you're getting legal MP3s, Napster is not your only outlet for such activities.
    ---

    "The legitimate uses (however small) are NOT specific to the email tool, they are simply facilitated by it. If you're getting legal correspondance, email is not your only outlet for such activities."

    By your logic, we should feel lucky that we still have postal mail and carrier pigeons.

    Napster is a useful tool for legitimate purposes. One of my favorite artists [smg.org] has no qualms with people getting his stuff off of Napster, as he claims to have received more exposure and as a result CD sales because of it. When I don't have my CDs around (which I bought, btw), I can grab copies of the songs or tell friends to check them out.

    Could I do this without Napster? Sure, but not as easily. Now why exactly should I give up my legitimate use of this tool?

    ---
    Just as a handgun is a tool of crime, it also has legitimate uses. Are students allowed to carry guns on campus or keep them under their pillow at night? Hell no. Why should any other tool that is mostly used for criminal activity be allowed?
    ---

    Your gun argument just doesn't match up, and (no offense) just seems like an attempt to gain knee-jerk support from anyone who is pro gun-control. It's not even comparable.

    First of all, there's a wide disparity between what can happen between both items. A single copy of Napster can at worst lose the recording industry a lot of sales (and recent sales stats contradict this). A single gun can potentially kill a large number of people.

    Second, guns as a general rule are allowed on private property. A university can allow firearms if they want, assuming they are a private organization (there may be some rules if they receive state funding, but that's another story). As Napster is currently legal - just as a number of guns are currently legal - nobody has a right to force private entities to stop allowing said items on campus.

    I'm not saying universities don't have a right to ban Napster. It's their network, and it could impede on the primary function of that network. But until the Napster software is illegal (in which case, we should get rid of email, FTP, and HTTP since they can be used in similar ways) they have every right to keep it up.

    If Napster were anything else - a car, a baseball bat, a paper manufacturer - they would be going after the actual perpetrator of the crime. It's not my fault that it's not economically feasible to sue everyone who pirates Metallica songs from Napster.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • The GPL is your bible

    I can't speak to everyone's philosophy, but in the GNU orthodoxy, this is horribly inaccurate. The GNU Manifesto is perhaps the bible; copyleft (and thus the GPL) is a hack of copyright law that assists the progress of the GNU project. RMS has stated that GNU and the free software movement would be harmed but hardly crippled if the GPL were not enforcible.

    Think about it: copyright is about restricting copying, and GNU is fundamentally about promoting copying. The fact that the first can be used in the service of the second is a cool trick, but that's all it is. RMS would be happy if copyright didn't apply to software at all.

  • by Elvis Maximus ( 193433 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:27AM (#761370) Homepage

    "I'm disappointed in the attitude [the universities] have taken, which is 'we don't know anything, we don't have any responsibility unless we know anything, tell us who's infringing and then we'll take decisive steps,' " King said.

    So you mean, they're actually holding you accountable to your claims and refusing to restrict access to a whole class of users? They're asking you to do the non-cost-effective job of policing your recently obsolescent copyright regime, rather than pushing that burden onto others? They're taking the stance that because they are not required by law to do this you can't intimidate them into it? And they're doing all this in the name of idealistic generalities like "academic freedom" and "access to information?"

    Imagine.

    "We're going to try to keep a dialogue with these universities, maybe point them to some authority that they've ignored or are not aware of, that tells them they have a higher responsibility than just putting their head in their sand," he said.

    Somebody's got their head in the sand, pal, but surprisingly it is not these Universities.

    Kudos to these Universities for recognizing there's a larger issue here rather than just whittling away at users' access just because it's the easier, less risky thing to do.

    -

  • What will you do when Napster/Gnutella becomes a trading ground for those who decide the GPL is obsolete and distribute programs that purposely violate it? You'll go ape shit and you know it.

    Though I doubt such a circumstance is likely to occur, I doubt even more that the OpenSource community would respond with legal action against the provider.

    Legal action against certain high-profile individuals actually violating the GPL may be warranted, and might be persued. However, if it was a large problem, a boycott of the involved service would probably be the course of action chosen.

    Which leads to an interesting aside: if the RIAA had not filed a lawsuit against anyone for Napster-related things, and instead had sent a polite letter to larger orgs like the Universites saying "We believe that Napster and similar services create a danger to the copyrights we hold to various musical works. We would like ta ask your support in boycotting this service until such time as Napster et al make reasonable effort to help us police copyright violations on thier service." if they would have had some success...

    --

  • You're trying to connect the "right" to steal music with "rights" that people died for. I'm surprised you finished the sentence without realizing how one has ZERO to do with the other.

    Next you'll say everyone who uses Napster is the Rosa Parks of the internet age ... as if free music was your god given right.

    It's irresponsible comparisons between music theft and slavery that makes this "movement" more about selfishness than about fixing the system if it is in fact broken.
  • That higher authority, King said, is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which requires that ISP's take reasonable steps to put an end to copyright violations which they are made aware of by the copyright holder.
    Metallica's lawyer is arguing that the DMCA requires the universities to block access to Napster. For his argument to succeed, Napster must have no substantial use other than to violate copyrights. This is the argument the RIAA lawsuit hinges on, as well.


    I suspect that, if Napster is shut down because it has no substantial non-infringing use - as Judge Patel has ruled - the universities will have a much tougher time justifying their stand.


    If I were a Napster user on campus, though, I wouldn't expect the university to stand up for me if they were to receive a complaint that I'd been violating copyrights with Napster. That they refuse to block the service entirely does not mean that they'll refuse to take action on specific complaints.
    --

  • Why not have the government pull a Microsoft on the RIAA and break it up for being a monopoly?

    =================================
  • Neat. I would have expected to see the Ivys cave in order to grease the palms and wallets of record company executives.

    The other side of the issue is that Napster really does eat bandwidth, and that can be really irritating if you're one of the few who does not use it. At my school, Resnet (residential network; the branch of academic computing that gives people net access in dorm rooms) limited all Napster traffic to just 5 megabit up/down combined. My quake 3 ping times dropped by a third of a second after that.

  • Coming from a school where most of the classes require some (if not all) work to be done on or based on the web, knowing I'm paying $30k and I'm not gonna be able to do my homework because a bunch of slackers who won't be there next semester because they're d/ling music truly pisses me off.
    This is a legitimate concern, and a good question. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to it.

    The answer is better network management - you don't have to ban Napster to limit the bandwidth used for MP3s. The University of Wisconsin - Madison [wisc.edu] has developed tools which allow this type of bandwidth management. BTW, the King letter aparently made it there as well, but I haven't heard the response.
  • Realizing that you all think you're responsible for electing These Idiots is what keeps me as a non-voter.

    If you don't vote at all, then you're voting for whatever everybody else votes in. Think about it. I've worked for the Green Party for a few years. In the last city election, if about 2000 "disgusted voters" had bothered to come out and register their votes for someone other than the status quo (in a city of 300K people), it would have completely changed the results of the election.

    It won't make a difference is a self fulfilling prophesy.

    You don't like the DCMA? Go out, find the nearest candidate who voted/campaigned against it, Help in their campaign and make sure that they know why you're doing it . If a local candidate voted for the DCMA, then go out and work for his opponnent and make sure that both sides know why you're doing it. Better yet, offer to work on getting the geek vote out.

    Whatever you do, get off of your butt and go do something about it besides talking to a bunch of other geeks who understand how stupid and backwards these laws are.

    Those who are not willing to fight for their freedom don't deserve it.
    -- Malcom X

  • Breaking news today: Regents of the University of California refuse [dailycal.org] to block Napster at any of the nine UC campuses.

    Kevin Fox
  • I don't think companies or schools block napster by blocking ports. They can just choose to exclude specific IP numbers (IE the napster server IPs) from getting through the firewall in either direction.

    Port hopping would be irrelevant.


    Kevin Fox
  • Perhaps I'm being silly here, but personally if somebody asked me to block a service, I would say no not because I am interested or wish to become involved in the political and freedom issues for my users... I would not block it because it would mean having to put an extra rule on my distribution layer networks which could hurt the performance. Who cares about restrictions of freedom of speech, when freedom of packets is at stake here? Increased latency! Lower throughput! DISGUSTING!
  • Please forgive me if this seems a little off-topic, but Im sick of hearing so many people buy into crap without researching both sides of an issue.

    There are some really good articles in this month's Wired about the whole peer-2-peer developments, and they focus on the Napster debate. There is one in particular, the author's name escapes me at the moment, but he IS a musician, who argues why Napster is a great thing for musicians. He argues that in the long run, Napster could be a more moral way of distributing music and reimbursing the creators than the RIAA...

    Another article is an interview with the lead Napster lawyer (the guy who took on M$ for the government) and after reading that, I dont think the RIAA has much of a chance.

    No, I do not work for Wired :) but this month's issue is a must-read on this topic.

  • So he says if we want to hang ourselves we're more than welcome to.

    Nice to see a step in the direction of individual responsibility for once.

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • Why is it that the RIAA etc. only seems to launch attacks at the schools? Is it the high number of "offenders"? Or just because the potential is greater due to high bandwidth connections? The way I see it, the universities are acting as little more than ISP's as far as the internet goes. And the students are, for the most part, all adults (as in 18+ years old) and responsabile for their own actions. So, what makes the universities any different than any other ISP? AOL probably serves at least 100x the number of users, and I'm not counting the BYOS, only the users who dialup to AOL servers. So why not try to force AOL to block Napster? And Comcast, Verizon, Cablevision, etc. the list goes on. Perhaps because schools are small time compared to large corperate entities such as a large ISP. Nor do schools have the legal funding to fight such matters in court, as internet access isn't part of their business plan. Face it, I'm sure that a good number of Napster users had MP3's in mind when they got their cable or DSL line. Not all, mabey not even the majority, but a lot.

    If a school want's to block Napster access only for the reasons of bandwidth, then fine. But until the RIAA has the balls to try and make a major ISP block Napster, then they should just keep their pants on.

  • by Rumbeck ( 235631 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @09:10AM (#761403)
    The Napster computer program allows for the sharing of MP3 files, including digital song files, between users. According to King's letter to Duke, "it is now estimated that more than 20 million users regularly commit copyright infringements through Napster by downloading or uploading copyrighted material, without consent of owners. Although Napster euphemistically refers to this activity as 'file sharing,' there is little doubt that this 'sharing' is piracy on a massive scale."

    If 20 million people are violating a non-violent law, doesn't that imply that the law is utterly unenforcable and that the will of the people have spoken out against the law?

    It's like a massive case of civil disobedience.
  • I have heard rumors that the way ndsu blocks napster is by looking for a certain packet sig, the napster seach protocol, and then zeroing out
    the payload of those packets. No need to block ports or ip's, If you can't search for or index your songs, then you can't dl/host any. It does not bother me at all, I have my home connection for downloading illegal music.
  • The Harvard article cites the DMCA as a possible means of forcing the University to comply. This is because of the clause making ISPs responsible for copyright violations if they refuse to take them down when notified.

    IMHO, reading this clause as requiring Universities to block access to Napster strikes me as clearly being a prior restraint on free speech. Hopefully the first ammendment still means enough for this to be an unconstitutional interpretation.

  • by Luke ( 7869 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:31AM (#761409)
    the net admins, as soon as they start blocking one thing, instantly become responsible for all of the activity on their networks. I'll guarantee there aren't many college net admins who'd want to track down all of the pr0n copyright violations, illegal software pirating, napster use, etc etc etc.... they're busy enough with students who don't know the first thing about networking.

    i was on the residential network support team at school, and believe me, we were up to our ears in crummy 3com windows drivers, shitty old hardware (yes we did support windows 3.1!) and students who didn't know how to install their NICs.
  • I'm not the guy who runs around dressed up like a thug and gets all defensive when someone assumes he might be a thug.

    There are many situations where you could be (wrongly) on the wrong side of the law, whether or not you "smile and wave" at police officers. The first example to come to mind is if your car fits the description of a getaway vehicle, or more generally, fits some profile of suspicious drivers, and you happen to get pulled over. Smile and wave all you want, but the cops may very well search you and your car. No matter if you haven't done anything and have nothing to hide, this won't be a pleasant experience.

  • Now they can't shut down Napster completely, they are sending letters to large universities (whose campuses, let's face it, are usually big warez networks) trying to let them shut it down.

    Because, if the large universities ban napster, many large nodes of the Napster network are gone. It might then well be a network of slow dialup connections and cable-modems (which generally have low upstreams), hence making the network uninteresting because it is too slow.

    Which is not going to work, hopefully, since they will need to sue the actual users, which is not the university itself.
  • How is this far off from ...

    It simply prevents anybody else from copying somebody elses work, and THEN distributing and/or performing it in public.

    Pretty far off. By attempting to copyright and/or patent something, you are attempting to deny others access to it. By copying or performing something publicly, you are not denying others their ability to do the same.

    You may not agree with copyright law and find IP law "draconian", but the law is the law ... if you want to change it, change it through the proper channels, don't advocate the blatant violation of it.

    There is a long tradition, especially in this country, of ignoring and blatantly violating bad and unfair laws. It helps bring the issue to public attention and put a spotlight on those involved. It often helps the public to understand why something is not right. Like when a woman is arrested because she won't sit in the back of the bus. It brings the absurdity out in the open where it can be seen by all. That's how change gets accomplished when you don't have millions of dollars to buy the attention and favor of the government.

  • Unfortunately you can't stop it. Technically jaywalking is against the law in the US however just try and enforce it. You just cannot. As long as music is able to be converted into sonic pulses it can be copied and distributed in any fashion that the person wishes.

    Freedoms and rights are the defacto condition of all men. The social contract hasn't been ammended to allow for the criminalizing of freely using music.
  • How is this far off from ...

    It simply prevents anybody else from copying somebody elses work, and THEN distributing and/or performing it in public.

    Pretty far off. By attempting to copyright and/or patent something, you are attempting to deny others access to it. By copying or performing something publicly, you are not denying others their ability to do the same.

    You may not agree with copyright law and find IP law "draconian", but the law is the law ... if you want to change it, change it through the proper channels, don't advocate the blatant violation of it.

    There is a long tradition, especially in this country, of ignoring and blatantly violating bad and unfair laws. It helps bring the issue to public attention and put a spotlight on those involved. It often helps the public to understand why something is not right. Like when a woman is arrested because she won't sit in the back of the bus. It brings the absurdity out in the open where it can be seen by all. That's how change gets accomplished when you don't have millions of dollars to buy the attention and favor of the government.

  • by sander123 ( 120105 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:36AM (#761432)
    the DMCA!! Man, It seems that the DMCA is involved in half of the slashdot articles these days. And it keeps getting better and better.

    King, the attorny representing metallica claims, that:

    the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, requires that ISP's take reasonable steps to put an end to copyright violations which they are made aware of by the copyright holder.
    Imaging forcing an university to actively censor its incoming mail or incoming telephone calls, just in case there is copyrighted material there.

    I dunno. Maybe this is a good thing. The more crap like this the DMCA can pull off, the more institution are going to stand up against it. On the downside, probably the main reason that they are against this, is that they are afraid that once they start blocking Napster, they might as well take on extra staff to block all the other web site which they will be asked to take down. Maybe this is a nice service that Mattel can start offering to ISP and Universities!

    sander.

  • I read the article and cannot believe the gall of that King. A quote:

    "I'm disappointed in the attitude [the universities] have taken, which is 'we don't know anything, we don't have any responsibility unless we know anything, tell us who's infringing and then we'll take decisive steps,' " King said.

    King, I hope you read this, however unlikely you are to, but it is not the Universities responsibility to police your so-called copyrights. They should not have to pay for the network administration it would take to block napster (not that it'd cost much, but they don't owe a dime, and it's the principle of the thing).

  • The GPL is also about the copying process to ensure that the owner's wishes are kept intact.

    This is true, in a misleading sort of way. The GPL does place restrictions on the use of software that is licensed under it. But the GPL wouldn't be necessary if copyright didn't cover software. If we were all free to copy and disassemble or reverse-engineer any software we got, we wouldn't need the GPL because there wouldn't be any real danger of people hoarding the code and attempting to sell it back to us.

    Copyright may be about ensuring that artists' work is protected the way they choose, but the GPL is just a response to the fact that copyright exists and covers software to begin with. I would also argue that over the years copyright has become much more about protecting the revenues of publishers than doing anything to serve the artists.

  • First, my caveats:
    • I don't use Napster; and besides I haven't bought a music CD in years. (the radio is enough for me... *shrug*)
    • Copyright infrigement is illegal even if you think current copyright laws are brain-damaged
    Be that as it may, I am very happy to hear about the stance against banning access to Napster by the aforementioned institutions.

    Asking ISPs or Universities (or other) to disallow access to Napster is akin to charging the owner of a jewellery store as an accessory to a robbery because, "they display attractive, desireable objects in full public view thereby promoting theft"; or that someone is at fault because, "they dress seductively so they must want to be raped."

    ....Paul
  • Talk to David Boies or Orrin Hatch. It's yet to be established that this noncommercial _vastly_ _expanded_ fair use copying is illegal. I personally believe it's going to be made illegal, meaning that the Home Recording Act will be repealed for the benefit of the RIAA, and for this reason I've been refusing to make tapes of vinyl record albums for people, since fair use is plainly being discarded and I don't want to set an expectation that I'll have to renege on (that and it's a way to raise the issue of what's currently going on with people who have no idea what's currently going on).

    However, until fair use is repealed, it is _not_ illegal, and Napster is a loophole, since nobody imagined fair use copying could be quite _that_ easy or ubitiquous. Please bear that in mind- it's reasonable to ACT on the basis of what the law is GOING to obviously become, but this does not magically mean that it's currently in force. If I didn't have big dreams of running a small business in the area of music creation and distribution, I would be a lot more inclined to push the limits of fair use: for instance, I can demo my recording studio's capabilities by digitally mastering classic old vinyl and making it sound better than the RIAA CD version does, but I choose not to do it as it's _begging_ for harassment.

  • My problem with blocking ports napster or anything else for that matter what i sstopping them from changing ports or better yet changing to a port that they do not want to block such as FTP HTTP Telnet DNS. Blocking will only cause them to find another way around the problem.
  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @06:12AM (#761471) Journal
    Last school year, Bucknell University did block students from using Napster after realizing that the file-sharing program represented at least 40% of all network traffic and resulted in a total saturation of our T-3 at the peak of Napster's popularity here on campus. Since the staff and administrators at Bucknell care a great deal about their students' welfare, they worked hard to provide a legal alternative that didn't saturate our network.

    Their final solution was entirely free (i.e. Bucknell paid $0.00); it involved setting up an iBeam [ibeam.com] server and coordinating with content provider Launch.com [launch.com] so that anyone Bucknellians can listen to a seemingly infinite amount of legal music beamed off of a dish on top of the campus' Computer Center.
    ______________________________
    Eric Krout
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:53AM (#761479)
    And they're doing all this in the name of idealistic generalities like "academic freedom" and "access to information?"

    I would like to believe this, but my knowledge of administrators goes against it. I think it more likely that administrators don't want to wind up bearing the cost of anyone who is able to send a legalese filled letter complaining about students doing something they don't like.

    The administrators simply want to stay out of the fight. Just like a stranger who happens upon a bar fight, if they enter the fray, they will get beat-up by both sides. I guess I would do the same as they if forced to make a choice.

    "hey guys, this is your fight. Leave me out of it. I'm not fighting for either one of you. But if the police ask me questions, I will tell what I know."

  • by Coplan ( 13643 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @05:53AM (#761480) Homepage Journal
    Nice to see our institutions of higher learning sticking up for online piracy...

    Our institutions are not sticking up for online piracy, and i'm sure you don't truly believe that. In fact, the institutions aren't sticking of for anything other than a constitutional right to privacy. That's PRIVACY not PIRACY.

    I'm not saying that I am in disagreement, on the contrary. I believe that the release of free music cuts out the middle man. David Bowie knows it, Smashing Pumpkins know it. According to Wired Magazine, CD sales have risen about 12% in the past three years. MP3s started catching on then -- napster is just the fall guy, of sorts.

    What the RIAA doesn't want you to know is that it is not the intellectual property that they are worried about. It is the middle man. Who are the middle men in this industry? The Recording and distribution companies -- the members of RIAA. Guess what? It's their cash flow their worried about. Musicians (contrary to popular belief) don't make that much useing these guys as a middle man. BUT, if they can eliminate the middle man and make just as much money (if not more), then they will be a happier bunch of musicians.

    Metallica is the exception -- they are a rare case that the artists DO make a lot of money from the agencies. But there are always exceptions.

  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Friday September 22, 2000 @06:29AM (#761507)
    Actually, it's tougher than you might think to block Napster. You see, if you block Napster entirely, the students will use different port numbers to get around your block. It's a loosing battle for the network admins.

    Now, I happen to know from first hand experience of one university which is limiting it's Napster traffic. Using various QoS tricks, they lower the priority of Napster traffic so that it doesn't consume too much of their bandwidth. A Napster "knob" if you will that lets them tweak the bandwidth it gets. They crank it down some, and the students just think that the link is more congested than it used to be. But they know if they crank it down too far, the students will realize that something is up and move to a different port. It's an interesting bit of network engineer / psychology going on.

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