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The Almighty Buck

RIAA Offers More Details Regarding Online Royalties 181

DorianGre writes "The following story in The Standard as well as this follow-on at Gigalaw announce RIAA's intention of controlling the royalties of all downloadeble music on the Internet. These are the same people suing Napster and Stand up now for true copyright protection as afforded under the U.S. constitution or risk giving it up forever to global monopolies such as this."
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RIAA Offers More Details Regarding Online Royalties

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I know not one of you wants to see any musicians starving. That's why I think this is a good idea. The RIAA is the one who pays the musicians for their hard work and all the effort they put in to entertaining us.

    Not all musicians are the money-grubbing, easy-living scoundrels the media makes them out to be. Most of them are trying to eke out a living touring 300+ days a year and hoping for the big break that will propel them into the bigtime.

    I hope to see this succeed, because there are a lot of very hard-working musicians who are not getting paid when their works are being downloaded illegally on the Internet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But no theft has taken place. Legally it has not occured and since theft is a legal term then your use of it is a result ignorance, or blatant lying. I will assume the former for now.

    The correct term is copyright infringement and while it is worng it is not the same thing as theft. When I steal something the original owner no longer has use of it. When I download an mp3 the artist still has the song, stealing a cd would not be theft of the music for the same reason, just the physical manifestation therein.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Copying material around the globe without paying for it is not 'free speech', nor is it 'free expression'. Its ripping people off.

    Copying material around the globe without paying for it is a fact, it's reality, it can not be prevented, live with it.

    Welcome to future shock. If your post is any indication, you may soon be on some very heavy medicaton, and living in a protected enclave where everyone carefully pretends it's still 1975.

    Look to the Open Source movement for ways to make money off valuable information, in a world where information flows freely. Look to the Grateful Dead for a model of making money with music, in a world where recordings are traded freely.

    And quit whining.

  • Exactly. The thing that fucks me off most about the coverage of this issue is the way dumb-arse journalists parrot the RIAA line about "artist compensation" when anyone prepared to spend more than five minutes doing research would know that the only thing the RIAA likes to give artists comes without lube.

  • Can anyone come up with a system that will "eliminate the middle man" whilst allowing an artist to have a decent living? already has. The 18 year old who performs as "The Cynic Project" has made nearly $80,000 in payback earnings from in the last year or so, and that doesn't count CD sales. Online selling of music can work, and growth of higher-bandwidth connections, MP3 players, etc. mean potential future profits are much higher.
  • Why should any private organization be designated the sole collector of royalties for copyrighted works by arbitrary artists? How can the government excuse such bureaucracy? What if I as an artist don't want to be tied to groups or unions like the RIAA, ASCAP, or BMI? Doesn't the constitution grant me freedom of association? Isn't it up to me to decide how *my* money is collected?

    It's been said that copyright law allows radio stations to broadcast any piece of music they want, as long as they pay. Therefore the government designates a particular agency to collect royalties. Why must there be a single collection agency? Why must government designate it? Instead, allow artists to register with the copyright office whatever collection agency they have designated. The collection agency could be the artists themselves. Those who don't register don't get paid. Think about it. The artists are happy because they get paid, and no company gets a monopoly over the collection of royalties.

  • The main problem with "global law" is that it is of generally poorer quality than the law in most developed countries that have good constitutions. For example, the U.S. Constitution promotes copyright for the explicit purpose of getting material into the hands of the people. No mention of publisher's rights at all. Compare this with international copyright treaties, chock a block with ass coverage for publishers and middlemen of all stripes.

    Not that the U.S., with the RIAA, MPOA, and DMCA is exactly innocent in the rape of the basic principals of copyright, but at least we have this document that was written 200+ years ago by people who were evidently a lot smarter and more honest than today's industry shills.

    It would be great to be able to look to international law as a means of stregthening the great national constitutions of the world. Unfortunately, though, it mostly ends up strengthening police states and special interests.

  • No, that wouldn't be good either. We don't want people ignoring the laws when possible, and France is a sovereign state.

    I'd suggest that comply with the order. But there's nothing requiring to do so, and if french citizens access a foreign site then it's unreasonable to expect to adhere to the order.

  • Quick question: RIAA plan to control royalties for ALL copyrighted music on the Internet... exactly how do they think they're going to swing this by independent labels and other smaller record companies outside the United States ?

  • I am so sick of reading/hearing this nonsense via the mainstream media outlets!

    MP3 files are not perfect copies! They are degraded due to the compression, bitrate used, etc. They sound nearly indistinguishable to the common listener's ear - but this does not mean the are perfect copies. Furthermore, some aucustic qualities are noticably degraded when recorded digitally by just about anyone with decent hearing.

    Copies of MP3's are perfect, assuming no data errors when writing the copy. This is, however, a non-issue since you are copying imperfect copies to begin with.

    How can we possibly get this point out to the general public when the RIAA and friends are constantly spreading this falsehood?

  • You can make a perfect copy of the source CD however. From there you can encode the data into mp3 (which is lossy) or you could use a lossless compression technique.

    Mp3s are a phenomenen that _represent_ a new technology. They are not the only way of storing music. Perhaps using any compression will become unnecessary.

    Example: a 100Gb hard drive can store ~200 uncompressed CDs.

  • If I write a song myself, me not being a member of the RIAA have sole rights to that music and how and where I choose to sell it.
    You have the right to sell the song, or attempt to collect royalties just the same as the RIAA. It's similiar to joining BMI or ASCAP to collect royalties for radio or TV play. You are just a lot more likely to get paid if you are part of a huge organization than if you attempt to collect yourself.
  • "To turn this into a "us vs. shareholders" thing is not really the point. You're probably already a shareholder"

    I don't think he was trying to imply that this is an "us vs shareholders" thing. I think his point in stating that was more general, that they are only interested in making money. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making money in itself, but I think he was suggesting (and it happens to be the case) that these companies rip off the people whose IP they are making money from, the artists. Also this is, as you suggest, essentially a monopolistic plan to extort money from consumers ..

  • Frankly, a global law on copyright is the only way to protect the interests of the artists. One that everyone agrees to, one that is enforced, one that is fair regardless of creed, colour or country.

    What many people seem to be forgetting is that the DMCA is actually just U.S. version of the *global* WIPO [] (World Intellectual Property Organization) Copyright treaty, which was drafted and approved in even less public display and public scrutiny than the approval of the DMCA in the U.S. Congress.

    The WIPO Copyright treaty [] was drafted first in December of 1996, and then signed onto by the U.S. delegation and other international representatives. The DMCA passing Congress was really a ratification and implementation of this *global* treaty. Your sentiment is correct in that we need a new, more balanced international copyright law. However, we unfortunately already have a international copyright law in both the Berne convention on copyrights and its extension, the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

    Unfortunately, the new international laws as defined by the WIPO Copyright Treaty were very poorly constructed, shifting power overwhelmingly to the "content providers" and corporations, against the general public and against even the original creators of content/intellectual property.

    As an example, take compilations of data (databases). Besides extending existing copyrights into their digital equivalents, the WIPO Copyright Treaty also creates a new class of copyrightable material: the right to copyright databases (see Article 5). Companies may now copyright databases, even if that data is derived from content/data which is either public domain or that other people created and copyrighted.

    Alas, this trend towards legalizing unlimited corporate greed has already extended past the MPAA and RIAA in the United States and into the global domain, taking away from the public good and the original rights of the artist.

  • Yeah, someone else has it worse, so we should all just shut up and take it up the ass. If we all listened to you, we'd still be living in caves, because after all, some people still have to sleep in a tree.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • Only in a police state is everyone presumed guilty. Since this seems to be your attitude, go live in one and leave the rest of us alone.

    You, in assuming that everyone is guilty, are one twisted fucker. I hope you get your wish and live in a prison without walls.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • I suppose I could do that... if I had enough money to matter to these people.

    I'm currently living on the scale of "how on earth will I buy books next semester", not "how should I leverage this particular fat sack of CASH MONEY".

    If I had enough money to throw around, I'd effect change in several ways, but I happen not to.

    Remember, these corporations are very, very big. They are made of lots and lots of dollars. More dollars than a normal person has, much more. Your voice in the company is proportional to the stock you own. They are *not* *like* you or me. Well, at least, not like me.
  • No!

    Socialism BAD!

    In a truly free market, any entity that becomes large, slow and establishment-y is vulnerable to attack by a quicker, smarter version.

    Recording companies are obsolete. Notice that they seek their protection from the savior you cite, the government, hoping to stave off the effects of the market.

    grendel drago
  • The old joke goes...

    "So, what do you do?"

    "I'm an actor/actress."

    "Really? What restaurant?"

    A reference to the fact that more than ninety percent of actors are out of work at any given time... I'm sure it's likewise for any but the most professional musicians.

    grendel drago
  • Err... socialism is an economic system where the *government* runs everything.

    The government doesn't get involved here until someone gets sued.

    Corporations don't stand for democracy, they stand for making a quick buck, repeatedly. This works just fine, as long as everyone understands this, that the company is only concerned about its potential for profit.

    grendel drago
  • Egg on me. Revise that to read 'where the government runs everything important.'

    Socialism gives me the crawling horrors, anyway. Too many cautionary examples in this century of what happens when your government becomes too powerful.

    grendel drago
  • The RIAA is the Recording Industry Association of America, right? How the f*ck are they planning on stopping someone from Austria from downloading the latest and greatest (yeah, right) Metallica mp3 from their buddy in Russia? One of the main things these guys overlook is that they are really SOL here. They have been used to being in complete control over the distribution channels, which allowed them to bend over both the artists that make the music we love and enjoy, and the consumers who have to dish out their hard earned money.

    The RIAA may be able to control the distribution of music in America and collect royalties from online music distribution in America, but who is to say that someone in Pango Pango won't create the next best thing for digital distribution online? The the RIAA will have to start all over once again.

  • at least we have this document that was written 200+ years ago by people who were evidently a lot smarter and more honest than today's industry shills.

    Yeah, there's a lot of good things in the US constitution about copyright. Unfortunately, the way copyright works in the US today is very far removed from that. US copyright law today is just as full of "rights" for publishers as is the Bern Convention.
    It would be great to be able to look to international law as a means of stregthening the great national constitutions of the world. Unfortunately, though, it mostly ends up strengthening police states

    Well, I don't think that's true - in fact, I think American (and British, French, ...) military support of police states is often in contravention of quite sensible international laws.
    and special interests.

    Well, that's certainly true - but I would say it's usually true of national laws as well.
  • I remember that Trust (a French Hard rock band) got seriously screwed by the RIAA somtime ago

    A us band (I think it's Metallica ) did a cover of a Song called Antisociale The record went to sell a lot and then Trust got about 50$ for their efforts /;-(
  • As in the true copyright protection that lets billions of stolen mp3s get downloaded each day?

    Such behavior is already illegal. So here's an interesting question---why isn't the RIAA going after all people who are swapping mp3's? Why is it going after Napster instead?

    If the RIAA sued a bunch of individuals (if they even made prominent examples out of a few), they could probably intimidate a lot of people to the point where they would change their behavior. Suddenly a much lower percentage of the traffic on Napster (or whatever) would be in illegal mp3's. Suddenly it would be much clearer that peer-to-peer protocols can have "significant non-infringing uses", and their court cases against companies like Napster, like earlier court-cases against the VCR producers, would be on much shakier ground.

    The RIAA would be better off in the long run if they could embed copy-protection controls in every internet protocol. But that doesn't mean they need to do such a thing to prevent "piracy".

    Of course we should support our artists. But why does that mean we have to let the RIAA reshape the cyberspace in their image?

    ---J. Bruce Fields

  • And?

    It's probably impossible for a state to prevent people from driving without a legitimate license, to prevent credit-card fraud, or to stop all libel before it happens.

    That doesn't mean that it's wrong to have a statute in place for dealing with those who DO act in such a fashion.
  • And how, prithee tell, does one determine who is worthwhile?

    You could offer equal-sized grants via a lottery system, but that's still massively abuseable by groups of people filling in bogus applications.
  • Not that I've used lately, but I have not noticed a "mail us a check and we'll let you download some mp3's!". I have a friend who plays trombone for Broadway orchestras. He occaisionally gets recorded...and gets a royalty check. True, it's chump change, but he gets money nonetheless.

    So now we have your typical net-artiste. Assuming this guy is doing it for the money, how does it (the money) get to him/her?!

    You're talking to a guy who actually bought the retail counter-strike CD because he actually felt he owed it to the fine men and women who poured their lives into producing this great mod. In retrospect, I probably should have downloaded it for free and mailed 'em a $30 check in gratitude. But you see, it's the same problem. I want to support the people who make my quality of life better. I don't want them to disappear because I was too lazy or too forgetful to write a check.

    How do we get the Web to support this?!?

  • Thats part of the French lawsuit; they want the regular to withhold the Nazi auction items as well. Besides, i doubt that the .fr version is any different; obviously its in french, but for the most part its the same i'd say.
  • Well, thats one of the things that happen when you have freedom of speech. You have to right to say what you believe in, no matter how stupid. Taking that away is far more dangerous. I think you should spend some time in China as a citizen of that country and see what you'd be missing.

    Odd, i didn't know the french could declare another nation's constition void. Personally i don't know why yahoo is even in court. Their response to France should have been a big 'fuck you' and then completely ignore the idiots. It seems that France is becoming as Facist as the Nazis they so 'hated.' Too bad for them that Nazism isn't the only way to be facist.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, i prefer my artists poor and/or angst-ridden. It gives them something to sing about that isn't some banal dreck that was written by someone without an ounce of real emotion.
  • While I didn't think it was deemed worth posting as a story, there was a piece on NPR Weds (11/28) on The Changing Face of America, talking with the band Jim's Big Ego, which distributes their music mostly through, and some of their decision thought process when trying to decide between a big contract or full control of their music.
  • How 'bout, FAIR USE. And the HONOR SYSTEM.

    If Metallica were starving, if the RIAA companies were going bankrupt, if CD sales were truly declining, if CD prices were going down, and sales not picking up, if the RIAA companies would provide a reasonable alternative to unrestricted MP3 trading, then I'd say a strick copyright protection scheme were warranted.

    But none of that is happening. They're still making hugely unprecedented profits. The point is, MP3 trading does not threaten sales, only market dominance and control. MP3 trading is an inferior product to a physical CD copy. There is still great demand for that product, and many MP3 traders will tell you honestly that they buy more CDs because of their MP3 trading. The problem with this is that it relies on something called "the honor system". Yes, it's the same exact system by which Newspapers are sold throught the world, and have been sold for decades. You put a dime into a machine, and you pull out one newspaper - you could pull out a stack of em, and pass them out to your friends if you wanted, but who does that? The minority of dishonest people out there. Not enough to cause the Newspaper companies to get their panties in a bunch. So what's the percentage you think of MP3 traders who never buy CDs? Who "would have otherwise paid $20 for the CD"? Very low, and the numbers (RIAA members profits) prove it. So take your stiff nazi rhetoric (IT'S THEFT! YOU'RE EVIL! YOU MUST BE STOPPED NOW! MP3 TRADUNG IST VERBOTEN!), and shove it up your ass, because in America, the 1992 AHRA states that copyrighted material can be copied and shared freely for noncommercial purposes. That's FAIR USE, and there is NO language that says sharing a CD with your wife, is any different than ripping it and letting 2 million of your close friends download it. And that's the fact jack.
  • among all of the red-herrings in this whole mess, this is about the most annoying one.

    No artist is being cheated by RIAA member companies. You get a contract, you read it, you sign it, you honor it. period. If a musician signs a bad contract, it's their fault for not reading it, or standing up for themselves. If they felt they're being screwed they had an alternative - don't sign the contract.

    For many artists, this is the difference between making it big (buzillions of dollars, overnight success, the whole "star" deal), or not - continuing to play dives in college towns, or weddings and bar mitzvahs. Tough titties. The record companies are selling a commodity - access to the mass music market, by their oligopoly on distribution. It's probably not possible to become a "star" without help from a major music company. You young musicians out there, you have to think to yourselves, "why am I doing this?" Is it because you love music, or is it because you want to be a star? The talentless fucks out there (*cough* Courney "nobody would ever have known who I was if it wasn't for my dead hubby's rock stardom" Love *cough*) who've made it big because of the promotion machine of the RIAA, are now whining because they don't have access to the lion's share of the profits? Well, maybe they shouldn't. Maybe the unsigned bands out there with real talent who may still be playing bars, are setting the REAL value for the commodity that is "good music". A $5 cover charge. The pheonomenon that the RIAA creates, the hype, the promotion, is just a good illusion, that sets the value much higher, millions of CD's at $20 a pop. (coming to a PC near you, Pay-per-listen songs, MP3 quality, at $3 a pop.) Why MUST you have the latest Madonna album? Is she really a musical genius compared to say, Robert Fripp? Fuck no, but if you have a Madonna CD on your shelf when you have freinds over, you're FAR more likely to get those intangible "I belong to your social group" points than with Robert Fripp. Unless you have freinds who are music majors or something. Believe it or not, a whole buttload of people find this enormously valuable. This is why Backstreet Boyz is the most downloaded and pirated music on Napster. The attraction of the "social points" commodity - yeah, I got that on my Rio, let's load it on your PC and listen. I know about it, you know about it. It's not about "good music", it's about social connections - this is the commodity that the RIAA is really trying to control and sell. Culture. Which is inevitably tied to ubiquity, fame. Cake (another one hit wonder) played an interesting song a few years back; "How can you afford your Rock-n-Roll lifestyle?" Download that from Napster, listen to it, think about it.

    So when an "artist" claims they're being cheated by the RIAA - don't buy that baloney. When a "star" claims that Napster is eating their lunch, they could be right - Metallica is NOT in the business of music for music's sake. They're in it for the $$. Something to think about.

    The real issue here, and the only legitimate issue as far as I'm concerned, is access to music. I'll never download Backstreet Boyz from Napster. Don't worry about that. I may download Metallica, because, frankly, even though they are greedy primadonnas, I DO like a lot of their innovative earlier stuff. There's a lot of good music there. And I don't believe in paying RIAA-dictated prices for it. And I will not use Metallica as a tool to win "brownie points" with friends. Music listening is almost exclusively a private experience for me, so again, there's no reason for me to pay the RIAA "social brownie points" fee. If I want that, or if I would prefer the superior quality of a CD recording, I'll go to the record store and buy the CD. But for simple access to music, perhaps culture, the price is too much, and the law supports this: the status symbol, and the commoditized prices, of the luxury of OWNING copyrighted material is protected - but free access is also protected under fair use - as long as I'm not selling copies, not making a buck, not eating someone else's lunch, it's fair game. That's what the fair use clause is for, and I for one am fucking sick and tired of uninformed or dishonest people LYING, and telling others that this is illegal and that we should feel guilty for trading MP3's when it's protected by the 1992 American Home Recording Act.
  • Well, there's a difference between "eliminating the middle man" of the RIAA, and other, potential new forms of distribution (

    The RIAA companies charge a HUGE markup on CD sales, compared to their costs for that artist. They literally bill us for the artists they promote that fail. But a new artist, who signs up to distribute his music directly on the internet will be in direct competition with the RIAA on price, because they'll have a much leaner distribution model, much lower costs, no expensive lawyers and executives, and the money will go directly to the artist, and the artist will simply pay the internet hosting company, and the credit card bill for the recording studio in his basement, and possibly the licensing fees to the company that wrote the music encoding method (assuming they're gonna use SDMI instead of MP3). What's left over is pure profit for the musician. If that's not enough, they can maybe hire a promotional agency to broaden their market. True music fans will be able to tell when a musician is popular from that kind of promotion, or popular because they're good. But True music fans are few and far between. But in the end all music consumers will pay a lower price, because the competition will eliminate the costlier vendors (Traditional Record Companies) - who will likely have to trim their staff, and resort to more honest accounting practices, (more likely, they'll just buy laws to protect their monopoly).
  • cool. Another great benefit would be, few people would bother to set up a CD-snail-mail trading link with someone, if they were going to put tracks on the CD that were poorly ripped, bad bitrate, incorrect title, or corrupted - which you find a LOT of on Napster. (I think people put garbage up so they don't appear to be leeches).
  • Yes, copyright protection. Not the one-sided "We'll guarantee our rights by stripping you of yours" approach of the DVD-CCA and SDMI organisations. Copyright is a bargain between creator and user, it's effectively a list of things that the public are not allowed to do, and things that they are allowed to do. What CSS does is to forbid everything, including the things that users are specifically allowed to do under both American law and international copyright treaties. In my opinion, if a company wants to deny me my rights under copyright law regarding a work, then they are effectively saying that copyright law does not apply to their product. Fine by me, where's that DeCSS code gone? Unfortunately, the DMCA makes it illegal to play the same game as the corporations in the US.
  • Does that mean I can leagally own lockpicking tools?

    Yes, in most states.

  • The Standard article makes it sound like the copyright office is granting the RIAA quasi-governmental status as the sole gateway for digital distribution of music. Am I getting that right? That certainly sounds bizarre, even for a corporate lapdog like the US government.

  • There's a good reason for losing that freedom if you abuse it

    If you abuse it. That's a big if, and one the RIAA would like very much to bypass.

    If a cop sees you reading a book, should he be able to demand to see the receipt from your bookshop, and arrest you for stealing books if you don't have a receipt?

    Most people (myself included) resent being called criminals, and be taking away a person's ability to break the law before he has broken any laws is precisely that. By demanding the ablity to track and collect royalty on all digital music transfers, the RIAA is calling everyone with a net connection a criminal.
  • Umm... correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't MP3 lossy compression?

    Yes and no. He's technically wrong, but his point is correct. MP3 is lossy, but that loss only occurs in the first generation of copying. After that, all copies of an MP3 file are identical. Thus, it is different than is the case with photocopiers.

  • The issue of whether MP3 files themselves constituted copyright infringement came in front of the district court of New York this year in a challenge brought by owners of copyrights in musical recordings against, an Internet company that created and stored MP3 files for its subscribers. The Internet company claimed that its use of the MP3 files were protected by the fair use doctrine, no different from video recording.

    Bullshit. That case had absolutely nothing to do with MP3 files, and everything to do with the distribution of someone else's copyrighted materials without permission.

    The only legal issues that exist with MP3 files are issues concerning the Fraunhofer patent. Other than that, MP3 isn't any different than any other digital audio file format.

  • I don't have a problem with copyright owners seeking to get compensation for the distribution of their works. But, that said...

    SoundExchange is already the sole agent for collecting royalties for music broadcast over satellite and cable services. It is awaiting approval from the U.S. Copyright Office to become the sole agent for collecting and distributing royalties for music broadcast online.

    The RIAA has been getting away with this same type of shit for too long. Who are they bribing, in the government, that is allowing this stuff to take effect?

    Being designated by the copyright office as the sole agent is blatantly unfair, because RIAA does not represent everyone who might have their music broadcast. In fact, if they did represent everyone, then it would be strong evidence of an anti-trust violation.

    RIAA has no right to collect royalties on behalf of everyone, just as they have no right to collect media tax on behalf of everyone. This is blatant out-in-the-open corruption, and I really wish someone would put the copyright office person who agreed to this, in front of a "60 Minutes" camera so they can explain to everyone why this isn't graft and/or corporate welfare.

  • BF2k, I think the issue you missed is that RIAA is trying to (re)create a monopoly. They want to collect money that they don't deserve, in the form of royalties that are owed to musicians that they may not actually represent. It's like the blank media tax.

    As in the true copyright protection that lets billions of stolen mp3s get downloaded each day?

    That is an issue for the copyright holders to address. It isn't any more fair for RIAA to collect royalties on some german speed metal band that I listen to over the net, than it would be for you or Microsoft to.

    Gee, maybe I should go to Washington and grease a few palms and buy a few hookers for the right people, and then I could be designated the sole agent for something.

  • Relocate your web server to somewhere more legislation friendly.

    Support the bill to make legalise copying of music into electronic format for personal use.

    Any others...
  • Hmmm, the US Copyright office. And how on earth are these people supposed to exert their influence to the rest of the world?

    More importantly, how do WE exert OUR influence on the US Copyright office to make sure this is done right?

    The only contacts list I can find is [].

    I think we need to write supporting some of the following ideas:

    1) The RIAA should:
    a) only be able to collect royalties for works members of their organization hold copyright too.
    b) _freely_ provide access and administrative rights to non-RIAA affiliated artists who wish to use their system to collect.

    2) The RIAA may not collect royalties where other parties are collecting them from the same download/broadcast (read: ASCAP, or any other society) for the same copyright.

    With these stipulations, use of their system would probably be fine...
  • the artists don't have to sign the contracts. But they do. Why? Because it's a damn good deal for them. Relatively talentless musicians make millions of dollars.

    If only you were right... I think you'll find what Steve Albini [] has to say on the matter is qute revealing. Need I mention that he's experienced the record industry first-hand?

    The fact is if you don't sell enough records, you don't get paid, regardless of your talent. It's exactly like the bakery owner not paying the bakers unless his store sells 10,000 loaves of bread, and then paying them a few percent of the profit from each loaf of bread afterwards. If you don't see a problem with that, you're an idiot. Artists are basically slaves until their records recoup.

    Also, if so many record companies are struggling, what does that say about the artists signed to them?

    We have no right to steal from the artists, but neither do the record companies.
  • That's fine, as the US Constitution doesn't apply to me anyway. All new published works would enter the public domain, but there would definitely be a lot fewer thereof.
  • No, as in true copyright protection with reasonable limits to the terms of the copyright.

    No, as in it's my work and *I*, not *you* will decide the terms of the copyright.

  • What - like the Sydney Olympics, where you could only pay for tickets by Visa (if you were using CC) and all games affiliated merchandising/food/etc outlets were only allowed to accept Visa as their CC?
  • In fact, the only non-consensual thing is the theft of the music, which you seem to think you have the right to do. And the only reason that is because you can get away with it.

    The only reason I can do that is because someone else was willing to share it. To contribute (since they arent getting paid) their time and resources to a further appreciation of an artist. The people who have the biggest problem with this arrangement are the ones who have to be paid to perform a similar function. []

    People seem to think that they are big corporate entities that just rip people off.

    Re-writing copyright law so that an entity recieves 50% of ALL streaming revenues is a great example of this.
  • I agree with most of what you've said, and I think you've said it quite well, but I have a tiny nitpick with the Dave Matthews Band example you used... The 40 gigs of DMB are probably almost all legal, because they're probably mostly all live recordings of his concerts that fans are authorized to reproduce and distribute, as long as they don't charge for them or tie them to some commercial offering (e.g. creating a download page that has banner ads).

    Of course, this only reinforces your argument, by showing that there are cases where P2P networks are being put to legitimate, non-commercial use by a large number of people.
  • Exactly. I read the headlines, and thought "This does not affect any normal mp3 traders".

    Here's a widely unknown hint: Even if you have Cable (or better) connection, and download mp3 albums every night from some FTP/Newsgroup/IRC/Etc source, it doesn't even come CLOSE to the amount of mp3's you can get by trading via snail mail. Much less work too.


  • 15% ??
    That's a bit high!

    I've heard $1/album is used sometimes. Let's see $1/$16 is 6.125%
    Let's try Toni Braxton?(Whitney?) rate that made her file bankrupt. $.07 / $16 = 0.4 %


  • Savvy in negotiating?!

    "Hi, we're the artists."

    "We are RIAA of Borg."

    "Okay, we can tour about four months out of the year, and we want half of the profits from everything sold in our name."

    "Bwa ha ha! You will tour eleven months to put food in your belly, and see pennies from the merchandise we grow fat on, slave!"

    "Why, we don't have to stand for this!"

    "Yes you do."

    "No, I think we'll take our business elsewhere!"

    "Go ahead -- throw your talent away in some backwater local scene, and wish for 'the big time' -- 'cause there ain't no recording cartel -- uh, industry -- but ours, kid."

    "Well, you appear to have us by the collective hairy sack. I believe we'll have to capitulate to your unreasonable terms, since we have no bargaining power, and this is where The One True Road Of Musicianship has lead us."

    "Good boy. Now shine my shoes."

    You get the idea.

    grendel drago
  • Or maybe: "Jump? How high?"
  • check out the 'puppets of pop' link on, a slightly scientific look at nsync and britney :)

  • First of all, a nit: it's not *all* music on the internet, it's just the music *"they" hold a copyright* on. Unless i mis-read The Standard article. All music != copyrighted music, and Good Journalism != Sensational Journalism

    Second of all, who says artists have to go with a recording company to distribute in this Era of the Internet? This begs the question: "Can anyone come up with a system that will "eliminate the middle man" whilst allowing an artist to have a decent living?" I don't have an answer to that one, kids, but I agree that the current system (all money to the suits, the crumbs to the artists) stinks.

  • If i set my computer up as a shoutcast server and stream music that I created myself using public domain and personally created loops, that i am the copyright holder of.... guess what will happen to me? The RIAA will ask for royalties, on the ASSUMPTION that every web streamer is going to stream some music they own rights to. I will refuse, and then they can take me to court.

    WTF? And you support them. I only want the right to control my own music. And in 'the interest of the artists' the RIAA is going to sue me. Your post was ass-backwards. I WANT the right to say how my music can be distributed, but the RIAA will NOT allow me to exercise that right. Really. When I buy cds to burn MY music I pay a fee to them because they assume I'm going to copy some Blink 182 or something. Again, guilty by default. Why should I have to support my biggest competitor when I buy the tools I need to compete with them? Does that system look rigged to anyone else? The RIAA is the one with, as you say *NO FSCHING RIGHTS* (sic) to do what they've been doing.

    By the way loudmouth, copyright infringement is not theft, it's copyright infringement. Which is not piracy, piracy involves ships and parrots and violence. Copyright infringement is, legally, about the same as jaywalking - except that jaywalking can actually put people in danger, and copyright infringement can only have the minor effect of denying a corporation money.

  • Yes, true copyright protection...

    As in the true copyright protection that lets billions of stolen mp3s get downloaded each day?

    No, as in true copyright protection with reasonable limits to the terms of the copyright.

    As in the copyright protection that cheats artists out of the fruits of their labors? Again, no. Here you should replace "copyright protection" with "record labels" -- that is what cheats the artists otu of the fruits of their labors.

    As in the copyright protection of p2p tools, which are essentially tools of theft, analagous to slim jims or other criminal tools.

    And what are guns used for?

  • The first thing that hit me about the 50% number was. "That much!", and the second thing was, "That little!" The third take was that aren't most of these people 'workers for hire' instead of 'artists'? In that case, there's no need to pay any 'artist', because there was none. I know there was some recent talk on legislation of this issue, but don't remember where it went.

    But it makes you realize that timing really is everything. I suppose the RIAA thinks that all the other lawyers are SOOOO busy in Florida that they can pull a fast one on us, if they act quickly.

    Finally, for the ultimate reference, go to that one sentence in the US Constitution, where it references rights for a 'limited time' for 'artists and inventors'. It says nothing about unlimiting that time, or their heirs and assignees, or middlemen, publishers, and distributers. IMHO, wait for the right case, and a VERY interesting Constitutional Case could be made of the whole copyright/patent mess.
  • Arts like opera are partially funded by the government in the UK, and the fuss about that in the tabloids was incredible - 'why should we have to subsidise snobs' etc. etc. I can't see them being too happy about having to cough up for greebos singing about Satan or large, gold-wearing black men rapping about guns and bitches.
  • Perhaps you should read the article.

    "50% of the royalties go to the copyright holders, MOST OFTEN THE RECORD LABELS. " (emphasis mine)

    "The rest would be divvied up amongst the artists."

    These are near-quotes from The Standard's article.

    What this means is that the record labels get a hellova large chunk of that royalty money. They may get as much as 100% in situations where the artist got an advance prior to release.

    The music industry is in the process of locking down holes instead of redefinition of themselves. They could see themselves as media distributors, or they could see themselves as record makers. This is another step backwards, and another reason a Sealand server seems more and more attractive.

  • Well, here's something most of you might not realize.

    I work at a radio station. Now, before you all blame me for the crap you have to hear on your radio - it's a public, non-programmed station. I.E. DJs play what they want to play.

    We don't pay the RIAA a dime for broadcast rights.

    Wait, let me say that again. The RIAA doesn't get a dime from us.
    We pay ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC money. Why? Because *they* control the broadcast rights, not the RIAA. The RIAA only has jurisdiction on *copies of recorded music*.

    So, whether or not you support copyright, Napster, etc. - ask yourself this.

    Why is the RIAA getting control over webcast rights? Why aren't the performance unions (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC) getting control over this?

    The people who killed DAT as a consumer format, DCC (anyone remember that??) entirely, approximtely doubled-tripled the cost for Audio CDRs, etc. are trying to take control of web broadcast rights.

    It's not their jurisdiction, and they will do a bad job of it.
  • Regulation isn't the way to turn the criminals into good citizens.
    This isn't really a regulatory solution. It sounds more like it's based on contract law, like the way ASCAP, BMI, and the Harry Fox Agency work. Musicians who sign contracts with big record companies will be signing an industry-standard clause agreeing to this royalty-collection scheme. Musicians whose goal is to create music as free information and copyleft it will be able to do that too. What's the problem? I guess the problem is that it gives musicians a choice about whether to give their music away for free. How dare they expect to make a living by practicing their trade!

    p2p tools, which are essentially tools of theft, analagous to slim jims or other criminal tools
    Huh? Nobody's proposing outlawing p2p.


  • How does being able to download music equate to "standing up now for true copyright protection" as the original poster put it?

    If I want to make a backup copy of a song, I can simply rip the one song to my hard drive, or copy the song from one part of my hard drive to another part. There is nothing in the royality article that states this would be against the law.

    All they're trying to do is prevent a user from transferring one digital copy of a song to another user on another computer. I can buy that.

    Some musicians, and writers, and artists may choose to want their music roaming the net, but if others don't they shouldn't be penalized for trying to put bread on the table.

  • "MACHINA II/the Friends & Enemies of Modern Music" is the pumpkins' final album, the followup to "MACHINA/the Machines of God". It is a limited pressing of only 25 (twenty-five) copies on hand-cut, hand-numbered, non-lacquered acetate (aka vinyl, aka records), consisting of 3 10" EPs and a double 12" LP, 5 discs & 25 songs total. The 25 copies were given to close friends of the band, a few of whom happen to be online, and whom were instructed to circulate the new material as quickly as possible, since the band plans on playing some of the new material on the European tour.

    For more detailed info, see: SPFC []

    Since there were only 25 copies on vinyl, unless you were one of the lucky 25, you can't get the original pressing. But since the band instructed some of the recipients to circulate and distribute the material, you will be able to get copies of it- consider it an "official bootleg". Currently, the only source available is mp3. Since none of the 3 known online recipients had access to an ultra-high-end audiophile turntable (the tube kind that cost thousands), one of them used what they had and made mp3s so that the new songs could be distributed immediately. There are plenty of web/ftp sites and mirrors hosting the new songs, as well as people sharing files via napster, AIM, etc. Look around a bit, the info has been posted in many places many times.

    Virgin was not interested in releasing a followup to Machina, so rather than pack up their gear and go home, they recorded and released it themselves. It will not and cannot be officially released on CD, as their contract with Virgin includes a non-compete clause, which prevents them from releasing anything Virgin holds rights to under another label for 1 year. Since the material was partially recorded while still under the Virgin contract, they are legally prohibited from releasing it on another label or in any other way.

    To download, or for more information, go to Machina2 []

  • Yes, lots of people are doing it. Millions of them. But, as Ghandi said, 'Even if you're in a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.' Millions doing it doesn't make it any less wrong.
  • It sounds like extending Soundexchange would work pretty well, if, say, the internet were divided geographically, and you could be sure all sides of the transaction happened on US soil.

    Or maybe this is the RIAA's big international play, looking for international jurisdiction.

    Also, the language refers to 'Webcasting', not 'Downloads'. Will that limit the scope? How would things on-the-internet-but-not-neccesarily-the-web (like Napster...FTP, etc) work? Unless webcasting has a really broad definition, they don't seem covered.

    questions, questions....


  • You negelect two items:
    1. The superstars fit my [admittedly moderately broad] generalization very well.
    2. It is 99% superstar music being traded on Napster.
    I feel some pity for the mid sizers out there, but when you sell your soul to Satan, expect to be burnt.

  • "For the first time, performers and artists will be rewarded for the performance of their works online," says John Simson, director of artist and label relations for SoundExchange. "

    The quote was said to continue as follows:

    "...rewarded for the performance of their works online in the same way artists are rewarded for the performance of their works offline. That is to say, after the RIAA takes their massive cut, the artist will be lucky to get a nickle. But if they work really, really hard on their next album, they might get more. Maybe. After promotional expenses."

  • > Stand up now for true copyright protection as afforded under the U.S. constitution or risk giving it up forever to global monopolies such as this

    Sorry? True copyright protection?

    As in the true copyright protection that lets billions of stolen mp3s get downloaded each day?

    As in the copyright protection that cheats artists out of the fruits of their labors?

    As in the copyright protection of p2p tools, which are essentially tools of theft, analagous to slim jims or other criminal tools.

    This stuff about the constitution is a lot of bull. Most people don't really care about this - as witnessed by the fact they don't do anything about real oppression under true fascist regimes - they're only concerned about their 'rights' regarding the theft of music.
  • > most_ users simply wanting these things for their own gain

    You're absolutely right. Example: one of my colleagues was going to buy the Nirvana singles box set because it had some rare tracks on it.

    But because of Napster he didn't because he stole it for free.

    But in any case, even if it didn't result in loss of sales CDs, it would still be theft - for one thing there is lost sales from legal mp3s - this is just the same as vinyl->cd, and the market is currently nonexistent event though by rights their should be a market.

    And don't think that it's just a ripoff of the consumer selling new versions of what you've already got. It isn't.

    Artists are paid for record and mp3 sales - therefore you are cheating them by stealing music.

    Record companies are not evil. People seem to think that they are big corporate entities that just rip people off.

    This is not true. The people working for them are being paid, just the same as you are, and they have a right to make money - after all, you wouldn't suggest that the man running the local bakery has no right to make a profit out of his wares.

    Everything here is consensual:

    you don't have to buy the music
    the artists don't have to sign the contracts. But they do. Why? Because it's a damn good deal for them. Relatively talentless musicians make millions of dollars.

    This isn't exploitation. In fact, many record companies have gone bust or are struggling.

    In fact, the only non-consensual thing is the theft of the music, which you seem to think you have the right to do. And the only reason that is because you can get away with it.

    The true test of whether someone is moral is not whether they don't steal physical things like cars - that has getting caught has a deterrent so morality is secondary.

    It is that they do not steal where they cannot get caught. Those who do steal are immoral.
  • Music fans won about 3 years ago.
    Don't weep for the musician. If they care, they want their music to reach as many people as possible, royalties be damned.

    Record companies operate a lot like software companies. The talent always gets screwed. I don't hear anyone standing up for the rights of coders WRT software piracy...

    Hell, Gortician still manages to make money from downloads, CD sales, t-shirts, gigs, etc. Where else would we get so many Indonesian fans but from "illegal" music piracy? Don't bother defending my rights. We *want* to give it away. A lot of other artists feel this way about Napster. We don't want anyone speaking for us, especially conCerning the intentions of releasing our music to the public.

    Record labels are gay, anyway.
  • At first I doubted your suggestion, but as I thought about it now think it's workable- IF the artists are for it. In my opinion, here's what would need to happen on the artist's end.

    Setup a website, completely independent from their label's.

    Sell their future releases style (burnt on demand).

    Sell downloadable songs for those who prefer the digital format. Hell, make it a "donation" (with a minimum amount) and they could get the same tax breaks churches get.

    Granted, due to the needed exposure, this would only work for artists who have been promoted by the big labels and are sick of getting shafted by their label. When enough make the transition, they could form a "union" and cross promote each other.

    I could see Hole or Smashing Pumpkins trying this, after seeing their success with it, the groups who aren't as ballsy would surely follow.

  • It is awaiting approval from the U.S. Copyright Office to become the sole agent for collecting and distributing royalties for music broadcast online.

    Hmmm, the US Copyright office. And how on earth are these people supposed to exert their influence to the rest of the world? Seems there's going to be yet another reason for some of the smaller Net corps to start doing business in the "less developed" parts of the world. Guess my FTP server will have to move to the Rainforest.

    Small question on the side, how about international waters? A ship with a bunch of servers on it and a satellite uplink maybe?
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:38AM (#591541)
    > and I really wish someone would put the
    > copyright office person who agreed to this, in
    > front of a "60 Minutes" camera so they can
    > explain to everyone why
    > this isn't graft and/or corporate welfare.

    So, did you write to Mike Wallace, or did you write to slashdot?
  • by Mike Connell ( 81274 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:07AM (#591542) Homepage
    > As in the true copyright protection that lets billions of stolen mp3s get downloaded each day?
    > As in the copyright protection that cheats artists out of the fruits of their labors?
    > As in the copyright protection of p2p tools, which are essentially tools of theft, analagous to slim jims or other criminal tools.

    Yes - exactly those freedoms. The freedom to have a choice: to commit a crime, or not, that is an important freedom.

    Regulation isn't the way to turn the criminals into good citizens. Go read A Clockwork Orange.

  • by jmorse ( 90107 ) <joe_w_morse@nosp ... m ['AHO' in gap]> on Thursday November 30, 2000 @10:16AM (#591543) Homepage Journal

    I don't think this fight is about royalties. Sure, it's incredibly corrupt and wrong for RIAA to collect 50% of all royalties. Sure I think it's evil and wrong to infringe on what amounts to fair use (personal copying of works and re-distributing them freely to friends). But then, there's a larger issue here: the RIAA's maniacal control over the "talent" pipeline.

    Think about it: who controls which artists are available for purchase, which artists show up on the radio and MTV? RIAA does. They have the power to dictate tastes and preferences to a very large sector of music consumers. Under non-digital distribution channels, it takes a huge amount of money (for lawyers, packaging, marketing, pay-ola, etc) to promote and distribute a work of art. Digital music distribution, especially Napster, threatens that control because artists now have affordable self-promotion tools at their disposal. That is the reason RIAA wants to either destroy or control Napster,, and any other digital music distribution channel.

    Ask yourself: if you were an artist, would you trust the organization that so readily caved in to the Tipper Gore/PMRC censorship demands (see the Frank Zappa PMRC Hearing testimony [] for an interesting take on this) to represent your interests?

  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:04AM (#591544) Homepage Journal
    The record industry is an endangered industry. They are big and powerful -- like a bronco. The MP3 format is an indestructable format that can crumble an empire -- like a shotgun. Musicians are beginning to realize that they don't need to be rodeo clowns, running with the bronco, fearing for their lives. They can just shoot the bronco.

    There is no real need for the record industry anymore. Support good artists by going to concerts and buying tee-shirts and CDs (or go to []).
  • Wow, A lot of people here failed their reading compreshension tests in grade school didn't they?

    This isn't about the usual RIAA tactics, it is about them being legally declared the only way to get royalties for "webcasted music"(Whatever that is).

    So go ahead and post you MP3s on your website,just don't expect to be paid for them unless you bend over for Hillary Rosen and co.

    That's like VISA being the only way to get paid for stuff you sell online.

    "Sure you can run an online business, but you'll need our card 'cause the only legal way to pay people is to credit their VISA balance. If you want to use MC or Amex, not only will you not get paid, but you're a dirty,filthy, stealing-bread-from-the-mouths-of-our-children criminal! How *DARE* you even THINK of getting paid some other way!"

  • by SuperBug ( 200913 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:00AM (#591546) Homepage Journal
    These artists wouldn't have to be on the road so damn much if RIAA would pay them what they're worth and stop lining their own pockets instead. Artists of all types are always "trying to make it big" even if it's Painting, sculpting, etc. Hell, all of us are all trying to make it big. Art is a perception. Code is art I think. So does that mean we need someone to approve our code before we release it to the world? Does that mean we need a governing body like CIAA, Coding Industry Artists Association. Right and let them take royalties for all the code we right, even though it doesn't belong to them. The real point here is even though the CIAA doesn't exist, the RIAA does and they are NOT a good faction to be part of. They are NOT looking out for the artists. They have become a self serving group whose interests lie in making themselves fat off the sweat of good people like TRUE artists. This is the reality of things, not what is supposed to be. Sorry to burst any bubble you may have, but the truth hurts! - SB -
  • by AFCArchvile ( 221494 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @06:54AM (#591547)
    ...and we, the consumers, should be responsible for yanking on the leash when something like this happens. This is probably the worst thing for musical freedom since the DMCA was passed by Congress behind closed doors via an anonymous voice vote. Despite what Al Gore is saying, I think that the entire "consent of the governed" concept is being quietly ushered out of existence.

    Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. It seems that everyone's forgotten about the French Revolution, and now it's happening all over again. Right now, the wealthiest 10% have more money per capita than the entirety of the remainder of the people. Gee, sounds a lot like the late 18th century French aristocracy. Maybe it's time for another revolution.

  • by namespan ( 225296 ) <namespan@elite m a i> on Thursday November 30, 2000 @10:37AM (#591548) Journal
    Contact the US Copyright Office with your cogent, well thought out protest and discussion of alternatives:

    They don't have an email address listed, but they do have fax/snailmail.

    I think the important thing is that the RIAA be only allowed to collect for music that their members hold copyright to -- and that they be required to demonstrate you're playing such music before they can take any action to collect.
  • by PureFiction ( 10256 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @06:52AM (#591549)
    It's interesting to note in the article that only 50% of the royalties will go to the artists.

    There is no packaging costs, no distribution costs, and the sites offering the music will be the ones doing all the work supplying and maintaining the digital databases, yet the RIAA stll wants its 50% cut of the revenue.

    I suppose this is better than the estimated 15% artists currently get from CD sales, but still seems quite rediculous.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:57AM (#591550) Homepage Journal
    The analogy with video recorders is also tenuous. Although video recording can produce exact replicas, its use can be detected. Video recording is protected by fair-use principles and is allowed within limits. The Supreme Court restricted these limits to what it termed "time shifting," allowing the viewer to watch a broadcast show at a more convenient time. But the use of MP3 permits more than time shifting. It allows the playing of whole songs repeatedly and the compilation of a whole medley of songs for redistribution and public performance. When analogies fail, the law has to come up with fresh answers.

    Interesting. The above differs from reality. The use of video recorders also permits more than time shifting. It allows the playing of whole video tapes repeatedly, and the compilation of a whole medley of vids (which could be illegally redistributed or publicly performed). Thus, there's no real difference between the capabilities of MP3s and video recordings.

    The implication is that the legalization of video recorders was intended to allow time shifting only. This means you're not supposed to, for example, tape every episode of Babylon 5 and keep your tapes long-term, watching them over and over. That's news to me.

  • by fhwang ( 90412 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:12AM (#591551) Homepage
    The internet buzzword that applies here is "disintermediation" -- that is, the way that new networks cut out the middleman and their part of the cut. It's been happening across many sectors of business due to the internet; I remember hearing, for example, of moderate cuts in the salesforces of midline department store chains because a lot of people were using ecommerce sites instead.

    The only significant difference in this case is that, unlike department stores, the RIAA has some legal leverage to use to protect its own middleman status. Even so, I wonder how long they'll be able to last.

  • by vorpal22 ( 114901 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @09:30AM (#591552) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure if this has ever been posted before, but if we all really want to kick some RIAA ass while making sure that our favorite artists don't lose out on the process, perhaps this is what we should do:

    1) Download all the mp3s you can.
    2) For each mp3 that you download, send $0.50 or $1.00 to the artist (via mail) for the mp3.

    This, of course, would be exceedingly inconvenient to the artist, but hell, it would prove a point and show those bastards at the RIAA that we will not stand for the high CD prices, very little of which goes to the artist. Quite frankly I want to reward talent, not administrative beaurocracy.

  • by jdunlevy ( 187745 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @09:00AM (#591553) Homepage
    > > It's interesting to note in the article that only 50% of the royalties will go to the artists. < <

    It'd also be interesting to see who "the artists" are in RIAA-speak.

    Under the RIAA-pushed laws that require payment of royalties on the purchase of DAT machines and DAT audio media, consumers have to pay the RIAA-approved "artists" even if the DAT machine and media are being used only for the creation of new works. If I'm an artist, using a DAT machine in my home studio to create new works to which I hold copyright, I still have to give money to the RIAA.

    Based on past performances, I've concluded that one of the RIAA's main goals is to keep new artists from taking advantage of new technologies to compete against the established recording industry. Or more accurately, the RIAA wants to ensure that, as new artists increasingly take advantage of technologies that allow them more easily to work outside the established recording industry, the RIAA is somehow still able to get a cut of this activity, from which they would otherwise be excluded.

  • by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:00AM (#591554) Homepage
    Stand up now for true copyright protection as afforded under the U.S. constitution or risk giving it up forever to global monopolies such as this.

    Oh yeah, we can't possibily live on a planet that isn't entirely governed by the U.S. constitution. After all, less than 10% of the population live in America, so why shouldn't we all be governed by their laws?

    Frankly, a global law on copyright is the only way to protect the interests of the artists. One that everyone agrees to, one that is enforced, one that is fair regardless of creed, colour or country. Copying material around the globe without paying for it is not 'free speech', nor is it 'free expression'. Its ripping people off.
  • by Jedi Alec ( 258881 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @06:56AM (#591555)
    Do we really think the RIAA represents what most artists think?

    Of course it doesn't. the RIAA represents what the money thinks. And as we all know, money talks as well. In this case, quite a lot.
  • by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@wayga.QUOTEnet minus punct> on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:37AM (#591556) Journal
    >these companies (who have their stockholders' interests in mind, *and no one else's*, not you, not me, certainly not the artists who they hide behind)

    Err....a few things here.

    First, there's nothing preventing you from buying shares of sony, time warner, etc. They're listed on the US stock exchanges, and also on the exchanges where the company is based (Tokyo, Toronto, etc.).

    Second, anyone with a retirement account (401(k), IRA, and so on) may own shares in these companies already.

    To turn this into a "us vs. shareholders" thing is not really the point. You're probably already a shareholder.

    So now what?

    If you're a direct shareholder, contact investor relations. Find some financial why maintaining their relationship with the RIAA will hurt the company and its share price.

    If you're indirect (401(k)) contact the investor relations of the mutual fund company that you're going through. Do the same thing.

    With stock prices being real crappy these days, some solid reasons why a particular company's plan to extort money from consumers will backfire could be of help.
  • by nyet ( 19118 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @09:19AM (#591557) Homepage
    Its funny. I just got done watching the Hughes brothers excellent "American Pimp" and you have summed it up exactly.

    The theme of the movie is "why does a ho need a pimp?"

    One of the first things you learn is that ho's NEVER get a percentage. Not 10%, not 5%, not even 1%. Every single pimp says the same thing. 0%. Then they go on to talk at length about why a ho needs a pimp - after a ton of hand waving, you realize it is all about MIND share. Its about convincing the HOs they need a pimp, not convincing the johns that hos need a pimp.

    Of course, the most striking similarity between Hilary Rosen, Jack Valenti, and pimps is in the "get me my motherfucking money" segment. In it, a pimp explains that a ho doesn't EARN him his money. The ho goes and GETS his motherfucking money from the John. It is already assumed the John HAS his motherfucking money, and it is up to the ho to get it for the pimp.

    In any case, if you want to learn why the RIAA and MPAA make so much damn money, and work so hard to "get their motherfucking money" from you, go rent American Pimp. 5 stars.
  • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @06:58AM (#591558) Homepage
    True, but you can't believe that such power can be handed over to entities that have proven themselves so rapacious in the past (RIAA, MPAA) with no consequences for the average *non*-criminal.

    p2p tools are *not* instruments of theft, it's just terribly popular to use them as such. They're like crowbars... powerful, with a legitimate purpose, but subject to the goodness or evilness of their operator.

    Remember, if draconian access controls are allowed, and *enforced*, it certainly won't stop with the college kids with forty gig of DMB. Witness DeCSS: "But only *pirates* use it!" "Oh, okay, let's make reverse engineering a crime." Do you really believe that taking power out of the hands of the hacker/common man/scr1pt k1dd13 and giving it to these companies (who have their stockholders' interests in mind, *and no one else's*, not you, not me, certainly not the artists who they hide behind) will solve anything?

    Perhaps 'copyright protection' is the wrong phrase. But believe me, it's not about the pirates; they don't cost the companies an appreciable sum, they never have.

    About the 'right' to the Nappy... I won't argue there. I still can't believe what I hear when my roommates complain that the school blocked Napster.
  • by drteknikal ( 67280 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @06:56AM (#591559) Homepage
    My understanding is that ASCAP and BMI retain the performance rights administration, and that what the RIAA is attempting is a unilateral power grab to take more power back from the artists and give it to the record companies. ASCAP and BMI seem to have remained curiously silent on these issues.
  • by eAndroid ( 71215 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:09AM (#591560) Homepage
    I'm an artist on and luckily enough I've made more than a few dollars there. I don't know how the RIAA can expect to be involved with MY music whatsoever. Not only am I not a member of any music organisation/union so I can't in any way be a RIAA member, but I am not even an American!

    I think royalties for signed artists is fine - they know what they are getting into when they sign - but us *truely* independant artists don't owe the RIAA anything!
  • by mgoyer ( 164191 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:57AM (#591561) Homepage
    Actually the people haven't sent Metallica any of the money (read the fine print on the site carefully, first they have to recuperate their costs).

    Another option would be Fairtunes [] which lets you send money directly to the artist, which bypasses the blood sucking RIAA. And unlike Paylars we've actually mailed thousands of dollars worth of cheques to artists who have in turn cashed them. (Metallica cashed their cheque this Tuesday).


  • by NulDevice ( 186369 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:26AM (#591562) Homepage
    RIAA themselves have doen more harm to the starving musician than just about anyone. They are NOT a performers rights group like BMI or ASCAP. They do not pay artist royalties. Rather, they are a lobbying group formed of executives of the big 4 record labels. According to their own press, they are "trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Our mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality." One of their major lobbying subgroups is the one that tries to require blank CD and Tape manufacturers to pay recording royalties, since those blank media *could* be causing lost revenue. Their job, basically, is to ensure that major record labels make money. They claim to be fighing "illegal downloads", and to an extent I believe that illegal distribution of music is wrong (I say "to an extent" because without Napster most of my last album wouldn't have been heard outside my hometown). But pretty much in the end, their policies ensure that I wouldn't be able to distribute my music legally without the support of a major label, which makes the whole internet-indie-artist revolution pretty moot. Of course, they're on a pretty sysiphean quest - anyone can encode and distribute music and no amount of legal wrangling is going to put that genie back in the bottle...


  • by rabidcow ( 209019 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:57AM (#591563) Homepage
    gosh... i'm sorry.
    nsync is one of the things i think the riaa should have to pay *us* for.
  • by packphour ( 257276 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:07AM (#591564) Homepage
    I would like for someone from the RIAA to contact me regarding my account balance. See, a few days ago I pulled up at a stop light with my windows down and the girl next to me had "Bye Bye Bye" (by N'Sync) blaring. The song got stuck in my head and I've been singing it to myself ever since.

    I guess I've now played the song in my head atleast 40 times by now and wanted to know how much I owe you.


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