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The Almighty Buck

Dear CDDB Users: Thanks For Helping The RIAA! 223

A reader unblessed with a name writes: "I'll admit that when Gracenote took over the CDDB compact-disc database, I wasn't too annoyed. Now I am. Napster has just signed an agreement with them to use Gracenote's services, and by extension the community-built CDDB databases, to implement its copyright blocking."
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Dear CDDB Users: Thanks For Helping The RIAA!

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  • The point was that I used CDDB, Napster was not really the issue. I've never used napster, and I have thousands of MP3s.
  • Unfortunately, you missed entire genres in music by your classification of bands as either RIAA-associated or unsigned. There are hundreds of bands making music on independant labels making music a hundred times more vital and creative than the schlock the RIAA labels push on the preteen and middle-aged housewife markets. For the anarchists out there, search Napster for "The Man Don't Give A Fuck" by the Super Furry Animals. Or the post-apocalyptic rock of "Helicon 1" by Mogwai. Or anything by Pavement, Death Cab for Cutie, Sloan, or any number of other bands. Open your eyes. There's much more to music than what your local "alternative" station plays.

  • What you've shown is that nothing significant can stay under the radar forever.
  • Easy. Here are all of the signatures of our CDs, please give me the track lists for those CDs. Search Napster for those names and voila.

    Your right that there is clearly an arms-race going on. However, the copyright holders have the advantage that if they can't find the track easily, than neither can the general public.

    Remember that their goal is to keep piracy levels low. They don't have to eliminate it completely. They will only goes as far as makes sense economically (how much am I `losing' and how much will it cost me to stop it?

  • Well, I most certainly agree that in some cases, song titles are too short to merit copyright protection - after all, someone should not be able to copyright a single word from the English language.

    On the other hand, some song titles are rather unique phrases or original combinations of words, and perhaps should be extended copyright protection - "You know where you went wrong", "Bizarre Love Triangle", "I Trance You", "Leafhound" are all examples of song titles that might qualify to varying degrees.

  • I was wondering the same thing.

    Does anyone know how to point WinAmp to FreeDB?

  • I dont mind buying CDs- because lets face it thats what its all about. What i DO mind is paying 20$ for a CD. If the RIAA would simply comprimise and sell CDs for say 7 or 8 $ then I would happily pay for my music. I think that we as Geeks sometimes go overboard about "free information". Do you pay for your playstation games? CDDB usage is just napsters next step towards pacifying the RIAA- everyone knows that this wont stop people from rearanging song names etc. This will just go back and forth until SOMEONE decides to pay up- either the RIAA or the users!
  • The IMDB [].. They list MOST motion pictures, TV Shows, specials, etc.

    This is a DB that even the studios are using to spread information (info about movies in production, complete cast lists/etc. before the movies are out)..

    This 'could' be used to do that ( I bet they MPAA has made sure that they have the DVD codes somewhere so that it can be tracked)...

  • www stands for something: world wide web. So, the average dolt would assume that 'www' denotes a website.
  • Napster will only block a song only if the copyright owner requests them to. This allows the true owner of the property to decide if it should be freely available.

    Freedom of choice for the owner - I like it!

  • take a look @ []

  • It's denying the rights of the artist

    And for the millionth time: what rights does an artist signed to a major music label have? Please quote figures on the proportion of Napster featured artists who retains the intellectual property rights on their music.

    The vast majority of artists sell all their legal (and moral) rights to their creations, and retain only a limited and strictly contractual right to royalties from sales of it. They don't own the music.

    So, if I wasn't going to buy the music anyway (I haven't bought any music since the 1980's), then how, exactly, does the artist suffer? The legal and moral loser is the owner of the intellectual property rights - and that's MegaRecordCorp.

    Now, if we're talking about artists that retain their own rights, and distribute online, then that's a different issue. But I doubt you were thinking clearly enough to be talking about that.

  • Last I heard the song titles were now in Pig Latin. Unless, CDDB come with filters, especially Pig Latin, I don't see how useful this will be. Plus all of the typos. Then there is all of the possible slang and abbreviated spellings. I don't think this will have a big impact. You might want to brush up on Pig Latin if you want to Napster.
  • What if my band decides to release, copyright-free, a song titled "etallicaMay - nterEay andmanSay"?

    If the RIAA and Napster block this song because it just so happens to be the same as the Piglatin translation of a copyrighted song, can I sue them for blocking it?

    Any lawyers out there that can shed some light? Any bands out there that want to release some non-copyrighted material?


  • by Nexx ( 75873 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @05:44AM (#364644)

    Yes, at least on NT. edit %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts .

  • "At one point during the RIAA litigation process, I thought I would wake up one morning and find that Napster had totally shut down. However, now I just sit and watch as it slowly bleeds to death." -- me The entire "Napster" phenomenon will likely get a solid place in the computer halls of fame -- letting people around the world share music with each other. Instead of having the recording industry select which songs would be funneled through our local radio stations and television channels, the music lover could now sample endless varieties of music and discover fresh new bands. Ahhh, but "No," said the record industry, "you will not take the power away from me!" Napster, knowing their demise would eventually come from endless litigation, even offered the recording industry an offer that just might please both the labels and the must listeners. Unfortunately, the RIAA, in their short-mindedness, turned any sort of compromise down. Ironically, when has there ever been a time in history where over 70 million users have lined up screaming, "give us a product!" and then a company, already in a monopolistic position, shouted, "Go f*** yourselves!!" Napster will die slowly. With the dot-com hysteria now behind us, investor capitalists won't be so quick to fund another Napster want-a-bee. It just proves an age old point that, in the end, someone wants to and HAS to get paid.
  • This doesn't seem to prevent me from buying my CD's at the store... I've never used CDDB, but at least with it's recent "deny of access" to things like Grip etc, I won't have to deal with seeing a new version of that stuff every 5 minutes on
  • You really need to sit down and take a refresher in copyright law. The original purpose of copyright law was to strike a balance between the right of the artist to earn a living and the public well being. "Art exists for it's own sake" is nothing more than a cop out for people who are too selfish to give benefit for receiving benefit.

    Lucky? Your wording is just propoganda.
  • I think it is terrible that the effort and good will of the net community be used to stab us in the back, but I don't think we should say "Sharing is for losers". We got to realize that once we share something we don't control what other people do with it. And sharing is really what OpenSource is about. Never the less... Down with the RIAA! And I don't think this will stop us from sharing music. On the other hand we should be working to make a better and friendlier gnutella like system, because sooner or later Napster is going down.
  • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:22AM (#364649) Homepage

    Too bad I don't have moderator points today. Can I moderate an entire article as "Flamebait"?

    Look people, I know there are a lot of GNU zealots here that buy into the party line, "Information wants to be free!" So the CDDB database gets used by the Bad Guys. So what? That's the price you pay for freely exchanging information -- Someone else is free to use it against you!

    Okay, so CDDB is no longer "free" in the GNU sense. That's beside the point. Do you think they're so naïve that they're not also using FreeDB as well? The only reason you know about the Napster/CDDB deal is that they had to sign a license to use the database and someone thought it would be good PR to announce it publicly. I'll betcha a dollar, though, that they also have their hooks into FreeDB and any other GPL'd free-as-in-liberty databases out there.

    Freedom is a double-edged sword. You can't grab the moral high ground waving the "Information is Free!" flag, then complain when people use it for the "wrong purposes". That ain't freedom. It's a license agreement.

  • That is an interesting attitude, because you only share with friends and communities you care about.

    So this just adds to the apparent death spiral, since by implication friends and communities are for losers.

    But strangely enough, that is probably the exact attitude of the marketroids who are abusing the community by ripping off the community effort by selling it.

    This also fits in, in a weird way, to the whole Napster vs RIAA mess. Because there is a balance that needs to be reached as far as sharing vs respecting the rights of others. If I am required to share, then is that a fancy name for thievery? Are monopolies (in this case, of music) the means to achieve legalized rip offs?

  • >Yet, you take the work of musicians and distribute and use it against their expressed wished.

    I question whether it is the artists express wishes that music not be distributed in MP3 format (which, in and of itself is not illegal, should you own the Music already -- piracy is the problem) or if that is the motive of the RIAA.

    It seems many artists (Public Enemy comes to mind) have already done their best to try to encourage this internet music revolution. Perhaps they are unhappy with the current shackles the recording industry puts on them? Maybe they see MP3 as a way out.

    >You both put time and energy into creating something intangible, and you both were denied its control.

    Copyright doesn't allow you to put a literal stranglehold on how people use your music. Once someone buys a CD they can use the music how they please, although copyright does seem to hold people to personal use only (which includes ripping CDs into MP3 format).

    If artists don't want their music put into MP3 format, they can simply keep it to themselves, or perhaps find a less liberal country than the United States (maybe they can convince SeaLand to change their laws?) to harbour their music.

    >If you use Napster to download copyrighted material and feel ripped off by the CDDB, then you are an utterly despicable hypocrite.

    That is assuming you haven't already bought the CD. I've lost/broken/scratched CDs before, haven't you? Napster is a great way to replace them.
  • That being said, the act of publishing *professionally* is usually going to alter this default copyright structure. Since 1978, part of every American recording label...

    Unless the 1978 Copyright Agreement was an international affair, how does this compare against the other 95% of the world's population* ??

    So far it's being assumed that every creation that is listed in the CDDB was American produced, in exactly the same way that congress assumes that the internet is an American only network.

    World population estimation for July 1st 1999 = 5,996,215,340
    U.S. population for July 1st 1999 = 272,878,000

    Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census


    It's funny how many times you have to show your I.D. in the U.S. times it feels like Germany, 1942.

  • Napster users aren't taking someone else's music and then selling it back to them. Whereas the CDDB is taking the result of other people's labor -- a database rather than music tracks -- and selling it back to them.

    So what? You knew when you submitted information to CDDB that they could have done this. If you didn't like that fact, you didn't have to submit information to CDDb.

    Know what else? Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is in the public domain, yet publishers have the gall to sell for profit copies of the book! How dare they! It's available for free, so they're evil to sell it!!

  • Ok now, this is a little off topic by not by much. In all this talk about the illegal trading of copyrighted music and such on area is left out of the talks. What if I already own the CD/Cassette or even LP in question and I have no idea nor do I wish to learn how to rip a track of of it? As far as I remember, the copyright laws state that I am allowed to make as many copies of copyrighted material that I own for my own personal use and archivial purposes. Now by blocking the trade of mp3's from one user to another isnt it in effect limiting my ability to make a backup of any such media that I already own? Or what if I have the cd but it is scratched so bad it is un playable, so I want to d/l a few tracks off of it to play, perfectly legal but The RIAA has now foreced me to either go without that mucis or buy another copy of it. I think napster is a dead horse now anyway, its just a matter of time before the body stops moving, and as for the CDDB, I only hope that the start tryign to figure out what exactly the mass users of there service want and somehow find a happy place for all in there business model. JMO.. The Original Zaphod
  • What a pile of bull!

    First off, Napster is complying with a court order. If you like Napster, then you should be happy that this seemingly impossible task is being done via CDDB.

    Second, right or wrong, the RIAA has legal claim to their Copyrighted material. If you want to knowingly circumvent that claim, then you need to lose the hypocrisy and admit that you are a thief. If you own those albums, rip 'em yourself you lazy bastage!

    Third, Napster has served it's purpose. By comparison to the present alternatives, Napster is crude, inflexible and clunky. Let it go! Don't let nostalgia and hype keep your neophile spirit bound to a dead horse.

    Fouth, Napster doesn't love you anymore. As soon as Napster started pulling usernames, well before they signed with Bertlemann, and WELL before this development, they had gone over to the 'other side'. In fact, as soon as they incorporated and IPOd, their reason for being changed. Grass roots my arse! They're a business.

    The REAL jabber has the /. user id: 13196

  • by streetmentioner ( 28936 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:02AM (#364665) Homepage
    As I understood it the CDDB identified track names based on the overall signature of a CD, including its ID number and the lengths of all the tracks. How can this be used to identify individual MP3 tracks? And, if it is possible, why do we not have a tool which fills in the ID3 tags for totally unlabelled MP3 files, just from the CDDB. This would be very useful. Surely if this were possible, it would have been done?!
  • How can they be sure that everything on the CDDB is copyrighted? I'm sure that probably most of it is, but not ALL of it. Plus, as anyone who uses CDDB knows, the database is far from accurate, awash with typos and sometimes just outright mistakes.

    Still, how long before someone makes a Napster plugin to check your MP3s against CDDB and rename them in subtle ways so that they no longer match?
  • yes they are, with the new extended copyright (thank you Disney) pretty much any recorded music is copyrighted. there is an implicit copyright anytime you create something, you don't have to register a copyright to have a copyright. in this way the judgment against napster was completely wrong. the proper method would have been to have napster block all files except for those for which they have received express permission to copy and those that are verifiably in the public domain. but the napster case wasn't about copyright, it was about money. RIAA doesn't care about musicians not getting their due from the distribution of their software, and nobody cares about all the musicians out there who are on independent labels or are not signed at all, who material has been stolen and posted on napster. RIAA doesn't even care about all the bootlegs being passed around that the musicians were never paid for, all they care about are the recordings for which they hold a copyright, hence the sloppy nature of the judgment. as to the CDDB, it pretty much only encompasses fairly recent, RIAA commercially released digital recordings, so they are all covered under the judgment. if the CDDB is the only criteria for filtering, this would actually be a boon for napsters, as only mp3s ripped off CDs would be filtered. even this could be bypassed by introducing an analog stage in to the recording of the mp3.
  • by einstein ( 10761 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:04AM (#364673) Homepage Journal
    those of you that are still using CDDB, and are fed up with them charging for community added content, switch to []. It's not gonna up and sell the database.
  • Well the CDDB is user-created as well, isn't it? So to combat the use of this, couldn't users just flood the CDDB with inaccurate information?
  • by Hairy_Potter ( 219096 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:05AM (#364676) Homepage
    The real moral is not sharing is for losers, but when ever you do something that the higher ups (ie your employer, the RIAA, the government) might look askance at, try to stay under the radar.

    For example, LSD was legal and unknown until the media got ahold of it, in 1965-66.

    The Grateful Dead were a great party until MTV's Day of the Dead in 1987.

    Porn was free and unblocked by corporate networks in 1996.

    I imagine that divx;) sites are going to get targeted next.
  • by qpt ( 319020 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:06AM (#364677)
    Many of you devoted time and effort to contributing to the CDDB database. It hurts to see your work used in a way you didn't want.

    Yet, you take the work of musicians and distribute and use it against their expressed wished. How is this any different? You both put time and energy into creating something intangible, and you both were denied its control.

    You weren't robbed of the information itself, after all. If you wanted to keep a copy of the information that you submitted to CDDB, it would've been a trivial matter to make a backup. No, you were robbed of nothing.

    If you use Napster to download copyrighted material and feel ripped off by the CDDB, then you are an utterly despicable hypocrite.

    - qpt
  • Napster is a database? News to me. It amazes me how much people stretch the truth to fit their own little opinions.
  • Can't see how you would consider the original post a troll, except that he dares to go against the Slashdot mob party line. The point is that both CDDB and Napster have used content created by outside sources in ways those sources did not appreciate. I suspect your feelings over CDDB are rather similar to those artists who do not appreciate wholesale piracy of their music.
  • by SurfsUp ( 11523 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:29AM (#364684)
    I know this will be posted 50 times to this thread, but here it is again anyway: []. We're rebuilding it, we're rebuilding it better, and cddb can stew in its immoral juices.
  • by Deven ( 13090 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @08:05AM (#364694) Homepage
    IANAL for another few months yet.

    However, I can tell you that every work of art, published or not, created after 1978 is copyrighted by someone.

    I'm not a lawyer either. But if you're heading toward becoming a lawyer, it might behoove you to get in the habit of speaking more carefully and precisely about legal matters, for the time when you are a lawyer. I know your point was about copyright existing with or without registration, but you neglected another possibility.

    Your blanket statement above is incorrect, because there are some works created after 1978 to which nobody holds a copyright. Of course, those works started out as copyrighted, but the authors relinquished the copyrights by explicitly placing those works in the public domain. Yes, the vast majority of works created after 1978 are still under copyright, but not every work. While I'm sure you were aware of it, and this wasn't legal advice, you might want to be more careful when the time comes that you are dispensing legal advice. If I'm not mistaken, that's when you can incur liability for any mistakes you make. (That's right, isn't it?)

    (For the benefit of those who haven't studied the law, I do know this much: "public domain" is a very specific legal term meaning "not copyrighted"; those who call any freely-redistributable software "public domain" are misusing a specific legal term.)

    But hey, I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not studying to become one either. Feel free to ignore my opinion. Maybe an actual lawyer could weigh in with a more relevant opinion here...

    Apart from this nitpicking, I thought your post was very interesting. :-)
  • If you don't have a poetic bone in your body I suppose.

    The point is that it appears that information wants to replicate. The reproduction of DNA, perhaps the creation of matter itself and the piles of backups of information on computers all seem to evoke the idea that good information tends to get replicated. Therefore, information we experience tends to have gone through a replication phase so therefore it can appear that information has an impetus to replication and replication will tend to put information past any boundaries we tend to set for it.

    It's not possible to judge the motivations and wants of entities outside of ourselves. I could make the observation that my little brother didn't want me to stop standing on his head, his crying and shouting were just a mechanical reaction to the stimulus. So we have the ability to externalise our own motivations. Get over it.


  • You are missing the point. Information wants to be free, but the government keeps granting corporations welfare concessions allowing them to 1) resell information and 2) prosecute anybody who has the same information and also wants to sell it.

    If there were actual competition, I could re-wrap up the CDDB, and resell it for cheaper. Somebody else could do the same, until the cost approached zero (or very close to the actual cost of distribution).

    However, corporations really hate this sort of thing and spend billions a year trying to convince you (and Congress) that they have a God-given right to make money on everything, whether they compete for it or not. Hence our history of hack upon hack to impede the free flow of information.

    In the end, short of a police state, their efforts are futile, but in the meantime, we have to put up with a lot of stupidity.
  • You don't seem to understand. "Information wants to be free" is an observation of a phenomena, not necessarily a statement that the person saying it supports all information being free. I could similarly say "objects want to fall towards the ground" without wanting rocks to fall on my head or "That dog wants to bite me" without wanting that myself either.

    And yes, it's anthropomorphization. So what?


  • Just in case someone wanted to share files that are on one of those lists, there is a simple way. Just add a Z or Q to the end of each word in the filename of each mp3 you have. Presto, no more filtering of your songs. This works because the Napster filter looks for exact word matches, and if you add an extra letter, it is no longer an exact word match.
  • Here's what CDDB does:

    - Your CD-ROM drive reads the catalogue number of the CD.
    - If your computer is net-connected and has player software which can talk to CDDB, it looks up the catalog number for the CD.
    - If an entry is there: it names all the songs for this playing session of the disc. It does this each and every time the disk is reloaded in your computer.
    - If you rip a CD, it applies those names to the MP3 files it creates.

    That's it. It doesn't send any info to CDDB / Gracenote about who you are and when you played / ripped a CD. It just uses flat text across a network to name files temporarily and save you the hassle. If you want to go back and re-tag all the MP3's you make with the artist name of "Ronald Reagan", you can do that. Same goes for naming your actual filenames. I know of many people who, when Metallica first piped up about all this, took everything by John Denver and named them with Metallica song titles. Loads of people started hunting for the new Metallica single at that time and I know of several who ended up with John Denver songs instead. So it's virtually meaningless for Napster / Gracenote to have an association.

    That's just my $0.02.

    Thanx for indulging me.


    P.S. Not like I need to say it but this also means that the current injunction against Napster is also pretty worthless. If I can post everything by Limp Bizkit with filenames like "1.mp3", "2.mp3", etc., then that gets around their current "blocking" of songs / artists. Now you know.
  • >I'm not surprised to find this opinion from a
    >newly opened account...

    Oh please. The previous user posted their honest opinion. Are you just mad that they didn't tow the slashdot groupthink line? Account number doesn't mean a damn thing when it comes to quality of posts.
  • I may be wrong, but why wouldn't they just match mp3 filenames with song/album names from the cddb database? I realize that not all albums in the cddb are controlled by the riaa, but since when in this whole affair has exactitude been the prime concern?
  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:33AM (#364707) Journal
    Point one:

    Making an MP3 for me to use it in my Nomad Jukebox is not against the wishes of the Artist.

    Point two:

    Many artists don't have a problem with this. In fact some artists openly encourage spreading of MP3s. It is mostly record companies and BIG music stars that have problems.

    Point three:

    People DO lose something. What was the purpose of sending it to CDDB otherwise? Why did they do it? It was not a nessesary step to get the MP3 in the end.

    Point four:

    I agree with you fully.
    Just wanted to make SOME points clear.
    You obviously are playing devil's advocate, and so am I.
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:34AM (#364708) Homepage
    Napster users aren't taking someone else's music and then selling it back to them. Whereas the CDDB is taking the result of other people's labor -- a database rather than music tracks -- and selling it back to them. And now, also using it against the people and the activity that created that database in the first place.

    I see a difference, once I look past the superficial similarities.

    - - - - -
  • except that he dares to go against the Slashdot mob party line.

    There's the average joe user party line, and the RIAA sponsored party line. I understand where you stand.
  • Two men can keep a secret if both of them are dead.

  • If you go to [], you will see a link in the main menu called Applications. Select it, then select Configs for other applications. For Winamp, you end up at this page [] which has instructions for replacing the right stuff in your .INI file. But they have instructions there for many windows client CDDB-enabled apps.

    I found that with DiscPlay 4 I could also replace the list server with and it provides me with a refreshable list of freedb servers.


  • So if CDDB allows Napster to use their database for free, you'll no longer have any complaints?


    The arguments of the pro-Napster clique on Slashdot are so inconsistent it gives me a headache trying to keep up.

    Well, slashdot and the "napster clique" are not one person, so what do you expect?

    - - - - -
  • So is the CDDB still accepting new entries from random people? What if the new entries collide with something else in the database already? In the event that the new entries don't collide, is there any validation done?

    ... I think it's time to start submitting some CDDB entries.
  • [QUOTE] Sure if this were possible, it would have been done?! [/QUOTE]

    I'm not so sure- if Gracenote knew they were going to abide by and aid the RIAA, perhaps they thought they'd save themselves a lot of effort and avoid stepping into the MP3 boondoggle.

    Just because something is useful to the user doesn't mean a company will implement it. A shame, really.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • It's interesting to see the bod from Gracenote talking about this being a "great opportunity to keep the Napster phenomenon alive"...

    Let's take a non-roseyeyed look at Napster. Forget what the Napster apologists have spun out since the RIAA began looking at them - Napster is only good for getting copies of MP3s of songs you don't want to pay for. I'll admit quite readily that I've downloaded copyrighted songs that I have no intention of ever buying. Sometimes, I'll get the song of a band I saw for 5 seconds on MTV, and just MAYBE it'll tempt me to buy the album.

    If you take the copyrighted mp3s off, all you're going to be left with is a bunch of crap mp3s of people's bands, which you're never going to find anyway because you don't know what you're looking for. Also, just because a big record company isn't behind a band, doesn't mean that said unsigned band wants the world to get mp3s of its songs for nothing.

    Napster is dead without its illegal aspect, for unsigned bands promoting their music, a far better option is [] which at least has music grouped into categories, so you can find songs that bands want you to download, since I believe they get royalties based on advertising revenue.

    Goodbye Napster, it was nice while it lasted

  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:38AM (#364736) Journal
    Porn was free and unblocked by corporate networks in 1996.

    And God only knows, it's hard to find porn on the Internet nowadays without a credit card.

    "You owe me a case of beer. Sucka'."

  • by Basje ( 26968 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:51AM (#364737) Homepage
    Alert: this is not a troll!

    All that has happened, basically, is Napster asked permission to use the database, and got that permission. Of course they pay for it's use, which is good. Thus, the company has no excuse to let individuals pay for their services: the costs will already be covered.

    CDDB is a public database(sort of). Napster wants to use that database to prevent the illegal copying of music. Of course a lot of moral issues are involved. Should all music be free/Free? Is the RIAA's greed justifiable? Is copying music wrong or right? Who owns information? Etc.

    The issue here is none of our business. A company using data from a _public_ database to control the use over it's _own_ application, is up to them. They don't claim to own the information. They just use the information which they have access to. What they do with it is up to them.

  • ... but couldn't there be something uncopyrighted on cddb? In this case some starving artist out there may have a great system for distributing his music and getting his name out, but just because he's in the cddb databases (which used to be a complement to his success) he will get screwed and will no longer be shared amongst the people.

  • I was sharing a few minutes of my time to enter some CD titles and tracks into CDDB (Ages ago, I use freecddb now) and those fuckers went and stole it. They never asked me if they could change the license. They never offered to remove the tracks I entered. They just stole my work.

    Damn that pisses me off.

  • It's too bad we don't have a GPL-like agreement for free legal advice. Something like "This information is provided to all who want it, but the author cannot be held liable for its correctness or for any consequences of anyone acting upon it. Anyone is free to amend or comment on this information as they see fit."
    Isn't that what IANAL means?
  • What? Do you live in a cave?
    This napster situation isn't just about napster. It also isn't about a few kids stealing stuff through the internet. It's gotten WAY bigger. Hell, my grandma has heard of napster now.
    This situation involves the music industry as we know it. It involves every artist that has ever tried to get a record deal. It involves all of the huge mega-corporations that own the rights to all the music that people work so hard to make. It involves fundamental laws of our country and changing them. Hopefully for the better. And most of all it involves power.

    Can you imagine what a significant event it would be if the record company's fell and copywrites, by law, would always be owned by the creator? It would open everything up. No more record companies shoving teeny bopper crap down everyones throats. There would be a place for everybody, every type of music. Distributed power. Quality would be rewarded and crap would sink...analogous to how slashdot works.

    *pulls head from clouds*
    If that not "stuff that matters", I don't know what is.
  • Napster and Bertelsmann (d/b/a BMG) have a "strategic alliance" []. So I'd assume Bertelsmann content is still up on Napster. Is it?

    This could work out very well for Bertelsmann. It's like having a private chain of radio stations that only plays their music. Bertelsmann has around 18% of the music market globally; the top three players are all around that level.

  • Exactly what do you mean by "aligned themselves with the devil?" They're still free for individual and non-profit access, and quite affordable to for-profit companies. They still provide the same service. Why have they suddenly become evil?

  • Yes, that's the point of the whole "CDDB screwed its contributors", and why FreeDB is the CD database of choice.

    However, CDDB vs. FreeDB is not the point of the original article. To <blockquote> the unnamed contributor:

    "I'll admit that
    when Gracenote took over the CDDB compact-disc database, I wasn't too annoyed. Now I am. Napster has just signed an agreement with them to use Gracenote's services, and by extension the community-built CDDB databases, to implement its copyright blocking."

    Emphasis mine. This person isn't terribly annoyed that CDDB renigged on their implied agreement with its contributors. He's annoyed because Napster and RIAA are using that freely-contributed information to implement copyright blocking. If Napster had announced it was was using a free-as-in-freedom database such as FreeDB instead, would he feel any better? They'd still be using freely-contributed information to implement copyright blocking. Why is it different whether or not that information is in a truly free database, or a database that had been free and suddenly changed its terms? Would things be different if Napster had signed on with CDDB before they claimed the database as proprietary? Why?

    Sorry, the premise of this article is just plain hypocritical. It has absolutely nothing to do with CDDB "stealing" freely-contributed information. The problem is that Napster/RIAA is using that information. It's not a question of the database being wrongfully appropriated. The author even said he "wasn't too annoyed" about that. He's just another crybaby complaining that "Da Man" is taking away his source of pirated music.

  • Napster's agreement with CDDB is a true irony. Here we have the RIAA saying that they want to listen to the consumer, develop digital music services etc. Meanwhile, a service that people clearly want (the ability to see disc/song titles when they pop in a CD) and which has been around for years has no competition at all from RIAA.

    Now, we see the value of CDDB for the filtering that the RIAA wants Napster to do, and the RIAA has been scrambling around trying to compile lists of song titles (probably 90% of the effort in creating a CDDB type service of their own) when IMHO they should have already had such a list in a CDDB like service for at least a couple of years - in fact, I'd be willing to bet that the RIAA, even as they devote time and energy to compiling their lists are failing to take advantage of their own efforts by compiling these lists into a CDDB type app.

    In fairness, I suppose, if the RIAA had such a service and CD Rippers used it to populate ID3 tags and name MP3 files, it'd probably be an even bigger irony, but still...

    I also have to ask - aren't many if not all song/album titles (and not just the songs themselves) copyrighted? Could Gracenote / CDDB be the next target for the RIAA, lawyers that is? After all, if they sue CDDB out of existence, they set a precedent that they are the only ones who can build such an application as the copyright holders of the song titles- next thing they'll be charging companies / software authors that write CD playing software for computers for the right to use their database. Heck, its not at all inconceivable that such a service could be integrated into normal CD playing stereo components (and stereo component manufacturers charged accordingly) - how hard is it to put a two port ethernet hub into a CD player that would allow even the average Joe to connect their CD player and computer to their cable modem / DSL service for the purpose of retrieving song titles (and, heaven forbid, allowing the RIAA to spy on your listening habits)?

  • Know what else? Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is in the public domain, yet publishers have the gall to sell for profit copies of the book! How dare they! It's available for free, so they're evil to sell it!!

    This doesn't follow. Alice in Wonderland is still in the public domain. Publishers sell it, that's fine. Commercial distros sell Linux too, and that's also fine.

    But CDDB isn't in the public domain anymore. For your Alice in Wonderland comparison to work, publishers would have had to remove Alice in Wonderland from the public domain, and make it illegal to acquire a copy of it without paying a publisher for it.
  • Drakantus is right - the other ones we try to keep an eye out for. If there's not something in the mainstream media, then write a review! Compare and contrast! Write a user guide!

    You say this now but Slashdot has never acted like it's interested in lengthy user submissions. I've stopped bothering when my last attempt at an editorial sat in the submission queue for about week and I had to mail you guys about it only to be told someone would get around to reading it "soon". That's why my stories go on kuro5hin [] because I know they'll get read and I'll get feedback.

    As for short submissions, I've basically stopped those as well after this story [] where you editted all the coherence out of my submission and made me sound like a raving zealot instead of maintaining the original theme of the submission [].

    Quite frankly I don't understand why with the authors slashdot has [] no one writes anything longer than a paragraph about a submission. Is reading submissions that much work that we can't get the kind of review, comparison, or user guide that you've just suggested?

  • Can't see how you would consider the original post a troll, except that he dares to go against the Slashdot mob party line.

    Actually, I consider the original poster a troll because he made no distinction between the copyrighted songs on Napster that have not been permitted to be distributed, and the copyrighted songs on Napster that are allowed to be distributed by the people who recorded them. Not all songs on Napster are copyright violations, you know.

    And if some of those CDs that contain music that is freely distributable on Napster are in the CDDB - guess what? That music gets filtered by Napster and doesn't get distributed.

    I'd like to see somebody sue on behalf of the artists that Napster - and by extension, the RIAA - have prevented from legally distributing their music.

  • Not only that, but if information really "wants to be free", why do we have such a problem with marketers collecting data on customers and selling it? Privacy concerns would be invalid.

    Obviously this isn't my own line, but I like it so much I'm going to say it: Information wants to be anthropomorphized.


  • Napster is a database. It is also a communications protocol. It is a search engine and a GUI. It is all of those things and more.
  • For one, this will only help stop mass producer's of MP3's who can't figure out how to do stuff properly (like renaming).

    What I would propose to beat the RIAA is to develop a plug-in for Napster that allows the client to search and share for scrambled names. The key would change every day, and be hosted on several servers outside the RIAA's extent of power.

    Every time the system connected to Napster, it would connect to the servers, which would also update the list of mirrors.

    I know this is a bit vague, but I hope somebody will figure out what I mean.

  • And if Napster, the RIAA, or Her Majesty's Secret Service wanted to harvest track names from FreeDB for their own purposes, how would FreeDB stop them? How would FreeDB even know the Bad Guys were even in there?

    The bad guys are allowed to access the database just like anyone else, that's not the point. This [] is the point. Anybody at any time can get the complete archive and start their own FreeDB, so if FreeDB ever gets driven underground by legal minions of the evil music distribution monopolies it will just spring back up instantly in a 100 different forms. Probably it will just get better. This is the meaning of freedom.

  • by Pengo ( 28814 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:06AM (#364774) Journal

    But napster is not king. Opennap for example gives you 100% of the functionality of Napster without having to deal with the RIAA.. yet. There will always be up-and-down servers, etc.. but thats alright. The list of servers right now is centralized with Napigator, but how hard would it be to reverse engineer the napigator ? Damn easy..

    I put up a opennap server on my cable modem one night.. within 2 days I had over 300 users using the server and 250GB of songs indexed on my system.

    RIAA is nothing more than a speed-bump... honestly I think it's the best thing to happen to push people out of using a centralized and corparation controlled service.

    RIAA may of made their worst mistake by not settling something a bit more reasonable with Napster.. it's going to push people to other avenues. (No, I am NOT talking about Gnutella... ) I can see the RIAA board all start laughing when they talk about gnutella as a threat.


    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • by RatFink100 ( 189508 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:06AM (#364775)
    CDDB gets used by ripping programs to name the mp3s when they are taken from the CD in the first place, so that information is available then.

    What Napster will be doing is working on the principle that the CDDB track name database is a big old list for working out what rippers would have named files.
  • It might take a while.

    Don't you all remember the pre-napster days? searching for ftp sites, etc. It was a pain in the ass. Then napster came along and made it easy.

    Now it's a pain in the ass again.

    Something else will come along. It's too big now. The only difference is now it will be done right (no corps involved and there must be no one to sue). Gnutella looks like a good replacement. If we could only get it working right.

  • by Eloquence ( 144160 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:08AM (#364782)
    Napster Alternatives []
    CatNap filename encryption proxy []
    Daily news on P2P / file sharing []


  • by Aggrazel ( 13616 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:08AM (#364785) Journal
    RIAA: Here is a list of 150,000 songs that we want you to block. You have 3 days.

    Napster Admin: OK.

    *2 days later, Napster Admin wakes up from a hangover*

    Napster Admin: That was some party, hey? Oh shit. The RIAA thing. Holy Mother of Perl! I don't want to mess with typing or OCRing all that in!

    *an idea forms...*
  • the people that use it as a battle cry seem to take the opposite view. As an observation, I suppose the statement is perfectly valid, though.


  • It's denying the rights of the artist.
    It's theft. Pure and simple.
    But you "I want it all for free" thieving scum don't understand that.
    Or do you actually want an end to reward & creativity?

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • by Placido ( 209939 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:11AM (#364792)
    Or does this seem strange...

    Napster - A database of Song Names - ordered by the courts to remove the song names

    GraceNote - A database of Song Names - helping Napster to remove the Song Names.
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @06:48AM (#364793) Journal
    No, no, no! Please do NOT screw up the CDDB! They're providing a good service to individuals and any companies who want to pay for a license. Napster happened to be one of 'em. Don't make the CDDB useless for all of the other purposes just to get your revenge against Napster trying to survive.

  • if the RIAA are smart enoenough to use technology to persue technology then why is it taking soo damn long to implement a technology which we'd want to pay for and use!!

    Simple. First, nobody doubts that the RIAA companies, singly or in concert, can hire people who can devise a very good technology to digitally distribute their "property" in a way that will satisfy their requirements.

    They may even be bright enough to do some market research and find a mechanism that doesn't aggravate their target audience too much -- I wouldn't bet on that, but it's possible.

    The question is, do they want to? And I think the answer is, no, not very much.

    You've got two world-views within the recording industry:

    1. One world-view hopes that digital distribution will simply go away if they stick their fingers in all the holes in the dike.
    2. Another world-view recognizes that the holes in the dike aren't enumerable, and that digital distribution is coming whether they want it or not.
    In neither case is Napster part of their plans. In the first world-view, they're the enemy and must be destroyed. In the second, they're a competitor and must be destroyed.

    There never was any hope that Napster would be spared.

  • FreeDB [] is what you want.
  • Creativity is not rewarded by the music industry - being the same as any 10 other artists is. And the 'reward' is 40 cents of a $15 CD.
    I use Napster to hear songs from bands that I've heard of and am curious to hear more, or to work out a track on the guitar without having to go to the library and hire the CD. Being without the ability to do this wouldn't make me buy more CDs, it would make me buy less as I don't tend to buy albums when I've not heard at least one track from it. The RIAA is removing something I find useful that has cost them very little money and has given them a lot more targetted free advertising than MTV or the radio stations.
    Had they taken the intelligent step as per Bertelsmann and instituted a subscription service I would have signed up in a second.
    But no, the real scumbags in this have to stick to their olde-worlde business model for fear of losing even a single cent of the obscene profits they make on the back of those they're pretending to defend. Roll on MP3-only record labels.
  • by ElVee ( 208723 ) <elvee61&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @05:11AM (#364805)
    If I monkey with /etc/hosts (or whatever the Winduhs equivalent is), can I silently redirect * to my choice of freedb mirrors without causing undue pain and hardship on myself?
  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @05:11AM (#364807) Journal
    Okay, so CDDB is no longer "free" in the GNU sense. That's beside the point.

    But that's exactly the point - people submitted information on the understanding that it would continue to be freely available to all, and now it's not. I don't think many people would have a problem with Gracenote operating under the same terms as Red Hat, for example - anybody can grab RH Linux and sell it. But even though I submitted info to CDDB on the understanding that it was a free, open, and redistributable database, now I can't grab my own copy and distribute it. It's the change from "free" to "non-free" that is the big issue. The fact that the information is available for use by everyone, including the RIAA, doesn't come as a surprise and is really a logical next step.

    I'll betcha a dollar, though, that they also have their hooks into FreeDB and any other GPL'd free-as-in-liberty databases out there.

    Good point - I hadn't thought of that but it isn't really surprising. I suppose their welcome to it - I'm willing to accept the consequences of a truly free database.

  • Let the RIAA make it as hard as they like for people to share music from their artists. Give them enough rope to hang themselves. If the only tunes on Napster are free [] tunes, then free tunes will get traded and free tunes will get heard.

    The more draconian the RIAA gets, the more people will want and seek out alternatives. This could be the start of something wonderful.

  • I can guarantee that the entire set of CDDB files, while they might all be copyrighted due to inherent copyrights by artists and their creations, the set of music which is copyrighted is NOT the same as the set of music the RIAA has a right to control.

    I know many local bands here in Austin who WANT their music on Napster. In fact, I've been explicitly asked to share it. I also inserted their files into CDDB (this was before they went all evil on us, mind you, which reminds me, I need to resubmit to the friendlier, open versions).

    I feel doubly betrayed.
  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:14AM (#364815) Journal
    For those unsure of how they propose to implement this:

    There is a copyright field in the newer ID3v2 tad info.

    Since the CDDB was a community based system, it would thus rely on the people ripping it to enter the correct information. There is also a field which specifies: "Encoded by".

    These fields are all good and well, but it will take a lot of time and effort for them to verify these.

  • by Paul Crowley ( 837 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:16AM (#364817) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes those who say "I don't like to use or contribute to that piece of software, because although it's free beer, I don't like the license" get accused of whining: "hey, it's free, if you don't like it don't use it but don't whine about it". The real lesson to draw from this is that licenses *do* matter and it's worthwhile discussing what we want out of them.
  • At the height of Slashdot's reporting on Napster (twice or thrice a week) I couldn't understand what relevance it had with regards to being "News for Nersa" or "Stuff that Matters", some service that is primarily used to pirate songs was getting sued, big deal.

    Now that Napster has been rendered useless as a file sharing service by the RIAA and a court of law, why is Napster still news? Everyone I know has moved on from Napster and now uses a service that surpasses Napster's poorly designed service in one way or the other. For simply sharing and obtaining music there are iMesh [], Audiogalaxy [], Music City [], Ohaha [], Gnutella [] and a host of others. For uses of P2P beyond simply grabbing MP3s we have Mojo Nation [], Freenet [] and Publius [].

    Why doesn't slashdot start reporting on these systems instead of beating the dead Napster horse?

  • I'm not sure if it violates any of CDDB's license agreements or otherwise, but is it possible to mine CDDB to complete FreeDB's list? Has this already been done?

    Sorry if this has been asked before, but I don't see it in the FreeDB FAQ....

  • by f5426 ( 144654 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @05:17AM (#364830)
    Too bad I don't have moderator points today. Can I moderate an entire article as "Flamebait"?

    I would have modded it up as "Funny".

    Of course Napster is going to get its info from wherever it can find it. Hell, the RIAA can give them the list of all song names, authors, albums, etc, etc. Napster could take its data from FreeDB, but it would not be as funny. After all, FreeDB give free information, for the good and the evil.

    The CDDB steal data from people that were riping CDS to put the on Napster which now sleeps with RIAA and uses the very data those people typed in and can't have free access to, to prevent them access to the song they ripped.

    It's... marvelous. Really. It is a splendid shortcut of what the net have become.



  • Think about Napster's upcoming pay service. They want me to pay so they can use my bandwidth to share my files to other people. Makes sense, doesn't it? ;-)
  • Actually, you could cross reference the numbers somewhere else (CDDB, maybe?) and write an application that looks up the numbers before searching. Then try to keep the numbers in a fairly clueful circle of people.

    A comment about the CDDB - This article seems to imply "These people had a clue, now they don't." Actually, they've been pushing a software patent on using a hash table of track length to search a database of songs. IMHO this is a trivial obvious method, and CDDB has been using it to push out any competitors. So as far as I'm concerned, they've NEVER been one of the Good Guys. I cringe whenever I rip a CD and click on the CDDB button. Just my personal feelings, though.
  • And it does windows [] too //rdj
  • I think that the RIAA would just assume have Napster completely shut down. Napster is lucky that there is such an easily accessable database of music titles to use as a filter.

    OK, assume for a moment here that they have some way to separate RIAA music from independent music. In that case, why does anyone object to this? It will only help them block the illegal stuff. Are you upset that your contributions to the CDDB are helping to prevent you from illegally downloading copyrighted music? If so, are you also upset that the money you pay in taxes helps prevent you from stealing your neighbor's car?

    On the other hand, if they don't have any way to separate RIAA music from independents, then this is bad. Some of the musicians with matierial listed on CDDB might want their music to be shared on Napster, in which case it isn't illegal. I would expect that Napster and Gracenote have figured out some way to separate RIAA music from independent music, though. One easy way they could do it is to get a list of artist names from the RIAA and filter the CDDB stuff based on that (would be *much* easier then getting the whole list of songs from the RIAA).


  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:19AM (#364841)
    > the database is far from accurate

    True, but most people who rip their CDs get the names from CDDB, so it has the exact mistakes that the RIAA is looking for.
  • Man, Napster, you used to be so cool. But what happened to you? The minute the heat is on you, you up and rat on everyone.

    One day I'm "sharing" tracks with "friends" I've never met. The next day, I'm "stealing." What the hell happened to you, Napster?

    This reminds me of that guy we all knew in high school who used to let us borrow his car all the time. Sure he was friendly when we were hanging around and borrowing his car. But once we crashed it into a tree, he wasn't very friendly anymore.

    Everything was cool when you were cool, Napster. Remember? We were all having fun until the cops came a'knocking. Hell, half the stuff I stole I didn't even like.

    Well, I've gotta go shave my donkey ears. []

  • It's not that it's hard. It was just easier. Usenet binaries groups actually contained what was advertised in the group name. Sure you can get porn fron, but you can't get redheads. It's all advertising. Plus, many ISPs don't carry those groups anymore, mostly because the spam does take up so much room.
  • Do all the angles of copyright law still apply if I *don't* have that little line of text saying "copyright 2001 by moi"?


    Of course, if you don't put the copyright notice, you're basically saying "I don't mind if you copy this, even though I have a copyright." You, as the owner of the copyright, can decide who has permission to copy your works, and who doesn't. Just be aware that, if you don't defend your copyright and enough people copy your work, you can loose your copyright. Also, IANAL, so take this post with a grain of salt.


  • by clare-ents ( 153285 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2001 @04:20AM (#364852) Homepage
    I hope this isn't blanket blocking.

    I have material to which I own the copyright which is entered into the CDDB.

    So now I'm blocked from distributing my own music over napster because someone who bought a CD typed the information into Napster?

    Hopefully the record industries will have to supply a full CD signature to CDDB and then they block all tracknames with a matching signature.

    Now is the time for independent producer to make albums with identical CDDB signatures to RIAA music.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.