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The Internet

Napster Alternatives Coming Strong 441

viking099 writes "File swapping programs such as Morpheus, Grokster, and Kazaa (all based on the same software from FastTrak) have grown over 480% in the past 4 months, and are set to break the 1.57 million concurrent connection record that Napster set." So who exactly is surprised by this?
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Napster Alternatives Coming Strong

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  • Enter the suits (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Beatbyte ( 163694 )
    Until the suits arrive and crush them all with lawsuits like before.
    There's no way around it.
    • Its like this .. napster clones keep popping up, each one broken down by lawsuits, each on costs the RIAA and cronies money, yet each one they beat down causes more to rise in its place! So the RIAA stops seeing the lawsuit business as worth the effort as it starts impacting their most precious (and unfortunatly deep) resource, their pockets. Things like this happen all the time in society.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:00PM (#2539104)
      Unlike Napster, the new file-sharing clients are not linked to a central name server. The system is truly distributed. When installed on your computer, the client software detects if you have a broadband connection. If you do, your machine will be used as "supernode", which takes the place of the central servers Napster used. This is also works better than Gnutella clones, as there are not the scalability issues caused by 56k dialup users and the resulting bottlenecks. MusicCity et al are just web pages that come up when the client is loaded to display advertisements. A lawsuit might shut down MusicCity, but as long as the client software exists on users computers, the file sharing network cannot be shut down. The ironic thing is that Napster was willing to bargain with the RIAA, but the Powers insisted on shutting Napster down, which created a vacuum to be filled by other more indestructable versions of Napster.
  • by deanj ( 519759 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:21PM (#2538827)
    Someone please explain to me why people think violating GPL is bad (I agree, it is), but why trading music via Napstar-like things is OK?
    • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:29PM (#2538899) Journal
      Argument 1: Because the 'big bad music companies' are companies, and gouge the artists, supposedly. Artists hardly get any money from a $16 CD. Theoretically, this justifies not letting the artists get anything at all, by pirating the CD.

      Argument 2: Stealing music helps sales. The first year that Napster was out, sales of CDs went up by a lot. People argue that this is because people could 'try out' the music. I argue that this is because dial-up users pay more for their dial-up connection than they do for CDs, so they try one song and then buy the CD. Broadband users have no such problems. Also, I'd expect that people just bought more CDs through normal market forces.

      I agree it's rather hypocritical. Me, I pirate music only to the point where the CD isn't worth getting. If I like a song, I'll download the song. If I like an album, I'll buy the album. If I can't find the album in stores, I'll download it.

      --Dan
      • "Argument 1: Because the 'big bad music companies' are companies, and gouge the artists, supposedly. Artists hardly get any money from a $16 CD. Theoretically, this justifies not letting the artists get anything at all, by pirating the CD."



        This is the lamest argument in the world.. Who signs these contracts with the record company, THE BANDS DO! If they don't like getting gouged, then they should find another means of getting their music out.

        • I guess you need this plugin [fridgemagnet.org.uk]

        • And file sharing services are exactly the kinds of "other means of getting their music out" that the RIAA does not want to become popular.

          You see, the RIAA members are *solely* distribution companies. They advance the artists money so that the artist can produce a marketable product (didn't say good, said marketable) and turn around and distribute it.

          If artists can get their music out a different way (Kazaa et al) then there is no need to make "marketable products" such as CDs with 2 good songs and 9 fillers, and there is no need to spend $600,000 making the CD, printing half a million copies, shipping it all over the country, making "deals" with radio stations for airtime, and all that Jazz.

          I live in Los Angeles. There is PLENTY of great music and great musicians here who do it for the love of music who are not signed with big labels. Are they famous, no. Do they enjoy what they do? You betcha. Do they have problems paying the bills? Don't we all?

          There was a high cost of entry in the recording industry until mp3s and file sharing programs came along. The RIAA members profited from the high cost of entry. The market dynamics have changed. There is still money to be made, but it will have to be made differently. This is called capitalism. Anything short of that is called socialism: the promotion and legalization of state-protected industries.

          People who download music and various other "infotainment" should actively seek to compensate the artists and authors for their work, but it does not have to be by purchasing useless CDs to prop up an obsolete and dying industry.

          Horse-drawn-carts manufacturers collapsed after cars were invented. Should the government have protected them at the expense of an innovative technology?
          • The RIAA only had a problem with Napster having their music on the network. If it was a bunch of unsigned people then the RIAA would have left them alone. Why did Napster go down the tubes when all the RIAA owned music get pulled? Because most people don't care about that stuff.



            Nobody is going to pay anybody for anything if they don't have to.. okay, a few will, but not enough to support anybody or anything.



            And I don't have problems paying the bills..

    • by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:37PM (#2538967) Homepage
      It's not that it's ok, and despite popular opinion, whether or not it's ok isn't the point here. The point is that instead of trying to find the source of the problem, the music companies are trying to demonize P2P as a whole and litigate it out of existance, along with a few other things. The question they should be asking themselves is not "how can we shut down all peer-to-peer systems to curb copyright violation?". The question they should be asking is "why are people setting up these elaborate networks to share music in the first place?"

      The answer is not to destroy existing systems and spend all your time and money chopping off heads of the hydra. The old adage "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" springs to mind here. It's becoming increasingly clear that P2P file sharing is here to stay, and no amount of litigation and FUD-spreading is going to stop it. The music companies need to solve the problem by adapting themselves to the new way that things are going to work. Offer people a better system than the existing over-priced retail one.

      How? I don't know. But I bet if you turned all the resources that the music industry is spending on trying to squash the future of music towards finding an answer to the problem, you'd come up with one.
      • "why are people setting up these elaborate networks to share music in the first place?"

        Answer: to get something for nothing.

        The argument that P2P is the record companies' fault because they just aren't keeping up with technology is totally fucking bogus. When the record companies try to charge for music on the web, as they are about to do with Napster, they'll be laughed at and ignored because we don't want to pay ANYTHING.
        • When the record companies try to charge for music on the web, as they are about to do with Napster, they'll be laughed at and ignored because we don't want to pay ANYTHING

          Sure, free is better than non-free, but if a good, cheap, trusted source for online music comes about, I'll subscribe.

          Why won't I pay for Napster? Because the content providers are people just like me. Who probably did a lousy job ripping with a cheap encoder at a low bit rate with erroneous tag info. If the content's being encoded for free, then dammit, I'm not going to pay for it, cause the quality is not guaranteed.

          If, however, I could log into morpheus, enter (say) "Thela Hun Gingeet" and get back a list of two live and one original studio versions of the song, properly tagged and recorded at 160, 192, or 192 VBR, then that'd be great. Oh, and it's got to be an MP3 I can copy on all my machines, load on my hardware player, and even stick in an editor to listen to the hidden backward messages. (Bonus points for vorbis zealots if I can get a copy in ogg, or even any other format).

          If it cost, say, $0.50 a track, I'd be there for everything I could find -- even for "converting" my 5-feet of vinyl to MP3 (damned if I'm gonna buy a full-price CD for something I've owned for 15 years). If it cost a buck a track, then I'd probably only do it for stuff that was rare, or for when I only want a couple songs off any given CD. If it cost $2 a track, then, dammit, that's too much.

          A question -- do "the artists" get a dime from a USED CD sale? (yes, I'm aware that the record companies have tried to shut those down, too, and that SSSCA/DMCA might eventually force us into a scheme (ala Divxx) where such sales are impossible).
    • by Nindalf ( 526257 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:37PM (#2538971)
      You seem to be confused by the legal similarity of violating the GPL (violating copyright) with the typical use of Napster-like products (violating copyright). The legal basis, however, is unimportant. Law is not morality.

      When someone violates GPL, they are generally attempting to restrict distribution of useful, non-personal information products. When somebody uses a Napster-like product, they are distributing useful, non-personal information products.

      The consistent ethic is that free distribution of useful, non-personal information products is good, and restricting this distribution is bad.
    • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:41PM (#2539000)
      I think that most people just want to use the servicies to get free music, but the question you're asking here boils down to a very basic ethic and moral question:

      When is it okay to share information and when is it not.

      First of all, we have to recognize the fact that, unlike property or personal saftey, information is not a finite resource. It can be duplicated infinitely, first in people's minds, and now in digital format.

      It's almost always better to give information away freely than it is to keep it hidden. This is a subjective viewpoint, but one that's very easily defendable. Look at the growing AIDS holocaust in Africa right now. The pharma companies are all doing their damndest to keep from from having their AIDS drugs, or at least the intellectual property rights to those drugs, taken away, nationalized, so that those drugs can be made more freely and be used to treat individuals.

      Sure, it will hurt those companies if their patents are violated, but then how many lives would it save?

      Yesterday, we talked about Hillary Rosen of the RIAA saying that online piracy hurt small-time artists. Any artist you talk to will tell you that the best way to 'get big' is to give your music away, getting it into the most hands and ears possible. There are dozens and dozens of examples I could cite here.
      The GPL was written with this kind of sharing in mind. The overall purpose of the GPL is not to put restrictions on information, programming code in this case, but to make it as available to as many people as possible. Sure, restrictions exist, but now that the GPL is in existance, we have a wide, open body of programming code that anyone can draw on. The BSD license is probably a more perfect example of a 'Free' software license, but the GPL does a good job of preventing people or companies from becoming information hoarders, and encourages them to release their code back to the world at large.

      The GPL would not have to exist, however, if there was no such thing as copyright law. The code could be as free as you like, without the need to protect it from companies that would otherwise hoarde it.

      It's moral and ethical to distribute your code, and because of the GPL, you're also granted legal protections. It's unethical to violate the GPL because it harms everyone else, not just the person who originated the code.

      The same kind of logic *ought* to be applied to music, but it's not. Instead, most music is protected in exactly the opposite manner. When individuals buy music, the sale doesn't benefit everyone. Instead, it benefits the very few. The record company, the record executive, and if he or she is very, very lucky, the artist who originated the music.

      Even then, these same companies are going even further, trying to prohibit their customers from redistributing that information, music in this case, to anyone else.

      In my opinion, placing an artificial scarcity on the music in this manner is immoral. It keeps people from doing what is in their best interest, namely sharing information, enjoying it, and quite possibly learning from it. It may be illegal to share music in this manner, but it is not unethical .

      Let's all repeat the mantra, just so we don't forget it.

      Legal is not the same thing as ethical.
      Illegal is not the same thing as unethical.
      • It's almost always better to give information away freely than it is to keep it hidden. This is a subjective viewpoint, but one that's very easily defendable. Look at the growing AIDS holocaust in Africa right now. The pharma companies are all doing their damndest to keep from from having their AIDS drugs, or at least the intellectual property rights to those drugs, taken away, nationalized, so that those drugs can be made more freely and be used to treat individuals.

        Sure, it will hurt those companies if their patents are violated, but then how many lives would it save?

        Classic anti-IP FUD. The reality is that drug companies don't just "give it away freely" because those drugs cost billions of dollars to develop in the first place, and the earnings from sales finances the NEXT round of life saving drugs. In other words it's real convenient to say "Geee, thanks for the drugs...now let's make them free!", changing the rules after they've been developed, but the reality is that that would DEMOLISH the future of drugs that will save countless future lives. Your position is the compassionate position, but the reality is that it's the simplistic position that equals countless deaths/shorter lives because you've undermined the whole foundation of why these drugs exist in the first place.

        • Rubbish.

          Money is not only incentive we humans have. Medicine is discovered and developed by actual, individual PEOPLE who actually GIVE A SHIT and HAVE A PASSION for what they are doing.
          What needs to be done will eventually get done with or without giant, multinational pharmaceuticals.

          To imply that nothing would get ever done without the incentive of making obscene amounts of money is to be a greedy, cheap, cynical, amoral, capitalist bastard.

          And... just to throw in the obligatory reference... Just ask Linus!
        • You presume that the best way to make drugs available is through corporate r&d. Problem is, corporate patents raise the bar for any other researchers who would like to explore these avenues of research. So even though there is some incentive-creating mechanism in the patent-monopoly system, it is not nearly so strong as a system that would arise in its place where corporate r&d has a lower cost of entry due to no patent infringement fears and a resurgence of academic research in these areas where corporations do not own the ideas.

          Take, for instance, Salk's development of the Polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh. He was asked why he didn't patent it, and replied "That would be like patenting the sun".

          Bryguy
      • The GPL would not have to exist, however, if there was no such thing as copyright law. The code could be as free as you like, without the need to protect it from companies that would otherwise hoarde it.

        Not *quite* true. If there were no such thing as copyright law, the GPL *couldn't* exist. You would lose the freedoms that the GPL provides. A company could take code, make modifications, and only release binaries -- never the source. Everything would (by definition) be in the public domain.

        Of course, nobody would make any money selling shrinkwrap-software, so it probably wouldn't really matter as much...
      • "First of all, we have to recognize the fact that, unlike property or personal saftey, information is not a finite resource."

        Yes, but people seem to neglect the fact that it requires finite resources to create information. There's essentially no per-copy cost for purely digital information, but the overhead still exists. Intellectual Property laws allow people and corporations to both recover that cost and then further benefit from the investment required to create the information.

      • "Any artist you talk to will tell you that the best way to 'get big' is to give your music away, getting it into the most hands and ears possible. There are dozens and dozens of examples I could cite here."

        You're not looking far enough. I'll relate to you a story from a relative who 'finds' talent.
        He's found three good bands who are still playing clubs (one group actually has a busker's license and plays in subway stations). He approches the company and says "hey, great new talent, they're fresh --"
        "Are they black?"
        "... pardon me?"
        "Unless they have a black singer, or they're singing black music, it's not going to sell, so I don't want to hear about it."
        Now this was unheard of. After some nosing around and asking some of the big city music retailers, he finds out it's true: so-called "black" music (hip-hop, R&B, rap, house) is still selling, but retail sales for rock, pop and alternative have sunk. I'll admit it's a bit of a jump, but a simple solution is because people affluent enough to own computers and net connections listen to rock, pop and alternative but not hip-hop, R&B, rap and house.

        The anecdote made it easy to see the feedback signals: Music you like gets on Napster, you download it, the money that you'd use for buying it stays home. Music producers notice the sales for your taste in music is dropping, and divert resources to music you don't like because it's better sales. The agents that find this music (for distribution by the producers) pass over the musicians you like, leaving them in the subway stations, the cafes and busking on street corners -- nowhere near you, and they certainly won't appear on Napster or Napster-a-likes.

        The pursuit of immediate gratification is a mistake that we (western culture) never seem to learn from. Legislating away P2P filesharing is *not* a solution; it's in the same vein of immediate gratification that has made this a problem (not to mention the can-of-worms or Pandora's Box nature of technology).
      • The common complaint against the "big bad music industry" is that they squelch small-time musicians. Yet you advocate the free, unfettered exchange of copyrighted music ("information") as "ethical".

        I disagree.

        I write some music (this isn't hypothetical, it's true). I will probably never get a big-time music contract. So I'll never make any serious money. So what do I do? Unfortunately, I can't do anything about it, except offer it for a moderate price on my web site, and maybe MP3.com. But I can practically guarantee that if I did have a great song, someone on a Napster-like system will quickly make it available for everyone else to use for free.

        I know the common arguments that hearing it for free will make people buy my products. Nice argument, but that choice should be up to me, just like complying with the GPL, or choosing to develop away from the GPL, is a choice for the programmer to make. IT'S NOT THE CHOICE OF THE CONSUMER. It's the choice of the programmer to determine how his/her software is marketed. Do you also advocate a Napster-ish exchange of copyrighted, non-GPL software?

        In this case, just the same as with software, it's the choice of the composer to determine how they want to release their music. If they're smart, they'll make low-fi cuts available for free, or give away a few gems in hope that consumers will buy their CD. It's kinda like shareware.

        But the choice is NOT up to the Napster-ish user. It is flatly UNETHICAL for anyone to presume that they're smarter, or better positioned to decide FOR THE ARTIST (or programmer) how his product should be marketed. It's simply theft.

        The RIGHT thing to do is to choose to comply with whatever rules have been set by the owner of the intellectual property. THAT is ethical.

        And although in SOME cases illegal isn't unethical, for the most part the law has tried hard to establish a fair, consistent match between legal and ethical. Our legal system was founded upon the principle that the Right thing to do *should* be the Legal thing to do. No amount of moral relativism can change that.
      • While the author makes some good points, there are some very serious conceptual errors he makes.

        The pharma companies are all doing their damndest to keep from from having their AIDS drugs, or at least the intellectual property rights to those drugs, taken away, nationalized, so that those drugs can be made more freely and be used to treat individuals.

        While there is indeed a problem with the distribution of AIDS vaccines and treatments, one cannot neglect the fact that it takes an enormous amount of resources to develop them in the first place. One cannot simply "give away" intellectual property, without undermining the incentive for people to develop future breakthroughs in all fields of science and medicine.

        This point cannot be emphasized enough : everything from the central processing unit on the machine you are now using at this very moment, to the car that you drove to work, to the medicinal treatments that may one day save your life, have all been developed under a thoroughly evolved economic system which goes back centuries. It took that length of time to develop the laws and the economic institutions to create and foster the incentive to create. One cannot simply say "to hell with intellectual property rights" without destroying many of the benefits which we all garner from them.

        There is a key distinction between most GPL'ed works and those which remain proprietary, as was highlighted in the "Cathedral and the Bazaar". It only makes sense for a company to GPL something when the technology involved is already commonplace. For instance, when Quake was first released, the technology was breakthrough, and ID was certainly not going to make their work GPL at that time. You will not find very many instances of research-grade work which has been released by any company.

        To be clear, I am not suggesting that intellectual property rights are not in need of modification in light of current circumstances. That almost goes as a given. But to simply believe that one can do without intellectual property rights is a highly naive, and foolish position to adhere to.

        Bob

    • To put it in a truly different context - Music and Art have existed since the dawn of man. The fences we have built around them in the form of copyright stem from a capatalist mindset taken to the near extreme.

      What is music? It is sound and the expression of an individual or group of individuals. Lets look at the sound aspect first: If music is to truly be copyrighted - wouldn't it make sense that only people who pay to listen to an album be allowed to hear it? If you hear someone elses music playing while walking down a street, are you violating copyright laws, should you be? How is trading music without profit different from letting your friends listen to it aside from the durability?

      What about the artists expression - If we were really comitted to the ideal of individuals owning their own expression in copyright - most musical acts today would have to pay royalties to previous artists whom most new music is styled after (if not direct rip-off.)

      I will be the first to admit that sharing music online is a violation of copyright laws. Maybe Napster / Morpheus etc. aren't just popular because people can get music without purchase, but maybe it is the twenty first century form of civil disobidence against capatalism gone too far. Look at the world today - we (American / Western Capatalist nations) obviously don't have everything right. Can we learn from this and adapt - or let corporations control us and dictate what our laws should be in our country. A Company is NOT a citizen.

      • What about the artists expression - If we were really comitted to the ideal of individuals owning their own expression in copyright - most musical acts today would have to pay royalties to previous artists whom most new music is styled after (if not direct rip-off.)

        Damn straight! One of the three most outragous copyright lawsuits was Eric Clapton suing Miller Beer. The used one of his songs (paying for the preformance rights) but didn't want to pay a huge amount of money for his actual recording. So they hired someone who sounded like Eric Clapton. Clapton sued and won. (* footnote)

        So, this English guy, who has made a career out of imitating black Mississippi Delta bluesmen, sues someone for inmitating a white Englishman initating a black Mississippi delta bluesman.

        If that's the case, Eric Clapton owes someone in Mississippi a lot of money.

        Just to put this in perspective, imagine the Elvis Presley estate suing every Elvis impersonator.

        Note: The other two were: George Harrison being sued by the writers of "He's So Fine" for unconsiously borrowing a three-note melody for "My Sweet Lord"; and Michael Jackson suing some rapper (I forget who) for sampling the single word "beat" from "Beat It" - thereby reducing a "musical performance" to a single word or note. Reductio ad Absurdum, indeed.

    • by uchian ( 454825 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:49PM (#2539018) Homepage
      Because the GPL is giving extras rights to the people who use the software, and violating the GPL is removing these rights.

      That's the easy one. Now for the controversial one, cos it's technically stealing, but most people don't see it that way, and there's lot's of good reasons why.

      Downloading music off the internet is quite often a very easy way to find out whether or not you like a band, or whether or not the latest Jamiroquai album is worth buying (my verdict - yes it is). And then there's those times when perhaps you like ONE song on an album, and it was never released as a single. Not many people are going to buy the album for one song. Download it off the internet? Sure they will.

      If someone is that keen on pirating songs anyway, they normally find a copy of the CD from somewhere (mates, library, whatever) and rip the songs from there, because it doesn't take so long - stopping services like Napster won't halt piracy much.

      Again, most people who use Napster I guess are the same kind who visit Warez sites. They might happen to have several gigs worth of downloaded stuff which they would have NEVER bought, but hey, they don't actually use it for anything worthwile either so who cares?

      And that's the thing, if you really like a particular band, then you will buy their stuff. I love reading Terry Pratchett, so I buy all of the books. I don't have enough money to buy the Hardback editions, so I wait for paperback. I love listening to Jamiroquai, so I go out and buy their albums. I'm not a fan of Robert Palmer, but I liked Addicted to love, so I downloaded it. I don't like it enough to go out and buy it though, and I don't listen to it enough to warrant buying it either. So Robert Palmers not lost anything (I wouldn't have bought it anyway), I've gained a bit because I can listen to it occasionally.

      But hey, maybe I'll start downloading and listening to some of his other stuff, and maybe I'll like it. Then I'd go out and buy the album, if for no other reason than to rip it to ogg vorbis cleanly at 160bps :-)

      Have I done this in the past? Yes, I bought the Bloodhound Gand single "The Bad Touch" after finding it on Napster.

      And then there are all those songs on Napster which you can't find in the shops easily, such as that Irish Drinking Song, "Bugger Off" (If I see an album in the shops with that on, I'd buy it too :-)

      But hey, that's just why I download stuff. Perhaps other people have more compelly reasons.
      • god I wish I had some mod points, you are 100% on the money. The only thing I might have added is that while I wouldn't buy a whold cd for one song, I would pay 50 cents for it.
    • New program "GPLster". Allows corporations to freely and anonymously exchange gpl'd code for use in their proprietary programs. Thousands of corporations are thought to be trading gpl'd code every day with this software.

      Free software leaders argue that gplster stifles innovation and doesn't allow those who wrote the code to get proper credit. RIAA, MPAA, et al. argue that "information wants to be free", thus justifying ignoring the license. They also argue that many author's did not want to use the GPL but were forced to due to basing their code upon another previously written GPL piece of software. A court hearing will be held next Wednesday to decide the future of GPLster.

      • I want everybody to copy my CDs records, I want a lot of illegal copies. The more they listen to my music the more they go to my show. And that's where I get money.
        I don't receive a nickel from Sony for my sold CDs

      Needless to say who is winning and who is losing in all this P2P discussion.

  • ... bog down ISPs and cause people to "Dump broadband, and dig out their modem".
    • > [It's network hogs like this that...] ... bog down ISPs and cause people to "Dump broadband, and dig out their modem".

      No, it's the ability to get music and video in minutes, not hours, that caused people to dump modems and get broadband.

      Remember that Qworst commercial - a seedy cheap-azz hotel, and the disinterested desk clerk saying that each room "...has every movie ever made, available on demand"?

      We've got that, through P2P and USENET.

      The only problem was that MPAA, RIAA, Disney and AOL/TW wanted you to only see small parts of what they "owned", they wanted you to see it on their schedule, and they wanted you to stream it, dumping all the bits in the bit bucket so you could pay again to listen to, or view it again.

      That, as we know, failed.

      But P2P systems that allowed you to save the bits to your hard drive (and fuck the intellectual property landsharks) grew and flourished, and contributed materially to demand for broadband.

      I say again, it's network hogs like P2P and Napster and USENET that could have saved broadband. Instead, the fucking landsharks killed them, and with them, killed demand for broadband.

  • by Judg3 ( 88435 ) <jeremy@@@pavleck...com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:24PM (#2538848) Homepage Journal
    IMHO at least, these services are superior to Napster in any way. I used the Morpheus client mainly, and loved it. Being able to preview mp3s/wavs in the client (like napster) and movies too (not like napster). Plus, in these guys your not limited to just .mp3s. You could search for mpeg, jpg, exe, wma, avi, you name it.

    Plus, they tell you who has the biggest pipe according to them, not what the users says he has. I love it!
    • I agree - I am always using the Morpheus client when I'm on Windows and the kza client on Linux (that's just text-based though). What I love is the metadata-based searching -- it makes finding the right file a ton easier.

      I just wish the interface wasn't so damn cluttered and ugly. The functionality is amazing.
    • by D_Gr8_BoB ( 136268 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:20PM (#2539253)
      Too bad that in order to do provide such great filesharing service, they wreck everyone else's network experience. The client pulls all sorts of nasty against-RFC tricks in order to increase its avalible bandwidth, which result in Morpheus/Kaaza/MusicCity users getting more than their fair share of the network.

      At the university I attend, things got so bad at times that although 50 or so people would be downloading movies at a given time at perfectly reasonable speeds, no one else could so much as surf the web without unacceptable lag. Worse, standard application-priority procedures didn't work because of the applications' non-standards compliant behavior. We ended up having to impose a hard limit on the amount of bandwidth allowed on that port, severely limiting the resources allowed to the programs, even when the network is mostly idle.

      The bottom line is that there's more than ethical problems with these new services. By resorting to breaking network protocol rules in order to increase bandwidth, they're setting a very bad precendent. If more programs begin to follow their example of treating the host network as something to be selfishly exploited, network admins will be forced to impose draconian restrictions on network use. This would be a very Bad Thing (TM), and it's my biggest problem with these new services.
      • For example? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gendou ( 234091 )
        You've got me curious about this... I'd like to know what sort of non-RFC-compliant things an unpriveleged userland application could do that would cause so much trouble. Do you have any specific examples? And what sort of "application-priority procedures" do you use, because I'm not familiar with that term either. I'm passingly familiar with QoS and related issues, but I'm afraid I don't really understand.
        • I only work for the campus network admin, so I don't have a complete understanding of what we do and how it works, but I'll give it a shot.

          As I understand it, Morpheus does not heed the various TCP/IP limitations concerning speed of connection attempts, numbers of concurrent connections/connection attempts, etc. Therefore, trying to limit its access to bandwidth through TCP/IP traffic shaping doesn't work the same way it does for say, Napster or Gnutella. With those applications, we were simply able to assign them a low priority, such that they would only get bandwidth which wasn't being used by more critical applications. With Morpheus, we've had to impose a router-level traffic cap on the port, which is an imperfect fix because a lot of the time, it would be perfectly alright for Morpheus to be using say 60% of the campus bandwidth when nobody else is interested in doing much. Instead, it always has to be confined to 15% or so.

          Ironically, the cheats that Morpheus uses to get more bandwidth actually resulted in it getting less in this situation.
    • I'm sure someone has pointed this out before, but it's ironic that the only thing I've lost by Napster's death is the ability to find really obscure music from nobody's who would never be heard if not for the internet. The popular mainstream stuff is always the first thing that's available on Alternative P2P 'networks'. The only thing the RIAA lawsuits accomplished was to extend the lifespan of the obsolete services they and their members provide: publicity, advertisment, and distribution, in an internet-ready world where any musician can gain enormous popularity and distribute to millions of people at the blink of an eye, all because they have the talent to make something people want. Is that not the height of greed and anti-competitive behavior?

      Anyway, like I said that's no big revelation to most people, but it bears repeating.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    My entire apt. complex got put on notice of "termintation of Internet service" by minions of Sony unless we stopped allowing uploads from Kazaa, etc.
  • Too bad... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Drizzten ( 459420 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:24PM (#2538857) Homepage
    ...they're all getting sued [usatoday.com]. By whom? Guess [riaa.org] who [mpaa.org].
    • * They can fragment but they can't eradicate. * There will always be a way to massively share files. All they can do is make it harder and harder for potential sharers by making people switch to new software or new ways of naming files....


  • Oh come on..don't be unfair now. :) Lopster [google.com]has to be the single greatest tool i've ever seen for harvesting enormous quantities of _anything_. Its so well designed that it gives you faith that real coders still exist.

    • Lopster is great, yes. But the OpenNap servers were reliable six months ago, and have become increasingly erratic and/or limited (in terms of number of allowed users). Plus, some of them limit the number of searches you can perform, which effectively prevents the Lopster "I want this file - when someone pops online with it, grab it" or the "Keep a running tab of all files with this search phrase in them" from working.

      --
      Evan

  • SHHH!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SpookComix ( 113948 ) <spookcomix@g m a i l.com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:26PM (#2538878) Homepage Journal
    Quiet down!

    I make it a point to not tell most people I know about Morpheus. Why? Because it works, it's fast, I can find almost everything I search for, and most of all, they're not yet attracting enough attention to get shut down by the court system!

    So please, for the good of those of us who use and enjoy the service, let's just keep this our little secret, ok?

    --SC

    • I know exactly how you feel. I can remember using Napster for quite a while and being absolutely content. Eventually you'd start to see people talking about it in Starbucks, my non techie friends were asking me about it, it was on CNN.

      The first thought that popped into my head was, "These guys are going to get sued into oblivion".
    • They're not yet attracting enough attention to get shut down by the court system

      Too late... [wired.com] they're already under the gun. At least EFF has decided to support MusicCity [eff.org] now.
    • Yes, Morpheus is "under the gun" for music swapping. However, it's easy enough to start using it for other purposes.

      For example, the next time a big distro releases a new version, if people put big tarballs on their local morpheus client(server)s, we could all get it that way -- instant mirroring. And the more people download, and keep a local copy in their shared folder, the better the selection of mirrors.

      It'd be great if this concept could be extended, in some way, to serving up whole copies of web pages, pictures and links and all. And then port it all to Freenet, for guaranteed privacy.

      Or something like that.
  • by dave-fu ( 86011 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:27PM (#2538883) Homepage Journal
    I'm wondering how the court's recent ruling against the RIAA will translate into (in)action against these newcomers?
    They're hitting the bigtime in terms of usage, but I don't see them having the mindshare (feh on marketroid lingo, but it works) that Napster did. People know Napster and what it's all about: the rest of these are just stopgap solutions to find what they're after. I don't think people can ever be passionate about, say, Kazaa like they were about Napster, but maybe that's just me.
  • I have been using AudioGalaxy and MusicCity Morpheous for a while now, ever since this whole Napster controversy started and I went out looking for alternatives. Morpheous is growing and a notable difference is present from it's earlier days. You can search for a song and 99% of the time you'll be able to download the full version in good quality. Yesterday I used AudioGalaxy for the first time in a few months and I was shocked to be greeted with a page full of red "x"s on my first search. When I clicked on the name of one of the songs I got a nice little message "You cannot download this song because it is copyrighted material." Well that's the first time I ever saw that on AudioGalxy, and it's the last time I'll use AG. It really is unfortunate though, you can do some cool stuff with AG like leave your sattellite running on your home computer, then go to the AG website at work and tell it to download songs. Now you can still download things, but the names are all skewed as to avoid copyright detection (I assume.)
  • Xolox (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:30PM (#2538906)
    GNUTella still kicks ass... better than Napster ever was at least. You can get faster more reliable downloads with the Xolox [xolox.nl] , which uses multi-source segmented downloading among other advanced file transfer features that make using the GNUTella network highly effective! The client basically downloads the same file concurrently from multiple sources, giving you greater overall transfer rates. The only problem with Xolox is that it currently only has a MS Windows port.

    GNUtella is open, free, and it works great! Forget about these commercial closed networks.
    • Re:Xolox (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nabucco ( 24057 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:55PM (#2539058)
      I'm a Gnutella fan as well. It's just a matter of time before the RIAA closes down closed networks like the FastTrak (Kazaa/Morpheus) network now is with these new authentication schemes.

      Right now Gnutella is the most popular open P2P network which has open source servents (like Gnucleus). It also has some brain-dead (which doesn't necessarily mean bad) servents like Bearshare and Limewire which are easy for the average person to figure out and use - possibly easier than Morpheus in any event.

      Gnutella is just a really cool protocol and network, lots of fun for techies to play with, which inevitably means lots of new innovations. I love the ability to get most of the audio and video I want right away over the net, and I'm happy with their competition with the authoritarian music/movie business distribution model (Go to the store, sorry we don't have the band you like, just this NSYNC/Britney/Backstreet Boys CD we're pushing, that'll be $17).

      I haven't heard of Xolox before, I'll look for it.
    • I think it should be pointed out (to people who don't know), that Kazaa uses multi-source segmented downloading.

      Even though the system was most likely designed to allow for multiple source downloading, another good side effect is that only the speed of the download is effected when you lose a server. Then you can just 'search' for more sources and keep going ...

      ... this is the kind of technology that was needed to bring movie downloading to home broadband. Too bad the MPAA would rather bitch about it than capitalize on this tech.
  • Should have posted this message to the current topic instead: why I now use Morpheus. [slashdot.org] Maybe people's anger at the RIAA has something to do with it.
  • gnutella (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darth Maul ( 19860 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:38PM (#2538978) Homepage
    I've been using LimeWire for all my file collection needs. Windows and Linux clients available. Great app.

    http://www.limewire.org/
  • Consistently ever since I installed morpheus a few months ago, morpheus has about 550000 users at any time (indicated on the status bar). The largest amount of users I can recall being indicated there is about 750000, about half of what is claimed here. The lowest amount of users I can recall was about 350000.

    500000 users is still quite nice since with napster I never had more than around 10000 users to connect to (it wasn't a very scalable network).
  • As far as the litigation is concerned are they going after the individual companies that make the wrappers for the Fastrak engine or Fastrak itself? Are the other engines used being pursued as well? Stuff like WinMX and all the other sharing programs use a similiar if not the same engine.
  • by shayne321 ( 106803 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:45PM (#2539005) Homepage Journal

    INTERNET PORN REMAINS POPULAR

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA (reuters) - Despite a sagging U.S. economy and a war in progress overseas, the Internet Porn Industry is going strong says Mark Johnson, spokesperson for Web Association of Nude Knowledge (WANK). Johnson cites Americans' commitment to supporting U.S. companies in this time of need as the primary drive behind this continued popularity.

    "People simply want to fulfill their duty as citizens", says Johnson.

    Since the Sept 11th attacks the porn industry has faced increasing pressure as more companies have continue to lay off employees. With less disposable income, analysts feared citizens would direct their money towards drugs, or hookers rather than the traditional staples of booze and porn - but so far those fears have prooved groundless.

    "Like, I was so scared, I called my coke-dealer and told him I may have to cut back my habit", says Misty Rayne, actress for Vivid Productions, Inc, known for her gang-bang of 500 tri-sexual midgets in 1999. Fortunately Mrs. Rayne has not been forced to reduce her 5 grams a day coke habit.

    In this time of need, Americans have answered the call to arms. God bless America.

    Shayne

  • An interesting idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Scoria ( 264473 )
    Since Congress has made the amazing discovery that porn is traded via P2P [slashdot.org] and the RIAA is now beginning to pursue these new P2P services, I'm rather surprised that the RIAA has failed to use that as an advantage.

    "And look, Mr. Government Official (tm), you can prevent kids from seeing PORN if you shut these services down, not just benefit our "amazingly creative" artists!"
  • by Vryl ( 31994 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:57PM (#2539069) Journal
    But hey, we have Aimster ... why not say: "outlookster" or "muttster" or "pinester" etc.

    Build what basically amounts to list management software into an email plugin. You 'log in' to the network by emailing one of the 'peers', it replies with a list of other peers that it knows about, with maybe a timestamp. You then email your 'request' or search string, they pass it round via email, and the server answering the request emails you the file.

    Further refinements are possible etc etc.

    While this may be insane in actual practice, in theory it further demonstrates the idiocy of attempts to stop the internet doing what is was originally set up to do, ie, share files.

  • It's all publicity (Score:4, Informative)

    by M_Talon ( 135587 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:00PM (#2539102) Homepage
    The RIAA doesn't realize that every time they go after someone, it just increases the visibility of file sharing and gets more people involved. Napster climbed in popularity after people found out they were being sued (thanks to American media). Now it's happening again.

    As has been said before, the RIAA is going to have to realize that what they're doing is simply feeding the very beast they're trying to defeat. They must adapt or be tossed aside as obsolete. So far, the RIAA has shown no desire to adapt and as such are being boycotted and otherwise damaged by the very customers who fund their legal pursuits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:08PM (#2539167)
    eDonkey is fantastic...it instantly shares any part of the file you've downloaded etc. It actually forces people to share some(there's also an enforced min upload; at least 10KB/sec, or you can only download at a limited rate.)

    http://www.edonkey2000.com

    Be patient trying to get a server to connect to, and when searching, you should click "extend" to extend the search to another server on your list(it only searches your primary server first, so it may not find a hit.) Don't do stupid searches like "mp3" or "movie" or "porn", and try to pick the category you're looking for so searches go faster.

    eDonkey is a "set and forget" program...downloads may take a while, but it'll succeed where others fail, particularly with very large files. It will download even the smallest part from another user if it comes available, and will stream from multiple sources.

    NONE of these programs will work if people don't share what they download.

    Don't run a server unless you can support at least 500-1000 users and can keep it running; 100-200 user servers are pointless. The linux server is supposed to be able to handle more users for equal ram/processor specs than the windows versions, and it's easier to background etc.
  • So, Internet file swapping does no damage to the music industry, right? Everyone in the music industry is obscenely wealthy and is only interested in squeezing consumers, right?

    Just over a week ago, the great Canadian record chain Sam the Record Man filed for bankruptcy [globeandmail.com]. The article notes that the failure was caused, in part, by Sam's being "squeezed by free music downloads".

    This is a terrible loss for Canadian music. Sam was a widely known advocate of local music scenes in Canada, especially in Halifax, where bands such as Sloan [sloanmusic.com] got their start. Sam stores across Canada were known for their eclectic stock, not merely the latest top-40 drivel, which probably brought it into direct competition with Napster.

    It's time to drop the Robin Hood rhetoric of valiant music traders against big, greedy conglomerates. Unprincipled free music trading is doing real damage to those lesser-known artists it is claiming to help, as well as to smaller music stores.

    • I am really sorry for this label , as I will be sorry for small labels who try to discover new talents and take a lot of risk. I agree that it might be morally wrong to trade illegally music. But technology make now that so easy and convenient that everybody who knows how to do it actually does it, and the number of those people is quickly growing. The current music production and distribution scheme is with no contest outdated, this a real revolution and the model will probably be replaced with another one. The music industry just hasn't realised this yet. You can't stop the sea with your hands as they say and revolutions make always victims, c'est la vie !
    • I'm so sorry by your grief, but honestly you can't turn back in time. It happens, that in history of humanity things that used to be for granted stoped being so after certain events came in place.

      No matter how much you cry, applaud or ignore these events, things like that will happen, and expect to be common place in the near future.

      In my opinion, no matter how many lawyers, money or corrupt politicians the powers that be throw at the matter, eventually it becomes evident that those in the sharing scene outnumber all the combined efforts against it; and after some dark and painfully times, eventually they will have to give up and adapt or die with the most that couln't find a way to remain profitable in the new conditions.

      On the other hand it can happen to be better in certain aspects and worse in others. Indie records while great in quality also had a very short limited production. On the net your copies never end, and only one is needed; but often all you get is bad quality Xing mp3 crap or bad rippings.

      It also happens in this strugle that those powers that be think they have the god given rights to make it "harder" for users to share their stuff, so enter the multitude of "copycontrol" mechanisms that usually only achieve worse quality distribution with higher price and infinite annoyances for legitime users that eventually get pissed off and drop the whole "original" thing and came to engross the growing net community.

      One way or another we are going to see some interesting changes in the way media is produced and distributed, but don't miss the point, its a revolutionary rather than evolutionary thing (or maybe both?).

      No matter how much we rant, there is little that can be done for history to come to change.
    • See my comment from yesterday [slashdot.org] about why this is crap.
  • OK, I have to admit, that even though I do download MP3 from sites like MP3.com (and have bought CDs from there as a result), I've never used any of these peer-to-peer open-source alternatives.

    Are any of them truly IP anonymous services that encyrpt it in such a way that they can't tell who's hosting it and the network is randomized by region (IP wise) so you can pop up and drop off without major problems?

    Obviously, as someone who's sold my writings, software (mostly done as freeware), and who supports musicians promoing their work without the bloodsuckers ripping them off, I'm totally into the concept. But I really don't know the pros and cons of the alternatives now, and now that we've got Super Carnivore out there from the feds, we have to assume RIAA's breathing down people's necks.

    Anyone willing to be unbiased and tell me about which is which and if there are any that are upcoming that might meet the standard?

    The main thing I hated about Napster was you could tell it was going to turn commercial in a bad way.

    -
  • profitability (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jodka ( 520060 )

    Morpheus, Grokster, and Kazaa ...

    So the usership is growing huge and by that measure they successful, but what about their profitability ?

    And what is the business model for these services ? How do the providers make money at this ? User fees or what ?

    • Morpheus, Grokster, and Kazaa ...

      So the usership is growing huge and by that measure they successful, but what about their profitability?

      And what is the business model for these services? How do the providers make money at this? User fees or what?


      I know that Kazaa currently uses pop-under advertising. I get a page or two sneaking under my apps every so often.

      But here's a question: What makes you think these services need to profitable?. A service like Gnutella is decentralized. It's not as if they need to operate bandwidth intensive servers (besides the web servers to distribute the software - but even that can be done by other parties, like download.com, etc).

      Some people aren't motivated by greed. The original programmer of Napster wasn't thinking of money - he just wanted to share files. Gnutella was founded on the principle of an open decentralized protocol that, as a nice side effect, doesn't need money to run well.

      It's true that programmers are writing this code and probably aren't getting paid. However, they have different motivations for bringing this software to the world. Money is lower on their priority list.

      Maybe it should be lower on yours, too.
  • I told you so (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ytsejam-ppc ( 134620 )
    I said it once, I'll say it again... the RIAA had the chance to work with Napster and create a simple subscription based service where people would pay for the rights to download music. Then they could have been dealing with just one online music service. Now they've got more than a handfull, on different technologies, and they're never going to stop them. It would have been so much easier for them to strike up a $9.95 all you can download deal with Napster.

    Greed. Plain and simple.
  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:37PM (#2539380)
    I use the oldest P2P file-sharing app of them all: alt.binaries.* in Usenet. Works great, as long as your news server doesn't flake out under the load of the September crowd "giving back" to the group by re-uploading something that's already been uploaded to death, and is already on DVD, too. (my main context here is alt.binaries.anime.)

    My second favorite way is to go over to a friend's house and push files at his Hotline server over 100Mbit Ethernet.

  • Pardon this rant...

    I was happy to see that Aimster's wrongdoings are being made known to all at none other than FuckedCompany [fuckedcompany.com]. Nothing would make me happier than seeing ol' John Deep living in the streets of Cohoes, NY. Come on, won't you pay $4.95 for... absolutely nothing? [clubaimster.com] I wonder how far he'll really go in his efforts to turn his daughter into a pr0n star? Maybe we'll see! Stay tuned, maybe Club Aimster will turn into an affiliation between Aimster and Club, the European porn mag!

    God damn, I hate those fuckers.
  • by stain ain ( 151381 ) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:49PM (#2540727)
    They can fight against Napster, Morpheus, audiogalaxy Musicity, Kazaa, Gnutella... and they might win individually, closing Napster, maybe Kazaa, defeating Limewire, but it is quite stupid to think that they can stop it.
    Napster closed, so what? Alternatives appeared, and for everyone that is shut down, 5 new ones will appear.
    I can tell you, a lot of people demands this service, now it is on the mainstream public, some of them have a big time trying to find where are the downloaded files the first time but they use the services anyways.

    How wonderful it is to get that song, now! It cannot be stopped... it will never be, this way is better and besides it, much cheaper.
    Now my advice for the music industry: it cannot be stopped, join the wave! you'll have to stop charging 12$ per CD, maybe give them away free, focus on promoting concerts, live music, offer a file-downloading service, flat-rate (it will have to be cheap though!) and always highest-quality non-broken non buggy-names MP3s and I would be on it.
    Boys, reshape your business or it will die... I think it will die.

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