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The Media

Shawn Fanning Interview 303

peter303 writes "The Wall Street Journal (via MSNBC) interviewed Shawn Fanning, the founder of Napster. Shawn talks about the end of Napster and his personal plans."
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Shawn Fanning Interview

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  • by majestynine ( 605494 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @10:47AM (#4373853)
    ..its to locate your servers in a country that doesn't give two shits about the american lawmakers.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @10:52AM (#4373886) Homepage Journal
    WSJ: Compact disc shipments fell 7% in the first six months of this year. The recording industry says its data show consumers who download music from the Internet are purchasing fewer CDs
    And in this time of unprecented economic growth, prosperity and consumer confidence, theres no other explanation for that, right?

    But, far more importantly, mad propz to the WSJ for knowing the difference between "less" and "fewer".
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:05AM (#4373982) Homepage Journal

      But, far more importantly, mad propz to the WSJ for knowing the difference between "less" and "fewer".

      The "use 'fewer' for counting, 'less' for measurements" rule is really pretty obscure and useless. Only the truly pedantic care about that rule. On the other hand...

      theres no other explanation for that, right?

      The apostrophe rule for contractions IS an important, useful rule.

      • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by foobar104 ( 206452 )
        The "use 'fewer' for counting, 'less' for measurements" rule is really pretty obscure and useless. Only the truly pedantic care about that rule.

        Actually, anybody who cares about not looking like a drooling idiot cares about that rule. Saying "fewer CDs" makes you sound like you're talking about CDs. Saying "less CDs" makes you sound like you're about 14 years old, and flunking English.

        An omitted apostrophe can easily be excused as a typo. But it's hard to typo "fewer" as "less" or vice versa.
      • The apostrophe rule for contractions IS an important, useful rule.

        Your right about that.
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Funny)

        by Dolly_Llama ( 267016 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:25AM (#4374120) Homepage
        Are we not missing the irony of nitpicking apostrophes and less / fewer in a sentence that contains the phrase "mad propz" ??
        • Re:Well... (Score:3, Funny)

          by TheTomcat ( 53158 )
          Are we not missing the irony of nitpicking apostrophes and less / fewer in a sentence that contains the phrase "mad propz" ??

          No kidding. EVERYONE knows that "mad" has is spelled "madd" in this context.

          "pr0pz" is an accepted alternate spelling to "propz", as well.

          S

      • Man, the trolls around here are getting fewer creative all the time.

      • The "use 'fewer' for counting, 'less' for measurements" rule is really pretty obscure and useless. Only the truly pedantic care about that rule. On the other hand, the apostrophe rule for contractions IS an important, useful rule.

        Hey guys, could we ditch this rathole and start talking affect/effect... The WSJ ought to know better.

        -a
    • yes, but (mad propz)-- to WSJ for not knowing the difference between "affect" and "effect"

      ...My view is that it won't have the affect that they're hoping for and, if anything, it will unite a lot of people against them.

    • WSJ: Compact disc shipments fell 7% in the first six months of this year. The recording industry says its data show consumers who download music from the Internet are purchasing fewer CDs

      And in this time of unprecented economic growth, prosperity and consumer confidence, theres no other explanation for that, right?

      I was pretty disappointed that Fanning replied "It may be hurting the music industry at this point ..." instead of pointing out that six months is not a large enough amount of time to gauge the real effect of p2p networks. That may be obvious to Slashdotters but Average Joes (and Janes, don't want to be sexiest now...) might be tempted to take the RIAA's word that p2p is obviously to blame.

      Fanning also misses a prime opportunity to explain that the "proposed legislation in Washington that would excuse the industry from antihacking laws" is essentially giving RIAA the freedom to engage in cyberterrorism. He, instead, just makes a bland "it won't work" statement and leaves it at that.

      It really upsets me that someone who was on the forefront of p2p networking and is now giving an opportunity to speak to the masses via newspaper completely wastes this opportunity to explain the pro-p2p viewpoint to everyone. If we don't start getting some big name people to clearly and coherently explain to everyone why p2p is not necessarily evil, the public may well indeed support the RIAA's tatics simply because they haven't thought deeply enough about the problem.

      GMD

      • I was pretty disappointed that Fanning replied "It may be hurting the music industry at this point ..." instead of pointing out that six months is not a large enough amount of time to gauge the real effect of p2p networks. That may be obvious to Slashdotters but Average Joes (and Janes, don't want to be sexiest now...) might be tempted to take the RIAA's word that p2p is obviously to blame.


        Fanning is a businessman, not a messiah. His interest is in making money.

        Let me put it this way: If he could get rich filming a three-way between him, Hilary Rosen, and Jack Valenti, and selling copies on the internet, then he would.
        • If he could get rich filming a three-way between him, Hilary Rosen, and Jack Valenti, and selling copies on the internet, then he would.

          Only if Rosen was naked and rolling in a pile of money.

        • Not at all. I think he is burnt out and has no idea what to do next. Maybe in a few years things will be different. But now he simply does not care. That is the impression I got in the interview.
      • (and Janes, don't want to be sexiest now...)
        Oh, so we have a different thread with forty posts ragging on typos and grammar-os, and this gets by scot-free?

        Priorities, folks, let's focus...
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by intermodal ( 534361 )
      WSJ: Compact disc shipments fell 7% in the first six months of this year. The recording industry says its data show consumers who download music from the Internet are purchasing fewer CDs

      Also note that this says people who download music, not people who download music illegally. This leaves open the possiblity that people (like myself) may also be downloading music legally from bands who do not associate with the RIAA for free rather than buying CDs. I know my whole playlist is made up of songs I got from remix.overclocked.org and mp3.com, and i like it better than the crap I bought pre-boycotting to boot. Just because i downloaded it doesnt mean I stole it.
    • RIAA Sues Radio Stations for Giving Away Free Music [theonion.com]

      LOS ANGELES--The Recording Industry Association of America filed a $7.1 billion lawsuit against the nation's radio stations Monday, accusing them of freely distributing copyrighted music.

      "It's criminal," RIAA president Hilary Rosen said. "Anyone at any time can simply turn on a radio and hear a copyrighted song. Making matters worse, these radio stations often play the best, catchiest song off the album over and over until people get sick of it. Where is the incentive for people to go out and buy the album?"

      According to Rosen, the radio stations acquire copies of RIAA artists' CDs and then broadcast them using a special transmitter, making it possible for anyone with a compatible radio-wave receiver to listen to the songs. ...
    • But, far more importantly, mad propz to the WSJ for knowing the difference between "less" and "fewer".

      Yeah, mad props to the editors of a major American newspaper for actually knowing the language.

  • Dear Shawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Compact Dick ( 518888 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @10:52AM (#4373892) Homepage

    if you're reading this, please let it be known that I hold you in the highest esteem for setting off events that exposed the veiled side of the receording industry.

    And thanks for all the music!
  • Way to go, Shawn (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by pclminion ( 145572 )
    You managed to put in very little effort, and make millions off it.

    This is my plan as well.

    • by e2d2 ( 115622 )
      I disagree. He put in huge amounts of time and changed the music industry yet he only had a 30% stake in a company that never went public and was ultimately sold for 8 million dollars (info from Red Herring) in bankruptcy court. He is obviously better off but I doubt he made millions.

      That being said, just being the creator of Napster is worth a hell of a lot in the software industry considering it's impact on digital distribution and notoriety. So I don't see him picking up cigarette butts at the local mall any time soon.

      • That being said, just being the creator of Napster is worth a hell of a lot in the software industry considering it's impact on digital distribution and notoriety.

        So is the RIAA going to send the Terminator back in time to kill Shawn's mother before he was born?
    • It wasn't a troll. Notice how many people responded -- have they all been had by a troll? No.

      I was totally serious in my post. Shawn put in very little effort -- many weeks, certainly, but not decades -- and cashed in. Ok, so it wasn't millions. Sorry, mistake.

      Look at it this way: I've spent the last six solid months writing code, and the company has yet to make a cent from it. We will, but not yet. And we certainly won't do what Napster did.

      To summarize, my post was NOT a troll. I am, in fact, proud of Shawn for basically doing what he enjoys doing, not working too hard, and making himself a wealthy guy. He saw a crack in the wall and crowbarred his way through, where most people don't spend enough time thinking, and just start banging their heads against solid brick...

      Not working hard isn't equivalent to laziness, you know. It can also be due to intelligence.

      • Nitpick: Many replies are not proof that the parent is not a troll. The possibility exists that the parent is an exceptionally skillful troll. After all, isn't that the whole point of a troll: to prompt serious responses to a post that the troller doesn't take seriously at all?
  • by gurnb ( 80987 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @10:56AM (#4373920) Homepage
    Is now available for downloading on P2P networks everywhere.

    Justice is Served!
  • Don't kill yourself in the process of becoming successful. Not only will you suffer, but so will your product.

    "WSJ: Were you spending an unhealthy amount of time at the company?

    Mr. Fanning: For sure. I was spending a lot of time on technology development. We would create artificial emergencies and stay up for days at a time writing code. Toward the latter part, after we'd had so many emergencies, so many up and downs on the roller coaster that was Napster, I learned to stay focused and ignore some of the outside influences. It helped me mentally to accomplish a lot more and do higher quality work.

    We kind of got wrapped up in the lawsuit [with the recording industry]. It was important to stay focused on representing why we believed we were right and certainly put our time and money into protecting the company legally. I think the product certainly suffered a bit in the process."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:00AM (#4373956)
    The most important question, to my mind, was not addressed in the interview.

    Why in God's name did they accept the settlement they did?

    What were they thinking?

    It should have been plainly obvious to anyone above the age of six that the instant they added any "real" DRM to the servers, they would die. Napster had nothing they could possibly leverage to make a profit other than a brand name image. They had no community, no meaningful service, and absolutely nothing to keep anyone to stay besides those file-swap-advert servers. They just had a recognizable brand name. But that's at least something-- they should have done something with it. Doing the one action guaranteed to get everyone to stop using napster simultaneously-- locking out all old clients and forcing you to download a new client, at a time where alternate programs to napster were already available and just as easy to download-- without first lining up a very definite reason why people would continue to use Napster as a service caused anything positive about that brand name image to evaporate instantly.

    Just about everything Napster ever did was stupid, but this one is the one with the most unfathomable motives. Why?
    • The most important question, to my mind, was not addressed in the interview
      I agree, but the question I had in mind was simply this:

      Ded kitty?
    • by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:17AM (#4374072) Journal
      Why in God's name did they accept the settlement they did? What were they thinking?

      They were thinking that it would be better to take the settlement that was offered than to start selling blood to pay their lawyers.
    • The DRm was needed to satisfy the big name record labels, but if you ever used the Napster Beta you'd see that most of the content was still in plain mp3.

      I'd imagine that all the big label content would be in limited DRM format, and people would realise that the plain mp3's provided by smaller labels were better value for money. Next thing you know the community around napster would higlight the best mp3 content and some minor band - no stars - just talent would be making more money of the digital downlaods than the major labels.

      Napster in the past showed that it could make significant changes to what people were listening to simply because it would provide more content than anywhere else and a collaborative filtering system through good old word of mouth. I wouldn't doubt that the label content and the napster brand would help attract the early users, but the more free content would probably become a more significant part of the service.

      Hey it's a theory.

      The real question is why did napster outsource all their DRM development to DWS, who in turn outsourced it to everyone else. this was a bad decision which led to problems when playmedia filed all sorts of lawsuits claiming they owned all the DRM technology - expect a DRM system from playmedia sometime soon.

  • by dildatron ( 611498 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:11AM (#4374021)
    I like how MSNBC had the story title on their tech front page:

    "Napster Boy, Interrupted"

    Man that would piss me off if I was him and people are still calling me "Napster Boy".

    ("Hey, Napster Boy, why don't you go download me some mp3's?! Ha ha ha ha! Did you hear that, fellas? I just called Fanny Napster boy! ha ha ha!")
    • Actually, calling him Napster boy is a bit of a runaround, but accurate. The name Napster came from his nickname in highschool- Nappy. So Napster boy is just a nickname of a name based on a nickname.
  • Get some rest, guy - unplug for a while.
    You sounded freaking *EXHAUSTED* in that interview...

    Cheers,
    Jim
  • Good article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tezzery ( 549213 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:17AM (#4374073)
    A very good article. I think if anything Fanning will be remembered for jump starting the p2p revolution, getting the attention of the RIAA who had obviously underestimated the power of technology, as well as bringing awareness to a lot of average consumers on certain unfair aspects of the way the 'music industry' works, and last but not least introducing a lot of us to a lot of wonderful, independent music. Anyone know where he's working these days? The article didn't mention it.
  • by joneshenry ( 9497 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:20AM (#4374094)
    Napster missed its chance to truly revolutionize the music industry. Had Napster simply chosen opt-in instead of opt-out, the standard that is proposed for every other Internet issue, Napster could have repeated the success of pop music on the radio.

    From what I've read radio faced a similar problem of music licensing, only at that time the issue was the licensing of copyrighted classic music recordings. The solution was to open a new genre of music, pop music.

    However, this would have required Napster's founders to have actually done some work that they probably didn't want to do, such as interacting with social classes of people who were ignored by the mainstream. But that's just not what people who want to only have clean hands programming want to do. Too bad, Napster blew the biggest opportunity in this generation to dominate a new medium.

    • What are you trying to say? The "trick" to success for a p2p file sharing service lay in distribution of alternatives to the music most people were currently listening to?

      If so, no - I think you're sadly mistaken. Napster and all other file sharing packages of this sort allow users to put anything out there that they like. What ends up downloaded, mostly, is what's already popular. Nothing stops obscure or "non mainstream" artists from trying to get their music out to the masses via networks like Napster. They simply copy their stuff to MP3 and go online. In fact, many resorted to trickery, putting names of popular bands that "sound kind of like us" in the filenames, so you'd download their stuff by accident and hopefully get hooked on it.

      Nonetheless, it didn't really catch on. I don't see how Napster could have done much better if they promoted their service as only distributing that type of material. People would just have largely ignored it....
  • Lets be honest here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:21AM (#4374100)
    The recording industry says its data show consumers who download music from the Internet are purchasing fewer CDs.

    Let be honest here. Getting single tracks off P2P networks works pretty well.

    But, I would just love for someone within the RIAA (or BPI - UK version) to actually sit down with a list of 5 albums and try to download entire CD's.

    It's barely possible. The chances of finding 10 tracks in the same album which aren't badly encoded, labelled wrongly or sampled at 96kbps is extremely high.

    Now that doesn't mean that what is happening is ant the less worse (after all, it's a free for all sharing of copyrighted material than many people do not already own) but personally I think that it's only really single sales which are damaged as much as the RIAA/BPI make out to be.

    Getting all the tracks of an album decently encoded is bording on the impossible most of the time.

    • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:31AM (#4374163)
      In a recent Maxim test they actually did this to test the speed at which the P2P programs would work best.

      iMesh won w/19 mins for the Weezer album.

      Kazaa was rated with two stars.

      Limewire was rated the best and took 27 mins to download the album.

      check it out here [maximonline.com]
      • by nucal ( 561664 )
        errr .... that was 37 minutes according to the article. But then again, it's worth the wait to download Foreigner's Complete Greatest Hits and Police Academy 6?

        "It's like walking into a titty bar after a lifetime of burlesque shows." - Maxim - it's Playboy with bad writing and too much clothing.

    • But that's precisely why P2P companies are touting that functionality (the ability to download collections or albums) as the 'next big thing'. The latest version of Kazaa claims to do just that. Just a matter of time before the rest of the P2P clients follow.
    • Do you really think so?

      I've been downloading high-quality rips of entire albums lately, without difficulty, zipped or tar'd for convenience and completeness.

      I've even donwloaded monolithic files of several hundred megabytes, containing entire artist discographies, with ease.

      I've found these techniques to be far superior to trying to find good rips of individual songs.
    • by einer ( 459199 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:40AM (#4374236) Journal
      This is why I love emusic. They provide a link to download the entire album, all at once.

      People need to start ripping albums and tarring them up in their entirety before they violate copyright by putting the album on p2p (hint hint). If the record companies beat the copyright violators to the punch and charge a reasonable fee (I'd eagerly pay $7.00/album if it was encoded at 160+ and sent through a big enough pipe), they might be able to turn file swapping into a win.

      Winmx, Kaaza, gnutella, they all have one thing in common: Complete lack of sortable, searchable contextual information. Audiogalaxy seemed to be on the right track, but we all know how they ended. A record label (or a joint venture of multiple labels) with tight control over their online inventory could expand their service from one of merely providing music to one of helping people find new music, providing a forum for users to suggest new music and opening up a search api for users who want to create their own queries, data aggregations and what not.

      I'd love a music collection on my hard drive that was tightly organized and easily searchable/indexed. I hate queueing up tons of d/l's and sorting them out afterwards.

      I know there are solutions out there to do what I want, but I think there is value in me not having to download and implement these solutions myself, but to have the labels do it for me. After all, they ARE responsible for the packaging of the media aren't they? ;)
    • "It's barely possible. The chances of finding 10 tracks in the same album which aren't badly encoded, labelled wrongly or sampled at 96kbps is extremely high."

      But it's only getting easier. Mp3 and (to a lesser extent) P2P were the big innovations that made wide-scale music-based copyright infringement possible. (And before someone jumps on me, I recognize that both have legitimate uses. All I'm saying is that they made the wide-scale infringement possible.)

      Now in comparison, getting them to support entire albums (with a moderation/voting system to indicate quality) is really just an incremental step. It's a step people're stumbling on, but it's certainly not as big as what's already been done. It's only a matter of time before you'll be able to type in an album name and have your P2P client download the corresponding album file (which consists of a dozen mp3s and some meta information), complete with grabbing multiple parts of the file from multiple sources. Minimal effort, close to CD quality.

      Similarly, it's only a matter of time before the movie copyright infringement field catches up with DVD features. All it takes is a bored hacker with a copy of the DVD specs who makes a player that uses DivX in place of the native DVD mpeg format. Throw everything in a simple container file (similar to the album file above), and you've just eroded one of the few remaining advantages of the legit versions. Hell, if I was anti-copyright or pro-file sharing, I'd be working on this stuff right now. It's really pretty close.

  • by budalite ( 454527 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:24AM (#4374119)
    Gee, after the WSJ learned that the dude didn't make the millions they thought he did, the interview kinda petered out, didn't it? Like "Move along. Nothing to see here!" being called out in the middle of a circus.

    Bhudda-lite
    (Whatever)
  • honesty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zoombat ( 513570 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:30AM (#4374152)
    Perhaps you can mark it up to his age, but I was impressed by the candor and honest that Fanning demonstrated in the interview. Even though he didn't go into too much detail, I was surprised at how candid he was about the mistakes he and the company made... I think he'll go far and we'll be hearing more from him in a few years!

    • Shawn should write an autobiographical book. He has seen a lot of behind the scenes technical and legal sides of this HUGE issue that has seen lots of press. He is a semi-celebrity, so he could probably sell quite a few books.

      Plus he just adopted his 15-year old brother? There must be some interesting stories behind that. Sounds a lot like Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" [amazon.com] (highly recommended!) In fact, the title "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" could easily apply to Napster! ;-)

  • WSJ: You're living in Mountain View, in Silicon Valley?

    Mr. Fanning: Yeah, I rent a house here.


    I find it ridiculously unfair that Enron execs (and others) who have no real product, screw their shareholders and aren't able to lead make millions while real innovators rent houses in SiliValley.
    (High cost of living jokes aside...)

    -Sean
  • by KelsoLundeen ( 454249 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:42AM (#4374254)
    Whither Lars? That's what I'd like to know. Whatever the fuck happened to Metallica and Lars the Drummer?


    Metallica jumped the shark [jumptheshark.com] with Napster, no doubt about it.

  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:44AM (#4374262) Journal
    From the article:

    "As Napster grew and ultimately hit its peak, if you look at CD sales [they] were up as long as Napster was popular. The point at which Napster started filtering (blocking out certain songs after a court order in March 2001) is the point at which the record industry announced that this constant increase in their CD sales suddenly changed."
    I am boggled that the WSJ finally let someone point this out! Sure, when Napster was the baby of the media, they had all the charts and spreadsheets pointing out how CD sales were going up, but as soon as the gov't stepped in, did you notice how all those figures disappeared? Soon, it was "Napster evil, artists starve, story at 11".

    Ya see, I don't figure the decline in CD sales as a result of piracy, or of changes to the consumer economic model. I think it is good old-fashioned grass-roots protest. I know, myself, I haven't bought a mass-market CD since the RIAA started their petty little lawsuits to drive everyone out of business, and I know I'm not the only one. I also know a good deal of friends who are using KaZaA(lite), Freenet, LimeWare, et al, in protest of the death of Napster.

    I say Rock On to P2P! 'Real Soon Now'(*), people will figure out that it's the downturn in your economy and protest from consumers over price and silicone-inflated plastic singing Barbie clones that is driving down sales, not P2P. Perhaps, in some fit of irrational sanity, they may actually examine why people use P2P, and figure out that if they can improve on the model with, say smooth resumes on interrupt, distributed Akamai servers, no bogus files, live cuts, better indexing, and proper labeling, that they may actually be able to charge a resonable amount per month to let people download mp3 or Ogg files. But, alas, they cling to "We'll only release music that is old and out of date, and we'll insist on proprietary formats, and DRM that ensures that you'll never play this on another computer, or even your own if you have to reinstall, or if we go out of business."

    So, while you're at it, write your congressperson and senator, and urge them to kill any bill which requires DRM enabled sound cards and speakers (which, yes, has already been proposed), let alone any bill which requires anything electronic to be DRM.

    Next week: How to get your Barbie to record Britney Spears songs! (By some odd coincidence, the electronics get implanted in her chest, she switches randomly between anatomicly correct and "anatomicly unidentifiable", and Ken does all the singing anyways)

    (*)Mad Propz to Jerry Pournelle and Chaos Manor!
    http://www.jerrypournelle.com

    • I also know a good deal of friends who are using KaZaA(lite), Freenet, LimeWare, et al, in protest of the death of Napster.

      And in my case who are also discovering (and buying) a load of tracks by people they'd never heard of before.

      In the few months I've been using p2p socftware, my CD collection has doubled. The CD's I'm buying now are stuff that I've always been looking for, but could never previously find..

      Some albums I've bought after downloading them:

      • Goldfrapp; felt mountain
      • Handsome boy modelling school
      • Dr. Octagon
      • NIN; downward Spiral.
      • Jill Scott
      • Spoooks; S.I.O.S.O.S
      • Roots Manuva
      • etc.

        You would never hear any of those on mainstream radio. Thanks to p2p, I have discovered them, bought them, and hopefully given the artists some royalties.


      • I agree. Most of the CDs that I have bought in the past two years were because I discovered these bands' MP3s (such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre). These bands get no play on the radio or MTV, so how am I supposed to discover their music? The recording companies aren't doing enough to market new talent and now they want to stop people from doing free marketing FOR THEM?
    • Ya see, I don't figure the decline in CD sales as a result of piracy, or of changes to the consumer economic model. I think it is good old-fashioned grass-roots protest. I know, myself, I haven't bought a mass-market CD since the RIAA started their petty little lawsuits to drive everyone out of business, and I know I'm not the only one. I also know a good deal of friends who are using KaZaA(lite), Freenet, LimeWare, et al, in protest of the death of Napster.

      So if I understand you correctly, you have stopped buying music and are instead downloading it for free from a variety of P2P networks. How exactly is this anything but "piracy"?

      If you were refusing to buy music from RIAA members and weren't using the P2P networks, then you might be able to justify this action as a form of legitimate protest. At least be honest about what you are doing - you are avoiding paying for music. That's piracy. Trying to justify it as a "grass-roots protest" is lying to yourself.

      If you really want to boycott the RIAA then by all means stop spending money on their products. Go buy music from the many small non-RIAA labels and artists. Just don't use P2P to pirate the RIAA's music.
      • Sorry, I should have been clearer. I keep forgetting there are lots of people out there who still think P2P is only for piracy and pr0n. For those who actually have the inspiration to look for more than the last band they saw on MTV, there is a huge mass of varied media out there in P2P-land, put there by people who actually want their music/video/etc to be distributed for free. The only big-label music that I download is from artists who have explicitly stated that they support their material being available on P2P (and for the most part, that's just so I can redistribute it to others).

        And yes, I've written the RIAA and the Big 5 to let them know that I'm boycotting, and that I support the rights of artists to decide what happens to their music. I think a more important question is: Have you?

        Support P2P, become a supernode!

  • Adopting your own brother... that must have been a fun little family outing. Sounds like Shawn has been living a somewhat hellish existence.

    Perhaps he could market this somewhat like the "Osbornes".

    Business Model:
    1-Dysfunctional Family. Check.
    2-Famous Member of Family. Check.
    3-Good Market for Reality TV shows. Check.
    4-?
    5-Profit!

    Shawn if you're reading this, I want you to know that my real feelings are that you've done a good thing by adopting your brother. Reading between the silent lines I get the feeling that he was being damaged back East.
  • Mr. Fanning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Petronius ( 515525 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @11:50AM (#4374318)
    I have an immense respect for Mr Fanning. Here's a guy that quits school to try to write code on his own and changes the world. You think the word is too strong? Everybody remembers the Napster days. People burning CDs like crazy, sharing rips of old albums, live concerts, weird one-of CDs picked up in cut-out bins. I made my best compilations during that time. I received awesome CDs from my friends, packed with stuff I had never heard. A guy at work started making CDs with kids songs. Another made the most hilarious Christmas songs compilation. These were people that had almost no interest in music before Napster arrived. I could go on and on... I miss Napster. Every day.
    Thank you Mr. Fanning.
    • Re:Mr. Fanning (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm in the same category. My music collection *blossomed* by about fifty CDs while I was using Napster; I'd hear a band, either on Napster or on one of the many streaming music stations, and I'd get to listen to a wide variety of their music. Then I'd go out and buy the CD, and I was rarely dissapointed.

      Now that Napster is gone, I make it a duty to *not* purchase music from the RIAA. I listen to local bands, and rip friends' CDs to MP3 at insanely high-quality, because I'm not going to give those goatfcskers one more red cent. Why? Because I don't think it's right that I should have to pay $20 for a product that I can't sample beforehand, and *can't return* if I don't like it.
  • by Jasn ( 106824 ) on Wednesday October 02, 2002 @12:15PM (#4374546)
    Couldn't really let this topic pass without linking to the story:
    RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music [theonion.com].
    • by Soko ( 17987 )
      Hey, don't laugh.

      My local radio station got a hold of the "new" Nirvana song on the 'net and were playing it on air. They were served a "cease and desist" letter from Universal Music, which they read on the air to explain why they wouldn't play it any more until Universal said it would be OK to do so. Seems to me that radio and the RIAA have a love/hate relationship.

      Actually, the station is rather cool with the sharing thing as can be seen by this page [htzfm.com].

      Soko
  • Economy (Score:2, Interesting)

    WSJ: Compact disc shipments fell 7% in the first six months of this year.

    A 7% drop? That's it? Wow, they're doing amazingly well in these tough times. The company I work for (different industry) dropped about 50% in sales.

    Actually it's my fault record sales dropped. I used to buy CDs like crazy from those "10 CDs for $.01" deals. Now I just buy used, unless one of my favorite artists just comes out with a new release, or I can't find it used. That rarely happens though.

    The newer artists I favor are an acquired taste, so they are common in the "Used" section. Also, that section is where I purchase bands I never heard of before, and I have yet to be dissappointed. So, it works both ways.

    As for the older artists, they rarely come out with something new. The only new CD I bought recently was Dio "Killing the Dragon" which was released this year. This guy has been performing since at least the 50s, and concentrating on the Metal genre at least since his experience with Black Sabbath in 70s. (I say "at least" because nobody knows how old he is). My point is that many of the artists I favor are retired or dead, and therefore are not spitting out new recordings any more. This particular case is an exception.

    In conclusion, people like me see the "New" CD shelves as no more than obsticals between the door and the "Used" shelves/bins (which often, though not always, are found in the back of the store). It's really the best "Under $5" I can spend (and sometimes as low as $1.99 or even $.99).

    New sales from me have dropped at least 95% in the past decade. Feel the burn.

  • young inventors (Score:2, Insightful)

    by octalgirl ( 580949 )
    Young Mr. Fanning is obviously the kind of person who is going to be just fine, and be successful at whatever he does. He did not achieve fortune, but he did receive the fame of being a true inventor. It's appalling how he was treated after he created something so new that it literally rocked the entire world. We should herald and praise our young inventors, even when their craft appears witchy at first glance. Instead our countrymen repeated the mistake they have made over and over - they saw something new, like a tribe or a lion. It looked scary to them so they killed it.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (6) Them bats is smart; they use radar.

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