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The Media

How to Legally Infuriate the RIAA? 340

An anonymous reader shot us off a link to an article discussing how to use the RIAA's System to Broadcast Music Legally. Now, I'm no lawyer, but if the facts are correct in this article, we're talking about a price point that makes streaming radio extremely inexpensive. There's a lot of worthless spite in this article, but if you can look past that, you might see something worth thinking about.
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How to Legally Infuriate the RIAA?

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  • If you do the math, and they make good on their threats to sue "thousands" of P2P users, the odds of any one of the 35 million plus users of Kazaa, not to mention the dozens of other networks, being sued are on the order of one in 10,000. Think roughly the odds of being trampled by a herd of zebra above the Arctic Circle, while being hit by a meteor and lightning.

    1 in 10,000 ?, thats a bit low for my liking, and now I am more worried about the zebra's than the RIAA.
    • The odds decrease dramatically the farther away from the Sarengetti or Busch Gardens you live. For most of us reasers, we would see it on the news weeks before the flood of Zebras made it to our house. That should give us enough time to finish posting to slashdot, pack up our star wars action figures and set our Tivo's to record Star Trek till they pass.

      • by KDan ( 90353 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:44AM (#6427910) Homepage
        Only problem is the guy who wrote this blatantly has no idea how statistics work. There's about 300'000'000 ppl in the US. If the odds for someone of being "trampled by a herd of zebra above the Arctic Circle, while being hit by a meteor and lightning" were 1 in 10'000 (say per year, but you can adapt this to any period of time), the odds would of course increase as you go south - so they would be even greater (read 10'000 gets smaller) in the US. Imagine they stayed the same. This would mean that every year 30'000 people would get "trampled by a herd of zebra, while being hit by a meteor and lightning". Obviously completely stupid. The odds of all these things happening at the same time are much, much smaller than 1 in 10'000.

        So basically, the author of the article needs to go back to secondary school and learn some basic maths. The odds of getting snuffed by the RIAA are pretty significant. 1 in 10'000, given 35 million file swappers, would mean that about 3'500 will get caught, put in prison, fined large amounts of money. And the ones who are most likely to be caught are, sadly, the ones sharing the most music (logically). The conclusions seem pretty straightforward, and unfortunately are not good for file-sharing.

        Daniel
        • Not much sense in renting pffice space for the survivors of people who have been trampled by a herd of zebra, while being hit by a meteor and lightning.

          Damn, I was hoping to hit on the grieving widows...
        • As the guy who wrote that, the only response I have is that you obviously have no idea how sarcasm or humor works. Some of the article was meant as humor, some seriously. As someone with (almost) a biology degree, I can say that rather authoratatively that zebras do not herd, much less trample hapless filesharers above the arctic circle. Hell, they don't even do it within about 10 degrees of the arctic circle due to deforestation (again, humor).
          One thing I do apologise for are the math errors scattered throughout the article. I wrote it at 4am after reading something or other that pissed me off. Due to time zone differences, I couldn't correct most of the problems before it got slashdotted. Now, it is to late. *SIGH*.

          -Charlie
          • And, the whole thing makes absolutely no sense. Basically, what you're proposing, is make software that automatically pays them what they want.

            So, where's the dissidence?
            • by Jonathan the Nerd ( 98459 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:10PM (#6428273) Homepage
              It uses a loophole in the law to pay them a lot less than what they want ($1 per month per user for unlimited downloads, rather than $17 per user per CD), and there's nothing they can legally do about it, unless they change the law that they themselves lobbied for. Plus, it takes control of distribution away from the RIAA and puts it in the hands of the users. That's what will really infuriate them.
              • by Groo Wanderer ( 180806 ) <charlie@NOspAM.semiaccurate.com> on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:15PM (#6428297) Homepage
                The way it was worded, it also sets up a folder that contains an 'encrypted' cache of songs, ostensibly to ease bandwidth. This encryption involves changing the last letter of the filename. How long do you think it will take people to come out with a one button, highly illegal, program that loots this cache, providing you with an easy way to legally download lots of MP3s at 7 cents per hundred. If it takes 5 minutes, I will personally e-mail the authors and deride them for being so damn slow.

                There are other benefits also, but the two you pointed out are some of the better ones. I was aiming to screw them with their own rules. Go nuts people.

                -Charlie
        • Your logic is flawed.

          The statement "trampled by a herd of zebra above the Arctic Circle, while being hit by a meteor and lightning" would be (if valid) only applicable to people above the Arctic Circle.

          The 'odds', statistically speaking, would be completely different as you head south. They wouldn't neccesarily increase.. the statement is simply valid for one location.

          After all, you might be more likely to get hit by lightning and a meteor in the Arctic.. yet less likely to encounter Zebra. As you move s
          • "After all, you might be more likely to get hit by lightning and a meteor in the Arctic.. yet less likely to encounter Zebra. As you move south, you may be less likely to get hit by lightning and a meteor, but less likely to get hit by Zebra."

            Should read:

            "After all, you might be more likely to get hit by lightning and a meteor in the Arctic.. yet less likely to encounter Zebra. As you move south, you may be less likely to get hit by lightning and a meteor, but more likely to get hit by Zebra."
          • by outsider007 ( 115534 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @05:41PM (#6429889)
            trampled by a herd of zebra above the Arctic Circle, while being hit by a meteor and lightning
            this sounds like the origin of some really fucked up marvel super hero.
            look everyone, it's electro-zebra man!
      • Or if you live on the central coast in california, where around 30 miles north of Morro bay(not on most maps) you will find a herd of zebras.
        My understanding is they belonged to William Hurstes' private zoo untill they escaped and started living well in our relitivly lion free enviroment
        • I see no reason for this zebra infestation to be a problem. If you want to get rid of the zebra's, just set some lions loose. Duh. Wait, then we'll have to get rid of the lions. I know! After the lions take care of the zebra's, we'll release tigers with lasers attached to their heads to take care of the lions. There. Problem solved. It's so simple. Where would you people be without me? Genius is a curse.
    • Douglas Adams showed that the odds of being trampled by zebras goes up considerably if you have just proved black equals white. [3rdrock.co.uk]
    • 1 in 10,000 ?, thats a bit low for my liking, and now I am more worried about the zebra's than the RIAA.

      I have a rock in my house that's been keeping zebras away for 25 years. If you are interested, I can sell you a chunk of the rock for a very reasonable price.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:30AM (#6427866)
    From the article :

    THE RIAA is one of the most evil organizations on the planet. [.....]. If you want a good start, go to Slashdot, and do a search for RIAA.

    Charlie Demerjian is obviously a junior journalist ...

  • Or you could ya know..

    Continue to pirate mp3's from P2P programs :)

  • Change my files?!!?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Davak ( 526912 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#6427885) Homepage
    In an effort to stamp out piracy, the software should also do something that most people would find a little offensive, in a spyware sort of way. The software should search all cache directories, and, without the users knowledge, or more controversially, permission, and rename all .MP3s and .OGGs found to the encrypted file types. Guilt is presumed, that should make the $!#£@*rs happy.

    Sounds like a great idea up to this point! What the hell are they thinking? Why would you need to do this?

    Why should all the songs that I personally rip and use LEGALLY be changed to some other format?

    This guy does have a great idea... I don't know why he threw this little curve ball.

    Davak
    • by bpm140 ( 92250 )
      The author suggests searching all "CACHE* directories and encrypting them. This is an (honestly weak) attempt to limit people from requesting songs and then keeping them on their computer for reuse, which I think would be theft in the RIAA's eyes.

      As long as you weren't ripping your own music into this program's cache directory, it would be safe.
      • You got it. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Groo Wanderer ( 180806 ) <charlie@NOspAM.semiaccurate.com> on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:20PM (#6428318) Homepage
        That is basically the point. The RIAA would think it is theft, but it most likely technically lives up to the letter of the law. The hope was that any brain dead monkey could go in, copy the files, and have an MP3 collection from it. *THAT* would be illegal though, but the company has nothing to do with it, and frowns on cache tampering, just look, it is in their terms of use. :)

        -Charlie (The articles author)
  • Poking a few holes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by velo_mike ( 666386 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#6427889)
    So if I understand this correctly, music will be streamed to "cache sites" which will than be available for streaming to end users and the cache sites will pay the use fee. IANAL but that places the cache sites in the same boat as file swappers today, distributing music without a license. What am I missing that makes this legal?
    • not to mention it should take a whole 42 seconds for someone to write a file decrypter to make the files playable again... (from the sound of his explanation it would consist of a batch file with the line 'rename *.mpx *.mp3', and *maybe* fix the header)

    • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:25PM (#6428347) Homepage
      What am I missing that makes this legal?

      What you're missing is that he is proposing paying the $0.0007 fee per song they have written into law. (The fee is several times higher than radio stations pay.)

      On the otherhand, you're right about pokinh holes into it. He just looked at the fee structure and ignored the other 99.44% of the law. For example the fact that the law forbids listeners the ability to select what they hear or even to know what is coming up. He also completely ignored the $2000 minimum fee per broadcaster. I doubt you could consider the entire system to be one broadcaster. It doesn't matter what the per-song fee is if each person has to pay $2000 per year.

      I'm sure he trips over several other parts of the law, but those are the first two points to pop to mind.

      -
    • by Helter ( 593482 )
      You're getting hung up on the details, and not understanding them.

      What he's describing is little more than Kazaa, but with an accounting feature that will track file dowloads and pay the RIAA .07 cents per download. Basically, it's a P2P system in a radio stations clothing.

      This way file sharing would be charged at the same rate that radio stations do.
  • Not a chance... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by volkris ( 694 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#6427899)
    He's obviously not read the regulations very carefully...

    Among other places where this scheme is legally questionable, the rules explicitly prevent radio stations from doing things like allowing listeners to democratically select which songs to play.

    There are also a whole list of regulations specifying what orders songs can't play in, how often they can play, etc.

    And that's not even getting into the somewhat complicated setup with the actual music houses that collect royalties, which aren't the RIAA itself.

    This guy needs to do a little more research and try again.
    • Re:Not a chance... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Therlin ( 126989 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:12AM (#6428017)
      Among other places where this scheme is legally questionable, the rules explicitly prevent radio stations from doing things like allowing listeners to democratically select which songs to play

      Actually that's what this XM station [xmradio.com] is all about. People vote for their favorite songs (online or on the phone) and the top 20 are played. Then the votes are counted again and a new playlist is generated.

      • A voting scheme is different than allowing individual users to choose each song they want to hear. As was the scheme put forward by the author of the article.
      • Re:Not a chance... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zurab ( 188064 )

        Actually that's what this XM station is all about. People vote for their favorite songs (online or on the phone) and the top 20 are played. Then the votes are counted again and a new playlist is generated.

        I thought one of the major complaints about 99% of the radio stations was that they only play top 20 songs and don't give a chance to smaller bands. Hence, stations often get boring, annoying and lack variety while at the same time extinguishing any chance of a healthy competition. Everyone knows this is

    • Are there any regulations about what the definition of a "station" is? Or how long something can be cached?

      I picture something like this... I've got a playlist on my computer with a few, or a few dozen, or a few hundred songs. My media player accesses this list, and also monitors a central server that recieves information from hundreds of different webcasters about their current and upcoming playlist.

      Any time one of those webcasters starts to broadcast a song thats on my list, my media player switches
      • Are there any regulations about what the definition of a "station" is? Or how long something can be cached?

        Yes, there are lots of them.

        My media player accesses this list, and also monitors a central server that recieves information from hundreds of different webcasters about their current and upcoming playlist.

        You're not allowed to advertise your upcoming playlist. I believe there are also restrictions against devices which automatically switch between stations, but I don't remember exactly what the

    • Please no, don't suggest he try again. This guy couldn't write a fucking grocery list much less an article on how to put the RIAA in their place.

      The original poster mentioned the good information in here if you could get past the writing but I think he undersold how bad the venting was in this and overplayed the quality of the information. It wasn't worth the read.
    • Among other places where this scheme is legally questionable, the rules explicitly prevent radio stations from doing things like allowing listeners to democratically select which songs to play.

      Correct. They are also not allowed to publish playlists of future broadcasts; at least in my country, but I guess that's about the same in the US. What you could do without violating the law would be setting up software that constantly monitors the webcast of a radio station and rips all songs that match a keyword f

    • Re:Not a chance... (Score:5, Informative)

      by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:07PM (#6428254) Journal
      Here are some details [rice.edu]:
      • No interactivity - Program can not be created for the user. Requested songs not played within the hour or at a specified time.
      • No more than 3 songs in a two hour period from the same album/CD
      • No more than 4 songs in a two hour period from the same artist or box set
      • No advance notice (published) of music, unless the format is classical and you have a history, prior to 1998 of doing it.
      • Archived programs must be at least 5 hours long and not available for more than 2 weeks.
      • Webcasters can't allow user, if feasible, from scanning for a particular song.
      • Webcasters can't encourage users to copy/record music. If webcasters use a system that helps to prevent recording of the webcast, webcasters must enable the copy prevention option.

      There are others in the linked text, and in the law itself.

  • In actuality, the entire article in an anagram.

    What it really says is:

    How To Quickly and Easy Get Posted on Slashdot

    In a time where flattery will get you everywhere, there is no group to which this better applies than the geeks. Of course, we could have referenced other geek sites (that one with the 5 in it), but we chose not to. Geeks, who feel oppressed and underloved by society, love nothing more than to see their name in lights (or pixels) by a worthy editorial such as this. We chose to use the most whimsical of the geek-sites, Slashdot.org, and will see how quickly it works. A breakdown is as follows:


    Read Entire Translation... [localhost]
  • Distribution of IP? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johny_qst ( 623876 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:42AM (#6427904) Journal
    IANAL so I would like to know what requirements are set upon the webcaster of audio for purchasing the IP that is being streamed? Must the 'DJ' account for his having purchased and through fair use ripped the copy that is streaming across the net? Can a lawyer help me out here.
  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:43AM (#6427908) Homepage Journal
    I thought one of the conditions of legal webcasting was a limitation on the ability of the user to choose the songs to listen to (you have to insert some sort of delay factor, can't play songs one after the other from a CD/artist, etc.)

    Additionally, this form of 'encrypted caching' is almost certainly reversable by the user without too much effort (you have a player that can play the stuff, right?) and would almost guarantee a legal battle.

    I applaud the out-of-box thinking, but still think the only way to win is not to play. That, or just play indies I guess.

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by theNote ( 319197 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:46AM (#6427922)
    He links to the rules regarding royalties, but the method violates virtually every regulation governing webcasts:

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#11 4
  • by PhotoBoy ( 684898 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:49AM (#6427935)
    I've got an idea! Lets flood the P2P network with fake files that have the same names and file sizes as genuine music files that the RIAA would be looking for. OK yeah sounds stupid, but keep reading. :) Then when the RIAA knocks on your door you can claim you were actually trying to help them by poisoning P2P networks to get the "evil" pirates. After they falsely accuse you, get on TV/Radio/Web telling everyone about the RIAA's false accusations and after a few reports of false prosecution they'll have to stop trying to sue individuals because there will be too much doubt over them actually finding any genuine file swappers. You wouldn't need to do this for very long either, after 5 or 6 false accusations they'd stop and you could remove your "fake" files from the network. Sure in the short term we're killing P2P ourselves, but if it stops the RIAA then I'm for it. :)
    • last time i got busted (for using eMule) they included a md5 hash of the file proving what it was and sent the info to my ISP requesting termination of my account. (i have since simply added a filter to block them from spying my traffic and continue to not only download but GLADLY upload to the fullest of my ISP's capabilities)

      they would realize that you were spreading fakes, and allow it to continue.
  • Is his math right? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:54AM (#6427956)
    It looks like he forgot one multiplication.

    .07 cents per song played

    Played 10 times per cached copy
    4 MB per song
    20 GB total cached songs
    20,000/4 * .07 = $3.50

    .07 cents times 10 plays = .7 cents

    So isn't the answer $35?

    • The writer made more math mistakes than this. He quotes 2 different royalty rates, neither one of which adds up to 70 cents/ thousand users. The above calculation is wrong. His idea that 1/10,000 is a preposterously low number is completely out of whack-- the odds of getting struck by a meteorite are roughly 1/ billion, since it's only happened once in recorded history; of course, a really big one would hit a lot of people.

      His "cunning scheme" is pathetically transparent, and the Inquirer should be ashamed
  • This is the main reason why we are losing this battle. People like Charlie Demerjian [mailto], so vehemently oppose the [RI|MP]AA, their words and ideas are poisoned to the point it does nothing but turn off the casual reader and make us look like a pack of bloody savages.

    While he may have a good point (donation to the EFF [eff.org]), this reads like a 17 year old who just got punished and is now lashing out at his/her parents.

    We need THOROUGH research into ideas and solutions and then we can practice them. And believe me, when the solution which is right and true (as well as easy and quick) DOES come out, it will be accepted and adopted by all (references: Napster, KaZaa, et. al.).
    • You know what you already lost the casual reader. You can't compete with the PR power of RIAA. As far as the casual reader is concerned you are a thief.

      It's also worth noting that the casual reader can be convinced of anything. Before the war something like 60% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11. After the war the number is still above 40%. If people can be convinced to be loyal to one brand of sugared water over another they can be convinced of anything.
  • by Mickut ( 31426 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @10:56AM (#6427960)
    Additionally, the files should be obfuscated in a way that they are not able to be played directly on any media players other than those that are used to collect royalties. Inquirer Labs US proposes that all files have their names changed to .MPx or .OGx to prevent misuse.

    Hold on while I obfuscate my code by renaming all the .py files to .pl as everyone surely knows .pl looks just line noise. :-)

    On a more serious note, how sad is it that a person describing a technical solution comes up with such a method for "obsucating" a file. Or are the MS-world media player dumb enough to ignore the contents of a file if the extension is not known? I know that you wouldn't be able to just double-click on them, unless you tell it (on the first time) which program to use with those files, and most of the ordinary people are too scared to open "unknown" files with any program.

  • Math Challenged (Score:5, Interesting)

    by devnullkac ( 223246 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:08AM (#6427992) Homepage
    A closer look at the webcast rates shows that it charges .07 cents per song per listener. For the math challenged, if you have 100,000 listeners, you pay 70 cents per song.

    Unfortunately, the author is math challenged to the tune of 100x: that's actually 70 dollars per song.


  • There is software (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlueTooth ( 102363 ) * on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:09AM (#6427997) Homepage
    no current internet radio software allows you to pick the songs you want to hear

    False.

    It is called Otto [cardhouse.com].
  • by Rick Richardson ( 87058 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:11AM (#6428008) Homepage
    Sheesh, the article author doesn't understand the RIAA rules. Here they are in an easy to read format...

    http://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/webcasting.ht ml

    His idea of tiny, one-song webcasters won't fly. However, the idea could be modified to 100-song webcasters and you might make it work, for an end user cost of about 10 cents for the 100 songs.

    • In the link you provided, very good by the way, it says:

      "If you want to do something different than what I described above; for example, if you want to let users choose the songs to download, or you want to archive dj sets, or you want to allow the world at large to collaboratively dj by voting on what song to play next, or anything at all interactive that actually takes advantage of the power of the internet: well... you're fucked. When you go into that world, you are out of the ``compulsory license'' ter
  • The better way... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian.mcgroarty@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:14AM (#6428018) Homepage
    The better way to infuriate the RIAA would be to have a "station" that's really a framework to broadcast music contributed by the users, and to then have those users pay the broadcasting fees.

    I promise you that it would cost the RIAA more to process a five thousand 7 cent checks than they'd earn in the exercise. :-)

  • Lifted directly from the article [theinquirer.net]:

    You would think that more people would stand up to protect their legal rights from being trampled, but alas, we live in a world of really really dumb sheep [foxnews.com].

    Their link, not mine.

    Love it.
    • There were a few things that were edited out of the origional, and a few things that should have been, but weren't. First, thanks for the complement, I was giggling my ass of when I thought of that.

      As for the stuff cut, there was a link on Mussolini dying that doesn't take much to guess the contents of, and a proposed one to the editorial policies that I will save for another day. :)

      Additionally, I found out the use of the phrase of P*gF*ck*rs gets censored on the Inq.

      I didn't mind any of these changes t
      • Good article, though I haven't had time to properly digest it all yet (working). I'm not sure I agree with the person who posted the blurb about unnecessary spite. I think all of it is fairly well deserved and was done with a hefty dose of humor.

        Fsck 'em.
    • hehe, clicked the link, missread the lates headlines:

      "Rice Defends President's Claim Transcript: Bush adviser talks to FNC Bush Says He Has Faith in Telnet "

      its too early for this
  • 1.Read AHRA.
    2.Set up webcast.
    3.Wait 3 seconds.
    4.Invite RIAA lawyers for a cup of coffee (they'll be at your door by then).
    5.Tie them to a chair.
    6.Play rockon.html.
    7.Videotape the torture.
    8.Sell video.
    9.Profit.
    10.Go back to bed.
  • Umm... no. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:42AM (#6428145) Homepage Journal
    Can somebody come up with a practical idea that informs the public of the evils of RIAA and the true virtues and benefits of P2P and why RIAA must be stopped in their campaign to destroy the technology.

    Gee, we could go on that 24 hour news program, CNN. Uh oh. It's owned by Time Warner...

    I know, we can go on National news.... oh, yeah, maybe not....

    Well, there's always RADIO, but then again, I guess RIAA would take a dim view of Clear Channel doing that, and would cut them off...

    Or, I know! We can use P2P to... Oh, yeah, P2P is being villified and made illegal...

    (humor mode on)
    Well, than it's back to what I've been saying for ages. Quit buying RIAA music, tell your friends, and ask they tell their friends. When RIAA members see their sales go down by even 30%, I suspect that they would start putting pressure on RIAA to tone it down.

    • Re:Umm... no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kerrbear ( 163235 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:16PM (#6428303)

      Well, than it's back to what I've been saying for ages. Quit buying RIAA music, tell your friends, and ask they tell their friends. When RIAA members see their sales go down by even 30%, I suspect that they would start putting pressure on RIAA to tone it down.

      Nah, they'll just blame the 30% decrease on P2P file sharing and legislate a tax on computer equipment to make up the difference.

    • Re:Umm... no. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GrassMunk ( 677765 )
      Problem is they won't attribute the sales dropping to people not buying CD's they'll just say "Well, sales dropped another 30%, looks like more people are pirating CD's online then we thought, get our friends at Washington on the phone."

      Thats the problem, no company ( or group of them in this case ) will admit to sales dropping because of customer dissatisfaction. They'll say its because of market trends, because of a recession or because of webcasting etc.

      The RIAA isn't Evil in itself. Its just like two
  • I have a better idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @11:54AM (#6428202)
    Set up your streaming web server, and pick a song. Any song, preferably a long one. "Tubular Bells, Part 1" is a good choice, and runs about 24 minutes so you could play it 60 times a day. Every day.

    100,000 people would probably tune in at least once, more for the novelty value than that they like Mike Oldfield's work if I'm guessing right. Then you dutifully send your check to the RIAA . . . for seven cents.

    Actually, if you were into that sort of thing, you could probably run an accounting DOS on them by paying your royalties, seven cents at a time. Make sure it's a check, because those take a certain amount of work to process. Or better yet, pay by credit card, seven cents at a time. MasterVisa charges a certain amount to process a credit card transaction, and it's got to be more than seven cents. (Even if it doesn't if you do it by mail you have to have someone physically open the envelope and at least look at the letter, which takes time and money. And you would, of course want to send it by letter.)

    If people really want to peeve the RIAA a certain amount of old-fashioned monkeywrenching might do the job better than an elaborate high-tech solution.

    Disclaimer: This post for educational and entertainment purposes only. Do not try this at home unless you are a trained professional, and probably not even then. I will under no circumstances be liable for any monetary damage this causes you, including the seven cents you're out. Close cover before striking. Your mileage may vary. The management is not responsible.
  • and, if some of the posters above are right, probably is.

    The whole point of his idea is to transform the webcasting royalties into a device for selling mp3 files on demand. Buying mp3 files on demand is a great idea, possibly even under a compulsory licensing regime, but 0.07 cents a song is really too little.

    I recently heard someone describe the current stage of the IP discussion as "prerevolutionary rigidification". He then shared his worries that the harder the forces of change were bolted down, the
  • Or maybe it's just coincidence.

    First, if webcasting is "so expensive that the small guys are forced out", how come the same price structure is so cool for playing songs legally?

    Second, what's with the missing zeroes. I mean, just proofread the damn article once, and make sure 0.0007 is not 0.07 or whatever.

    Thirdly, good journalists do not mix emotion and reporting. Yes, you touch a chord with those who feel like you, but they're listening anyhow. And the rest of us simply say "immature shit" and stop
  • by puntloos ( 673234 )
    The sad part of all this is that the RIAA seem to be working with a simple concept: "How to make more money for themselves".

    And they are thereby perpetuating the vicious circle that is going on here. What happens is this:

    1/ RIAA sees profits go down (heaven forbid they acknowledge that their products are discretionary buys, which are are always the first to decrease when the economy is in decline, like right now)
    2/ RIAA does something (new) that gets them profit. Like raise CD prices. Or sue a few p
  • Ok, so we talk about setting some songs on some computers with a bit of clever hiding so it won't be d/l'ed, but streamed it to users on demand. Wow, what an idea....sure wish we had that for the Mac, oh wait we did, and it got broken and turned into a P2P technology.
    It really was a good idea the daap:// protocol hidden in iTunes and allowed anyone to connect to a playlist and play it the way they wanted to, but then someone got greedy and wanted to copy the songs they were listening to, so iL
  • One thing about all all these calculations and schemes to "deal" with problems like these is that they are not like physical "laws of nature" which cannot be circumvented, and *legal* laws/rules that are basically constructs intended to serve a purpose that is determined by those with the power to do so. Just offhand - if there is a widespread eruption of such cheap webcast stations, what's to stop the RIAA et al to rework the licensing agreements to make it no longer worthwhile? Say, a signup/startup cos
  • by smack_attack ( 171144 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:39PM (#6428426) Homepage
    ...is that he got paid to write this trainwreck of an article.
  • by Greyjack ( 24290 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:50PM (#6428489) Homepage
    Let's do some math. Say you have music of some sort playing most of the time during the day while you're working at your PC, either at home or at the office. To make the math easy, let's say 10 hours a day, 10 songs every hour, 25 days out of month. (this is typical for me, at least)

    So.... 2500 * $0.0007 = $1.75. Let's call it two bucks, just to make things easy.

    On top of that two bucks, what other fees would be involved? Let's see... if we're streaming the feeds at 64kbps, over 250 hours, I'm using 8GB of bandwidth. If we're paying, say, $0.25/GB bandwidth for broadcast, that's another two bucks per month.

    So, we're already at four bucks per month, just for bandwidth and music licensing. What about the other overhead costs -- servers? Software? Sysadmin detail? Even if we're doing this in an open source fashion, our time still has value; let's say that by distributing the work amongst Free 'net community, we manage to keep it down to another two bucks of cpu/server/development/admin per user.

    So, we're at six dollars per month for the ability to listen to audio webcasts. Which, by the terms of the RIAA's license agreement, means we're talking web radio here -- someone sets the playlist, and you get to listen to it. You don't get to control the feed. You *can* switch feeds, though, so you could conceivably maintain a central server list of what's playing where, and what's upcoming, and automatically hop from feed to feed -- but, that's either gonna be choppy, or you're going to have delays while you're waiting for "Lose Yourself" to start playing on JoeBob's homebrewradio after "Mmmmmbop" finishes up 17 seconds from now.

    What if JoeBob decides to shut his webcast service down so he can max his framerate in Halflife2? *foop!* your song just cut out halfway through.

    What if you want to listen to Pepesito Reyes' La Guantanamera, but nobody else is streaming it?

    How does all the music get into the system in the first place? Or does it rely on people's own personal collections?

    So... $6 per month can get a fair amount of music broadcasts, but not without a fair amount of headaches.

    Contrast this with Pressplay and Rhapsody, which provide access to hundreds of thousands of songs on demand, through easily installed software, for $10 per month. Download, install, listen to whatever you want.

    Are the commercial stream-on-demand services enough better to justify the extra $4/month?
  • by Altheus ( 237916 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @01:27PM (#6428711)
    There's a lot of worthless spite in this article, but if you can look past that, you might see something worth thinking about.

    Coincidentally I've developed my "looking past worthless spite" ability significantly since the day I first pointed my browser to /.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday July 13, 2003 @01:53PM (#6428851) Homepage
    Have you ever thought of becoming a commercial broadcaster yourself ?

    Haven't got the time: an hour or two a day is all that it would take - automated of course.

    Haven't got the bandwidth: commercially broadcast to a couple of your friends.

    Pay the RIAA: naturally, be generous - round it up to a cheque for one penny per month. (do the math)

    Any idea what the banks charge companies to cash cheques: in the UK it is about 40p (some 25 cents).

    Any idea how much administrative time it would take to process all those cheques ?

    OK: this falls down if you need to pay membership to be able to broadcast in the first place; if not this could be some fun.
  • Fuzzy Math (Score:3, Informative)

    by dentar ( 6540 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @02:16PM (#6428969) Homepage Journal
    A closer look at the webcast rates shows that it charges .07 cents per song per listener. For the math challenged, if you have 100,000 listeners, you pay 70 cents per song. It's seventy DOLLARS per song. 100000 listeners * .07 cents = 7000 cents.
  • Already been done... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Prep ( 26315 ) <bix@bixwCOLAorld.com minus caffeine> on Sunday July 13, 2003 @03:06PM (#6429203) Homepage
    Check out LaunchCast [launch.com]
    They've been doing this for several years now (create a personal radio station). They get by the rules that which "explicitly prevent radio stations from doing things like allowing listeners to democratically select which songs to play" by letting listeners rate music, which performs two tasks: 1) a rather TiVo like function, using your ratings to find new music you might also like and 2) to help decide what songs you get to listen to. Note that listeners aren't saying "I'd like to hear song X next." Instead, listeners are simply showing preference for a song, artist, album, genre, or other member's preferences. The best feature is the "Red X" option, to ban a song, artist, or album from your station. It's quite swank. Best of all, it's free for basic service, and an actually reasonable subscription for enhanced features.
  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @04:35PM (#6429594) Homepage
    He talks about how the royalty of $0.0007 (actually $0.000762 under the royalty plan he is talking about) per song really adds up for the small broadcaster: with 100k listeners, it's over $0.70 per song, and so only commercial stations can afford it.

    I don't know what internet that guy is on, but here on Earth's internet, if you have 100k listeners to a song, you ain't a small broadcaster!

    For a more realistic look at the small broadcaster, go take a look at Live365 [live365.com]. A plan with 100 simultaneous listeners for your station (way more realistic than 100k listeners) starts at $8/month, and that includes the royalties.

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