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CEA President Slams RIAA Audio Flag 92

Grv writes "The president of the Consumer Electronics Association isn't happy with the RIAA. According to Ars Technica, Gary Shapiro accuses the RIAA of trying to shut off fair use by pushing for laws like the audio broadcast flag. Apparently the RIAA is all talk and no action, however, as Shapiro laments the fact that the organization has failed to come up with an implementation plan or even attend meetings with the industry. This has angered electronics companies and radio stations who have pressed ahead with digital radio plans only to see the RIAA backtrack on its support for home recording."
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CEA President Slams RIAA Audio Flag

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  • Old tactics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by melchoir55 ( 218842 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:33PM (#15892308)
    It almost seems as if the RIAA is actually *trying* to piss off as many people as possible. Has anyone examined the current chairman to see if he has any inclings towards being a comedian?
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:37PM (#15892321)
      Has anyone examined the current chairman to see if he has any inclings towards being a comedian?

      Does being caught giggling on his way to the bank count?

      KFG
    • Re:Old tactics (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 )
      He is probably intentionally keeping himself at arms' length from everyone he considers the "opposition", lest he see the light like Hilary Rosen sort of did. [huffingtonpost.com]
      • Re:Old tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @08:31PM (#15892662) Journal
        lest he see the light like Hilary Rosen sort of did.
        Lawyers and Corporate Officers are paid to hold certain positions and say certain things. That is their job and no, they aren't allowed to contradict their official position while they're off the clock. Since Hilary Rosen doesn't work for 'Them' anymore, she's free to criticize all she likes.

        All that said, "image" is much more important than "results" when it comes to anything that wouldn't fit into the corporate game plan. It makes tons of sense for the RIAA to propose and/or setup a completely ineffective technical group for the broadcast flag, because without a law in place, they don't have any significant amount of control over what can or cannot be done.

        Once the law is passed, they can rush through technical implementations and force the HW guys to comply, even if (portions of) the law is utter shiat and wouldn't hold up in a court room. At that point, it doesn't matter what a Judge says, because the hardware specs are already in place.
        • "Once the law is passed, they can rush through technical implementations and force the HW guys to comply, even if (portions of) the law is utter shiat and wouldn't hold up in a court room. At that point, it doesn't matter what a Judge says, because the hardware specs are already in place."

          Unless of course no one buys such bitterly broken and useless hardware they have to bury them in a landfill somewhere. Of course I'm having a hunch they are already digging a hole for UMB movies right now.
    • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @08:06PM (#15892592)
      "see if he has any inclings towards being a comedian?"

      Oh that's all we need, a SCAA (Standup Commedians Association of Arseholes), that go around stopping people from "stealing jokes from comedians and depriving them of earning a living". No longer will it be legal to share a joke amongst friends that you heard on tv last night. Young children will be sued for forwarding emails with jokes on to their friends.

      ugh.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The RIAA moniker conveys that it's a broad-based association, when in fact it's a front for the big four, a cartel. Why not use a more evocative name, one that makes it hard for Warner, Sony, Universal and EMI to hide.

      How about WESU, pronounced 'We Sue'. Or perhaps WUSE, pronounced (variously), 'Wuss', 'Wussy', or 'We Use'?

      So for every post on RIAA, s/RIAA/WESU/g'....
  • Well,doy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:36PM (#15892318) Homepage
    FTA:
    Shapiro's statement reflects a growing awareness among many technology advocates, and a long-held position at Ars Technica, that digital rights management schemes can be abused to create new revenue models at the expense of fair use, and the truth.

    Can be abused? CAN BE!? This is a capitalist, corporate-driven nation. I think it would be more accurate to say that there is a "possibilty" that it "might not" be abused.
  • by binarysins ( 926875 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:37PM (#15892322) Homepage
    that the CEA is neither a grandmother that has never owned a computer nor an aging member of a washed out metal band; maybe if the CEA chairman dressed up as one of those he could trick them into talking to him.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And he's like, Steve, Steve, Steve, I need your help on something, I'm out in the Hamptons and I'm doing a crossword puzzle here and I'm trying to remember that word that you Eastern religion hippie freaks are always using ... what is it? Five letters, begins with K. Kurma? Korma? No, that's some kind of Indian food. Oh wait. Karma. [forbes.com] That's it, isn't it? Karma? I think that's it. Great. Whew! But anyway, so what's new? I'm a little out of touch these days, haven't been reading the papers, just out here on v
  • by wwiiol_toofless ( 991717 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:38PM (#15892328)
    Punch Lars Ulrich in the nose...

  • Vicious Circle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saxerman ( 253676 ) * on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:42PM (#15892337) Homepage
    It used to require expensive equipment to record music, but now near professional recordings can be had with equipment in the sub thousands of dollars range. The price of booking time in professional grade studios has plummeted, so bands without the technical wherewithal to record their own tracks can pay near-reasonable fees to indy-band studios (shameless plug: http://www.joelwanasek.com/ [joelwanasek.com]) and have it done professionally.

    It's now been four years since I last purchased music from a RIAA label. Not only do I completely disagree with their business practices, but I consider them a legacy business model that has a greatly diminished role in a digital world. Unfortunately most musicians I know either disagree with me, or don't care enough to make a stand. Mostly they just want to play music rather than get into some philosophical debate over technology or copyright.

    Despite my preaching, a friend of mine in a local band (shameless plug: http://www.rictusgrin.com/home [rictusgrin.com]) would still be willing to sign with a major label. They are currently still independent, but if given a set of terms they could live with, the desire to quit their day jobs and become 'professional musicians' is bigger than any self publishing model they've been able to cook up. And that means not giving away the music for free on the chance to sign it over to a 'real' label.

    • Re:Vicious Circle (Score:5, Interesting)

      by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @07:05PM (#15892406) Homepage Journal
      And that means not giving away the music for free on the chance to sign it over to a 'real' label. so let me get this straight. You are disappointed with the friend of yours because he doesn't want to give his music away for free? I just want to clarify this point.
      • Re:Vicious Circle (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Saxerman ( 253676 ) * on Friday August 11, 2006 @07:28PM (#15892486) Homepage
        So let me get this straight. You are disappointed with the friend of yours because he doesn't want to give his music away for free? I just want to clarify this point.

        Certainly not. I respect that he has the right to do as he wishes with his music. My disappointment is that my philosophical beliefs are unable to provide a compelling business model which we can both support. It would seem to make sense that musicians just want to play and their fans just want to listen, with neither giving much concern over how it happens. Which leads me to question why I do?

    • It's one of the great failings of our internet world that we still can't create a viable alternative to the major labels. If you think of all the technology and interconnectivity we've got going, the frictionless transfer of art and the (relatively) easy means of payment... how are we NOT outselling any of those companies? Like you said, even people who KNOW are really dreaming of moving to the legacy world. The legacy world SHOULD be adapting to the internet domain and their rules, but it's working the
      • Re:Vicious Circle (Score:2, Informative)

        by generic-man ( 33649 )
        Record labels pay the bills better than PayPal tip jars do.

        Eventually the sum of all the independent artists' sales will surpass the sales of artists you'll find at Wal-Mart [thelongtail.com], but that still doesn't guarantee that the indies will make any amount of money or gain any significant exposure.
        • Re:Vicious Circle (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MrAndrews ( 456547 )
          That's true, but that's the flaw, I guess. Online folks prefer tip jars to payment-required setups, and unfortunately that's the primary audience for internet-based artists. If you assume 99% of people won't pay for things they enjoy on principle (maybe partly because of being abused by RIAA types in the past), it's still more lucrative to have that 1% of the head rather than 1% of the tail. What's needed is for people to either start voluntarily paying for things they value, or for internet artists to u
      • It's one of the great failings of our internet world that we still can't create a viable alternative to the major labels. If you think of all the technology and interconnectivity we've got going, the frictionless transfer of art and the (relatively) easy means of payment... how are we NOT outselling any of those companies?

        Because no one has gotten together to do this. Sure, there are a few sites out there for indie bands, but there are far more groups that record for the RIAA than there are independents. B

    • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @07:26PM (#15892483)
      It used to require expensive equipment to record music, but now near professional recordings can be had with equipment in the sub thousands of dollars range.


      When you do professional level recording, as opposed to talented amateur level, the biggest expense is not equipment, but studio. A studio suited for recording must have sound insulation and acoustics that are as expensive to get today as they have always been.


      Basically, sound insulation needs double or triple walls built of materials that are sound dampening at all frequencies, which means high mass. Building two ceilings and two walls of concrete or solid brick, plus a double layer of concrete floor that rests on high density urethane foam isn't cheap. And then you come to the acoustics part. All the above mentioned room needs to be big enough to have acceptable reverberation times. Or else the walls, ceiling, and floor need to have a thick layer of echo dampening material and the reverberation added digitally. Not cheap either.


      However, having said all that, I agree with you that the RIAA business model is dinosaur carrion today. What I cannot imagine is how backyard "pirates" can compete will industrial scale production. For instance, let's compare music with a traditional product: steel nails. Anyone can make a nail at home, with less equipment and time than it takes to copy a CD. Get a piece of steel wire, a hammer and an anvil. Flatten one end of the wire to make a head, pinch the other end to make a point, and there you are: a nail! But why would anyone make a steel nail at home when any hardware store will sell you nails by the barrel at a reasonable price? The common sizes of nails are so cheap that they won't even sell them by the unit, the smaller amount of nails you can buy are boxes with twenty or so.


      Generalizing from nails to all kind of fasteners, counting nails, screws, bolts, rivets, etc, there are more standard catalog types of fasteners in the market then CD titles available. So, why can't I get a 1/8"x1/2" round headed screw from the street vendor? Because hardware is priced according to the traditional free market rules. Calculate what your investment will get you at the bank, see if you can get a better margin selling hardware, price your fasteners slightly better than the bank will pay you, taking into account other factors such as risk and liquidity.


      The error in the media and software industries is that they forgot capitalism and the free market and tried to invent their own rules. Their prices aren't based on the traditional formulas, they are trying to price their products based on the extreme outliers. If anybody at all is willing to pay $25 for a CD they assume that's the right price for all CDs.


      The correct formula, under the capitalist system that has been working for centuries would be, if it costs $0.90 to produce and sell a CD, if the bank pays you 6%, then selling the CD at $1.00 is an excellent business proposition. Multiplying the price by 25 will lower the market by a factor of more than 25, it's not worth it.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Basically, sound insulation needs double or triple walls built of materials that are sound dampening at all frequencies, which means high mass."

        You demonstrate by paragraph three you haven't a clue what you're talking about. I doubt you've seen a picture of a studio, much less stepped foot in one. I've worked in studios big and small for two decades and have yet to see one the likes you describe.

        Multi-million selling releases have been recorded in converted garages. The first Travelling Wilburys for exampl
        • I've worked in studios big and small for two decades and have yet to see one the likes you describe.

          True. The best acoustics are found in bathrooms, not studios. Anyone who has been in the recording industry for a long time knows what I'm talking about; many hit songs were recorded in a bathroom of a well-known studio rather than the recording area of the studio itself.


      • Yes, but how much of that is overcharged by contractors who don't do that sort of work much and are trying to work to spec that they don't understand?

        I wonder if, as the demand for small studios increases, there might not come into being carpenters who do it because they love it, and aren't as expensive as the ones who are working to specs they don't comprehend?

        I'm a small time carpenter and I'd love to do work like that. It's not anywhere near as complicated as building codes
      • That's insightful but your conclusion is fallacious for a few reasons. First of all, the reason there is trouble modeling these items traditionally is because the cost, unlike for an album or piece of software, is primarily a fixed overhead. You pay the money in advance to either software developers or engineers or studios or bands and that is your largest cost. Pricing either software or music at the raw material price plus a small margin is at best risky and quite likely doomed. You need to recover the ti
      • by mochan_s ( 536939 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:00AM (#15893385)
        Basically, sound insulation needs double or triple walls built of materials that are sound dampening at all frequencies, which means high mass. Building two ceilings and two walls of concrete or solid brick, plus a double layer of concrete floor that rests on high density urethane foam isn't cheap. And then you come to the acoustics part. All the above mentioned room needs to be big enough to have acceptable reverberation times. Or else the walls, ceiling, and floor need to have a thick layer of echo dampening material and the reverberation added digitally. Not cheap either.

        That's probably a requirement for concert halls not probably not as strict for recording studios. A lot of instruments are closed miked and the cohesive room reverb is probably added in the mixing or mastering process.

        Anyway, a basement of any house meets most of the requirements. Low celiling with insulation, thick walls on the bottom and sides. Insulation boards with good acoustic can be had for cheap.

        Plus, listening to some of the music that's out today, I even doubt there is any actual mic recording except for voice involved.

        The error in the media and software industries is that they forgot capitalism and the free market and tried to invent their own rules. Their prices aren't based on the traditional formulas, they are trying to price their products based on the extreme outliers. If anybody at all is willing to pay $25 for a CD they assume that's the right price for all CDs.

        Capitalism doesn't imply here since record companies are granted monopoly via copyright.

    • You know, my Physics teacher started his progressive rock band and produced an independent project. http://meson-pi.com/ [meson-pi.com]
    • What about back catalog material? I've been slowly building a library of the rock classics from the last century: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, etc.

      Part of creating and appreciating art is understanding and appreciating the art that came before. If I'm not buying these albums from RIAA-member labels then how do I study the past masters? Stealing the music by taking it from p2p networks doesn't appeal to me.

      True, when finding new media I can avoid that created by R
      • Re:Vicious Circle (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMfridaythang.com> on Friday August 11, 2006 @08:37PM (#15892674)
        "Stealing the music by taking it from p2p networks doesn't appeal to me."

        Not to beat a dead horse, but it's copyright infringment, not theft. From glancing at your user info page you've clearly been on Slashdot long enough to know the arguments, but for the sake of completeness:

        Theft or stealing requires directly depriving the owner of something. That is, the thief now has use of the item (or money, or land, or whatnot) while the original owner does not. Copyright infringment is often argued to be theft because the infringer deprives the copyright holder of potential revenue. That is, had the song/movie/software/etc not been available through free, infringing channels the infringer would have been forced to purchase it and provide the copyright holder monetary compensation (i.e. buy the cd/dvd/etc). However, copyright infringment does not *directly* deprive the copyright holder of the song/movie/software/etc or cause them to have less money than they started with, as the copyright holder (as well has whomever is distributing the copy) still have their own copies and no money is stolen. Thus, it's not theft.

        Please note, I'm not arguing morality at this point (see below for that argument). There are very strong arguments that copyright infringment, while not theft, is immoral and it is certainly illegal (at least in the United States). But it's not theft.

        Now for the argument on morallity...

        Not surprisingly, I think the distinction is so important because I don't place copyright infringment on the same moral level as theft. In the United States, at least, copyright is defined in the Constituion to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." I think the current copyright system is no longer for a 'limited' time in any sane fashion and, as such, have absolutely no moral qualms about infringing on old (subjectivly defined) copyrights. Thus I would say most - if not all - of the music you're talking about, the rock classics, should be fair game both constitutionally as well as morally in relation to the social contract copyright entails.

        More recent copyrights are, for me, a stickier issue and one I'm still mulling over. Currently, I do infringe on recent copyrights but make an effort to purchase whatever I feel is worth the money. For example, while I download Battlestar Galactica I also make sure to buy the DVD sets when they come out. Likewise with Futurama. Arrested Development may have to be my next purchase, purely from having downloaded episodes and enjoying them enough to think they deserve my money. Now, again, their are reasonable arguments against my position and you're welcome to try and convince me I'm wrong. I've thought about it a lot, so I don't think you will convince me, but I'll try to listen with an open mind.

        Please note I'm also not trying to make a semantics game to avoid calling myself a thief. I've stolen things before (including media I could have obtained through copyright infringment) and, in those cases, I was a thief. Plane and simple. However, when it comes to copyright infringment, I honestly beleive that, morally, I'm not stealing and that, in a more sane world, I wouldn't be doing anything illegal either.

        Just my two cents.
        -Trillian
        • More recent copyrights are, for me, a stickier issue and one I'm still mulling over. Currently, I do infringe on recent copyrights but make an effort to purchase whatever I feel is worth the money. For example, while I download Battlestar Galactica I also make sure to buy the DVD sets when they come out. Likewise with Futurama. Arrested Development may have to be my next purchase, purely from having downloaded episodes and enjoying them enough to think they deserve my money.

          Along those lines, I really wish

          • I know that if I was a famous RIAA artist or MPAA actor, I wouldn't dare get a Pay Pal tip jar. I'd realize that I alone didn't just sing and dance and have my ferrari delivered the next day to drive off to my new beachfront mansion. Therefore, by encouraging my fans to pay me directly I would be discouraging them from paying all of the people who really made all of the success happen, with my singing & dancing only being the main feature that sold the product. Whether I like them or not, they made t
            • Therefore, by encouraging my fans to pay me directly I would be discouraging them from paying all of the people who really made all of the success happen, with my singing & dancing only being the main feature that sold the product. Whether I like them or not, they made the difference between being a Friday night band at the cafe and being in every teenager's iPod in the country.

              The question is - did they make a positive difference or a negative one? By that I mean, are those people a barrier to every o
        • Blah blah blah. Stealing v Infringement. It's a pedantic semantic argument that has been lost by your side.

          Also, re: the argument whether civil disobedience is moral. Personal morality is a personal decision. People can have different morals with no one being wrong (or right).

          I don't want to do anything that gets me sued by a *AA because I have a car payment, mortgage, wife, and daughter that all need the money that would be used defending myself.

          • I completely respect that, outside the argument on morality, you simply don't want to do anything that may get you sued.

            But the first thing you said, "Blah blah blah. Stealing v Infringement. It's a pedantic semantic argument that has been lost by your side."

            Gotta disagree again....being pedantic for a moment (if I may) calling the argument pedantic implies trivial distinctions and narrow differences which aren't really that important. But in this case the differences are important both morally and legally.
    • Re:Vicious Circle (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ursabear ( 818651 )
      Indeed, great recordings are sometimes made in unusual places and in unusual venues. Sometimes, the character of the recording is that it wasn't done in a hyper-perfect studio with zillions of bits of equipment and ProTools, et. al. I listen to lots of music that was made in a jam in a room off the main studio room. Or in a small, creaky studio, or just in a room together in a garage...

      To be fair, there are extraordinary producers, studio professionals, and sound professionals that make a perfect album lo
  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:44PM (#15892342) Homepage
    CEA members bring in something like $600B in revenue annually, while RIAA members are responsible for something like $10B in revenue. Yes, the music industry is that small, so's the movie industry. Microsoft could buy them both with cash on hand.

    The entertainment industry, however, is a big marketing machine, and they know how to market to Congress, in addition to outright buying some of its members.

    Congress members are cheap. Literally. For a few hundred thousand here and there you can buy legislation. Pretty much any legislation. It takes something like $100K to turn a Congressman into your own personal puppet, like Fritz Hollings was for the entertainment industry. Put into perspective, it would be like me having to come up with a part of a penny in order to buy legislation to protect my business at the expense of every single person in the US.

    Dirty and grotesque as it may seem, the CEA needs to start buying congressmen. I would start with people who were previously and currently bought by the *AA. Turn them into your puppets. They'll do anything for campaign cash.

    Sadly, there's no real alternative...
    • I knew that M$ was the correct spelling, but are you saying they have 610 Billion dollars in cash? I think you are off by an order of magnitude.
    • I would call this approach "democracy redefined." I can't disagree with the "beat'm at their own game" approach, but it feels a lot like "if you can't beat'm, join'm." I would like it if they were just beaten.
    • It takes something like $100K to turn a Congressman into your own personal puppet, like Fritz Hollings was for the entertainment industry.

      Dianne Feinstein has gotten $218,344 from "TV/Movies/Music" interests and $179,231 from "Computers/Internet" interests.

      Even though the RIAA/MPAA aren't giving her significantly more than the tech industry, she's still the biggest supporter of DRM in congress.
      • When presented with the choice between her and the competing Republican religious whackjob who would probably also support DRM, what am I supposed to do?

        Melissa in California
        • When presented with the choice between her and the competing Republican religious whackjob who would probably also support DRM, what am I supposed to do?

          Well (as galling as it sounds--to me as well) the answer is to vote for the Republican.

          Feinstein has a significant ammount of power, because she has been a senator for years. She's on very important comittees, that decide on what future legislation will be proposed to the full congress, on subjects like copyright.

          The endorsement of a Democrat (in name), on

    • Sadly, there's no real alternative...

      Thank god there is a Real Alternative [free-codecs.com]

      -
  • by MrAndrews ( 456547 ) <mcmNO@SPAM1889.ca> on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:53PM (#15892367) Homepage
    It's either irony or payback that the RIAA - which complained bitterly about tech companies disregarding their investments during the filesharing boom - are now giddily disregarding the investments electronics companies have made in producing the next generation of audio systems. I mean, it's not like they weren't aware the discussions about new standards were going on. I think they're purposely keeping at arm's length so they can claim they didn't have a say in the implementation. It's like making an architect promise to make an invincible fortress, and then not participating in the design, because you want any potential failure to be entirely on the architect's head.

    The good part is that it looks like the RIAA is at least partially aware that DRM is destined to fail, because they seem to be setting someone else up to take the fall when it does. It's like the silver lining on a very, very dark cloud.
  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:55PM (#15892376)

    FTA:

    The RIAA is a late-comer to the "flag"-method of content control, which can be generically described as follows: mandate all broadcasters to use technology to embed mandated "flags" that are then "respected" by hardware designed under mandate to obey the mandatory behavior.

    Why devise a new solution when a fitting solution [wikipedia.org] already exists?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, 2006 @06:57PM (#15892380)
    Here is the response I got from Sentator Dianne Feinstein.
    I assume it is a form letter, as I replied to it, and got it again.

    --
    June 8, 2006

    Thank you for writing to me about the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights-holders in Music (PERFORM) Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

    I believe that our nation's intellectual property is vitally important and needs to be protected. In fact, the promotion of the creative process is so important that our Founding Fathers gave Congress the express authority to protect it in the U.S. Constitution. Still, we must ensure that any protection afforded to intellectual property is also balanced and fair to all who are affected by it.

    The PERFORM Act, which I introduced with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Frist (R-TN), would require satellite, cable and Internet broadcasters to pay fair market value for the performance of digital music. Currently, these providers are treated differently and pay different rates even though, as technology advances, their services have become increasingly similar. Additionally, the bill would require the use of readily-available, cost-effective, and feasible technology to prevent music theft.

    As such, the PERFORM Act would help strike a balance between the promotion of technological advances in digital music delivery systems and the protection of, and fair compensation for, the intellectual property of artists and musicians.

    The PERFORM Act has received the support of various music, artist, and songwriter groups, as well as digital music service providers. However, let me say, I believe the bill as it was introduced is the beginning of the legislative process; and while there may be disagreements over how to strike the proper balance on these difficult issues, I am certainly open to a robust dialogue. Please know that as the legislation moves through the process, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

    Again, thank you for writing. If you should have any further questions or comments in the future, please do not hesitate to call my Washington, DC staff at (202) 224-3841.

    Sincerely yours,

    Dianne Feinstein
    United States Senator

    > Dear Senator Feinstein,
    >
    > Thank you for responding to my comment.
    >
    > I still believe, though, that the PERFORM Act represents another step away from the public interest.
    >
    > As you mentioned the Constitution, I would hope all of Congress would re-examine the details of what the Constitution says in this area and what the Founding Fathers intentions were regarding publishing rights.
    >
    > The Constitution allows Congress to grant exclusive rights to writings and discoveries, but only for "limited times", and with the only stated purpose to "promote the progress of science and useful arts".
    >
    > I would also note that the original copyright term was 14-28 years. This allowed publishers time to benefit from a work, while also preventing the 137 year publishing monopoly that the Stationers had in England starting in 1557 AD.
    >
    > The US copyright term has now been extended several times. The last time (1998) extending it to 120 years. We have managed to allow large media companies to have similar monopoly publishing rights that the Founders wished to avoid.
    > It should be noted that in addition to the obvious benefits of timely public domain information to science, medicine, education and arts, many companies have also benefited as well, like Disney, which used sever
  • by no_opinion ( 148098 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @07:07PM (#15892410)
    Gary Shapiro always complains about the music industry, that's part of what he's paid to do. Gary knows [house.gov] very well that the music industry is talking directly to the broadcasters on this, and he's feeling left out.

  • Um, what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by radiotyler ( 819474 ) <tyler@@@dappergeek...com> on Friday August 11, 2006 @07:17PM (#15892453) Homepage
    According to a statement from Mr. Shapiro's office earlier this week, the RIAA revealed in a letter to Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) that they have "no technical specification for an audio flag," and that the "RIAA has stayed away from the Copy Protection Technical Working Group in part because it has nothing to propose."
    So around where I work we have a bit of not-so-clever anology for things like this: "gifts from the good idea fairy". Someone comes up with a marvelous idea with no idea how to make it work and plays "pass the trash" handing it off to the nerd patrol hoping they can find a solution to implement their very clever, over-thought, and probably useless idea. There is no arguing fact against the GIF and its basket of joy.

    So what happens when you have a broadcaster that isn't meeting the requirements of a broadcast flag that has no standard, protocol, or you know, form of any mention? How do you hold someone to a standard that doesn't exist?

    If garbage like this gets through, I expect to see many, many different flags created by different companies that don't play well together, aren't cross platform for the range of hardware used for both broadcasting and listening, and create a broadcast flag format war. Maybe this is the goal: to create such a murky and fuddled bit of legislation that the end goal is blurred even more and it becomes more difficult to find a standard and common ground, further extending the mess that's already created.

    I don't know who wins in such a situation, but I know it's not me as a consumer.
    • If the legislation is passed it will serve as a mandate to the FCC, requiring it to issue a ruling standardizing such a flag.

      It will have to either pick one from your hypothetical crowd or invent one of its own.
      • So what came first: the chicken or the egg? I get what you're puttin' out there, it just seems like a stupid unmanagable solution to a nearly non-existant problem. So they tell the FCC to find a solution to this problem, gives the FCC a timeframe to come up with something workable and implement it and then... it happens? We all have to buy new hardware to meet this "standard", as per the article? I would think making a broadcast flag for digital media would be intensely worthless, what with so much "out
  • by McFortner ( 881162 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @07:21PM (#15892472)
    It seems like these guys come in like the Mafia and just dictate terms that work to their advantage and nobody elses. They already price fix, pay for airtime, and tell us how we use a product we buy. Perhaps the Justice Department should look into some RICO violations here. "Hey bud, youse better do what we say or you could end up sleeping with the fishies...."
  • by gsn ( 989808 ) on Friday August 11, 2006 @08:42PM (#15892689)
    All the music piracy told me is that a lot of people will happily accept a lower quality version of some content if it comes to them free. Why - because the actual content doesn't have the right value for money - its DRM laden and doesn't respect fair use, or its not as portable as a digital file or even *gasp* the actual content is just not worth enough to merit buying outright.

    Lower quality as in someone buys a nice recording setup, and a nice set of speakers and records something the completely analog way - stick one next to the other and hit record and play at the same time. If the sound reproduction in this digital era is supposed to be so damned good and we get better and better at making recordings - after all someone has to record the artists themselves at some point - then you can end up with a decent sounding copy without drm in whatever format you like with no copy protection.

    And thus you defeated the audio broadcast flag.

    (BTW please stop any of you who want to preach about me not needing any content I don't consider worth buying-the whole point of whats happening is that this era enables you to have things you don't aboslutely love but do want like that Phil Collins song you get in the random mood to listen to once in a year)

    Thats not the answer and I don't suggest doing that though it is guaranteed to work. All I want is content thats high quality, respects fair use, and is cheap enough that its not worth my while to engage in piracy. Yes you will still get ripped CDs but that may not translate into distribution, because frankly I've better things to do with with the time I spend on my computer than hunting down Phil bloody Collings mp3s ;-)
    • All the music piracy told me is that a lot of people will happily accept a lower quality version of some content if it comes to them free. Why - because the actual content doesn't have the right value for money - its DRM laden and doesn't respect fair use, or its not as portable as a digital file or even *gasp* the actual content is just not worth enough to merit buying outright.

      and/or "legitimate" outlets aren't conveniently available, raising the effective cost further.
  • In TFA, Shapiro is quoted as saying:

    "... the RIAA's demands for an audio broadcast flag came relatively late in the digital radio game. Many stations have already purchased and implemented new technologies to support digital radio, not to mention the launch of satellite radio, but these investments could be made worthless if the RIAA successfully lobbies for the audio flag in the 11th hour.

    Though IANAL it seems to me that, should such legislation pass, any such broadcasters would have a FINE suit against th
    • Though IANAL it seems to me that, should such legislation pass, any such broadcasters would have a FINE suit against the government for the replacement value of the equipment rendered worthless, under the "takings" caluse of the 5th Amendment.

      I doubt it. Many individuals and companies have had equipment rendered obsolete by FCC regulations, and they didn't get a nickel in compensation. Sometimes the FCC reallocates frequencies, sometimes they tighten up or add technical requirements. You still have your

  • This seems like it would be such a hassel for anyone actually recording anything to imprint this "flag" on whatever medium they are using, not to mention the headache of whatever hardware manufacturers would have to do to get their products to recognize these flags. It seems like the DRM crap all over again, 1/2 of existing products won't be able to recognize the media, and the other half will only recognize that media. The RIAA needs to actually get in on the conversation instead being so bullheaded about

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