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PR for Dummies: Never Sue Your Customers
June 25, 2003 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Sheer Nuttiness... According to the Washington Post, the RIAA is following up on the successful suit to force Verizon to identify four file traders, with a series of mass-lawsuits targeting potentially hundreds of file traders. With 57 million active file traders in the P2P networks alone, this is the beginning of an ugly new future.
posted by jonson (68 comments total)

 
Oh my, it's such an ugly new future when people who knowingly violate copyright laws will actually be held accountable for their actions.
posted by gyc at 11:07 AM on June 25, 2003


Just one more selectively enforceable law that gives more power to the executive branch of our government. If you want to steer clear of trouble, don't worry about breaking laws, just be sure that you're friends with the people enforcing them.
posted by zekinskia at 11:09 AM on June 25, 2003


Just one more selectively enforceable law that gives more power to the executive branch of our government.

Umm, not in this case. This is not a law that is "enforced" by the executive department of the government. Instead, we are talking about the portion of the copyright law that creates private liability. The executive department has very little to do with enforcement in this context. In fact, the executive department generally has a disincentive to bring suit to enforce the criminal portion of the copyright laws; the stakes simply aren't often high enough. Owen Kerr has an interesting comment about allowing the states to enforce the criminal portions of the copyright law in select cases.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:47 AM on June 25, 2003


gyc, why should music fans continue to subsidize the antiquated, inefficient and bureaucratically bloated distribution model of RIAA? $18 for a plastic disk is ridiculous. If they can't get with the new distribution paradigm, that's their problem; the market will move around them. Apple just sold its 5 millionth song in a couple of months. Net file distribution is not going away, and if people can't get value for their dollar, they'll take what they can. RIAA would rather enforce their old system with a stick than adapt to what works. Those monopolistic bastards are getting their due.
posted by squirrel at 11:47 AM on June 25, 2003


yah, what squirrel said. all these lawsuits are a last ditch attempt to hold on to their status as a middle man between the artist and the consumer. soon enough, both artists and consumers will realize they have little need for the record companies and they will go the way of the buggy whip manufacturers.
posted by callicles at 11:53 AM on June 25, 2003


For anyone that's not a little appauled by this, try and think of another time a company that sells to the public announced a policy of mass lawsuits against hundreds (not one or two, but hundreds) of its (now former) customers.
posted by jonson at 11:56 AM on June 25, 2003


For anyone that's not a little appauled by this, try and think of another time a company that sells to the public announced a policy of mass lawsuits against hundreds (not one or two, but hundreds) of its (now former) customers.

DirecTV comes to mind, but that was really recent..
posted by SweetJesus at 12:00 PM on June 25, 2003


Do I think this is a bad move on the part of the RIAA? Yes. Am I appalled? Not really. The truth is, we have lived with a system of copyright and ownership of intellectual property for a few hundred years now. As far as the law is concerned, the RIAA owns the songs which file traders are downloading. That ownership is more than simply legal. In a very real moral sense, the creators of media, or any product, for that matter, have ownership rights in the product they create. We should be very careful when we defend file sharing and criticize the RIAA, and understand what it is we are wishing to change. Do we wish to reject the idea of intellectual property all together, or do we object to the RIAA as a monopolistic, anti-competitive entity that hides from its customers behind the copyright laws and from its artists behind adhesion contracts?

I think it's the latter, and probably not the former.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:04 PM on June 25, 2003


Just because someone sells something in a way you don't like, it doesn't give you permission to violate their copyrights.

Are copyright terms too long? Yes. But that is something to take up with your legislature, and your pocket book.

Use alternatives... indy bands, and non-RIAA member music.
posted by benjh at 12:07 PM on June 25, 2003


i thought the whole problem was that people were voting with their pocket books...
posted by callicles at 12:11 PM on June 25, 2003


RIAA press release here:

Over the past year, the industry has responded to consumer demand by making its music available to a wide range of authorized online subscription, streaming and download services that make it easier than ever for fans to get music legally and inexpensively on the Internet. Moreover, these services offer music reliably, in the highest sound quality, and without the risks of exposure to viruses or other undesirable material.

[W]e cannot stand by while piracy takes a devastating toll on artists, musicians, songwriters, retailers and everyone in the music industry.


love how they put "sharers" in quotation marks...cause, y'know, it's what they say they're doing, not what they're really doing...

*gag on bile*
posted by gottabefunky at 12:11 PM on June 25, 2003


What I'm curious about is what they consider a "substantial" amount of files shared. 10,000? 1,000? 100?
posted by Captain_Tenille at 12:12 PM on June 25, 2003


these services offer music reliably, in the highest sound quality

heh. they said "highest"
posted by matteo at 12:18 PM on June 25, 2003


What I want to know is what it would take to make file sharing anonymous. Not that I would ever . . . you know . . . "share."
posted by Outlawyr at 12:35 PM on June 25, 2003


Do we wish to reject the idea of intellectual property all together, or do we object to the RIAA as a monopolistic, anti-competitive entity that hides from its customers behind the copyright laws and from its artists behind adhesion contracts?

Good distinction, monju. On the second point, I share the common disgust for the RIAA on the grounds that they're really pimps of a kind--they position themselves between the producers and the consumers and screw both parties; also they use force and intimidation to leverage and maintain their domination.

On the copyright point, I'm much more ambivalent. I believe in the principle of copyright, but think it sorely needs updating. In its current form, it benefits big business much more than the public good, which was its original purpose.
posted by squirrel at 12:44 PM on June 25, 2003


Outlawyr, anonymity is difficult in real terms. I believe that there are some implementations that are truly anonymous but they aren't popular because the search functionality is very weak. Good searches cost anonymity, at some point the holder of the files has to distribute a list of what they have for it to be feasible. Once you publish what you have you've sacrificed some anonymity. You're only as anonymous as the node which you've published to is trustworthy.

A court order might result in your shares being publicized. The node might actually be operated by the government. The node might not be secure and could be hacked.

Freenet is truly secure (and was the application I was thinking of). You don't even know what you're sharing. To find something you need to know the key for that file. So you can't search for a particular song or artist.
posted by substrate at 12:48 PM on June 25, 2003


Copyright is good, abusive copyright is bad. This isn't really abusive copyright, but I think the trend is very clearly toward abusive copyright. The original intent of copyright was to protect the original author of a work, to provide them a limited monopoly on publication and so allow them to try to make a living. It's been perverted in several ways though. First, artists now sign away their copyright to an organization, so in effect the artists aren't really protected any more. Second the length of copyright has expanded beyond the lifetime of a person.
posted by substrate at 12:51 PM on June 25, 2003


SweetJesus - can you cite or provide a link to the DTV case?
posted by jonson at 1:06 PM on June 25, 2003


or how they can determine which files have been acquired legally and which ones via P2P?

i just checked out some of my e-music files - wholly legit and paid for - and there is no tag associated with the e-music service.
posted by nyoki at 1:12 PM on June 25, 2003


If someone is accessing the net from a LAN, can they pinpoint which machine on the LAN was doing the sharing? Exactly what information are they able to get from the ISP? (Sorry, not trying to derail)
posted by Outlawyr at 1:18 PM on June 25, 2003


nyoki, whether you aquired them legally or not isn't an issue at all. What the RIAA is doing is going after people who distribute them. Buying an album doesn't legally entitle you to distribute it.
posted by substrate at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2003


And, to follow up on Outlawyr's question, even if they are able to pinpoint a specific internet account, who gets sued if there are, say 5 people living in the household: Mom, Dad, and 3 teenagers? Does the owner of the house where the computer is located get sued? How do they prove who actually put the files in a "share" directory?

Of course, they probably will only go after college students to avoid the problem of suing adults who would be willing to actually take cases to trial and make a public stink.
posted by pitchblende at 1:24 PM on June 25, 2003


both artists and consumers will realize they have little need for the record companies and they will go the way of the buggy whip manufacturers.

Well, buggy whips have...other uses...

*crack*

Yes, mistress. Is the post to your liking.

ahhh...the sweet sting....
posted by jonmc at 1:25 PM on June 25, 2003


Buying an album doesn't legally entitle you to distribute it.

What about songs you download for free from an artist's website? Can you legally share those? What if my entire share directory is full of MP3's I downloaded for free from artists' websites at one time or another - but for various reasons, half the songs are no longer available for download at those sites. Can I still share those songs? Do I have to keep track of which songs are still available for free?
posted by pitchblende at 1:27 PM on June 25, 2003


DirecTV thread..
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/26465
posted by fatbaq at 1:28 PM on June 25, 2003


Outlawyr,

they can pinpoint the machine on the WAN but not necessarily the LAN. I'm not sure if you know the difference though. If you're sitting behind a corporate firewall with NAT (network address translation) then it will only appear that the company was sharing files. The upstream ISP won't be able to tell exactly what machine in the company was doing the sharing. Of course then the RIAA just subpoenas the company, your company panics and dismisses you etc.

If you're on a LAN in your apartment it really won't matter too much. They have the right address and that's enough.
posted by substrate at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2003


Jonson: I'm late for class, but it was on Metafilter the other day...

On preview: What fatbaq says...
posted by SweetJesus at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2003


pitchblende, it depends entirely on what your agreement is. Copyright starts with the presumption that you aren't allowed to distribute, even if the item was free. If the artists allow you to distribute then you're fine, if not then you are potentially liable. The current availability of the song doesn't affect copyright whatsoever.

Note, I am not a lawyer, I just try to follow copyright issues a bit as a card carrying member of the EFF.
posted by substrate at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2003


Oh my, it's such an ugly new future when people who knowingly violate copyright laws will actually be held accountable for their actions.

No, it's an ugly new future where your access to any media is controlled by four or five companies who will sue you into poverty if you disagree. Copyright was set up to protect the economic interests of creators. Not executives who blundered into the business 20 years after the product. I'll give you one guess how much money from the mp3.com settlement went into the hands of the artists who were alledgedly damaged by all this file trading. Oh yeah, must be the same amount that the RIAA can acutally prove that they've lost because people are listening to more music.

Thomas Jefferson, who helped set up the idea of copyright in America, also recognized how easily it coule be mis-used. The original limits on copyright were his idea. These limits have been thrown away completely in the last 10 years.

Yes, I agree that copyrights are a good idea. However, like so many other good ideas, the practice has been perverted by unrestrained capitalism into a tool by which corporations can supress choice for individuals.

“What we fear the most is that economic power would try to seize democratic power.”
-James Madison
posted by lumpenprole at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2003


SJ & fatbaq: D'oh - missed that thread! Hey, maybe it's an exciting new trend...
posted by jonson at 1:40 PM on June 25, 2003


My impression was that the people accessing the Direct TV signal weren't really customers of Direct TV.

You might just as easily say that many of the people serving music on the P2P nets aren't or haven't been customers of the music industry although that seems like a less likely scenario.

I very much hope that these suits turn people off to commercial music. If this hastens the demise of the labels system, then I'm all for it.

With respect to copyright, yeah. I would like to see it go away. It's antiquated and probably broken past the point of fixing it. I didn't always take this view. The very same media conglomerates who are pushing for absolute control on their end have effectively pushed me into the information anarchy camps. I hope that others will also get disgusted and follow me over into the land of no copyright rules, but who knows.

For those that say that the creators or labels own the music - they don't. They have been granted a limited right to publish the music, but you can't really own ideas or expressions of ideas, and copyright has never conveyed ownership in the way we think if it in terms of physical property.

Copyright also was never (and still isn't) intended as way for artists or creators to make a living. That's not the point. Copyright is merely intended as an incentive to convince the creator to share their creation with society. That's it. Whether they can make a living off of it isn't a consideration at all.

From that perspective, I think you might be able to say that labels that lock up commercially unviable creations are just as guilty of reneging on their side of the copyright bargain as those that are infringing the right holder's exclusive right to publish. If only we could bring a class action suit against them for that (except that it's probably specifically legal albeit entirely sleazy and contrary to the point of the bargain).
posted by willnot at 1:50 PM on June 25, 2003


"Of course then the RIAA just subpoenas the company, your company panics and dismisses you etc." If they don't keep logs on who is accessing what then I guess they can just tell RIAA, "these aren't the droids you're looking for."

Right?
posted by Outlawyr at 1:54 PM on June 25, 2003


No, because the company will almost certainly be keeping logs. Besides, in that instance, the company probably represents the deep pockets and since they can probably be made to be responsible for the actions of their employees, it doesn't much matter who was actually sharing the files.
posted by willnot at 1:57 PM on June 25, 2003


"since they can probably be made to be responsible for the actions of their employees"
I don't agree with that. If an employee is using the phone to operate a gambling ring or is dealing drugs to other employees, they wouldn't be responsible. If he loads stolen software on his computer and nobody else knows, could the company be held liable. I doubt it.
posted by Outlawyr at 2:03 PM on June 25, 2003


Outlawyr,

possibly true, but more likely the RIAA would then claim that they're withholding evidence. They could also just wait till outlawyr6969 was actively sharing and request that their I/S department nail down this person. It's not hard to follow the trail of packets if you're the person in charge of the network. Additionally, if the choice is between exposing the company to a lawsuit or letting their valued employee take it between their pasty white cheeks I think I know which exposure is going to take place for most companies.
posted by substrate at 2:08 PM on June 25, 2003


I very much hope that these suits turn people off to commercial music.

Haven't bought a commercially-produced CD for almost 7 years now, not because I'm downloading what I could buy in the store, but because there's nothing I find that's really worth listening to, to me. And I'm better for it, as I now pay more attention to the local music scene, and there's some good stuff out there. Really good stuff, from bands that don't care about making it huge. I hope that pisses the RIAA off, too.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:08 PM on June 25, 2003


Outlawyr,

you're wrong. The company would be responsible. Look at Microsoft's tactics with the SPA. Companies get served with a notice. We're auditing you, please have all your licenses in order. Have a nice day.

This is why so many companies lock down computers so employees can't install outside software. If the SPA comes around and audits them the company is liable.

A gambling ring or dealing drugs is entirely different. This is a criminal matter.
posted by substrate at 2:11 PM on June 25, 2003


Haven't bought a CD in over ten years.

If it's not Napster or Kazaa or eDonkey, you can always try IRC or Usenet.

I support the bands I like by going to their concerts, paying for tickets, and screaming like a little girl. I think they'll appreciate that more than the 14 cents they get from a CD sale.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2003


Copyright was set up to protect the economic interests of creators. Not executives who blundered into the business 20 years after the product.

What if creators feel their economic interests are best served by assigning copyright to some larger entity that represents a number of creators? Are they not allowed to do this?
posted by kindall at 2:48 PM on June 25, 2003


substrate, would you go so far as to say companies have an obligation to monitor what mp3s are stored on hard drives, or to prevent anyone from storing them. I think there would have to be some sort of knowledge on the part of the employer-a knew or should have known standard-to extend liability for what amounts to an intentional tort.
posted by Outlawyr at 3:03 PM on June 25, 2003


"If he loads stolen software on his computer and nobody else knows, could the company be held liable. I doubt it."
Outlawyr , unfortunately that the case. My company does not permit employees to load personal software on their computers for just that reason.

You can check out the Business Software Alliance's website, www.bsa.org for more details. They even offer incentives for employees who want to squeal.
posted by schlaager at 3:08 PM on June 25, 2003


lumpenprole:Yes, I agree that copyrights are a good idea. However, like so many other good ideas, the practice has been perverted by unrestrained capitalism into a tool by which corporations can supress choice for individuals.

That's so true it makes me want to cry. Almost.
posted by shadow45 at 3:32 PM on June 25, 2003


What I'm curious about is what they consider a "substantial" amount of files shared. 10,000? 1,000? 100?

Heh, heh. Someone's getting nervous.
posted by sharksandwich at 3:38 PM on June 25, 2003


I can't help but think that file sharing hurts the independent artist as well as the signed. If you download an album from Epic or Warner, the artist is jilted out of a few cents. Do the same for an indie band and they lose up to the full price of the CD. If ten people grab copies of a $12 CD off a P2P network, an indie band loses $120 instead of the $1.68 they'd lose if they were carried on a major label.

(Which, when coupled by the staggering debts that artists rack up in the form of advances, makes me wonder why anyone would be lunatic enough to sign with a major [see Albini's Trench Of Shit for context]).

And a lot of indie bands can't make up for that loss in volume, like the majors can. Heck, most records released on major labels don't even sell 10,000 copies. An indie artist really has to hustle to sell even a thousand. They don't have the promo dollars that the majors have to get the exposure needed to create that volume.

I'm fairly pro-filesharing in the long run, but I don't buy the false argument that massive, unfettered sharing only hurts the BigCo's.
posted by scottandrew at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2003


Buying an album doesn't legally entitle you to distribute it.
I'm under a different legal system but I'm curious: I'm legally entitled to burn it, eat it, use it as a frisbee, use it as a coaster, decorate my room with it, cut it in small pieces and make jewelry (which I then can sell) out of it, I can even sell the damn disc to a record shop, but I'm not allowed to share it with a friend or a community of friends? That's reasonable? Shouldn't the RIAA prove that they are losing money (at least) from my actions before they can sue me. The way I see it if I put music I bought on a P2P platform, not only am I not stealing something but I'm generating publicity for the artist. In fact I could reasonably claim (as reasonably as RIAA claims copyright infringement) that by sharing an artist's song, I actually make it more likely that people will pay a ticket to go to his/her/their concert.
Boycott them all I say...
posted by talos at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2003


What peaves me is the record companies/RIAA talking about losses as if everyone that downloads a song from a P2P was going to buy the music if P2P didn't exist.

You cannot "lose" money if the "customer" wasn't going to buy the CD. I have some cheesy songs in my mp3 folder that I would never buy. "Sharing" is a great way to "try before you buy" much like radio used to be before ClearChannel owned everything.

In the past three years, unit shipments of recorded music have fallen by 26% from 1.16 billion units in 1999 to 860 million units.

Of course this is all due to file sharing! It probably has nothing to do with really shitty music being sold and that little old economic downturn we're going through.

I buy about the same number of CDs I bought before the advent of P2P. If P2P went away tomorrow I wouldn't buy any more CDs.
posted by birdherder at 4:42 PM on June 25, 2003


scottandrew - maybe and maybe not. Somebody who downloads a song will either
  1. Not pay for it although they would have but for the existence of the song on the P2P net.
  2. Not pay for it, and they wouldn't have paid for it even if the song wasn't available on the P2P net
  3. Download it AND pay for it later which they would have done regardless
  4. Download it AND pay for it later which they wouldn't have done had it not been for the download
Two and Three are a wash. They don't impact the artist at all.

Now, the question, and nobody knows the answer and I'm just spouting BS is would One happen more often or less often than Four?

In the case of a major artist I'd say it's probably a wash. In the case of an unknown artist, I'd say Four would far surpass One, so I think P2P is better for obscure artists. I can't prove it and you can disagree with me, but it seems intuitively obvious to me. You said you're self, they're lucky to sell 1,000 copies. Exposure to a wider audience can only help them.posted by willnot at 4:47 PM on June 25, 2003


I fully agree that music sharing on the scale of P2P is theft, and that it can harm artists' incomes.

That said, fuck RIAA. Between the screwing-over they've done to artists, and their bad behaviour in response to P2P, they deserve to be destroyed -- and that's what P2P is going to do.

I support my local bands by attending their concerts and purchasing their CDs. I'm very open to that. I am, in fact, delighted to throw money their way.

I will support quality non-local bands by (a) attending their concerts if they come my way and (b) purchasing their albums from them if they offer me a means of doing so. There are some blues and jazz artists who I'll risk twenty bucks on because I've been previously satisfied with their work.

All other cases are all-bets-off. For starters, I'm so thoroughly pissed at RIAA that I'm trying very, very hard to avoid giving them any business at all.

Too, my government has decided that it should tariff me directly for CDR purchases, just on the off chance that I might record something. That gives me wholesale permission and, indeed, the obligation to pirate albums, in my opinion.

I've supported several 70s and 80s bands through LP, cassette, and CD purchases and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay yet again to get the same music -- especially when the artists themselves are getting bupkiss from my dollar.

And with CD prices being what they are, I'm not at all compelled to risk my hard-earned dollars on untried bands. All too many of them are releasing one-hit-wonders with an album of crappy filler. Screw it: that's pretty much theft of my money.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:04 PM on June 25, 2003


willnot, I wouldn't disagree with your analysis. I myself have bought records based on downloaded songs I got to sample. But my issue is not with single songs, but with entire albums.

And: what five fresh fish said.
posted by scottandrew at 5:10 PM on June 25, 2003


"Give the finger to the rock'n'roll singer
As he's dancing upon your paycheck
The sales climb high
through the garbage pail sky
Like a giant dildo crushing the sun"
posted by scarabic at 5:31 PM on June 25, 2003


Do we wish to reject the idea of intellectual property all together?

Yes, please.

Fining someone a quarter of a million dollars and putting them in an environment where it's rather likely they'll be raped for three years seems like an awfully strange punishment for having a specific, very long number stored on their hard drive, or making that number available to others.
posted by majcher at 5:56 PM on June 25, 2003


How does this effect people in places other than the USA, like Canada?
posted by Iax at 6:35 PM on June 25, 2003


And, to follow up on Outlawyr's question, even if they are able to pinpoint a specific internet account, who gets sued if there are, say 5 people living in the household

Actually that one's pretty easy. It's the owner (or renter) of the dwelling. At least in some states (I know in michigan), there's laws that basically say that the person in charge of the dwelling is responsible for what's in it. Don't remember the legal term, but I know it exists because I sat on a jury that involved it. (Criminal intent to manufacture a controlled substance, guy claimed he didn't know that the stuff was in his house).

On another note, I find it kinda amusing that a lot of the articles I've seen on this claims that the RIAA is going to go after downloaders. Technically, that's not true. they're going after the people distributing the stuff. Ok, with something like kazaa, most people downloading are also distributing, but I'd bet you could really cut your chances of getting sued down a long ways by turning off your sharing. Heck, I won't let people in my lab enable uploading anyways, because it interferes with important things like backups.
posted by piper28 at 6:41 PM on June 25, 2003


Let's hope they don't start checking the mail for burned cds!
posted by mecran01 at 6:42 PM on June 25, 2003


but I'd bet you could really cut your chances of getting sued down a long ways by turning off your sharing.

of course if everyone did that, there would be nothing on kazaa to download. i think that is the point of this riaa campaign: scare enough people to stop sharing songs and the problem goes away.
posted by birdherder at 6:45 PM on June 25, 2003


I can even sell the damn disc to a record shop, but I'm not allowed to share it with a friend or a community of friends? That's reasonable?

Well, as someone who creates intellectual property for a living, yes. Yes, it certainly seems reasonable to me. If you want your friends to enjoy it, you can play it for them or even loan it to them. Then maybe they'll buy their own copy if they like it as much as you do.
posted by kindall at 8:26 PM on June 25, 2003


Basically though, that's how it's always worked. Companies go after the distributers (of software, music, etc), and rarely go after the individual users. It's just not cost effective to go after people that aren't distrubuting. Now, whether they're real effective doing that is another matter entirely. After all, they've been going after software distributers for quite some time, and while they have occasional successes, pirated software is still pathetically easy to find.

As for kazaa, I find it good for the occasional looking for something right now, but for consistant quality, give me usenet any day of the week. Sure, the selection may not be as good at any one time, but it's generally pretty decent rips.
posted by piper28 at 8:33 PM on June 25, 2003


The law in Canada allows the owner of an album may lend that recording to someone else, and the loanee may make a copy of the recording.

Which means I can go to the library, check out a CD, and burn a copy for myself. Quite legal. And given that I'm paying a tariff on my CDs, I figure I'm pretty much obligated to try to get my money's worth out of that tariff.

(Strangely, the owner of a recorded musical work is not allowed to make a copy to give away. You've got to loan the original.)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:55 PM on June 25, 2003


I don't give a damn about major label artists most of the time. But P2P is a really good way of sampling local and indie music we've never heard of before. If somebody mentions a fave band on their website that we've never heard of, it's cool to be able to look them up via P2P and see what they've got. Who's going to buy a CD just because somebody mentioned it on a website? (I tried that once and bought the LadyHawke soundtrack based on a weblog recommendation. It was horrible. And it's not like I could return it after I had opened up the package to listen.)

I wonder if it would be possible to find or create a list of "safe" or more likely "unsafe" music to share on P2P without raising RIAA's hackles, which could be plugged into P2P software. That way the indie bands get the exposure they need, the RIAA bands get the copyright protection they need, and the P2P contributors aren't asking trouble for themselves.
posted by Jonasio at 10:20 PM on June 25, 2003


How would this work in canada? We are already paying a pirate tax on computer storage, money that is supposed to go to the artists.
So if you are not copying music and burning cds are the artists just stealing money from you
posted by Iax at 12:31 AM on June 26, 2003


re: RIAA vs DirectTV

I own 180 CD's, most classical. Say each CD is 74 minutes long, I have a total of 222 hours of entertainment at a cost of $2,700 ($15 each).

I pay $42.00 for DirectTV where I either have television programs or music playing 24 hours per day. Each month I receive 720 hours of entertainment for $42.00

For the cost of my CD collection, I could pay for my DirectTV service for 64 years.

Seems to me that DirectTV represents real value, while the cost of CDs is being held artifically high. Government backed gouging?
posted by phewbertie at 1:05 AM on June 26, 2003


Why don't we just declare war on file sharing? I mean, think of how our concentrated enforcements efforts have eliminated drug use, poverty and terrorism! And when you think about it, isn't hurting the RIAA actually aiding those who hate freedom?

on preview, phewbertie kicks ass.
posted by squirrel at 1:17 AM on June 26, 2003


Most of this stuff is going to concern Kazaa / FastTrack users, because that's where the bulk of the stuff is.

There are around four million people using Kazaa at any one time (or so Kazaa say - there's no central registration, so it's difficult to know for sure). What RIAA can find out about these people is the same information that you can find out by using Kazaa yourself. Now, RIAA use (or people employed by them use) technical ways of accessing the FastTrack network - but they can't do anything that the FastTrack network won't let them. They can't get onto the network and say, show me everyone who is sharing more than 1,000 mp3s. They can perform queries automatically and grab the IP addresses of the people hosting the files, and then (if those people allow), look at the other files which are being hosted on that computer. But that's a big and complicated job. And no, as has been raised in this thread, there is no way that they can tell which mp3s are legitimate (that you've burnt yourself from a CD you own) and which aren't. They don't really care - the attitude is, if you're sharing mp3s on FastTrack, you're someone they want to know about.

Also remember that when you connect to Kazaa / FastTrack and search for Madonna or Eminem or whatever, you're not seeing every file on the network which matches. You're getting a very restricted set of files, determined by which supernode you connected to. Now, you can jump to a different supernode (if you use a third-party add-on for Kazaa), but it just means that RIAA's job gets harder and harder...

The upshot of all this is that they will sue a few people doing this, and get lots of publicity, and maybe scare some other people from sharing on Kazaa. But they will also 1. piss off a whole lot more people and 2. push people towards using other p2p services which aren't as easy to track (Usenet, IRC, DirectConnect, Freenet, etc).
posted by humuhumu at 3:14 AM on June 26, 2003


It seems to me that one of the things that will emerge out of this is better p2p software. If the RIAA is going to go on the attack, the software developers who have consistently shown themselves to be more agile will end up building better privacy and encryption tools into their software. What that ends up looking like I'm not sure, but it will definitely be interesting. In some sense it's an arms race, and to this point the hackers have definitely been winning.
posted by Tempus67 at 6:13 AM on June 26, 2003


I keep hoping for something similar to Kazaa that lets you search specifically for noncopyrighted music and has a song ranking system and some kinda firefly recommendation system. And a puppy. I want a puppy.
posted by mecran01 at 6:30 AM on June 26, 2003


Say each CD is 74 minutes long, I have a total of 222 hours of entertainment at a cost of $2,700 ($15 each).

If you only listen to them once, there's no reason to buy them in the first place. In fact, your 180 CDs can provide a lifetime of enjoyment, and then later, your heirs will get to enjoy them (assuming you also bequeath them your antique CD player -- optical discs, how quaint).

You may record some of your DirecTV programming, but the vast majority of it you'll watch once and then never again.
posted by kindall at 11:10 AM on June 26, 2003


OK, but do they have broadband in jail?
posted by matteo at 12:48 PM on June 26, 2003


No, they don't, matteo. Or maybe they do. Either way, I can't let you have the last word. ;^)
posted by squirrel at 11:35 PM on June 27, 2003


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