Judge orders Napster to eliminate copyright songs.
March 6, 2001 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Judge orders Napster to eliminate copyright songs. I want to see the lists of songs that the record companies must provide.
posted by hijinx (14 comments total)
Curious, though, aren't basically all songs that are published, copyrighted in some fashion? Does this just mean that copyrighted works published and distributed through the big companies will be eliminated?

I can see it now. "Napster: Your Public Domain Song Resource!"
posted by hijinx at 10:35 AM on March 6, 2001

I can see it now. "Napster: Your Public Domain Song Resource!"

That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Of course, if people liked it, and started loving unknown bands that were down with the GPL, I could see smarmy record company marketers tapping into it, making fake bands that are supposed to be unknowns...
posted by mathowie at 10:40 AM on March 6, 2001

Hijinx: yes, but this order only applies to the songs for which these particular plaintiffs hold the copyright, not all copyrighted songs in general.
posted by mikewas at 12:16 PM on March 6, 2001

Anyone remember what happened to OLGA, the site for guitar tab transcriptions? The Harry Fox Agency basically closed the archive down in the US. Of course, you can still consult or download the database from more enlightened countries.

Reminds me of the Catholic church dealing with the printing press.
posted by holgate at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2001

I can't reveal my sources, but I have obtained a top-secret keyword list which the RIAA has supplied to Napster:


With this secret list, Napster can block 90% of the pop songs registered with the RIAA.
posted by dhartung at 3:31 PM on March 6, 2001

Now you're all screwed. All Napster users will have to be content with trading "Wooly Bully" and Boney M's "Rasputin" around, over and over.
posted by Skot at 3:36 PM on March 6, 2001

I propose banning all songs in which they rhyme "chance" with "romance."
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:42 PM on March 6, 2001

While throwing up earlier and thinking about how people are going to worm around this filtering system, it occurred to me that a smarter idea would be for them to insist that Napster lower the maximum bitrate of songs. Force all the songs to be encoded at 96k. You can get all the songs you want, but only crappy quality, therefore encouraging you to buy the CD if you really like it.
posted by frenetic at 4:41 PM on March 6, 2001

There are soooo many ways around the filtering it is unreal. The RIAA in its arrogant attempt to maintain vise-like control over all things creative has missed the boat on the issue. As we all know new technology is like pee in a sandbox - there is no getting it back out.
posted by Dooberville at 7:35 PM on March 6, 2001

Yep, there are lots of ways around the filtering. Take this new pig latin scheme. It's just one of many ways around the filtering. The problem is, for it to be useful, people have to generally agree on which method to use. And as soon as they do that, Napster and the RIAA can add said scheme to their filters. It's going to be an endless (and boring) cat-and-mouse game, with the RIAA having the advantage. As long as they stay on top of things, they can add any new schemes to their filters the moment they start to become popular.
posted by Potsy at 10:13 PM on March 6, 2001

Napster is lowering bitrates as part of the subscription service I believe, only 128kbps and below. Still decent though most of the time.
posted by yupislyr at 5:25 AM on March 7, 2001

As of now, there's no need to even worry about the filtering. As I type this, I'm using Napster to snarf a 192/44 copy of Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me," which is currently the #6 song on the Billboard charts (and thus one of the highest priority songs for Napster to wipe off the system). My search pulled up the usual maximum number of results (100) for the song, and not one of the listings was employing Pig Latin or any other name-scrambling mechanism. I then ran searches on the other top 5 songs, with the same 100+ unscrambled results. Are they actually trying to filter anything?

Anyone remember what happened to OLGA, the site for guitar tab transcriptions?

Yeah, but compared to Napster that was a very simple matter, since the Harry Fox Agency owns practically 100% of the sheet music rights in the US. One lawyer, one threat, bye bye.

All in all, though, I personally don't care that much if the RIAA types only go after the current or recurrent top songs/albums. I usually go to Napster to look for older 70s and 80s songs whenever they pop into my head, or for obscure songs that I heard elsewhere and liked. And the current top hits are what the IRC traders do best; when the rare decent song comes along I can just go there. (Though I do recall getting my copy of Olivia Newton-John's "Let Me Be There" from IRC as well, so maybe they have more to offer than I think.)

BTW, does anyone know at what bit rate an MP3 truly equals CD quality? I thought it was 192, since that's the highest rate I see used with regularity and it's also the rate at which I stop hearing truly obvious quality reductions. But I always see a smattering of higher numbers as well, usually 320. And that creates files almost twice as big as the 192's.

PS to Dan: You left out "sex."
posted by aaron at 12:50 PM on March 7, 2001

192Kbit is what I consider CD-quality (it's what I rip at with LAME), but hard-core audiophiles claim they can hear distortion all the way up to 320Kbit, which is their minimum standard for 'archival quality'. (One audiophile review of an mp3 encoder slammed it because he no longer 'felt like he was actually there' when listening to the encoded files. To that, I say 'bullshit'.)
posted by darukaru at 1:28 PM on March 7, 2001

aaron: I also forgot "baby". My bad.

As for bitrates, I've been led to understand that the bitrate on standard, professional, uncompressed CD music is 1411Kbps. Anything that falls short of that is compressed in some way, so technically it can never equal so-called CD quality. But darukaru is probably right that audiophiles would prefer 320 but the avg. Joe is just fine with 192, 128, or even 96 in a pinch. I consider a portable MP3 player -- or downloading music over a modem<56K, such a pinch ....
posted by dhartung at 1:50 PM on March 7, 2001

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