August 26, 2008 2:42 AM   Subscribe

While Muxtape is temporarily down, Opentape has come to fill in.

More RIAA bait:
  1. Mixwit, which uses SeeqPod and SkreemR to find music online; there is an option to link directly to any online mp3 file.
  2. 8tracks, where music can be uploaded or selected from the 8tracks library.
posted by Korou (31 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Opentape is a self hosted option.
posted by Korou at 2:46 AM on August 26, 2008

Speaking of the RIAA and sundry copyright nazis, check out this comic strip that a "non profit" is distributing on college campuses, the purposes of which is to "educate kids about how the court system works" apparently in some bizzaro world where the maximalist interpretation of copyright is taken and local prosecutors try to get teenagers two year jail sentences for downloading music.
posted by delmoi at 4:25 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Until they get shut down.

Nobody gets out of here alive.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:31 AM on August 26, 2008

That comic book looks like what would happen in Jack T. Chick used Illustrator.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:46 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

No artists or labels have complained. The site is not closed indefinitely. Stay tuned

Ummm, yes they have, and if Muxtape comes back, it won't be the same. The RIAA represents the copyright holders, which are the labels and the artists. Don't shoot the messenger and pretend those behind the message didn't send it. If Muxtape, or any other organization, doesn't like the fact that what they do is labeled illegal, they have have two stops to make, neither of which is the RIAA. The RIAA is just the attack dog, fueled by the exact people the consumers think are above all this petty fighting about copyright - the labels and the artists

Instead of fighting with the RIAA, the first stop is to get the artists and labels to sign off on approval for websites like Muxtape. Good luck. You'll find that all those friendly artists are generally after a buck, which is why they hide behind the RIAA and let it run around stomping out copyright infringement. The second stop is Congress. Again, good luck.

Opentape, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame before you get a cease and desist.
posted by Muddler at 4:48 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can someone please explain to me, in no more than 5 sentences, how Muxtape is illegal when Last.fm is legal? Or is last.fm not legal? And if the answer is "because last.fm pays" I'd like to know where their money comes from. Subscriptions? I sure don't have one. Can muxtape do the same (and by "the same" I mean "get some suckers to buy subscriptions so I can use it for free")?

All those questions count against your 5 sentences, so please be brief.
posted by DU at 4:58 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Opentape, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame before you get a cease and desist.

I'd've thought Opentape would be okay in the US and places with similar 'Betamax case' type legislation - it could be used by bands to showcase their own music, to make mixtapes of public domain recordings, &c.
posted by jack_mo at 5:10 AM on August 26, 2008

last.fm finalised deals with the hold-out major record companies some time after they were acquired by CBS, so, yes, they're legal, and I assume they pay something. They are introducing a subscription option, and they also have advertising revenues in addition to the cash CBS brought with them.

I suspect Muxtape is unlikely to get itself similar deals, because it would almost certainly have to either get bought out or attract a large amount of venture capital to get things moving, and frankly there's not much special about Muxtape that would make it worth putting money into - as Opentape shows, there's nothing especially unique about its technology, and it doesn't have the built-in userbase that made last.fm attractive.

That was three sentences, but they were pretty long, so I don't know how successful you feel that was.
posted by flashboy at 5:16 AM on August 26, 2008

last.fm and pandora pay broadcasting fees (which are going waaaay up.)

one can speculate about how they make the money to pay out, but at this point it is prolly mostly VC funding. both businesses have expressed concern that the fees will outpace their revenue.

muxtape is not legal because they don't pay the broadcasting fees and the sourcing and legality of the music they hosted is questionable. On top of that they made money in the deal from their Amazon links.

I liked muxtape, to be sure, but you have to run a clean shop to not get killed by RIAA. What I'd like to know is why muxtape got a c&d, while I would have been hung out to dry if I hosted tens of thousands of songs for free on the internet.

Opentape is a piece of software that you run on your own server. It is no more likely to be sued or made illegal than a web server application is. As far as software goes Apache and IIS serve more illegal content than everything else put together but are not under threat (at this point -- give it a few decades the way we are going and running your own webserver may very well be illegal.)
posted by n9 at 5:23 AM on August 26, 2008

or... what flashboy said!
posted by n9 at 5:24 AM on August 26, 2008

jack_mo - look to more recent cases regarding Napster and Grokster. In the end it just depends what Opentape does. It looks to me like the Opentape Discovery Network is likely to get them into trouble. It seems like almost none of these programs ever walk the line close enough that they don't get into trouble. The fun stuff - music sharing - is just not legal without permission from the copyright holder.
posted by Muddler at 5:26 AM on August 26, 2008

It looks to me like the Opentape Discovery Network is likely to get them into trouble.

Ah, I didn't see that, and it's obviously on shakier ground than the app itself.
posted by jack_mo at 5:54 AM on August 26, 2008

Subscriptions? I sure don't have one.

A large subset of my Last.fm 'friends' are subscribers, as am I, and they also have ad revenue. They're also the ad targeting research arm of CBS, so even if they were to operate at a loss, CBS could justify the expense.
posted by mkb at 6:51 AM on August 26, 2008

Also last.fm is based in London, UK so the laws and royalties are a little bit different than for USians.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:52 AM on August 26, 2008

Holy butts is that that comic terrible. Like amazing terrible. Like this-needs-photoshoping terrible.

And the bands they mention? I'm not sure what's worse. Is it Cruel Mantra, the made up band that sounds like emo in a can? Or is it The Posers, an actual band with a three-years-out-of-date website that encourages you to listen to their music by downloading it off the internet?
posted by cortex at 8:00 AM on August 26, 2008

That comic book looks like what would happen in Jack T. Chick used Illustrator.

I like to pretend the "T" is for "Tiberius."
posted by katillathehun at 9:06 AM on August 26, 2008

roll truck roll, I just tell it like it is.

For all the moaning about copyright law, nobody seems to want to face the fact that it is unlikely anyone is going to get huge traction in a lawsuit. The statutes have been interpreted over decades and with each new lawsuit the case law really doesn't carve out great exceptions that the copyfight crowd hopes for. Time and time again it comes out in favor of the rights owners. I'm not saying that many of the arguments don't have merit, but they don't get traction (for example, I personally think the Court should have struck down the last copyright term extension and fair use should be given teeth).

Every time someone on MeFi, or substantially even worse elsewhere, points out the futility of complaining, they get railed against by the "damn the man" crowd. What's even worse is that whenever I post something on copyright, people try to say I'm wrong when in fact, legally, they are wrong. For example, that linked post you gave - if you delve into the copyright statutes, whether you like it or not, copyright infringement is indeed a punishable crime comparable to theft. You don't have to like it, but you're shooting the messenger again. Other times I think I just piss people off because I'm not willing to abolish all copyright law.

Unfortunately, too much time is spent shooting the messenger when it comes to copyright issues, and that's a lot of my point. If you want to change things, either get permission from the copyright holders directly to do what you want to do or go to Congress. Bitching and moaning doesn't get you very far, but that's the majority of the arm chair copyfighter's work. In fact, complaining turns off the people you should be trying to convince of your point of view, and if you don't see that, well, no wonder the laws aren't changing.

As to the inappropriate personal attack with the linkback to something else I've said, not only is that against MeFi standards to revert to an ad hom, it's not even accurate as to my beliefs. I've said in multiple posts that I personally think we need a radical change in copyright law, but I guess people find it more interesting to avoid complexities.
posted by Muddler at 10:40 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Okay, so I won't be able to write substantially on this until later this evening, so please don't think I'm ignoring you. Much of what I'll say probably closely reflects what I said in that thread that I linked to, stuff that neither you are paulsc really responded to. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that I lack complex reasoning abilities, but let me try to prove myself first.

The "armchair copyfighters" are doing more than you think. Law is generally a few steps behind technology. The RIAA's interpretation of the law is flawed because of new technologies.

Your insistence that you're defending musicians is, I hate to say it, a little misguided. Have you talked with any full-time, professional musicians about their feelings about the RIAA?

It should give you pause to note that most of the serious musicians who've come to popularity in the past several years have done so independently of RIAA-member labels. You say that the labels should be an advocate for the musicians, and that's exactly my point. They're not being one.

As for copying quonsar's comment, I'm sorry. I thought it was funny.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:58 AM on August 26, 2008

posted by roll truck roll at 10:58 AM on August 26, 2008

Korou: While Muxtape is temporarily down

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for this one to come back.

delmoi: Speaking of the RIAA and sundry copyright nazis

I have no love for the RIAA and find many of their tactics rather unseemly, but muxtape is openly infringing on a rather wide scale, and it doesn't seem like this is the best use of the term "nazi" considering that the RIAA is pretty much within their rights here.
posted by dhammond at 11:04 AM on August 26, 2008

Strictcly speaking, they wouldn't be Nazis if they were outside of their right either.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:17 AM on August 26, 2008

> I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for this one to come back.

Thought about using quotes there.
posted by Korou at 11:26 AM on August 26, 2008

We're working now on integrating SoundCloud support for OpenTape. I think that's the way to go, to have material available that has been uploaded by the artists--with permission to spread--through a web-native API such as the one SoundCloud is providing.
posted by ericw at 12:02 PM on August 26, 2008

Don't copyright holders write off an estimate of the pirated copies as a loss, and take a tax deduction for that loss? I know some big software companies do, but what about record labels?
posted by hellojed at 12:04 PM on August 26, 2008

Strange, seemed they cloned muxtape, without copying the part that made it scalable and allowed it to explode in popularity: integration with Amazon's S3 ('Simple Storage Service').
posted by acro at 7:16 PM on August 26, 2008

Lets be clear here. It is legal to STREAM music on line provided you pay the appropriate license fees. Last.fm, pandora, etc are legal because they are considered internet radio station.

There are laws that govern what counts as streaming. You can only play the song once, you can't play the same song by the same artist in within a certain timeframe, etc. You do not need to seek prior permission, the rules are codified by law. If you're running a real radio station, the fees are very low, but recently the fees for internet radio were raised pretty high.

However, and let me say this again, there are certain ways to stream music that is legal and can be done without prior permission. Muxtape may have thought that they were playing by the correct rules, but the RIAA may have disagreed.

Obviously if you've got a Koolaide IV, it might be hard to see this.
posted by delmoi at 9:37 PM on August 26, 2008

Unfortunately, too much time is spent shooting the messenger when it comes to copyright issues, and that's a lot of my point.

I think that was sort of RadioHead's point too.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:46 PM on August 26, 2008

FaveTape is another of these services (based on Seeqpod) - in this case they harvest loved track,playlists, etc for a given user on LastFM or Pandora and then make them available to play using whatever versions can be found online. Ironically one of the ideas they are trying to implement is a facility to scrobble a record of tracks played back to LastFM.

Pandora I can no longer speak of (or listen to) but LastFM's business model has always intrigued me. My guess that, for CBS, such revenues as can be generated from advertising, subscription and sales commissions are dwarfed by the benefits the company gets from seeing who is listening to their music and what else they are listening to. I also wonder if the company has decided it is worth paying to stream its competitors tracks - alongside its own - to generate market awareness and sales.
posted by rongorongo at 8:01 AM on August 27, 2008

Seems to work well. There was an issue with the install hanging, but the forums got it sorted out quickly.
posted by acro at 9:25 AM on August 27, 2008

This is probably a doomed idea, but a Mefi-only opentape server would be nice, wouldn't it?
posted by Pronoiac at 8:52 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

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