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Do-It-Yourself Sue Napster Software 336

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-how-does-it-know? dept.
drix writes "I ran across a rather disturbing piece of software called Media Enforcer. Basically, it does the same thing that Metallica and Dr. Dre paid NetPD to do a few weeks ago: it lurks around on Napster, gathering the names of any files matching a certain pattern that are offered on the service. Thus, type in "Backstreet Boys" and it will log every person offering Backstreet Boys files on Napster for as long as you want to leave it running. What's scarier - it's next version will add support for doing the same thing simultaneously on the CuteMX, iMesh, and Scour.net filesharing networks. Zeropaid.com is running an interview with the creator of this program, who, not surprisingly, wishes to remain anonymous. " I guess the problem with all this is that a file named Metallica isn't necessary a Metallica song. If the software downloaded the data and actually checked it, I'd feel better about it.
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Do-It-Yourself Sue Napster Software

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  • Oh great, now all the indie bands, DJs, and garage artists who are actually benefitting from MP3 distribution can get on the bandwagon and be just like Dr. Dre.
  • by gowdy (135717) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:19AM (#1033343) Homepage
    ..and now name all their files Metalica....
  • Disclaimer: I have used Napster. I do have mp3s of songs I don't own.

    This is really sad if you're going to collect the information to use against people...

    ...on the other hand, it could be subverted to find stuff you want, without having to watch Napster all day.
  • Let's all put decoy files named after litigious articles on our systems!!!!

    --
    Here's my mirror [respublica.fr]

  • by deanc (2214) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:22AM (#1033346) Homepage
    This is just a normal, legitimate use of Napster. What were we expecting to happen? While Napster allows for easy indexing of files, it also allows for easy indexing of file ownership.

    I wouldn't call it scary, just a normal and expected use of the technology.

    -Dean
  • by Nik Picker (40521) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:22AM (#1033347) Homepage
    Then its official, what we need to do is create a method where in Files dont actually contain the content they are labelled as such that a more thorough checking by the requester would ensure that contents = required file.

    Tricky .. as it would invalidate searching.

    Maybe a bridge removing/anonmysing the user would be better.

    Or better yet
    MIRCOPAYMENTS [ insert crap MS Wallet gag here]
    I still say im happy to 'resell' by tracks where the receiver pays a central source a mini amount for the benefit of receiving the whole track.

    Heck Napster could then enforce Track sharing against a registered list of pay per download files.

    The premium here being that files in this category are checked and validated and payments can goto the Musicians.

    I dunno the whole above maybe too idealistic
  • If napster had any sac, they could just throw all of this out because it does NOT prove that there is a Metallica song being shared. That bot doesn't actually DOWNLOAD 300,000 songs and LISTEN to them. It's simply not proven to be piracy at that point. They could be short clips.

    And now a song like Run DMC vs. Metallica [remix] or whatever now gets them booted off too! fuck that, Napster should do to these idiots what Slashdot did to Microsoft -- Send back a letter from the lawyer that is just lawyeresque for "fuck off". This bullshit isn't good enough proof.

    Mike Roberto (roberto@soul.apk.net [mailto]) -GAIM: MicroBerto

  • NetPD will claim to own the patent. Then we'll have a whole new patent war.
  • Copy any file around 4MB in your harddisk to a file with "Metallica" in it's name (make sure there's no copyright attached to the original file) and share it on your Napster.

    Snapping a faked MP3 header on the file is even better.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you go to the page linked you'll see that he wrote this software because he feels that the Internet dissasociates people from the feel of stealing.
    He is completely wrong. The use of Napster is neither legally nor morally theft. It is copyright infringement, something that I believe is wrong, but it is not theft.
    We need to get the word out that Napster is neither piracy nor theft, it is copyright infringement. A speciic legal term with a specific legal meaning, just like the others which have nothing to do with copyright.
  • With online services offering any citizen's credit report for 39.95 USD, I cannot say that this is an especially surprising development. Alarming, certainly, and upsetting, but not surprising.

    I expect that something like this will be available before long for Gnutella.

    If any of you have samizdat to distribute, you'd better do it now or find alternate communication channels. The day when we will be issued microphones to be worn at all times cannot be far off.

  • by Johnath (85825) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:23AM (#1033353) Homepage
    Perhaps this was already answered in the original discussions about NetPD, but how do programs like this get around Napster's use policy which, iirc, explicitly bans bots like this, or really, bots of any kind?

    Are they just counting on the term 'bot' being too vague to hold up in court? Is napster just not entitled to make this restriction on their service? I would think violating the usage policy amounts to unlawful use of computing resources. Can Napster file counter-suit? Or even just have the names thrown out in any court proceedings?

  • Why did I write this application? I have a very clear interest in the success of the entertainment industry in the digital age. While many people try to argue their theft with variants of "information should be free" it is simply not true.

    I hate to admit it, but I understand his point. I think someone said it best, if you own the CD, why let Napster have access to it? You really have no reason to share your music with other people.
  • So? One of the old OPERs on the VAX at school did this to us, too. He would generate lists of people using the TINT client to access MU*s during the daytime hours (during which games were forbidden). He even saw through our ruse of renaming TINT as WP500.COM. ;)

    Oh yeah, it pissed us off, too. But hey, we were breaking the rules. It was just embarrassing to have one's name up on a public list like that, as if we'd cashed a bad check at El Charro or something (JDC, I know you're out there. . .).

    Folks who are sharing Metallica songs are more than likely breaking the rules, too. Their ruse is up, too. So, if you wanna break the rules, you'd better find a better way to hide your tracks.

    -Omar

  • I was recently banned when the MetalliBot ran
    across my bait, a track I created.
    I renamed the file so it included the words
    'Metallica' and 'One', but was obviously not a
    Metallicrap song.
    Had they even checked the ID3 tag, it would have
    shown that this file was not really Metallica at all.

    I wonder how much Lars is paying NetPD for a simple keyword search...

    --KMM

    =-=-=
  • Until the software starts downloading what you're watching for, there's no benefit whatsoever. Napster clients can only download after they search.

    You'd have to search again to actually download.

  • I guess the problem with all this is that a file named Metallica isn't necessary a Metallica song. If the software downloaded the data and actually checked it, I'd feel better about it.

    Well, this may be part of the "solution" against it. If people start sharing empty files with Metallica as a name, it makes finding the real Metallica songs harder. All there is to do is the same as e-mail: files like "Metallica - enpty - One.mpg" for the false files and "Metallica - One.mp3" for the real one... just my $.02.
  • Boy would I be pissed if I downloaded a Metallica song and it turned out to be some current teen-age pop song...

    Seriously though, I've thought we should rename a bunch of freely-distributable MP3s so that they contained the name Metallica.

    Hmm. We have all those slashdot "Geeks in Space" episodes just sitting around....
  • dd if=/dev/zero of=metallicasnewrecord.mp3 bs=50000000 count=1
    just try it...
  • this is terrible. if some anonymous character can log user activities on napster, scour, whatever services, what is stopping large organizations with plenty of resources (e.g. government) to watch anything they want? all they need to do is listen and log packets. the term "big brother" is really beginning to hit home.
  • This is something I thought of a few weeks back. How can they have possibly verified that EVERY person was actually distributing their songs?

    If I sang a song called "metalica sucks" and distributed it on napster...would I be banned?

    That would be very silly....and probably not very probable...but hey...its possible.

    All they can really say is "It seems as if every person on this list might be distributing songs we made", which is not a very strong argument for banning them.
  • Anyone know where I can download an illegal version of that software?

    tcd004

    Here's my Microsoft Parody, [lostbrain.com] where's yours?

  • The idea is taht you could leave it there all the time to see if someone has the hard-to-find, or whatever, file that you're looking for.

    There are a number of things that I've searched for on Napster that no one seems to have an mp3 of, but I can't watch all the time, whereas this program does just that.

    Once you know it's there you can look out for the user who has it.

    Of course, you could probably write a perl script, or the like, to watch the log and alert you when the file you want, or something with a similar name appears.

    Or am I totally off-base?
  • What do you do, lurk around on /., keeping reloading the front page for new articles every 15 seconds just so you can have the first post and get lowered karma from being moderated down? Wow what a privilege to have no life, I bow down to your greatness. I think I will get real work done and only check /. once in awhile...
  • Napster explicitly bans the use of bots.

    If you're breaking the usage agreement of Napster by running this bot, then doesn't that make you as bad as the people ripping off music?

    LK
  • I couln't agree more. It's a very sensible thing to do and entirely in the spirit of the net.

    As for the re-naming of files, that's a complete red herring. People find songs on Napster because the songs are filed under sensible names - i.e. the name of the song. Whatever filing mechanism you decide to use, if you don't want to use names, then software such as this will always be able to access that filing mechanism just as easily as the official client software.

    Seems pretty reasonable to me - no better or worse than grepping usenet to see if people are sayig good or bad things about your company's products - which is itself no better or worse than kibo.

    It's what you do in the real world next, that matters. Software is just software..
  • The creation of this type of software was inevitable. In order to facilitate the transfer, these file-sharing programs need to know the IP address of the sender and the recipient. In addition, services like Napster that identify users by a unique username have yet another field that allows for the identification of this user.

    All that is required to create a program like this is to set it to request all file names that contain a substring. When the software receives the username/IP from which the file is being sent, it logs it instead of merely downloading the file.

    In order to prevent this "spying," the file-sharing utility would need to obscure the identity of the users by acting as an intermediary. Either the server could contact the computer offering the file, download it to the server, and then send it from the server to the second client (waste of bandwidth and forces the company hosting the main server to commit copyright violation by temporarily hosting potentially pirated files), or it could somehow encrypt the identifiable information so that only a secret routine in the program could decrypt it for use (which is against the principle of open source).

    I think that, at least for the near future, we will have to accept the possibility of spying on file-sharing networks as a given.
  • You might not be transmitting an actual Metallica song, perhaps you just uploaded your own metal single with the title "My Rockin' Tune (soundz like Metallica and Pantera)".

    Metallica runs their search, they spot your song along with the millions of actual Metallica singles being passed around, they mark you to be removed by Napster. You complain, naturally, since you haven't actually been distributing their music.

    Oops, but you just used their copyrighted (oand probably trademarked) name, "Metallica", on your distribution. Guess what, they've now got reason to send the legal spawn after your Napster account anyway.

    It might not be as real an offence as actually distributing their music, but don't expect that to slow them down when they decide to step on pirate distribution. You don't have a legal leg to stand on.

    You know what to do with the HELLO.

  • by Wah (30840) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:36AM (#1033377) Homepage Journal
    Why would they want to? This tool is ACTUALLY, IMHO, the first one that could be used to calculate ratings and "#1 Hits", i.e. "The Most Downloaded Song." As media becomes more free and it becomes trivial (and legal) for me to download last weeks X-Files, a system like this would be an excellent replacement for the VERY screwed up ratings systems we have for both TV and radio.
    --
  • Maybe a bridge removing/anonmysing the user would be better.

    Check out Freenet [slashdot.org] it's a file sharing system that shows some promise in the anonymity area.

    It allows for encryption, and implicity hides from the user what server a file is coming from. I could go into more details, but the fellows there can probably do a much better job.

  • by generic-man (33649) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:39AM (#1033382) Homepage Journal
    Napster is a public forum, not your house. You put a list of your MP3's on Napster _expecting_ people to search it. If you don't like it, set your share directory to /dev/null.

    What you're saying about "illegal search" is like me dumping out a box of 100 CD's in the middle of the sidewalk, walking away to go do some shopping or chat with friends, and then run back and say "Hey! Don't look at those! They're mine! This is illegal search!"
  • You raise a good point. It's not theft. That's akin to the BSA assuming that every piece of software that gets pirated would have been bought if it wasn't pirated. Granted some of it would have been, but not nearly all of it. I don't believe that if Napster didn't exist these people would be buying the CDs from which they've gotten their gigabyte MP3 collections.

    Just like with Napster. If you downloaded a song, you may have broken the law by infringing on someone's copyright but you haven't stolen anything.

    Stealing is when person A has object X. Person B comes along, and without permission from the rightful owner of object X, takes object X. Person B now has posession of object X and person A no longer has object X.

    LK
  • by Wah (30840) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:42AM (#1033388) Homepage Journal
    ..."Arr, matey" side of file-sharing, they might realize that the system he is creating is the digital equivalent of the Neilsons. A ratings system for distributed media. Or at least the basis of one.

    That's what I think this should be used for. Sueing 300,000 people for listening to your music might make great headlines, and make the lawyers tons of cash, but it is hardly the way to run a civilized society. Or an entertainment business. It's time to see the future and embrace it.
    --
  • If you are not downloading illegal media off napster, THEN you should have nothing to worry about right?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually Napster's Terms of Service doesn't allow the use of automated software and the DMCA doesn't allow you to put undo stress on a network while attempting to find copyright infringers.
  • My friend got "Metallicaed" as he put it from napster due to one song -- this song was a rare remix of a Metallica song by one of his favorite bands - KMFDM... Now thats lame.



    ---
    How long have you been listening to the world's famous?
    'Bout six weeks.
    Six weeks!
  • It's a very sensible thing to do and entirely in the spirit of the net.

    It is a sensible thing to do, but I beg to disagree on the "spirit of the net" issue. I am quite sure that assembling databases of who owns which files is not in the spirit of the net. Sniffing packets -- yeah, sure. Assembling hit lists for corporations' legal departments -- not really.

    As for the re-naming of files, that's a complete red herring. People find songs on Napster because the songs are filed under sensible names - i.e. the name of the song. Whatever filing mechanism you decide to use, if you don't want to use names, then software such as this will always be able to access that filing mechanism just as easily as the official client software.

    Bullshit. This is completely equivalent to spam-proofing email addresses. If I have two files, one of which is called "Metallica -- track 13" and the other is called "Metallica -- RIAA bait", a human will be able to know what's happening perfectly well. Software is likely to have severe problems.

    Remember -- we are not really talking about 'hiding' files from RIAA, though it's doable, too. We are talking about spamming their search engines with bogus data which is trivial.

    Kaa
  • by extrasolar (28341) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @06:50AM (#1033401) Homepage Journal
    You people only want to use Napster to listen to music by artists who want their music on Napster, right?

    This way, they can prevent people from sharing music from artists who want nothing to do with Napster.

    This way you are happy, the RIAA is happy, Metallica is happy, Everyone's happy.

    BTW: Anyone who calls a non-Metallica song, Metallica is an idiot. It is just a rouse to subvert the system. Just like: the next time you go to download sourcecode to some program, you get to decide between Metallica1.c Metallica2.c, etc. That is just dumb and defeats the purpose of filenames!

    Unles you don't care what Metallica or any other artist wants; only that you want to listen to their music for free. *gasp* Could it be?
  • I don't see what's so scary about this. I'd say it's necessary. What's wrong with accountability? Maybe this sort of thing will cause that accountability to land upon the actual thieves rather than the tool makers.

    And if the first generation of these tools, with their crude pattern-matching, generates some false positives, that's no big deal. If you're going to prosecute someone for piracy, you're obviously going to have to manually confirm the offenses. Nobody's suggesting that something like this should be used to automatically generate arrest warrants.

    For samizdat and whistle-blowing, I don't see a problem either. The goal there is for someone to be able to speak anonymously, and getting an anonymous message out will always be possible. Once it's out, it doesn't need to be mirrored and distributed anonymously.


    ---
  • by Sloppy (14984)

    how do programs like this get around Napster's use policy which, iirc, explicitly bans bots like this, or really, bots of any kind?

    Usage policies about bots are bullshit. If a server can dictate how I retrieve and process information, then MPAA can dictate how I watch a DVD. Fuck that.


    ---
  • The masses see the achille's heel of Napster enforcement is that a filename containing a certain text may not actually be by that artist. The MP3 format does indeed have a field for artist. It is unambiguous whether the text "metallica" refers to the name of the artist, or part of the name of the song.

    But here's the gotcha: most artists will probably be _more_ furious if you misrepresent music and wrongly attribute it to them, or away from them. If you package up a Backstreet Boys song, and attribute it to Metallica, Metallica may even have _more_ ground to sue you (for libel, for example). If you attribute it away from them, if you claim that a Metallica song was by somebody _besides_ Metallica, that is even a larger crime (identity theft!). But this case is considerably more difficult to detect.
  • by Zico (14255)

    If you're going to use Napster illegally to collect songs that you have no right to, why would you complain that someone might collect your information to use against you? At least what they're doing is legal.

    I guess information wants to be free only when it helps you "get some free kewl stuff."

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • I've been fighting with this issue for a while. Let's consider the flip side to all this for a change. I've written an application that represents SEVERAL *months* of my time and effort. I've given that application to a set of friends for testing under an agreed upon "licensing" arrangement that they will not distribute that application. This is an obvious desire of mine because I want to distribute the application myself in order to ensure I'm properly reimbursed. If those people decided on their own to start swapping that application with a bunch of other people, I would be furious. That's *my* application that *I* worked for months on and now *they're* distributing it freely without *my* involvement whatsoever.

    That's the side of this issue that 99% of the people swapping files via Napster are not (perhaps can not) adequately considering. It may not be possible to fully appreciate that side of things unless you've been in that position yourself. So it may be difficult to convey to someone that has never really had the feel of ownership and pride associated with having created something like that how an author of a piece of work (music, art, software, whatever) really feels when his work is being freely distributed without his involvement.

    That being said, I admit to having swapped music via Napster. I admit to having downloaded a song that I do not own a legitimate license for. I do so because I tell myself that I would never have purchased that song under any other circumstance. I only grabbed it because it was free and available. If it were not so easily accessible, I would never have bought it. So the author of the work in this case didn't loose a penny. I would not have bought it anyway. In fact, the author is getting free exposure because I may decide after listening to some number of songs for free that I really like his work and I would, as a result, go buy a CD or two that I would not have otherwise. That's the same ol' argument that's been used to justify software swapping for YEARS (I remember making that comparison as many as 15 years ago).

    So I find myself wondering how I can see both sides of this coin and come to a happy median. How could someone else convince me as an author that swapping my work freely is a good thing? I think it boils down to what TYPE of work is being swapped. In my case, I might crank out a useful, market-able application *once* every *two* years! Someone swapping my work probably does not encourage them to buy anything else of mine because there just isn't anything else of mine available. In the case of songs, it's a little different. While creating a song involves a great deal of work by a large number of people, the bottom line is that a particular artist has many, many songs available on the market. It's also true that the "consumers" of these songs have a large number of choices available to them. They could listen to your song or they could listen to someone elses, so getting a little free exposure might help a song artist while it probably doesn't help me at all (there aren't likely to be all that many alternatives to the applications I write).

    What do other "authors" think about this issue? We're hearing GOBS and GOBS from users, but very little from authors.
  • And how much money are you contributing to Napster? It's so easy for you nerds to talk tough with someone else's money.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • If you're breaking the usage agreement of Napster by running this bot, then doesn't that make you as bad as the people ripping off music?

    No, because Napster's bot ban is unreasonable. It smells suspiciously to me, like an attempt to couple their client software with their service, and I'm rather surprised that people here on Slashdot would defend such a practice.

    What if www.microsoft.com had a "usage agreement" that you're not allowed to use anything from their site for criticism or to make a compatable competing product? What if DVDs were sold with a "usage agreement" that you're only allowed to watch them on a DVD-CCA licensed player? What if you bought music from a musician, and it had a "usage agreement" that you're not allowed to convert the music data to other formats?

    Do you really want to go there? Fair Use is our friend.


    ---
  • cat /vmlinuz | lame SomeMetalicaSong.mp3

    After blowing their ear drums listening to Metalica full volume, most fans won't notice the difference.
  • by platypus (18156) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:09AM (#1033442) Homepage
    c:\> copy c:\virii\iloveyou.vbs.txt c:\napsterout\mygreatestmetallicahits\unforgiven-u nforgiven.mpg
  • by Johnath (85825) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:09AM (#1033443) Homepage
    Usage policies about bots are bullshit. If a server can dictate how I retrieve and process information, then MPAA can dictate how I watch a DVD. Fuck that.

    I don't think so. When Napster places limitations on their system they are saying "We pay for these servers, we pay for this bandwidth, it is our property which we allow you to use under the following conditions." By contrast, the MPAA wants to say "you paid for the dvd, it is your property, however we still wish to dictate the means by which you use it."

    I agree that another organization dictating what I can do with my own property is bogus, but they are perfectly entitled to control their OWN property.

    More to the point however, even if you do dislike Napster's use of it, even if you could convince me that it was a shitty thing for them to do, there it stands nonetheless, and I still don't understand how NetPD or this new software hope to dodge it.

    Johnath
  • by pkj (64294) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:10AM (#1033445)
    Johnath writes:

    Perhaps this was already answered in the original discussions about NetPD, but how do programs like this get around Napster's use policy which, iirc, explicitly bans bots like this, or really, bots of any kind?

    Well duh... the bots get arround the policy the same way that the people offering copyrighted material get arround it. The point is that Napster really just doesn't care.

    I've really got to say that I'm beginning to get a little bored of all the Napster press. Napster is just a silly lame-ass protocol and what it does is no different than a web hosting service. The people that should be sued are the people offering the files. Simple as that.

    And what makes matters worse is that Napster is just a pain in the butt to use. You need to spend hours just to find a particular song, and then hope that it was ripped and encoded properly. For the time it takes to find anything, it would be cheaper to get a job and buy the frickin' CD.

    OBTW, there has been a Perl module that does Napster searching for quite some time now. Took me all of 15 minutes to learn how to write a script that uses it.

    -p.

  • Uploading a song with a title like "My stuff (similar to Metallica)" would probably fall under fair use of the Metallica trademark. It would be much the same as Burger King saying its burgers taste better than Big Macs or Pepsi saying it beat Coke 2-1 in taste tests. A trademark prevents you from naming your band "Metallica"; it doesn't prevent you from using the word "Metallica" in ordinary speech, nor from comparing the relative merits of Metallica versus some other band.


    -rpl

  • by Sloppy (14984)

    Ok, let's say you're on a network. There's a computer running a Microsoft OS on the network too. That computer offers a free service for authentication, let's just call it .. oh, I dunno .. MS-Kerberos. It has a usage policy that you're only allowed to talk to it using Microsoft-written software. Got a problem with that?


    ---
  • by Sloppy (14984)

    Hmm.. so if you were to go to a web site that brought up a page saying, "Sorry, your User-Agent isn't MSIE. We only allow MSIE users to access this service," then of course, you would not go into your browser's preferences and tell it to spoof MSIE, thereby lying to the server and violating their terms, right? Naw, you wouldn't dream of such a thing.


    ---
  • The low volume/high margin business model benefits independent artists because it allows companies to reinvest the profits from high volume artists into the low volume ones.

    It's a fact: over 90% of recordings do not make money.

    Hence, in a world where artists sell directly to consumers, over 90% will be out of business on the first day, because there will be no mechanism by which profits are redistributed within the organization (today's role of the record company). The only survivors will be low margin/high volume artists such as the Backstreet Boys.

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carp a n e t . net> on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:20AM (#1033459) Homepage
    My point was simply this....they did NOT show that the people named actually truely did anything...all they did was find evidence that they "Might have" or "Probably did".

    In my view, it is quite simply morally wrong to punish an individual (as each and every person on the list was an individual) because they might have done something.

    It was wrong of metalica to demand that people be banned, unless they specifically verified each and every name on the list, not only for file names, but for actual content.

    It was doubly wrong of napster to bann them without demanding that this be done.

    it is NOT ok to punish someone, regardless of guilt, simply because you have provided a way for them to have the punishment taken away later. It would be like a court sending a person to jail for muder because "Well he might have done it, and if he didn't he can apeal anyway...so its ok"

    -Steve
    (who has never even used napster - and now never will)
  • by Threed (886) <(moc.llata) (ta) (erehwon)> on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:22AM (#1033460)
    Disclaimers...
    I don't use Napster. I get my MP3s from a different distributed (yet slowly congealing) source.

    Yes, it's possible to rename a file to make it look incriminating, or to rename an incriminating file to make it look innocent. There is a legal problem with this: Offering something AS an illegal item MAKES IT an illegal item.

    Nevertheless, people keep claiming that filename matching should be done away with in favor of pattern matching the content itself. One question: HOW?

    These are compressed audio files. How do you know how tightly squeezed they are? How big a sample do you need before you can call it a match? Ulrich's snare drum is likely to sound like a whole lot of snare drums, no?

    Even if we were talking about WAVs, there's still the little-understood and often forgotten problem of (if this is the right word for it) JITTER. IIRC, CDDA rips aren't perfect. They might miss a bit or two, and subsequent bytes will be bit shifted. (How they still sound correct is beyond me, somehow it works).

    So now we're searching for a bit pattern within a compressed bit pattern that might be bit shifted by some arbitrary ammount? Please...

    And while we're at it, can people please be a bit more realistic about this whole thing? MP3 is not going to destroy the RIAA. They're going to do that themselves by gouging their customers and producing crap. The other side of the spectrum is shouting about MP3 being free advertising which helps the labels. Neither is correct; MP3 is just a tiny blip on the radar screen. The RIAA HAS to defend their copyrights or else lose them.

    (Let's see the moderators cope with this... The first part is informative, the second part is flamebait and probably redundant, masquerading as informative and insightful.)

    --Threed

    The Slashdot Sig Virus was foiled before it could spread.

  • And if the first generation of these tools, with their crude pattern-matching, generates some false positives, that's no big deal. If you're going to prosecute someone for piracy, you're obviously going to have to manually confirm the offenses.

    That's obvious to you and me, but is it obvious to judges and lawyers in the real world? As long as those people bear in mind that simple pattern matching in the title is at best meager evidence, then I've got no problem with this software. If, on the other hand, some of these false positives start getting hauled into court (and incurring attendant attorney fees and airfares), then I think that's a real problem. Does the justice system really understand what does or does not constitute evidence in digital crimes? Sadly, I don't have a whole lot of confidence that they do.

    Nobody's suggesting that something like this should be used to automatically generate arrest warrants.

    Aren't they? This was exactly the sort of evidence that was used to get people banned from Napster, wasn't it?


    -rpl

  • "Outlets for free speech must always exist, I am not some communist saying that everyone must attach their name to everything that they do. "

    "My interest lies in the fact that many people in addition to the artists - like engineers and producers - make their living off of royalties."

    Am I wrong or is using government legislation to insure employment for people displaced by technology far more socialistic than denying anonymity, which isn't necesarilly communist at all.

  • This piece of software is simple enough, and whether or not you want to argue the point of having bots on Napster (or any of the other services), it really is time that someone created something like this. The problem is everyone's jumping on the "It's for suing people" bandwagon - artists like Chuck D., etc., that *PROMOTE* MP3 usage, trading, and whatnot, can use this as a valuable tool. It's not just for generating lists of people to ban - it serves to track just how much something's traded, a popularity guide. Someone should grab this software to generate an internet Billboard list of sorts. Don't assume, just because of the slant of the article, that the only uses are negative - a split atom doesn't always make a bomb.

  • so since the search engines (bots) are looking for human-readable song or artist names, perhaps a naming hash function will arise.

    using public key encryption style tech, you have a cloud of trusted music traders. you have their public keys. you use the public key to run your target songname thru some alg. and out pops some hashed (garbled) song name. you then search by this and find it.

    the automated bots won't find 'metallica', but instead, these songs are hiding under names such as:

    #)#&)(JLW#U)D*QL#%JH)*

    of course I haven't thought this thru enough to write a spec or code to it yet but it sounds like its high time for name-munging on the filesharing utils.

    --

  • Actually, you've got nothing to worry about either way. The only people getting caught are the ones "serving" illegal media. If you aren't sharing any MP3's, you are safe....for now

    Finkployd

  • Perhaps this was already answered in the original discussions about NetPD, but how do programs like this get around Napster's use policy which, iirc, explicitly bans bots like this, or really, bots of any kind?

    Why is it a bot? It's just another unofficial Napster client, but aimed at a different bunch of people. Or does `bot' simply mean `anything the music pirat ...errrrm I mean.. sharing community don't like'? As for the filename issue, did anybody really have files full of random garbage called Metallica on Napster before Metallica sued? There's really no reason anyone can take the moral high ground about this program being in any way `evil'. It's a perfectly legit tool that helps defeat pirates using the pirates' own toys.
  • Napster is theft by any definition of the word.

    Your use of the word Napster in the above context illustrates to me that you have no idea what Napster is.

    The RIAA, record companies, Metallica and Dr. Dre are suing Napster because they know that they have deeper pockets and can outlast them in court. It's like when someone tries to buy the pot in a game of poker.

    It would be precisely akin to refusing to pay a barber for a haircut. Have you stolen something? Yes! You have stolen services.

    You are incorrect. It would be more akin to borrowing the BOSS shirt of a friend and making a copy of it in your basement. You've refused to pay Hugo Boss for the time he took to design the original. You've refused to pay a big department store for one of the originals. You've refused to pay for shipping and ... Have you stolen the sales tax from the state? After all if you made your own you didn't have to pay sales tax on it.

    This isn't the point however. Copyright infringement is an illegal practice, but it is NOT theft. Is it morally wrong? I can't decide that for everyone. I can only choose for me. People have differing opinions about whether it's morally wrong to have an abortion or own a gun. Why is this any different?

    LK
  • by nhw (30623) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:36AM (#1033484) Homepage

    This whole Napster thing is getting out of hand, and it threatens to tar the entire digital software distribution industry with the sort of 'fuck-you-freebie-ism' that Napster seems to be about.

    That's a pretty strong statement, but, let's face it, most every single song on Napster is from one copyrighted/protected source of another. At least, the ones that people use it for. For every one legitimate user of Napster, there are ten thousand who are just using it to get music for free (that they'd otherwise have to pay for).

    I think Metallica made an interesting point in their Slashdot interview. I don't believe that it's controversial that artists should be able to say who can copy their work. If you don't agree with this, you can stop reading here, because we don't have a common basis for what follows. It's all about how to allow artists to have their say about what people do with their work.

    Imagine a scheme whereby artists get this choice: each artist generates a public/private key pair. They 'sign' each of their tracks on each of their CDs: encrypting the name of the song, the name of the artist, and information on how/when the song can be distributed, in some agreed format. One flag might be 'no Napster-style distribution'.

    MP3 ripping software will support a new standard, wherein the signature for each track is tagged onto the MP3 that's ripped from a CD.

    Napster-like services that want to participate in the scheme have copies of the public key for every artist that participates. Before a track is listed on the database of the Napster-like service, the signature is checked. If it agrees, (i.e. filenames reflect contents, artist name etc) and the redistribution permission data allows this track to be redistributed in a Napster-like service, all is well. Otherwise, the service will refuse to list the file.

    By making the permissions data that's signed with the track reasonably fine-grained, artists can enforce their rights. Napster-like services actually gain some measure of moral respectability, and digital distribution might actually survive the year without being legislated into oblivion.

    Come to think of it, the artists don't even need to encode the data onto their CDs: it can be distributed from CDDB style servers. In fact, anyone should be allowed to add their public key to the Napster-like services' key database, so the 'struggling new artists' that these services allegedly support can allow their work to be freely distributed, whilst the Metallica's of this world can have the greater control that they want.

    What do you guys think?

  • As to the substance of your point about 'what stealing is', consider this small Gedankenexperiment, consider the man who breaks into your car whilst its parked outside the office, and takes it for a drive around the city, kindly returning it to the car park after he's finished with it, and before you come out of work. Theft, or not theft?

    Theft. Because they car has been altered while it was gone. It's not the same. There is more wear on the car. There is less "life" left in it, when it's returned.

    If he were to carefully load it onto the back of a flatbed truck and cover it up and drive the truck around town and return it in the exact same condition then that would not be theft.

    LK
  • by Carthain (86046) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:46AM (#1033496) Homepage
    Nope, I just looked through their TERMS OF USE on their web page, as well as the EULA. No mention of bots anywhere.

    There is however this nice little bit:
    As a condition to your use of the Napster service and browser you agree that you will not: (i) use the Napster service to infringe the intellectual property rights of others in any way; (ii) use the Napster browser or service, or attempt to penetrate, modify or manipulate the Napster browser or service or any of the hardware or software thereof in order to: invade the privacy of, obtain the identity of, or obtain any personal information about (including but not limited to IP addresses of) any Napster account holder or user, or modify, erase or damage any information contained on the computer of any user connected to the Napster service; or (iii) reverse engineer any portion of the Napster service or browser.
    I'd be interested to see what happens about part 3 where you're not allowed to reverse engineer their software. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you have to do some reverse engineering to make a program that can also use their servers?
  • by Johnath (85825) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @07:46AM (#1033497) Homepage
    First of all:

    I've really got to say that I'm beginning to get a little bored of all the Napster press. Napster is just a silly lame-ass protocol and what it does is no different than a web hosting service. The people that should be sued are the people offering the files. Simple as that.

    I totally and without reservation agree with this statement and someone with points left, please give his reply the boost it needs to be read by more people. Naming napster in these lawsuits is the worst case of shooting the messenger we've had lately. You don't charge car-makers for facilitating crime by providing get-away cars. You don't charge kitchenware manufacturers for empowering the Lorena Bobbits of the world. You don't, in general, attack someone for facilitating a crime, you attack the person who commits it.

    Having said that though, I find the statement:

    Well duh... the bots get arround the policy the same way that the people offering copyrighted material get arround it. The point is that Napster really just doesn't care.

    a little incongruous. Napster doesn't care about the way its users may or may not violate copyright any more than it cares about whether they shoplifted as teenagers. Napster is a medium, and doesn't have any reason to care about the crimes that may have been committed by other people, users or not. On the other hand, Napster has every reason to get a little irked when a crime is committed against them, as does any other individual or corporation.

    And on the slightly offtopic subject of perl modules, there is also, for everyone's info, a perl module to handle gnutella, which conveniently avoids all these snafus in the first place. :)

    Johnath
  • > No, because Napster's bot ban is unreasonable.
    > It smells suspiciously to me, like an attempt to
    > couple their client software with their service,
    > and I'm rather surprised that people here on
    > Slashdot would defend such a practice.

    If it *is* such an attempt, it's a pretty poor one, considering the amount of Napster clones around for various other OSes. I've got no idea how you arrived at this conclusion, however: Napster's bot ban is similar to many IRC servers' bot bans: they're not limiting client software to theirs only, they're (presumably) stopping people from automatically searching for Metallica every 30 seconds, 24 hours a day, ie, to reduce load on their servers.

    AFAIK Napster has never complained about people cloning their software, either. At least not recently. The conclusion you make is just nonsensical, and the comparisons you draw on aren't valid. Napster isn't limiting you to using a product produced by a certain company; they're specifically *prohibiting* you from using *any* product that performs a certain function (ie, automated searches). Think of it as a negative filter rather than a positive one. To use another analogy, it's the difference between "Don't kill people" (negative filter) and "You must walk down the street with a smile on your face at all times") (positive filter).

    Of course, there's sometimes a fine line between a client and a bot. There are many modified Gnutella clients that send back `The RIAA is watching you!' or similar in response to every search, but they - presumably - also function as an otherwise normal
    Gnutella client.
  • Titles can not be copyrighted. If an element in the name can be trademarked, that's a separate issue. For instance, a title like "Understanding Linux" can not be copyrighted, but your use of LinuxTM falls under trademark law.

    Particularly when referring to song titles it'd quickly grow out of control to allow copyrighting titles. If I right a song called "Bleed" and could copyright the title, then NO ONE could call a song "Bleed" until almost a hundred years after I was dead. That's nuts.

    LetterJ

  • How about NetPD spots my "Metallica can kiss my shiny white ass.mp3" -- a 10 minute rant about how much everything that ever even thought about coming into contact with Metallica sucks.

    NetPD's happy little info bot spots "Metallica" in the title and flags my User ID for removal from Napster.

    Thing is, that would end up causing me to be removed from the service for expressing my opinion and editorializing, which I have a perfect right to do. Napster wouldn't be at fault because NetPD told them that I was infringing on Metallica's copyright. I think I'd have the basis for a nice little civil suit against NetPD and/or Metallica at that point. Although, as I've said, I am not a lawyer but I play one on TV.

  • Isn't it funny to see Napster's own argument come full circle and bite them in the ass? Napster, Inc. can't carp about this software without coming off as total hypocrites. After all, this software only provides the means to use Napster "illegally " - against Napster's TOS. It's up to the users themselves to not do "illegal" things (like run the Media Enforcer bot) on their service. Doesn't that argument sound familiar? It's the same thing Napster has been feeding the RIAA and the rest of the free world for the last six months.

    --
  • It comes down to two issues: Quantity (the ammount of piracy going on) and, in the case of music, Quality (how good the copies are).

    Ulrich is on record as having said that taping is no biggie. Why? Signal loss. Even first generation copies are noticably degraded from the original. Playing tapes degrades them. Copying from a tape... forget it.

    In the case of your software being pirated, the copy is either perfect or non-functional. All or none. And so your only real "bitch" would be if so many copies were made that you no longer have a market.

    The happy medium lies therein... Napster makes the files too easily and widely available for the labels' comfort.

    One could draw a parallel with the War on Drugs. A quote (FAIR USE, GODDAMNIT!) from Drug Crazy, by Mike Grey, "Open markets promote use, prohibition peddles use" ... para: "They found out that the demand curve for drugs isn't linear..." - with respect to the level of prohibition, ranging from absolute to nonexistant - "...it's U-shaped."

    That is, you make it absolutely freely available and it will mushroom uncontrollably. You clamp down on it 100% and it will again mushroom.

    What the labels need to come to terms with (the commercial software producers seem to have "got" this one already) is that easing up just a little will push the problem into the underground. There will be piracy (and drug use) no matter what they do, but the kind of piracy that goes on in the software field is of the "baseball card" type - the software isn't going to be USED, just warehoused, and it wouldn't have been purchased anyway.

    --Threed

    The Slashdot Sig Virus was foiled before it could spread.
  • by HalJohnson (86701) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:14AM (#1033516) Homepage
    What's needed is a new distribution system. Face it, people want the type of system mp3/napster provide. The problem is, the record companies don't want this system. It signifigantly reduces their control over what we hear/buy.

    If you've become hooked on the mp3/napster trend, then you understand. I personally am a die-hard hold-out, I have a collection of over 500 cds. But lately, every cd I buy seems to only be used once, to rip the tracks I like to mp3s. And every new cd I've bought has been from listening to mp3s first (case in point, some Vanessa Daou cds on their way to me after downloading a bunch of her songs).

    If the record companies woke up, realized that people are demanding this type of system, they'd be able to profit off of it. I know for damn sure if I was able to go to www.bigrecordcompany.com and download a perfect mp3 of a song for under $1 (preferably $0.50), I'd likely spend very little time on napster. The expense in time and effort cannot be justified at that cost. I'm actually rather happy they haven't realized what's happening. Since if that were the case, they'd still retain almost complete control over what we hear/buy. I think by not embracing this type of system, they're building their own coffin.

    Attempting to control the market by strongarming legislators is futile since they have no control over digital information and never will.

    The people have spoken, call it the digital revolution, call it civil disobediance, call it whatever you want. The point is they need to listen and adapt to the changing market or they'll find themselves extinct. The music market isn't going anywhere, people love music and will always support it. Whether the bloated distribution systems in place are still required is what's up for debate.

  • I guess the problem with all this is that a file named Metallica isn't necessary a Metallica song. If the software downloaded the data and actually checked it, I'd feel better about it.
    All questions of the silliness of naming a file one thing when it's something else aside, were you seriously suggesting writing software that can detect songs recorded by Metallica from content alone? If so, I'll let you tackle that project. Hint: it's nontrivial, and will probably be very CPU intensive.

    But seriously folks, it's possible you could CRC the encoded sound data and scan for files matching that CRC. Not that it wouldn't generate more than a few false positives, even with a 32-bit CRC, or be very easily defeated by looping the song out to analog and re-encoding it back to MP3, producing a virtually identical-sounding file with a totally different signature ..

    Oh, and where will all the extra bandwidth to cover all these bot downloads come from? Just curious ..
  • I think Metallica made an interesting point in their Slashdot interview. I don't believe that it's controversial that artists should be able to say who can copy their work. If you don't agree with this, you can stop reading here, because we don't have a common basis for what follows. It's all about how to allow artists to have their say about what people do with their work.

    I'd like to add to, and probably slightly contradict this. I think it is reasonable for a society to create priviledges for those who create things which add to the culture of that society. That is why I support copyright. I no more think an artist has the right to determine the actions of others (control who can copy their work) than it is my parents right to control how I think because of the fact that it is their genetic material and food and resources which got me here. The only way I would say you have a right to decide who gets information and who does not is if you get a contractual agreement with everyone that they will handle this information in a certain way. Now, if I buy music and I agree to this contract and break it, then you have legal recourse against me. But not against parties who never agreed to it (i.e., the people I decided to give the music to). I wanted to state that because I think too many people are starting to think of a copyright as a God given right, rather than as a privilege granted by government for the public good. Now, I support copyright holders' going after violators, such as those making copyrighted materials available to others illegally, but I am much more leary about them legally being able to go after other parties. So, I think it is reasonable for them to ask Napster to block the offending users, and I think a civil suit against the company is a reasonable action, and then we can see what the courts have to say. My suspicion is that the Napster people designed their system to facilitate the violations, but that should be decided by a court of law rather than funky new laws put into place by a desperate music industry.

  • preacher mode on...

    You know, it's funny how the restrictions on the net (UCITA, DCMA, etc.), or threat thereof, seem to often be in response to users doing things they shouldn't be anyway (ie, pirating). Looks to me like we brought it on ourselves. If you want the internet to remain free/open/anonymous, don't download those mp3's (or whatever) that you didn't pay for.

    If you abuse it, don't be surprised when you lose it.

    preacher mode off.

  • IIRC, I'm pretty sure there's a clause in the Napster licensing agreement forbidding the use of bots on Napster. Someone pointed out in the "Metallica Sues Napster" article that, technically, NetPD was breaking the agreement and the list of names it gave metallica was not valid. There must be some kind of similar argument you can make here.

    Is there any way to detect these detection programs? They could then be systematically banned from Napster and other services due to their autmated status.
  • This program clearly violates the terms of use of Napster as they require you to use a previously registered user name. From the Napster site,
    As a condition to your use of the Napster service and browser you agree that you will not: (i) use the Napster service to infringe the intellectual property rights of others in any way; (ii) use the Napster browser or service, or attempt to penetrate, modify or manipulate the Napster browser or service or any of the hardware or software thereof in order to: invade the privacy of, obtain the identity of, or obtain any personal information about (including but not limited to IP addresses of) any Napster account holder or user, or modify, erase or damage any information contained on the computer of any user connected to the Napster service; or (iii) reverse engineer any portion of the Napster service or browser.
  • As far as i know, i'd believe that if the title of a song is copywritten, then it'd be illegal to name a files that and offer it to the world... Perfectly legal to name it that and leave it on your hard drive, but not in a way that it'd be accessible by Napster.

    Can you cite a single regulation, law, or court decision implying anything even remotely like what you just implied? In any country on this planet?

    I didn't think so.

  • Well well well. I downloaded this tool to see how many people were enjoying MY art without MY permission and it seems every Napster user is! My band is called mp3 (well, not really a band - nobody else wanted to join, said I was selfish. Ha!). Oh, my first single is called Control Freak. But I won't let you listen to it because it's mine. Art isn't meant to be shared. Mwa ha ha ha
  • I want to write a heartfelt thank you to the person that moderated my above post as "flamebait". You have a great career ahead of you as a Supreme Court judge or NBA referee.

    -B
  • Is it OK to break into a bank computer and transfer funds from a rich person's account to yours?

    You're talking about taking a tangible thing. Money. A stack of bills. Even though the banks computer is only a representation, the actual thing is REAL. If it were possible to COPY that money instead of take it, one could make the case that it isn't stealing.

    If I go into H&R block, have them do my taxes, sneak over to a xerox machine, and then make a copy of the return they wrote, throw the original in their face, and walk out without paying, is that theft?

    Yes, because that work was done for you. If however someone else who made the exact same amount of money as you and had the exact same deductions as you went to H&R Block and had his taxes done and you copied his return replacing his info with your own, that would NOT be theft.

    I have another one for you. Is recording a file off of the radio theft? If so why isn't the RIAA suing Sony, Daewoo, Panasonic, Aiwa and others for making radios with cassette decks which can record songs from radio broadcasts?

    You do not seem to understand the massive fixed cost of producing music, and seem to believe the marginal cost outweights it, but that isn't even really the point.

    It doesn't matter if it's $1,000,000 per second or free. Making an unauthorized copy may be illegal but it's not theft.

    Ah, a moral relativist. Just what we need more of. "There are no truths in society, and people are too helpless to be held to absolutes." Right.

    Morality is subjective. In some societies fornication is a great faux pas, but in others it's a requirement. Laws are absolute, morals are not.

    Theft is universally considered a crime almost on par with murder.

    We're not talking about theft here.

    Copyright infringment has nothing to do with morals, it is law.

    You're correct. I have never disputed the illegality of making unauthorized copies of someone else's material.

    The moral corollary of copyright infringement is theft.

    Why? Because you say so? Bootlegging is more akin to theft than piracy will ever be.

    LK
  • by Captn Pepe (139650) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @09:15AM (#1033558)

    Says the anonymous programmer in the interview:

    Now, the next tough question is could I find users on Freenet. Well, yes and no. There is at least one basic flaw I've found in the distribution mechanism. I'm not going to comment on it any further because it would just be re-engineered. So, to be brutally honest, I'll rely on the egos of the developer(s) to think that there is no problem and go ahead with the network as they've designed it. I'm sure they think they've done enough research to make it fool proof. If they go ahead as they are now- the answer is, yes, I can have software that will track back to the origination points of files.

    Well, anybody know what he's talking about? I can't believe that nobody's brought this up already. If there's a way to track files back to their original posters, it really needs to be fixed before Freenet hits v1.0 and the protocol is solidified. After all, one of the points of the Freenet is to ensure that people can exercise their free speech without fear of reprisal and without worrying that their posting will be squelched by the powers-that-be.

    N.b. Yes, I'm perfectly aware of the fact that it will also be used for IP violation, but that's not the point -- there's already no shortage of ways to violate IP law. There isn't a vast supply of ways to safely exercise free speech.

    Looking at the Freenet protocol now, I don't see any obvious flaws that would let me track down a file's poster, but that's not surprising, given that the programmers have been working on this protocol for some time now. Anyone else want to check on this?

    Freenet home page [sourceforge.net]


  • Three words: Fast Fourier Transform.

    The Fourier transform translates a short (512 or so sample) set of sequential datapoints into a same-size set of intensities at several frequencies.

    1. Divide a waveform into 512-sample windows.
    2. Take FFT on each window.
    3. Plot the time (in windows since start) on the X axis, the FFT frequency on the Y axis, and the FFT output (intensity of frequencies) on the brightness/Z axis. This gives you what is called a "voiceprint."
    4. Pattern match voiceprints to known voiceprints of Metallica studio recordings.
    MPEG audio layer 3's psychoacoustic quantization will distort the voiceprint somewhat, but pattern matching can work around this.

  • Isn't it a bit like Fermat's Last Theorem?

    Yeah, I know the weakness, but won't tell you what or where it is or even how I'm going to exploit it. If you ask me, this is going to cause some serious drain on Freenet developing.
  • Well, I don't think I miss the *entire* point of ratings. I work with them and the companies that track them every day. I also work with the companies that rely on them.

    a) Ratings tell how many people *watched* a program, thus establishing a basis for how much 30 seconds of air is worth.

    b) Is talking about advertising, which is where ratings become very important. Ratings for stations are also extremely important as it gives them immediate (roughly) feedback on how their programming is effecting viewership, or listenership, as the case may be.

    With the sharing of movies/tv programs/whatever the people who make the media are damn sure gonna give a flying fuck about how "popular" they are. Any artist does, to some extent.

    In a distributed media environment (with time shifting and what not) tracking what people are watching and listening to becomes extremely difficult. This is the model of media dissemination we are moving to, whether you agree or not. Having an established way to track popularity is a good step toward the eventual goal of creating viable business models. And allows media creators to demand premium value for advertising (or other means of $$$), if they can prove the message will get out.

    Also, putting out a press release to national radio stations about how popular your band is, *with numbers to back it up* could be the jolt some unknown needs to break through to the mainstream. This is one of the reasons the RIAA hates Napster. It lessons their ability to *pop* or *break* a band, ablum, or single onto the scene. This *pop* is what gets magazine covers and the free advertising that goes with people talking about you.

    So, I think, the *entire* point of the ratings system is a fundamental one to the media business, or at least it has been for the last 40 years or so.
    --
  • Yeah, person A has produced a song, person B downloads it, person A has lost potential revenue and person B has music.

    You make the assumption that person B WOULD HAVE bought the song if he had not been able to download it for free.

    What if person C bought song X from person A, and then re-sells song X to person B? Is that theft? If person B has bought a new copy of song X from person A, then person A would have made more money. That is the loss of potential revenue.

    LK
  • Nah, thats too easy for them, try:

    head -c 45000000 /dev/urandom | lame - thissoundslikemetallica.mp3

    Much better effect! :)

    (the /dev/urandom might be a FreeBSD only thing btw)

  • It seems strange to me that some of the same people who use the defense that technology isn't bad, just certain uses of technology are bad are now the same ones arguing that this particular piece of technology is bad.

    Technology, in my opinion, is not "good" or "bad". It just depends on how it is used. One could probably even argue on the "for" side of massively destructive bombs. After all, how else will we blow up those asteroids that are headed for us?

  • Note: If i'm responding to flamebait, sorry... didn't realize

    the country you live in does.

    Conformist... So the entire country thinks copywrite is super-duper? You can't even walk into a crowded room and say, "Everyone thinks this"... don't believe for a second that you can say it about an entire country. If a poll was taken of slashdot users, I'm absolutely sure that there would be no conclusive results on this one. A poll was taken on CNN a while back, and some 75% of people said that they didn't think downloading copywrited songs off of napster was wrong, immoral, or inethical. Now if you're going to say that we're ALL evil, go ahead... but don't, for one second, think that everyone agrees with you.

    --

  • by Danse (1026)

    "We pay for these servers, we pay for this bandwidth, it is our property which we allow you to use under the following conditions."

    Isn't this the argument that AOL used when Microsoft kept trying to get it's Messenger to communicate with AOL's Instant Messenger servers? AOL kept changing things so that Messenger wouldn't work with it, and Microsoft kept trying to make it work anyway. I lost track of that little pissing match... how did it end?

  • ...do a search on microsoft, kerberos, and DMCA (Digital Millenieum Copyright Act). later

    Hasdi
  • No, because Napster's bot ban is unreasonable.

    Unreasonable? Who is your ISP. I'll bet you $0.00 that there is a provision in their service contract that for all intents and purposes prohibits you from using a bot to mintain your connection.

    I haven't seem them attack Knapser, Gnapster or any other cloned client. Hell they even have a link to macster on their main page. They don't appear ot care which client you use, as long as you don't use a bot.

    It's completely reasonable. Napster is a free service that they provide at their whim. For a free service they could forbid you from wearing blue velvet panties at any time while you were connected.

    LK
  • At what cost, though? Far more than searching for filenames, that's for sure.

    Simply write a client that downloads a bunch of files from Napster (but have the user press the download button so it's not classed as a bot, which is against TOS) and voiceprints random portions of files against the official studio recordings.

  • I wrote:

    MP3 ripping software will support a new standard, wherein the signature for each track is tagged onto the MP3 that's ripped from a CD.

    tietokone-olmi wrote:

    And how many seconds do you think it'll take before someone takes the cdparanoia source code and modifies it to clear the "no-copy" bit?

    That would be a neat trick, seeing as how the no-copy bit would be inside an encrypted package...

    OK, it would go something like this:

    1. Artist generates public key pair; sends public key to Napster, keeps private key secret.
    2. For each track, the artist encrypts a package containing the name of the track, their name, and details of distribution permission with their secret key ('signs' it, in PGP parlance).
    3. Alternatively, artists make this package available via a service like CDDB, so it is downloaded from the Internet as part of the ripping process.
    4. MP3 rippers will read the encrypted packages off the CD, and embed them into MP3s.
    5. When MP3s are added to the DB at Napster, the Napster server checks that the MP3 track/artist name agrees with the encrypted package, and that Napster-style distribution is allowed. If not, it doesn't allow the MP3 into its database.

    This works because:

    • You can't modify any data inside the encrypted package, since although you can decrypt it, you can't re-encrypt it again (you don't have the key).
    • Since the server checks that the filename agrees with the encrypted package, you can't attach a valid credential to a different MP3, so you can't rip a Metallica CD and use the encrypted package from an unknown band that allows Napster distribution.
    • The scheme is entirely voluntary, but record companies and artists see that it is a good idea, because it would give them more control over their music.
    • Digital music distributors like Napster have nothing to lose from this, since they don't want their users violating the wishes of artists by redistributing their music, right?
    • Users benefit, because MP3s could be properly categorised, filed correctly under artist and name of track.

    It's technically quite simple to implement: I mean, I could write all the code needed to make it work in a week. Maybe even a weekend. It sounds like a win/win/win system to me. Apart from for the people who just use Napster to avoid having to pay for music.

  • I want to use Napster to distribute my music... I'm far from the only one. For those of us who want to distribute our music without playing the copyright game (and there's a lot, look at how many artists are on mp3.com), Napster is legitimately useful.

    Just because 99.99% of Napster users are lame ass pirates, doesn't mean Napster has no legitimate purpose. This situation is a fault of users actions, not the Napster program.

    If everyone stopped using Usenet except for pirates, would that mean Usenet had no legitimate purpose ?

    tangent - art and creation are a higher purpose
  • What about Metallica - Master of Puppets (live).mp3? This filename would show up as being Metallica, but Metallica have specifically said that live recordings of theirs are OK to trade (just not studio works). So this filename would show up in a search but not be illegal.
  • Excellent post mm. Did you just register today? I saw you user # was nearing 200K. Seriously, great points.

    --
  • I was always under the impression that stealing is taking something that is not rightfully yours.

    Is copying taking? Although unethical by most all standards, one student copying the work of another is not stealing it. The first student still has his/her original work.

    LK
  • <em>WHY HAS SLASHDOT sided with stealing? Why does slashdot hate American business? Why do slashdot moderators mod up the posts that defend Slashdot's official bias, and mod down posts that go against slashdot and in favor of the laws of our civil society? Moderating should only judge the "quality" of a post, not whether or not the opinions expressed are consistant with the moderator's. Sheesh. F ALL OF YOU!!</em>

    Well my post was moderated up (the root of this thread) and I do not side with breaking laws.

    I think this bias is in your mind. People are smart and can usually detect an insightful comment even if it is opposing their personal views. Give people the benefit of the doubt and you find that people are smarting than you might think. At least it will resolve your stress.
  • by acb (2797)
    Now that means if I posted my abstract-electronica track Metallica Ate My Napster [mp3.com], I'd get black-banned. Now that's progress.

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