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Napster Users Being Arrested In Belgium 325

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-users-of-bathroom-tissue? dept.
Coward Anonymous writes: "According to this AP bulletin in Salon, the Belgian police are arresting Napster users. This is a new twist on things, isn't it? Now if only the Belgian police would be so effective at arresting pedophiles..." But don't worry, this only applies to people who have "been warned." How comforting.
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Napster Users Being Arrested In Belgium

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  • by crucini (98210) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @08:22PM (#428344)
    Not paying for something that is not yours, and for which you have no right,...

    So who gave you permission to use the word "PRINCIPLE"? Who invented that word? Who owns it? What makes you think you have a right to use it?
    Intellectual property is an absurd idea. It's like a child planting a flag in the ground and claiming to own the earth. All these people protecting their precious intellectual property are ignoring the vastly greater FREE intellectual property without which they wouldn't even be alive.
    Intellectual property is owned by a tiny aristocracy that has managed to delude many people into empathizing with them. You sound just like some obedient flunky on the eve of the French revolution condemning the disrespectful attitude of the sans-culottes.
    The people in this town seem to feel they have the "right" to fish in the stream and take home all the fish they want, without paying a centime. Is this right? Only if the lord of the manor gives his blessing, for surely everything in the town belongs to him.

    I have eaten some fish in the past, but my conscience is troubling me. Sure, Monsigneur is fabulously wealthy, but really, that is his job, he has EARNED it, one way or another.
    Of course one of you ungrateful rebels will shout: "But Monsigneur loses nothing when I take a fish from the stream!" And you know what? That does not matter one little bit. It is the PRINCIPLE of the act. Not paying for something that is not yours, and for which you have no right, goes against all the values upon which our society is based.
  • Well, I don't know how the RIAA is structured, and so have no clue if the artists have any type of control in it (likely not).

    However, as a whole, the RIAA's clearly heading in the wrong direction.

  • If the public actually gave a shit, they would take a peek at campaign finance records (which are generally publically available) and figure out who was on the take.
    The problem is voter apathy.

    Are you saying it's possible to vote only for politicians who haven't been funded by corporate interests? I didn't think there were enough such politicians to fill all the available places.

  • by Tony Shepps (333) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @06:24PM (#428349) Homepage
    This year will see the final maturing of the complete product support network for the internet musician- with burn/print to order for everything from shirts to full-on audio CDs to fscking _mousepads_ we're practically at the level of 'Jackson 5' merchandising capabilities, without using the record industry.

    Yeah, you got the CDs, you got the shirts, you got the mousepads, all you need now is the fucking talent ordered over the net, you'd have it made.

    TINAT (This Is Not A Troll), I'm partly saying that to try to sound clever. But I'm also partly saying that because these people are not going to make their mint from selling 100,000 mousepads for 10 big ol' bands. They're going to sell 10 mousepads for 100,000 little bands. Hair metal wannabes, southern bar bands, MIDI ego trips, and stuff for honest local musicians to give out at the door in the hopes of getting 10 more people in the next time so they can keep on having the dumb dream.

    Well let me save you the money, spudly. Don't order up a big load of those pro packages. You're going to lose money on it. Nobody cares how good your CD looks. Burn the things yourself; the local superstore has a spindle of CDRs. Buy a bulk of jewel cases and get Kinkos to cut the copies of the inserts to size. The people will love you for it. And everyone already has a mousepad. Instead, put up a web site with as many mp3s as you can manage to record. The more mixes the better.

    If you're going to spend, spend it on the studio, but get someone who has a studio workstation, good microphones, and an ear, not some high-profile studio where you've heard of the owner.

    And this whole rant wasn't directed at you, it was directed at all those other musicians. You've seen 'em too, I know, you can't miss 'em.

  • See also this expose [thesmokinggun.com]. It shouldn't come as a surprise that some artists can't financially handle their new found fame and fortune.

    Music Freedom [musicfreedom.com] outlined the top earners for the year:

    1. NSync - 184m
    2. Dr. Dre, Eminem - 172m
    3. Britney Spears - 139m
    4. Tim McGraw, Faith Hill - 112m
    5. Backstreet Boys - 102m
    6. Santana - 99m
    7. Creed - 108m
    8. Dixie Chicks - 87m
    9. Tina Turner - 64m
    10. Christina Aguilera - 65m
    11. Dave Matthews Band - 64.2m
    12. Sting - 48.1m
    13. KISS - 47m
    14. Red Hot Chili Peppers - 52m
    15. Ricky Martin - 48m

    But we do need to remember that these artists only make up 0.1% of all the artists out there.

    Matt

  • by jtdubs (61885) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @06:25PM (#428351)
    How dare you insinuate that Belgians are child molesters? That would be like me saying every American is a pot-bellied, poorly-educated ass-scratching subhuman.

    Damn you and your close-minded Belgian hogwash.
    I am an American. I can say, definitively, that beyond the shadow of a doubt ALL Americans ARE in fact pot-bellied, poorly-educated ass-scratching sub-humans. But, atleast we aren't Belgian!

    We are all people.

    Except for the Belgians! Hah! I use my double-standard to mock your views!

    If there's one thing that computers and the Internet should have taught us, it's that we are all the same and we should love each other.

    If there's one thing the "Internet" has taught us it's that all Belgians are kiddie-pr0n viewing, child-molesting, sons-of-bitches. But yes, we should all love eachother, except for the DAMNED DIRTY BELGIANS.

    King Misanthrope
  • I guess this is the sort of headline that one has to write to get ones story noticed by the Slashdot cabal.
    --
  • One hit wonders are a factor of current music industry practices. I'm not talking about hype and promotion, either, except indirectly. Here's how it works:
    • Bob gets signed to a major label. (yay! :P )
    • Bob gets $50,000 advance on a six album contract. (yay? o_O )
    • Bob gets label support on his debut album, and has a hit. He manages to even recoup the $50,000 advance, tours, and the label provides some tour support, too.
    • Bob goes back into the studio with the money he made, and begins work on the second album.
    • Surprise! When the second album comes out, the label doesn't support it at all. They're busy with someone else's first album, which they think might have a hit on it.
    • Unless Bob can singlehandedly back his second album with the level of support and publicity that the first album so easily got, the second album stiffs, meaning that the label needn't worry about putting out a third album- or if Bob's money holds out that long, they can put it out and watch it sink.
    • If Bob is really amazingly sharp, he might be savvy enough to have put all his earnings toward hiring business teams and publicity teams, and be able to seamlessly take over from the label when the label drops the support. Unfortunately, not everybody who's that business-smart is a truly wonderful musician...

    ...And that is how one-hit-wonders happen. The industry is geared to offering six-CD contracts but only supporting the first one- after that, you gotta scratch for yourself, against the new first CDs of other people from your own label.

    It's also very important to remember that musician careers are (under the current regime) about as longlasting as second-string star athletes. You have maybe two years. Period. The idea of a second album, or God forbid a lifelong career, no longer makes sense in the current industry.

    This is why all forms of music underground are really starting to rev up. Good musicians _continue_ to do good work. If they can't do it through the biz, they will find other ways to do it, but they _will_ keep on doing it: it's like asking a programmer when he's going to outgrow hacking on software. You get a confused look, because that's something that doesn't stop being interesting.

  • Nonsense, you are 100% perfectly free to download all music you want, no matter how illegal the copy is. As long as you don't DISTRIBUTE it, you're home free. Be a selfish napster user, and don't share your files. :P
  • Law in Belgium is not made by 'precedents' like in the US. In fact, I don't know of any other country in the world where court rulings make laws. Laws are usually proposed by governments, and then amended, rejected or approved by parliament, if I'm not mistaken. (I am not a lawyer)
  • And this doesn't happen in the US? Maybe a guy like Dutroux wouldn't have made it past the local news there, being just another run of the mill serial killer. Or would he have become a media celebrity, admired by many, like Geoffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson? Point your finger at your own belly button. Or aren't you American?

  • Noncommercial copying _is_ authorised use. It is the government that authorised it, and you are already paying fees to do such copying every time you buy a blank tape or 'music' CDR. So far from your copying being commercial piracy, you have in fact already paid for your cheesy little mp3 copy. So enjoy it.

    If they want to argue that noncommercial copying isn't authorised, how about FIRST they stop charging me money over it every time I buy certain types of blank media? I am a working musician- I am sure that with the fees charged me for blank media, I've already paid for a couple mp3s for you, against my will. But no biggie- I feel generous. So again, enjoy your mp3s- you can use some of the fees I have paid over the years on blank media to pay for it. You're taken care of.

  • So you're ashamed at Slashdot. That's sad, because it probably means you'll be leaving our not-so-little and often-disfunctional community. And I know I'll be missing your posts. And we all know that Anonymous Coward has probably been the greatest contributor at Slashdot. So sad to see you go. We'll just have to figure out how to go on without Anonymous Coward.

  • I guarantee that the subway stop distribution of free Backstreet Boys CDs is copyright infringement. You would be violating the right to make and distribute copies. While the noncommercial nature of copying is a factor that suggests fair use, it is only one factor.

    If you don't believe me, look at what is happening to Napster. The only reason that Napster has committed copyright infringement is because its users are committing direct infringement (the court even said that it amounted to "commercial" infringement by the users because they would not buy the CDs).
  • I listen to bands because I like their music. I don't care about t-shirts, mugs, or other non-listenable things. I have enough CD jewel cases cluttering up my place already. All I want are the MP3s. I suspect there isn't a lot of money to be had in band memorabilia, or else the RIAA would be all over it.

    Sure, buying songs for $1 wouldn't be that bad, but it would be more expensive than buying the CD (BTW, CDs cost $12-16 Canadian here--that's about $9-10 US). Considering the savings in manufacturing and distribution, $0.30 is more reasonable.

    Of course, why would I pay money to the label when I could get the song free, and donate 100% of my cash directly to the artist (or just rip them off, if I was so inclined)? Music companies would still have to try to stamp out piracy. Things would be less broken, but they wouldn't be fixed. Maybe if the RIAA had gotten a cheap pay-per-MP3 service up two years ago, Napster wouldn't have gotten big, and this would still be possible. The cat's out of the bag now, though. Better luck next time, try again.
  • by Wansu (846) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @07:15PM (#428399)
    So far, only a small minority of artists have made money. Read their interviews. Watch VH1 behind the music. Learn to play an instrument, get in a band and go see it first hand.

    Most musicians do not make much off their music. The vast majority have to do something else for a living. It's been that way for decades. Napster is not picking their pockets; musician's pockets were empty to start with.

    The record companies are bagging the money. They are the ones making all the fuss while using this artist's intellectual property argument as a smokescreen. Don't confuse the record companies interests with the artists interests. They're not the same.

    When it comes to ripping off the artists, Napster users just can't compete with the record companies.

    Artists have fared no worse with Napster and the record companies have sold more CDs.

    Napster won't help big name acts but it might help local bands. I doubt there is any way to significantly increase the income of musicians but I do fault the record companies for their disingenuous sanctimony. They gouge consumers, shaft artists and pocket the lion's share of the money. If anything Napster is more of a threat to them than it is to artists since most artists can't make much less than they are making now and many would benefit from the free distribution.
  • I'm sorry, but I can't help feeling hurt here.

    The previous person who was bitching about 'The belgians and their child-molestors' was Jorg Haider, because we (rightfully?) questioned the fascist government he is leading in Austria. At that time, the argument had also nothing to do with the real problem.

    Anyway, for those who want to know, the Dutroux-affaire all came down to politics in the end (I hear there are a few of those cases in the USofA too). But Marc Verwilghen, the guy who tried to open up the politics connection then as far as he could (?), has also saved us now from the RIAA^H^H^H^HIFPI. (hey, is this a coincidence ;-)

    I guess there are also some good guys here, phew.

    Greetings,

    A belgian pedophile
  • Yes, someone will say that stupid laws get passed because corporation X bought senator Y. Think about this: corporations don't vote--people do. If the public actually gave a shit, they would take a peek at campaign finance records (which are generally publically available) and figure out who was on the take. The problem is voter apathy

    This is true to some extent, but you're forgetting that this government is run by money. Corporations have tons of it, and individuals don't. Hence the reason certain laws are slanted towards corporate protection as opposed to individual protection. [I especially liked it when Clinton pardoned that billionaire financier...he bought that pardon, plain and simple. But not everybody has billions of dollars to throw around.]

    ---
    Check in...OK! Check out...OK!
  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @07:25PM (#428402) Homepage Journal
    No, you have a point: I used to distribute through mp3.com so I've _seen_ crap artists :)

    However- what's wrong with 100,000 bands each selling 10 cds? That's my entire point- it establishes a market where one didn't exist before. Spudly with the big hair can sell 10 CDs, and there's nothing wrong with that. 'Bassic' (a very competent, likeable mp3.com musician) can sell thousands of CDs, and has- just through the natural sorting process. More importantly, it becomes possible to tread waaaaaay outside the mainstream and get away with it- I've sold (while I was at mp3.com) a DAM CD (meaning, nothing but 128K mp3s burned to CDR in a pretty package!) consisting of entirely raw NOISE music: you can hear the tracks at besonic, above, it's the 'Hard Vacuum' album. It was entirely done manipulating EQ and compression on raw shortwave radio interference and 'circuit bending' the compressor. I have never heard, or made, ANYTHING with less commercial potential, or less claim to be considered music. But I discovered there was a community out there which liked Noise, read some rants about what Real Noise was, and went for it- and that's one of the CDs that I _sold_ a copy, even without being able to offer a proper audio CD of it! I felt the experience was educational...

    I hope I can wind up recording, mixing, mastering other musicians who don't have it together technically- that's what I'd like most to do. And you're absolutely right that people shouldn't be trying to get 1000 CDs pressed and then try to place them in stores- too many people get 'million cellars' (a million records in boxes in your cellar ;) ). But my whole point is, you don't have to do that anymore! Don't even burn the things yourself- set up with Ampcast, set up shirts etc. with CafePress, if they drop the ball then hook up with other services, but _decentralise_ it. Because it may be kind of unnatural to sell 5 million records- but what is wrong with selling 5, or 500? From where I'm sitting I could reach over and touch a modified Kurzweil Micropiano, a nice little synth module that I bought from an mp3.com royalty check. You can say that I don't have the fucking talent, if you want- maybe you're right, from some perspectives! But if I can pick up a few hundred dollars just from my music alone, I gotta wonder how well someone would do who _was_ really 'pop', without those nefarious Zappa influences that plague me and make my melodies dissonant :)

    And it's not even about the idea that someone can be earning tens of thousands of dollars off their music- that's always going to happen for a few- the important thing is that I can get a couple hundred without any trouble, and that other people can get, say, $50 simply because, in all the world, there were some people out there who liked what they did.

    To be accurate, currently I don't get a penny from my mp3s- I'd like to keep it that way but probably will switch over to ampcast completely on the basis of the CD program, and ampcast pays some sort of micropayment for downloads. They don't charge _listeners_ and if they did I'd find somewhere else to put mp3s. But my point is, I don't have to be the next Ricky Martin in order to earn a few bucks on my music. This is 2001- it's not all or nothing anymore. When I get rolling with the Ampcast CD program, I'll sell a couple to people who like the music- a couple to audiophiles or people who want to test stereos with it- here and there, it adds up, and doing order fulfilment is not MY problem. I get to focus on the music, and by doing so it will get better. What's not to like?

  • I agree with you. That woman from the RIAA talked about "old-fashioned" businesses. Well, if I did the equivalent with an old-fashioned method, such as sending illegal copies through the mail, they wouldn't go for the post office, but for me. As far as I'm concerned, Napster is a the modern equivalent of the post office and newspaper classifieds. Go for the people commiting the crimes, not those providing a service that is being abused.
  • by andr0meda (167375) on Friday February 16, 2001 @04:17AM (#428405) Homepage Journal

    First they laugh at you
    then they mock you
    then they respect you
    then you win.


    Haha, you`re so funny dude.. really... If you want to mock us belgians, try to find something clever instead of dissing on media advertised pedophiles who don`t mean shit. For instance you probably don`t know that Paris - Brussels is a 1 hour drive, which should tell you something about our cultural background. You probably never heard of Pragha Kahn doing the club-music in Basic Instinct. You probably don`t even know we once had the biggest uranium supply in the world, or that your french fries actually have a belgian origin, not a french one. Who first put foot on Nova Zembla, what was the hometown of medieval Emperor Charles V, maybe Rubens and Horta ring a bell, Waterloo is where exactly, and who the hell is Dirk Frimout anyway.. You probably don`t know anything about us belgians, and that`s probably for the best because frankly we like our cozy little country with its peculiarities. Some things are awfully wrong here, just as they are everywhere else.. so fuck your arrogant media consumed attitude.. I`m sure your beloved american president will be very good to america. Closed minded hogwash.. hah! Atleast we can still count, and eh.. we even use.. ehm.. yeah.. [evil word]computers[/evil word] for that..

    Seriously the description _is_ a bit out of line. For instance we arrested Marc Dutroux and the whole string of people attached to it, along with a few other creeps and now this Morkhoven guy is due for court as well. I think it`s pretty weird that belgian court is all over everybody`s television. We`re a very proud (and that`s not the same as stupid or narrow minded) people and the sad story of a few kids being tortured to death in a cellar isn`t exactly something you want to be remembered by. Get it ? Compare it to VietNam or Hiroshima if you like. It`s not funny, and I hope slashdot was mature enough to refrain from box-thinking.

    Made in belgium, and proud of it.
  • $0.35 per $15 album is 2.33%. 2.33% of $188 million is $4.39 million. That's not to say that artists aren't ripped off, but I somehow don't feel sorry for someone who blew well over four million dollars (Who knows how much more she made besides those CDs...) and then had to declare bankruptcy.

    Read the COurtney Love piece or the Steve Albini piece. That is NOT take home pay. Out of the artist's share comes all the costs of recording the record and all the promotional copies that get sent out to the radio stations and a million other niggling, petty deductions including (I am not making this up) a deduction for "shellec breakage". Yes, a percentage for 78 RPM releases breaking in shipment.

    The RIAA member companies employ the same creative accounting techniques that the MPAA member companies do, where a film can cost $100 million to make, sell $200 million in tickets and "not make a profit".

    The best thing that can happen to artists is the demise of the "music industry".

  • Caveat: I don't think it's right to enforce copyright laws AND impose a blank-media tax. That's screwing consumers, left, right, and center. You should only be screwed once :-)

    This also shows hypocrisy on the part of the record companies. It's okay for them to take an arbitrary amount of money (read: steal) from us, but it's not okay for us to "steal" from them by downloading pirated MP3s? Please, one or the other, but not both.

    ---
    Check in...OK! Check out...OK!
  • by morzel (62033) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @10:53PM (#428420)
    You guys could have least waited a couple of hours to make sure some clearthinking Belgians were drinking their morning coffee whilst reading slashdot... Anyhow:

    Some houses of people, operating an illegal MP3 site were raided - no arrests as of yet.

    IFPI (the Belgian RIAA) has been busy the last couple of months collecting data on Belgian Napster Users. They've send out a warning to everone who was identified to scare them away from Napster. If these "warned" users appeared multiple times on their lists later on, they were added to their blacklist - which IFPI gave to the authorities. IFPI has stated multiple times that they are declaring war on the individual napster user.

    Coincidental, the people who were raided, had also napster installed. IFPI added them directly to their blacklist.

    Yesterday, the justice minister in Belgium - Marc Verwhilgen - sent out a press release that litigating napster users has absolutely the lowest priority in our courts. This is basically the same as: "This napster-thing is really just bollocks, we have better things to do". In reality being "low priority" in the Belgian courts means that there won't be a trial for an individual napster user unless hell freezes over.

    This means that individual users on the IFPI-blacklist won't be prosecuted by the Belgian authorities for using napster. If you were using napster to burn thousands of illegal CDs and sell them, you've got a whole different situation. In that case you will be prosecuted for the selling of illegal copyrighted material - not for using napster.

    Not so dumb here in little ol' Belgium, eh? ;-)


    Okay... I'll do the stupid things first, then you shy people follow.

  • Again, if they mean that, let them stop placing a surcharge on blank media- since such a tax/fee is plainly encouragement of illegal activity.

    Let them sell blank media _without_ any kickback to the RIAA and _then_ start bitching about commercial infringement. I'm happy to let them have it either way, since I don't listen to mainstream music: I just won't let them have it both ways. As long as I have to pay tribute to the RIAA on blank media, I will justifiably consider that a fee, that entitles me to copy and to listen to people's copies.

    First stop charging me for the activity, then I'll consider the notion that it's a crime.

  • I'd bet that the warrants were written by the RIAA or it's Brother organizations en masse, and then passed by the local police to the district attorney (or equivalent) for submission to a magistrate for approval. I'd also be willing to bet that the prosecutors are hired.
  • Artists make money from selling CDs, doood

    Wrongo. This is from the Fairtunes' FAQ on how much artists make from CDs: [fairtunes.com]

    According to the book, This Business of Music $0.447/CD.

    According to Courtney Love, Toni Braxton declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album.

    According to Matt Johnson of TheThe, $1 for every CD sold.

    From personally speaking with artists it really is about $0.50.

    And remember artists only see this money after they've repaid their advance and all the costs that went into producing and marketing the CD.

    If I'm going to shell out $12.99 I want *ALL* of it going to the artist and that is why I compensate through Fairtunes [fairtunes.com] as opposed to through the RIAA cartel.

    Matt

  • It's only illegal in the US if it's over $500 worth per year.

    Otherwise you're ok legally.

    The retail store analogy is flawed. If you steal a Emenem CD from some old defenseless lady it's stealing and you can be charged for that. But if she burns a copy and gives it to you it's no big deal. Unless she does it too often...

  • Don't flame this guy (though it is kind of a troll) ... Arandir makes a good point. Bad headlines make for low credibility. Maybe CT and H should read their own FAQ: [slashdot.org]

    1. Promote quality, discourage crap.

  • by Wah (30840)
    no, you don't have to do it all yourself. They don't make their own guitars, now do they? But if you wish to become a professional, you'd best find a way to make money. Selling stuff works great, especially CDs. Yes, you would probably have to find someone with a bit of experience in marketing to help, but that's what bands do with major labels anyway, they just get it all in one package for only the cost of their rights. Now, they can do most of it on their own, and use those nifty world wide distribtution networks to get the word out, marketing wise, about their music. With those, anyone who hears about the band can listen to it.

    And since I've talk to you about this before, I'll continue.

    These suggestions completely fail to address questions about how musicians can earn a living.

    Completely fail, eh? Well, you might go back and read the most common suggestion. Being a musician is easy, being a good musician is not, making money as either kind is tough, mainly because being one is so easy. I think that addressed the most important part of the equation.

    BTW, I think pandering to freeloaders is a remarkably stupid business plan -- and most of the people who propose alternatives to copyright are freeloaders.

    O.k. this whole freeloaders thing has gone on long enough. Anyone who thinks Napster was free, even in a monetary sense, is fooling themselves. Computers cost money, bandwidth costs money, ripping music takes time, time usually costs money. All of these things are taken care of by "freeloaders" who spend at least $20 mo (I spend $100) for bandwidth, and $1000s for their individual nodes. It is a very expensive network, but one where 99% of resources come from the users.

    Building a business on the backs of these people in an ingenious business plan. It just that currently its legality is in question. Because of the above criteria, I don't see freeloading as a big problem. Sure, you get a bunch of idiots not realizing how much they are spending to be "free", but that doesn't change the bottom line (which isn't at 0).

    And I don't think most capital punishment opponents are murderers, although some probably are.
    --
  • by Nodatadj (28279) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:14PM (#428441) Journal
    And as an aside, isn't this what everyone always wanted? "Don't sue Napster...go after the users who are just using the software for illegal purposes"?
  • Very interesting read. Thanks for pointing it out. However, the punishment breakdowns were for violators of Section 506 relating to criminal offenses. Inferring that it is possible to violate Section 506 without it being criminal. Whooops, you did mention it: "with the exception of infringement that doesn't provide financial gain that totals less than $1000".

    Now, I know it takes a lawyer (or 10 kegs of beer) to correctly blur the statements into the correct interpretations, but it looks like what people around here might be interested in is the correct definition of a simple infringment. Also, although I would like to agree that the $1000 was in relation to FINANCIAL GAIN, when I read that site, all I saw was "RETAIL VALUE" of $1000. Which you know the RIAA would definately charge up to $19 per CD....even though a person only has an Mp3 copy of it, and wasn't selling it.

    Can the lawyers blur the meaning of "financial gain" even if people are giving the mp3's away? --I'm not exactly talking about what the case from slashdot's article, but in general with people trading large amounts of mp3's....

    Rader

  • If the music industry thinks that people are violating their copyrights, then I really think they should go after those people. Napster just stores file names and lets people search. They aren't the ones who are copying files. Granted, Napster hasn't done much to police their site and may be partially responsible, but they don't get the full blame.
  • I'm getting real tired of Slashdot's half assed excuse for journalism. I mean, how hard can it be to write a headline? They don't even have to write the damn article, just the headline and blurb, and they can't even do that right!

    Here they say that Napster users are being arrested when they are not. Just earlier they said that Jim Allchin wanted to outlaw Open Source, when he clearly said no such thing. A quick search of previous article will reveal other such deliberate misinformations. And it can only be deliberate, since even a cursory reading of the linked articles reveals the truth.

    Never believe anything you read on Slashdot. They make the Weekly World News look like quality journalism in comparison, and even ABC doesn't look that bad next to Andover.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday February 16, 2001 @05:23AM (#428450) Homepage
    I have several friends that are in bands, Good bands. and My 16 year old son knows one that was recently signed by a record company. here's what happened....

    their lawyer looked over the contract and stated that it was a standard record company contract (he compared it to other contracts from that company.) so it's not some special screw em contract.

    They lost all rights to all their music. they own nothing now. The lead singer recorded an acoustical version of a song he wrote years ago and posted it on napster/gnutella the company found out and fined him $2500.00 and told him that he was responsible for getting it off of there. when you sign a record contract you sell your soul completely. The company own's you for the duration of the contract... Let's look at that closer. The lead singer of this band, wanted to take a vacation and visit his parents, the record company said NO, they will tell him when he can do something. He cannot appear on TV or call into a radio station without prior approval of the company, and any money he recieves for his skills must be reported to the company for their cut. (don't play in a bar on the side.... they get a cut of that!)

    the record companies screw the artist hard. and I have yet to meet a real artist that didn't like napster. (metallica don't count they are NOT artists.)

    This whole music thing is a simple gambit. The overlords are looking to quell the peons. and if the peons don't comply, opress them.

    There is not one thing that a record company can give a band that the band cant get on their own (except airplay, as radio stations can only play music sanctioned by the group owned by them. (I know this... I worked in radio))

    I support any artist. I do not support the leaches that steal from the artist (record companies)

    Unfortunately, the leeches will win, as they can outspend every one of us.

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms@@@infamous...net> on Thursday February 15, 2001 @07:46PM (#428452) Homepage
    Trading copyrighted songs is illegal whether you like the music industry or not.

    So what?

    Having oral sex is illegal in the state of Maryland. If you visit our fine state and your SO is feeling amorous, will you limit your pleasure on the basis that "it's the law"?

    When the state intrudes into areas in which it has no business, breaking the law is not wrong. The state has no business interfering in the consensual non-commercial exchange of information.

    I hate McDonalds, but you don't see me breaking into their restaurants at night, stealing their "beef" patties and giving them away on the street the next day.
    Copying is not theft.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • My question here is, what constituded "being warned" in these cases? Was it an email? A form letter? A phone call someone never got? It smacks of overkill for the crime, kind of like Operation Sundevil.
  • Actually, I think it would make a lot of sense to formally define stealing as 'taking something away from someone so they don't have it anymore'.

    You are indeed correct. We need a better term. How about trespass? These individuals are trespassing upon the intellectual property of the artists and distributors.
  • So you'd support say...microsoft, sun, apple, any company, or any person taking code that is say, open sourced, and integrating it into their products, which of course will be closed source, and making money off of it? That my friend, is also what intellectual property laws protect against.

    No, they don't, and I'm getting tired of hearing this bogus argument.

    The GPL protects your freedom to use, share, and modify software. Only intellectual property laws prevent you from using or sharing software - without those laws, there's no need for the GPL to protect those freedoms. So the only issue is modifying, for which you need (or at least, very much want) source.

    With freely copyable software, companies can't make much money by on a pay-per-copy scheme. They have to provide a service, in which case market forces very very strongly drive you to an open source model.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • Hee, hee. I didn't even read Slashdot last week :-)

    I posted this because checking out the replies to their headlines, it seems as if there are an awful lot of people who never read the link, and see the headline as the gospel truth. It almost makes you wonder if they think the WWF is real.
  • So does this mean I can ignore the GPL because Richard Stallman does not have any property in his own works?
  • by Arandir (19206)
    Well, the RIAA did it again. They flew their goons over to Belgium and arrested these users, all without triggering off an international incident. What? It wasn't a group of RIAA security guards? It was the Belgium police instead? Damn, I was getting all worked up to yell at a private corporation and now you tell me it was the government yet again. And here I thought only private corporations had that kind of power...
  • 5% of the vote would send a signal to the moral candidates that only 6% of the populace needs to be moral in order to win. As it now stands, the worthy candidates don't even bother to run because they can't compete against the misinformation machines of the incumbents. But when they see that no one's buying their crap any more, an impossibility comes within reach.

    And speaking of mandates, both Gore and Bush had more people vote for them then Clinton did during either of his two "mandates". By a HUGE margin.
  • At least they aren't arresting people for distributing linux source code and "destroying intellectual property" - like Microsoft would like to have done here.
    --
    Twivel
    Microsoft Humor [slothmud.org]
  • Okay, okay. How about ten inches over the property line. There's got to some place between Bellevue and Issaquah where he gets a clear and uninterrupted view of my butt masquerading as a symbol of market choice.
  • idunno, you might want to check out what *really* happens before you start pissing on Belgians... IFPI Belgium has filed charges (sorry, dunno whether that's the correct term, i'm a stupid begian you know) against some 100 known Napster users, and as such, the police HAS to take action, after all in fact those Napster users are violating copyrights. The belgian police don't have a choice. But here's the nice part: our Minister (Secretary?) of Justice, Marc Verwilghen, known for actually trying to solve the dutroux case, has declared that the Napster users won't be sued, just because there are worse things than using Napster to download a song. so if u wanna piss on something, piss on the belgian music industry... Oh BTW: belgian police let 1 child molester have his way, America allows children to carry guns and kill their classmates (Littleton remember?) ... so are you pot-bellied americans REALLY that much better? at least we didn't elect a semi-Nazi president!
    Buffer overflow
  • And not all pedophiles are murderers -- or child molesters for that matter.

    --
    SecretAsianMan (54.5% Slashdot pure)
  • yeah. how DARE they arrest lawbreakers.

    :\

  • As a belgian, I can confirm that it's NOT TRUE (it was on the news here yesterday). The story is that the music industry has filed complaints, but the minister of justice said it would have the lowest priority there is (meaning no prosecution). At least someone is behaving in a rational way.
  • I hate to tell you this, but it happens every election season in the U.S., it's called the primary system. There are many congressional districts where the real election is the primary and it's a given that the Democrat or Republican will win. But, and here's the kicker, since there is no real societal support for voting in the primary (televised speeches, debates, media commentary, ect) only a very, very small percent of the electorate comes out to vote, often as few as 20,000 in a congressional district, and each congressional district represents ~450,000.

    It happens all the time in Texas. From Reconstruction on, the only way to get elected to anything - from dog-catcher to governor - was to be a Democrat. That changed in the 80's, and now the only way to get elected in most areas (though there are some notable holdouts - which is one of the reasons I live in Austin) is to be a Repubican.

    For instance, how did Ron Paul - a radical Libertarian who was once their candidate for president - knock off Greg Laughlin, the sitting incumbent of Texas District 14? He brought his small crew of true believers out for the primary, forced a run-off (indicating how small the number of true believers actually was) and then, as is always the way with true believers, they all came back out for the run-off, where they beat the pants off of Laughlin. At that moment, Ron Paul was as good as elected. Which he was in Novenber by a large margin.

    That's just one example; there are many more like it.

    The point being that in real terms, people win elections with 5% of the electorate all the time. That can be scary, but at the same time it means that a little strategy goes a long way in American politics, should you choose to go that route.

    Don Negro

  • Actually, you probably don't have a right to download mp3s of music you already own. You certainly do (in the US at least) have a right to create your own backups from the media you own. But I've never seen anything in the Fair Use clauses of the copyright law that indicated to me that third parties were allowed to supply you with copies (especially having not verified your right to such copies) of media you own, but were derived wholly from separate sources.

    That said, I think the infringement in this case is on the part of distributors of mp3s, not on the recipients. If I'm listening to a radio station that does not pay its ASCAP/BMI bill, am I liable for damages? Of course not, I have no way of knowing that they have no right to play songs on the air. But in the case of Napster, I can see myself being liable, since it is well-known that no one distributing files via Napster is paying royalties.

    That said, arresting people for copying music is INSANE. The dollar value of damage in any one person's case cannot be enough to cause such an extreme reaction to the so-called crime. Royalties are typically pennies per play, and you would have to have an awful lot of uploads to even get to a point where the infringement was financially serious enough to warrant more than a traffic ticket level of enforcement. This is barely a small claims case if these same napster-users were to vandalize my property, so why are the Gestapo marching into their homes, seizing their property and using the media circus to brand them as criminals.
  • Only in the la-la land of courts can you "post a loss" of money when no money was going to you in the first place.

    If I have 6,400 mp3 albums that I've traded for (hey, guess what, i do) then that doesn't mean that I've taken away 6400 x $15 = $96,000 out of the artist's pockets! There is no way I could afford that, and never would have bought them to begin with.

    So the same can be said with Napster. The only argument you have a leg to stand on is that my mp3 collecting (and others) has kept us from buying CD's. And there has been no proof of that. In fact, the record companies have gained 2 billion dollars that they expected to increase last year (what was...from 15 to 17 billion now?) and they'll increase another 2 billion by next year...

    Also, how do you explain Eminem's world record breaking first-week sales, even though it was floating all over Napster up to a full month before it was officially released?

    I agree I don't think the solution is that musicians should get $0 for their work. But I am saying that Napster usage isn't/wasn't causing that in the first place! The RIAA was doing a hell of a better job at it than all the "free" music in the world. And they've been doing it for quite some time---lots of practice.

    Hey...as soon as the creator of Rock and Roll (Bo Didley) gets what he deserves from the record companies, then I'll start paying too!

    Rader

  • Copyright violation is not a criminal act. At it's very worse, it caries a 25,000 to 100,000 fine for each infraction, and 2 years in jail.

    This is extreme though, and these types of punishments have only been dealt with professional pirates that bootleg and make millions off of the sales.

    Heh. Drugs and listening to music...pretty close, alright.

    Rader

  • The police need to work on their business. Which is more dangerous to society? A bunch of people running around using the Internet for trading illegal music, or a bunch of people running around using the INternet for trading dirty pictures of children?

    We need to focus on the problem, not specific parts of the problem. Yes, society has caused part of this, but so has the Internet. Fix that, and you wont have to worry about kiddie porn, or illegal MP3s.

  • In terms of the cost benefit analysis that are done by drug departments in police forces, when they are trying to stop the distribution of illegal contraband, they do prioritize their activitiies according to the market value of the supposed contraband. One evidence of this kind of thinking is the fact that drug busts usually announce the value of the drug that was seized.

  • by tbo (35008) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:20PM (#428510) Journal
    If you break the law by infringing on someone's intellectual property, and do so repeatedly in spite of warnings, what do you think will happen?

    Caveat: I don't think it's right to enforce copyright laws AND impose a blank-media tax. That's screwing consumers, left, right, and center. You should only be screwed once :-)

    Slashdot cried when the record companies went after Napster. "Deal with the law-breaking individuals," they said, "leave the company alone." Now, the record companies and artists are going after the users, and we're still crying. Why? Are we all hypocrits?

    I agree that much is broken with the current copyright system and recording industry. That doesn't give you carte blanche to rip off artists. Personally, I fulfil my moral obligations to the artists by donating through Fairtunes [fairtunes.com]. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like many other people do (judging by donation stats).

    Go ahead and flame me. I ask only one thing of you if you do: come up with a viable scheme for artists to make money from their work. If you can't think of one, you can hardly blame the record companies for clinging to what they have.
  • by Croaker (10633) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:20PM (#428513)
    1) Police *searched* homes for evidence. THey did not arrest.

    2) Those searched were users of a website. The authorities were *contemplating* Napster cases.
  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:21PM (#428514) Homepage Journal
    Maybe you want to take that up with David Boies, whose argument is that this NONCOMMERCIAL copying is not illegal (read the law!). Given that, we've got cops acting as the private police force of big corporations. The other explanation is that in Belgium, noncommercial copying is illegal. The other other explanation is that these people being raided are actually running businesses in which they are burning CDs (perhaps of CDs that have not been released by the record companies in Belgium, and won't be: see DVD region control practices, not everything necessarily gets to Belgium) and selling them.
  • Amen, I agree.
    But I think they're leaning on the "racketeering" angle. (I hope that's the word I'm looking for) For instance...it is illegal to host a get-together for criminals to trade/sell drugs and illegal weapons, for instance. You probably wouldn't get busted for the same crime they did (for selling/buying) but you would get busted for "racketeering".

    And "illegal bazaar" as the RIAA has been quoted in calling Napster.

    If only Napster would have hid behind an all-file-type illusion to begin with. For instance, have a few default filters to share with....one *.DOC filter, one *.JPG "family pictures" filter, oh...and look, there happens to be a *.MP3 filter. Let's check that one....BAM!

    I mean look at google, god bless them. The RIAA isn't shutting them done for compiling a list of searchable content (mp3 sites to boot!). The RIAA has been going after the sites listed on the search engine, not the search engine itself. It should do the same with Napster. But...Napster left a hole open...And it's always hard to fight against a cartel.

    Rader

  • LOL!!!!!!!!!!
    (I'm not laughing at you)
    The RIAA *IS* their "union"!
    Talk about screwed, huh?

    Rader

  • I am not a lawyer.

    Yes, there are a number of civil penalties for copyright infingement, but I personally don't care about those. Even though they provide for the recovery of legal fees, I doubt a record company would bother most individual Napster users. I wouldn't be suprised to see them go after a big offender.

    My concern is who is going to be the first U.S. criminal prosecution of a Napster user. I predict that we'll see one before the year is over.

    From my reading of it, the criminalization of non-commercial copyright infringement was done with the 1997 "No Electronic Theft Act". This was driven by the failure of the current law to address a case where a student maintained an ftp site of warez. Since he received no financial gain from it, the current law did not criminalize his act.

    I have read references to the definition of "financial gain" that state that just the expectation of receiving other infringing works in exchange consitutes financial gain. So "trading" mp3 files could end up classified as financial gain, which doesn't have a $1,000 threshold for a criminal offense.

    Trading one mp3 for another could be held to be a federal misdemeanor. I don't even know what the federal guidelines are for misdemeanors, but I would guess you would receive no jail time, up to (or beyond) 1 year of probation, possibly a fine (roughly $500) and restitution to the victim.

    Allowing people to download 10 or more copies of an mp3 file with a total retail value of over $2,500 could be held as a federal felony. The likely punishment for this under the sentencing guidelines is 2-3 years probation, 0-6 months imprisonment, and restitution to the victims. Plus you have a federal felony conviction.

  • There is not one thing that a record company can give a band that the band cant get on their own (except airplay, as radio stations can only play music sanctioned by the group owned by them. (I know this... I worked in radio))

    It's not just limited to radio airplay. Record companies control shelf space in stores where CD's are sold in much the same way Coke and Pepsi control grocery store shelf space. They dangle financial incentives and punishments in front of store franchise owners. The owners comply with their wishes so upstart distributors can't get a foothold.

    As you've stated, record companies control media appearances. They also control advertising or the lack of it.

    Why do musicians sign these contracts? They are trying to follow their dreams. The record company hucksters have no shame.
  • La Belgique est une vaillante petite nation.

    --

  • yeah. how DARE they arrest lawbreakers.
    WHICH law?

    --

  • by perdida (251676) <thethreatproject&yahoo,com> on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:23PM (#428535) Homepage Journal
    I sincerely hope that the kids who have been making a joyful noise [indymedia.org] in Zurich and Davos hightail it to Belgium to give the anti-expression police their due.

    I mean, seriously, folks. The value contained on a hard drive of pirated music may be more than it costs to bust the kid, but the actual value there- the kid wasn't intending to sell the music at ALL- makes this operation a huge, expensive waste of time.

    The Euro Union loves to rule by fiat, and it loves to show international organizations that it's willing to play by the hard-bitten anti-fair-use rules promulgated in USia. Oh well, so much for enlightenment..

  • Many Slashdotters also dislike various government enforced intellectual property laws, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The typically slashdotter sees these things as perverted to the point of throwing large amounts of power in "large corporations'" arena.

    For every social action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If corporations abuse their power, the individuals will pull in the opposite direction. Hence, the common use of Napster as a tool for "pirating" music.
    If markets are left to their own, they self-regulate. Unions form, public property grows in the form of open source, mass disregard for intellectual property laws in the form of large scale copying... these are symptoms of corporatism getting out of hand.

    If you solve only one side of the problem, you will do far more damage than such a polar system does on its own.
  • by Digitalia (127982) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:25PM (#428543) Homepage
    With the passages of new content laws in the EU and US, it seems we are coming one step closer to having industrial police running our streets. Gutenberg's printing press brought books to the masses and resulted in an advancement of personal living standards. Let us just hope that the internet eventually serves to redeem itself by benefiting mankind and not the corporations. It's be an awful shame if the internet were responsible for the privatization of the world's governments.
  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:25PM (#428545) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot ate my rant in a server hiccup, but that's just as well because this might be a better thread to rant in anyhow. This was originally in the new P2P thread, or would have been if it'd posted normally. Given the attitudes I'm seeing from early posters here I figured it was worth persevering. This is mostly about how uncontrolled peer-to-peer helps me by breaking down artificial barriers to distribution, and how charging for mp3s isn't remotely necessary...

    Regarding napster or any P2P thing, all I can say is: please include my content in whatever peer-to-peer network is the latest greatest thing.

    Here: www.besonic.com/chrisj [besonic.com]

    I am not essentially a consumer. I don't have time to keep in touch with the latest P2P developments- because my time is spent keeping in touch with what affects me as an artist.

    It may interest you to know that as an artist using P2P as distribution, I have access to print-to-order stuff over the net, everything from T-shirts to mousepads to coffee mugs, all of which can have my GFX or whatever on it, and I can get paid for selling _real_ _tangible_ stuff... and the very latest development (ampcast.com, just the other day, announced this one) is that I can go to a _good_ hosting service with a fair contract and good artist relations and get Red Book Audio CDs burned to order over the net. This isn't ready yet but it's due by the end of March: I supply a CDR master (I can get professional quality as will quickly become apparent: this is what I do...) and they keep it on file, burn from it when a copy is ordered and keep an image of the CD for 30 days on HD in case of repeat orders to save on filing and handling hassles.

    I can't begin to express how awesome this is: it's the first time I'm aware of that a musician could set up a burn-to-order fulfillment service (and not have to deal with juggling CDR blanks, inventory etc, or even taking orders) and be selling full-on, uncompressed, bit-for-bit untampered Red Book Audio CDs over the net, with color booklets and inserts! It's the epitome of the internet musician's wet dream, and should be a very nice business for Ampcast.

    And it profoundly legitimises peer-to-peer: now, mp3s (or whatever) really _have_ a value. If they get into the hands of someone who wants a proper REAL CD of the music, now they can have one- and if nobody wants one, hey, nobody's out anything! Ampcast just stores one extra boring CD in the files, they're not out the cost of printing up thousands of the things, and I'm not out anything either, except the cost of the CD blank.

    This year will see the final maturing of the complete product support network for the internet musician- with burn/print to order for everything from shirts to full-on audio CDs to fscking _mousepads_ we're practically at the level of 'Jackson 5' merchandising capabilities, without using the record industry. That is very, very exciting... now the only thing I'd like to see is print-to-order _posters_... that is just about the only thing left that isn't already covered!

    Amazing, amazing... and P2P is the distribution network for publicising this stuff. None of it expects any sort of formal promotion efforts- it's all totally grassroots... which I think is no sort of accident, I think this is the natural reaction to increasing corporatization. People _want_ to discover their own stuff, even stuff that's 'no commercial potential' (as written on old Mothers Of Invention album covers), and having discovered it they'll buy tangible stuff to go with the free digital stuff they have, so long as the tangible stuff is good. What they won't do is be forced to pay money for totally intangible digital stuff that the corporate seller didn't have to pay anything to copy out- that's doomed, the future of making money fairly through IP is being able to offer stuff that is physical and real, that people might enjoy. (Italicisation of stuff in honor of Frank Zappa's typographical style and George Carlin)

    Seriously, I always suspected but now I know that the future of being a small indie 'content producer' is to take complete advantage of everything that you can possibly give away or share for free- any digital files, etc, anything at all that you don't have to pay for actual materials, throw it out there! And then, find something that you can sell that is _tangible_ and physical, stuff to rumple and fetish as FZ put it. Shirts to wear, CDs to give nicer sounds and be hard-copy that can't be lost in HD crashes, mousepads to use (different band for every day of the week, why not?) mugs to hold COFFEE etc etc, _physical_ stuff.

    Because the equalising effect of worldwide communications makes it possible... put it this way. I've been on besonic for a while, rarely if ever do any promoting, but for some reason lots of people in Sweden have listened to my music. Who knew? I have a track off an electronic album that is very warm and mellow called 'Wood Dragon': at one point it was one of the highest ranking easy listening tracks in Japan. Again, who knew? Supposing I saw that and decided to explore the easy-listening-electronic area some more for the people in Japan who enjoyed it, throwing in some woodflutes and obscure pentatonic intervals (I researched Japanese melodies for a later track and quite liked them). Supposing I made lovely high-fidelity audio CDs available, and stuff like shirts and mousepads, minimising English text and sticking to elegant graphic designs since I know that it's Japan which was showing an interest in the stuff. I could do quite well that way- not getting rich, but paying some bills and buying more synths etc- by doing _good_ _work_ and selling only tangible, real stuff. This is real. The future is now...

    So support the P2P networks! This is not about greedy consumers wanting stuff for free. It's about communication and _information_ and I promise you, as an artist, I couldn't GET demographic information like that out of the record companies. The only alternative to P2P and artist independence is the record companies (and other forms of distribution controls and let me tell you a little story... I hang out on a mastering engineer list- and recently one of the top guys came out with a chilling story. He'd worked with an artist for weeks to get the ideal mastering for the artist's CD, testing it in actual clubs, working like mad to balance it just perfectly so it was the best it could possibly be. Then a new A&R guy was assigned to the artist, and against my engineer friend's AND the artist's wishes, decided to assign the mastering to another mastering guy: which is known as a 'shoot-out'. Usually the label wants 'louder, brighter, more' from such a situation, and it's gotten to the point where mastering engineers are _ruining_ the sounds of records just because the labels are _demanding_ that the new record's gotta be louder than the next guy. My friend, I believe, did a terrific job on the CD- just what the ARTIST wanted- but it is _always_ possible to make a CD louder by making it sound worse. And I think that's just what's going to happen, and I pity the artist, because all their work is going to be butchered by a mastering job that squashes it into extreme loudness and ruins the tone- it probably won't even sound as good in the clubs! All because of a new A&R guy who outranks both the original mastering guy and the artist. It's anybody's guess as to whether the artist's career can survive releasing a CD that sounds like crap- you don't get many chances in the music business, and the new mastering engineer has a vested interest in making his mastering sound as _different_ as possible from the original one that took so much painstaking work.

    Now, all the mastering guys are absolutely miserable about this general state of affairs, it's hurting the industry, it's hurting the sound of modern releases, and there seems to be no way to get the record companies to stop doing it.

    But now, indie content producers can put out full quality audio CDs and none of them are forced to do any such thing- they have _total_ freedom to do whatever their artistic judgement dictates, with the result succeeding or failing purely on its merits- the 'word' of it getting out primarily through word-of-mouth and P2P. THAT is why artists desperately need P2P to thrive and continue- because without it, it is less and less likely that the consumer will even be allowed to hear their art, because already if they have to go through existing channels, the consumer IS NOT allowed to hear their art until label suits have specified which songs, albums etc will be allowed to be released, until A&R guys have dictated the use of mastering engineers counter to the artist's wishes and specifically told the mastering guy to ruin the sound to make it louder louder louder, until corporate execs have decided which markets they're even going to sell the CD in and which markets they are not going to allow it to be available at all.

    Only then does the consumer get to 'choose' what they want.

    Free market, hell!

  • In what legal system is that. AFAIK over here (Netherlands) copyright is infringed as soon as you start distributing unauthorised copies.

    That makes you guilty if you distribute copies someone else made (napster?) but not guilty if you receive an unauthorised copy, or make a copy for your own personal use.

    The again, I could be wrong. If the police cautions you to stop using napster or face jail, arguing with them or ignoring them does not seem sensible
  • by aedil (68993) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:26PM (#428556)
    While I do think that the /. editors are right in not changing people's submissions, at the same time I think people ought to at least have some decency in their messages. It shouldn't become a disgusting lashing out. Should all belgians now start pointing out that while pedophily cases in Belgium did indeed make major news, the US' slate isn't exactly clean with the numerous cases of violence in schools etc. And the obvious inability of the US school and law enforcement system to make something as basic as school safe for kids.


    Enough said on that...


    If you read the article that is reference thoroughly, it should be clear that the arrests were related to mp3blast.com, and not Napster. Yes, apparantly they are investigating Naster cases also.


    It's really amazing though how critical people are about other countries. Which is strange to come from people in a country where a show like Jeopardy can have an international contest with a US 5 time champion as one of the "international" contestants, putting that US champion against people that do not have english as their native language, and then (I guess) be proud that surprise-surprise the US contestant wins.


    See my point?

  • by tbo (35008) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:26PM (#428562) Journal
    Not too many people on /. have clued into this, but most of the injustices slashdotters complain about are perpetrated by the government. The remaining crap is usually the result of braindead laws (DMCA, UCITA, patent laws)...

    Yes, someone will say that stupid laws get passed because corporation X bought senator Y. Think about this: corporations don't vote--people do. If the public actually gave a shit, they would take a peek at campaign finance records (which are generally publically available) and figure out who was on the take. The problem is voter apathy.

    Remember, only governments have armies.
  • by Private Essayist (230922) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:26PM (#428567)
    All right, I know this is a serious issue (pro and con), but this segment of the article struck me as funny on several points:

    "Marcel Heymans,"

    "Hey, mans!" [I didn't say it was sophisticated humor...]

    "general director of the Belgium branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry,"

    'Phonographic'? There are no phonographs involved in this case! Get yerself an up-to-date group name and then we'll talk.

    "said he warned police of alleged copyright infractions. Heymans said his organization had tracking equipment that could search for users "by the thousands."

    Whoa, thousands, dude! That's, like, a lot, right? ...well, it is Belgium...
    ________________

  • by D. Mann (86819) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:27PM (#428569) Homepage
    In other news, a man caught shoplifting CDs from a local record store in East Brunswick, New Jersey was arrested today for theft.

    Can you believe that? They arrested someone! For stealing! First the thieves, then the child molestors and rapists! What's this world coming to?
  • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:30PM (#428572) Homepage
    Slashdot cried when the record companies went after Napster. "Deal with the law-breaking individuals," they said, "leave the company alone." Now, the record companies and artists are going after the users, and we're still crying. Why? Are we all hypocrits?
    Slashdot is not a person. It's a set of people. SOME slashdotters said 'deal with the lawbreakers not Napster'. SOME slashdotters complain now when record companies go after them. To make your charge of hypocracy stick, you've got to show that there's some overlap between those two subsets of slashdotters, and even then your charge of hypocracy would only apply to those people in the overlapping area.

    This is a common fallacy when arguing with people in a group: assuming soladarity where there is none, and calling people hypocrites when different individuals say things that contradict each other.

  • I hate to say it, but those Belgians had it coming. Before you blindly mod this down as a troll, hear me out!

    We've all pretty much extablished that 'sharing' copyrighted music is illegal. Not only in USia, but in most countries around the world. If I recall, there's only two countries that do not observe US copyright law.

    According to the article, the police only arrested those "who had been clearly warned yet persevered with the practice." so they sure as hell couldn't have claimed ignorance.

    I know most slashdot readers are long-haired freedom zealots, but can someone please explain to me how this is in any way surprising. Look at the facts, people: You're stealing. It doesn't matter whether you're stealing MP3's from recording artists, or you're stealing physical items from retail stores, the fact of the matter is, It's still stealing. If you steal from a store, the store is the victim. If you mug someone on the street, the person you mugged is the victim. If you steal MP3's, the recording artist who invested a great deal of time and money into their art is the victim. As long as the crime causes anyone hardship, it must be stopped!

  • Right now, I view the music industry the same way I view Microsoft.

    They release poor quality product, they treat their artists and customers like dirt, and they relentlessly attack anything that might infringe on their total control of their industry regardless of the consequences.

    I will not patronize them.

    On the other hand, if someone set up a site distributing pirated copies of Windows 2000, i'd fully support Microsoft's right to sue them.

    Instead of worrying about people who are breaking the law, we should be concentrating on the use of technology to free artists from music industry contracts that rip all of us off.

  • ...NONCOMMERCIAL copying is not illegal (read the law!).

    Ok, let's go read the law [cornell.edu]. Sec. 506(a)(2) makes non-commercial copyright infringement in excess of $1,000 a criminal offense.

  • > So who knows what's next, considering the IFPI is probably keeping a list of IP's used by Napster users.

    This sounds pretty scary. What happens if your ISP uses dynamic IP's, as most ISP's do? Don't assume police would know about dynamic IP's, this is Belgium after all, that we're talking about.

    Case in point, in the olden days, if you, as a foreigner, couldn't/wouldn't pay a speeding fine (which could amount to more than $3000) in Belgium, you could get banned from ever entering Belgium again with your car. Infractions against this ban where punished with instant confiscation of the car.

    Only trouble: in Belgium, you would keep your license plates when you bought a new car, whereas in all neigboring countries, the license plates stayed with the car. You guessed it: people buying used cars in those neighboring countries then not only needed to worry about getting not a lemon, but also whether it was safe to take that car to Belgium...

  • They're doing something illegal, they've had a caution and they ignored it, now they've been arrested...where's the problem again?

    And as an aside, isn't this what everyone always wanted? "Don't sue Napster...go after the users who are just using the software for illegal purposes"?


    Dead on. (I'd have modded you up but I wanted to chime in, too.)

    The piece of the Napster defense that I agree with totally is the claim that they're just an indexer, the file transfer is between two users, and when a copyright infringement occurs it's the work of the users.

    Zorching Napster for "abetting" the copyright infringement has a "chilling effect" on other search engine authors (and other pointers-out-of-resources) by making them responsible for any misdeeds by users of their product. So they have to both self-censor and put in a lot of extra work to avoid culpability.

    This theory could be used, for instance, against crime reporters to keep them from pointing out the neighborhoods where drug dealers hang out. If a reader goes there and buys drugs, suddenly it's RICO time for the reporter for "abetting".

    But copyright violation IS against the law. So if the Napster users WERE actually making copies of copyrighted works in violation of the law, their neck is on the block, and correctly so. It was very nice of the prosecutors to give them a warning and only come after them when they persisted. Now they get to have their day in court, and the courts will determine if their particular copymaking constitutes fair use.

    Penalties for copyright violation are draconian. This is because it's so hard to actually catch the violators. So when they do catch one they make an example of him.

    The legal system's solution to the "whack a mole" game is to use a BIG mallet and hope the spray of gore scares off the rest of the moles.
  • The nice thing about napster and napster-like services is that they let the starting artist get directly to the listeners without having to conform to some sleezy producer's idea of what counts as good music. Let the audience decide, and bypass the plastic people in the 'biz. Without napster and napster-like services, there is no mechanism to break-out to a large audience other than through the good-ole-boy network that gets you on the radio. People don't want to buy an album if they have no idea what is going to be on it, so initial 'free sample' airplay is a must-have. The ideal situation would be if there were some good way to ensure that you only get to listen to a new song for a limited time or number of plays and then you have to pay for it to continue. The real problem is that there is NO good technical way to enforce that. Once you let someone play it through audio, they can patchcord that to a recording device. Regardless of how good the data encryption is, at some point it does have to get turned into the actual audio wave pattern to be heard.
  • Copyright violation is not a criminal act. At it's very worse, it caries a 25,000 to 100,000 fine for each infraction, and 2 years in jail.

    2 years in jail? And that isn't a criminal act? That's punishment for a felony.

    I'm not sure what country you're talking about, but here in the U.S., copyright infringement is a federal criminal offense, with the exception of infringement that doesn't provide a financial gain that totals less than $1,000. Title 17, Section 506 [cornell.edu] covers this and Title 18, Section 2319 [cornell.edu] provides the punishment breakdowns.

  • You have the classic free-rider problem, though. Even if you're guaranteed to get your money back if X isn't published, you're still better off by letting others pay, and getting the product free.

    Also, how would the street performer protocol deal with "One Hit Wonders"? Bob publishes his smash hit single "Crying for Napster", and everyone loves it. Subsequently, everyone donates money to fund the publishing of "Gunning for Gnutella", which turns out to suck the big one.

    In the current system, you wait for the reviews, and you just don't buy it if it sucks. In the SPP, you've already paid by the time anyone finds out it sucks.

    Yes, reputation, yadda yadda, but how well will that work in areas where a given person often only publishes one or two works (think college textbooks)?

    There are many, many flaws with SPP.
  • dont get me wong, i oppose intellectual property laws almost across the board

    Maybe this is a reaction a little different than you might have expected...maybe not, anyhow, it's just a thought, and no flame is intended...anyway...

    So you'd support say...microsoft, sun, apple, any company, or any person taking code that is say, open sourced, and integrating it into their products, which of course will be closed source, and making money off of it? That my friend, is also what intellectual property laws protect against. They are in fact underpinning the whole open source model as well as all the stupid and frivolous patents and what not. So, in my never to be humble opinion, one should be more careful when making such sweepingly broad positions.

    -inco

  • A little interesting update:

    Heymans, the spokesperson for the IFPI (aka: RIAA) has publicly declared war on the individual napster/MP3 user. IFPI has gathered data on the napster users by using a search robot, and has warned users to stay away. People that continued using napster were blacklisted, and Heymans stated that the names on this blacklist have been handed to the authorities. He also told the press that these people could expect a visit by the police shortly.

    Marc Verwilghen, minister of justice responded to this that:

    People don't get raided because IFPI wants it to, they get raided when a judge gives an order.

    Napster/MP3 has "lowest priority" in our courts.

    The search robot IFPI used to track down the napster users could possibly be illegal due to our privacy laws. This may be investigated further (and will no doubt be used by the defense attorney in case anyone should be prosecuted).

    To put it bluntly, the minister of justice told IFPI that they're not the law.


    Okay... I'll do the stupid things first, then you shy people follow.

  • by Wah (30840)
    Musicians can create their own mini-retail business, but this is a seperate business to creating the music.

    Yes, but all I'm talking about is a website. Once it is built (and built decent) upkeep would be minimal.

    How is the free distribution network going to make money ?

    The free distribution network doesn't need to get money. The value is created through a bartering of services, so to speak.

    The users play absolutely NO role in the creation of the product, merely its distribution. And it's the napsterites who have consistently argued that distribution is dirt cheap.

    Yes, that is their role, distribution as promotion (what else can you call it)

    As for the resources, it often does not cost for the user. If they already have the bandwidth anyway, then the marginal cost of using napster is $0-.

    Not necessarily so. The possibilities of Napster have become a drawing point for people to upgrade their connections, paying more money for more bandwidth. There is also a labor cost, (outside original creation) which is completely absorbed by the user.

    If the people do indeed have the money for that kind of bandwidth, it makes it all the more despicable IMO -- they aren't doing it because they can't afford it, they are doing it out of sheer greed.

    You have some serious negative stereotypes of the people who use these services. Yes, it works better with a faster connection. Anecdotal evidence, I just bought "The Hour of Bewilderbeast" [badlydrawnboy.co.uk] after downloading a bunch of tracks becasue I read a good review of the music. Where else can I get this preview so easily? Did the person who paid for the connection that provided the song that convinced me to buy the album steal from the artist?

    It's only ingenious if you can do it without screwing the artists.

    Then I'm sure you're fully supportive of Napster's new initiative.


    --
  • I won't flame you, and I do have ideas on viable schemes for artists to make money from their work, but I won't expound upon them here...

    What I will say is that I hope nobody stops using Napster because of these arrests. I hope every single user is found, arrested and put in jail. It would be amusing to watch the government try to deal with a few hundered thousand new inmates who also happen to be from a value producing segment of society.

  • Concerts, dude.

    For 2920 of the last 3000 years, musicians have made their living performing live.
  • The laws required to prosecute these people can take 18 months to be passed, yet these raids were carried out as early as last december! What gives, how come we only hear about this now?

    What makes you think they needed a new law? Copyrigt violation is already against the law.

    You don't need a special extra law to say "It's also against the law if you use a computer" any more than you need one to say "It's also against the law if you use stone tablets, a chisel, and a mallet".
  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:40PM (#428631)

    I wrote it and my intent wasn't to imply that all Belgians are pedophiles.

    It was only meant to stress the hypocrisy of things when the Belgian police was very quick to arrest those dangerous Napster users while letting the likes of Marc Dutroux [cnn.com] run wild for months murdering 8 y/o girls.

  • by tbo (35008) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:43PM (#428635) Journal
    I'm sort of referring to the editors, here. Their little comments on the stories tell you how they feel about a given issue, and you can see they disapprove here. Yet they also disapproved of the prosecution of Napster. I'm pretty sure there are some users who agree with them. I also noticed a distinct absence of a "Go RIAA" sentiment in the comments about the RIAA suing Napster.

    Yes, saying "all" was overly broad of me.
  • Actually, I think it would make a lot of sense to formally define stealing as 'taking something away from someone so they don't have it anymore'. Otherwise, life will just keep getting more and more nonsensical, and you'll end up legally forbidden to _think_ about enjoyable IP, or to hum tunes as you walk down the street.

    Funny how Napster users are treated as criminals- but Puffy is supposedly okay! Be careful that your positions are internally consistent- on some level you're stubbornly defending Puffy's 'right' to earn money from rapping over other people's sampled music. It doesn't wash...

  • by Wah (30840) on Thursday February 15, 2001 @05:47PM (#428643) Homepage Journal
    because unless I'm mistaken (and Salon didn't go into it, damn troll journalism) no doubt Mp3blast.com owners, who were the only ones to get raided as of yet, were not just typical napster users. I'd guess that mp3blast.com was an old school mp3 pirate site, with banners, hiddens links, top50 links, etc. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, the site (obviously) is gone.

    Personally I think it should stay very illegal for people to make money off of the intellectual property of others without compensating the copyright owner. However, I think the free exchange of such things should generally be allowed, and definitely for music. I see nothing wrong with giving it away, I see something wrong with selling it.
    --
  • I don't really disagree with you on your points here, but there is one thing about this that really pisses me off. I'm not saying that artists or corporations don't deserve compensation for their work. What I am saying is that laws are being skewed to protect corporations instead of the individual. Do you really think the police would go after people downloading recordings of amateur/unestablished musicians whose recordings are copyrighted?

    Maybe the Belgian police are trying to make an example out of somebody in order to scare others and deliver a clear message, but then again maybe not. The point is this: Don't the police have anything better to do than go after downloaders? Why are they not sitting in their cars in the red light district? Why are they not walking the streets to insure peoples safety? Surely there has to be more important criminals to go after.

    I'm not justifying the actions of those who were warned about downloading. I'm simply saying that if this example is setting a precedent of what is to come, then we have more to worry about than Napster closing it's doors.
  • That would be like me saying every American is a pot-bellied, poorly-educated ass-scratching subhuman.

    We aren't?

  • by Wah (30840)
    coaster, and mugs, and cds, and whatever the heck else anyone will buy. Buy your band's domain names, get someone to make you a decent site, practice, put up a couple songs, practice, hope people like you enough to keep you on their hard drives, practice, tell everyone to listen to you, be really good at playing music, rinse, repeat. a simple recipe to success.
    --
  • Then don't vote for any candidate! If someone won an election with only 5% of the available vote, a very strong and clear message would be sent.
  • A private security force is not an army. Please pull out your dictionary.

    A security cop has no legal authority whatsoever off of their corporate property. If you are trespassing on Microsoft headquarters, they can do quite a bit, but they are utterly powerless at the McDonalds two blocks down the street.

    In addition, armies implement the political policies of their governments. An MS security cop can only implement the law of the land, and that only in his limited jurisdiction of MS property. Even in the inner sanctum of Jim Allchin's office they can't arrest you for using Open Source, no matter how much he might want to. If you didn't trespass to get there, they most he could do would have his "army" escort you off the premises (just as I would do if you had the cojones to use Windows in my office).

    If I go over to One Microsoft Way in Redmond, stand across the street and waggle my bare ass up at Bill's window way up high, he can't do jack shit about it, and neither can his rentacops. He would have to call the Redmond Police (also known as the government) to come cart me away.
  • According to Courtney Love, Toni Braxton declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album.

    $0.35 per $15 album is 2.33%. 2.33% of $188 million is $4.39 million. That's not to say that artists aren't ripped off, but I somehow don't feel sorry for someone who blew well over four million dollars (Who knows how much more she made besides those CDs...) and then had to declare bankruptcy.

  • Why would any sane person want to take a 'go RIAA' stance? They boast no virtues but power, they don't even do a very good job, they rip off consumers horribly, they rip off artists worse, they've been tied to organised crime for _decades_ and now you want to see people rooting for them?

    Some of us consider them more harmful than any sort of IP-stealing, and justifiably see the whole Napster thing as verging on civil disobedience, or even guerrila warfare, hitting these titanic organisations which control people's lives and careers in the only way they CAN be hit- short-circuiting them, rendering them unnecessary.

    The only reason... the ONLY reason that you see OK music coming out of the RIAA and comparably little worthwhile stuff coming out of the grassroots and indies and net musicians, is because the RIAA people have been clinging to complete and total dominance and control for _decades_! It's like saying nobody can make a web browser as good as Microsoft 'because look what's out there'. The fact is, existing media like radio, music stores etc. are so totally controlled by the RIAA that it is effectively a complete lockout- you can't get in unless you sign with the RIAA on their terms.

    That's no form of capitalism, no form of free market, and nothing defensible. I would ask you to reconsider your desire to find defensible things about the RIAA. I feel it is very misguided, and really a stretch. The fact is, it is justifiable to try and act against the RIAA's interests, particularly by such nonviolent means as simply copying music- and more people should be acting against the RIAA's interests. The more you learn about how the business really works, the more you will probably agree with that...

  • LISTER: All right then, a time machine. She can invent a time machine, and we could all pick whatever period in history we wanted to live in.

    RIMMER: Well, it'll be the nineteenth century for me. One of Napoleon's marshals. The chance to march across Europe with the greatest general of all time and kill Belgians. Marvellous.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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