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More Napster Than You Can Shake A Copy-Protected MP3 At 180

Posted by michael
from the make-it-stop dept.
An assortment of Napster news. Napster put out a press release, mirrored below, talking about their plans for the subscription Napster service to include strong copy protection - so you can pay Napster in subscription fees, storage space and bandwidth for files you can't use, and you can transmit them to other people who can't use them either. What a great business plan! The RIAA submitted their proposal for the injunction against Napster - it isn't pretty. Napster may have to block all 2.5 million of the RIAA's songs, as soon as the RIAA can figure out all their names. And Lessig sounds the battle cry for peer to peer - nothing you haven't heard before, but perhaps inspiring nonetheless.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Napster Announces Key Building Block of New Business Model Bertelsmann Subsidiary Digital World Services Will Work with Napster to Enable Secure Management of Transferred Files

Redwood City, CA and New York, NY (February 16, 2001) -- Napster today announced progress on the development of a key aspect of the technology necessary to implement a new, membership-based business model supported by the recording industry. The solution, which enables secure administration of transferred files within a peer to peer structure, has been in the works for several months and will be implemented by Digital World Services (DWS), a Bertelsmann subsidiary with extensive experience in innovative digital rights management solutions.

"Today's announcement underscores one key fact: the real questions about Napster's future are economic, not technical or legal. Our alliance with Bertelsmann and the Bertelsmann eCommerce Group was our first important step toward a model that makes payments to artists, songrwriters and other rightsholders. This solution is further evidence of the seriousness of our effort to reach an agreement with the record companies that will keep Napster running, reliable, and enjoyable," said Hank Barry, Napster's Interim CEO.

Barry reiterated that Napster hopes to move to a membership-based service as soon as possible.

The solution the two companies have been working on will maintain the peer to peer structure of Napster, but will allow in the future restrictions to be placed on what can be done with the transferred files, such as limits on the ability to burn music files onto CDs.

"To work with Napster on the design and operation of a key component of its new business model is an extraordinary opportunity for DWS," said Johann Butting, CEO of Digital World Services. "The successful combination of Napster's very compelling user friendliness and popularity with an architecture that addresses the needs of rightsholders will be a very significant step for secure sharing of content over the Internet."

The technology will enable the sharing of MP3 files to which a protection layer will be added as the file is transferred from one Napster user to the other. The Napster client will be enhanced to support this protection. The solution will not use any existing multi-purpose DRM but a new security architecture that is specially tailored to the requirements of file-sharing.

"We are extremely pleased to partner with Digital World Services in bringing together and operating a key aspect of the technology we need to preserve file sharing and build an industry-supported business model. Through this agreement with DWS and the work we have done together to date, the architecture for one important component of our new model is now in place; we are building out this aspect of the system," Hank Barry added.

"We have been working with Digital World Services for several months to design this solution. They really understand the technologies involved and are sensitive to the user experience. We are confident that the new system will allow us to accomplish key goals of the record companies in terms of restricting use, while still maintaining and improving the performance and service levels of the Napster system," said Napster CTO Eddie Kessler.

About Napster Napster is the world's leading person-to-person file sharing community. Napster provides music enthusiasts with an easy-to-use, high quality service for discovering new music and communicating their interests with other members of the Napster community. Napster's software application enables users to locate and share music files through a user-friendly interface, and features instant messaging, chat rooms, and Hot List User Bookmarks. Shawn Fanning, then an eighteen year-old freshman at Boston's Northeastern University, founded Napster in 1999. In October 2000, Bertelsmann AG and Napster announced the formation of a strategic alliance to further develop the Napster person-to-person file sharing service. In January 2001, edel Music and TVT Records joined the alliance. This year, Napster won several Wired Magazine Readers Rave Awards, including Best Music Site, Best Innovative Start-up, and Best Guerilla Marketing.

About Digital World Services Digital World Services provides Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions and services enabling the convenient use to digital works by making the process transparent for the consumer, retailer and publisher while protecting the owners' copyrights. The company offers clearinghouse services such as rights clearing, financial settlement, and administration of usage information. Digital World Services are experts in the digital delivery of music, content hosting, system integration, project management and distribution platforms. Based in New York City and Hamburg, Germany, Digital World Services is a Bertelsmann subsidiary.

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More Napster Than You Can Shake a Copy-Protected MP3 At

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  • OK, for free you get to listen a few times or for a few days. We all know how easy it is to break a system like that, and they are counting on most people being to lazy or computer-illiterate to bother. Maybe they're even right.

    For a fee, which will have to be reasonable (and they seem pretty smart about this part) you get to burn CD's or download to your Rio, but not to email the unencrypted file to your friends. Anybody see the problem here? A CD is the unencrypted file. The most clueless newbie can take this CD, re-rip it, and walla, one unencrypted .mp3 goes right back onto Napster.

    The job is even easier if the fee-paying member downloads it to his Rio, because chances are his Rio requires an unencrypted .mp3 (and they must realize, as they seem to realize re: CD's, that users will not accept a system that requires them to buy new hardware).

    Then of course there are the spoofing and ID problems mentioned by others. Napster cannot use watermarks or music-recognition software because, remember, Napster itself never sees the music file. The music goes straight from my 'puter to yours, without passing through their server, so if I named the file "medieval - king's singers - greensleeves" but it actually plays Jennifer Lopez, how are they supposed to figure that out?

    I don't expect the forces arrayed against Napster to accept their proposal because, clueless as they are, they are smart enough to see how easy this system will be to circumvent. No crypto system has ever lasted long with millions of messages being passed, and it won't be long before someone will build an easy to use bypass and distribute it to 50 million of their closest friends.

  • "If they can figure their names" Does this mean that they will claim copyright on the filenames? If my band is called Sandman and we make a song called Metallica will "Sandman-Metallica.mp3" be blocked because I have used an illegal filename?
  • rot13 anyone?

    -
  • Then if my name happens to be Springstein and I am trying to promote my new CD on Napster, my music will be blocked? What about if my band's name is Metallic? If they use metaphones, they might as well just give it up. Heck, if they block any music at all, they might as well give it up. Heck, they might as well give it up. Heck, they are.
  • If I bought a Beatles album in the 60s do I have to buy a CD to get rights to a song that I already own just so I can hear it with the same quality as the original? There are plenty of instances of fair use where Napster is easily justified as-is.
  • Its time we start boycotting the music companies esp the ones involved in the lawsuit: A&M Records; Geffen Records; Interscope Records; Sony Music; Entertainment Inc.; MCA; Atlantic Records; Island Recording Corp.; Motown Records Inc.; Capitol Records Inc. and not to mention all the other record companies out there. What I would like to see done is a month long boycott of not only the ones above, but all companies that own them and/or are owned by them. I would like to see this boycott take place all during the month of March. No one would buy and music or any of products made by these companies. I would also like to see this boycott not only take place in the USA, but worldwide. Lets take them down and force them to sell CD at a reasonable price. There is no reason we should have to pay 15 to 25 dollars for a CD with one or two songs on it. Another reason for the boycott is that Napster originally, to my understanding, was not about free music, but more about forcing music companies to lower there price and getting people to discover new artists. This is the only way, we'll never get the music industry to lower prices without a boycott. I hope your with me and will tell a friend and email this to other people because this is not about Napster or free music, this is about the greedy music industry ripping off the public with high outrageous prices.
  • If the primary argument in the Napster case is that Napster is knowingly allowing the distribution of copyrighted material through their service, why is no one attempting to shutdown services like Hotline or Carracho? I understand that, contrary to these other services, Napster utilizes centralized servers, but the knowing allowance of illegal distribution is still congruent amongst all three.

    Otto-matic
  • I'm more inclined to boycott the bad, and support the good. I just wish the lines dividing the two were clearer...

    Actually it's not that hard to spot the RIAA productions. The RIAA mostly represents five companies: EMI, BMG, Warner Brothers, Sony, and Universal. If you look at the outside of the CD, the name of one of those companies will almost always be somewhere in the fine print. If there isn't, it's probably not a major-label CD, and you should buy it.

    You won't have a perfect success rate:
    • There are smaller labels that are in the RIAA but are independent. You can learn what these are, or you can decide they probably don't deserve your boycott because they're not the ones that hold the reins.
    • There are always changes in the music industry, and you may pick up a CD from a label that was independent when it was printed but has since been absorbed.
    • There are some CDs with no copyright notice on the outside. Most of these are from tiny labels, but some of them might be from major labels.

    But you'll still be right ninety-some percent of the time.

    I'm not, incidentally, taking a position on the morality or pragmatics of an RIAA boycott. (I tend to avoid the major labels, which is why I know how to do it, but I'm not thoroughly consistent, and I do it mostly for non-napster reasons.) But if you want to do it, it's not that hard to do a pretty good job.
  • Can't see how anyone thinks they can enforce digital rights management on the current hardware that is out there and that we all have.

    They can't. But why should that stop them? Quick, does your car have a catalytic converter? $20 says it does. For some strange reason, hardware manufacturers always like to jump in bed on these sorts of projects. All they have to do is stop releasing hardware that's open. Eventually you will need to get and use the new stuff. Maybe b/c your old hardware dies. More likely b/c it can't run any of the new software (which requires the new hardware) or is just too slow, or you can't impress your friends.

    Some people have ten and twenty and thirty year old computers hanging around. But if all new computers were somehow incapable of supporting Napster, it would die, no matter how popular, within, oh, 3-5 years. And as a business they would prefer to attract affluent users, who are precisely the people that buy new hardware every year or less, and who would most rapidly not be able to use it.

    CDR is great. We can all fuck over the RIAA with CDR. Until they switch to DVDA. Or something else. Because we don't have DVD burners. And in fact, they will move heaven and earth to avoid letting us have DVD burners that are compatable with DVDA players, because they learned their lesson. Seen a DAT walkman lately? It was poised to be the next big thing you know. Do you think there will be HDTV VHS? Hell no. Or firewire commerical DVD players?

    Sorry my lad, they don't care about enforcing their little schemes on what we have, because they know that eventually we won't have it anymore. Except for a handful of people who enjoy antiquated systems, and that's small enough to tolerate. Napster was here, now, and popular. An unacceptable threat. And b/c we've foolishly permitted businesses of all kinds - record companies AND electronic companies - to be so large, a boycott of the new stuff will never fly. If every person on /. refused to buy the new media and the new players and never cracked and never backed down they'd basically tell us to go to hell. We're too small. And they're too big.

    I don't think that we should give up, but I do think that we'd all better start working on workarounds, b/c the noose is tightening. What happens when Windows embeds the ID of your Pentium V into every mp4 that you make and emails you a cease and desist letter the second you try to ul it somewhere? We're not all using Linux yet.

  • You can calculate a metaphone key. This is a reduction of the word to a more abstract pattern. It's how dictionary.com knows that when you type "thier" you really mean "their".
  • 1) It's not stealing. It's copyright infringement. There is a difference. It is not insignificant. (and it is still a matter of some debate as to whether it's even copyright infringement)

    2) Artists do not have the right to be compensated for their work.

    3) But we do grant them the revokable right to be compensated for some particular copy of that work. (otherwise you'd have to give artists money for making stuff regardless of if they sold it! As I'm an artist, I'd appreciate it, but still be against it in general)

    4) Artists only get to have a say in how their work is distributed when THEY sell it. Or if they agree to a contract with someone to whom they sell it as a prerequisite. EULAs pretty likely don't count, given the First Sale principle and the current mixed bag of judicial rulings on the legality of EULAs
  • While I don't think that it's exactly what you're thinking of, the Kosmic Free Music Foundation is a large repository of Free (speech, beer) music.

    KFMF Website [kosmic.org]

    -Matt
  • has anyone ever thought about recording in analog, , , ,theres no way they can digitally tag that.
  • How long is your song name? Let's see, 5 letters, that's 26^5. Try 2 words. Oops, that's 26^10.

    That's a lot bigger than 2.5 million...

  • You have a point but I don't think it is particularly serious - many mp3's are of pretty low quality anyway and the additional quality loss is a couple of orders of magnitude lower than an audio to audio copy. You're intercepting the digital output of your mp3 player [ie the signal it sends to the audio hardware] not the final audio. It's true that redistributing via Napster will keep adding that error back in but the point is that if you get a supposedly "secured" digital media file you can unsecure it as easily as you can play it.
  • Some people own music on older media and wish to listen to it in mp3. Is there some ethical difference between ripping a song off of a cd you own and downloading an mp3 of a song on a casette you own?
  • I think one of the real problems with this would be:

    1. This is too complex for an ordinary user.
    2. If there is a program made to "package" and "unpackage" the song in this manner, then it's a good possibility that someone in the 'biz could crack it. Face it, there are some smart people that work for these companies.

    What I see happening is that things such as napster will be driven underground (similar to opennap). However, this will disable the "common man" from just clicking on AOL and grabbing the latest hit.

    Those of us in the know, however, will still be stealing left, right, and center.

    It's such a wonderful world!
  • And, depending on the type of membership that the second Napster user has paid for, he or she will be able to do other things with the song -- burn it onto a CD, for example.

    How would they stop you from burning an mp3 onto cd? I assume that these new, protected mp3's can be played in winamp, so how would they stop the "disk writer plugin" that allows you to decompress an mp3 into wav format and burn that wave file onto a cd in cd format?

  • Peer-to-peer is here, and it's here to stay. And there's nothing anyone can do about it.

    Napigator shows over 200 non-napster.com
    servers. And Napster is only one of the many peer-to-peer sharing utilities.

    Napster clones may be the most convenient way to download music, but they are not the only way. You can still download music via HTTP, FTP, NNTP, E-mail, IRC and so on... if you're bored you can look at some of the ways suggested at http://decss.zoy.org/ .
  • It exists and it is called www.mp3.com [mp3.com].
  • It will hurt, but it's not the RIAA labels that will be hurt. It will hurt the smaller labels that make true music that's not advertised on radio. That's what the RIAA wants because the smallers labels are "stealing" profit from them by making their artists known.

    The RIAA claim they are against napster for piracy, but their real threat is loosing market share because of better artists than theirs.

    It's probably true that people who "pirate" mp3s
    buy more CD's because of napster, but that's because they found something better to listen to than the music they heard on the radio, in which they were not interested at all. Since they like what they download, they are more likely to want to buy it.
  • by joss (1346)
    The record companies can judge for themselves how much napster has hurt their sales if the majority of former napster users immediately boycot all CD purchases from major record labels. I believe napster users spent far more on CDs than average. Personally I have vowed to not buy any CDs for at least 3 months. I urge other people who are irritated by the RIAAs handling of this affair to do likewise. If they think they will see a surge in sales as a result of declaring war on their best customers, we need to reeducate them.
  • by Fervent (178271) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @05:53AM (#424665)
    Why not just create MP3's from the CD's you already own, and avoid Napster entirely?
  • by GC (19160) <giles@coochey.net> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @06:01AM (#424666)
    You could just number the songs you share 1.mp3, 2.mp3, 3.mp3 and so on.

    To get an Index of what 1, 2 & 3 are you have to offer a copyrighted song to that user who shares those files.

    Both parties can then generate trust.

    It would be really interesting to see an article on game-theory specifically looking at strategies for peer-to-peer music Exchange.

    Prisoners Dilmma... :-)
  • Then of course there are the spoofing and ID
    problems mentioned by others. Napster cannot use watermarks or music-recognition software because, remember, Napster itself never sees the music file. The music goes straight from my 'puter to yours, without passing through their server, so if I named the file "medieval - king's singers - greensleeves" but it actually plays Jennifer Lopez, how are they supposed to figure that out?
    They can build the watermark checking algorithem right into napster.


  • Napster plans to hide the keys in encrypted form in its client software


    HAHAHAHAHA! (ROTFL)

    what a joke -- can anyone say DeCSS?!? It'll take "haX0rs" less than a week to get that key... or any other key not embedded in tamper-proof hardware.

    All I gotta say is this simply the start of a really fun war.... where this war isn't really about obfuscating names, its about attempting to subvert all the forthcoming DRM stuff. ... and if we've learned anything here on /., it is that hackers tend not to lose anywhere but court.

  • Simple.

    Search for *Mysterious*Ways* .. Oops, hope the RIAA doesn't see this.
  • Napster may have to block all 2.5 million of the RIAA's songs, as soon as the RIAA can figure out all their names.

    It's going to be a real pain having to spell all the song names backwards... Or having to ROT13 the whole file just to transmit/receive it...

  • To be valid, the signature would have to be made by the original artist, not by anyone. This means napster should have a database of free artists, with some data to recognize their songs (md5+cddb id+tracks lengths?)

    If an artist decides to distribute copies of his MP3 signature key with his CDs, it would mean he gives you the right to make mp3 copies of his songs and sign them to look like if they were signed by the artist himself. Without the artist's signature key, you would only be able to sign it with your own key, and napster will reject it because you're not the artist for that song in their database.
  • www.mp3.com?
  • IDing the songs sounds impossible, practically speaking.. the fact is, if the RIAA companies feel they can turn a profit from Napster, they won't allow napster to die, and if digital marking of songs threatens that potential profit, they'll probably get rid of it. Don't forget, these are song and dance masters. If digital marking threatens the money, they'll just start napster the company on a subscription service to the RIAA or the member corps, paying a certain regular fee just to operate. sort of like radio I guess. (An added benefit to that would be that small labels might get frozen out of the whole business model, since they don't have the clout necessary to insure that some amount of that money, however small, goes to them.)

    napster won't have to worry about which artists get the money or how much they get. And if it's too much of a bother to figure out, the RIAA probably won't worry about it either. ;)

  • "Artist" that word is a distraction - it isn't whether their artists but whether they're the copyright holders. And all of those you named ARE the copyright holders of their songs. You don't have to write a thing to own it, that's called "work for hire".

  • by stomv (80392) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @04:22AM (#424676) Homepage
    So, once they get the names right, what will they do about permutations?

    How many people misspell Springsteen as Springstein?

    You get the drift. Can't users just misspell, and do it intentionally? Sure, its not a total solution, but it seems like it would work out some of the time...
  • Expanding and recompressing the napster II format is a bad solution because mp3 is a lossy compression algorithm. It will sound like a tape recording of a tape recording and degrade with every iteration. This would in fact be one way to kill p2p that has been discussed before: populate the service with morons who don't care about sound quality so that the typical song returned in a search will be crap. Your suggestion would be one way to do it: make sure people are constantly decompressing and recompressing their songs and trading them like they were freshly ripped.
  • I thought I just got done explaining this elsewhere, but...
    For one thing, it isn't a matter of deserving the content, its more a form of civil disobedience. Big Music bends customers over at the cash register, so lots of customers say "fsck this" and leech mp3s. Maybe, just maybe, if Big Music would stop anal violating the pocket books of the customers, the allure of mp3s would diminish. I mean, the difference between $20 and free is a lot, but if CD's were a more realistically priced $10 new, $5 old/used, the time spent waiting for those mp3's to be sucked through the modem might not seem worth it. Of course, it would be best of Big Music choked on its own greenback vomit, but some things are destined to remain only dreams.

    -={(Astynax)}=-
  • Hate to break it to Napster, but it's very easy to bypass the encryption scheme by simply re-recording the MP3 audio into another file. My Creative Sound Blaster Live! Value can easily do this with the built-in software mixer. It can record from the Windows WAV device, or "What-U-Hear" (records whatever is playing through your speakers, i.e. you can mix sound fron different sound devices, like WAV and CD, or WAV and MIDI). So, I play the song with Napster's special player, and record it at the same time...no quality loss, and I now have a nice, unencrypted WAV file that I can do whatever I want with.

    DennyK
  • Napster may have to block all 2.5 million of the RIAA's songs, as soon as the RIAA can figure out all their names.

    Blocking songs by name isn't going to work. Alternate naming systems will arise in about a millisecond. The Rolling Stone's 'Lady Jane' could easily be '1@dy J@ne' for instance. Or ROT13, or ... You get the idea.

  • ..It's obvious that anytime napster wants, they can go through their servers and find listings of copyrighted materials by the thousands. So, to answer the first question; yes, they are knowingly facilitating the download of illegal material.

    You're not wrong in principle, but I think you're not taking into account how labyrinthine the law really is. Sure an admin can go through their lists, and he'll probably look at the names and consider the namestrings to identify the songs and artists and so forth. (Which the courts probably do as well I guess.) But a lawyer might look through that list and see a bunch of namestrings which only hypothetically identify the same songs as the ones on the CD he bought this morning. REally for a lawyer to talk conclusively about the copyright status of the song represented by the namestring, there should be some (trustable) copyright info worked into the string. Otherwise the copyright status of the song represented by the name isn't totally clear.

    I realize this is sort of a rationalization, but it's just to point out that what you may consider a clear conclusion isn't so clear once you bring the law into it. (Really this is only a rationalization to the extent that the RIAA can show that Napster contributes to copyright infringement, which they seem to be able to do, but that still doesn't detract from my point I think.)

  • by wuice (71668) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @04:24AM (#424682) Homepage
    The RIAA has won the battle, but they've lost the war. If we can't use Napster anymore, we'll find another way to rip off our favorite artists in peace. It's an inconvienence, but no agency, business or industry can stop us from our god-given right to rip people off. They should ask the software world how successful they've been with warez. After that, they should give the fuck up and let us steal in peace.
  • That's a damn good point actually- we don't want Red Book Audio CD to be 'deprecated'. But the thing is, this isn't entirely down to the music industry. Anyone can burn Red Book on a CDR without too much trouble- so boycotting the majors (as I am doing- sorry, can't accept the idea of _paying_ them to do what they're doing) will not necessarily diminish the amount of CD Audio out there, it'll just shift the balance. (Also, burn-to-order mp3 hosting services have long sold Audio CDs and the latest development is Ampcast.com planning to sell Audio CDs duped from _red_ _book_ masters- not compressed masters. They'll be keeping a lot of artist-sent CDRs on file.)

    The fact is, the music industry does not supply Audio CD technology- just the content. If you want Audio CD to remain- buy a CD _player_. Send Sony, Hitachi or whoever the message, and forget the RIAA: they are NOT the ones supplying the hardware. Just insist on Audio CD support in everything, and if something comes around that won't play the CDs, don't buy it...

  • Ok, ill do my bets not to laugh too hard at Napster's ideas or RIAA's hopes.

    1) Scalability. Not going to happen. simple. 56k users will be completely screwed...

    2) can anyone say memory hog?!? I dont know about you, but i use Napster IN THE BACKGROUND. It may be sucking up my bandwidth, but NOT my memory at this point. But to have local encypt/decryption on EVERY song EVERY time it plays, I'll never be able to compile to compile at the same time... So, again, scalability.

    3) Crackers/(or good bored coders) will have it overcome in a day, patched in a week, and perfected in 2 weeks. simple.

    4) OTHER services will take Napster's place. simple. Your average 9 to 12-yr-old may have his/her parents pay for membership, and they might be too ignorant to know any better... but those who want to get them for free will be able to do so EASILY by using gnutella or any of the many other options out there... I prefer FileNavigator myself... but I must admit, most connections time-out... someone needs to scale these alternatives before June....

    5) Each and every reader here knows damn well they will never pay for an mp3. simple. Go check out the Ogg Vorbis format discussed on Binary Freedom for example.

    6) oh yeah... SCREW THE RIAA.. ignorant corporate old bag bastards.

    -vanguard
  • I would like to see someone argue to me that ebay should be allowed to list auctions for cocaine or nuclear materials because they're only "listing" and not involved with the actual transfer.

    Hoo boy, you sure ruined your post by including the ebay analogy. ebay lists whatever users type in. If they receive complaints, they remove it. And note that when they receive complaints and remove the offending material, they are not fined, prosecuted, shut down, etc..

    Compare to Napster, who removed all the people trading Metallica the one time they were notified of anything, and are still getting fined, shut down, etc..

    And another note: your argument, while it makes some "common sense", really has little if anything to do with actual law. I'm sure you've noticed by now that the law rarely has anything to do with common sense.
  • We can just md5 the names of the mp3s on our HD and search for the md5 version of what we're looking for. Or something
  • by Leon Trotski (259231) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @04:31AM (#424687) Homepage
    Say what you will about the ethical justification of copying other peoples music, but at least Napster has sparked off an impressive amount of innovative projects. Here is something I came across recently: Docster [oss4lib.org].

    For the goatsex paranoid, here's a short abstract:

    Imagine all the researchers you know, with a new bibliographic management tool that combined file storage with a napster-like communications protocol -- docster. Instead of just citations, docster also stores the files themselves and retains a connection between the citation metadata and each corresponding file. Somewhere in the ether is a docster server to which those researchers connect. They're reading one of their articles, and they find a new reference they want to pull up. What to do? Just query docster for it. Docster will figure out who else among those connected has a copy of that article, and if it's found, requests and saves a copy for our friendly researcher.

    Of course, we cannot do this. Libraries depend too much on copyright to attack the system so directly. But what if we focused instead on altering the napster model enough to make it explicitly copyright-compliant? After all, many cases of one researcher giving another a copy of an article are a fair use of that article. Fair use provides us with this possibility and it's not a giant leap to argue that perhaps coordinated copying through such a centralized server could constitute fair use, especially if docster didn't compete with commercial interests.

    Well, it's still a big leap, but think of the benefits. Say there's an article from 1973 that's suddenly all the rage. It doesn't exist online yet, so a patron request comes to you from some other library, and you've got the journal, so you fill the request. But forty-eight other researchers want that article too. If that first patron uses docster, any of those other folks also using docster can just grab the file from the first requestor. If others don't use docster, they can request a copy from their local libraries, who -- I hope -- do use docster. Nobody has to go scan that article again, and suddenly there is redundant digital storage.

    Sounds good, no?
  • Download ratios? Upload while downloading, or you'll be booted? Yours is just a slightly more complicated way of doing it.

    I think that already exists with FTP, Hotline, et. al...

    Last I knew, those were attacked enough by the RIAA that only dedicated people with a fair amount of computer knowledge uses such things.

    Which is probably fine by the RIAA. They realize they can't ever completely stamp out piracy, they just don't want everyone and their grandmother to be casually pirating.
    --

  • Since CueCat and other sources are out there, why not create a program where people can scan in a CD's UPC, have that become the band/album name, then list out the tracks after the number?

    For example, the song Urban Suicide from the band Dink could be found on napster at 7-2438-30333-2-4_05.mp3. They would have to sit there and ban different types of UPC numbering, etc, to keep people from passing these around.

    What's more, there's plenty of databases already up where people can find UPC codes in existence, so it shouldn't be hard to find an interface to pull out a certain album's UPC number and have a client search Napster for it.

    It's just a thought. I don't like the fact that the RIAA is trying to tell us that a band name like "James" will be banned from passing through its servers, or their hit song "Laid". I mean, what if James Rutherford's country song "Laid Off" is passed around Napster because he wants to share it? (I don't believe this guy exists, but just for example). Where does the RIAA get off telling Napster, et. al., that he has no right to do so?

    Dragon Magic [dragonmagic.net]
  • ALPINE. No matter what you guys say, it is a damn good solution. The best thus far IMO. *You* get to control the number of peer connections you maintain, the number of queries you make, the rate at which those quries are distributed to the peer network, the number of queries you will respond to from other peers, the number of file transfers, etc. Also the proxy idea sounds damn cool.
  • Actually, someone should create a napster "proxy" that will make queries on your behalf. Since a connection TO napster is not necessary to exchange files, you can still trade for free. The SDMI/DRM requirements will be what "kills" napster
  • I'm sure there will be some freeware decoder*cough*DeCSS*cough* available so you can fix your mp3s soon after this happens anyway.
    Billion dollar industry, somebody will hack it for free.
  • Considering a file copyrighted by default might be a solution to this. To mark a file as freely distributable, an artist would have to sign it with a digital certificate and indicate what kinds of right he would like to grant.

    An audio CD could include a data track with a digital certificate that can sign only the tracks on that CD, or also all of the artist's previous works.

    Since copyrighted music has been around for decades, making it the default case isn't really wrong. It would however have to be implemented in a way that can't be circumvented, while still giving to the purchaser the rights to unlimited backups and transfers to other media. The only thing that would really need to be disabled is the wide spreading of copies of the works.
  • Don't forget FTPs and the thing that started it all...IRC
  • The point isn't to actually block them, but just to make napster a giant pain in the ass (moreso than it already is). Forcing users to rename files in order to share them, and by that also making them difficult to search for, is one way to effectively decrease the usability of napster.
    ---
  • I agree that most napster users will move to other apps to get their free music fix. But what if the hard drives and other storage mediums don't allow files to be stored that aren't signed with some sort of industry certificate?

    What, any files at all? How would you sell hard drives that are that crippled?

    Or you mean files stored in a particular format? In that case you'd just use a different format. Once encrypted the hard drive can't possibly know what's in the file.
  • It would however have to be implemented in a way that can't be circumvented

    Presumably you mean a way that would take more effort to circumvent than you'd expect anyone to be willing to put in? I don't see how a copy protection system that can't be circumvented could even be possible. If something can be made in the first place then it can also be copied.
  • Um, AboveNet and UUNet...
    Domain servers in listed order:

    NS1.NAPSTER.COM 208.184.216.239
    [abovenet]
    NS2.NAPSTER.COM 63.108.185.111
    [uunet]

    Registrant:
    Napster, Inc. (NAPSTER16-DOM)
    1475 Veterans Blvd.
    Redwood City, CA 94063 US

  • How about "Magetagelagicaga_sageek_agand_dagestragoy_thagem. mp3"?
  • My Queen Greatest Hits II CD is scratched very bad (I lent it to some careless tosser).
  • Oy, you couldn't be more wrong. None of those people hold copyright. The people he named are _synthetic_ popstars: hell, man, even the grunge guys had to sign over their copyright to the record labels to get a deal!! Do you seriously think that manufactured popstars do better than that? I would literally bet every penny I have that they are not the copyright holders: there is just no way, not a _chance_, not one of them.

    The 'work for hire' thing is related but different. The _popstar's_ performance is routinely considered work for hire by the label, whenever they can get away with it. Now, if it's not, that doesn't mean the popstar ends up holding copyright, they have to sign that away. BUT, if they simply sign it away, the term expires in something like 40 years, so the popstar's _grandchildren_ might benefit from earnings from the hit record when, many years from now, the copyright returns to the artist and the artist's estate. (We'll not get into whether _they_ are entitled to profit from it- this time!) However, if it was 'work for hire', the term NEVER ends, and the artist will NEVER, EVER, EVER get their material back. Not in 40 years, not in 400, not in 40,000,000.

    The record labels managed to get a rider on some bill that _changed_ the status of many recordings _to_ work for hire, basically taking a large number of existing works and changing the rules under them to give the record industry permanent ownership rather than 40-year-ownership, but major label artists were rightly _so_ upset that they actually organised, lobbied, and got the new legislation overturned by publicising just how bad the record labels were in doing this, and exactly what they were doing. So currently the only artists who will NEVER own their songs are, well, pretty much every new act being offered a contract _today_, including every one in which you don't need the artist's consent to revise the contract.

    This very likely includes Britney and the others, so odds are they not only don't own copyright, but they can't and will _never_ own it. However, I can only be _absolutely_ certain that they don't own it _now_. It is just possible that one of the ones mentioned is not work for hire, in which case maybe in 40 years they or their heirs _might_ own copyright to their material.

    Did you know that nearly all of the musicians you hear on the radio are technically hired laborers?

  • Another interesting (And scary) thought - how will they know what songs to ban? If they filter by artist name all of the 'Fuck Metallica' songs will be removed, but more often than not the filenames will only have the title of the song? What then, if for example the well-known Nine Inch Nails decide to ban their song 'Into the Void' - this will also ban a song made by Bjørn Lynne [bjornlynne.com], which he has earlier released and (I believe) is freely available at mp3.com.

    But perhaps this is all in RIAA's plan. They get to remove their own songs, and in addition also gets to down some competition. So for all future unsigned artists - Don't make songs that might have an RIAA title!

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @11:56AM (#424703)
    The *AA may be frothing about IP theft, but other businesses are apparently booming on it.

    I've been shopping for a new hard drive, and I see businesses such as Best Buy describing the humongosity of their drives in terms of how many thousands of 4-minute MP3s you can store on them. (Surely they don't think people are buying drives to store 20,000 MP3s that came from their own store-bought CDs, eh?)

    --
  • by netik (141046)
    You're incorrect. If they used a watermark technology, they would be able to tag the content, and watermarks work even if you go from analog to digital and back to analog again. They persist through multiple copies, even transmission of the content over a phone line or airwaves.
  • So pretty much by turning off the digital outputs, Napster is only allowing you to play your payNapster MP3's through POS computer speakers? What if you have a kickass home stereo with a digital input? "Digital output is not licensed" is what Napster would tell you! Bullshit! If you license music, they shouldn't be able to dictate what speakers you play it through....
    ----
  • one problem, i see with their subscription model is the quality of service. i mean look at napster now, most of the songs you download are missing some bytes at the beginning or at the end or have little sound glitches in them. thats ok as long as its free but no one is gonna pay for broken mp3s.
  • Forget napster. Why go through all the hassle of changing filenames (etc) as suggested, when you can just use opennap? It has clients for practically every OS out there, and if it didn't have one for your OS, it wouldn't be much of a problem to write one.

    I really like the musiccity set of servers. They have about 30 different servers, all of which are very fast.

  • well, if they don't want us to share their music, then lets not hand ours over to them. Imagine this as a market position. You can either buy music you cant share from RIAA approved networks, or you can download music that's equally as good from networks that don't have RIAA music on them, and you are encouraged to share them.

    I wonder, after having listened only to inependent non-riaa music for 3 years, who's concerts we're gonna go to. Who's t-shirts we're gonna buy.

    what a wonderfulo meatspace denial of service condition the RIAA may have just created for themselves. If they don't allow their music on free networks, and good music is on free networks, then they're creating a bariier to entry into the music distribution market for themselves.

    That's just plain dumb, and I have no problem with using it against them.

    -OR-

    if you're a computer criminal with a mean streak (not me, mr man). then I guess you can make it extremely hard for the RIAA to give their lovely blacklist to napster over the internet...."What use is a phone call when you can't speak"

  • Your analogy suffers from ad absurdum.

    Most of us use cars to go from Point A to Point B. Obviously there will be some bad seeds who use cars to facilitate killing but not in large quantities. And certainly not enough in so much as to require us to, as you put it, resort back to walking from place to place.

    Sure a few people are trading non-copyrighted music on Napster but the majority of us are knowingly trading copyrighted material.

  • by kennylives (27274) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @06:46AM (#424712) Journal
    I believe napster users spent far more on CDs than average. Personally I have vowed to not buy any CDs for at least 3 months. I urge other people who are irritated by the RIAAs handling of this affair to do likewise.

    I'm not sure that it has been proved that there is a causal relationship between Napster usage and the increased sale of CDs. In fact, I doubt that that point can be sufficently proved to lay the argument to rest. Personally, I have purchased more CDs as a result of discovering new things on Napster, but I'm employed, and make enough money to be able to afford to purchase CDs to be 'legal' with the music I have (I subsequently re-rip the CDs to have high-quality MP3s on file). I seriously doubt that this is the norm; I suspect that most folks who grab just the tracks they want are not doing the same. Many are, but many != most.

    That said, I think the reverse is also true - it's very difficult, if not impossible, to define a causal relationship between Napster use and a percieved loss of CD sales. But, as is so often the case, perception is reality, and the RIAA uses this perception to justify the lengths to which they're willing to go to prevent the sharing of 'their' content, as we're all aware.

    I'm also conflicted over this proposed boycott of CDs. Clearly, I'm never going near the 'new, improved' version of Napster, and I will encourage all those I know to stay away from it as well. I suggest that we'd all stay away from an encumbered, crippled version of Napster. However, CDs, as a competing technology, are very open. I can rip 'em, copy 'em, combine tracks onto 'mix' CD's, and so on. Aside from who 'owns' the content, and what the're doing, CDs are a nearly ideal carrier for the music.

    I'm also envisioning a future where a couple of trends collide to create a very undesirable situation:

    1. The 'new' Napster becomes successful, even profitable, on the backs of J. Random Consumers. The RIAA/Napster declares it a victory in bringing digital content to the masses.

    2. The 'rest of us' boycott CDs, causing sales to drop noticeably.

    3. The RIAA, in their lust to remove 'unprotected' media from the market, use the drop in CD sales to declare that CDs are a dying media and use this as justification to stop shipping certain titles, and eventually most titles on CDs, instead favouring more restrictive (and more profitable) media.

    I'm concerned that an all-out boycott of the one unencumberd technology we have is not the most effective way to handle this. I'm more inclined to boycott the bad, and support the good. I just wish the lines dividing the two were clearer...

  • Alright, suppose Napster II becomes a reality and due to some magic, groundbreaking encryption the system survives long enough to function. Why should I share files (music that I paid for) with million other subscribers who I don't even know? If incredibly smart music companies think that I will agree to make my PC a free distribution channel for their music they are very, very wrong.
  • by Adam Schumacher (267) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @07:13AM (#424717) Homepage

    For Immediate Release:

    At a press conference this morning, Napster CEO Hank Barry officially conceded defeat to the RIAA.

    "It's obvious that we cannot afford to fight this battle any further. Alright guys, you win. You've shut down Napster. Enjoy your victory."

    Sources indicate that a fruit basket was delivered to RIAA HQ from Shawn Fanning at roughly the same time as Barry's announcement was made.

    "Seeing as we no longer have any use for the napster.com domain name, we have opted to sell it to Bornagainnapster Inc., based out of <insert name of country with good Internet connectivity, loose copyright laws, and little respect for American lawers here>.

    "Of course, hypothetically, if Bornagainnapster Inc. decided to use the napster.com domain name to point the millions of existing Napster clients to their own Napster root servers, the source for which we released earlier this morning, the service would appear to continue uninterrupted to current users of Napster's service. Please note however, that this is entirely the prerogative of Bornagainnapster Inc., and Napster Inc. of America has no remaining control over what happens to the technology we've released into the community.

    "It's been a slice. Thank you."

    Napster Co-founder Shawn Fanning then announced his plans to relocate to <insert name of country with good Internet connectivity, loose copyright laws, and little respect for American lawers here> to accept a position as CTO with "an unnamed Internet media company".




    Okay, so it's a bit far-fetched, but if Fanning and Co. are really interested in seeing Napster continue to survive, wouldn't this be a feasable option? The main reason why Napster continues to dominate other file-sharing media such as Gnutella for MP3 distribution is the existing user base, and simple presentation to the user. It is still, IMHO, best-of-breed for it's purpose, which is providing access to MP3 files. The reason the RIAA has been able to go after Napster, is because of the centralized root servers. Why not just move those servers out of the RIAA's reach? Sure, it will take a little maneuvering to prevent legal difficulties, but I think it could be done...

    Opinions?

    - Adam

  • by image (13487) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @07:14AM (#424718) Homepage
    First, the RIAA will, in the near future, have some success at stopping Napster, as one particular service, from distributing copyrighted material. They will accomplish this because Napster is a corporate entity and Napster will cooperate with the courts, because that is in the best interest of their shareholders.

    Second, other services, whether they are OpenNap servers, Gnutella, FreeNet, or whatever, will emerge from Napster's ashes and allow people to distribute copyrighted material.

    Third, the RIAA will notice that there is not one particular corporate entity to go after in this case, and will take the issue to the legislature instead.

    Fourth, the legislature will pass unambiguous laws that declare distributing copyright material online illegal, and there are medium penalties (like fines, and possibly jail time for multiple offenses).

    Fifth, some people will continue distributing copyright materials online. Most won't.

    Sixth, some people will get caught. Most won't.

    The parallel I am making should be clear. This is analogous to the United State's so-called war on drugs.

    No, the US can never "win" the war on drugs. Nor can it win the war against distributing copyrighted material. However, it can certainly scare the majority of people into not participating. And that is all the RIAA wants to preserve its profits.

  • Actually ebay does their own auditing as well. Go search for something like hardcore preteen sex pictures or something along the lines. It may be initially posted but they'll pull it down themselves.
  • I would guess that as soon as they start cracking down on names, you'll start to see newsgroup like names:

    B,R,U,C,E,S,P,R,I,N,G,S,T,E,E,N
    and of course l33t sp33k. The question is how you search for this stuff. As always, people will find a way. One method could be doing some sort of pgp system where you encode your filenames... you could easily build this functionality into a client transparently. Then all you need is a public key and you can properly search for files. Something like that.
  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @07:22AM (#424733) Homepage
    So the time is finally here that the script kiddies will raise to the upper echelon of society.

    Since I think we all know Napster and the RIAA will not introduce any competant means of blocking copyrighted songs beyond a simple name check on the title of the MP3, the day has finally arrived when that stupid script kiddie hacker type will come in handy. Sure, Napster will block any songs that have Metallica in the filename (ignoring the fact someone might write a song called "I hate Metallica") but will their filters catch:

    |\/|3T4||C4

    ?

    No, they certainly will not. In the future the only people who will be able to use and understand the songs available through napster will be these ever-present script kiddies.

    It's kind of like encryption, for the stupid.

    --

  • Like:

    U2- Mysterious Ways.mp3

    U2- Mysterious_Ways.mp3

    U2- Mysterious Ways.MP3

    U2- Mysterious_Ways.MP3

    U2- MysteriousWays.MP3

    U2- MysteriousWays.mp3

    U2- Mysterious-ways.MP3

    U2- Mysterious-Ways.MP3

    U2- Mysterious Ways.mP3

    U2- Mysterious_Ways.mP3

    U2- Mysterious Ways.Mp3

    U2- Mysterious_Ways.Mp3

    U2- MysteriousWays.Mp3

    U2-Mysterious Ways.mp3

    U2-Mysterious_Ways.mp3

    U2-Mysterious Ways.MP3

    U2-Mysterious_Ways.MP3

    U2-MysteriousWays.MP3

    U2-MysteriousWays.mp3

    U2-Mysterious-ways.MP3

    U2-Mysterious-Ways.MP3

    U2-Mysterious Ways.mP3

    U2-Mysterious_Ways.mP3

    U2-Mysterious Ways.Mp3

    U2-Mysterious_Ways.Mp3

    U2-MysteriousWays.Mp3

    U2Mysterious Ways.mp3

    U2Mysterious_Ways.mp3

    U2Mysterious Ways.MP3

    U2Mysterious_Ways.MP3

    U2MysteriousWays.MP3

    U2MysteriousWays.mp3

    U2Mysterious-ways.MP3

    U2Mysterious-Ways.MP3

    U2Mysterious Ways.mP3

    U2Mysterious_Ways.mP3

    U2Mysterious Ways.Mp3

    U2Mysterious_Ways.Mp3

    U2MysteriousWays.Mp3

    U2- Mysterious Ways.mp3

    U2- Mysterious_Ways.mp3

    U2- Mysterious Ways.MP3

    U2- Mysterious_Ways.MP3

    U2- MysteriousWays.MP3

    MysteriousWays.mp3

    Mysterious-ways.MP3

    Mysterious-Ways.MP3

    Mysterious Ways.mP3

    Mysterious_Ways.mP3

    Mysterious Ways.Mp3

    Mysterious_Ways.Mp3

    MysteriousWays.Mp3

    Only 47,000 variations on this track, and 2.5 million songs to go.

    I guess they'll have to listen to each one of the last variation just to make sure. Or else face a shitstorm when anther band gets banned for having a song with the same title.

    I thought *my* last data-entry job could get mind-numbing.
  • Your logic makes absolutely no sense.
  • clients besides the official one, and older napster official clients, will no longer work

    on the official servers. But there are other Napster-compatible directory servers [napigator.com] that run OpenNap [sourceforge.net].


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • Hell you think song titles are exausted? their are always long title names like the band Anal Cunt. With names like "song titles are fucking stupid" "all our fans are gay" "i made your kid get AIDS so you could watch it die" and a ton more so song titels wont run out just be more creative.
  • by AntiBasic (83586) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @08:59AM (#424760)
    Whether or not the actual storage of illegal music is on napster servers, or user computers, is immaterial to this argument. The real question is does the napster service knowingly facilitate the illegal distrobution of copyrighted materials through their service, and to what extent should they be required to fulfill their responsibilities under the law.

    I would like to see someone argue to me that ebay should be allowed to list auctions for cocaine or nuclear materials because they're only "listing" and not involved with the actual transfer. That is utter bullshit; by that logic Osama Bin Ladin, or Moammar Khaddafi, aren't responsible for american deaths just because "they werent involved in the actions, they only indirectly facilitated what happened." Try and make a loophole through that and you end up justifying more than you want to eh?

    If you want realistic discussion lets be realistic, we all know what napster is about. It's obvious that anytime napster wants, they can go through their servers and find listings of copyrighted materials by the thousands. So, to answer the first question; yes, they are knowingly facilitating the download of illegal material.

    The real argument here is: what should napster be required to do to comply with copyright restrictions? _That_ is what i'm interested in hearing argued here. Should they be required to set up a system for copyright holders to request listings removed? Or should it be more restrictive where they are required to compare song names with a database of copyrighted songs? I havent heard much discussed beyond this.

    I use napster, and I pirate software, but I would never make such foolish arguments for such selfish reasons. I'm sick of these discussions about pirating and how stupid the RIAA is. Maybe the RIAA is stupid, but they have the law on their side. Why not discuss the merits of copyright law instead?

  • Even worse, if I want to be the 500th person to make their own recording of "Yesterday" by McCartney and distribute it via Napster I guess I'm screwed too.

    Except this time it's by the publishers not the labels. Composers' and performers' rights organizations such as ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI in the US (along with a host of organizations in other countries) control cover rights, as a cover can be considered a "derivative work" and/or a "public performance" of a copyrighted work, and there is no longer a public domain to speak of [everything2.com].


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • by knarf (34928) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @07:39AM (#424762) Homepage
    OK, so Napster (and related services) will have to block RIAA-owned songs? And they plan to recognize those songs by name, and maybe (in the future) by some digital fingerprint? The solvent for this solution is obvious: encrypt everything you share, using some asymmetric algorithm. If someone wants to leech a song from your box, let them first get your key (from some keyserver, somewhere). Obfuscate the filenames. Whatever... This is just to say that the proposed method of keeping Napster/P2P RIAA-'clean' does not work. And I can not see how they can make it work either. The cat seems to be out of the bag, it has produced many litters, and its offspring now roam the planet in search for a home...
  • How about this: everyone knows that the formula is something like
    mp3name := md5(song_name XOR password)

    and the password is emailed around until "they" figure it out and then it changes.

    Oh, and you have to scramble the song itself so that you have to know the password to hear it, so that "they" can't figure out what song it is unless they know the password.
  • Only 47,000 variations on this track, and 2.5 million songs to go.

    I guess you've never heard of Soundex [nara.gov] hashing. (Of course, PayNapster would use something more advanced, but this illustrates the point.) It would also have the side effect of keeping illegal (under US "derivative work" copyright law) cover songs off PayNapster.


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • by Anoriymous Coward (257749) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @09:16AM (#424769) Journal
    The same reason people do it now. At some point those mp3s were paid for, probably in the form of a CD. The person who bought the $20 CD was willing to share the mp3s with millions of people he didn't know, why should he worry about doing the same with a $1 mp3 file?
  • Gracenote have patented mis-spelling? They'll be preparing a big lawsuit against /. users then!
  • There are two serious problems with this sytem. One technical. One fundamental.

    The technical problem involves authenticating the document content. If I am a researcher, how can I be certain that releasing my document to Docster will guarantee that a malicious user (my arch-nemesis scientist colleague competing with me for fame and fortune) will be unable to corrupt my article?

    The second, more fundamental problem involves a company getting rich from the work of academics. Napster/Docster is not in this game out of the goodness of their own hearts If I am an academic who wishes the widest distribution of my article possible, I will put it on my home page for any and all to download free of charge at any time. Ultimately, I find it hard to believe that Docster would not eventually move to a substription-based service, similar to Napster. I personally find it very repulsive that a company might sit between myself and my colleagues, making money from our hard work. (Granted, this already occurs in print journals and conference proceedings, but I am hopeful their days are limited.)

    I believe this is one place where government research agencies can actually make a great positive impact. Agencies funding research can require that authors archive their work (not just publications, but also data and computer programs) in a data archive accessible to anyone in the world. This is entirely commensurate with the fact that taxpayers were the ones who footed the bill to begin with, and they should be allowed to see what their investments have produced. Also, such a mandatory archive will help creater greater sharing between scientists, and avoid the kind of data hoarding that most scientists are inclined to practice.

  • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @05:52PM (#424783) Homepage Journal
    The big problem I see with these changes is that Naspter lives on the (seemingly) anonymous nature of the access. You "sign up" by providing virtually no information about yourself. Sure, we tech-savvy geeks know that all the packets have a unique IP number, and the Napster client is closed source and could be doing literally anything behind the scenes, but...

    To ordinary users, approx 50 million of them, Napster feels like it's almost completely anonymous. You make up a fake name and provide virtually no identifying information. Feeling like nobody knows who you are, it's pretty easy to stick those CD into the drive and rip them into MP3s, or at least share the MP3 files already downloaded.

    When payment is required, all the comforting anonimity goes away. You'll have to send money, probably with your credit card. You'll almost certainly have to provide your address, since they'll want to do address verification. Now they know who a particular user is. Even if they are able to know user's true identity today, to the millions of Napster users with files in their share folder, it "feels" like nobody can tell who you are. It feels like the worst that could happen by sharing that Metallica song is getting your (free and anonymous) account terminated, and you'd just sign up for another one. It "feels" like nobody could ever trace it back to you and threaten you with legal action. To the millions of Napster users today, it feel like it's completely impossible for the cops/lawyers to ever know it was you. It seems completely free of any risk of ever getting "caught".

    It's hard to imagine that such a large number of people will rip CDs or share files that they know are copyrighted, when they've provided their name, home address, credit card number, and maybe even their phone number. My prediction is that the loss of the comfortable anonymous atmosphere will be the death of Napster, not the money itself or annoying copy restrictions. Those just won't matter if the service lacks the right atmosphere that appeals to the sharing (aka pirating) mentalitiy, and that critical atmosphere is (seemingly) anonymous access.

  • I'm not sure why we care so much what happens to Napster. Every part of the network has been cloned open-source, so Napster the company can go bankrupt tomorrow and it won't change a thing. Here's my prediction of what will happen:
    1. Under legal pressure, Napster implements subscription fees, anti-RIAA-copying measures, etc., etc.
    2. All the users say "Damn, Napster sucks now."
    3. The few clueful users who know about using a Napster client with Napigator [napigator.com] and OpenNAP [sourceforge.net] tell their friends about it, and the word spreads quickly.
    4. The RIAA tries to sue, but realizes that since all the technologies they're trying to control are open-source, stopping every service provider is a nearby impossible demand.
    5. The RIAA is crushed under the weight of its litigation staff, and ceases to be. The end.
    The RIAA might have done better to be a little friendly to Napster and just try to control it. There's going to be a day when they miss having one central enemy to push around.
  • In a case like this, I imagine the RIAA would pick one of the bigger OpenNap servers and make an example by taking them to court. I'm sure some guy with a DSL line won't be able to put up with the RIAA's unlimited legal fees, and most other OpenNap servers would fear the worst and close.

    -Jeff
  • ...when I run a wire from my sound card's digital out to the digital in and hit record?

    You'll get nothing useful. The Secure Audio Path (available in Windows ME and Windows XP) won't play through unsigned drivers, signed drivers turn off digital outputs when Secure Audio Path is open, and some labels may require Secure Audio Path for playback. You'll have to use analog, but with a good setup, analog doesn't suck as much as the sheeple think it does.


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • How would you decrypt the names ? If you couldn't do this, it would be useless. The problem is, how could you allow joe bloggs to do it without allowing Napster inc. to do the same ?
  • by florin (2243) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @04:55AM (#424800)
    Going to subscription based would've been enough of a viability challenge. Most people will already forget Napster when that happens, but I hope that some would stay, and it might well both become profitable as well as still be an enjoyable experience.

    Now this announcement comes and for the first time ever I'm really starting to worry about Napster's future. Everyone wants real MP3s and the flexibility that comes with them. Computer users may already be beaten into submission when it comes to dealing with copy protection (insert your cd now) but it won't fly that easily in the audio world. This kills any intention I had of joining their service.

    Worst is the record companies will claim 'Look, we tried to sell music online, and it didn't work'. Not surprising when what you buy online comes with restrictions that aren't present in other media.
  • Given this story [slashdot.org] earlier this morning here on slash about the existence of an Internet free Movie Archive, does anyone know of the existence of an Internet Free Music Archive?

    With everything that is going on, if such at thing does not it exist, it is something that should. And it represents a wonderful opportunity.

  • If you have a real need to listen to the song, simply hook the older media up to your sound card's "in" port and click Record. Simple.

    Sorry guys. I like Napster as well as anyone (and getting free music rocks), but deep down, the "I want backups" argument really doesn't fit.

  • Last week at work I really wanted to listen to a song. I had that song at home, on CD, in a box in the garage that hasn't been cleaned out since we moved.

    So in this case I used Napster in the way thay I would have used the my.mp3.com service.
  • It's fairly obvious that only Napster will play back the encrypted mp3s. Sucks to be winamp. And of COURSE there will be no way to play these on alternate OS's....

  • To mark a file as freely distributable, an artist would have to sign it with a digital certificate and indicate what kinds of right he would like to grant.

    OK, I'll be sure to sign all the MP3s I have as freely distributable. Of course, I didn't actually create those MP3s, but how is Napster supposed to know?
    1. decompiler / hex editor
    2. soldering iron
    3. "seti@home" for the MS driver signature
  • Are you telling me that Mitsubishi, Ford, Honda, Chevy, etc. sell cars without the knowledge that they are used in drive-by shootings, hit and runs, drug trafficking, or similar activities?

    Don't let them know, otherwise they will have to be stopped and we'll resort back to walking from place to place.

    The only difference is percentage (do more Napster users use it to do 'bad' things than car owners use their cars to do 'bad' things?) and by severity (most people would consider so-called piracy much less severe than drive-by shootings).


    - Jeff A. Campbell
  • by geophile (16995) <jao AT geophile DOT com> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @05:35AM (#424820) Homepage
    There's a big difference between the song (which the RIAA might want to remove from Napster) and the name on a file that may or may not contain that song. Suppose the RIAA says that "Seek & Destroy" by Metallica is copyrighted and has to be blocked by Napster.
    • If I have "Seek_and_Destroy.mp3" does that get blocked?
    • What about "Metallica_Seek_and_Destroy.mp3"?
    • What about "Metalica_Seek_and_Destroy.mp3"?
    • What about "Metallica_Seek_n_Destroy.mp3"?
    • What if I rot-13 the file name?
    • What about "yortseD_dna_keeS_acillateM.mp3"?
    • What if I one-way-hash the file name with a well-known algorithm?

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