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Napster Licenses "Acoustic Fingerprinting" 246

Posted by michael
from the daily-dose-of-vitamin-N dept.
n8willis writes: "Well, it was probably only a matter of time, but Reuters reports that Napster has licensed an "acoustic fingerprinting" technology from someone called Relatable to insert into its filtering system. Boy, I just can't wait for the opportunity to pay Napster a monthly fee to share my music with other people. And have them censor me for my trouble, too."
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Naptser Licenses "Acoustic Fingerprinting"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The clue phone is ringing... I think it's for you.

    "Boy, I just can't wait for the opportunity to pay Napster a monthly fee to share my music with other people. And have them censor me for my trouble, too."

    If you don't like the way the service will be, don't pay for it and don't use it! Yes, it is a shame that Napster will go bye-bye (at least in the way we have all grown to know and love it) but let's face it, what we did, and what it does is THEFT on a grand scale. And all you fools who keep bitching about Napster going away and selling out and how the RIAA/MPAA screws the world etc... if you don't like it, don't buy CD's or videos! DUH! The reason they can and will do what they do is because YOU give your money to them and give them their control and power.

    Let's say you buy a book, a paperback. Now, the publisher won't give a shit if you loan that book to a friend to read. Or even if that friend gives it to another friend and he/she reads it. That's fine. Or even libraries (for now). But if you take that book, and print several thousand copies and go trading it with other readers for thousands of other books over and over and over... HELL yes they'd get pissed!

    Yes, the MPAA is corrupt. Yes, they ass rape artists waaaaay more than Napster ever did. But come on, stop with the poor me pity blues crap. Sure many people bought CD's after hearing the tracks downloaded from Napster, but that doesn't matter! There were PLENTY more people who downloaded entire bloody CD's and never paid a cent.

    The system is the way it is, and it will remain so. Why? Because sheep keep buying music and CD's no matter what. Because the music industry keeps coming up with canned crap music and telling people it's what they want, and morons keep buying it (I mean come on... you can NOT tell me New Kids On The Block and N Sync got famous on raw talent and determination). Because anyone with talent can never get ahead in the industry without the help of the industry, and with BILLIONS upon billions of dollars to back it and more than half the politicos around the world on their bankroll, it will NEVER change.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    you can NOT tell me New Kids On The Block and N Sync got famous on raw talent and determination

    Perhaps not those two bands, but really good bands like The Backstreet Boys did it exactly that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why don't you swim back to Mexico where your kind belong.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Semantics dribble. Just one step above a "grammer"/spelling flame. Fine. Two can play:

    It's the IP cartels who have elevated copyright infringement to the status of plunder on the high seas--it just isn't the same thing no matter how badly they want it to be.
    IP 'cartels?' IP has no specific representative, let alone a cartel. "No matter how much you jump up and down and call people names, it still isn't" a cartel.

    Even without Fair Use it isn't stealing.
    And what difference might Fair Use make? Fiar Use can't justify worldwide, millions-of-incidents "stealing" or "infringement" or whatever you want to call it. "No matter how much you jump up and down and call people names, it still isn't" Fair Use.

    Ah, the rapturous sound of the Slashdot troll...
    Paging Mr. Kettle! Sir Pot hast called ye black! "No matter how much you jump up and down and call people names, it still isn't" any more a troll than you, and likely far less.

    Go back to Cuba yuo ButtPope! --Jeff

  • by Anonymous Coward
    How can it be stealing when there's no property? At least as far back as Thomas Jefferson, people recognized the difference between physical items (you take my seat in the theater, and it prevents me from enjoying it) and ideas/expressions (my possession of a copy of the Bible does not prevent you from enjoying your copy of the Bible).

    That's why U.S. copyrights are not a recognition of property rights (as the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives have noted). When you break copyright law, the offense is not theft, but infringement. And technically, the reason that infringement is wrong is not that the copyright holder loses (potential) revenue (the Congress could vote to repeal copyright law tomorrow, if they wished). It's that by undermining the incentive to create more works for the public's use, you are indirectly causing fewer works to become available to your fellow citizens.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is it stealing if I would not have bought it if I couldn't get it without paying for it?

    Well, yes. For one thing, you can't know with 100% certaincy that you wouldn't have eventually changed your mind and bought it. And for another, by stealing it, you're eroding the legitimate owner's ability to sell it since others who find out you're stealing it will wonder why they can't too.

    To put it another way, the right moral question to ask is "what would happen if everybody did this"? If everybody stole IP instead of rightfully paying for it, there wouldn't be any businesses producing IP anymore. This is a good moral question that makes clear the reasoning behind lots of laws, not just IP issues. The people who don't see the value of this question are very short-sighted.

  • I just LOVE Vladinator's site [olsentwins.com]! Especially the "fash" section, where I learned to cut the bottom off of an old shirt to use as a hair enhancement! Oh, and the "dance party" photos!

    Of course, don't forget to read Vladinator's emails [olsentwins.com]! Here you will discover how truly difficult it is to decide what to do on the weekends... have a pizza party? A fash party? Go to the mall with all of your friends? Have a sleepover and call boys on the phone?

    In short, if you haven't checked out Vladinator's site [olsentwins.com], you don't know what you're missing! [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Cranking the MP3 file through xor 0xff...

    The processed MP3 could sound like white noise to the fingerprinting software, and be rejected by the filter as an MP3 of some retarded techno band.

  • Okay, so you're getting something for free that everyone else has to pay for, and which you should have paid for in order to enjoy, and it's not stealing? You should have been around to defend me that time I and a buddy got caught theatre hopping (while cutting classes, none the less). I'm sure that once you explained that we were only infringing on the IP of the theatre rather than not paying our $6 like everyone else, and as such not stealing, my parents wouldn't have grounded me for a week. (sarcasm off) That's such bull, and you know it. If Seseme Street taught me anything, getting something for free when you're supposed to be paying is stealing. No matter how much you try to justify it to yourself, you can't dispute the basic common sense. Argue it's a victimless crime, or that you're rebelling against the corporate monoliths, ir that you don't care if you're stealing, and I'll accept it. Arguing that you're in the right just makes you look silly.

    ----

  • by Skyshadow (508) on Friday April 20, 2001 @11:33AM (#276298) Homepage
    "Boy, I just can't wait for the opportunity to pay Napster a monthly fee to share my music with other people. And have them censor me for my trouble, too."

    Yeah, it's getting so stealing other people's copyrighted material is hardly worth it anymore. Why, just the other day, I almost had to *buy* a CD, like back in the dark ages.

    Oh wait, I forget. The record companies have it coming because they charge too much and put out crap and rip off the artists and drag their feet in new technology and pay off politicians for favorable legislation. I also forgot that all Slashdotters only use Napster in a way consistant with fair use to get digital copies of music they already own. Silly me.

    ----

  • Absolutely. It's a two-edged sword, but you've definitely described how it'd be used by the RIAA et al. The question to ask is, will the technology also be given to the consumer- i.e. do you get the right to grab a snippet of song, go somewhere and be told what it is even if it is not an RIAA-affiliated act? Do you have any right to do this type of analysis at all? Or is it to be withheld from consumers to preserve the existing methods by which an album gets heard?

    How hard will it be for an indie or a producer of free digital music to include their works in the database- and more importantly, is there going to be support for an opt _in_ list on things like Napster: like "This fingerprint HAS permission to be involved in noncommercial copying, to any extent"? I'm wondering if the whole technology will be hijacked so you in practice cannot both have your fingerprints on file, and cooperate with services like Napster. Your submitting prints of your stuff will automatically cause them to be thrown off all forms of fair-use file sharing, but you don't get paid anything out of the taxes collected and given to the RIAA. Sort of worst of both worlds.

  • Then don't use Napster, silly!

    The entire reason that .mp3's were successful is that encoders, data, and players, regardless of their legality, became easy to find and use. That made it a de-facto standard.

    No content service gets more users by censoring them, or restricting their rights; it's quite the opposite, really. They get more users *either* by dumping lots of money into advertising, and squashing their competitors, and keeping their service closed, (see AOL, Microsoft, MSN, and now Napster...) *or* by letting their service, integrity and reputation do their advertising for them. (a great example of this is google)

    ...and given a choice between the two kinds of companies, I'd always pick the latter. Unfortunately, people who don't know enough to ignore the advertising or find the alternatives will back the former, and more's the pity.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • by jafac (1449)
    Sell his music on the internet and he can be eDitty - hey, that's got a ring to it.

    PATENT TIME!!!
  • What's wrong with being able to share something for which I have paid???

    That is an overly simplistic argument. If you didn't get the rights to share the hard work someone else made, then you are likely in the wrong.

    It isn't about "sharing" I think it's about a bunch of people benefiting from other's work without proper compensation. It seems that it is the people that haven't tried to live life on both sides of the supply and demand equation that can't understand. If you wrote a program to make money would you appreciate people copying it, enjoying your work without compensating you?

    Oh, I get it. Y'all recording companies came up with some "agreement" that we have to live by when we buy your stuff for no reason other than to make y'allselves billionaires.

    Um, no. The idea of copyright existed long before anyone could record and reproduce an audio waveform. The industries may have tried to pervert it but it is still there and in general we've always had certain rights and they've always had certain rights, the only thing that changed was technology to allow people much more easily swap tunes that they had no right to swap. If you swap legit CDs that is your right, but swapping MP3s is not.
  • by bgue (4676)
    Anybody who's been using Freeamp for the last several betas probably knows about Relatable...their former idea was to check out your MP3 collection and suggest similar music from it. Whether you like that idea or not (I don't), or this new licensing, it's still a pretty cool technology.

    \bmg.
  • by bgue (4676)
    LOL,funny as hell! Wish I had mod points...
  • Two things here, 1) taping off the radio IS legal. Radio stations pay royaltys, and you pay a royalty for every blank cassette you own. 2) Have you ever taped off the radio? It is so much different than napster and the like that it isn't even funny
  • You know, mikey, you conveniently ignored the fact that relatable is developing completely GPL'ed music player. But then, since you seem interested in only the bad aspects of companies, I shouldn't be surprised.

    Odds are you didn't even visit the company's website, so I can't expect that you intentionally omitted this slashdot-friendly action on behalf of the company.
  • Actually, I sing ditties, not diddies...

    --
  • And you forget that what those people feel is irrelevant until the current copyright laws are nullified. Under current US (and international) law, information can be and is owned.
  • "No more than I have the right to take your GPLd code and incorporate it in my closed-source binary."

    Idiot. You _DO_ have that right. As long as you don't give anyone else that binary, you are 100% free to do whatever you wish with GPL'd code.

    *Sigh*.

    "incorporate and distribute it".

    Now, care to actually address my argument, or are you going to stick with name-calling?
  • Please tell Morcheeba, Tranquility Bass, The Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Badly Drawn Boy and Brakeman Junction that I'm sorry I stole their music. But they might be happy to know that I now own their CD's. I know, I know, I should be a good consumer and wait for MTV or Clear Channel to tell me what music is good, but what can I say, I'm a dirty fucking thief.

    I'll be happy to pass that on.

    Did they benefit from your theft? Certainly.

    Would it make _sense_ for them to let people download songs for free to sample them? Sure.

    Does that mean you have the right to do it if they decide they don't want you to? Nope. No more than I have the right to take your GPLd code and incorporate it in my closed-source binary.

    Whoever creates the music or code gets to decide how it's used. If you don't respect others' rights to that, why should they respect yours?
  • Whoever creates the music or code gets to decide how it's used.

    ah, key point to remember here, musicians do not own the copyrights to their music, their label does. therefore, it is the labels that decide how the music is used, not the musicians.

    However, the musicians transferred the copyrights to their labels of their own free will (they signed the contract). With that, they transfered all decision-making authority on how the music gets used. The argument still stands.

    Good that you thought about it, though (I'm still waiting to be flamed to a crisp).
  • In the future, digital music will be encoded with a volume cap, so you cannot share it with your neighbors or the car next to you at a traffic light.

    Some tracks will only play on compliant headphones.

    You heard it here first.
  • no offense but how did that comment possibly merit "interesting?"

    32 bits equals roughly 4 billion. each bit past that doubles the quantity. so, a limit of 128 bits is not even feasibly reachable in many millenia to come.
  • get with it already... they're going after not a single person for downloading anything that they own. They're only going after people who makes stuff available to others which they have no right to distribute...

    Small difference to you, big difference so far as the laws concerened. Download all you want, just don't allow any of your files to be uploaded... Of course that undermines napster completely, but that's where the problem lies in the eyes of the law.
  • It makes me feel old to think that I've been doing the whole MP3 thing for several years now, back before the Linux kernel had hit 2.0 and the NASDAQ was healthy when it was below 2000. The rather recent popularity of MP3 trading, facilitated by faster internet connections and programs like Napster, is just amusing to me because I remember getting shit off newsgroups or maybe a handful of IRC chanels that even had a conception that you could compress music to a transferable size. Did anyone here use Oth.net? Ahhh, anonymous FTPs for file trading. WarFTP and Serv-U never had it so good. Anyways the point of this rambling is to remember that Napster only facilitated MP3 trading's popularity, they didn't really come up with anything profound. Until the RIAA makes it so you can only listen to music through a microtranceiver in your molars people are going to copy and compress music and look for music they don't have on CDs.

    Stop whining about the RIAA anyways, they will never "get it" because they are business men. See they work with late nineteenth century industrial ideas in their heads because thats what they learned in business school and it is how mass manufacturing works. The RIAA will vehemently claim they are losing money due to MP3 trading because they have a monopoly on music distribution, therefore if you're listening to music they didn't sell you they have lost money (technically). It's a nice scheme they have worked out. You sign your work over to them and they are contracted to you to provide such and such services for you. That is why people want fucking record contracts. How come you can't just go solo? THE ENTIRE BROADCASTING INDUSTRY IS BUILT AROUND THE WAY THE RIAA DOES BUSINESS. The FCC makes it difficult for someone to get any FM bandwidth in a given area, you need serious funds to get into the business. This is where ABC, NBC, and CBS come into the picture. They make cash off the advertising their little darlings run inbetween the hit songs all the kids tune in to hear. Ever wonder why there aren't more free form radio stations? They have to play what advertisers will pay to have their commercials run with. It's the same reasons radio stations can offer you a thousand dollars for listening at a certain time. Advertising is sold at a prime rate and a thousand dollars is a small portion of that.
    Napster bowing down to the RIAA isn't so much bowing down as it is to losing the ability to fight. They can only afford legal services for so long before they are run into the ground. The RIAA lawsuit knows this and thats why they went to court with such blatantly retarded premises. Their goal was to take Napster down before its shell had hardened. I doubt they expected them to put up so much of a fight. It doesn't really matter to them though. A sullied reputation doesn't amount to much when you own 90% of all recorded music. Acoustic fingerprints of songs will probably start to keep alot of people from trading more popular stuff. Thats life, tough. Find a different way to trade your copyright infringed material. Yeah it is less than legal. Putting music up for trade seriously skirts the bounds of the home recording act as you're giving it away for no monetary compensation. Napster is getting into trouble because they have made money facilitating the trade of material with questionable legality. Do I care if Napster doesn't let me trade a fingerprinted song? Not really. I'll go back to getting songs by old fashioned methods. Or I'll go down to a library and rip their public access CD collection. I don't give a fuck about anything except having alot of music that I like readily available to me.
  • What you have to realize is that the RIAA is a bunch of old, fat, rich bastards who want every dime they can squeeze from you and don't give a damn about fair use rights.

    When you purchase a CD, I think you still own the CD. The media. You don't own the music on there, but you own the disc itself. You have a LICENSE to listen to the music on your CD, but not to let anyone else listen to it. You can't play it in public or anything, in other words.

    Under fair use, you are allowed to rip that CD for your own personal use. However you are not allowed to transfer that rip or those rights to anyone else. Furthermore, you aren't allowed to download someone else's rip because you don't have their license to use the music, you only have your own. It sounds stupid, and indeed it is, but that's the way it is.
  • Why not just rot13 the song, and rot13 it back at the receiver's end? Or, better still, build a rot13 filter, to slide in between the music file and the mp3 player? The rot13'd file should have a wildly different "fingerprint" than the original.

    By doing things this way the song stays in "encrypted" form on the HD, and the "encryption" would be covered by the DMCA as well, so that the RIAA making a stink about it would be a defacto admission that they have reverse-engineered the "encryption" scheme, making them liable to be sued? Think of it as akin to the pig latinization of the file names.

    Of course, that didn't last long, either. Guess nobody had the finances to be able to sue the RIAA. *sigh*
  • Better yet, just encrypt the MP3 file, as well as the name, and append the password onto the end of the filename (so files might look like, "aB33o98#xx2b55.password").

    Then, all you need is some descrambling plugin that automatically converts those encrypted files into standard filenames (and will, _CLIENTSIDE_, descramble those files).

    Better yet, include some small portion of your OWN copyrighted material in each encrypted file (throw in half a dozen haikus). If the RIAA decrypts the file, they're circumventing encryption designed to protect copyrighted works (namely, yours).

    Yeah, I know, it probably wouldn't stand up to legal scrutiny, but it sounds nice for about 45 to 60 seconds of random thinking.

    --
  • No, it would just slow it way down, because you'd need to decrypt every filename.

    However, given that the DMCA requires no particular strength for encryption, you could conceivably use some pathetically weak (and, most likely, fairly fast to decrypt) algorithm.

    Perhaps this would be better suited for something like Gnutella or Freenet, which don't have any centralized search listings.

    --
  • Irrelevant. The DMCA protections only apply for the copyright holder's protection schemes, not to random joes.

    Hence, putting in some small amount of original, copyrighted material of yours. The DMCA doesn't cover partial content copyrights - it's an all-or-nothing proposition.
    --
  • You realize, of course, that the RIAA is not interested in keeping Napster legal. They are interested in Driving Napster out of existance so that *they* have absolute control.

    MusicNet [musicnet.com], a joint venture of RealNetworks, AOL Time Warner Inc., Bertelsmann AG, and EMI Group plc, will offer high quality music content to music lovers via downloads and streams.

  • by BilldaCat (19181) on Friday April 20, 2001 @11:32AM (#276322) Homepage
    What is this "Naptser" thing you talk about?

    God, slashdot editors. I swear.
  • Foreseeable problems with implementing this technology:

    1. Napster will have to invalidate old versions of the software, forcing everyone to DL a new (and probably quite larger) version with the fingerprinting tech.

    2. The tech will not live up to expectations, but it will then be set to be hyper-sensitive, pleasing the record industry but making false positives and thereby shutting out content that it shouldn't.

    3. Just like people garbled and ciphered artist names to get around the filename block, people will encode and garble the audio data to get around fingerprinting. Possible ways around fingerprinting:
    - Invert every byte of the audio data
    - Add a repeated sequence of values to the audio byte data (like a One Time Pad, perhaps)
    - Split song files into smaller chunks to send over Napster which can then be lumped together into one complete file -- a lot like the way files are and have been transmitted over Usenet already for years.
    - Combinations of the above, etc.

    But have little fear, since this announcement is almost assuredly just a stall tactic. Given Patel's blurry and skin-deep perception of technology, Napster's lawyers figure they can convince her that the tech will take some time to be ready for prime time, and then be implemented into Napster client software and rolled out. They say it will take some months to make that happen. However, they are also looking forward to a rehearing much sooner than that, which will at any rate very likely involve putting a stay on Patel's court orders until they decide whether to even have the rehearing or not.

    FWIW, I followed the Microsoft antitrust case, and I can't say I was that impressed with David Boies. He got lucky. From what I could tell, he basically flubbed everything, not bothering to drive home the points that would have made the case more clear cut, for fear that he would lose the judge in even an ounce of technical explanation. He's too much of a gambler to win a more hairy case like this one. This banking-on-a-rehearing that they are doing seems very risky to me.

    --

  • How about making the client software generate the fingerprints as it generates the file library? Then, when a transfer is requested, the client software is required to send the fingerprint of the requested song to the server, which checks it against a database.

    Of course, client side could mean easily fucked with, but is that such a bad thing?

  • Probably will be seen as a small price to pay to get the labels off their backs.

  • can you quote somebody on this?

    That's why U.S. copyrights are not a recognition of property rights (as the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives have noted).

    Please?
    --
  • by Wah (30840)
    Would it make _sense_ for them to let people download songs for free to sample them? Sure.

    Does that mean you have the right to do it if they decide they don't want you to?


    Rights are decided socially. The technical implications of the internet have not been integrated into copyright law. While you ponder a response, check out some music. Consume it, if you can. [bighollow.com] Don't think for a second that I don't feel creators should be compensated for their works, but I can't pay my rent with Napster (without breaking good laws).

    Here's some light reading (in the meantime) [cornell.edu] of some laws that might hold an equitable solution.
    --
  • by Wah (30840) on Friday April 20, 2001 @01:25PM (#276336) Homepage Journal
    Please tell Morcheeba, Tranquility Bass, The Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Badly Drawn Boy and Brakeman Junction that I'm sorry I stole their music. But they might be happy to know that I now own their CD's. I know, I know, I should be a good consumer and wait for MTV or Clear Channel to tell me what music is good, but what can I say, I'm a dirty fucking thief.

    (nice troll, BTW)
    --
  • by Saige (53303) <evil...angela@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 20, 2001 @11:28AM (#276344) Journal
    Wow, I didn't realize people were still using the official Napster service. I thought they had all long gone to OpenNap, like I have, to get around all that annoying filtering stuff. (Actually, like I was doing before Northpoint when belly-up and I found myself without net access at home)

    The official Napster service itself is becoming more and more irrelevant, little more than a symbol of where people are taking the music industry as it tries to fight back unsuccessfully.

    I had to go to opennap to find the songs I wanted to DL so I could decide I liked them enough to buy the CD's... next thing you know they're going to have guards at music stores and require you to give proof you didn't download any mp3's off an album before they let you buy it. After all, they do seem to be doing everything they can to discourage people to enjoy music more.
    ---
  • by Saige (53303) <evil...angela@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 20, 2001 @01:18PM (#276345) Journal
    I don't have a problem admitting there are songs on my HD that are NOT from albums I own. Quite a few are, either from my own rips, or from downloads off of Napster before I found a good mp3 ripper. There are also plenty of remixes of songs, rarities, etc, that I either didn't even know existed, or that I don't know where to get. And sure, some are single songs that I don't want the entire album.

    One of the advantages of Napster is that it allows spur-of-the-moment searches of artists that I wouldn't bother digging around for on the web. It allows me to search, say, for remakes of songs by a certain artist, without knowing who might have done them. And all sorts of other things that I could not possibly do by checking out artist web sites, or a store that lets me listen to the music first (though I don't know of any that do that anymore). I can tell you that without Napster, I wouldn't have accidentally discovered Kinnie Starr, and bought both her CD's from her independent label. I wouldn't have stumbled across Rachel Sage while doing a search on "Lilith Fair", and bought her three.

    My music purchases have went up by maybe a factor of five since I found Napster. I am not exaggerating here, as you suggest I am. Because I don't listen to the radio that much, so don't get a lot of exposure to new stuff, and I don't care for most of what I do hear.

    It took my SO and I two years to fill the last 50 slots in our 200-disc CD changer. That's with both of our purchases, gifts, etc. That was before Napster. Since then, maybe 6 months, we've bought at least that many more. With a list of 20-30 we still want to buy.

    I know what I'm doing is technically illegal, and I know the reasons behind it being that way. I don't have a drop of guilt about it though because I'm getting more music I like, and they're getting more money from me.
    ---
  • It's to get past the search filter the MPAA has requested put on Slashdot.
  • by rkent (73434) <rkent@noSPAM.post.harvard.edu> on Friday April 20, 2001 @12:35PM (#276354)
    They have _no incentive at all_ to produce more and varied music.

    Actually they do, in a way. Here's why. Although the casual listeners are much maligned for accepting whatever is shoveled at them, they'll only take any one thing for so long. This goes for particular songs and artists as well as entire genres. People actually DO get sick of hearing the same old thing over and over; they're always eager to jump on the next "big thing."

    Finding/manufacturing that next big thing is the job of the record companies. Withing a genre, it's easier (like trying to bring up Linkin Park when Papa Roach goes out of fashion or whatever). With genres, though, it's much harder; for example, in the 90s, labels knew they could only milk "alternative/grunge" for so long, and they didn't know what was coming next. So it suited them to have their fingers in a little of everything, all the while jockeying for control of what the next big thing would be.

    In your example, this certainly isn't 100 different albums selling 100K copies each; it's more like the 10 1-million sellers. But they produced those 100 other records to find the "right" ten, at a profit of about zero.

    I expect the margin isn't quite what we expect. Of course, musicians still go through the ringer, I'm not endorsing this system, but I think the major labels are more desperate than we think.

  • Those definitions are NOT completely interchangable. Look, infringement is a violation, stealing is a taking. Violation is not perfectly equivalent to taking, no matter what you want to think.

    -----------------------

  • that Napster sucks? I remember when pirating copyrighted material was done in secrecy... I can't believe everyone expects to be able to do it in the open. Dumbasses.

    --
  • actually, several million people have talked about that.

    just like the several million people who thought it would boost live performance attendance.

    or the several million people who only download mp3s at the office of cds they have at home

    or the several million people who said it brings more exposure

    or the millions and millions of people who, despite knowing the horse is dead, continue to flog it beyond recognition.

    if i ever get 3 wishes, one of them will be the ability to get into all of the news editors' brains around the globe and erase the part that says NAPSTER = NEWS. thank you, /., for keeping the flame burning just one more day.

  • "Better yet let's encrypt a whole file sharing site."

    It's called freenet [freenet.org] and you would be very welcome in becoming a node on the Freenet. :)

    -=-=-=-=-

  • by Ledge Kindred (82988) on Friday April 20, 2001 @11:31AM (#276361)
    Audio fingerprinting is actually kind of cool, so if you're interested in it, there's a free (as in GPL) technology from the eTantrum people here:

    freetantrum.org [freetantrum.org]

    -=-=-=-=-

  • For what it's worth, I know far more people that have used napster as a music preview service (like the radio without having the playlist dictated by the record companies) than I've known that use it as a CD replacement service. I think that most people are at worst balanced, and more often than not more the former than the latter.
  • since most mp3s sound like shit to me, i consider napster to be the equivalent of a radio station - and i fail to see why they aren't allowed to be licensed by BMI, ASCAP, etc., in a similar fashion.

    I suspect that they refuse to license it as such because they have no playlist to not only exert control over. Radio isn't there as a public service, it's advertising for a very specific minority of published music. Napster has none of the features that record companies like about radio, with the added liability that it's a non-analog medium.

  • Think about it this way: The fixed cost of producing a major label CD is $300,000 (just a random figure that I assume is a decent average). The record company can produce 100 albums like this, each of which sells 100 thousand copies. Their profits will not be anywhere near what it will be if they produce 10 albums that each sell 1,000,000 copies. They have _no incentive at all_ to produce more and varied music. Their financial incentive is to create superhigh sales for a few specific albums. They make their money through CD sales, and every sale over a target minimum is pure profit. That's why the radio plays the same 15 songs over and over and over instead of 150 songs in a rotation.
  • next thing you know they're going to have guards at music stores and require you to give proof you didn't download any mp3's off an album

    Or, the bouncers at concerts will have those British facial-recognition spy cameras posted in the parking lots, so that they can cross-reference your face with your IP address. Then their gargoyles will shoot your ears with a precise laser blast so that you can't ever listen to songs with the embedded fingerprint for their band.

  • Cranking the MP3 file through xor 0xff...

    Next...

  • Is it stealing if I would not have bought it if I couldn't get it without paying for it? If you wouldn't have bought it anyway, what is it that you have stolen?


    Yes it is. Stealing is the taking of something without the owners' permission. I don't want to buy your car, so if I take it that's not stealing, right?

    no, wrong.

    As for who owns something: you own the physical media, and the license to use the data stored upon it (the music, for example) you don't own the IP. I copy the IP from you, I'm not stealing the IP from you, but I am stealing it from its owner: the record company. Whether I wanted to pay for it anyway is irrelevent, legally, morally and sensibly.

    Piracy, too, may lead to purchase but this is the choice of the IP-owner - in your case Adobe, to decide whether this is ok. They currently say not. Your guy therefore broke the law. Adobe chose it so, as is their right/freedom.

  • It's wrong to get something for free if you could have payed for it?

    Are you one of these people who think that people exist in order to buy stuff and make corporations profitable?

    Believe it or not, there are more important things in life than being a good little consumer and doing as you're told.


    "That old saw about the early bird just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."
  • If someone wants to sell something, they should be able to.

    Sure. But it's a lot easier to sell people stuff at the prices you want to sell at if you outlaw competition. No one should be able to do that.

    If they want to use it, they should fill our requests of what we want back for it.

    Huh?

    That's what the record companies are doing. They are selling a product, like bananas or shirts or motherboards. It is no different from 'physical products' even though many people like to think so.

    Here you are completely wrong. It is completely different from real physical property.

    I can build a chair, and it's my chair. I can use it as I will, sell it, whatever. If you take it, I can no longer do any of those things. If you copy it, you own your own copy, however.

    However, if I discover something useful, and patent it or get a dmca style perpetual copyright on it, and I effectively control an idea. If another guy on the other side of the world comes up with the same idea the next day, having never heard of my idea, I CAN force him not to use his idea. Scientific history is full of nearly-simultaneous discoveries.

    You can also copy my copyrighted work indefinately without affecting my copy. So don't try to tell me they are the same thing.

    The fact is, the media companies were once extremely important, but technology has rendered them obsolete. Rather than adapting and finding a new way to be productive, they simply want to change the laws to guarantee a continuing revenue stream without them having to do any of the hard work involved in reinventing themselves.


    "That old saw about the early bird just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."
  • Who's going to decrypt the filename? Napster would have to do it since their servers are the ones that perform the searches.

    ----
  • Yup... napster is on deaths door now. Its Alienating its userbase.

    Now people will switch to the next big thing. Life will march. We will start to have to see stories about the RIAA fighting Flapster, the new music sharing service that claims to not be making the mistakes napeter made...and the whole damned comedy will begin all over again.

    What fun, what joy. Whatever.

    Hows about people just start setting up freenet nodes and be done with it. At least freenet has a real purpose - making censorship of any type, for any reason, impossible. Whats even better, its decentralised and it will lead to lower network loads between networks as the number of distributed servers grows.

    Win situation for everyone. Well... ok not everyone, but everyone who wants such a system to exist :)

    -Steve
  • If their fingerprinting is at all sophisticated, it has got to be awfully easy to distinguish a real recording from just random gibberish (what a compressed or encrypted file would turn out to be), which it could then just reject as not being legitimate recorded sound. Detecting backwards would be more difficult (especially since some legitimate recordings contain sections which are backwards).

    Another option is to keep it 'opt-in' so it would reject anything except what it recognizes.
  • Believe it or not, the music labels have an incredible incentive to create new music: to stay on top of the trends. What's popular today is not popular next year, and the record companies have to project years ahead of time which projects to invest in and which to cancel, based on forecasted popularity. Almost every new trend in pop music in the last fifty years was created by small labels (to name a few: rock, soul, hip-hop, and grunge), so the large labels, contrary to popular perception, do not create the trends, but follow them, and they're wrong far more often than right.
  • [I hate DJ's] IIRC, you have no legal right to make a derivative work from works [you don't own/that aren't licesnced to you ]. Thus your "work" would be infringing ...
  • Hmm, if that was the point he made it was lost on me, although its a very good one!!

    I think thought, that when Dr Dre samples a song, he has to pay royalties on it ... so its "legal". (not that its an excuse for being so musically bankrupt:)

  • Alexandria, Va.-based Relatable's technology identifies music based on the recordings themselves and analyzes the acoustical properties of a recording's waveform to identify it precisely, regardless of its audio format, bit rate or minor signal distortion, the companies said.

    Does it recognize mp3's that are backwards? How about zipped? There are dozens of ways around this. Ok so now people won't have to scramble file names, they'll scramble the file itself. Better yet let's encrypt a whole file sharing site. Maybe we can rope the RIAA into violating the DMCA either by breaking our encryption, or violating our terms of use:

    TOS: Article 5: You may not use this service in anyway if you are a member, or in the employ of the RIAA. You may not speak of the specifics of this site in any manner outside this site...

    Well you get the point.

  • Number one. The question of whether or not it is stealing is in doubt. Stealing means I've deprived them of something. If I take nothing away, I have not stolen. And yes there are scenarios where this can be shown, but there's no reason to rehash those over and over. But I will say that in the case of Music sales, I find it quite ironic that the RIAA was forced to report an INCREASSE in sales last year.

    Uh, no. RIAA does not have all rights to decrypt information I encrypted. They don't know what the encrypted information is before decryption. Indeed it's conceivable that decrypted using one method results in a letter to mom, and another way in a piece of copyrighted music.

    Uh again you're wrong, if open source code was used in such a way as to PREVENT it's spread not ENABLE it, then we would cry foul.

  • Hmmm maybe people are wising up and realizing that singles are a waste of money. Maybe the music that came out last year was crap. There's no direct cause and effect that can be proven.
  • When you use the terms "pirated" or "piracy" or any variation thereof, you are perpetuating a false image created by the record companies. They want music sharing to be given a negative connotation, and they do this by evoking images of evil computer users with forked beards, eye patches, peg legs, and the occasional parrot. I personally have no peg leg, keep my beard short, and only wear an eye patch on special occasions. (I have not yet saved up enough for the parrot.) As you can see, this use of the term "pirated" is really inappropriate. Please resist the temptation to let the music industry control your thoughts. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Redbeard
  • Best I can do is that the thing called "theft" is in a different place in the U.S. Code from the thing called "copyright infringement". Interesting to note that the latter isn't even considered criminal unless over a particularly large amount of money's worth of copied material. (U.S. Code Title 17 Section 506 [cornell.edu])


    Dlugar
  • Wow, I didn't realize people were still using the official Napster service. I thought they had all long gone to OpenNap, like I have, to get around all that annoying filtering stuff.

    Not if the most popular OpenNap network [musiccity.com] gives busy signals ("The server is full!") constantly.

  • Of course, client side could mean easily fucked with

    OpenNap has a list of clients [sourceforge.net]. I see eleven unofficial nap clients for Win32, not counting the numerous clients for Perl, Tcl/Tk, and Java platforms. If Napster Inc. breaks these clients, older versions of official Napster MusicShare for Win32 will also likely break.

  • A tool that adds 0.5 seconds of silence will totally screw Relatable's algorithm

    Such an algorithm is easy to modify or replace if the beta testers can get around it so easily (Hack SDMI anyone?). The most advanced algorithms attempt to discover the actual notes, which allows for enforcement not only of phonorecord rights in sound recordings but also of derivative work and performance rights in the underlying musical composition. BMI and ASSCRAP will like this aspect, as it lets them track unauthorized covers.

  • Napster's dead. If you pay their 'subscription fee' you're essentially paying 'protection money.'

    You're paying Napster so that that wacko-fucked british IFPI -- or whatever it's called the phonographic protection corporation or whatever -- won't come calling on your ISP and come spamming your mailbox with letters threatening you breaking global laws.

    And the protection money you're paying probably won't protect you. Napster will still cancel your account, you'll still get your internet access yanked, and the IFPI will have their way and besmirch your livelihood with accusations, allegations, and criminal charges.

    Then it'll be hell to *cancel* your account with Napster. They'll probably include some fucked-up clause that states if you have copyrighted material, traffic in said material, and get caught -- you'll be fined $10,000 -- and -- guess what? -- we've got your credit card!

    Hell, IFPI will start demanding credit card numbers from Napster so that they -- the fucking IFPI or whatever it's called -- can save you time and effort by circumventing the legal process (a process which, the IFPI will remind you, doesn't span global borders) and simply charging you whatever they think your infringements are worth.

    They'll still cancel your internet account and, if they're having a particularly bad day, might just send federal agents to your door so that when you get out of the shower a couple of junior g-men will be standing there with all of your CDs, your computer equipment, and your pet cat -- all of which, they'll remind you, is proof that not only have you broken the law but you've broken it so horribly that the scope of your crime perhaps surpasses that of the rapists and murderers currently incarcerated across the world.

    If you have any balls, you'll tell them to fuck the fuck off and drop your cat -- or else.

    They agree. Sure, they say and drop the cat -- but not your computer equipment. All you need to do, fuckface, is sign this form.

    And they'll give you a form to sign authorizing them -- Jeff the junior g-man and his frat-boy buddy, Tyler -- to charge your credit card 10,000 dollars.

    Then you'll be left with a bunch of yanked power cords, a broken down swivel chair that you've used to compute on for six years, and a frazzled pet cat.

  • Seriously: is Puff Daddy aware of how fucking stupid a name like 'Puff Diddy' is?

    I mean, really.

    Am i missing something here? Is there anything *not* stupid about the word -- or, worse yet, the *name* -- "Diddy?"

    Sure, we've all sung diddies, but I defy anyone to deny that they've not cringed whenever they've actually admitted that they've sung a "diddy". It's something you admitted to your grandmother when you were in the third grade and asked you what you did in school for music. "Do you sing diddies?" your grandma asks. "Yes," you say. "We sing diddies." But you're in the third grade, for chrissake! And you're talking to an old person who doesn't see anything wrong with the word.

    (She's the same person that asks you, one night at the dinner table, if you're a gay and happy boy, and you admit -- to her only -- that, yeah, you're gay. But it's "gay" in the happy way -- "I'm so happy! I'm so gay!" -- not gay in the way that gets you beat up on the playground. But this is all for the benefit of your grandmother -- slow-moving, slightly crocked, but lovable -- and has nothing to do with the hard, cruel, real world outside of the domain of your grandma.)

    Yes. I know. This is off-topic. See my post about the cat and g-men above. That's on topic. Napster. Acoustic fingerprinting. Napster is fucked. Is this a surprise?
  • by e_lehman (143896) on Friday April 20, 2001 @02:04PM (#276407)

    As I understand it, swapping music non-commerically between friends is legally okay, right?

    So how about this for a music-sharing system? There's a little client that lets you enter up to 16 friends with whom you are willing to share music. These should be real-world people that you know, like, and trust.

    Now, when you request a song, the request goes to the 16 people you know. If they don't have it, they forward the request to THEIR friends, without revealing your identity. Eventually the song is found and passed back friend-to-friend to the requester. Everything is kept all crypty. There are potocol issues, but yada-yada...

    The "friends list" has a few advantages:

    • By entering the system, you're not giving away your valuable Starcraft-playing bandwidth to random jerks out on the net. The only requests come from a small number of people who are your friends.
    • Since only a few people request from you, you can manage your relationships with them in detail: give them only so many downloads at such-and-such times, etc.
    • By taking advantage of real-world trust relationships, the system becomes much harder for RIAA to crack. Okay, RIAA goon gets the client. But he hasn't gained a thing; RIAA goons don't have any friends.
    • Who exactly has committed a crime? My buddy requested a song. I gave it to him. Did he commit a crime? Did I? Isn't that legal? I'm sure the courts would eventually resolve this in some unpleasant way, but this sort of legal muddying still seems all to the good to me.

    Or does Freenet already do all this? :-)

  • Almost every post in this forum ought to be moderated -1, Offtopic. Except for a couple anon posts stuck at 0 and 1, there's almost nothing actually discussing the topic of the article. I've seen all the "Napster Bad/Good" bullshit before. If I wanted someone's decree about what I should use my computer for, I'd ask Microsoft.

    What I was HOPING to find here was something about the reliability of this fingerprinting technology, possible ways to foil it, Napster's future plans for the service, etc.. I don't have those details. But I was hoping that with /.'s immense readership, someone would. Apparently not-- apparently there are simply a few hundred thousand people who want to discuss the morality and legality of Napster for the millionth fucking time.
  • The legal term is infringement, and that's not debatable.

    But if you want to talk in the practical sense instead of the legal sense, consider this: Is it stealing if I would not have bought it if I couldn't get it without paying for it? If you wouldn't have bought it anyway, what is it that you have stolen?

    Personally I love the case the BSA makes about piracy: 1/3 (or something like that) of software is pirated, costing the software industry $X billion/year. This claim is entirely untrue. Not everyone who pirated the software would have paid for it. To guess, I imagine fewer than half of those people would have paid for it.

    Then, of course, there is the case where piracy leads to purchase. I know of someone who pirated Photoshop in college and became proficient at it. He used the pirated copy at the Web design company he started. He's made millions, and now own many thousands of dollars worth of copies of Photoshop, and is entirely legal in his licensing of the product. Had he not broken the law and pirated their product, he would not have had the financial means to reach his position, and Adobe would thus have fewer sales.

  • If you steal my car, I suffer consequences. I no longer have a car. This is theft. There is a clear distinction here. Your analogy is flawed.

    You say that stealing is "taking something without the owner's permission" The problem is the word "take." Taking implies removing something from the owner's possession. I have never "taken" an MP3 from anyone. One *copies* MP3s. This is copyright infringement. It is not theft.

    My entire post in no way attempts to justify copyright infringement, only to help expose these issues:

    1.) Copying copyrighted material is not stealing, it is copyright infringement.

    2.) Copyright holders have blatantly lied when describing the effects of infringement in order to exaggerate the magnitude of the problem.
  • If everybody stole IP instead of rightfully paying for it, there wouldn't be any businesses producing IP anymore.

    Cool, does that mean that we'll have artists creating music instead? Fantastic!
  • by Xylantiel (177496) on Friday April 20, 2001 @04:31PM (#276428)
    This is obviously a troll, but this view seems so prevalent that it should be debunked.

    Straight from the copyright code, my emphasis added:

    Title 17 -- Copyright

    Chapter 10 -- Digital Audio recording devices and media
    Sec. 1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

    from: the real thing [cornell.edu]

    The problem is of course that "noncommercial use" is subjective. With enough lawyering breathing can be considered commerical. I prefer to be reasonable and include making copies for friends as noncommercial.

  • Remember all the talk of audio watermarking and the other (debatably) "unaudable" copy-identification techniques? Well, it's time to use those on your own music to screw this thing up. In its pure form, audio ID'ing is cool. It's like CDDB for mp3s. Download something, and you can be sure it's not some wanker who named all his stuff "Orbital - Peel Sessions", or whatever you're looking for.

    But if you need to get around this? Bam. A tool that adds 0.5 seconds of silence will totally screw Relatable's algorithm, last I checked. Past that, it's the same old story -- a war between the modifiers and the filterers. Napster's gone from being somewhat useful to totally useless. Long live Gnutella and Freenet.
  • And would it matter? Why go to all the trouble. Encrypt the mp3, publish the key, put the file up.... two weeks from now change the key. finger printing might make it more difficult for some folks but those who want to persist will create a few tools then others will pick them up and off they go again...

    Well it this case, this is probably more problematic in terms of classical music, where you can argue how well the performance is. But you could also see this with a cover band, where they play the tune well enough, but just a little off speed.

    and heck, if you take a piece and more it just one or two percent faster, so that the feel is a little bit punchier, and obviously doesn't match the original version. the signature might not pick up on this

    In the classical example, you would literally have a performance that never took place. It is more acceptable in classical because there are discussions about what are the correct performance values. And they would have to track down the original recording, which doesn't exist in the form they are expecting.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Friday April 20, 2001 @12:20PM (#276431) Journal
    You realize, of course, that the RIAA is not interested in keeping Napster legal. They are interested in Driving Napster out of existance so that *they* have absolute control. The fact of somebody else having power drivers them crazy. It is probably borderline psychotic. (certainly nuerotic)

    That said, I wonder how much of a audio signature is retained when you play with or edit the file.

    For example, in classical music you sometimes have performances that are excellent, but which are basically at the wrong tempo as far as you are concerned. One instance of this is the first section of the Eroica Symphony (by Beethoven) which is marked to be at a speed that is stunningly fast. You can tweak the speed easily enough in a midi file, and find something close enough that it sounds convincing. But live performances are not usually done at that speed, they are usually somewhat slower. With appropriate audio software, you can take a very high fidelity copy wav file of the music, and change the speed of the music without screwing up the pitch.

    [just for the info, the average speed of perfomance is this exact piece is usually 100 to 130 beats per minute, when the spec is 180. 170 or so sounds best to me.]

    You now have a performance by an orchestra that never actually took place. Would the audio signature be different? Would it even be a different copyright, especially if you invested alot of work fine tuning the tempi of the individual sections?

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • Have you been paying attention? The last people who are going to see any money from any new revenues generated from internet music distribution are the artists. First comes Napster, then the RIAA, then the lawyers, then the executives, then the label's agents, then marketing, then production, THEN the artist.
  • If this means Napster can offer a subscription service, and compensate artists based on what's shared, and thereby continue to exist and offer MP3s and not some Windows Media shite, I would be thrilled. Where do I sign up?
  • "Acoustic Fingerprinting" sounds like it'll be a 90% shot; there's a chance it'll stop the transfer of a file, but it won't catch all fo them, and it'll accidentally block others.

    What if they're using it to pay the artists based on the share of music downloaded? I would think it would make lots of sense in that case.

  • "Acoustic Fingerprinting" sounds like it'll be a 90% shot; there's a chance it'll stop the transfer of a file, but it won't catch all fo them, and it'll accidentally block others.

    What if they're using it to pay the artists based on the share of music downloaded? I would think it would make lots of sense in that case.

  • by Hacker Cracker (204131) on Friday April 20, 2001 @12:48PM (#276455)
    Ah, the rapturous sound of the Slashdot troll...

    Quoth the poster:
    Yeah, it's getting so stealing other people's copyrighted material is hardly worth it anymore. Why, just the other day, I almost had to *buy* a CD, like back in the dark ages.
    Just because you call it stealing doesn't make it so. Even without Fair Use it isn't stealing. No matter how much you jump up and down and call people names, it still isn't stealing.

    Just what is it then? Repeat after me. It's infringement. Infringement is not stealing. It's the IP cartels who have elevated copyright infringement to the status of plunder on the high seas--it just isn't the same thing no matter how badly they want it to be.

    This has been a public service announcement. Thank you and good night.

    -- Shamus

    This space for lease. EZ terms!
  • I would *love* if they did this!

    Imagine, me downloading Delerium's Silence, and then asking the server for other songs with similar fingerprints?

    Now I can search across the spectrum!

    Or I can encode my own songs for Napster, say my fav CDs, and then get other hits for similar music!

    I'd love to find music that sounds like Chrono Cross "Time of the Dreamwatch". Yet I don't know how. Or songs that sound like Ah! My Goddess, melancholy and sentimental.

    I dunno, if they use it to actually characterize songs, for filtering purposes, they can also use it for searching and indexing purposes too!

    Geek dating! [bunnyhop.com]
  • Here's the basic solution. Put the music through a narrow bandpass filter. That is, remove all frequencies except those in a narrow band, say 800Hz to 1000Hz. It probably makes more sense to locate this band in the lower octaves. Then, go through the song looking for the presence or absence of a signal. Turn this into a string of 1's and 0's where a 1 means that there's some noise with a frequency in the range and 0 if there's only a neglible amount. Then do string matching. You might need to slide this back and forth a bit to find the best match, but that's not too complicated.
  • Oh wait, I forget. The record companies have it coming because they charge too much and put out crap and rip off the artists and drag their feet in new technology and pay off politicians for favorable legislation.

    Arggh - how frustrating! The guy sarcastically expresses my exact sentiments. That's pretty difficult to respond to. ;-)

    I'll admit it, I've been downloading MP3s for a long time. And guess what - it ain't because I'm previewing songs before I buy them. It's because I'm not going to pay $18 for one damn song.

    Napster is stealing. But so is getting together with your buddies (RIAA) and collectively deciding to overcharge the rest of the world for a commodity that you have exclusive access to. Believe it or not, there is a reason for the class action suits against the recording industry.

    So fuck the RIAA. If they want to rip me off, I'll rip them off. However, if someday they decide that they can sell me single songs, in a relatively unencumbered format - then we'll talk.

    Just think of Napster as a commercial version of the Boston Tea Party.

  • IRC is probably in the same boat, it is largely the domain of Unix users. If AOL doesn't offer it you can bet the masses stay away.
  • do_ramble(Mp3 Napster)
    {
    Anyone who's watching poster names will find this a bit redundant coming from me, but what the hell

    It has become appauling clear that Napster execs did very poorly in their highschool history classes.

    Before the mp3 craze (I am still cautious about the word revolution) music was obtainable illegaly only with great difficulty. Ok, not great difficulty, but it was a hassle. Then came the MP3. The grip of the record industry on copy right loosened. The customers were freeer to pick and choose among thousands of artists. With the RIAA crackdown on Napster and the MP3 community, these freedoms evaporated.

    Now why am I using the word freedom? These things I'm talking about are not freedoms in any technical respect. But, and this is the important part, they seemed that way to the users of the product, especialy those who are not familiar with copyright law.

    Now history teaches us that when you take freedoms away from people bad things happen. This model is paralell to the Soviet Union's problems. (Before I launch into this, I am not equating the RIAA to Joseph Stalin nor am I saying that the two experiances are even remotely similar. Mearly that they work on the same model). Stalin's opression of the Soviet people sets the stage, just as the origional difficulty in copying and sampleing music does in the current model. After Stalin the pressure slowly came off the people of the USSR as their freedoms returned (slowly). Sililarly, as Mp3 caught on, more and more people began to use encoders etc, and the utilities became readily available. Gorbachev's attempted crackdown however, demonstrated that, once the pressure is off it must stay off. Revolts erupted, and the government was overthrown. In our paralell model we are coming on to this last stage. The RIAA is cracking down and these privilages that so many "netizens" are used to are evaporating. Open Nap is one responce, but I expect to see something more revolutionary than that.

    Many have said that the tens of millions of people on the net who download and love their MP3s could form a powerfull lobby. I wonder if that will even come to fruition.
    return 0;
    }

    This has been another useless post from....
  • Cranking the MP3 file through xor 0xff...

    The only problem is that Napster now controls the format on the receiving end of the download (ie, it's not going to be a straight MP3, it'll be something protected.) It's a little harder to descramble when the file is encrypted and you don't control the player.

    Most likely this will be cracked as well, but until then, scrambling the files isn't not quite as easy as it seems.

  • Just think of Napster as a commercial version of the Boston Tea Party.

    In the Boston Tea Party they dumped the tea into the harbor. They didn't go home and drink it. Protest vs. outright theft.

    True protesters of the RIAA's evil ways would forsake music instead of stealing it. Else it's more akin to busting into a department store during a riot rather than actual protest.
  • How doable is this really? What if I'm a member of a metallica cover band who strives to sound like the real thing? Can this fingerprinting software tell the difference? I doubt it. This filter should be no more effective than speech recognition software. And to be legally safe, they'll have to block the greatest common denominator. Better to unintentionally block some legal-to-trade stuff than to unintentionally not block copyrighted stuff, right?

    And here's an idea... what if someone writes software to encrypt an mp3? with a winamp plugin or hacked napster client of some kind to decrypt? Will they block files they can't get a signature on? How can they tell the difference between a song with a "wrong" looking signature and, say, an mp3 with sound effects?

    While I agree that music piracy is wrong, there's a lot of grey. I use napster to replace 80s music I listened to in high school. Those tapes I had are long gone. But I did once pay for that music. So is it illegal? The recording industry would probably argue that it is. But I'm not so sure that's The Right Thing, even if it is illegal.

    I think the recording industry is fighting a losing battle. The legal game playing can only go on for so long. And sooner or later, they'll kill napster outright. But that's wont be the end of the war. Right or wrong, the recording industry will lose this war. Maybe they should embrace the new technology so that they can steer it in a direction that's more compatible with their business models.

  • Read the fucking article:

    Relatable's technology identifies music based on the recordings themselves and analyzes the acoustical properties of a recording's waveform to identify it precisely, regardless of its audio format, bit rate or minor signal distortion, the companies said.

  • Graham's Number, a number so huge it needs its own notation, a number that dwarfs Littlewood's Number (10 ^ 10 ^ 34), is the upper bound for a problem to which most people think the answer is 6.

    How many different songs are there? I don't know. But apparently there are less than 2^128.


    --
  • by Hilary Rosen (415151) on Friday April 20, 2001 @11:27AM (#276521) Homepage Journal
    Hey, this could help with the problem "What's the song that goes mmm-mmm-m-mmm?". Simply hum a few bars, take the acoustic fingerprint and query Napster's db for the artist, songwriter and song title.

    It should also put an upper limit on creativity. If there are only 128 bits in the fingerprint then there are only 2^128 possible songs.
    --
  • by sllort (442574)
    The good news:

    People posting bruce springsteen songs labelled as metallica will get filtered out.

    The better news:

    People coughing into the microphone as a prelude to pirated music will get filtered in.

    You gotta love it. Let me digitally fingerprint your analog data.
    Now, if they're doing true, really good pattern/voice recognition, then they may actually cause the Napster crowd some problems.

    I wonder if they'll filter out Puff Daddy songs because they contain samples from Sting?
    (REJECTED: Song Recognized: The Police, "Every Breath You Take")

    heh.
  • Freenet doesn't work exactly as you've said. It *could*, and probably will in the future, though. The problem with Freenet is, since anonymity is the main goal, it's not easy (probably impossible) to search for files within it. Files are inserted into the freenet (Think of Freenet as a black box, in which is a network of hundreds of computers, with hard drives, and your data gets propogated among them), are encrypted, and are spread around as they are accessed. Thus, popular files get propogated around more, are easier to find (since they are on more nodes), etc.

    The thing is, there is no central database from which to serve a search engine. Finding files in freenet right now relies on date-keyed webpages like Snarfoo, which maintain keylists (updated daily). Keys are what you might call links to files. Files are indexed on nodes by key, and you need to know the key to access the file. People submit their keys (which can be plain text, or CRCs of the files), and they are added into the list.

    The thing about freenet is, although an illegal file may end up on your drive, they are all encrypted (you need to know its key to decrypt it), and since a request over the network for the file propogates that file among the nodes, there is no way to prove that the act of someone else requesting an illegal file didn't put it onto your drive, which would amount to entrapment if, for example, the RIAA started requesting mp3 keys. Their search would have gone to your node, and onto other nodes, the file would eventually be found, and then sent to the person requesting it. The act of accessing a file makes it propogate among nodes in that chain, as it tries to find it (if the search is successful).

    This means they could (and probably did) have that file put onto your node by requesting it.

    The mp3 model relies on catalogs of mp3s being made on the freenet itself, with users submitting mp3 keys that they insert into the freenet. This of course if voluntary, and anonymous (unless of course you also submit your name to the key engine maintainer). You, by being on freenet, would eventually, through propogation, start serving files like mp3s which, again, could be illegal to do: but the thing is, you don't know the file is there, and no one can prove that they didn't end up having the file propogated there by requesting it in the first place. Thus the anonymity.

    Since you can't replace files on freenet (the current system is to update daily, with one webpage having a redirect link to a subdirectory (being the current date, usually) with the current webpage inside), and you can't search for them, key search engines are the only way to do it currently.

    There is a project going on named Espra (www.espra.net), which aims to be a freenet version of Napster, admittedly with a poor choice of mascot (go see yourself). It's basically a front-end for the freenet requesting/inputting utilities, and the date-based updating key engine searcher. It's in beta now (actually alpha, since the damn thing doesn't work), and last I heard the catalog system was written in Visual Basic, so make your own judgements on this one.

    Lastly, there is the problem of needing to know the key of the key search engine itself. This is usually surmounted by the fact that the freenet client comes with a link to GJ's webpage to get you started out. From there is a link to Snarfoo (a freenet slashdot takeoff), and from there to key search engines.

    Lastly, here are a few links to get you started.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/freenet -- Freenet homepage.

    http://localhost:8080/MSK@SSK@enI8YFo3gj8UVh-Au0 Hp KMftf6QQAgE/homepage// -- GJ's webpage on Freenet (You need to have freenet installed to view this...)

    http://localhost:8080/MSK@SSK@p0EFqjmDioSqKmYYOR Pr ClUepi4QAgE/snarfoo// -- Snarfoo.

    Lastly, Freenet can be slow, and it can take a minute to find the page you are looking for. So be patient.

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