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Music Industry Forcing WMA standard? 549

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-doesn't-this-surprise-me dept.
CtrlPhreak writes "Cnet news.com has a story up stating that the music industry is considering having cds that contain the un-rippable tracks as well as the windows media formatted files with limited uses ala Microsoft's digital rights management. Just one more brick in Microsoft's continuing monopoly..." And another format that I can't play back. Hope this one dies fast.
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Music Industry Forcing WMA standard?

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  • Who'da thunk it? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Computer users show themselves unwilling and unable to comply with existing copyright laws, is it really any big surprise that the copyright holders would find a surer method of protecting their IP?

    Information only 'wants' to be free insofar as its creator wants it to be free.
    • Re:Who'da thunk it? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kevin@ank.com (87560)
      When I write 'Information Wants to be Free', I'm not trying to anthropomorphise Information. What I mean is rather that information itself is intrinsically freely copyable; that efforts like laws or copyrights that restrict that copying are running against the most prominent features of the information itself.

      From that the reader is meant to deduce that applications which do allow free copying of data will out-compete those applications which restrict data by virtue of their better adaptation to the real characteristics of the information.

      So you write:

      Information only 'wants' to be free insofar as its creator wants it to be free.

      But this only sidesteps the argument, painting in a disagreement where none exists. The real argument is this: 'The creator of information who allows his work to be freely copied has information that is much more valuable than a creator offering similar information but who attempts to restrict the copying of that information.'

  • by Red Aardvark House (523181) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:29PM (#2374209)
    I have a somewhat old computer (Pentium, 233MHz) running with 256 MB of RAM. WMA lags, skips and generally does not sound good.

    MP3, on the other hand, plays back clearly.
    • I have a somewhat old computer (Pentium, 233MHz) running with 256 MB of RAM. WMA lags, skips and generally does not sound good.

      MP3, on the other hand, plays back clearly.


      I have a Nomad Jukebox (which doesn't have a fast enough CPU to update its LCD display in anything like real-time when playing back MP3s or WMAs), and both play back absolutely fine.

      Certainly, the CPU requirements for both seem about equal. Probably the biggest CPU hog you've got is all of the flashy visuals from Windows Media Player being transferred across your bus - which WILL cause problems with your sound card.

      Simon
      • That Nomad Jukebox almost certainly has hardware codecs for mp3 and wma decoding. It probably has an 8-bit microcontroller for handling the display and reading the HD. Comparing it to a PC is apples and oranges.

        • That Nomad Jukebox almost certainly has hardware codecs for mp3 and wma decoding. It probably has an 8-bit microcontroller for handling the display and reading the HD. Comparing it to a PC is apples and oranges

          No. I can guarantee you that it is software decoding for both; especially as it didn't originally ship with WMA support - that was a firmware add on about 6 months ago.

          Simon
    • Its called planned obsolesence.
    • by tshak (173364)
      That's because WMA has VERY TIGHT compression which requires a LOT of work to decompress. It's definatly not a "hog" in the sense that it was poorly designed.

      WMA wouldn't be so bad if it was submitted to a standards body. It's NOT windows only - hence why most modern digital music players have full WMA support. The only problem is that there's nothing for Linux, or MAC AFAIK.
  • by SpanishInquisition (127269) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:30PM (#2374210) Homepage Journal

    cat /dev/random > /dev/audio

    Only listen to white noise, stop enriching those pigs.
  • WMA .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taniwha (70410) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:31PM (#2374220) Homepage Journal
    Leaving a large bunch of pissed but brilliant programmers out in the cold just has to be a bad idea (just look at CSS) don't these music industry bozos ever learn ... if they choose a DRM system that's supported everywhere far fewer people will have the incentive to break their encryption - and it's not like they're in the music player software biz
  • No more epic albums (Score:5, Interesting)

    by [amorphis] (45762) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:33PM (#2374225)
    Putting monopoly/copyright issues aside for a moment, requiring a WMA version means you lose at least 10% (at 128Kbit), which means that the maximal length would be more like 70min instead of 78min.

    This would change the artists presentation of the music itself.
    • Hey, there had to be some benefit!
    • Putting monopoly/copyright issues aside for a moment, requiring a WMA version means you lose at least 10% (at 128Kbit), which means that the maximal length would be more like 70min instead of 78min.

      Not many albums even approach 70min of music. Many albums by leading artists don't reach 50min of music, even with a couple years of studio time in four-year tour/release cycles.

    • When did the last epic album come out?

      Honestly, they aren't concerned about those albums. Having less capacity for them is a good thing. It means less flogging of the unimaginative stooges who churn out Britney's latest hit.

      (BTW, I consider Dark Side of the Moon an epic album, yet contemporary reviews complained about the short length.)
  • by ers81239 (94163) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:33PM (#2374230) Homepage
    I think that most of us understand the concept that anything that is playable is copyable. I first don't really understand how they can write the disc in such a way that a CD player from 1995 can play it, but that the cracker community can't write a device driver for.

    Aside from that, you know how your old tape player had High Speed dubbing? I wonder if someone could rig a CD player to play that way, and then capture the sound digitally and slow it back down. That way you don't have to wait the full length of the CD. Its not so easy as ripping is right now, but I'll bet it wouldn't be too bad. It could probably even figure out where songs started and stopped just like old tape players!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ok.

      Am I not the only one who thinks that, if you can get a signal out of a CD (be it digital or analog), that the music is therefore RIPPABLE. The ONLY way to make it impossible for me to copy a song is to make it impossible for me to listen to the damn thing.

      If I can hear it (copying to my brain) then I can copy anywhere else. If they want to make it impossible to play on my computer... oooh ahhh I'll plug it into my non-computer CD player and pipe it into my computer.

      Come on, this repeated topic is getting old and pointless.
    • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:57PM (#2374390) Homepage Journal
      They just label the cracker who writes the driver a terrorist (Legislation's in the works, don't say it can't happen) and hold him indefinitely without bail. Do a couple of people that way and the rest of the community will shut down so fast it'll make your head spin.
  • Deal with it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by akgoel (153089)
    And another format that I can't play back.

    By using Linux, you are exercising you're right to choose. And apparently, you choose not to want to play WMA. If it's that big a deal for you, you always have the right to choose again. Freedom does not mean that your "choice" has all the pros and none of the cons.
    • Garbage. He's not asserting some right, he's simply pointing out the facts: that this format is tied to a proprietary operating system and that means it doesn't play on his equipment. Explain to me why you think this is a good thing.
  • by dafoomie (521507) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `eimoofad'> on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:34PM (#2374240) Homepage
    Every day we lose more and more rights... A little here, a little there. Though, I doubt if they can stop me from taking my audio out and recording that... Oh wait, they'll just make sure new sound cards and stereos no longer have audio out, and the ones that do, cd's wont play on.
    • To play Devil's Advocate here....

      What rights are you losing? We're talking distribution of a copyrighted work here and those rights belong to the copyright owner - not the consumer.

      Go back and reread the Copyright Office's latest report on the DMCA. Forget about being offended and closely examine their reasoning for why many fair-use arguements aren't applicable when dealing with a digital medium. All of this stuff is fair because bits and electronic signals down a wire constitute distribution. The contract between publishers and society is that publishers have the right to distribute their works as they see fit and then the consumer can do whatever they want with the physical copy of the work they have purchased.

      Are you beginning to see the picture?

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:34PM (#2374242) Journal
    I have a right to make personal copies and refuse to buy protected CDs," reader Steve Groen wrote in an e-mail to CNET News.com. "If Hollywood had invented the toilet, it would be five times as expensive and you'd pay $1 every time you flush."

    Sums it up pretty good for me.

    These guys are simply criminal. send them to afghanistan for re-education

  • http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=22063&cid=2364 556 [slashdot.org]

    Thank you, and please read the article before posting duplicates next time :)

  • by idiot900 (166952) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:35PM (#2374246)
    I'm a DJ at my university's radio station. It is de facto station policy to not play anything by really well-known artists - i.e. Britney Spears will never come out of our transmitter. And there is no lack of "underground" music for us to play - music published by labels that aren't part of the RIAA juggernaut and aren't implementing these ridiculous copy controls. And a decent amount of it is of higher quality than anything I've heard from the major labels. Point is, there is plenty of good music out there if you don't want to be screwed over every time you buy a CD.
  • by turbine216 (458014) <`turbine216' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:37PM (#2374258)
    why not use a NON-proprietary standard instead of MP3 or WMA???? Why does everything have to be so controlled and so restrictive? They've obviously got a decent idea here (putting compressed digital copies of the CDDA tracks on the same disc as the music), but they've got their heads up their asses in the implementation.


    The RIAA managed to accept and OPEN standard known as Red Book for production of CD's...why can't they just create another OPEN standard for digital music for use on PC's and portables?


    (All rhetorical questions, naturally...everyone knows why they aren't doing it...)

    • by hoggoth (414195)
      > why can't they just create another OPEN standard for digital music for use on PC's and portables?

      Because the problem of making un-hackable music formats is so far unsolvable. So when they ask 'open standards groups' and their own programmers to do it the answer they get is 'We can't figure out how to do it.' Then Microsoft tells them 'we have a solution to all your problems. Just sign here...'

      They are desperate to maintain tight control over every bit of content, and they see in Microsoft a similar philosophy and desire. So they sign...
      While the technical community says 'but it doesn't work right... it stinks... it introduces more problems...'. But as I said, they are desperate and Microsoft is promising.

      • > > why can't they just create another OPEN standard for digital music for use on PC's and portables?
        > Because the problem of making un-hackable music formats is so far unsolvable.

        And last, but not least, because when it's all in a proprietary format, reverse-engineering of which is illegal under DMCA, and SSSCA becomes law and makes the construction of devices that don't use DMCA-protected propretary technology, they won't care whether it's crackable or not.

        If you crack it, you go to jail under DMCA.

        If you don't have to crack it because you don't use it, you go to jail under SSSCA.

        "How do you want to be arrested today?"

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:01PM (#2374427)
      > The RIAA managed to accept and OPEN standard known as Red Book for production of CD's...why can't they just create another OPEN standard for digital music for use on PC's and portables?

      Because they figured that with 650M of data on a CD, that CDs would never by "copyable".

      Because when CD-ROM drives came out, hard drives that could hold 650M cost thousands of dollars.

      Because when CD-R came out, it cost thousands of dollars, and they figured we'd continue to listen (or dub) music on shiny black boxes with twirly knobs on 'em called "audio equipment", not PCs.

      Because when MP3 came out, it took all night to encode a CD-ROM at 128. And most hard drives were only a couple of gigs. And CD-R discs still cost a few bucks apiece, so it was still usually cheaper to buy the album at the store.

      Because they never imagined that we'd do anything with MP3s other than burn them to CD-DA. The notion of an MP3 "player" (whether based on CD-R, flash ROM, or hard drive) was just preposterous.

      Because when people started trading MP3s, it was over 56K modem links, and it took all night to download an album.

      Because SDMI always was, currently is, and will forever be, a WOMBAT - Waste Of Money Brains And Time.

      Because they view us as nothing more than sheep for the shearing.

      Because open formats like Red Book allowed the sheep to escape the fold.

      Because they're damned if they'll ever make that mistake again.

    • The MP3 format is proprietary, it's just that the patent holder hasn't yet managed to extort money out of too many people for witing encoders for it. Kind of like everyone shoots the bird at Unisys and continues to use GIF images on their web pages despite Unisys demanding royalties for them. You don't have to go any farther than the top of this page to find a GIF image on the net.

      The sheep will use whatever encoder comes installed with their operating system and whatever format that encoder happens to encode to, as long as it's fairly small. We will eventually hit the point where .WMA is all you can find and so few MP3s or OGGs will be available that the music industry can easily suppress them.

    • They've obviously got a decent idea here (putting compressed digital copies of the CDDA tracks on the same disc as the music), ...

      Really? How is this a decent idea? There's already perfectly good high-quality digital audio tracks on the disk. So how is it a good idea, to reduce the number of minutes of music on a CD, so as to place redundant, lower quality computer-playable (but not copyable) tracks of the same stuff on the disk as well?

      ...but they've got their heads up their asses in the implementation.

      No, dear. They have their heads up their asses. End of sentence. That the implementation is fucked is just a symptom of how fucked the creator of this scheme is. For the same price, you will get two or three fewer songs per disk, which can only increase margins for the labels. Such a deal.
  • Just use Clone Cd (Score:3, Informative)

    by cheekymonkey_68 (156096) <amcd@webguru.DEGASuk.net minus painter> on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:38PM (#2374262)
    Use a bit by bit copier such as Clone CD if you use Windows.....

    Anything burning software that copies the cd bit by bit should be safe untill they build copy protection into the cd burners. (a la macrovision on VCR's and even thats useless if you get a signal booster)

    Anyone having problems doing backups should visit game copy world [gamecopyworld.com]

  • If you buy music to listen to on your computer, and that requires ripping to mp3 or Ogg/Vorbis, then these new fangled MS crippled CD's are worthless to you. Don't trade your $15.00 for a worthless CD. Buy bootlegs instead. Buy old (used) CDs where you can.

    If you think about it, how much archive quality music does the RIAA membership put out in a year? Most of it is one-hit-wonders and teeny-bopper crap. Hip-hop, electronic, and rock music all have big underground and indie (non-corporate) scenes. Musicians should all be producing their own discs for sale via pay-pal anyway.

  • Guess it's time to hit the used CD stores again. Will these idiots EVER learn?
  • Ad Free story (Score:2, Informative)

    by DickPhallus (472621)
  • by actappan (144541) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:49PM (#2374334) Homepage
    Can't you still use analog rips?

    Sure - it'll sound like crap - but how can they really make them unripable? Like most IP schemes, this won't stop actual piracy - just casual copying. While I'm certain that this casual copying is the vast majority of the violation - isn't a lot of it covered under fair use? I mean if I rip all my old cd's onto my nomad - Then stow them all in the basement - isn't that still legal?

    I would be pretty pissed if I then had to use a restricted format to play them back. I generally don't use windows. Rebooting my system to play back a single song is not an acceptable solution. If you had to unplug your CD player and make a handful of software changes in order to play a single track wouldn't you complain?

    I think we should all insist that they prominently print notice of the IP scheme on the cover (Warning: Contains IP Scheme that may be offensive to anyone with half a brain) Then simply refuse to buy anything that has that scheme. There may be more Brittany fans out there than there are geeks - but we've got more money.
  • by nanojath (265940) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:51PM (#2374344) Homepage Journal
    I am getting so sick of the attitude being expressed regarding pieces like this that this is just some grave injustice being handed down by the Music Gods. BMG, Warner and Sony are not the beginning and the end of music (well they might be the end...)


    What new technologies (and the constantly increasing accessibility at any scale of technologies like burning CDs) present musicians and consumers alike with is the possibility of ditching the fat cat middlemen entirely, which would be fine since they do nothing for music but try to make everything a hit which turns 99.9% of everything they sell into indistinguishable, homogenized crap.


    When you consider the global marketing potential that a little fearlessness when it comes to digital audio files and the internet presents the individual artist or band with, and the enormity of the cut that the parasitic media distribution conglomerates suck up between artists and consumers, it becomes clear that for artists and consumers alike copy protection is irrelevant.


    All the industry frenzy over this issue has nothing to do with lost sales (which have been negligible) and everything to do with preventing independent concerns from commercializing and popularizing effective digital music distribution tools. Don't like this copy-impaired, we'll pick your compression format (and quality, natch) garbage? Write to your favorite INDIE record label or better yet your favorite unsigned, self- distributing or about-to-be-released-from-contract artists and tell THEM how you feel. They might actually give a rats ass and do something about it.

  • by M_Talon (135587) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:52PM (#2374356) Homepage
    If this isn't a clear cut case of Microsoft using its monopoly power to cut into and eliminate competition from other markets, I don't know what is. We're not talking software anymore, we're talking the future of music distribution. This should not and could not happen if our antitrust laws have any power. Allowing WMA to be used here is definitely the wrong answer, as it allows Microsoft to say "Oh look, now you need a Windows machine with our Media Player to listen to tracks on your computer". If it was a general standard, this wouldn't be so bad. However, M$ is not known for general standards. They're known for embrace, extend, extinguish.
    • I don't even know what to say about all of this. I am so annoyed at the fact that the RIAA seems to think that this is a Good Thing.

      It isn't a Good Thing, it is a Bad Thing (obviously).

      They have eliminated the free use clause here by saying you can only do it on MS computers. This is a violation of my right as a consumer to do what the fuck I wish w/a product.

      I have said it before, and I will say it again. Do NOT take away my rights as a consumer to do w/a product as I please. I bought the CD, I am allowed to make backup copies, resell it, or use it as a frisbee.

      Who the fuck is the RIAA to decide that the Free Use clause is a bunch of shit? Who the fuck are they to decide that MS is the one that is going to have exclusive rights to distribute music on the computer? And who the fuck isn't going to buy this shit when it comes out?

      In the past several weeks we have seen plenty of proprietary systems for blocking people from copying demo CDs. We get pissed about it but it is their right to block that (as they are promos). No one really cared b/c it was a small group of companies, poor choices of music, etc. Now they want to do this to all of us.

      I seriously think that we are going to get screwed over here. If you are going to want music, you aren't going to have a choice but to buy this crap .

      I am glad I listen to music that is freely distributable but I do enjoy some music that isn't. I rarely buy CDs now b/c of the insanely high cost but I am seriously reconsidering not buying them at all.

      Fuck the RIAA, fuck MS, and fuck whoever is going to let this happen.

      -end of rant-
    • You really think John "You Have No Rights, Get Over It" Ashcroft will do anything to promote consumer choice?
  • by garoush (111257) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:52PM (#2374358) Homepage
    It's amazing to see how those "big" companies (MS included with there "activation tech.") put a lot of energy and resources to go after such a small percentage of the market segment.

    Yes, I can copy a CD for a friend of mine as I have the tools and the means to do it with my PC (not that I will), but hey, for every one CD-copier out there are over 100s tape-copiers. And those tape-copiers do it more often than CD-copiers -- its far more easier. So why aren't those music industry clones going after the tape-media rather than the CD?

    My answer to my own question is simple: CD is high tech, while tap is not. Thus, doing it in the CD market, creates more "noise" in the media which leads to more reorganization.
    • No, they're doing it because with an analog copy (read: tape) you degrade the copy everytime you make a downstream copy. The copy of the original is not as high quality as the original. The copy of the copy is less so. And it doesn't take many generations of copying before it really starts sounding crappy.

      Digital copying is perfect though. It doesn't matter if the copy is 1st generation or 100th generation - it sounds EXACTLY the same. So as far as the music and film execs are concerned this is a FAR, FAR bigger threat.

      This is why Disney didn't release on DVD at first (and instead tried to support DivX). This is part of the reason that HDTV is going nowhere fast. It's why talks of HD DVD are going nowhere and why DVD-Audio and SACD only have analog outputs on the players. The RIAA and MPAA are all totally and utterly freaked by the idea that they will lose control of distribution. And distribution is something the two groups have a pretty ironclad grasp over right now.

      Funny though... most of the artists don't seem quite so freaked. At least for musicians. Actors, directors, etc. seem more concerned though, but they generally make more money off films than musicians do off albums.
    • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:39PM (#2374728) Homepage Journal
      Tape copiers are less dangerous for two reasons:
      1. Tape copies are analog, so they degrade with each copy. Chains of three or more copies on standard consumer equipment result in sound quality poor enough that most people consider it unacceptable.
      2. Sharing tape copies requires transfer of physical media. A single non-rights-managed digital file can be distributed to thousands of people in a matter of minutes, limited only by bandwidth. Tape copies, even with high-speed dupe decks and the like, take much longer to create -- and distribution is at the speed of face-to-face meetings or postal mail.

      That's why tape copying is no longer seen as a threat, relative to the dangers of digital media copying.
  • by sulli (195030) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:53PM (#2374360) Journal
    Okay, we all hate the RIAA and their stooges in the copy-protection business. Still, here they are, and this is their latest salvo in their war against fair use.

    However, it may be a huge double-barreled shot at their feet. Here's why: Ripping MP3s is already mainstream. When they ship these crippled CDs, and the word gets out that you can't rip them or you have to go through some user-hostile WMA download every time you want to add tunes to your jukebox, sales will drop.

    And, as others have noted here, indie bands won't behave this way (why should they? MP3 trading will help spread the word about their tunes). So they will get a sales boost from users who may not give a shit about IP and fair use but certainly care about ease of use.

    Don't believe me? Look at the commercial failure of Sony's Music Clip. It fell flat on its face because customers wanted the standard (MP3) not something else that required many extra steps to use it.

    So, as for the music industry: fuck 'em. If they want to sell useless drink coasters for $15, and wonder where a big segment the buyers went, let them take the financial hit. Just don't invest in any of the big five, and you won't personally pay the price. Maybe now is the time to short Vivendi-Universal, for example.

    • The Sony product failed because it was a high tech toy which didn't do what the people who would or could buy it wanted. The problem is that the majority of the Backstreet Boys CD buyers aren't concerned with being able to use a PC or rip the tunes, they're going to buy anyway.

      Slashdot may be an informed group by and large, but our refusal to buy RIAA CDs won't cost them 1 cent in share price. They are going to continue with this idiocy until on of their "copy protection" schemes really keeps the disc from working on more than just a few car stereos.

      How do we fight it? I'm guessing finding each of the component CD player units which fail to play the protected discs and call the news media each time it happens. If we can keep the 13 and 14 year olds from buying Discs because their mainstream player won't work due to safeguards which are easily circumvented - then we will have a real argument.
  • And another format that I can't play back

    Actually, you can play wma files under Linux using the avifile tool. avifile is a brilliant piece of software engineering that works directly with the Windows DLL (a-la-Wine). It will play back DivX avi and most Windows Media Player formats.

    Having said this, it will only work for x86 Linux, and still leaves a lot of people stranded with their systems. It's definitely another way to strengthen Microsoft's monopoly. Really disgusting.

    DZM
  • EULA for MediaPlayer (Score:5, Informative)

    by dackroyd (468778) on Monday October 01, 2001 @01:56PM (#2374385) Homepage
    To use the 'secure' version of MediaPlayer you have to agree to Microsoft being able to install any software they like, and disable any other programs.

    From the EULA agreement for MediaPlayer 7.1:

    Digital Rights Management (Security). You agree that in order to protect the integrity of content and software protected by digital rights management ("Secure Content"), Microsoft may provide security related updates to the OS Components that will be automatically downloaded onto your computer. These security related updates may disable your ability to copy and/or play Secure Content and use other software on your computer. If we provide such a security update, we will use reasonable efforts to post notices on a web site explaining the update.

    Does anyone else have a problem with this ? Every C.T.O. in the world should be alarmed at Microsoft being able to download and run any code they feel like, as well as switching any other programs off that they don't like.
  • This is getting totally out of hand. I want to be able to re-use my music, in the formats I want, at the encoding standards I want. This is like telling me I can't copy it to Minidisc.

    The bottom line is that the current product is so undesirable that people will waste their time trying to find pirate versions with questionable encoding quality rather than buy it.

    They should be putting their efforts into:

    * Making the packaging worth owning
    * Making the music worth buying
    * Adding other features that are worth owning

    Anyone with an ounce of business sense would realize that its cheaper to simply provide enough value to make piracy a non-issue.

    jonathan
    • * Making the packaging worth owning
      * Making the music worth buying
      * Adding other features that are worth owning


      1. Add image galleries to CD's in the manner of quite a few Anime DVD's. Everyone wants to see images of their favorite rock stars, especially if they are attractive pop idols. I know that I would much rather stare at Britney's pom-poms than listen to her music.

      This won't work because these images would be 'copyrighted' and the first one that made its way to alt.fan.(starofyourchoice).binaries would invalidate the whole scheme in the eyes of the industry.

      2. Include animated, musical screen savers featuring the rock star who's CD is being produced.

      Again, if these were any good at all, they'd end up on Usenet and Gnutella faster than you can blink. The RIAA would balk at that point.

      3. CD Media has never been cheaper, especially in large, bulk quantities. Start including 'extras' discs in all CD distros. Include things like interview tracks, Music Video mpegs. Tabulated sheet music, etc...

      The Industry has repeated promised to 'lower' the price of CD's once they became cheap and easy to produce. I think that we can all see that this was a load of unmitigated bullshit, since it should have happened around '85 or '86. They wouldn't *dream* of including an extra CD in any package without charging more for it... probably enough to make it not worth it again.

      4. Include 'Approved' logos and images for fan use. When Neon Genesis Evangelion anime was released in Japan, Gainax Co published a website that contained several web-targeted (ie: Low resolution) graphics that could be freely used in fan websites. Fans could and still do use these graphics, most of them keeping in mind the rules that Gainax asked them to follow when downloading them. NGE is one of the most popular anime ever. A lot of that has to do with how well Gainax treated its fanbase.

      This won't work because American executives are ignorant and uncaring. Saying that a logo would look like crap on a t-shirt or poster because it was low resolution would never be understood. It looks great on the screen, therefore, it will look good on anything else, at least in the mind of a coked-up record executive. Even if said executive did understand that, he's much more concerned with the bottom-line that customer loyalty.

      5. Put music on discs worth listening to.

      Seriously, when did record executives know what sounds good or is fun to listen to. All they care about is what sells.
      • The Industry has repeated promised to 'lower' the price of CD's once they became cheap and easy to produce. I think that we can all see that this was a load of unmitigated bullshit, since it should have happened around '85 or '86.
        You know, I've heard this before, but I've never seen any such `promise' in writing anywhere. Do you have any references for this?

        I recall seeing somewhere that some RIAA or MPAA executive was asked about this (about CD costing more than Cassette/Vinyl or DVD costing more than VHS, even though CD and DVD cost much less to make) and his answer was that the customer was getting more (better quality, more convenience) and so that's why they pay more. Perhaps the story just slowly morphed over the years ...

  • by gosand (234100) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:02PM (#2374434)
    Dear pawns,

    You are hereby requested to cease and desist using the acronym WMA, as it is not compliant with Microsoft® Corporation's current legal trademark notation. The new acronym shall henceforth be referred to as MRWMTMA, for Microsoft® Windows Media(TM) Audio format.

    Thank you. All your base are belong to us.

    Microsoft=Monopoly [cafepress.com]

  • Going with WMA is a risky move at the moment, given that Microsoft is being sued for infringement of DRM patents.

    A press release discussing most recent additions to the suit can be found here. [intertrust.com] (This is an extension of a previous suit which covers Windows Media, Microsoft Reader, and many other MS products, which are mentioned in the last paragraph of the press release. Unfortunately, I can't find a description of the original suit at the moment.)

    • InterTrust Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ITRU), the leading inventor of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, announced today that its second amended complaint in its lawsuit against Microsoft will add claims that Microsoft's "product activation"/anti-piracy technology infringes InterTrust patent claims.

      This company's market cap is $97.8M (share price just above $1). MSFT can just buy them out and settle the case that way. Hell, AOL could buy them and use the patents and licensing as leverage to keep MSFT from doing to them what they did to CPQ and DELL.

      I see little risk to anyone, except for InterTrust, of course. But then, they probably did this so someone would buy them out.
      • I've dealt with both Intertrust, Microsoft and Real for DRM solutions for clients.

        Intertrust's solution doesn't work. At all. Killed off Windows 98 machines, needed a permanent TCP/IP connection when I looked at it, didn't run on Win2k and don't even think about Mac versions.

        Real's protection code is floating around on the net somewhere.

        MS stuff is easy to implement, but using Version 7 licenses, which are more secure, means ruling out playback on the Mac. Also due to weirdness in Mozilla's DOM support, license predelivery (pushing a license from a web page, not when the file is played) doesn't work. Works under IE, and Netscape 4. Intertrust's lawsuit is a last ditch attempt of a dying company whose technolody no-one uses.

  • by briggsb (217215) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:05PM (#2374453)
    I think the competing NoAudio standard [bbspot.com] well be more effective in controlling pirates than this scheme.
  • by Mandelbrot-5 (471417) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:09PM (#2374476)
    ... a great feature in the software. You can play a cd, tape, etc. and 'record what you hear'. So you can hook up your cd player to your line in and record it just like you did with tapes. Then you have an unencoded wave file that you can convert to .mp3 or .ogg ( you DID keep an old copy of your .mp3/.ogg player/recorder right? ). I know that its a pain in the ass, but its a way around the crap that the industry is handing out. I just hope that someone takes the industry to court because you can still make a backup COPY of you music/games/programs. The industry will only step on us as long as we let them, bitchin will not change anything, action can.
  • by carpart (307280) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:11PM (#2374486)
    Unless the Mu$ic Indu$try(TM) strong-arms the electronics manufacturers, the WMA standard will face a difficult time gaining market share. There is already a large variety of consumer electronics that play the MP3 format. (think portable boom-boxes with CD players...) Yes, many of the portable memory-card based MP3 players support the WMA format, but many of the other consumer devices do not. (please forgive my lack of extensive research... I'm sure some of them support WMA as well...)

    I think the Mu$ic Indu$try(TM) is already sunk... MP3 has taken a stong hold on the consumer market. I myself have several gigs of MP3 content (most of it hard to find where I live), and I'm considering purchasing some sort of MP3 compatable CD player... hours and hours of commercial free music that's easily portable and not broadcast dependant... and with more and more MP3 compatable options available to the consumer, the Mu$ic Indu$try(TM) faces a steeper and steeper climb to the top.

    Doesn't this all really come down to distribution channels anyway? The Mu$ic Indu$try(TM) has lost grips on it's distribution monopoly, (thanks Internet!!!) and is only now starting to show it's knee-jerk reaction to digital technology.
  • Is it just me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FooDog (68645)
    or is the following quote from the story just a CLASSIC example of Lawyer Double Speak:

    "Federal law allows people to make personal copies of songs but does not require record companies to stand aside so consumers can do so."

    Now, IANAL and all, but it seems to me that if there is a Federal law allowing me to make a personal copy of a song, and the Record companies do something to prevent me from doing that, that they are breaking the law. I mean, that's like saying "You have the right to walk through this door, but we don't require the doorman to actually unlock it for you." And THEN, if you pick the lock (because the doorman is being obstinate) they throw you in jail for violating the DMCA!! Boy, I sure love living in a country owned by corporations. You always have something to talk about on a weekday. :)
    • Re:Is it just me... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by double_h (21284) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:25PM (#2374596) Homepage

      that's like saying "You have the right to walk through this door, but we don't require the doorman to actually unlock it for you." And THEN, if you pick the lock (because the doorman is being obstinate) they throw you in jail for violating the DMCA!!

      That's a pretty accurate assessment of how things stand. The Home Recording Act of (I think) 1994 states that you are legally allowed to make personal copies of recordings you've purchased. That is to say, if you copy a CD to listen to at work or in the car, the record companies do not have the right to sue you or have you arrested. It doesn't say the record companies are REQUIRED to give you this right, merely that you haven't broken the law if you do it.

      A couple years later, the DMCA comes along, which DOES make it a crime to circumvent copy-control mechanisms. If the door is open, you're free to use it; if the door is locked, you're not allowed to pick the lock.

      This is further muddied by the fact that the Home Recording Act specifically mentions "recording devices", and the jury is still out over whether a computer is legally classified as a recording device or not. Therefore, as I understand the HRA, ripping a CD you own onto your computer is still a legal grey area in any circumstance.

  • Cd's are well entrenched into our society right now, but the fun stuff is at the edge. Namely, DVDA (That's Digital Versatile Disc Audio, you perv) and Audiophile (A refreshing look at old technology. LP style records using a very high tech manufacturing process and extremely tough vinyl. No digital->analog conversions here, baby. Very limited manufacturing runs due to the expense and low market appeal. Remember the /. acrticle about the guys spending $150k+ for a true 'audiophile' listening experience. This is what he had.) You can see many new albums being released with the DVDA style, which makes life a dream for people who want a highest quality possible rip. Dvda uses the same mpeg 2 compression that DVD's use. So, whip out your handy-dandy DeCCS software, and rip the audio straight off the disc. Since you are reading the data off of a the DVD, including checksums, you will get a flawless rip. Current rippers use a sector-by-sector read to try and get a good read, and they often fail since Redbook audio doesn't have checksums for each sector. But DVDA does. DVDA is also recording at a digital quality higher than cd's, and maybe DAT tapes (DVDA is 192kbit/s @ 48khz; cd's are 128kbit/s @ 44.1Khz)

    THe moral of the story is, if you're an MP3 collector who is just interested in proclaiming to your IRC friends "WH00T! I got 2 petabytes of Tori Amos!", they want to slow you down. For real audiophiles, we've moved to the next best thing (tm) already.

    Toodles
  • Maybe that's o.k.? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Isldeur (125133) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:17PM (#2374540)
    You know, I'm also against this whole non-rippable CD thing as well as MS's monopolies but I've recently gotten away from mp3's somewhat.

    That's because a few months ago I got a Sony MZ-R700 (about $200 then) minidisc player. (I have no affiliation with any electronics company). It is about 1/4 the area/size of a CD player so it is completely portable. The minidiscs cost about $2 each and they can hold up to 300 minutes per disk. The battery life is more than 40 hours (rechargable in the unit) and I can use a USB-to-optical connection for a straight digial rip. All I need to be able to do is play the thing. I know I can't transfer the files off the minidisc, but we're really not supposed to be doing that too much anyhow, right? :)

    I had been waiting for mp3 players with > 64 megs to come down in price but this seems to make much more sense. Once I heard that minidiscs can hold so much, I completely swapped and haven't looked back. Also, I can just pull out one disc and put in another! I don't need to reload the unit with other music and erase what's already on there. You just can't do that with the solid-state players...

    Just something I thought you'd all be interested in. Best wishes.
  • by Blue Neon Head (45388) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:21PM (#2374563)
    Someday Microsoft will use this power to push around the record companies, just as PC manufacturers were bullied through oppressive contracts. Someone needs to teach them some history.
  • I listen to music, and normally I buy about one full price CD a month. I never download MP3s, and I have just a few CD copies.

    If I can not be sure that a CD I buy works as it is supposed to (that is, being playable at every CD player I will ever own) I will not buy it!

    The reason I use CDs is that I find it the most convenient way to listen to music, and to store music, right now. I know that when I no longer wants to listen to my CDs, I can convert them to any other format I like.

    If I no longer will be able to convert the CDs, I probably wont buy them in the first place!
    If CDs wont be playable at all in an ordinary CD player, ripping and copying music will suddenly be worth the effort even more than it is today.

    The music industry just tells everybody that it is doomed by proposing these rotten changes to CDs.
    And by the way, I have bought quite few CDs this year - not because I have copied them, but because little good music has been produced this year.
  • by mindstrm (20013) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:33PM (#2374681)
    If they want to use 'wma' as a technology, licensed from Microsoft, on their CD's.. more power to them. IT's not up to ME to dictate what format they use for CDs.
    What did you think they would use.. mp3?

    What I can do... is fight things like the DMCA that make it illegal to rip tracks to my computer for my own convenience.

  • by kindbud (90044) on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:34PM (#2374689) Homepage
    "I think this is a glimpse of the future," said P.J. McNealy, a digital-entertainment analyst with GartnerG2, a division of research company Gartner. "This meets both sides' needs. It gives people the compressed audio (to play on computers), and it protects copyrights."

    It does not meet both sides' needs. People don't want to play compressed audio on their computers, specifically. They want to listen to the music they buy at their convenience, in whatever format that entails. Right now, MP3 is popular, and home computers are a prevalent playback platform. Next year, it might be Ogg Vorbis, or something that hasn't yet been invented. People most decidedly do NOT want to be told how and when they may listen to music they have bought. They just want to listen. The details of formats and platforms are unimportant in the long run. If the music can be coded into any digital format, then it can and will be transcoded into whatever format the listener needs at the moment for his convenience, either by resampling from the analog signal jack, or directly transcoding a digital music file.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2001 @02:39PM (#2374726)
    I think it's that simple.

    I can go to my local music store and pick up a tape for $9.00, but I have to pay $15.00 if I want it on a CD, why?

    I can go to the video store and pick up a movie for $13.00, but I have to pay $20-35 for the DVD, why?

    So we all know that CD's are better than tapes, but we don't want to pay an extra six bucks to listen to music on a medium that is actually cheaper to produce. So what do we do? We push back. We make MP3's, we share them on Napster, Gnutella, Audio Galaxy, etc. We screw them back.

    If you could get that brand new CD you wanted for $9.00 you'd be less likely to rip it from a friend. But you can't. So you push back.

    As for the WMP format being used as the "standard" on new CDs, that is just bullshit. MS and the recording industry are just scratching each others backs on this one.

    This IS a blatant misuse of Microsofts monopoly. Oh but they will get away w/it. If lawsuits are filed, MS will just release WMP for Mac and everyone will just look the other way. I for one will not. I don't have a problem w/IP, be it Microsoft's or the recording industry's. But I am sick and tired of hearing the word "standard" thrown around as if it actually meant something. Something that only works on Windows is not a "Standard" -- it is a lock-in mechanism. MS wants to lock us into windows.

    I think companies should be required to implement new technology on all platforms -- or if they claim that is too difficult -- open up the specs so that it can be implemented by others. That can be a "Standard". And if they refuse to, they should lose their right to bitch and moan when someone circumvents it.

  • More power to 'em.

    If they want to use a format I can't play, I'll just have a great reason not to pay them for music.

    Since I already stopped paying them when they sued Napster, and haven't looked back, this affects me not.
  • More talk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VEGETA_GT (255721)
    Well I am not scared. As soon as the cd's are released with this nw format that can't be riped, someone will just make a program to rip them. And If I go to buy a cd and it has the new formats, I don't buy. Why give cash to people who want to take away the rights of people. Personaly, I have 2 copys of every cd I buy. One for the car and one for my cd changer in my room.

    my 2 cents plus 2 more
  • by Gorak (26235) on Monday October 01, 2001 @04:29PM (#2375444) Homepage
    When I buy blank media, I'm not just paying for the media itself -- I'm also paying a "piracy tax" on top of it, because a percentage of the media is used for piracy, and this is how the RIAA (and MPAA) try to make sure they don't miss out on any of that loverly money.

    So, given that I've bought my blank media, I've paid my piracy tax -- isn't this an implicit license to copy the material? After all, I've paid for the rights to do so...
  • by greyfeld (521548) on Monday October 01, 2001 @05:39PM (#2375734) Journal
    Now that's the real question. If I burn a copy of the CD, will I be able to play it? MP3 is just a transitional phase as other formats are coming (OGG and MP3Pro) that will change the way we are doing things now. To make matters worse, I just bought a new Kenwood CD/MP3 player for my car (kicks serious ass btw). Realistically, what's to keep you from using something like Soundforge, CoolEdit, etc to record a wav and turn it into an MP3 just like I do with my old LP's. We will always find a way to bypass copy protection and if we ALL share it and don't buckle into the pressure what are they going to do, take us all off to jail. I say buy all their damn copy-protected CD's and rip the hell out of them until they have to give in! I will buy CD's from people who put out a good package with good music. It just doesn't happen to often. Go buy Einsturzende Neubauten's "Silence is Sexy" to get a great package and awesome music with a bonus CD. That's what people need to be doing. Here's another thing the artists should do. Put out a few MP3's or whatever from their latest recording, but don't sell it in stores. If the consumers want it, they have to come to the concert and buy a copy there for 20 bucks. Put copy protection on the discs. After 6 months, release all the songs to the net on MP3. Lather, rinse and repeat every 9 months for mucho dinero. Then they sell the live CD's from the previous tour along with their latest offering. It can't be too hard to create a following that would soon have people trading all their stuff online and having them go to the shows regularly to get the latest stuff. God knows, I should have been a rock group manager :)

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