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Greene's Grammy Speech Debunked 408

Posted by michael
from the behind-the-music dept.
jonerik writes: "Today's New York Times has this article which debunks at least part of NARAS president Michael Greene's much-publicized speech at last week's Grammy Awards ceremony in which Greene claimed that he had hired three students to download a whopping 6,000 songs "from easily accessible Web sites" over two days. Leaving aside for a moment Greene's bizarre admission on national TV that he'd hired three students (at least one of whom, Numair Faraz, is a minor) to break the law (the No Electronic Theft Act), Faraz has been interviewed by the Times, saying that they spent more like three days on the project and that the other two students (both unnamed, though both are apparently attending U.C.L.A.) barely used P2P file-sharing programs at all. Instead, they used AOL's popular Instant Messenger to receive song files from friends."
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Greene's Grammy Speech Debunked

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  • Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by punkball (240859)
    The lengths some people will go. Why don't I just hire some people to shot some other people to show guns are bad? Oh, because it's illegal..
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:30PM (#3127491)
      By his own admission he has violated Federal Copyright laws, has Contributed to the delinquency of a minor and should be prosecuted and fined for doing so. He had no legal right to do what he did (e.g. no court order) and then went on TV and admitted that he had done it.

      I would urge everyone and their friends to gather this evidence together (video tapes, web page printouts, etc...) and send it via USPS snail mail with a certified return receipt to the DOJ asking them when they will be prosecuting him.

      The more of us that do it, the more likely it is that he will face fines and penalties for his actions. I'm already looking for a copy of the actual speech (not just a web transcript, but the actual video of him doing it) and will be sending this to the DOJ.
      • ...and in doing so, give validity to the RIAA claims that downloading music is wrong and not "fair use", and that people who do so should be punished.

        It's best to leave things the way that they are. He paid these kids to download music and then admitted to millions of people he did it, and wasn't punished. Obviously, if he was so brazen about it and wasn't punished, it wasn't something wrong...
      • by darrylballantyne (447044) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @08:24PM (#3127981) Homepage
        According to Numair, there was an agreement signed beforehand. You'd think that the agreement would indemnify him - but no, it actually indemnified NARAS, not him. So, if someone's thinking about suing, they'd have to go after Numair & Co. - which wouldn't be very nice.

        Of course, it should also be noted that "prosecution for criminal offenses cannot be waived by the aggrieved party" - so the government could go after them if they wanted to. (See http://www.loc.gov/copyright/title17/92chap5.html# 506 [loc.gov] for the relevant criminal code).

        In fact (and here's the interesting part) - they DIDN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL. *Downloading* is in itself not illegal - it's uploading that's illegal. Non-commercial downloading is specifically exempted. From NETA:

        TITLE 17

        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.


        • No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright

          Once again a logical fallacy regarding this law. Just because this law cannot be used to bring action against copyright violations, does not mean that there are no other laws that can bring action against copyright violators.

          The so called "fair use" provision is not there. They just wanted to restrain the scope of the law so it would not be abused. It says nothing about existing copyright law. (BTW: I believe in fair use, I just don't see it here).

  • What do you expect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by [AraGorn] (178502) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:54PM (#3127254) Homepage
    They have to lie to make their points because the facts show that Napster, et all seem to have a positive effect for the most part on sales...
    • ...the facts show that Napster, et all seem to have a positive effect for the most part on sales
      You need to remember that an actual correlation between Napster and increased music sales cannot really be made. Granted for the brief period of time in which Napster was around, the industry may have seen increased sales but don't make a correlation that isn't necesarrily true (even if we want it to be ;] ).

      Just becuase two things happen at once doesn't mean they are related. If that were true, people might start claiming things like the El Nino effect increases purchases of gaming systems, etc..
    • by wurp (51446) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:37PM (#3127542) Homepage
      If they accept that Napster improves sales, why the hell would they fight against it? It seems much more likely to me that they don't accept the facts themselves.

      And... all of this AIM versus p2p stuff is a red herring. We shouldn't be arguing over how many files you can download in a certain period of time, or what mechanisms you use to do it. Our concept of intellectual property is broken, and they are pushing through laws that hurt the public good more and more deeply, while we quibble over what program was used to download files!

      What we need to focus on is that they are doing things that reduce software reliability (SSSCA will do that), hurt people (snuffing our ability to copy will do that), and retard progress to protect an industry that is composed of trivial entertainment. Don't be distracted from the issues.
  • Call the FBI. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:56PM (#3127264) Homepage
    He broke the law by hiring people to break the law. The law apply to all, including him.


    Easy to prove, he made an admission that was recorded and video taped.


    Doesn't he want all music pirates convicted?

    • Nail him for "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor"!!!!!
    • Re:Call the FBI. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by curunir (98273) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:22PM (#3127451) Homepage Journal
      Maybe someone can correct my logic here...but it seems to me that the students didn't break the NETA.

      Since they were hired by the Recording industry who holds all the copyrights in question, wouldn't they be stealing from themselves (on an organizational level)?

      It seems analogous to hiring a hacker to try to crack your network. While his actions would be illegal if he was unaffiliated with you, by hiring him, you've legitimized his actions which would otherwise have been illegal.

      but IANAL...so there's a lot that's illegal these days that makes no sense to me.
      • Re:Call the FBI. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:27PM (#3127480)
        Since they were hired by the Recording industry who holds all the copyrights in question, wouldn't they be stealing from themselves (on an organizational level)?

        Despite what the RIAA would have you believe, the RIAA-affiliated companies do NOT hold the copyright to every MP3 that found its way onto the internet. I've got MP3's of music I wrote, recorded and encoded myself on my site, for example.

        For those that are held by the RIAA -- common sense says that you can't steal something from yourself, but when has copyright law ever used common sense? Viz the lawsuits where a musician is sued by the copyright holder of some of their previous works, because the musician wrote a new song that sounds TOO MUCH LIKE THEMSELVES.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:35PM (#3127524) Homepage Journal
      Dang. I was supposed to be there, too, but I received all my songs through a model 14 Teletype, and am still running them off on paper tape.

      Chucka-chucka-chucka-chucka-chucka-chucka--

      Hmm, maybe lower sampling rate next time...

    • Re:Call the FBI. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Exedore (223159) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:52PM (#3127601)

      Hey, back off, dude. It's their law, they bought it, and they can break it if they want to!

  • 6000 WOW (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DCram (459805) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:57PM (#3127271)
    That is alot of pipe for 2 days worth of downloads. 6000 x ~3.5megs per song = ~21000megs of download. I don't think that this was accomplished on a 56k modem.

    I believe it is in bad taist to plug your agenda at an event like this.

    I think I will go home tonight and "Hire" 3 friends of mine to download a hack of starcraft and play all night.

    • Bah, if you have an account on a nice privet FTP, 300KBp/s per download 2 downloads at once. . . .

      VERY doable. I am surprised that three people were required. :)
    • Re:6000 WOW (Score:5, Informative)

      by Asetilean (540060) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:21PM (#3127445)
      This is actually quite easy to debunk:

      6000 mp3's @ approx. 3.5 - 4 mb per song / 3 Students for two days (48 hrs)

      (6000 * 3.5 * 1024)/(3 * 48 * 60^2) = kB/s

      Sustained data rates between 41 and 47 kB per second would be required to support the claim.

      Now, most of these "easily accessible Web sites" wouldn't sustain those rates to an individual user. And P2P definitely never gets close. The only real way to get that much data would be from other computers on the campus LAN not said web sites.

      So, now we know he lied in his speech apart from his ridiculus extrapolation to millions of students (when was the last time you skipped a month's worth of classes just so you could download all that pirate music?)

      My question is, why can't the broadcast media crunch these simple numbers and figure out that this guy is full of sh*t?
  • AIM isn't P2P? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JayAndSilentBob (517888) <<bass> <at> <sellingmysoul.com>> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:57PM (#3127272) Homepage
    Is not AIM P2P when two users are "directly connected" as when they are transfering files, pictures, or just typing to each other? If not then what are they directly connected to? I was under the impression that if I was directly connected to someone and the AOL servers ceased to exist, I could continue my conversation with them until one of us severed the link.
    • It's not p2p (misnomer in this use ANYHOW, but what the hell) because you are not searching for content based on content. You are hooking up with someone who can offer you something *only after you connect with them*.

      p2p, in popular use terms, is more of a 'file search and retrieve' platform rather than a 'find your friends and then share the files you have with them'. Can you use AIM to search for files?
  • news? (Score:5, Funny)

    by edrugtrader (442064) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:58PM (#3127279) Homepage
    3 college students download songs off the internet... call CNN, make sure /. is notified!!
  • Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DutchSter (150891)
    Nice to know, not only did he hire people to break the law he hired minors to do so. Excellent, courts sometimes overlook the piddly petty-theft stuff but "Corruption of a minor" is hardly looked upon lightly almost anywhere. Or are we going to be told that he had been licensed by the individual copyright holders to do the downloads?

    What's the number on all the Microsoft CD's? 1-800-IS-Legit? I wonder if RIAA has one too :P
  • by hex1848 (182881) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#3127287) Homepage
    Did anyone listen to the speech [aol.com]?

    This problem won't be solved in short order. It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and true diligence to help our fans - that would be you - to embrace this life and death issue and support our artistic community by only downloading your music from legal Web sites

    How can anyone compare death to music piracy with a straight face? Needless to say I turned the channel and stopped watching the shortly there after. The little respect that I had for the Grammies was lost that night. I think it pissed me off more that no one booed him off stage.
    • "How can anyone compare death to music piracy with a straight face? "

      Of course it's life or death! Don't you remember when Kid Rock starved to death because of MP3s? [theonion.com]

    • by eracerblue (473104) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:11PM (#3127383)
      This is why many artists are taking a stand:

      Recording Artists Coalition [recordinga...lition.com]

      (take a look, you'll be suprized who's there)

      ps. I think I did hear one person boo... I'm sure he/she got to enjoy the remainder of the grammays outside. :/
    • Greene isn't exactly on everybody's top friend list. He's clashed with a variety of people and been sued a couple of times. Here's a CNN article about this troubles [cnn.com]
    • I think it pissed me off more that no one booed him off stage.

      He could have defiled a young maiden on stage, and nobody would have booed him off. Sadly, the President/CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has way too many of the people in the audience that night by the short and curlies.

    • Pirates (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Pac (9516)
      It was said in another context, about other kind of digital object:

      "Owners use smear words such as 'piracy' and 'theft', as well as expert terminology such as 'intellectual property' and 'damage', to suggest a certain line of thinking to the public---a simplistic analogy between programs and physical objects.

      Our ideas and intuitions about property for material objects are about whether it is right to take an object away from someone else. They don't directly apply to making a copy of something. But the owners ask us to apply them anyway."

      Read the whole text [gnu.org]

      Actually, I believe the word "thief" is too much prone to libel. "Pirate", being not in any dictionary acception what someone who copies a song or a software is, helps reducing this risk while conveing the message of someone who will board the poor record company, rape its women, kill its men, sell its children as slaves and take away all its treasures.

      The problem is that these executive and marketing types are easily confused. Sometimes in their small money counting brains the analogies get blurred and they start to believe the metaphor is real.
      • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Informative)

        by td (46763) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:55PM (#3127863) Homepage
        "Pirate", being not in any dictionary acception what someone who copies a song or a software is

        This is simply untrue. For example, Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary contains:

        pi.ra.cy
        ('p{i-}-r*-s{e-})
        ...
        2) n, the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or
        conception esp. in infringement of a copyright

        If you consult the OED, you'll see that the first recorded use of piracy in this sense is hundreds of years ago, only a few years after Britain enacted its first copyright laws. The idea that anyone today is trying to evoke brigandage on the high seas when they use piracy to refer to unauthorised reproduction of copyright material is not very credible.
    • "this is a life and death issue"


      These weenies don't know from real pirates. real pirates [popularmechanics.com] shoot and kill people and take their physical property.

      A long sight different than some kid who makes a copy of a song.

      I think it's a shame that the word " pirate " has been so trivialized. Sort of like happened when the media started using the term "hacker".


    • by Graspee_Leemoor (302316) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:52PM (#3127610) Homepage Journal
      If I had been there I would have shouted very loudly:

      "minus one, troll!"

      graspee

  • by magic (19621) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#3127289) Homepage
    I don't have nearly 6,000 MP3's.


    Maybe I have the wrong IM friends. Hey... I wonder if those UCLA students are still for hire!


    -magic

  • ...if you own the rights to what is being "stolen"? And does the RIAA own the rights to the songs, or do they just look out for the "best interests" of the recording industry?
  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mini me (132455) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:00PM (#3127301)
    I found that speech rather humourous.

    First off he said that downloading music is a bad thing. Then in the next breath he incuraged everyone to download music from RIAA approved web sites.

    Second. Who uses the www to download music anyway? It's all FTP or the various P2P services. The only exceptions that I've seen is music that has already be approved for download. MP3.com is an example of that.

    Third. My guess is that MP3.com would have 6000 MP3s avaliable. All you would need is wget and a small shell script to download all the songs automatically. Keep in mind that there is legally nothing wrong with downloading music from there.

    I find it pretty sad that they had to go to all of the trouble of writing that speech just to try and sway the public away from downloading online audio. Was downloading the 6000 songs trying to prove a point? It just sounds to me like they were breaking their own laws. If it is okay for them to do it why can't I? The RIAA knows their current role is coming to an end and they fear this. The truth is, is that they will not become obsolete, their role will only change.
  • Mr. Greene doesn't want anyone sharing music with their friends either. Or putting them on their hard drives, or uploading them to their MP3 players, or burning them onto blank CDs... All of these actions kill potential revenue, and no matter how it inconveniences the average listener, he'll push for anything that'll protect the bottom line.
  • by Violet Null (452694) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:02PM (#3127314)
    In a way, this reminds me of the "airline safety" brouhaha after 9/11. No, no, I'm serious. Think about it:

    Greene claims that P2P programs are bad, and that thievery is easy, backed up by the 6,000 songs they got. Then it comes out that they weren't really using P2P programs at all, but doing something covered (legally) by fair use.

    Post 9/11, there was a need for more airline security and an outcry over the pisspoor airline security that was in place at the time...and then it comes out that the hijackers used boxcutters, which were legal to take onto airplanes at the time.
    • ok... continue this train of thought out now...

      because the box cutters were determined to be weapons, now i can't bring a razor, toe nail clippers or a myriad of other items on planes...

      apply this to his train of though, and the "easily accessible" web sites need to be stopped... so we are forced to shut down the internet. totally irrational thinking.

      back to planes... i flew 2 weeks ago and had a mach 3 razor in my backpack and they acted like i just raped nun... later i the plane i notice the lady in front of me is knitting. to those of you who don't have grandmas, knitting needs are about a foot long huge needles. back to the music industry, WHATEVER they do to try to stop music distribution, an old lady with knitting needles will always get through.
    • Then it comes out that they weren't really using P2P programs at all, but doing something covered (legally) by fair use.

      Since when is this covered by fair use? Let's have a look at the relevant section of Title 17:

      US Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107

      Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use


      Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.


      Funny, while it mentions news reporting, research, and things of that nature, I don't see anything in there about "sharing with your buddies". Sending people songs over AIM is *not* considered fair use. You can certainly argue that the law should be changed, but you at least need to know what the law says.

      (Note that I am not saying anything regarding the speech, or the college kids downloading mp3's. I am merely correcting a significant misunderstanding of copyright law.)
  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:05PM (#3127338)
    You think that's bad? Just the other day, my wife downloaded 5 gigs of songs [apple.com] in under a half hour! Talk about thinking you know someone!
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:06PM (#3127348) Homepage
    Go here:
    http://college.nytimes.com/auth/login?URI=http://w ww.nytimes.com/2002/03/07/arts/music/07POPL.html [nytimes.com] To view the article without registration.

    I'm not karma-whoring, I've already hit the cap.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Every year Michael Greene, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, stands onstage during the show he runs, the Grammy Awards, and delivers a speech about an issue that pertains to the music world. On the broadcast last week, however, he chose a strange way to make his point.

      The issue he addressed was the unauthorized trading of songs on the Internet. During the awards show he showed clips of what he said were three students downloading "as many music files as possible from easily accessible Web sites." He added that in two days the three students downloaded nearly 6,000 songs.

      "Now multiply that by millions of students and other computer users, and the problem comes into sharp focus," he said. As he made his point, the cameras zeroed in on the three students, all looking very sheepish.

      His speech, as anticipated, ignited much discussion and controversy among music fans and those in the industry. But in addition, it seems strange that he would admit on national television that he hired three people to break the law (the Electronic Theft Act) and then show them in the process of doing this, especially since one is a minor.

      And now one of these downloaders for hire (at about $12 an hour), Numair Faraz, has stepped forward to say that Mr. Greene's claim that three students downloaded 6,000 files from easily accessible Web sites isn't even true. For starters, Mr. Faraz, 17, isn't a student: he left school to start his own technology business. But more to the point, he says that the group didn't spend two days downloading music; they spent three. And most revealing, he says that most of the music wasn't even downloaded from publicly accessible Web sites.

      Speaking about Mr. Greene, Mr. Faraz said, "He said it took two days to do all the stuff, and we did it for three days from 9 to 6 and left the computers on all night long, except we'd come back and the computers would be frozen."

      "I was the only one who used Bearshare and Kazaa extensively," he continued, referring to two popular file-exchanging programs. "And half of my files never completed: they were halfway downloaded or not downloaded at all."

      As for the two others, both students at the University of California at Los Angeles, he said they hardly even used file-sharing sites. Instead, he said, they used AOL Instant Messenger, a chat program, to receive songs, which friends sent them from their hard drives. This not only means that the songs weren't on public Web sites, but also that there is no guarantee that they were ever illegally downloaded, since some could have been from CD's purchased by students and ripped into their hard drives.

      Mr. Faraz estimated that 4,000 of the songs were sent as private messages using Instant Messenger, and a few songs were legitimate authorized downloads from the Web site MP3.com.

      Barb Dehgan, a spokeswoman for the recording academy, said, "The kids were asked to download as many songs as possible off the World Wide Web, specifically, publicly accessible Web sites." She added that they worked two half-days and one full day. She did not comment about the legality of the project.

      While some in the music business applauded Mr. Greene's speech, others criticized it and wondered what point he was trying to make.

      "Burning, ripping and sharing is not killing music," Ken Waagner, a digital-media consultant in Chicago who was part of the recording academy's board of governors for four years, wrote in a letter to Mr. Greene. While admitting users of popular file sharing software were "cheap and greedy thieves," he said they are not a real threat to the music industry. "Greed, stupidity and ignorance on the part of the policy wonks and further alienating the listener is the real threat to the business, and ultimately the artist's ability to be heard."

      So why, then, when Mr. Faraz knew that the whole project was ridiculous did he go along with it? "I got free hotel in the Biltmore," he said. "That's one reason to stick with it."

      Unzipped

      Audiogalaxy, a free music-sharing software and Internet site where MP3 files of songs are exchanged, was once the center of a small subculture of music fans who traded zip files of entire albums as well. These files packaged every song on a CD, plus images from the artwork, into a single convenient, easy-to-download file. Because Audiogalaxy was created only for the transfer of MP3 songs, these elaborate zip files were disguised by users to look like MP3 files to computers.

      But after this column on Feb. 25 detailed this practice, Audiogalaxy disabled the word "zip" from its search engine. Where previously searching for files with the word zip in them turned up thousands of full albums, now the search turns up nothing, not even song titles with the actual word zip in them.

      What happened? Michael Merhej, a spokesman for Audiogalaxy, said that there was such a large amount of traffic on the site and so many different things happening in the company that executives had been unaware of zip trading. Once company employees tried it for themselves, "we did block the word zip," he said.

      "The purpose of Audiogalaxy is not to download complete albums that you can go buy," he added. "The system is not made to handle this, but people contrive things to make it work."

      Though the word zip is now blocked in the Audiogalaxy search engine, those zip files of entire albums still exist. One just has to find a different word to use to search for them or try the Usenet, where a whole news group is dedicated to full album downloads.

    • How does that work? That's brilliant!
  • Is it any wonder? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 (120514) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:08PM (#3127357)
    How surprising is it that Greene was easily debunked? When we all know that mp3 trading is the best thing to happen to the music industry, this snivelling little weasel has the nerve to get all prosecutorial in a five minute rant during the Grammy award show. He may call it theft, I'd call it sampling. There are many CD's in my collection that if it hadn't been for the fact that I found mp3's to listen to, they wouldn't be in my collection. It's because of those mp3's and the ability to sample the music first that caused me to head for the store and purchase the album. The RIAA should be glad that we're swapping songs.

    Now, here's a question I'd like to ask: If I have purchased all of Sarah McLachlan's albums (for examples sake) and if she were to release a "Best of" compilation, and I already own the CD's on which the songs that are part of that compiliation originally appeared, then go to USENET and download that "Best of" CD in mp3's, am I a thief? I've already paid for the rights to listen to the songs on the original albums. Hell, for all they know, I got the track list and created it myself based on burns from my original CD's.

    The RIAA can go fuck itself, in my estimation, hopefully using a large, blunt instrument, such as a baseball bat or rubber pitchfork. I've never seen an industry try so hard to alienate it's customers.
  • Faraz has been interviewed by the Times, saying that they spent more like three days on the project and that the other two students (both unnamed, though both are apparently attending U.C.L.A.) barely used P2P file-sharing programs at all. Instead, they used AOL's popular Instant Messenger to receive song files from friends."

    The speech specifically said easily accessible websites, it didn't even mention p2p or im clients. Either way, they should arrest this guy and the kids he hired to do is dirty work.
    • The speech specifically said easily accessible websites


      I'm sure that Mr. Greene is probably one of the unwashed masses that assumes that everything on the Internet is the "web".


      I remember when being a hacker was not only cool, but legal too!


      -h-

  • Life and DEATH?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:09PM (#3127367)
    It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and true diligence to help our fans - that would be you - to embrace this life and death [my own empahsis here] issue and support our artistic community by only downloading your music from legal Web sites

    Geez, can't the music folks go back to "raising awareness" about other life and death issues like HIV and Breast Cancer? Seriously, life and death? Has this guy been reading too much of The Onion [theonion.com]? A statement like this completely undermines all of the actual life and death situations in the world, ones which Greene mentioned at the beginning of his speech.

    The only thing seriously in jeopardy is Mr. Greene's ability to continue payments on his Porsche as he watches his 1950's-era business model crumble under the weight of 80's-era technology that's finally come of age.
  • I mean seriously. This guy already made his (admittedly sensationalistic and unrealistic) point live, on tv, in front of all the corporate big wigs and 'important' people he wanted to.

    Do you really think anyone's going to notice an article refuting those claims, even if it is on the NY Times site, refuting his claims?

    These people (The RIAA types) aren't after verifiable truths and hard facts. They're after media-friendly catchphrases and meaningless FUD they can sow to get their way.

    Anything said in this article is going to be about as meaningful and have as much impact as those tiny size 8 retractions printed on the inside back of a tabloid after they've splashed the latest unsubstantiated rumour over the front cover in size 40 bold print.
  • It seems that a common theme for Content Control stories coming out this
    year has been (will be) how efforts by people like this to show
    the "evils" of technology will backfire due to their own basic lack
    of understanding of how the technology works and where it comes from.

    (Not to mention that his speech also served to make more people aware of
    how easy it could be for them to get online and share music)

    I know that is a little redundant, as it has been going on thru most
    of the "Information Age". But its coming to the point where
    this may be used more as a tool in and of itself - all we do is point
    out the interconnections in the business relationships between
    producers and providers, and then watch as people like Greene trip
    over thier own conflict of interest.
  • Credibility... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bonker (243350) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:12PM (#3127390)
    Music industry heads have long relied on the fact that money can buy credibility, especially from the two classes of people they're most concerened with... government regulators and performing artists. Before the music-sharing era, these were the only ones they *had* to be credible for.

    What RIAA heads like this guy and Hillary Rosen are demonstrating, however, is their complete and total lack of intelligence, wisdom, and understanding of the technology they're dealing with. MPAA's going through the same thing. DeCSS was supposed to be uncrackable, and I beleive in my heart that Jack Valenti and his buddies bought that hook line and sinker. When Jon J. cracked it, it was not just a kick in the movie industry's legal nuts, but a phenominal blow to their credibility. Record industry is going through the same thing right now with CD copy protection. Nothing they can do will prvent the ripping and encoding of CD's, even if MP3 traders have to revert to using non-digital capture methods. (Headphone to Audio-in port, anyone?) Despite this *obvious* problem with audio copy-protection, the music studios are trudging forward with poorly thought out, poorly tested, unworkable, and uneeded copy protection controls. This makes them look like idiots to the public.

    Articles like this are both promoting and refelcting the popular opinion that not only is the RIAA a bunch of idiotic cartoon bad guys, but that they *deserve* to be taken advantage of.

    The RIAA's worst enemy is not P2P, MP3, or even the people who trade audio files. The RIAA's worst enemy is itself.
    • I've got a new format for the music industry. Make CD's a bit larger, for example approx 12" Since the digital stream is so easy to copy, just make the bumps on this new disc at different levels to accompany different volumes, pitches, waveforms etc. To read this a conventional laser would not be useful, so a needle would have to be used instead. You could also save quite a bit of machine wear and tear by slowing the rotation of the disc to, oh about 33 1/3 revolutions per minute.

      What's that Mr Edison, its already been done. Oh well vinyl sounds better anyways.
  • Yay (Score:2, Informative)

    by rmadmin (532701)
    I did the math in my head after that wanker gave his speach, the numbers just didnt add up. I did something like,
    6000 mp3's/2 days = 3000 a day
    3000 a day / 3 peeps = 1000 a day per person
    1000 a day / 8 hours = 125 mp3's an hour
    which means about 2 mp3's a minute (on average) for 8 hours! I'm guessing they were on a bit more than the average speed of a DSL or Cable line. Anyways, glad to see it got out in the public.
  • So what's your point? That he exaggerated to prove a point? Or that he was out and out lying and you couldn't download 6000 songs for free off the Internet?

    I think what he was trying to show was that there is a huge amount of pirated music available on the Internet and anybody can get it. Of course, that's not really news.
  • That's a new one to me (I don't keep up with every law that goes through), but if it's on the books, can we press to have him prosecuted?

    He admits paying students to commit illegal acts, which falls under the RICO acts, and since one of them was a minor, there's probably several other laws he can be nailed under.

    I wonder if the Maryland AG's office has heard about this.
  • by rewdpost (187537) <.ude.tii. .ta. .dnasorp.> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:17PM (#3127421) Homepage
    Can you imagine how much people are going to hate them when they show back up on campus? I mean the look of fear on their faces when they were put on camera was priceless. "Hi kids, these are your peers and they're working for us to stop you from trading music, please don't hurt them" (now get a nice clear shot of all of their faces)

  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by leviramsey (248057) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:18PM (#3127430) Journal
    I wonder which OS he was using?
    Speaking about Mr. Greene, Mr. Faraz said, "He said it took two days to do all the stuff, and we did it for three days from 9 to 6 and left the computers on all night long, except we'd come back and the computers would be frozen."
  • New math (Score:5, Funny)

    by An. (Coward) (258552) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:19PM (#3127434)
    "He added that in two days the three students downloaded nearly 6,000 songs.

    "'Now multiply that by millions of students and other computer users, and the problem comes into sharp focus,' he said."

    Let's see, three students downloading 6,000 songs in two days...that's a thousand songs per student per day, or 365,000 songs per student per year...times millions of students (say fifty million, which was the last figure I recall hearing for the number of Napster users back before the RIAA killed it)...that's 18 and a quarter trillion songs per year!

    CD prices are approaching $20 for a disc that typically contains ten songs or so. So the music industry must be missing out on $36.5 trillion dollars in sales every year. Since their actual revenues are closer to $10 billion—a mere one three-thousandth of their potential—it's no wonder they're so upset about file sharing.

    • Worst (Score:5, Funny)

      by Pac (9516) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:47PM (#3127584)
      Think about how much the people who make the phisical CDs are losing. If all these misguided students were actually buying the CDs they steal, we would probably be mining the Moon, Mars and the Asteroids Belt for raw materials to make all these discs.

      And don't even get me started about the potential losses of the transport industry.
    • Re:New math (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UM_Maverick (16890) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:58PM (#3127641) Homepage
      Don't forget about all the bandwith it would use...

      18.25 trillion songs, at an avg of 4 megs/song works out to a little under 2,314,815 megs/second (assuming I didn't screw up the math)

      woah...where do I sign up for *that* connection?
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:22PM (#3127454)

    He WANTS to spread the meme that downloading music off the internet is illegal. If a warrant goes out for his arrest because he hired some people to commit the "crime" of downloading MP3's, then his point will have been made. Transferring an MP3 file between computers is not a criminal act -- UNLESS the recipient is not licensed to have a copy of that content.

    His implication that the results of hiring 3 people to do nothing but get MP3's all day long for $12/hr plus lodging can be extrapolated to represent the behavior of "millions of students and other computer users" is, of course, ridiculous.
  • Whats worse is, none of my freinds belive how easy it is! I have to download music all the time on to my hard drive just to demonstrate to them how far this has gone.

    I even have to listen to the songs I've downloaded all the time just to be sure these are in fact illegal songs.

    I think I should ask the music industry to help me out with a few bucks so I can continue educating the general public about this.

  • oh great... (Score:4, Informative)

    by dingleberrie (545813) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:25PM (#3127472)
    And I bet that he's not going to buy any music now.

    At 4 minutes per song, that's...
    (wait a sec...)
    over 16 days of nonstop music.

    At 75 minutes per CD, that's 320 CDs.
    At 15 bucks per CD that's $4800 in revenue
    (or $4500 in profit) that the record company
    has had stolen from them!

    My brother has worked at an independent CD maufacturing plant for 13 years (they used to do tapes). He repairs the duplication machines
    They handle programs, music CDs, etc. They often make shipments directly to the consumer.

    I recently asked him how much they charged to produce a CD today.

    He said "18 cents."

    I said "No, I mean with the case"

    He said "18 cents."

    I said "No, I mean with all the inserts and stuff."

    He said "That's included in the 18 cents."

    He wasn't kidding.
  • by ottffssent (18387) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:28PM (#3127482)
    Why download files of suspicious origin and quality from someone who might go offline in the middle of your download, when you can get them from friends who know what they're doing? I used a P2P client whose name I can't even remember anymore once but it sucked for those very reasons. I have a friend who runs a fileserver with about 50,000 tracks on it. They're all well-labeled, have ID3 tags, are encoded at good bit rates with good encoders, and he's not going offline without warning people first. Only friends have accounts on the machine, and he accepts logins only through SSH and file transfers only through SCP. There's no comparison between the level of service he provides and what a P2P client provides.

    P2P tools are just that. Tools. Like FTP, SCP, ICQ file transfer, AOL file transfer, &c. Their existence does not create piracy - it is just another way to do it. Resnet here experiences massively more traffic due to kazaa and audiogalaxy than FTP and SCP and I expect this is generally true. Combined with the fact that there's no money behind them, they are easy targets for the huge media companies. If AOL/TW and thee RIAA members were really serious, they'd sue AOL/TW and Microsoft too.

    I'm torn between wanting them to cut it out because it's just silly and wanting them to win and teach people to be a little careful and use encryption. Spreading packets all over the internet with your IP and the names of the copyrighted works you're downloading is just stupid. People are paying attention. My ISP told me flat-out that they've sold their souls (isn't that a good Slashdot phrase?) to Sony (among others, though only Sony was mentioned by name) who analyzes every packet they handle searching for copyrighted works.
  • Who watched the Grammy's anyway, once they announced they had cancelled emjay's performance?

    Now that would have been something worth watching, all jokes aside.

  • Send your emails of disgust to ron@grammy.com, barbd@grammy.com and heatherm@grammy.com.

    Here's some of the choice words I just sent them:

    "Burning, ripping and sharing is not killing music," Ken Waagner, a digital-media consultant in Chicago who was part of the recording academy's board of governors for four years, wrote in a letter to Mr. Greene. "Greed, stupidity and ignorance on the part of the policy wonks and further alienating the listener is the real threat to the business, and ultimately the artist's ability to be heard."


    Greed, stupidity, ignorance - apt descriptions of the entertainment conglomerates. We customers ARE NOT stupid, and we're onto your game. We know your game. Game's over.

    We look forward to seeing idiot savant Greene join old fart Jack Valenti in the Hollywood Hall of Shame.
  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @06:36PM (#3127533) Homepage

    This is like a modern voodoo doll:

    1. Select an MP3 (Metallica is usually the best choice)
    2. Create a new folder on your desktop, and put the MP3 in that folder.
    3. Open the folder, hit command-A (select all) and then command-D (duplicate selected files)
    4. Repeat the previous step until your hard drive fills up.

    You should be left with hundreds or more copies of the MP3. With each copy, you have STOLEN from the artist. With each copy, your artist LOSES MORE AND MORE MONEY. By the time you get to the end, each keystroke should be DRAINING THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS of THOUSANDS of DOLLARS!!

    If we all did this, we could instantly bankrupt any artist. For even more damage, move the MP3s to a CDR and repeat.

    • Windows version (Score:2, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515)
      would be ctrl-a ctrl-c ctrl-v and I guess on a linux box you'd just write a perl script :)
    • See? The recording industry is right. Steve Jobs and co. are very active participants in trying to inflict as much damage to media companies as possible. They even include AppleScript capabilities, so that this anti-capitalism could be completely automated. Just one click, and you can watch the entertainment industry crumble - just think (different) of the possibilities!
    • It's even more fun to do this to the movie industry.

      Here's a list of instructions, much like the ones you just gave, although they are written in a context-free language so that they can be interpreted directly by a computer as well as a person, to unencrypt the contents of a DVD - ugh, my head.

      THE POSTER'S BRAIN CONTAINS THOUGHTS WHICH QUALIFY AS CIRCUMVENTION DEVICES UNDER THE DMCA. THEREFORE, IT HAS BEEN ERASED. - YOUR FRIENDS, THE MPAA.

      What was I talking about? Oh, 40 days and 40 nights was such a great movie!
  • Let's not all claim ignorance and say that we don't realize that millions of songs are available at any given second thanks to technology, and let's not pretend that this isn't the sort of nirvana that music lovers and humanists have always wanted. Greene made a mistake on the number of days, and made a common mistake of equating the Internet (the network backbone) with the Web (a comparitively well-policed HTML protocol). Those aren't all that important.

    More revealing than anything is that in hiring children to break this law he showed just how little he thinks of pirating himself. Therein lies the dillema. Do you think these kids deleted the songs from their hard drives? Is it that horrible? It isn't bad for me to do it, it isn't bad for you to do it. But if everyone does it, then nobody gets any more music (arguable). In the USA, that argument has hardly convinced half of the population to get up and vote, and voting is free.

    While it would be an interesting twist, I don't wish jail upon Greene. I reserve that for Rosen. Sadly, though, they are both too rich to go to jail for something as trivial as this. Then again, if they really had the guts to set an example...
  • From the NARAS website:

    The show is now seen by more than 1.5 billion people in more than 175 countries, all celebrating the best the worldwide music community has to offer.

    From the U.S. Census website:

    According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Bureau of the Census, the total population of the World, projected to 3/7/02 at 22:46:01 GMT (3/7/02 at 5:46:01 PM EST) is

    6,210,026,610


    More than one quarter of the population on EARTH watched the grammy awards?
    No way...
  • by borgasm (547139) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:00PM (#3127651) Journal
    Greene needs to get his data straight. He specifically points to the usage of Napster, P2P, etc...as a direct correlation to record sales.(i.e. if Kazaa downloads increase, sales go down.) This is in fact not the case, since when downloads go up, their revenues follow the upward trend. Their sales have been higher than ever until 2001, and obviously economic factors and the 9/11 disaster accounted for this loss of revenue. The industry finally had a down year to blame downloads which have seemed to "help" record sales. But the question remains...Is the industry losing money that was never going to be spent in the first place?
  • by Jay Carlson (28733) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:04PM (#3127670)
    I was daydreaming in a meeting the other day. Somehow, the complaints about the length of the show and the finger-pointing sermon collided. So I had this vision:

    Rosen and Valenti's corporate masters suggest that because it's a music show, next year's rant should be a musical number. They've even got the rights lined up for the appropriate song, with a few modifications.

    A band launches into the Squirrel Nut Zippers [snzippers.com] song "Hell" [allmusic.com]; the two mouthpieces bound onto stage, dressed in tuxes, carrying canes. They sing:

    (Cue swing/calypso music)

    Hell
    Innnn the afterlife
    You could be headed for the serious strife
    Now you make the scene all day
    But tomorrow there'll be hell to pay [...]
    Oh, the D and the M and the C and the A,
    And the S and the S and the S-C-A
    Lose your net, lose your games
    Then get fitted for a suit of flames!
    (The committee in charge of coming up with this was delighted by how little they had to change, but they couldn't quite figure out how to change "suit" to "lawsuit" and still have it sound right.)
  • Recording music your own for friends (like via buddy lists described here) for free is covered under the fair use laws. It's when you provide music to people you don't know (and presumably wouldn't be on your buddy lists) that you're breaking the law.
  • by AndyChrist (161262) <andy_christ@yahoo.STRAWcom minus berry> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:06PM (#3127682) Homepage
    Using their methods for calculating estimated losses to piracy:

    3 people grabbed 6000 songs in 3 days. So that's about 666 per person per day.

    If we just for the sake of argument say that 10 million people are trading MP3s, that's

    10,000,000 x 666 = 6,660,000,000

    Songs illegally downloaded EVERY DAY!
    So, assuming 18 dollars per song, since people are only downloading decent songs and the industry standard is one good song per album...losses to the industry are:

    6,660,000,000
    x
    $18
    ------
    $119,880,000,000

    EVERY DAY!

    $43,756,200,000,000 every year!

    We can't let them get away with robbing THE ARTISTS of FORTY THREE TRILLION DOLLARS!
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:10PM (#3127699)
    You mean Greene is going to stop me from downloading pap shite like rock-disco-retards No Doubt and neo-plastic-earthy-tripe Dave Matthews?? How oh how will I get by without this putrid excuse for legit music?
  • by thumbtack (445103) <thumbtack@ju n o . com> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:16PM (#3127722)
    DMusic.com [dmusic.com] raised questions about the speed of the downloads and numbers way back on March 1st in this article [dmusic.com]

    They suspected that the test was faked, or done from dedicated servers, as even with broadband connections P2P filesharing is often much much slower. It was obvious from the beginning that the numbers didn't add up....
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @07:36PM (#3127786) Homepage Journal
    "...he RIAA estimates that - now listen to this - an astounding 3.6 billion songs are illegally downloaded every month."

    I know last year wasn't very good for the RIAA, but it seems like there'd be a larger chunk taken out of their profits if this were as damaging as he's trying to make it out to be.

    I think what's going to happen is that the RIAA is going to play this 'pity us' act for the next couple of years until it realizes it can't bend the law in their favor anymore. Eventually a new organization will form that will do basically what the RIAA does (finds and promotes talent...), and then make them big on the web.

    Frankly, I'm glad I'm not an investor for the RIAA. I'd be plenty hacked off. I can liken this to Intel and 3D accellerators. 3D accelerators put less processing on the main (Intel) processor and more on the add-in card. So when a gamer wants to upgrade their machine, an investment in a video card has better yields than an investment in a new processor. This means Intel could potentially get less money.

    Did Intel try to put a stop to 3D cards? Nope. The first thing they did was they tried to compete in that market. Unfortunately, their offering wasn't that great. Nividia kicked their buts basically. So what'd Intel do? They didn't try to pass laws that require computers to only use one brand of processors all across the board. They didn't accuse people of buying video cards instead of new processors of being theives or even disloyal. They didn't even muck around with the AGP standard to prevent these cards from reaching full potential. Instead, Intel worked with driver developers to make their CPUs talk more with the video card. Early in the 3D card game, the choice to make was which card do I want. Today it's 'which card/processor combination is ideal for me?'. Now I realize I'm oversimplifying what really happened, but instead of 'correcting my details', take away the point I'm making which is that Intel innovates to compete, instead of trying to buy legislature in their favor.

    What the RIAA should have done was taken Mp3 trading as a call to innovate. The simple fact of the matter is that audio is easy to capture and easy to transmit. So what do they do? Well, one idea would be to release a new format that has more capabilites. One real simple idea is to have music "DVD's" with music videos and other goodies on board. This creates at least a temporary problem with would-be hackers because they have new challenges to overcome to transfer the full experience into a web deliverable component. The more features they add to these disks, the harder it is to get a satisfactory piaratable copy out there that'd truely devalue the media.

    The RIAA could have been spearheading the MP3 player movement. They could have made a player that plays little chips/cards instead of discs, solving people's mobile needs. Maybe they could have created a new media that is smaller or can hold more.. or something like that. I dont know. The point is they could have done SOMETHING to try to compete. The idea that they think CD's should be all people listen to forever and ever seriously limits my estimation of how long they'll be around. If I were an investor, I'd be selling now. It's obvious this organization isn't trying to grow.

  • by Xunker (6905) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @08:01PM (#3127886) Homepage Journal
    Okay, so he lied. He was bait and he got ate and it's his own damn fault. What does this mean in real terms?

    Not a damn thing.

    How many people watched that speech? Million--Tens of millions--Maybe hundreds of millions. How many people know about him being debunked as a fraud? Perhaps a million if you stretch the figures.

    It's not a great leap to assume he willfully lied -- and why shouldn't he? It was a carefuly crafted gamble. So what if even half of the people who watched that speech believe he's a charalatan? He has still indoctrinated is message in the remainder of the people who don't know any better.

    He either lied or didn't bother to follow the real figures, not because thought he could get away with it, but because he knows that it doesn't matter if he gets away with it or not. Public relations people everywhere know that a lie is only a lie if you know about it.
  • by AugstWest (79042) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @09:01PM (#3128093)
    barely used P2P file-sharing programs at all. Instead, they used AOL's popular Instant Messenger to receive song files from friends."

    What exactly does this prove? The guy's point was how easy it is to hand music to other people over the internet, and how simple it is for people to acquire things that have never before been so readily available.

    Whoever wrote this is nitpicking to avoid the matter at hand.
    • What exactly does this prove? The guy's point was how easy it is to hand music to other people over the internet, and how simple it is for people to acquire things that have never before been so readily available.

      I disagree. I think that the "point" of this example is vague, to begin with -- this was a publicity stunt for the Grammys, nothing more or less. The students could have spent the three days playing Unreal for all that it really matters.

      In my opinion, the fact that no one is yet sure how the students got the music starts to get at the central issue. Did they get the songs "from easily accessible Web sites?" Did they get them via Napster or Gnutella? Did they get them from friends via AOL IM? Did they set up a public FTP server and have people transfer files? I don't know, and I don't think that it really matters.

      What record companies would like is a return to the time when the content could not be separated from the physical artifact. You want to listen to the new Chuck Berry song? You buy the actual plastic record -- no other options available. From the industry perspective, this was the perfect arrangement

      Since recording devices first became available to the consumer market, however, that arrangement has changed drastically. I myself once owned hundreds of 90 minute cassette tapes, filled with music that I may or may not have paid the record companies for.

      Yes, technological developments (drag-and-drop CD ripping and burning, mpeg compression, a worldwide computer network) have made illegally duplicated music more readily available, but to use an often repeated phrase, we aren't going to be able to cram the genie back into the bottle now.

      The various experiments with copy protected CDs, burners that won't write certain data, etc. seem thus far to indicate that a technological approach to restoring the content/artifact link may work in the short term, but that link will be broken again by future developments.

      The record industry has to approach this situation from a realistic business perspective: it has been decades since it was possible to prevent people from copying and sharing content. It may be possible to minimise this sharing, but not to eliminate it. I have the suspicion that record companies have to take that fact into account (if they haven't already) and start working on building some business models that reflect the current reality.

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