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Music Media

EMI Customer Relations Tells It Like It Is 1080

Posted by michael
from the bring-in-da-noize dept.
hype7 writes "The Register is running a story about the most outrageous email sent from a customer services rep at BMI in Germany to a customer who had difficulty playing a copy-protected CD in his CD player. One of the most stunning lines from the translation: "If you plan to continue protesting about future audio media releases with copy protection, forget it; copy protection is a reality, and within a matter of months more or less all audio media worldwide are copy protected. And this is a good thing for the music industry. In order to make this happen we will do anything within our power - whether you like it or not.""
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EMI Customer Relations Tells It Like It Is

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  • by nlinecomputers (602059) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:48PM (#4626933)
    but it was copy protected.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:35PM (#4627545)
      What I find interesting is that they make the baseless assumption that ALL blank CD-R's are being bought and used to create or copy music CD's that they didn't purchase.

      I personally use most of my CD-R's for games/programs that I didn't purchase.

      That and digital pictures, home movies, photo CD's, file backups.

      maybe 1 in 40 CD-R's I use contains any music at all.
      • by icewalker (462991) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:22PM (#4628142)
        I have to agree that a baseless assumption was made. It was the first thing that struck me as odd, assuming that all 250M CDR's (and let us not forget they said tapes as well) were used to record music. Well I have over 1000 of those CDR's and I can safely say I haven't recorded the first MP3 or copied a CD yet. DATA is what they are for and data is what I record. So make that 250M minus 1000 please!

        Oh and come off it. Please tell me what tapes they are referring to. Deos anybody use tape anymore except for their VCR, their digicam, or for their server's backup?

        As for ripping MP3's. Yup, I do it! And I don't have to swap out a CD all the time and the shuffle feature of XMMS is great! Oh, and you record company guru's, I still have the original CDs I ripped the mp3's from, and I don't have some P2P app installed either. So bit me! The second I can't listen to music paid for the way I want is the second you lose my business forever! Plenty of Indie bands out there not copy protecting their home grown CDs.
        • by yoink! (196362) on Friday November 08, 2002 @05:01PM (#4628993) Homepage Journal
          I too buy many CDRs, almost always in packs of 50 or more. For the most part, those CDs are used for music. It's not music I paid for, it's music I created, and recorded with my bands. I own the rights to that music and the rights to distribute it. So you can take my share out of your "pulled out of some wanker's ass" stastistics too!. Secondly I also use P2P. I use it to SHARE MY MUSIC. And in this case I do mean MY music. So although the majority of P2P users out there aren't doing the same thing, the blanket statements were made only serve the ignorant and the media (the parallels are so similar I won't even go there.) Besides, I don't buy your Inflatable Teen Doll of the Week hits anyway. Nuff Said.

          Yes eye no eye maid sum gram are miss steaks.
  • Oh well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:50PM (#4626956) Homepage
    Now I can't buy anymore CDs, whether the music industry likes it or not. Which of us is going to blink first?

    • Re:Oh well. (Score:5, Funny)

      by cmeans (81143) <cmeans&intfar,com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:53PM (#4627009) Homepage Journal
      Yes, it seems like that industry wants to "Copy Protect" itself out of business..."see ya!"

      • Re:Oh well. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:01PM (#4627117)
        Then they'll go and blame it on mp3s, ogg-vorbis and online file sharing. When the solution is out there. Stop ripping us off. Give us our fair use, and you'll stay in business. I stopped buying music when they began to push this issue.
        • Re:Oh well. (Score:4, Funny)

          by jafuser (112236) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:40PM (#4628323)
          The problem is, I think they're shooting for the goal of getting the government to tax all non-deaf people for the privledge of being able to hear.

          At some point, they won't even need to produce any new content... then they can fire all the employees/artists and just have the government forward the collected tax money directly to their shareholders's bank accounts...

      • Re:Oh well. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by letxa2000 (215841) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:21PM (#4627366)
        RIAA. Gotta hate them, gotta love them. They give you a day's worth of frustration, but they also give you a day's worth of humor. How often does an industry invest so much time, money, political and legal capital into driving itself out of business?

        My conclusion is that the RIAA *KNOWS* they are obsolete. Remember, the RIAA serves a DISTRIBUTION function. Sure, by controlling that function they were able to decide who made music and who didn't and set prices, etc. and build their empire. But at the end of the day, all they are are distributors to get music from the artist to the listener.

        Internet serves the EXACT same function. But since both artists and listeners can access the Internet, there literally is no middle man. The function on which the RIAA empire was built on has been made completely obsolete. Well, maybe not completely--not everyone has Internet yet, but in developed countries it's a matter of years before 90%+ of the population can download and burn their own music--if not at home at a local Internet cafe, etc.

        So at this point I think the RIAA knows this. I think they KNOW they are obsolete. They have two options: 1) Admit defeat now. 2) Use copy protection, lawyers, and politicians to maintain their empire for a few more years. After all, their empire is worth billions per year.

        Yes, the RIAA is going to put itself out of business. But with all their nonsense they might be able to extend their functional lifetime by a few billion dollars. In the end, they're history anyway--they might as well eek out a few more dollars if they can.

        I'm just waiting for ONE major artist (Madonna, Phil Collins, Elton John, etc.) to publically refuse to resign with the RIAA and to go to a pure Internet-based distribution system and playing concerts. Once one bails, the RIAA is going to fold like a house of cards. Don't know if we'll see a major artist bail in 2003, 2004, or 2005... but it will happen. It'll be fun to watch.

        • Re:Oh well. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rutledjw (447990) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:43PM (#4627648) Homepage
          I think you're right. The music industry has worked for years without any consideration for the consumer. The time is finally here when they'll pay. Although I think you missed a point. RIAA will lose power for 2 reasons:
          • One artist will bail and that will start a flood. There are several already in conflict with their labels over RIAA.
          • Quality. Music quality has dropped dramatically. This is reflected by plummeting sales. Even during the peak of Napster, the labels had record profits! And I don't think a "bad economy" is the issue, the consumer has been the ONLY redeeming feature in this economy for a while.

          If the product sucks, you're restricted from using it and your suppliers don't like you, there's going to be trouble. Quite honestly, that business strategy makes some of the dot-com nonsense look brilliant!
          • Re:Oh well. (Score:4, Funny)

            by MrEd (60684) <tonedog AT hailmail DOT net> on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:25PM (#4628174)
            Music quality has dropped dramatically.


            Another explanation: We're all getting older! Bah humbug! Nothing but noise!


            Mfg'ed bands suck as much as always, and there are certainly a lot more of them around these days. However, you will find lots of pretty good (though some would argue not terribly innovative) music being released by RIAA artists these days. If there has been a drop in quality I wouldn't characterize it as 'dramatic'.

            • Re:Oh well. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by aronc (258501) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:43PM (#4628346)
              Mfg'ed bands suck as much as always

              I think I would debate even this. The Monkees were about as manufactured as you can get back in the day and yet their music is still better than N'sync and their ilk. Why? Because at least back then the music Execs were in the business because they liked music. After the massive consolidations and managment changes involved therein the people running the show are now only concerned with making money. It doesn't matter to them if it's washing machines, chopped liver, or music that the company is selling so long as the bottom line is black.
        • Re:Oh well. (Score:5, Funny)

          by RagManX (258563) <ragmanx.gamerdemos@com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:11PM (#4628027) Homepage Journal
          I'm just waiting for ONE major artist (Madonna, Phil Collins, Elton John, etc.) to publically refuse to resign with the RIAA

          Didn't Courtney Love do this?

          Oh, wait, you said major artist. Sorry - my bad. :)

          RagManX
    • You will (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ACNiel (604673) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:35PM (#4627546)
      or both of your neighbors...

      or your both of your neighbors and all their children...

      People will keep buying music regardless. Their car cd-players, and home cd-players will play them, and if they don't, their new players will play their old CD's.

      Consumers are so used to getting screwed into buying "upgrades" to correct home made problems, they won't even blink.

      And people won't stop paying for music in the copy protected future anymore than they don't buy macrovision protected DVD's now.

      Even if everyone that read /. (not just the ones that think this is an infringment of their rights) didn't buy music anymore, from this day forward (which will never happen), the record labels would hardly notice it.

      If it is the only way music is being sold, it is the only way music is being purchased. And people won't stop purchasing entertainment.
      • Re:You will (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GeorgieBoy (6120) on Friday November 08, 2002 @04:17PM (#4628641) Homepage
        And people won't stop paying for music in the copy protected future anymore than they don't buy macrovision protected DVD's now.

        There IS a big difference in these two examples, however - DVDs have been using copy protection of some type since the beginning - with CDs this is a new problem, and the kind of problems people have playing crippled CDs is likely to far outnumber problems with incompatible DVD players, because the CD players are not aware of the methods being used to make them "copy-protected".
      • Re:You will (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ebyrob (165903) on Friday November 08, 2002 @05:25PM (#4629171) Homepage
        If it is the only way music is being sold, it is the only way music is being purchased.

        But *it* isn't the only way. You think the next few nifty punk/techno bands are going to sit back and give all their revenues to some big name label? You've got another think coming. Kids are a lot more savvy than you think, and they're also the ones who buy most of the music...
  • The attitude! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x AT snkmail DOT com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:50PM (#4626959) Homepage Journal
    If BMI adopts a "your concerns are worth sh~t to us" attitude and just tells people to accept inferior products, they will get a large public backlash.

    If this customer service rep was not just a malcontent and really was telling the customer what was passed down from management, BMI is shooting itself in the foot.

  • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:50PM (#4626962) Homepage
    Again, I can't believe I'm saying that!

    Paging the lawyers from Phillips! Paging the lawyers from Phillips! You need to get off your fat asses and sue EMI!
  • Whew (Score:5, Funny)

    by qaam (609419) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:51PM (#4626969) Homepage
    Boy am I glad that I have just been using Kazaa to get my music or this might really piss me off!
  • Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Digitalia (127982) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:51PM (#4626970) Homepage
    Complete and utter. However vile and loathsome record companies might be, I do not believe that any one of their drones would say such a thing. It sounds like typical FUD/satire/what-not. Can anyone establish the veracity of this supposed email?
    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cjpez (148000) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:24PM (#4627399) Homepage Journal
      The Reg article links to the (supposedly) original German email, and the english version is a "loose translation." Given the Register's usual spin, I imagine "loose" might be a very important word in that sentence. Someone who reads German could comment with more authority than I . . .
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

        by afidel (530433) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:41PM (#4627611)
        I read German pretty well (6 years of classes and two long trips to Germany) and this letter is written in a very informal way, so if this IS a legit response this guy is probably acting as an individual and not responding with official company line. But the Reg's translation actually does a pretty good job of getting the point across. The informal style is considered to be rude if you are not talking to a friend, and this author uses it liberaly. He also uses a fairly dismissive tone when discussing the origional letters concerns. My guess is this is a pissed of answerdroid who just gave his company some really bad press (article is on slashdot, the register, and fark, not pretty if you want to cultivate the digeratti) and will be out of a job tomorrow.
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

        by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon&gmail,com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:49PM (#4627739)
        I just ran the letter by one of my German colleagues, and the response I got back was: "I can't believe that this was sent to a consumer! If I'd receive a letter like this, I would consider it more than just insulting." She also asked me if I was just joking.

        I think that pretty much gets the point across. Them's fightin' words. :-)

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

        by kris (824) <kris-slashdot@koehntopp.de> on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:16PM (#4628088) Homepage
        I am german, I read the original Heise post and it is offensive and completely unacceptable. Even if this was the original party line inside EMI, it should never have been sent to a customer this way. Not in german, not in english, not in any other language.

        Kristian
    • by shren (134692) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:46PM (#4627691) Homepage Journal

      I was discussing a billing error with them last night. They said to me, flat out, "It doesn't matter who's right, we're a big company and there is nothing you can do to touch us. We say you owe us the money. Pay up." It's not just BMI. Corporations know they can roll right over any single one person and they are happy, happy to do it.

  • The scary part... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoshMKiV (548790) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:51PM (#4626974) Homepage Journal
    The scary part is that this comes from a Customer Service Rep. CS Reps don't formulate their own ideas, they get them from management. This is a clear indication of the corporate doctrine being taught. It must be in full swing to have reached this level, and for this action to be already taking place. Feared...
    • by Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:16PM (#4627306)
      I work for a multi-national corporation, with a lot of people in Germany. For the longest time I would get very offended by e-mails I would get from our German colleagues.

      For example, we would send around a proposal for how we thought we might do something in the future.

      A German colleague would respond with a tersely worded message to the effect of "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. If you don't do it this way, it will lead to the end of the company and we'll all be unemployed."

      After a while, and after actually meeting many of these people face to face, I discovered that's just their way of saying "Hmm, that's not a bad idea, but maybe you should consider this..."

      After reading the letter from the CSR, I realized that this is probably the same situation. It sounds really harsh, but it's not intended to be that way.

      There are huge cultural differences between America and Germany, and it's important to try and understand those differences before over reacting.
      • Hamburger theory (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rogersc (622395) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:55PM (#4627818) Homepage
        Someone who worked with American, German, and Japanese managers on a project explained this to me as Hamburger Theory. The American managers subscribed to a style of surrounding all criticism with positive remarks, like a hamburger is surrounded by bread. The German comments were all meat. The Japanese were all bread.
      • by mccalli (323026) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:01PM (#4627899) Homepage
        Yeah, but the customer was a German as well. He was shocked at the response, and he will have already made all necessary cultural allowances.

        It's worth skipping from The Register to the original German, then running the customer's letter through babelfish. You might get a better idea of why he got such a response - the letter talks about the inevitable hacking, and how BMG have lost him as a customer. Read it...he's being fairly inflammatory himself.

        Cheers,
        Ian

    • by realgone (147744) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:28PM (#4627457)
      No, no, no... the scary part is that the CD our German friend was writing EMI about [heise.de] in the first place was Toto's "Through the Looking Glass".

      If overly stringent copy protection means there's one less person in the world listening to Toto cover "House of the Rising Sun", can it really be all bad?

  • by George Michael (467827) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:51PM (#4626982)
    I never, ever, play CDs anywhere but on a computer. I therefore will never buy a CD I cannot play on a computer. I am not alone.
  • by RailGunner (554645) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:52PM (#4626989) Journal
    And we will respond in kind by not purchasing crippled CD's from retail stores. Surely someone in that company took a business class where they were taught that the best way to stay in business to to keep your customers coming back. Pissing people off like this doesn't get your customers back...

    Besides, their first attempt was defeated by a permanent marker. What will the next one be defeated by? A stapler?

    Oh well.. give the RIAA enough rope, and it will hang itself. It's already acting like it's having a nervous breakdown. And with the GOP running the Senate, Fritz Hollings (aka Senator Disney) has no chance in hell of getting his SCCCCCCCCCCA bill passed.

    Maybe I should buy some stock in Sanford (manufacturers of Sharpie markers)...

  • by fobbman (131816) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:52PM (#4626990) Homepage
    "All your Ace of Base are belong to us."

    Don't they realize that they more they antagonize the music-sharing community the harder they will work to circumvent the copy protection? Even on the artists that really suck. It's all about principal now.

    • That's the problem. You "Music Sharing" people think your doing the world a favor. I don't care how you state it....sharing music online via Kazaaa or whatever is wrong if it's copyrighted music. You have no principles.

      Now that I get THAT out of the way, I am against the copy-protection BS they are using because it makes it harder for me to put music in a form I want to listen to. I don't share and I have bought every CD I have made MP3's with. I still think the weak encryption that was included on DVD's is also wrong. I also agree that if they want to sell me a cd, make something I want to listen to. I don't want to listen to Dirrty from that slut Christina Agulera (she even looks Dirrty on her album cover. ICK!). Give me something that the artist came up with and not the record company.

      Sheryl Crow is very good and her music is at least original. I can listen to lots of her stuff and almost every song on the album is pretty darn good. Sure she has done remakes (Guns and Rose's Sweet Child of Mine ....very different then the Original), but if you ever look at Sheryl she's never something that she isn't. Christina's image make over has some style person's finger prints all over it. Then again, maybe she really is a slut.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:14PM (#4627288) Homepage Journal
      Don't you realize that they don't care how much you break their copy protection?

      Actually, that's not true. They care a great deal. If they can demonstrate to the US congress (yes, US... no one bothers trying to convice Europe or Asia of these things, as they will generally follow US lead, which may be sad, but is true) that copy protection keeps getting defeated and therefore they are "losing" lots of sales, they will be able to get legislation passed that requires CD-RW manufacturers to build in copy-protection.

      Notice that they don't give a flying crap about the largest source of illegal music in the world (mass CD copying). They care that joe average with his PC might be able to get some milage out of their old CDs or listen to music in the car that wasn't purchased specifically for car listening, instead of having to impulse-by the entire CD again. That's a threat, and regardless of how right or wrong it might be, they'll work until you can be shot for doing it.

      It's our job to find ways to make our politicians understand that this is not acceptable and that a sizable fraction of their constituents want to be able to listen to the music they bought.
    • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:15PM (#4627294)
      "Don't they realize that they more they antagonize the music-sharing community the harder they will work to circumvent the copy protection?...It's all about principal now."

      I made a comment like that once and somebody accused me of trying to rationalize theft. I got news to all of you who are thinking that: I have purchased a number of games at $50ish a piece. I've never downloaded a game from P2P. I'm not adverse to buying. The reason that the games industry isn't taking so much flack over protection is that they give you ways to preview your purchase. On PC's, you can buy demo CDs or download game demos off the web. On consoles, you can rent games at places like Blockbuster. They know how to treat their customers.

      The matter is not that people don't want to pay for their products, it's a matter of making a satisfactory purchase. I cannot take a CD back if I don't like it, I can't rent a CD, and they're trying to prevent me from previewing music on places like Kazaa. Well gee. Why would I spend $18 on something I might like? Letting people read magazines didn't put publishers out of business.
  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:52PM (#4626997) Homepage
    Here's the reality: a principled few may boycott. But can there said to be competition for music? If people like Band X's music, and Band X's music comes out on Label A, then a boycott of Label A is going to mean nothing for fans of Band X, and that's the end of the story. This isn't like cars, or beverages, or hard drives, or CPU's.

    Which isn't to say that a platform can't fail - vis. the Mini Disk. But there's a difference between a platform failing and trying to imagine that simple competitive pressue exists for musical content.

    • by Kwil (53679) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:42PM (#4627631)
      If Fan X of Band X can't play his CD from Label A in his Car CD player, and when he contacts the company finds the response is along the lines of "Tough luck." Fan X will then join the boycott of Label A, and probably Label's B, C, and D as well, because Fan X isn't aware of what's actually going on, so stops buying CDs altogether.

      Fan X is even likely to try out "that kazaa thing my kids/friends are talking about" in order to continue getting music.

      For this reason, Phillips shouldn't be the only one going against BMI, but also every single label that doesn't use copy-protection on their CDs, because it's quite possible that copy-protected CDs will ruin it for the entire industry.

  • Reality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ergo98 (9391) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:53PM (#4627005) Homepage Journal
    Firstly, The Register is the National Enquirer of the net. Take it with a huge grain of salt.

    Secondly, even if this letter were authentic, it could very well be the result of a disgruntled employee who had a really bad day and just didn't give a shit anymore. Unless someone can show me widespread responses along the same line, or a mandate that this is the official response, I'll take this as no more than one guy. While the truth is that they are actively pursuing copy protection, which is their right, I find the overly hostile and confrontational content of the letter incredibly dubious.
    • by amarodeeps (541829) <dave&dubitable,com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:06PM (#4627178) Homepage
      ...of the net, and I'm really sick of people saying so. They definitely have an editorial slant, but that is not the same thing. In fact, it is the opposite, because by making the comparison with the Enquirer you are suggesting that they will publish anything as long as it is flashy. This is not the case; they publish stories that are true to the values of the people who run the site. They are definitely _for_ consumers' rights, anti-bad business practices, and this is their consistent party line. They are constantly making astute observations on industry trends and questioning motivations of the large companies in the IT field. Oh, but they have a sense of humor--is that what you are having a problem with?

      In my experience, in the past they have had more journalistic integrity and readily admitted when they were wrong about something than many other organizations. But the fact is that they communicate regularly with many insiders in the IT field, they have been doing it for a while, and a lot of people who know what they are talking about both read the Reg AND supply them with information. Please stop spreading FUD about the Reg.

    • Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

      by thelexx (237096)
      The Reg is no Enquirer. How many haunted computers, Jesus-image-in-mouse-fuzz or flying chimp-boy bullshit type stories have you seen on there? How many stories on there have been patently false and untrue? Just because it isn't dry as your grandma boring like the WSJ doesn't mean it's crap. Did you RTFA? If so then I guess you think Heise is crap too.

    • Re:Reality (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ethelred Unraed (32954) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:31PM (#4627500) Journal

      You forget (or did you read the article and the links provided?) that the Reg does have evidence of other e-mails, some of which are also harshly worded.

      If you read the original e-mail (posted on Heise.de [heise.de] in German), the tone of voice in the original is not far off from their translated version. Indeed, they adopted a tone of voice that German bureaucrats *love* to adopt. Very imperious, arrogant and pointed, but at the same time they stay (as a German would say) "sachlich", meaning "factual" or "sticking to the facts". German bureaucrats love to insult you between the lines, while being able to claim that they were 'only' making statements of fact.

      Ah, another German that perfectly describes EMI's e-mail: "Scheinheilig". Means something like "holier-than-thou". And another word that most people will recognize: "Schadenfreude".

      In meagre defense of EMI, the person who e-mailed them to complain about their CD was at times a little rude (see the Heise post) -- but that does not excuse the snotty response they sent him back.

      I think I'm going to boycott EMI and BMG music from now on. Which is sad, since Beatles CDs are published by EMI, if I remember right, but I have quite a few Beatles CDs anyway (and plenty of cassettes).

      I'm not mad so much because I want to copy or rip CDs (though I do it sometimes for my own use), but what *really* ticks me off is the attitude that it's somehow my responsibility to make their damned crippled CD work in my Red Book standard (!) player, and if I can't do it, then I must be some kind of idiot.

      OTOH most of the music I tend to buy is usually marked "Nice Price" and is in the discount bins 'cos they were popular 10-20 years ago (man, I feel old). *sigh*

      I doubt The Man would bother copy-handicapping them...

      Cheers,

      Ethelred [grantham.de]

  • And to think... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mooman (9434) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:53PM (#4627008) Homepage
    how much grief Garth Brooks took when he protested people reselling used cds...

    I think we have a new "piss off the public" " king-of-the-hill now...

  • by mhesseltine (541806) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:55PM (#4627026) Homepage Journal
    If however it becomes more difficult, and finally impossible, then refuseniks will be driven back to recording from the audio output.

    I know people have mentioned it before; but if you listen to some of the 128kb MP3 files out there, a recording taken from the headphone jack could be an improvement. Rather than fight copy protection, I think we should educate the "pirates" as to a good encoding system (Ogg, LAME MP3)

  • by jsimon12 (207119) <tzzhc4NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:55PM (#4627028) Homepage
    Why don't we simply boycott CD's, it would take a lot of effort and restraint by people, but I think if we banded together and worked towards a common goal we could send a message to the RIAA and record companies. Belly aching about how they shouldn't do this does absolutely no good. We need to stand up in mass against the recording industry and tell them "No we will not be treated like criminals, we will only buy CD's that work in any equipment and the US courts have shown time swapping to be legal".

    Lets do something about this. Something other then complaining and giving up.
    • Need to be tagged. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bstadil (7110)
      The Boycott need to be tagged, otherwise it will either drown in the random fluctuations of the market or as one poster has already pointed out be part of a vicious circle seen from the behemoth's side. "lower sales == more piracy"

      If there is an EF equivalent in Germany, maybe they would be willing to accept and publish specific donations. Specific not in the sense that they need to spend the money on so and so, but donations in the name of: F*** EMI or maybe something a little more political correct.

  • by Windcatcher (566458) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:56PM (#4627041)
    To paraphrase the NRA:

    You can have my money when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
  • OH well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raul654 (453029) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:56PM (#4627044) Homepage
    1) Copy-protection on CDs is a losing battles. Computers can always be modified to get around copy protection schemes. And even if they can't, there will always be the "analog" hole. I can always take an embedded device like a CD player and pipe it straight into my sound card. 99.9% fidelity, copy-free recording.

    2) None of it matters, because if one person buys a copy protected CD, does the above, and puts it on p2p, the pee-in-the-pool effect kicks in, and the copyprotection-free version will be around forever.
    • analog hole? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MemeRot (80975) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:14PM (#4628063) Homepage Journal
      Why bother with going thru analog?

      I have a couple of these [hollywooddj.com] at home. They supplement my turntables, mainly for when I only have a song on cd or need to use something I can only find in mp3 format. They're dirt cheap nowadays, under $100. Not great for dj-ing, but they will play ANYTHING. I had a cd I stepped on that cracked almost in half (a crack running from the center all the way to the outside edge) and it didn't even skip. I didn't realize the thing was cracked until I tried to rip a copy of it. Doh! I had copy protected it! But fortunately the cd player itself has a digital output, so I just ran it into my friend's Audigy. I had to record it at 1x speed obviously, but I got a digitally perfect recording. As more people get dvd players and other gizmo's with digital output, sound cards with digital input will explode in popularity. The most copy protection can offer the music industry is that a couple years from now people won't be able to rip at 16x, but they'll be able to copy at 1x. A lot of you out there may have an Audigy or Extigy already. Do you also have a dvd player? I'm sure your dvd player can play cds, so you already have a means of creating digitally perfect copies of protected cds.
  • by malkavian (9512) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:57PM (#4627050) Homepage
    With all the hype surrounding Microsoft and Sony wanting to place console/PC style hardware at the heart of every home's entertainment systems (taking on the role of the CD/DVD player), I wonder how long it's going to take the non-recording big boys to turn around, and start complaining that the recording industry is about to ensure that their plans are being rode roughshod over...
    Also, considering that most people who buy stuff want it to work anywhere and everywhere, I wonder how long it'll take the general public to simply stop buying, as it's no longer 'safe' to do so..
    Especially with some of the new laws in the EU, and the UK being put forward as also written on The Register [theregister.co.uk]. And if people buy even less than they did before they protected the media, who are they going to blame? Perhaps this is a case of things needing to get worse before they get better, and perhaps even be a case of the big recording industries shooting themselves in the foot and crippling themselves..

    Malk
  • Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:57PM (#4627056)
    The hubris of that email response is pretty incredible.

    Anyone want to take bets on the one straw that will break the consumer's backs?

    Personally, I think it will come when people regularly cannot play discs in their cars. Or PlayStations/Xboxen. There's a lot of 'convergence' devices out there. Furthermore, in the car example, many manufacturers are actually using CD-ROM mechanisms in dashboard players simply because they are cheaper and more error-tolerant (except of course, in the case of purposeful errors introduced by the record companies).

    Ph33r my mighty analog plug, you slack-jawed marketroid fuckwits.

  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06.email@com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:58PM (#4627068)
    Screw you buddy. You're an idiot and a thief and if you ever complain again we'll have you arrested. Now smile as we grease you up.

    With customer service like that, how can anybody complain? (without getting arrested, I mean).

  • by daoine (123140) <moruadh1013@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:59PM (#4627077)
    There are 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes bought and used this year for copying music in comparison to 213 Million prerecorded audio media.

    I'm always curious to find out how they get stats like this. Where do they get the 250 million blank CDRs and tapes number? Sales alone is rather inaccurate, as it fails to account for data and photo CDs, as well as what *could* be considered legitimate backup CDs.

    But obviously, all CDRs that are purchased are for the sole purpose of piracy...

    • by reverse flow reactor (316530) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:24PM (#4627409)
      There are 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes bought and used this year for copying music in comparison to 213 Million prerecorded audio media. This means the owners are only being paid for 46 per cent of the musical content. For a comparison: In 1998 almost 90% of all audio media was paid for.

      Yeah, This assumes that nobody ever backed up any data, noone saved their work to CD, no digital photographers kept their pictures, no videographers saved threir work to CD, and that the single use for CDrs is to pirate music. The funny thing is, this is a completely garbage statement. All this statement means is that they have no clue what CDr's are used for, and would rather spout off than figure out just how many ACTUALLY are used for music.

      I would really like to see someone do a study of just how many CDrs go to data and how many go to music (pirated vs fair-use categories). When someone has some quality data on this, then tell me about music pirates. Until then, quit flapping your lips and work on your study.

      Far and away most of my CDs that I burn go to my own content. We have a digital camera, and at full quality, you can fill a CD with photos in a weekend. I regularily backup up my entire system to CDrs. Neither of these has anything to do with music.
  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:59PM (#4627081)
    As a techie, I am quite confident I will never have a problem getting my music for free. With kazaa and my cd-rw, I havent bought a CD in years (come get me, jackasses). Even if I did buy a copy-protected CD I am sure I could break it (if I can hear it, I can rip it, duh).

    My grandmother (and any other AOL user, really) on the other hand, if she had the experience mentioned on the register, she would be pretty much out of luck. So, this policy really only hurts the non-tech-savvy.

    so BMI hates my grandmother
    From now on, I am going to make a point of trying to find BMI stuff to download off kazaa. Guess I better learn to like n'stync
  • by cmeans (81143) <cmeans&intfar,com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:59PM (#4627082) Homepage Journal
    As I recall it (Lotus 1-2-3) started out without copy protection...then when they (Lotus) thought they saw a lot of poeople stealing their work, they implemented various forms of copy protection...all of them caused legit users problems they didn't want...and Lotus eventually dropped the copy protection...

    I think we can look forward to the same with the music industry.

    As Mark Twain once said (something like), History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

  • by niola (74324) <jon@niola.net> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:00PM (#4627090) Homepage
    I have for the most part been on the side in this issue. People I knew who downloaded free music I used to encourage to buy the music they really like so that the artists get their cut.

    Not anymore. I have a CD collection of well over 300 CDs I have bought over the past ten years. I am no longer going to buy ANY pre-recorded music until the industry stops treating good, responsible consumers like myself as criminals.

    I am going to catalog my CD collection and put it on eBay. I will donate the proceeds to the EFF.

    I will send the link into /. when I am ready.

    --Jon
  • by Amadaeus (526475) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:00PM (#4627098) Homepage

    Branding all customers as pirates, giving out terse PR statements, and not providing satisfactory responses are just consequences of the record companies having exclusive access to popular media.

    Look at the airline industry: polite, apologetic, and responsive. Why? There's hundreds of competitive airlines out there.

    Look at the Record Industry: rude, unresponsive, and completely devoid of PR sense -- Consequence of record companies colluding with each other record companies to maintain their monopoly.

    There ARE avenues of competition, such as pay-per-use Internet media distribution, but they nixed it at governmental levels because it threatens their monopolistic attitude.

    What record companies don't understand is that if they treat consumers with respect and ship products at reasonable prices to compensate for a good piece of recorded media, consumers would be more inclined to purchase such products instead of downloading it off of Kazaa. What's worse is that these "state of the art" copy protection measures are so breakable that they tend to show up on Kazaa in no time flat.

  • by mrkurt (613936) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:00PM (#4627102) Journal
    I don't really buy a lot of CDs, nor do I get a lot of music online. The reason: some of the acts that the record cos. put on platters totally s*ck. The most salutary (and ironic) effect of this trend toward copy protection of CDs, movies, etc. would be for people to drop out of the slavish worship of mass culture-- the top-down delivery of music, movies, literature, and news. Whether it's because you can't afford it anymore, or because you are disgusted with their antics, it is increasingly becoming an attractive alternative. Wouldn't it be refreshing for us to drop a dime on a local club, where we can hear a band play live music? Hell, even if they are covering someone else's tunes, it would be better than stuffing the pockets of greedy record companies, who feel they owe us nothing and apparently think they own us. We owe them nothing.
  • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:01PM (#4627111)
    ... I have just recently implemented wallet-protection technology. It completely prevents the Record Labels from recieving any money from within my wallet. This radical step is necessary because their business practices force me to tightly control where my money goes. Only legitimate businesses should recieve money from people's wallets.

  • by CormacJ (64984) <.gro.ahsatan-sirob. .ta. .camroc.> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:04PM (#4627145) Homepage Journal
    1. CD's get copy protected
    2. People can't play these CD's and stop buying new CD's
    3. The music business sees the drop in sale and assumes more piracy
    4. They encrypt CD's differently
    5. Goto 2

    It's a vicious circle....
    • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:28PM (#4628203) Homepage Journal
      1. Video recorders appear on the market
      2. MPAA claims it will go out of business
      3. MPAA claims studios will go under, attempts to royalty/tax VCRs and blanks tapes fails
      4. Copy protection is developed and encoded on most tapes
      5. About 50% of VCRs can copy macrovision encoded tapes
      6. New VCRs are made with faster AGC circuits, so they can't copy macrovision
      7. Few people cared, and the tiny fraction that did purchased circumvention devices which ultimately had little or no measurable impact on the market.
      8. Studios discover (by accident) that many people will buy at $20, rather than rent, movie prices drop
      9. Harry Potter is released without Macrovision, sales are increadible anyway
      10. Studios make about 1/2 their money from video sales and rental.

      Then again, maybe "the internet changes everything", but in the case of Macrovision, most of the VCR manufactures built their recorders to respect the macrovision signal.

  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:04PM (#4627154) Journal
    From the article:
    There are 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes bought and used this year for copying music in comparison to 213 Million prerecorded audio media.

    I'd like to see where these numbers come from. Personally, (yea I know, I shouldn't put my personal anecdotes on top of the population.) I have bought nearly 2000 CDRs for myself and school.

    For school, we put our "Publication/School Newspaper" on the CD and give it to students for a keepsake. For my private use, CDRs are a cheap easy server backup format. Toss in a CD. scribble a date and put it on a spindle. If/when I need to roll back my home network server. viola.There it is.

    Have I ever used a CDR to copy a commercial Music CD? Yes. Once. I have a Vitamin C CD (It was a gift--honest) and it wouldn;t play in my CD Player. So I ripped it (methinks there was copy protection on it) and burned it to a CDR. Viola. Now I can listen to the CD that was rightfully mine to listen to.

    When The music industy pays to upgrade my listening equipment so that I can listen to their music, then maybe I'll consider not complaining.
  • by mcwop (31034) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:04PM (#4627156) Homepage
    "E.M.I." by the Sex Pistols

    There's unlimited supply
    And there is no reason why
    I tell you it was all a frame
    They only did it 'cos of fame
    Who?

    E.M.I. E.M.I. E.M.I.

    Too many people had the suss
    Too many people support us
    Un unlimited amount
    Too many outlets in and out
    Who?

    E.M.I E.M.I E.M.I

    And sir and friends are crucified
    A day they wished that we had died
    We are an addition
    We are ruled by none
    Never ever never
    And you thought that we were faking
    That we were all just money making
    You do not believe we're for real
    Or you would lose your cheap appeal?
    Don't judge a book just by the cover
    Unless you cover just another
    And blind acceptance is a sign
    Of stupid fools who stand in line
    Like

    E.M.I E.M.I E.M.I

    Unlimted edition
    With an unlimited supply
    That was the only reason
    We all had to say goodbye
    Unlimited supply (E.M.I)
    There is no reason why (E.M.I)
    I tell you it was all a frame (E.M.I)
    They only did it 'cos of fame (E.M.I)
    I do not need the pressure (E.M.I)
    I can't stand those useless fools (E.M.I)
    Unlimited supply (E.M.I)
    Hello E.M.I
    Goodbye A & M

  • Open Letter to BMI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:06PM (#4627181) Homepage Journal
    Dear BMI,

    While you are busy copy protecting your stable of has-beens, boy bands, and warmed over focus group music, I will be investigating the wonderful world of non-label bands.

    For every over-produced single that your 'A&R' people put out there for the clueless masses, there are two *albums* by talented, REAL musicians who believe in what they do.

    Sure, they don't have the marketing power that your big company has, but while you are lumbering around trying to pin the tail on the donkey, you will find that the party is over and you missed it.

    I will continue to seek good music that I can legally download, make good music that others can legally download, and push good music that everyone can legally download.

    There is plenty out there. It might not be as easy to find as your latest Clear Channel release, but it's there. You are over. Your time is done. You won't see me at the wake.

    I'll be listening to music.

    Sincerely, teamhasnoi

  • upgrade? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ocie (6659) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:07PM (#4627188) Homepage
    At first there were records and they were good. You could easily seek to any song, but they weren't very portable. Cassette tapes were a step forward in this respect, so people switched. Later on there were CDs which are just as portable as cassettes with the added benefit of seeking. For the average music listener, 8 track, DAT and reel to reel offered no advantages and they sort of died out.

    Now the music industry wants to change formats to encrypted digital disks. What are they offering us to switch? Extra content? Digital liner notes or cover art? DVD-esque interviews, band commentary? The disks aren't even a new color or shape for crying out loud. Hopefully people won't rush out and buy new players "just because".
  • Used CDs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Krieger (7750) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:07PM (#4627189) Homepage
    Wave of the future. Get all the music you want, without copy protection, and without those obnoxious high prices. What a concept. Quite frankly I've always been more interested in their music catalogs, only the very occasional band makes me want to go out and buy a new CD.

    Also of note is that this is going to be a European experiment. So at least for the moment the US will be copy protection free. But it is probably worth boycotting BMG anyways, if their record sales completely erode, maybe they'll consider different policies.

    I guess I'll also have to cancel my BMG music club account too.
  • by Black Art (3335) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:07PM (#4627195)
    It used to be that I did not care which music label I purchaced from, I just bought music of artists I like.

    Now I check.

    "If it is from BMI, I will not buy."

    Since the music from the big firms is so much crap, I am down to two or three artists on those labels anyways.

    There is LOTS of good music locally that does not have the DRM crap and is actually worth listening to. (And when i buy their albums, I know that the musicians are getting paid.)

    The copy protection is not much of a hinderence. The programs I use to rip to MP3 or OGG have not choked on anything yet. Since I only listen to music on my computer, I will continue to convert stuff I own to a usable format no matter what the RIAA says.

    But I refuse to buy crippled discs.
  • by LordOfYourPants (145342) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:07PM (#4627200)
    With bullet-proof copy protection now available, I should now be able to buy a CD-R in Canada without paying any tariff that goes to the record companies, right?

    I mean.. that was the whole purpose of the tariff in the first place. To give back some money to the record labels that were losing money from dubbing of CDs that people would buy otherwise.

    What are the odds of the tariff being eliminated? I'd say about the same odds of the GST being eliminated.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:08PM (#4627209)
    Mozart, besides of being one of the worlds greatest composers, had the ability to listen to a piece of music and repoduct it word for word note to note, from only one listening. Perfect Pitch, and Photographic memory. If he was alive today, He would be thrown in jail for breaking the DMCA, Sience he instantly copies all that he hears into his brain.
  • by A.Soze (158837) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:09PM (#4627211)
    Here's the bottom line, like it or not. The ratio of us (computer types, you know, educated...) and them (everyone else) is about 50:1 in their favor. Why is that important? (Warning: I'm probably going to offend some with this...)

    As long as an item, be it copy-protected CD, DVD, PS2 game, etc.. is sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and the like, a boycott will never succeed. If all of us stopped buying CDs tomorrow, Cletus T. Bohunk would still go out and buy his Fullscren copy of Spider-Man. He'd still by the Allman Bros. Greatest Hits (no offense to fans), and its not going to matter if it works in his computer, because he doesn't use that to play music like we do! He puts it in his $49 DVD player and listens to it through his 20 year old Magnavox TV speakers. Or he puts it in the $20 boom box he also bought from Wal-Mart. While I agree that if CDs stop playing in cars, there will be a huge outcry from the public, calling for boycotts simply won't work in such a small community as ours...

    (Yes, I realize it isn't a SMALL community. But in the grand scope of US vs. the population in general, we don't measure up.)

    • As long as an item, be it copy-protected CD, DVD, PS2 game, etc.. is sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and the like, a boycott will never succeed. If all of us stopped buying CDs tomorrow, Cletus T. Bohunk would still go out and buy his Fullscren copy of Spider-Man. He'd still by the Allman Bros. Greatest Hits (no offense to fans), and its not going to matter if it works in his computer, because he doesn't use that to play music like we do!

      Ahh yes, you are correct. However, with this new copy protection technology, the new "CDs" won't play in the old equipment. While you and I are more likely to be able to afford to run out and buy a new CD player, Cletus probably can't.

      This will be their downfall.
  • Independent Artists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jelizondo (183861) <jerry.elizondo@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:10PM (#4627225)

    I recommend that you guys read, if you haven't, Courtney Love's speech [salon.com]about the labels and artist's pay.

    I sincerely believe that it will happen: artists will go independent or to new label companies that cater to the fans and break the business process for the major labels.

    The software industry tried many years ago copy-protection and mostly it didn't work. Only some holdouts like AutoCad remained copy-protected. Now MS is trying again and I doubt they will succeed.

    Artists need to be paid. Period.

    But I don't think we need to make some un-talented sons-of-a-bitch rich in the process. We want the music from the artist and the artist needs our money to be able to dedicate him/herself to art. If we cut the middleman, both the fan and the artist benefit.

  • by asv108 (141455) <alex@phata[ ]o.org ['udi' in gap]> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:12PM (#4627251) Homepage Journal
    Right now, I purchase all my Cd's and then rip them myself for quality reasons. If people can't rip the music they buy, they will stop buying and turn to P2P as the only way to get music in the formats they need. When audiophiles can't rip the CD's they buy, this will encourage the development of a P2P service that caters to high quality music files and most importantly, the ability to download an whole album in one click.

    Record companies need to figure out that they do not dictate demand, I guess they've become delusional due to their oligopic power, but sooner or later one company will figure it out and the rest will follow. The consumer wants digital music formats that trust the consumer. If the consumer does not have the ability to convert the music to different media and formats, they will not buy it.

  • by SplendidIsolatn (468434) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .ntalosididnelps.> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:13PM (#4627265)
    Ok, I'm going to say this plain and simple. We don't matter to them. The slashdot crowd doesn't matter. We can sit here and write about all these wacky protests we're going to do. How many people actually buy crippled CDs, open them, then return in principled disgust. I know I haven't. I know none of my friends have. Frankly, I don't know one person who has returned a crippled CD to a store because 'it didn't work'.

    I can dig your music. Most of the people who write about their fav bands like indie stuff, or local, regional bands. That's cool. I don't think too many Slashdotters have front row tix for Pink or Justin Timberlake. Those are the acts that sell the majority of the CDs. Try explaining to a 12 year old girl with $20.00 burning in her pocket why she shouldn't buy the Britney Spears CD all her friends have because it's 'crippled'. It plays in her walkman and that's all she cares about. The worst part is, if it doesn't play in her player, she'll buy a new one.

    Articles like this don't surprise me. To the informed crowds, all 2% of us, they might as well rent out big billboards and post a big "F*ck you" for all to see. We're not their bread and butter in their short term vision. Keep slapping a belly-baring shirt on a 17 year old with golden vocal cords and you'll never run out of $$$.

    So in protest, we download the specific music we want. Morals or not, most people have done it or still do. It just adds the fuel to the fire. They cite pointless statistics about dropping sales. To us it's because the music might suck. As long as they keep putting the words File-sharing and Kazaa in the press-releases, people will assume the two are related, and legit file sharing gets screwed.

    They won't go out of business because I don't buy their CDs. Or you don't buy them.

    Start getting the 11-14 year olds to stop needing their N'sync fix and then you're onto something. I hate to say it, but with as much knowledge and purpose as we may have, we're no match for teenieboppers with mommy and daddy's money.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:15PM (#4627293) Homepage

    You do three things when a disc won't play on a standard player because of copy protection:

    1. Insure that the disc has the CDDA label on it, that you legitimately bought it and that it's a standard player (car stereo, home stereo, etc.) and not a computer drive. Basically give the music guys no toehold at all to call you a pirate, unless they want to claim that playing an original purchased CD on your stereo is piracy.
    2. Return the disc to the store as defective.
    3. If the store refuses to exchange it for a working disc, or refund your money if they can't find a working disc, file a complaint about the store with your local government's consumer protection office. Don't treat this as an intellectual-property issue, that's playing into the music industry's hands, treat it as a defective-merchandise issue where the warranty and related issues are much more clear-cut and much more in your favor.
    When stores start getting in legal hot water for defective merchandise and failure to obey warranty laws, their legal departments will take notice and have a talk with the music industry sales reps. Even the big chains will drop labels rather than take the legal heat on a large scale.
  • fuzzy math (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sv0f (197289) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:20PM (#4627347)
    From the letter:

    There are 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes bought and used this year for copying music in comparison to 213 Million prerecorded audio media. This means the owners are only being paid for 46 per cent of the musical content. For a comparison: In 1998 almost 90% of all audio media was paid for.

    In other words, they believe that without the availability of blank CD-Rs, they would have sold 463 million CDs last year. Which is to say that without piracy, the annual growth in CD sales over the past 3-4 years would have been between 20% and 30%.

    I assume that they're correct because they're so smart and all. Perhaps the world economy would have skirted the current recession if it wasn't for those bad pirates stealing profits from helpless corporations?
  • by MEK (71818) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:22PM (#4627380)
    all confused in this thread.

    BMI is the Broadcast Music institute, one of the bodies that license the use of composers (or the people to whom composers assign their rights):

    http://www.bmi.com/

    EMI is a recorded music seller, and a music publishing company, based in London:

    http://www.emigroup.com/

    BMG is the Bertelsman Music Group, a different company in the same business as EMI, whose headquarters is now in New York City (but used to be in Germany, once upon a time):

    http://www.bmg.com/

    MEK
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:27PM (#4627433) Journal
    Ok, first of all, the law of technology is that for every protection technology that is invented, there are quickly numerous ways to defeat that technology. This one was taken out with a 20-cent Sharpie if I remember correctly.

    Second of all, only the big labels with lots of money are going to copy protect their CDs. It's not like the copy protection they're implementing is FREE. It was invented by someone who no doubt patented it and is licensing it to the CD makers (which, consequently, raises the price of CDs).

    Personally, I don't care if Britney Spears CDs are copy protected - nor CDs from other no-talent hacks who claim to be artists. Also, I think this protection scheme could be a great instrument in the downfall of such crappy music[sic]. Afterall, teenagers are probably the biggest pirates of this stuff, and it's not like they have money to buy the CDs if they can't copy them, so it can only result in less proliferation of this garbage. Eeeeeexcellent.

    There's lots of great music to be had out there, and you can have it without giving up your Fair Use Rights.

    Just to name a few...
  • by demo9orgon (156675) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:41PM (#4627613) Homepage
    Our faithful parent has been handed a list of desired media by their spouse. They go to one of the big media retailers, like Sam Goody (is there a listerine for the brain...I hate that place!), collect the desired titles and endure the latest R&B female vocalist performing an orgasm over the PA system (shudder) while waiting at the counter.

    "Hi, are you ready to check out?"
    "Yes, uhm, could you tell me if this," the customer holds up the first title for the clerk to see, "is copy protected?"
    The clerk has this "uh-oh" look and nods.
    "Yes," the clerk hesitantly replies trying to avoid the attention of the other clerk who is busy ringing up someone else's order.
    The Customer holds up each title and each time the clerk nods, looking less happy as the customer puts them in a seperate pile, until at last there's only the pile of copy protected titles.
    "Well, it was nice shopping. See ya." The customer shrugs.
    The clerk watches as the customer walks away from the counter, leaving the small pile of titles, probably near $200 worth, sitting on the counter.

    The worst part...if this kind of thing happens a new policy of ignorance will emerge, where the clerks will simply say they don't know or can't say. And then the store will refuse to accept any media for refund or exchange once it's been opened.

    Oh, and don't forget, there's always a charge for refunding purchases made with some form of plastic, so there's going to be many people who will simply "eat it". Especially the passive cattle with plastic in this great land of diminishing returns.

    Cheers.

  • by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:54PM (#4627803) Homepage Journal
    From EMI letter: There are 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes bought and used this year for copying music in comparison to 213 Million prerecorded audio media. This means the owners are only being paid for 46 per cent of the musical content. For a comparison: In 1998 almost 90% of all audio media was paid for. Even without a degree in economics everyone should realise that such trends will result in the music industry ceasing to exist.

    [breaks out calc.exe.... tap-tap-tap...] OMG! By similar calculation, I calculate that, allowing for deaf people, there are 12 Billion ears on this planet used for listening to EMI cd's, in comparison with the only 50 million or so microphones in the world. That means 99.995833% of all the world's hearing power is used for EMI music, but EMI's 1996 sales were still only about £2.7 billion. That puts the entire music industry's annual sales for 2002 at about £3 billion. Therefor, each individual ear only pays about £0.25 annually for the more than 213 Million CD's EMI gives to them. That's £0.00000000117370 per CD. Now subtract the greedy musician's 15% royalties, and poor EMI has only pulls in £0.00000000099764.5; not even enough to afford a spot of tea to quench their thirst after a hard day's work.

    Oh, and I DO have a degree in Economics [drew.edu], but I didn't use one bit of it to write the preceding rant.
  • by Hrothgar The Great (36761) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:17PM (#4628096) Journal
    It should be fairly simple for most people to boycott the recording industry, if you really want to, because so much good music is out right now, right in front of you, on independent music labels. These labels are barely holding their financial heads above the water, so I would certainly say that they could use your/our support much more than the big 5 ever could.

    Let's start with someone you may have heard of: Slobberbone [slobberbone.com]. These guys tour constantly (they were just in my town Wednesday night for the 6th or 7th time in about 2 years). Though no recording can really do their live shows justice, they manage to cram more of their immense musical talent into each subsequent album they produce. They are really an amazing rock band, and you should definitely listen to them or go see them.

    How about another example? Here you go: Kirk Rundstrom: Blue China (review) [rockzilla.net] - Kirk Rundstrom, lead singer/songwriter/guitarist of the bizarre bluegrass band "Split Lip Rayfield" is out on his own now, and the albums he's putting out these days are completely insanely good. Seriously. I won't do him as much justice as the review I've linked here, but I will tell you that what this guy does with rock and bluegrass is completely different than anything else that has ever been recorded. His new album manages to sound entirely different even from his own usual style, which in my opinion shows a growth sadly missing in nearly all of the RIAA's "artists".

    Don't forget to visit this site as well: Bloodshot Records [bloodshotrecords.com] - Maybe you missed the whole alt-country genre when the recording industry thought it was going to be the next big thing and signed a whole bunch of bands like the Old 97's, Ryan Adams, Uncle Tupelo/Wilco/Son Volt, and so forth. This style of music (called "insurgent country" by Bloodshot) has already passed through a brief, sort of popular phase, and back into relative obscurity. There are A LOT of really talented bands on Bloodshot that never got a big break, but blow away anything the RIAA has ever managed to put onto an album. I suggest you check out some of these people, like Neko Case, Split Lip Rayfield, The Sadies, Alejandro Escovedo, The Blacks, and anyone else who sounds interesting there. Prepare to have your musical knowledge broadened.

    If you're ever around my area (Lincoln, NE), we have some really good local bands as well. It would do you some good if you're from around here to check out some of the shows. Besides the local talent, nearly everyone I mentioned above has been through here quite recently. If they're in a little town like Lincoln, chances are you can see them in your town as well.
  • Sounds Bogus (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Friday November 08, 2002 @03:49PM (#4628399) Homepage Journal
    While it sounds rather bogus at face value, i also got a ranting letter many years ago from a support tech from Mouse Systems.

    He went on for several pages telling me how stupid i was for asking if drivers for NT would be available in the future for one of their scanners.

    A simple 2 line question, got me 3 pages of inane babble.

    That said, this still sounds fake.. who would be stupid enough in this day and age to trash their public opinion like this?

    Perhaps a little documentable proof? And if its given, we publish it EVERYWHERE.

  • Bullshit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chris Johnson (580) on Friday November 08, 2002 @04:19PM (#4628664) Homepage Journal
    "within a matter of months more or less all audio media worldwide are copy protected"

    Bullshit!

    It's one thing if these guys seize control of all broadcast media, shut out anyone smaller than say Polygram, lock out all the rack jobbers and Wal-Marts so it's flat impossible for a competing record label to get in, ever, and brainwash the people into believing they are the gatekeepers to *feh!* quality. Fine. Go ahead and do that, oops, done it already, cheers.

    However the set of all audio media is not equal to the subset of all RIAA-controlled audio media.

    You know, I produce audio media myself. There's the main page [ampcast.com] where I've got songs so new I don't even have a CD for them yet- also has a number of full CDs of other types of music. There's the other page [ampcast.com] which also contains numerous full CDs, this time of much more unusual and eccentric music. These are for sale, OK?

    Just because the RIAA has poisoned the well so completely that people won't even fscking buy CDs from anybody, doesn't mean that these aren't commercial, for-sale, professional quality, dithered-and-mastered-from-24-bit, Red Book Compact Discs. It is THEIR fault indies are struggling (which they are). Thanks to them, people have a vague notion that it's important to never give anybody money for 'audio media', including me.

    Thanks to them, they manage to set the terms and expectations for all these things, even when they have no right or jurisdiction. I mentioned the CDs I sell through Ampcast. I mentioned they're Red Book compliant. That means they are rippable, back-upable, iTunesable etc etc. Now, I also have mp3s up on the page. I used to have a lot more- and the page got so it'd take forever to load. I axed a lot of the mp3s- those songs are still on the CDs. Does that mean I want to suppress trading of the mp3s? NO, in fact on every CD I put out through Ampcast, written ON THE CD ITSELF is the message 'Please copy this CD for your friends'. And I mean it.

    If I ever earn money through CDs and music, it will be because I do such good music, and conduct my business in such an enlightened way, that people WANT to support it by buying CDs of mine, and getting the cover art and stuff along with it, and knowing they contributed to my doing more music.

    Thanks to the RIAA, this enlightened attitude is so UNTHINKABLE that nobody in the world would ever for a second consider it possible, so people come to one of two conclusions: (1) I am moneygrubbing slime like the RIAA, or (2) I want to work for years and blister my fingers and labor endlessly over music solely for art's sake and would be offended if anyone offered to buy a CD from me, because obviously I'd rather they download the mp3s and burn their own.

    *scream*

    I have to say, I am very angry with the RIAA for bringing about this state of affairs. They make a fscking mockery of anyone who wants to try and earn the occasional buck by working really hard at producing music. Music can be an all-consuming thing- some people who can do music aren't much good at anything else. I'm a lot like that in some ways. And I understand, I can accept if there's no place for it, if I can never even after decades of practice and work earn a poverty level living from making music. But GOD DAMN IT, is it necessary to poison the well so completely that nobody can even pay for their own guitar strings through selling their music? And then, to make public announcements that 'all' audio media worldwide will now be copy protected, further putting across the meme of 'there IS nothing but us' and having people eat it right up and fight over, pay attention to, only what the RIAA produces...

    Now I know what being an 'unperson' feels like. And as it happens I need to go into the studio and work tonight- there's a tune I need to get on tape and get out there, based around a lyrical hook of 'this town ain't small enough for the two of you anymore', pushing the concept of third party politics. I have a killer chimey guitar hook for it. I don't have all the lyrics but one verse is going to end with comparing the Republicans and Democrats to 'Tweedledum and Tweedledee with fat and dirty faces'. I care about this stuff, I'm going for the throat and the stress of trying to produce something that can get OUT THERE and actually be heard is grating on me in a big way. It's a very tall order. Even if you know a lot of the tricks, making a hit song is damned hard work and will leave you wiped out with the ends of your fingers shredded.

    And for what? I'm an unperson. I'm a serf and don't matter. The RIAA says so. And, odds are, YOU believe them without questioning it, because you're fixated on whether to, or whether not to, freely trade the stuff THEY make.

    I'm a stubborn unperson- I'm going to go ahead anyway even though nothing happens and nobody notices and the RIAA will probably make uncopycontrolled media illegal next, forcing me to be not only an unperson but a criminal, and still for basically nothing.

    A lot of life feels like that these days- maybe partly because I _do_ have that 'musician' gene. So rather than just despair about being made the unwilling serfs of psycho corporate Republicans, now I can pour heart and soul into music which I can then despair about its never being heard, due to years of determined work by guess who? Lord RIAA.

    Maybe THAT would make for a good song- a song called Lord RIAA. Bearing in mind that it's not terribly singable like that, also to keep the length between three and four minutes (closer to three is better) and keep the hooks clear of overcomplications, and be sure to have the song title recognisable as the hook of the chorus.

    Which is of course How You Do It, pity that by now it's completely a moot point because nobody will ever hear it regardless.

    Gah. Kill me now :P

    *stubbornly goes off to record anyway. hitting drums sometimes helps.*

  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Friday November 08, 2002 @05:09PM (#4629068)
    I read the Score: 4+ posts and didn't see this point of view. I'll give it a try.

    Anyone else remember when copy protection of software became REALLY BIG in the 80s? And back then, they were using some pretty darn good technology for the time. After years and years of copy protection, guess what the software industry decided? Those high tech solutions just don't work. It went away, put was replaced with the low-hanging fruits of copy protection "is the product CD in the cdrom drive"?

    This isn't to say that there aren't copy protections here and there today. I think this Palladium thing wants to encourage them to get back into the copy protection business. A story in itself.

    But you stopped seeing intentional bad sectors, dongles, and other technological goodies placed in software because they simply weren't effective in relation to the cost. And they caused problems.

    Of course, things are a bit different today. The CD industry has a nice chain of stories that won't allow you to return CDs like you could return defective software years ago. But then again, today, there is internet distribution. All it takes is a few people with compromised DACs and your "latest and greatest copy protection scheme" is just as good as the low-hanging-fruit of software protection.

    So, watch as the music industry plays the copy protection arms race. But I think the Internet, for reasons of providing alternative legitimate and illegitimate distributions, and sharing of information, aside from following the copy-protection lifecycle, will punish the RIAAs members above and beyond that.
  • Math and the AHRA (Score:4, Informative)

    by droopus (33472) on Friday November 08, 2002 @05:16PM (#4629112)
    After fuming about this as we all probably did, I thought about it and came to this conclusion: EMI's math is inaccurate, and more insidiously, they are hiding some very important facts.

    Here's what was said:

    "There are 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes bought and used this year for copying music in comparison to 213 Million prerecorded audio media. This means the owners are only being paid for 46 per cent of the musical content. "

    This assumes that either; A) all CDRs are used to pirate music or; B) EMI has some magic tracer on blank CDRs that returns which of them was used for illegal purposes. Since neither is true, the EMI statement is rubbish. CDRs are used just as much for backups, non-MP3 warez and coasters as much as they are used for infinging music and film files.

    But they mention tapes as well. Ah HA! Now here comes the reall bullshit.

    Know what the AHRA [riaa.org] is? Well the Audio Home Recording act was enacted to make sure people paid for music they taped. IOW, when you bought a blank TDK cassette, the RIAA and labels assumed you were going to use it to copy music, so they wanted a cut. The therefore dreamed up the "blank royalty" which meant that $3 of the $5.99 you paid for that TDK cassette went to publishers, labels and artists (cough). In return you were given THE RIGHT to make copies.

    According to the RIAA:

    "This legislation exempts consumers from lawsuits for copyright violations when they record music for private, noncommercial use; eases access to advanced digital audio recording technologies; provides for the payment of modest royalties to songwriters and recording artists and companies; and mandates the inclusion of serial copying management technology in all consumer digital audio recorders to limit multi-generation audio copying (i.e., making copies of copies). "

    They get paid for device sales as well. There are similar laws in every First World country, in particular, the UK and Germany.

    So Herr EMI, in claiming that ".. 250 Million blank CDRs and tapes [are] bought and used this year for copying music .." well, you're getting PAID for them dude.

    What's core? That EMI.de is complaining that people are buying media (for which EMI.de is generously paid) to make copies of music that they are entitled to copy BY LAW. The EMI.de guy is complaining that people are buying media that generates MILLIONS per year for EMI!

    When EMI, Warner Music, BMG, UMG and Sony Music offer to give back the blank royalty, then we can begin to discuss what percentage of CDRs are actually put to infringing use.

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