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Virgin-Universal Deal Offers Unlimited Music, Goes After File Sharers 254

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the something-for-something dept.
suraj.sun writes "The UK's Virgin Media could start suspending persistent file sharers on a temporary basis, using information provided to it by Universal Music. The ISP announced on Monday that it would, before Christmas, launch an all-you-can-eat music download service for its users, based on a monthly subscription fee. The tracks will all be DRM-free. 'In parallel, the two companies will be working together to protect Universal Music's intellectual property and drive a material reduction in the unauthorized distribution of its repertoire across Virgin Media's network,' a statement read. 'This will involve implementing a range of different strategies to educate file sharers about online piracy and to raise awareness of legal alternatives. They include, as a last resort for persistent offenders, a temporary suspension of internet access.' DTecNet has already been working with UK content companies for some time to do much the same thing, and is also working with RIAA in the United States."
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Virgin-Universal Deal Offers Unlimited Music, Goes After File Sharers

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  • Sounds like a plan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:08PM (#28341391)

    Are they going to suspend Virgin Corporation's internet access if one of their employees downloads an MP3 using it?

    • by Jurily (900488)

      Are they going to suspend Virgin Corporation's internet access if one of their employees downloads an MP3 using it?

      Don't be silly. After all, it's "information", not "court order". It will only hurt the little guys.

    • by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:15AM (#28345575) Homepage Journal

      Are they going to suspend Virgin Corporation's internet access if one of their employees downloads an MP3 using it?

      Of course not. They're going to suspend it if Universal alleges that they did.

      Prosecutor, judge, jury.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:08PM (#28341397)
    Nobody this intent on raping their customers should be calling themselves a virgin.
  • Monthly fee (Score:5, Funny)

    by BetterSense (1398915) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:08PM (#28341403)
    I already pay a monthly fee for such a service. It's called DSL.
    • I already pay a monthly fee for such a service. It's called DSL.

      No, no, no. Their service lets you download music. DSL lets you download (or upload) anything that can be represented digitally.

  • by Enuratique (993250) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:09PM (#28341405)
    I agree that this is a risky venture... Though, at least they're trying new ideas and bringing everything to the table when they do... For one thing it could backfire - driving customers away from their service. Is it like America across the pond where many municipalities allow broadband providers a legal monopoly? And won't this further blur the line between content providers and internet providers? Will this subscription service be optional? What if I don't want the price of my bill inflated an extra $10 a month for the privilege of downloading music guilt free? What if I'm happy as a pig in shit with the current system (eg: morally bankrupt)?
    • by master5o1 (1068594) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:30PM (#28341631) Homepage
      I want to know if they will cut someone off for downloading Warner Bros. or Sony BMG music, considering that this deal is for Universal Music Group, would they protect the rights of the other labels even though they are not directly involved in the deal?
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:00PM (#28341941) Homepage

      Oh no it's not risky.. you are not looking at it right.

      Everything for one monthly fee, and they will be going after file sharers and illegal file holders with vigor...

      I.E. if you dont subscribe and have music on your computer, you're a criminal. The ONLY way to not get labeled a criminal is to subscribe to the service.

      I might be paranoid, but Evil is as Evil does.

      • it's not risky...The ONLY way to not get labeled a criminal is to subscribe to the service.

        Well, yeah... that, or boycott them and use one of the saner ISPs.

    • by gurps_npc (621217) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:10PM (#28342031) Homepage
      Not everyone that is happy as a pig in shit with the current system are morally bankrupt. Some of us make full use of itunes and would be quite upset if on top of our itunes bill we have to pay more money. Others simply DON'T listen to music. Some people are deaf you know, no reason they should be forced to pay an extra $10 for internet access. Not to mention those of us that simply don't like music in the same way that some people don't watch TV or the appaling number of people that don't read books.
    • by xtrafe (1262576) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:50PM (#28344083)
      I'm not quite sure what you think qualifies as 'morally bankrupt', but here's how I'd illustrate the term:
      • Inspiring generations of musicians (and other professionals) to toil for free in some faint hope of rockstar-scale success is morally bankrupt.
      • Crowding out a cornucopia of music, and an entire economy of middle-class musicians, is morally bankrupt.
      • Conning people into thinking it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a produce a professional-sounding album when it really only costs a couple thousand, at most, is morally bankrupt.
      • Convincing musicians that they should live off recordings, rather than performance, is morally bankrupt.
      • Subjugating art, expression, and creativity in the name of selling impressionable children on fad after fad, is morally bankrupt.
      • Leveraging the legal system at taxpayers expense in a hopeless attempt to keep a depricated business model working is morally bankrupt.
      • Lying to people that somehow the most fundimental law of economics we have, that price = demand / supply, does not apply, as if somehow even gravity could be driven off by a marketing campaign, is morally bankrupt.
      • Capitalizing on ignorance to charge both producers and consumers for a middleman service that can be had entirely for free is morally bankrupt.
      • Trying to sell people into acting against their own self interest is morally bankrupt.
      • Spying on people is morally bankrupt.
      • Propagandizing is morally bankrupt.
      • Brain-washing people is morally bankrupt.
      • Telling me I can't twiddle the bits on my own harddrive any way I see fit is morally bankrupt.

      But record companies don't care about being morally bankrupt; They're just in business to make money.
      And after all that, if you really think there's still some reason that record companies should exist, and moreover deserve some portion of your income or mine, I'd love to hear it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eskarel (565631)

      It's always been that way. US cable companies would get really narky at you if you downloaded tv shows on their services.

      Generally speaking ISPs only care as much about piracy as they're forced to because they make money by selling you internet access(it's a little different in the US because the US doesn't have quotas so they get narky if you use too much bandwidth, but not much). However if your ISP produces or distributes the content you're pirating they're all of a sudden really concerned. Virgin distri

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)

      Is it like America across the pond where many municipalities allow broadband providers a legal monopoly?

      Virgin Media is the result of a group of mergers between all of the cable companies in the UK. There are basically three ways of getting wired Internet access here:

      • Get an ADSL connection from a BT (incumbent monopoly telco) reseller. Owing to regulation, you can't buy directly from the part of BT that operates the network, you have to buy from an arm which gets the lines at the same prices as their competitors. This also requires you to have a BT land line
      • If you life near an exchange with local-loop u
  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:11PM (#28341425) Journal

    Interesting. First off, when they say suspend, does that only go for Virgin Media customers (if there are any, not sure what the UK ISP world is like)?

    Second, the all-you-can-download idea sounds reasonable. If the catalog is extensive enough (including classical), and it truly is DRM-free and platform-agnostic, I could actually see myself using this. They had better make sure the file metadata is good (a large collection with good metadata is worth paying for), and it'd be nice if they had something like iTune's "Genius" to find things you might like based on your current collection.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by awarrenfells (1289658)
      Just coming from an ISP perspective, I imagine it would be only their customers. Most ISPs only suspend accounts for a violation of their own AUP or ToS. However, most ISPs have a ToS against P2P file sharing, so if the other company can prove such activity, I imagine suspension could occur.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:23PM (#28341563) Homepage

      From a consumer side of things, a pay-per-month model of getting access to a DRM-free library does sound good, but it seems awfully fishy that Universal would offer it. Wouldn't most people sign up for 1 month, download everything they want, and then cancel? Or are they really going to make it cheap enough, and adding new (good) content frequently enough, to make the whole thing worth it? I have my doubts.

      As far as suspending copyright infringers, I've always been concerned by how readily ISPs seem to punish their own customers over a civil dispute in which they ought to have no stake. I guess if they're getting a cut of the action with this service, it makes some sense.

      • Wouldn't most people sign up for 1 month, download everything they want, and then cancel? Or are they really going to make it cheap enough, and adding new (good) content frequently enough, to make the whole thing worth it? I have my doubts.

        Good question. I would guess that they would do a contract term with the service. I'd guess 12 or even 24 months, and the requisite early termination fee.

      • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:07PM (#28342007) Homepage

        If Universal had a deal where the artist gets half of the take, you'd have far less reason to suspect an all-you-can-hear deal because you'd know you're helping artists and encouraging them to publish more music. As it is, there's nothing in this deal which even suggests a better arrangement for artists (the people corporate copyright holders love to trot out whenever illicit copying and distribution comes up).

        The catalogs aren't the same, and neither is the history of pay-for-play, but compare the deal Universal is touting to the deal Magnatune [magnatune.com] has offered for years. Both are all-you-can-hear, but Magnatune lets you set the price (above a specified minimum), you get more choice in what types of files you want (I like FLAC, it's unencumbered, lossless, and I can transcode to something lossy if I choose), the half-goes-to-the-artist deal still stands, and artists license Magnatune which allows artists to retain their copyrights. Magnatune has no history of pay-for-play but all of the biggest music publishers do; I see no reason to reward that history with my sale. I didn't have to worry about risk: anyone can listen to Magnatune's entire catalog online at no charge. I don't have to worry about risking my Internet connection if I share Magnatune tracks [magnatune.com] either; even if Magnatune had the power to suspend my Internet connection I've got license to share. I put my money where my mouth is and I've bought an unlimited subscription from Magnatune. I'll not do the same with Universal until their deal gets a lot better for me and the artists whose interests they claim to care about.

      • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:17PM (#28342111)
        Wouldn't most people sign up for 1 month, download everything they want, and then cancel?

        Debatable.

        It's easily said: download everything they want. Maybe quite a few people will do that: sign up, binge on free mp3s, save them, then quit. But it seems to me that the people who would do that are pirates already. They've already downloaded everything they want.

        Meanwhile, if you're Joe Average, can you enumerate all the tracks you want, such that you could grab the lot of them in one mass download? It's a hell of a job. You'd always forget some band or other, then months later slap your head in frustration and go 'Oh... I knew I should have downloaded more of the back catalogue of Oingo Boingo!'

        I don't view the service here as 'pay to download music'. It's not really a sale thing. Why would I buy what I can have for free? This service is pitched at the lost generation, at the people aged 30 and down who have completely lost touch with the idea that music is something you pay for and then keep. We now treat music differently. Music is free - and I don't want to hear about copyright: maybe music SHOULDN'T be free, but that doesn't change the fact that it IS free.

        What I'll pay for is the service of organising music. My music collection is a total shambles. It's inconsistently tagged. It's encoded at a variety of bitrates and in a variety of formats, such that no MP3 player made since the glory days of iRiver will play them all without a Rockbox hack. And it occupies disk space that could be used for anime or porn. Frankly it's a mess.

        So that's what might attract me to Virgin's offering. If it's as complete as The Pirate Bay or more so, and the music is consistently tagged and encoded at a high quality, then a monthly fee is eminently fair to have access to that resource. Why would I download and keep any of it? Why should I go to the bother of maintaining my own collection? It's right there on a service run by my own ISP at the other end of a 20 megabit connection. Music on demand. The colossal cloud jukebox.

        • by langelgjm (860756)

          What I'll pay for is the service of organising music. My music collection is a total shambles. It's inconsistently tagged. It's encoded at a variety of bitrates and in a variety of formats, such that no MP3 player made since the glory days of iRiver will play them all without a Rockbox hack. And it occupies disk space that could be used for anime or porn. Frankly it's a mess. So that's what might attract me to Virgin's offering. If it's as complete as The Pirate Bay or more so, and the music is consistently tagged and encoded at a high quality, then a monthly fee is eminently fair to have access to that resource.

          Exactly. I have about 50 gigs of music, but it may as well be 5, because only that much is properly tagged and organized. I've tried tackling the organization problem in the past, but it's just too overwhelming. I'd pay for properly tagged music.

          That said, I wonder if it really will be tagged well - i.e., beyond simply Artist/Album/Title/Year. For classical music, I'd like to have the composer, and date of composition would be nice, too.

          Also, you'd want to be able to download to take it with you on your por

        • You'd always forget some band or other, then months later slap your head in frustration and go 'Oh... I knew I should have downloaded more of the back catalogue of Oingo Boingo!'

          So if you get a big enough list together, you sign up for another month, download all that, and you're done.

          Listen, I'm not really saying this is a bad idea. For a long time now, I've thought that the way to get people to pay for music (to have no use of piracy) was essentially to provide a subscription service where music was "free". The idea here would be to erase the need to amass a "music collection" (on your local hard drive), because you could always just re-download what you want. The service wou

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        I think the point of ISP's suspecting copyright infringing users is pretty simple, and one that has yet to be tried out.

        Real simple. There is no safe harbor for what your customers are doing. If they are doing illegal things that the ISP can detect and block - something that is probably not far off - they have an obligation to do so. Failure to do so means they are an accomplice and liable for damages, at least contributory damages.

        Today nobody has tried this approach because it is not clear that an ISP

        • If I commit slander over the telephone, is my telephone company liable in a civil suit? When I make a getaway from a bank robbery, is the federal government arrested for being an accomplice? They did provide my getaway driver with the interstate highway system, after all, so the government helped us escape.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I think the point of ISP's suspecting copyright infringing users is pretty simple, and one that has yet to be tried out.

          Real simple. There is no safe harbor for what your customers are doing. If they are doing illegal things that the ISP can detect and block - something that is probably not far off - they have an obligation to do so. Failure to do so means they are an accomplice and liable for damages, at least contributory damages.

          Today nobody has tried this approach because it is not clear that an ISP can detect copyright infringement in a clear and unambiguous way. Should this change, ISPs will certainly be viewed differently in the US.

          You are not correct on this, at least not in the US. One good thing that came out of the DMCA (continue reading once you get off the floor) is the "safe harbor" provision, aka OCILLA. An ISP is considered under section "a" in most cases, as they are providing only a connection, not hosting the material. If they are hosting the material (for example, an ISP who gives each user space to host a personal website), they can still follow the safe harbor provisions for that service under section "b", while remaini

      • From a consumer side of things, a pay-per-month model of getting access to a DRM-free library does sound good, but it seems awfully fishy that Universal would offer it.

        I'd be surprised if it were truly DRM free - if Universal releases their entire play list; what would be the point of staying subscribed once you got the songs you really want? Or, simply having one person in a group sign up and "share" offline? My guess is they'll have some sort of ID tag to identify the music tied to the original subscriber; so if songs get shared beyond that then they have someone to sue.

        Of course, that doesn't solve the churn problem - if people simply subscribe to get a catalog and th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:12PM (#28341433)

    Right, where's the due process in all of this?

    Oh right, it's business, so it can do whatever it likes.

    Someone bring back the mafia, at least they had style.

    I wonder how much this subscription will be, and whether it will be mandatory or optional. It won't get money to the non-label bands though, will it, just Universal. Wankers.

    • No oversight. Who polices these people?

      Their customers. If mistakes/abuses are common enough, they'll have a class action lawsuit on their hands.

      They're a business, as you said. If they have a system for weeding out pirates that they think will work, they can use it in their service. If it doesn't work, well, then it won't be very successful.

      I wonder how much this subscription will be, and whether it will be mandatory or optional.

      I don't. I'm pretty damn sure it will be optional.

      It won't get money to the no

  • by EzInKy (115248) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:12PM (#28341447)

    It's really a shame that it took over a decade for a music producer to provide what people have been asking for instead of trying to force their own solution down their customers throats.

    Oh wait...they still want to suspend accounts.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      If they have a higher standard of proof than the RIAA, then I'm fine with them terminating pirates.

      As far as I'm concerned, wankers who pirate stuff just to avoid paying for it are just as much scum as the RIAA, in that they're trying to freeload off the efforts of others.

      Generally, the law should be obeyed. The fact that these pirates are getting away with it doesn't make it right, or make the law flawed.

      If civil rights were at stake I might advocate civil disobedience. However, that is not the case here

  • I can already go to the library, or even the radio to listen to free music but I guess it is a small step in the right direction.

    It only took them how many years after iTunes and Amazon mp3 was out?

    > In terms of both convenience and value, our new music service will be superior to anything that's available online today

    Bwuahaha. Let me know when I can download .FLACs

  • Interesting but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:14PM (#28341467)

    What format for the download? 128Kbit lossy compression? I could not find any mention of that. For it to really work out, I would want at least CD quality lossless compression.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vivaelamor (1418031)

      This is the same company that cries it's customers are using too much bandwidth at the same time as announcing a new faster service. Given the apparent blindness to what their broadband customers want broadband wise I'd be surprised if they manage to offer a music service that keeps mp3 users happy let alone those who want something better. The more companies spend all their effort crying about how their business is hurting because of their customers, the less able they are to offer a service those customer

      • Note to self, check out Magnatune. I had dismissed it as something like Last.fm or Pandora but someone has mentioned it here as a possible source of FLAC encoded music (although probably not for artists I already listen to).
  • So when you introduce legal MP3s, does that mean it is now impossible to detect illegal content?
    .
    You read these stories about police or customs finding pirate content and I wonder what the chances of getting hit with that after just using this service to download MP3s? And if these MP3s contain signatures what is stopping me from altering my existing music library to make it appear legitimate? When everything is an MP3 who is to say what was obtained legally and illegally?
    .
    Music publishers won't sig

  • Is the law they are crafting that they will call the "RetroActive Pirating Extended Digital Unity" Act. (The RAPEU Act) that will allow copyright holders to get logs of all users who have downloaded music without DRM and force them to pay a media shifting licensing fee of 10 dollars (so that they can have the right to convert the music to CD, MP3 Player etc..) per song.

  • Has to be said.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s0litaire (1205168) * on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:22PM (#28341551)
    If I had Virgin cable in my area.

    1) I'd signup for a month or 2

    2) Download everything and anything music related they offer.

    3) ???

    4) Cancel Subscription

    • by cptdondo (59460)

      But music changes..... At some point your friends will abandond you, your girlfriend will leave, and you will be left with your outdated collection.

      All to save a few bucks. Or pounds. Or whatever.

      • by zmollusc (763634)

        Yes, and when your girlfriend leaves, she takes your cds and hifi with her.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Better than taking your beloved son with her.

          Sometimes, I wish we would stop and think about what really matters.

          Oddly, music doesn't rate high on my priority list.

    • The thing is, they've (Virgin at least) figured out that they're getting money if you do that, rather than that other copyrightey-violatey thing that so many people do already.

      And you never know, maybe you end up (somehow) enjoying the service enough to keep coming back from time to time.

    • by zmollusc (763634)

      That presupposes that the minimum subscription period is a month or two. It may be £40 a month for 12 months, £20 a month for 24 months, £10 a month for 5 years etc.

    • Sure, but you could do that right now on TPB. What's stopping you?
  • They could just keep the all-you-can-eat service and skip all the re-education crap.
  • It sounds like they *are* trying, if the monthly fee is reasonable. If you're going to compete against illegal downloads, you must be at a minimum (a) DRM free and (b) available for a reasonable price. The third requirement is sufficient quality (where hulu still fails), but maybe it'll be ok. This could actually succeed.

    Of course, if it is successful, the American music industry will implement their own version, which will be more expensive than CDs, have draconian DRM and be accompanied by punishing

  • This will involve implementing a range of different strategies to educate file sharers about online piracy and to raise awareness of legal alternatives. They include, as a last resort for persistent offenders, a temporary suspension of internet access.

    By this they really mean they will ban you from their network not because you're breaking the law, but because you're not following their EULA, which would stipulate you may not transfer copyrighted material by other means than their service. (which is complet

    • Give that this is speaking of the UK, you want fair dealing [wikipedia.org], not fair use (similar concept, but there is legally no such thing as "fair use" in most Commonwealth countries). Also, transferring copyrighted music on the internet is not fair use or fair dealing. It's illegal and copyright infringement in many countries, except if the music is provided under a copyright licence that allows it (i.e. Creative Commons), or there's some other law that allows it for another reason (such as Canada's tax on recording

    • by shentino (1139071)

      I'm not sure blatantly sharing an ENTIRE work constitutes fair use.

  • Information? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:36PM (#28341701)

    The UK's Virgin Media could start suspending persistent file sharers on a temporary basis, using allegations provided to it by Universal Music.

    Fixed that for your.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @05:37PM (#28341709)
    And saw this on the news today. Thought it was absolutely ridiculous. A temporary suspension of the service I'm paying them to fucking provide? I don't think so. People need ISPs, not nannies. These fuckers will never see a penny from me. I'd rather pay over the odds with another ISP as long as it meant they'd keep their noses out of my business. I actually liked the music subscribtion idea, but I like my privacy a little more.
  • by koan (80826)

    So now we are down to "all you can download for a monthly fee" and "education for file shares + temporary suspension of ISP services, my my my how diluted has war on filesharing gotten?

    Not to long ago they were trying for suing the crap out of you possible time in prison and "3 strikes no more internet for you" and while that's a mixed bag of different countries solutions it's clear that they aren't getting any where so this lean approach is how it's going to be.

    I'm amused.

  • Alternative (Score:4, Informative)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Monday June 15, 2009 @06:30PM (#28342223)

    An alternative for UK surfers:

    http://www.ukfsn.org/ [ukfsn.org]

    I have no affiliation with them, but...

    "all profits from UKFSN go to fund UK Free Software projects"

    "Our policy is that the electronic communications of our customers are private. We do not intercept, censor, scan or otherwise interfer with our customers' internet service."

    "UKFSN does not and will not have any dealings with Phorm, the company behind the Webwise system being deployed by some other ISPs to intercept customer internet traffic. We are firmly of the opinion that the Phorm Webwise system is illegal under UK and EU laws. We also believe it to be fundamentally unethical to intercept customer traffic in this manner. It will never happen here."

    "There is some suggestion that the UK government would like to mandate some form of interception and possibly censorship. We would encourage all interested persons to make it clear to MPs and the government generally that this is not acceptable."

  • In parallel, the two companies will be working together to protect Universal Music's intellectual property and drive a material reduction in the unauthorized distribution of its repertoire across Virgin Media's network

    Material reduction? I think they have failed to grasp some fundamentals of online file sharing.

  • Hurrah (Score:3, Funny)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Monday June 15, 2009 @07:54PM (#28342911)

    I am totally stoked about Virgin Media's forthcoming music download system and fully believe that it won't be an overhyped sack of crap at all. The downloads will certainly be unlimited, fast, cheap, not watermarked and of at least cd quality from an enormous library of popular, familiar tunes the exact same recordings of which will be currently or formerly available in record shops on cd.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:24PM (#28343933) Homepage Journal

    internet is no longer an amenity of modern technology. its a FEATURE of life. which affects many things ranging from, especially, freedom of speech and right to receive information to paying bills online. some european governments are even carrying over all kinds of services that citizens need from a government online. therefore internet is not a luxury anymore, its a BARE necessity of MODERN Life.

    just reflected in the french high court decision, striking the dumbfucked 'three strikes and youre out' law as unconstitutional. that is the case in any country of the world.

    just wait until virgin and universal gets sued by an angry subscriber who misses to pay his bills online, or cant access his bank site, or cant use new online government services.

    no, actually dont wait. its unconstitutional, its YOUR country, YOUR constitution, YOUR rights. stand up for them. give them a piece of your mind.

  • I'd pay for that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @12:34AM (#28344653) Homepage Journal

    Vast library of mp3s, directly from the labels, and DRM free so that I can back them up, thus allowing my purchase to survive hardware failure? (And yes, requiring backup is of course valid; I'm not asking for this in order to facilitate piracy)

    Sign me up, Universal, quite seriously. This is a better deal than what someone could hypothetically get on IRC for free, simply because it removes the electronic legwork they would have to do if they want particularly old/rare/obscure files. Pirates generally only trade what's popular; being able to drink straight from the labels' tap means I can get whatever I want, whether it is popular or not, I don't have to waste time looking for it, I can potentially get it at top sound quality, AND I don't have to worry about being prosecuted or sued.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but in my mind, piracy is motivated purely by pragmatism; free mp3s are considered a better deal than per-cost CDs. However, give me a service where I can have just about everything since when Cocky was an egg, catalogued, and with a 384 khz bitrate, even better, and I'll be there with bells on, and will be quite happy to pay.

    I'm not paying for the actual files themselves here, necessarily. What I'm paying for is a) file quality, b) guaranteed availability and convenience, (due to the source) and c) legal protection.

    A flat monthly fee would be preferable to me, but we could talk about just about anything up to around $50 AUD a month. Get 100,000 people to sign up for that, and you've got a $5 million pilot program. I could be wrong, but something tells me that upwards of $10-$20 million a month is something the RIAA could potentially be interested in. ;)

    Here's another idea for giving us both some security without the DRM bogeyman, as well. Give me a digital receipt with a unique key every time I download some paid-for files from you, and I'll keep it in the same directory the files are in, and back it up with them as well. That way, if there's ever a question asked, if you keep that key on file, we can both know said mp3s have come from you, and that I haven't pirated them.

    It could work brilliantly.

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @02:48AM (#28345255) Homepage
    See, this is the most basic problem with all these schemes--it assumes the ISP has the right to monitor what you're doing with your internet connection.

    Can the phone company do that?

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."

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