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Napster Being Sued by RIAA 384

Posted by Hemos
from the enter-the-legal-guns dept.
Jason R was the first to write with legal battle news that the RIAA [?] has filed a lawsuit against the company that makes the Napster. They are seeking damages of up to $100,000 per pirated song - Napster says that their software exchanges no files, and that they are not legally responsible for any pirating done.
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Napster Being Sued by RIAA

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  • When will the RIAA start suing all the companies that have ever made stereos capable of duplicating cassette tapes? More importantly when will they explain the difference?
  • This is *almost* as frivolous as the HUD suing gun makers.

    "Oh, they were/are a part of something that we don't like? Well, we'll just sue them."

    It's crap like this that makes America a less likable place. Emigration to Holland, anyone?
  • If they dont, it would be benificial to us all if they opened the source however (one way or the other). If they open the source the RIAA can only really go after the servers themselves. Going after the logged on clients would not be easy I think.

    (I thought the RIAA was already after them? Was this not mentioned before?)

    Still, with the advent of things like Gnap, I think that this program is here to stay.

    I hope more clients get banged out for Linux and other platforms A.S.A.P. Then the RIAA will not be able to do much....
  • Why sue?
    The napster people aren't sharing the mp3's they are just providing the tools!
    napster is for distributing legal mp3's :-)
    what's next, are they going to sue the people who make FTP and HTTP software?? it's possible to share pirated mp3's with that too!
    ---
  • by DarkClown (7673) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:07AM (#1476795) Homepage
    A friend of mine was just sent a nasty letter from ascap for distributing his own music on his website - music he'd published under ascap, and on a web page that clearly indicated this. He called their Nashville office and got a pretty prompt apology for the letter after he started musing that perhaps his catalog would be better off on bmi, or no publishing association at all since they aren't really generating much revenue to warrant putting up with nasty letters.
    I thought that was kind of a trip - the 'artists' associations are causing more flack than the record labels.
    Kind of a trip.
  • by SETY (46845)
    Well are they going to sue IRC too? Or ICQ? Or how about USENET, or FTP, or e-mail.
    Oh wait, we can't sue those things, so we'll sue napster instead.
    The only thing that napster does is allow any idiot to pirate music, compared to the "difficulties" of irc.
    The Napster client forcing people to share songs is what has made it so popular.
    If napster gets sued then someone else will just write an OS server and then that will be be it.
    IRC hasn't been shut down, neither will an OS napster.
  • I think you pay a special fee for every audio cassette you buy (at least you used to do -- I haven't checked this information myself), designed to cover the profit loss.

    However, audio cassettes and MP3s are two entirely different things. Tape is much worse than MP3 in almost all aspects: No random access, can only hold 1-2 hours (depending on the tape) per tape, and worse of all: After just two or three copies, the sound quality gets so bad, it's close to useless.

    MP3 does not suffer from any of these problems, and as an extra `bonus' (if you're using it to copy music illegaly), you can use it across the globe. You don't have to walk over to a friend to copy it.

    In short, this is why cassette copying has never been a real problem, whereas MP3 is. Having a fee on MP3s (the same way as on cassettes) would be close to impossible as well, since MP3s are largely independent of the media (HD, Zip, RAM or an MP3 player).

    /* Steinar */
  • by lammi (52951) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:13AM (#1476798)
    Is it just me, or are we seeing with the last couple of articles posted today, that the world is coming to real crossroads as far as broadcast entertainment goes? The TV networks are suing iCrave, the RIAA is suing the Napster peoeple, by the end of day I'll probably have a lawsuit against me for something.

    I have no doubt that the lawsuits will come to some conclusion, someone will cease and desist, and some lawyer will get paid. But what's real interesting is that you can't sue everybody, and I'm sure someone will fill the void once iCrave and Napster are gone. What's the broadcast status quo going to do then?

  • by ChrisGB (114774) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:14AM (#1476799)
    Agreed - the problem as far as he music companies are concerned is the lack of ability to stop this kind of activity. As gooboy pointed out - stereos can duplicate cassettes. BorgDrone suggests that FTP and HTTP programmers shold also be sued for providing tools for duplicting illegal material, and what about CDRs? It's so easy to duplicate material of any type now - cassette, CD, MP3 etc etc - the music companies are just over frustrated that there's nothing they can do to prevent it, so are venting their frustrations on those people that visibly going against their wishes.

    Didn't a similar case come up with Lycos' MP3 search engine? (Lycos [lycos.com]) that never went anywhere? Same argument - they aren't breaking the law, but simply supplying tools that could be used to break the law. You can't sue for that - you'd have to sue makers of hammers, guns, and anything else used by criminals.
  • by Olivier Galibert (774) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:16AM (#1476800)
    It's an interesting problem, also encountered in the field of emulation (console and arcade games). There are programs which have both legal and illegal uses. For instance MAME [mame.net] allows you to play old arcade games if you have the corresponding copyrighted roms. It is perfectly legal to use it as a hardware behaviour documentation database (which is its main aim) or to play games you own legally. It is of course illegal to download the thousands of roms you find on the internet. Everybody knows that it is the main use of MAME, even if it isn't the main target of the developers.

    So, is MAME legal, or is MAME a contributory copyright infrigement?

    This case seems to me very similar. Napster can as easily be used for legal and illegal purposes. Most people use it for illegal purposes, but that does not mean it is the primary target of the developers. So the results of this suit is going to have a farther reaching impact than only mp3.

    OG.
  • Someone please correct me if I'm mistaken, but wouldn't the RIAA's job of proving Napster in the wrong be even more difficult than M$ trying to gun down BO2K? They're both routinely used for "less than honorable" purposes, but even though there were many bitches and moans from the boys in Redmond about BO, no lawsuit followed (at least none that I'm aware of).
  • Perhaps this will be moderated down as flamebait. In any case, as someone hinted at earlier, is the RIAA going to file suit against sony for making walkmans and minidisc players, with which people listen to pirated music all the time? Or are they going to stick to suing the small startups who don't have the revenue to fight back?

    It's because of this and other RIAA arrogance and stupidity that I'm going to start using napster. I'm also going to start burning CDs full of MP3s (650M could hold about 10 full albums) and sharing them with others just to spite these petty scumbags. Suck on that, RIAA.

    -Legion

  • by radja (58949) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:18AM (#1476803) Homepage
    RIAA refers to Napster as "burglar's tools". But what is a burglar's tools? a crowbar? these are not illegal to make. Glasscutters? Perfectly legal. What's next... outlawing penises for being a rapist's tool?

    //rdj
  • It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I am surprised that scour.net has gotten away with it as long as they have. I enjoy both applications, however it it blatantly obvious that illegal songs are being traded. I think fighting mp3's is a lost cause. The RIA should focus on something more important...like a new service or procust that encourages us to buy more music. Offer something that cannot be duplicated. I don't think that encryption is the only measure...obviously that doesn't last long... enhanced cd's were neato... i enjoy them when I happen to come across one. I think going after Napster and he kids that trade these songs is the wrong approach. Unfortunately I don't know what the right approach is either. --- jaxn

  • But what is the physical action?

    They are the same, right? The quality of the copy should not be of any weight. If I copy it magnetically, on an old Betamax with just the audio, on a cassette or on MP3, isn't his the same action? Is it because of the "Mass" distribution capabilities?

  • Suing napster isn't going to do anything. What they should do is sue the operating system manufacturer, that provided an environment for napster to be created in the first place. Or even better, how about the computer manufacturers that allow mp3's to be created and distributed!
  • This is how Napster can get themselves in more hot soup - change the source to link not just MP3's, but also JPG's. Nah - just kidding. :) I wonder if the p0rn hucksters care that Napster can and will infringe on their copyright. Just some ramblings.
  • In the beginning was the Cinema and the Cinema owners fought TV tooth and nail. They lost and the little box INCREASE the earnings at the box office. Later someone came out with VCRs and they fought that for years. Most people don't know this but the movie people tried to push BETA not because of better video quality but because there was some copy protection in it at the time. They were beaten upside the head and forced to take our money.

    The RIAA has the same problem. They absolutely hated cassette decks. They tried to have CDR drives banned. At each step up the technology ladder someone has to bruise them and force them to accept more money. One of these days we are just going to give up and let someone who is happy to have it get our money.

    These goys love to sue and the hardly ever win. This is the reason there is such a glut of new lawyers and a drought of technicians and programers. Who wouldn't want a job where your boss just tosses money at you to go harass someone a little with no hope of doing any real damage, except to your deep pocketed boss ?

    Never mind the high retainers.
  • they can't sue everyone, but i'm sure they'll try.

    first you sue, then you run out of money. next we OPEN the standard.

    trying to stop piracy is pretty silly. there's only a number of people who are fighting MP3 piracy versus a whole world of hackers and music enthuists who'd keep it free.

    guess who's going to have more time on there hands? plus, guess which one of them enjoys listening to MP3s more?

    screw the RIAA, they don't cherish the artists as much as we do.

  • The lawsuit was bound to happen. Ever since I discovered Napster I quit buying CD's. RIAA - backed by large music companies, probably will win some kind of injunction against Napster or force them to change thier programming so that they have some sort of copy protection program. This lawsuit sounds familiar to the one that sony has filed against the Rio... I wonder is the results will be the same.

  • Common sense dictates it can't be held responsible. The American "Justice" system, however.....
    "You should never have your best trousers on when you turn
  • They could sue lycos, for mp3search.lycos.com, or every other specialized mp3-engine, they could sue every effnet or ircnet or dalnet or whatever, they could sue every ftp-admistrator who "forgets" to mark the /incoming directory readonly, they could sue altavista or other to get ie. them to display no pirate mp3-sitez (doesn't matter if it's technically feasible), they could sue geocities or lycos for the illegal websites they always host.

    I know this is dumb, but applying the same logic they could do that.
  • Outlawing penises for being a rapist's tool? No kidding, that's exactly what some lesbian-feminists have in mind.
  • You can't sue for that - you'd have to sue makers of hammers, guns, and anything else used by criminals.

    Ummm... didn't I hear on the news this morning something about the Whitehouse putting together a class action suit against gun manufacturers ?

    -- Steve

  • I fail to see how the RIAA may win this one.

    Lets see, one can make mp3 file (legal and illegal) available via FTP servers, HTTP servers, IRC fserves, etc.

    Will the RIAA sue the makers of the diverse servers?
    Instead of colliding with a big corporation, apparently the RIAA prefers to sue smaller entities who, even though may win their case, may
    plead guilty because of the lack of money to defend their case.

    Last time I checked, there were loads of illegal material on free services such as Yahoo Geocities,
    Angelfire, Xoom etc. and among them, were mp3s

    RIAA better have lots and lots of bucks to sue each and every one of them.

    Remember, tools are not malevolent. They are used in malevolent ways.
  • You say it as if you didn't do this already.
  • There's a freakin disclaimer on the napster website and when the client logs in. If disclaimers aren't any good anymore then what's the point?
  • Indeed. I'm exposed to more new and different bands through mp3s than through word of mouth or the radio. For example, I'm not gonna go out and buy some random artist's cd for 10$. And i'm not gonna listen to a radio station that routinly plays music I don't like, but sometimes plays an interestingly new song. But I WILL download a random mp3, to see if i like the band. I think ultimatly it will help the record companies more than hurting them. Or at least the indie artist.
    "You should never have your best trousers on when you turn
  • Why doesnt the RIAA sue the creators of FTP, HTTP, USENET, SMB, NFS, hard disks, RAM, removeable media, PAPER - since you can write down lyrics, and even voice boxes! These are all ways to "illegally" copy music! The insanity goes on!

  • Yeah, but MP3s don't kill. . .
  • by lar3ry (10905) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:38AM (#1476827)
    The point isn't whether or not Napster is pirating songs. The RIAA knows this, Napster knows this, and from the comments posted, most of the people on Slashdot seem to know this.

    There are more than one reason to initiate a lawsuit. If Napster doesn't have the resources to fight a challenge by the RIAA, then the RIAA wins -- by default!

    The RIAA has nothing to lose with this lawsuit. If Napster has good legal representation, then the RIAA will notice this and will probably back down, or come up with some sort of "settlement" that neither party will be able to divulge to anybody else.

    This is just a classic case of the big corporation stepping on a little guy: look at all the money and legal resources the RIAA has... it's only reason to be is to initiate these heavy handed lawsuits to protect their member companies.

    This is exactly like the etoys.com action against etoy.com; there's no hope for etoys.com to win in an evenly matched legal fight. But if the other party doesn't have the $$$ to fight it, then "I'm sorry. The suit was invalid, but you still lose."

    Whatever happens, I hope that Napster doesn't try to make a deal with the RIAA. Look at how the RIAA managed to get the Lyrics Archive to "get back up" -- but at the cost that it now has virtually no lyrics whatever. Any deals with the RIAA means that RIAA wins, and everybody else loses.

    I wonder if there will be a legal defense fund set up...
    --
  • Sony Hitachi JVC etc RealMedia WinAmp X11Amp Quicktime *Microsoft* --might as well, everybody else does :) All these have made equipment or software capable of duplicating copyright audio
  • Of course, outlawing the tools isn't so unheard of....Guns, for example....
    "You should never have your best trousers on when you turn
  • Where in the world did they come up with that figure? Let's do a little math here. First some assumptions:
    1. The average CD costs $18. [Your store may vary.]
    2. The average CD contains 10 songs. [Notice that I am erring on the side of the RIAA]
    3. The worth of a song is computed by prorating the worth of the CD. Thus, each song is worth 1/10 of the cost of a CD.
    4. Lawsuit damages have some connection to value. [Stop snickering!]
    That means that one song pirated on Napster has a value of $1.80. So, in order to have caused $100,000 dollars of damage to the RIAA, the song would have had to be pirated approximately 56,000 times! Have 56,000 people even downloaded Napster? If so, does anyone actually believe that nearly all of them pirated the same song?

    Of course, the answer is that assumption 4 is wrong. We all know that the legal system is like the lottery. Once you can prove someone has "screwed you over," it is your moral duty to extract as much money from them as possible. The amount need not have any relation to reality.

    Actually, this is a little different. The RIAA isn't doing this to get money; they're doing it to put Napster so far into debt that they'll have to sell their relative's organs to get out. At the same time, they will manage to scare the pants off of anyone else who might cross their path.

  • by CPol (112725) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:44AM (#1476831)
    I don't think that the RIAA suit tells that much about music as it tells about the status of US law. Apparently, to us stupid Europeans, if you've got a good enough lawyer you can get anything done, legal or not. The US system of suing everyone and everything is causing this storm. It's a hysteric reacton to an insane system and all these lawsuits happend because the legel system in the US favours suing.

    What do you think would have happend if the RIAA would simply have called the Napster people and asked them; 'hey, could you implement some kind of copy protection scheme for those who want to use it?'. I bet that they'd have gotten their way, and much faster than by suing. Besides, as has been pointed out, there are a lot of other ways to get MP3's that are just as easy. So maybe the RIAA is only trying to set a precedent by attacking a small part of what they percieve as a problem? If they'd succeed in taking on a weak opponent they could move on to stronger ones with another weapon in their legal arsenal.

    But what can you do if you have a system that let's a kid sue her parents for refusing to give her candy? (I still refuse to believe in that one, the thought of a country alowing things like that to happend and armed with nukes is way to scary.) Not to say that our law is perfect, one just has to look at the case where two thieves beat an 70 year old man to death with a frying pan and got out free by blaming eachother to see that, but at least people over here don't sue eachother all the time.
  • They did that allready. Remember DAT?
  • It's pretty sorry how self-serving the RIAA can be. Did they sue Sony for making duel-cassette boom boxes? Did they sue Panasonic for making boom-boxes that can tape a CD when you push just three buttons?

    They can't do that. Those companies are part of their industry.

    So why sue Napster, or, more stupidly, Diamond?

    Because they can.
  • maybe someone will just hack up an open source
    server.
  • RIAA refers to Napster as "burglar's tools". But what is a burglar's tools?

    I don't know the laws, IANAL.

    And, that RIAA representative wasn't the brightest. But, napsters servers can be compared to a "thieving guild" or however it is spelled. It provides the tools, the server, the information on how, and the oportunity to - trade copyrighted mp3's illegally.

    If they made the napster, and bound it to IRC channels and DCC chats, or something, then they could've claimed it was just a tool, and that they couldn't be helt responsible. But, because of them providing the servers and so forth, this just seems to much like a "Guild of thieves" in my eyes. Although, it is a guild I would like to be a member of.. in this case. :)

    Even though I enjoy beeing able to find the latest hits and download them from the net -- that doesn't make it more "right" or "legal". otoh, if we could cut out "the music industry", and the artist made their songs and melodies on their own website, prohibiting redistribution... THEN we would be in a "good" society. The artists could then make a LOT of money on advertisement. Probably a lot more than they make today. Today most of the money goes straight into the music industry's pockets, and not the artists. THAT is why they are interested in quenching mp3's. They really don't care about the artists, even though that are what they say they do.

    So, of course I hope that napster will win. I also hope that the music industry will continue fighting this battle, not realising that its a hopeless struggle (for them). That way, they will be ruined. And when they are ruined, then people will start distrbuting their own mp3's, from their own website, and earn money for themselves, not needing the stupid bloodsucking musicindustry. :)

  • Sorry - wouldn't have heard about the White House statement being based in UK! Thanks for the pointer. ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @03:58AM (#1476841)
    They should sue Al Gore. If he hadn't invented the internet, this would not be a problem...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    yes they can.. Hanson and N'sync are living proof.
  • The real battle the RIAA has ahead is proving that Napster was set up specifically to transport ILLEGAL MP3s. If they can do this, I think they have a very good case on their hands. What Napster has to do is focus on the fact that MP3s aren't illegal. There are many places you can get legal MP3s (see MP3.com), they have to show it's not the format, or their software, but they people using it. If the RIAA can convince a judge that Napster was written with the intent of transporting pirated MP3s, they can win this battle hands down.
  • The fact that no Napster server is involved with the actual file transmission says a lot. RIAA might have a leg to stand on if Napster, even briefly, hosted the MP3 files in question or streamed the content from their server.

    Napster creates a software tool that in and of itself does not infringe upon copyrights. The argument for its legality would be similar to those made for document copiers. The RIAA is creating more negative publicity for themselves.

    On a related note, does anyone here read the recording industry trades (BillBoard, etc.)? If so, could you comment on the type of coverage these RIAA news stories get, and if it's positive or negative?
  • I think you pay a special fee for every audio cassette you buy (at least you used to do -- I haven't checked this information myself), designed to cover the profit loss.

    Yes, you do. You also pay a fee on every DAT tape, MiniDisc, and "Audio" CD-R. (And DCC, if you can find them.) You pay a fee on any recordable media that is specifically designed for use with audio. This is the RIAA's doing. That is also why "Audio" CD recorders require that you use "Audio" CD-R discs, and why Audio CD-R discs cost 2-3 times as much as normal ones. Which is also why newer CD Players will only play CD-R discs if they are the "Audio" variety.

    As for your drawbacks? MiniDisc takes away most of them (it has random access, can hold 74 minutes, is better quality than MP3, and the sound quality doesn't degrade. Although, because of the RIAA, you can only make two direct digital copies. Every third copy has to be analog.)

  • by Bartmoss (16109) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @04:17AM (#1476855) Homepage Journal
    ...I tried napster on a friend's Windoze computer, found something interesting, and ORDERED THE CD. That's fifteen or so bucks the record label would have never earned had it not been for napster.
  • Why sue?
    Because RIAA can / To force NAPSTER to shutdown their servers.

    And if they succeed?
    Out of severe withdrawal symptoms, someone will develop an open-source version, thousands of servers will be out there, most out of (legal) reach of RIAA.

    At some posh Y2K party, very rich lawyers will be toasting those suckers at RIAA for giving them endless wild goose-chase lawsuits to keep them busy well into the new millenium.
    ---

  • "It is the single most insidious Web site I've ever seen--it's like a burglar's tool,"

    DORK! it's not a web site. Geez. It's a different protocol. If you're gonna get quoted, know what the fsck you're talking about!
  • Actually, I'm quite sure that searches are done via the server too...
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @04:23AM (#1476862) Homepage
    Sony sells its minidisc almost completely on the basis of its ability to make copies. Every single commercial i've seen for the minidisc consists of nothing but the people making copies of minidiscs. They put a heavy emphasis on "mix tapes". Mix tapes.. riiiight. I'm sure that's really it. :P If the attraction is really in being able to make legal copies of things you own for the purpose of putting all of your good music in one, convenient place.. isn't that exactly the same idea as mp3? Isn't that what SDMI is designed to prevent? But the RIAA has no problem with the minidisc.

    Phillips is currently selling a standalone CD writer that makes exact copies of CDs, and does nothing else. They boast about this in their commercials. Unlike conventional computer CD-R drives, which _can_ be used for completely legal purposes, or for making mixtapes of the cds you already own a la minidisc, the CD writer they're selling makes an exact copy of a CD you have already. There is NO POSSIBLE PURPOSE for this device except for making copies and then distributing them illegally. But the RIAA has no problem with it.

    None of this is about copyright violation at _all_. (If it were, they'd go after copyright violations.) It's about the RIAA maintaining a monopoly; it's about elitism; it's about keeping anyone outside of the small group of ultrarich megacorporations from operating without going through the ultrarich corporations, or keeping small groups from gaining cultural power.

    It's about destroying anyone who can't afford a lawyer.

    (p.s. this is offtopic, but doesn't Phillips own some of the patents on mp3 or something? if so, where are they now? Not helping napster, apparently..)
  • We need a legal defense fund - no doubt Napster cannot support a drawn out legal battle - their revenue comes from banner ads built into the client which as is likely only covers the bandwidth and meager upkeep costs for their servers / employees.

    We know the RIAA is counting (nay, depending!) on Napster backing down. The RIAA is the Microsoft of the computer industry - sue people just because you'd win the war of attrition. If there is ANY way for me to help, PLEASE contact me, I'd be willing to contribute a few bucks to a defense fund - Napster is a great product. As a sidenote, you might be able to raise the necessary funds by pledging to open source Napster if you got n dollars. I know it isn't the ideal situation, but the alternative is even worse. The key is to distribute the load and amass enough resources to stay afloat long enough to bring the media down to bear on the problem - they love stories about the underdog. The best we can hope for is bad enough publicity and lost sales as part of a possible boycott that they would back off.

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @04:39AM (#1476872)
    Napsters tools are no more inherently tools for pircacy than ftp is. Yes, it provides a mechanism for people to exchange information. Music happens to be information, so yes, it, too, can be exchanged. Illegally, if both parties are unscrupulous enough to do so. So what?

    The "cp" command allows one to do the same (copy to disk and distribute at will). rcp and scp are even worse -- they do the same thing across a network. The venerable ftp protocol allows users to download information in binary format at will. Oh shit! So does http, come to think of it! Then there is IRQ, the most evil of evils. Poeple speaking freely with one another in realtime. Good Lord! Not just a piracy tool, but a conspiricy tool as well! Call the FBI stat!

    The RIAA, in even filing this lawsuit, is effectively proposing the banning of the entire internet and all of the utilities and protocols which make it a usable medium for any type of information exchange. This is an attempt to do two things: (1) intimidate a small company with a large legal fist and (2), if they should be so lucky as to find a judge with sufficient sympathy (or a great deal of Sony stock in his portfolio), to effectively ban any tool that lets users exchange binary information of any kind ('cuz it just might be music).

    If this doesn't make the absurdity of their lawsuit clear, nothing will.
  • by Spunk (83964)
    There is NO POSSIBLE PURPOSE for this device except for making copies and then distributing them illegally.

    Gee, not to oversimplify or anything...
    How about the garage-band who can now afford to press a whole ton of their own CD's?

    You're falling for the same crap the RIAA is spewing at us.

  • Doesn't a black market imply money changing hands? I suppose that mp3's changing hands can imply some sort of barter, but there are plenty of people leeching, as well, who never intend to share their music collection with others.

    Poor choices of words for a poorly thought-out lawsuit.


    "During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I was riding the pogostick."
  • As long as we sit and hope that napster wins, they will lose.

    This is not just an indictment of apathetic /. readers; napster is doing very little to organize any kind of community support. At their website [napster.com] they have little more than a list of web articles about their lawsuit.

    Visit their site; ask [mailto] for ways of helping. If anyone can think of a similar situation (a large company suing a challenging internet startup) where the smaller company won, please reply to this thread and suggest possible tactics.

  • ok guns:
    how about stopping violence?

    If I see you mugging an old lady with a knife,
    all I have to do it pull out my gun and ask you
    politely to stop. I am not being violent, just
    threatening violence. Most of the time, when such
    things are attempted...it tends to be VERY
    persuasive.

    In any case...yes guns are meant to kill. However
    this is not a perfect world. Sometimes it is
    necissary to be able to kill.

    In any case...the criminals will ALWAYS have
    guns. Nothing can be done about that as long
    as they exist. So if you ask me, taking them
    away from honest, law-abiding citizens is just
    ridiculous. It reduces them to sheep, just
    sitting and waiting for the arrival of the wolf.
  • The RIAA sued the makers of the DAT standard? Funny. I just picked up a non-copy-protected DAT deck a couple months ago. They're easy as hell to get a hold of, and perfectly legal.

    - A.P.
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Hey, did anyone see Austin Powers 2? $100,000 x 1,100,000 songs equals over... you guessed it:

    ONE HUNDRED... BILLION... DOLLARS!

    (laughs evilly)
  • My .sig was set in Slashdot preferences. I was aware of it (saw it on preview) and found that it was totally ironic, and decided not to change it.

    I hope that the .sig didn't distract from the message: Nuisance suits are a way of life in these here Yew-nited States. It's one of the way that the big guys can legally step all over the little guy.

    Another view of how these nuisance suits work (from the early days of microcomputers)...

    A chain of stores opened up in the 70's called "Computer Shack." Tandy/Radio Shack sued, and they fought back. Tandy lost.

    Then, Tandy sued in another state, despite the name was found not to be infringing on their name in a previous suit.

    When they saw the handwriting on the wall, they changed their name. Despite the fact that they won the legal judgment.

    So, you don't even need to WIN lawsuits. Having them be a sheer nuisance is enough to discourage activity that the "big boys" don't want you doing.

    It's the golden rule: He who has the gold, gets to stomp all over them that don't.

    I wonder what the Electronic Freedom Foundation and other similar groups feel about the RIAA-Napster thing.


    --
  • napster doesn't use their own servers. It turns your box into one. Then other nap clients can connect and have straight access to the MP3s you select.

    Personally I think it works great. The search feature looks at all connected clients so finding music ain't too tough.

    I think Napster is very well within the letter of the law, but whether or not they have the money to prove that I don't know.

  • Your arguement would be all well and good if even a tiny percentage of our food was still produced by hunters shooting animals. Now we raise all our tasty meat on farms and special ranges, fatten them up and feed them the right stuff so they taste better once dead, and kill them in more efficient ways.

    When's the last time you picked a load of buckshot out of your Big Mac?

    - A.P.
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Your point is rather well founded, and further supported by the fact that RIAA has not yet sued the authors of web browsers or FTP clients. I even recieved an MP3 via email once. (It wasn't a pirated MP3, but how could they know that?)

    If RIAA were really trying to stamp out piracy, they would sue the authors of any operating system that included a command or operation that allows the user to copy a file. Perhaps I should buy some stock in a record label that belongs to RIAA, and then sue RIAA for not protecting my minority stockholder interests since they haven't been aggressive enough in removing pirates' tools like MS-DOS, MacOS, Red Hat Linux, etc. from the market. These products are a serious threat to musicians and their middlemen.


    ---
  • Technically, Napster is providing servers that do nothing other than show who else using the client is connected. The clients talk to each other for all other information (or so I'm led to believe).

    When you "log in" to Napster, the client sends your list of available files to the server. Searches use the database on the server, for speed. (Could you imagine trying to search for a file by opening a socket to thousands of modem-connected Widows systems, and then asking these systems whether they have anything matching your search criteria?)

    going after the people running a Napster server [...] What charge can you possibly bust this guy on? Facilitating the transfer of pirates audio?

    Argh! Don't give them any ideas!

    The scary part is that your flippant comment is much too close to reality. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [arl.org] (which is now a US law -- no need to wait for the next millennium!) it's now illegal to circumvent copy protection (no matter how lame), or to create a program which enables other people to circumvent copy protection.

    Now, that's not quite what Napster does -- there's no copy protection on a CD, so an MP3 ripped from CD didn't defeat any copy protection, and so the trading of ripped MP3 files via Napster doesn't have anything to do with copy protection. However, given the recent stupidity of Congress (like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), and given the obvious influence that corporations have over the government, it's not just conceivable that Congress will pass a law as you describe, but likely.

  • I think ultimatly it will help the record companies more than hurting them. Or at least the indie artist.

    You've just stumbled across the point here. MP3 will, in fact, help the indie artist. This is precisely the reason it needs to be stopped.

    Think about it, people have been copying music for years. Never been a big fuss about it before. No industry wide crack-down on manufacturers of cassette recorders. Record labels DO NOT lose all that much money due to illegal copying, and they know it. Music piracy is not the threat they are fighting off here, regardless of what their press releases claim.

    They are also not trying to protect artists. How do record labels make their money? By exploiting artists, not protecting them. Now all of a sudden there is a way for budding artists to distribute their music on a large scale WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE ESTABLISHED SYSTEM. This is the threat that the RIAA is attempting to fight off. The problem with MP3 is not piracy, it is the fact that it allows artists to distribute music and deny the record labels their cut.



  • Sony sells its minidisc almost completely on the basis of its ability to make copies. Every single commercial i've seen for the minidisc consists of nothing but the people making copies of minidiscs. They put a heavy emphasis on "mix tapes". Mix tapes.. riiiight. I'm sure that's really it. :P If the attraction is really in being able to make legal copies of things you own for the purpose of putting all of your good music in one, convenient place.. isn't that exactly the same idea as mp3? Isn't that what SDMI is designed to prevent? But the RIAA has no problem with the minidisc.

    RIAA *has* problems with minidiscs, CDRWs, and other recordable medias. Every media sold already has pre-levied RIAA TAX. IOW, you are already paying RIAA whether you record anything on the damn thing or not. That is why they sell *two* kinds of CDRWs, one for music and the other for computer. THe latter is cheaper than the other and you are obligated not to use them to record music.

    Hasdi
  • What you're trying to say is that nukes are designed not to do big holes in the ground.
  • by Slimbob (35316) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @06:25AM (#1476953)
    If the Napster has such a solid case, then maybe they should grow the biggest cohones ever and attempt a defense without expensive lawyers. In this time of intimidation by the legal expense of weak lawsuits, maybe some should take a stand by representing themselves.

    If you can gather enough advice from a lawyer friend (or maybe an free, open legal advice reposity. Any legal advice FAQ's (or HOWTO's) out there?) then maybe it would be worth rebelling in the face of expensive legal action by defending yourself. The benefit of a win is set precedence, a chance for an open-source legal community, and any little guy, to develop backbone against the market that has developed around defending your rights.

    I have to admit that I'm all talk (text?) right now. I'm scared of lawyers and the power of their niche. I don't think I could stand up and defend myself against them, given that most judges and congressmen were once lawyers, and I'm a cynic who thinks nepotism and bribery will overcome the ethics of some judges. It just seems to easy for the system to ignore me there is no organized community to support me.

    Since the government is responsible for the creation of complex law, it ought to divert some funds to create a online service to help simiplify the citizen's navigation of the law. But until a program like that appears on the scene, an open legal advice reposity is all we can hope for (VA Legal Systems, LegalCare, LegalNewbie?)

    Sorry about the anti-capitalistic-lawyer slander, please don't sue me until I have some open legal resources with which to defend myself.

  • by ralphclark (11346) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @06:26AM (#1476954) Journal
    Napster can (should) be used to swap copies of music which is not under RIAA protection.

    In seeking a blanket ban, the RIAA are effectively acting as a cartel, wielding monopoly control over the distribution of all music.

    There's room for a counter-suit there if you ask me. And the amount of money required to settle that case would easily feed a dozen lawyers who could be hired on a "no-win-no-fee" basis.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • and kill them in more efficient ways.

    Uh, have you ever visited a meat packing plant? There are dozens of them in the state I live in, and I've had the opportunity to actually tour some of them. What most of the cattle slaughter operations use for killing cows is a .22 rifle of the inexpensive variety (Marlin or Ruger usually). Think about it. Its not like they can poison the cows to kill them. It would be cruel to cut them open and let them bleed to death (not to mention messy). They do things the quickest, cleanest, most painless way possible. What way would you suggest as more 'efficient'?

  • by TheMayor (123827) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @06:39AM (#1476958)
    Hey.. my girlfriend just wrote this great letter to the RIAA. Here is (Hope it encourages you to write to the RIAA):

    Dear RIAA,

    I am writing to express my frustration with the recording industry, including, but not limited to, and culminating in the suit against Napster.

    I find it highly ironic that the Recording Industry is suddenly so publicly concerned about the "rights of artists" in copyright infringement.

    What Napster.com does is make music available to those who enjoy it and appreciate it. What the recording industry does is make music they want to sell us available to us. You have, in general, shown an absolute disregard for musicianship and talent for half a century. Why do you purport to care now?

    When one of any of the companies represented by the RIAA takes an artist's music and copyrights it themselves, changes it through endless bouts of overproduction, completely forces the artist to give up their artistic integrity for the purpose of selling some plasticized, poppy product to the public, it is stealing something much more precious than money from artists.

    Napster's intent is obviously not to make their favorite artists poor, what could possibly be their motive for doing something like that? Napster's intent is to lessen the hold that the RIAA and others have over artists. Artists like Ani Difranco have shown that nationwide distribution and large fanbases can be attained without the help of the RIAA or huge management corporations, that artistic integrity can be saved, and that the buying public LOVES it.

    Now a new medium has swept our entire society. The Internet is everywhere, boys, and you'd better get used to it. The RIAA can no longer dominate every aspect of music listening and enjoyment in our country and around the world. Smart kids who love music will figure out a way to share art with everyone, no matter what kind of bullying, laissez-faire capitalistic greed you try to pull on them.

    Your quotes from artists are laughable. They're being paid by you! Not from their music! How much more are you making per record sold than artists like Creed? Don't kid yourself into thinking that music listeners all over aren't on to you.

    You cannot stop us. When I was a really poor kid growing up in rural Missouri, the only way I could have access to music was by dubbing it on old tape recorders from my friends' recordings. I don't feel guilty for keeping the artists from making their $.0005, and keeping you from making your $8.00, because through that listening, I have developed a deep and abiding love for music. I buy CDs now, I listen to what I want to, and I've probably paid for an executive's parking space in revenues. Yet you do not sue the companies who make blank tapes for dubbing...you do not sue the computer manufacturers whose technology allowed music to be converted to MP3 format, you do not sue internet providers for making mass communication between listeners possible. Do you refrain only because you know it is a losing battle? Because you are simply very afraid of these intelligent and slightly sneaky kids who are undermining your very way of life? All of the above and more.

    Your entire industry disgusts me. When your entire motive is to take total advantage of artists in the interests of making more and more and more dollars, how can you expect us to side with you against some kids who may be doing some wrong, but certainly have the music in first place?

    You are going to need to seriously reconsider your entire way of doing business, to wake up and hear the dialup...America is on to you, and you're not going to stop it.

    Sincerely,

  • Not to be picky, but there *are* legal uses for cd-duplicators. The two biggest contingents of legal users being tape traders and musicians. In case you were not aware a large number of bands allow and encourage the trading of their live recordings (Phish & Dave Matthews, are probably the two best known). These CDs are perfectly legal to duplicate.

    Also it is debatable if making a mix-cd for your car falls under fair use, the RIAA seems to say no, but my personal opinion is that since I have duplicating equipment (not Philips, pro stuff which is even more *evil*. It ignores SCMS, and can write on non-consumer-audio discs), I might as well not put my original CDs through the torture chamber that is my car.
  • I know guys who trade warez on napster. They have lets say Macromedia_Dreamweaver_2.zip they just rename it to Macromedia_Dreamweaver_2.zip.mp3. Oh well... I just thought you would like this little tidbit of info
  • Hey guys, my girlfriend just wrote this letter to the RIAA. I hope it encourages you to write to them as well. Here is the letter:

    Dear RIAA,

    I am writing to express my frustration with the recording industry, including, but not limited to, and culminating in the suit against Napster.

    I find it highly ironic that the Recording Industry is suddenly so publicly concerned about the "rights of artists" in copyright infringement.

    What Napster.com does is make music available to those who enjoy it and appreciate it. What the recording industry does is make music they want to sell us available to us. You have, in general, shown an absolute disregard for musicianship and talent for half a century. Why do you purport to care now?

    When one of any of the companies represented by the RIAA takes an artist's music and copyrights it themselves, changes it through endless bouts of overproduction, completely forces the artist to give up their artistic integrity for the purpose of selling some plasticized, poppy product to the public, it is stealing something much more precious than money from artists.

    Napster's intent is obviously not to make their favorite artists poor, what could possibly be their motive for doing something like that? Napster's intent is to lessen the hold that the RIAA and others have over artists. Artists like Ani Difranco have shown that nationwide distribution and large fanbases can be attained without the help of the RIAA or huge management corporations, that artistic integrity can be saved, and that the buying public LOVES it.

    Now a new medium has swept our entire society. The Internet is everywhere, boys, and you'd better get used to it. The RIAA can no longer dominate every aspect of music listening and enjoyment in our country and around the world. Smart kids who love music will figure out a way to share art with everyone, no matter what kind of bullying, laissez-faire capitalistic greed you try to pull on them.

    Your quotes from artists are laughable. They're being paid by you! Not from their music! How much more are you making per record sold than artists like Creed? Don't kid yourself into thinking that music listeners all over aren't on to you.

    You cannot stop us. When I was a really poor kid growing up in rural Missouri, the only way I could have access to music was by dubbing it on old tape recorders from my friends' recordings. I don't feel guilty for keeping the artists from making their $.0005, and keeping you from making your $8.00, because through that listening, I have developed a deep and abiding love for music. I buy CDs now, I listen to what I want to, and I've probably paid for an executive's parking space in revenues. Yet you do not sue the companies who make blank tapes for dubbing...you do not sue the computer manufacturers whose technology allowed music to be converted to MP3 format, you do not sue internet providers for making mass communication between listeners possible. Do you refrain only because you know it is a losing battle? Because you are simply very afraid of these intelligent and slightly sneaky kids who are undermining your very way of life? All of the above and more.

    Your entire industry disgusts me. When your entire motive is to take total advantage of artists in the interests of making more and more and more dollars, how can you expect us to side with you against some kids who may be doing some wrong, but certainly have the music in first place?

    You are going to need to seriously reconsider your entire way of doing business, to wake up and hear the dialup...America is on to you, and you're not going to stop it.

  • The RIAA's tactics in this case are nothing less than bullying - picking on the little guy who can't fight back.

    It's more fighting back the only way they know how. This is similar to the iCrave suit in that established media properties are trying to shut down or stop innovators. Why? Because they want to be the ones to innovate when they're good and ready. (i.e. they find a way to maintain control).

    All of these large media companies see they are losing the war. Abusing the law is the only way they can fight. It's guerilla warfare and they can't figure out how to stop it. What's that Ghandi quote..1st they ignore you ('95), then they laugh at you ('97), then they fight you ('99), and then you win (??).
  • by Haven (34895) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @06:49AM (#1476971) Homepage Journal
    I am worried that Napster is going to be shut down becuase that is the only place an independent artist like myself can easily distribute my music. If I hang out in the 'trance', 'ambient', and 'techno' rooms people look to see what I have and download my music. I love napster. I've transfered my songs over 1100 times.
  • RIAA sues FSF over "cp" utility
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Recording Industry Artists of America (RIAA) filed suit against the Free Software Foundation today in Los Angeles Federal District Court. In the suit, the RIAA, which represents a select cabal of huge multinational record companies, aledges that the FSF's "cp" utility -- which allows users to indiscriminately copy data from one location on their hard drive or other media to another -- is being used as a tool by music pirates. "I simply cannot believe this web site; It's like using a crowbar to pry off copyright locks on files I illegitimately own and hope to make a profit from! I have 2 hungry, bratty kids and a wife I'm pretty sure is having an affair at home, you know!" said Rod Stone, a representitive from artists' agency Gold Mountain Management. The RIAA is seeking $100,000 in damages for each song pirated by the "cp" utility. "Some users even have more than one copy of the same song on their hard drive!" commented one industry executive. The industry filed suit under the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), one of the most biased and unfair pieces of legislation ever. Cary Sherman, chief council and vice-president of the RIAA said, "We love the idea of using technology to suck the last possible dollar out of consumers, but 'cp' is not about that -- I understand it is even distributed 'free' -- it is about facilitating piracy and trying to build a business on the backs of huge multinationals." He added, "Not only does the FSF have no chance of besting us monetarily, but with the DMCA, we can now go after copyright 'infringers' arbitarily! Muhuhahahahhaha!"

    No music trading actually takes place on computers owned by the FSF, nor does the FSF's "cp" utility monitor to see if users are copying copyrighted files. In fact, there is no restriction as to what kinds of files the "cp" utility can copy. It could be used to copy music, illegally decrypted DVD movies, copyrighted webpages, or child pornography and other illicit material.

    In its counter-statement, the FSF pointed out that it did not orginate the "cp" utility. "That honor falls to either Ken Thompson or Dennis Ritche, I'm not sure which," sad Richard Stallman, chief of the FSF. "Of course, my version is better, and isn't encumbered by hoarder's copyrights." The FSF also pointed out that there are legitimate uses for the "cp" utility -- such as copying a data file to a floppy disk for backup. However, the RIAA was quick to jump on that claim. They stated, "How can we be sure the user isn't putting a copy of an emm-pee-three on to that floppy? Our multibillion-dollar-a-year-and-growing industry needs protection from money drains like that!"

    A final point made by the FSF, which no one really paid any attention to, was that its "cp" utility doesn't really do anything unique anyway. Stallman commented that a "[competent] programmer could re-write the tool from scratch in less than a day -- it doesn't really do anything special." In fact, according to Stallman, everything the "cp" utility does could be done on a program-by-program basis using pipes and I/O redirection, or if you really wanted to, editing inode tables. "Of course, that would be very inconvient" added Stallman.
  • I agree. In fact the current situation is basically that mega-organizations can hire the U.S. government to harass and bully weaker economic competitors.

    These are often the same organizations screaming for "badly needed" tort reform. Obviously a frivolous lawsuit is defined as any in which they are a defendant.

    Money has distorted the legal system to a point where the resemblence to justice is at best passing except for those with unlimited supplies of it. This will eventually force those without money to seek solutions outside the system of law. I doubt the powers that be truly want to encourage such.

    People talk of medical insurance all the time, and seriously discuss the right to medical care. This is much less convincing than the suggestion that everyone should have the right to equal treatment under the law, as the government is known to be directly responsible for providing such an environment. Doubt that's the solution, but some way has to be found to judge cases on their merits rather than the size of the litigant's wallets.
  • Napsters tools are no more inherently tools for pircacy than ftp is.

    It seems to me that Napster's primary use profile is in fact the illegal trading of mp3 files that infringe on copyrights. Napster makes claims that its tools can be used legally, but buglar's tools can be used legally, too. And the possesion of such tools is illegal in many places.

    Tools like cp, ftp and so on have by far their major use in prefectly legal applications. A brick can be used aid a burglary too; but that is not it's primary use.

  • by mcc (14761)
    i was actually thinking about the garage band/small software company thing, but decided not to put it in the original post cuz i thought it would take up too much space. what i think is:

    first off, i seriously doubt this is the most cost-efficient way to press a lot of CDs. You could probably go to a service beaureu or something and not have to go to extreme amounts of bother making one copy at a time.

    second off, the fact that the garage band has a source cd to copy to begin with kinda implies you already have access to some kind of CD-R drive, which would seem to make the phillips thing redundant. unless the phillips recorder has some kind of direct-record-from-tape thing, whcih i doubt.

    third off, the target market is tiny. i'm sure there are a small number of people somewhere to which this device really is incredibly useful for legal uses and superior to the alternatives.. but these people aren't who Phillips is targeting, at least not with the commercials.

    Of course, it's possible i'm completely wrong about these three things, but in any case i'd say the phillips thing is a good bit more likely to be used for illegal purposes than Napster is.

    -mcc
    INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS THEFT
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @08:16AM (#1477011) Homepage
    There is only one purpose for using a gun, and you're right as to what it is.

    The problem here is that you think that violence is never justified. I disagree.

    The basic reason IMHO that Americans have such a fundemental right to firearms is so that if it becomes utterly, truely necessary, we can overthrow our government, which will pretty certainly require the use of force. Wish it didn't, but if things are that bad, they probably will.

    This is how it's supposed to work. Because the government derives its power and right to exist from a single source: the people. And if we don't like it then that's that for the government.

    If I lived under an utterly oppressive United States of America (there is some debate as to whether or not we actually do; I don't, but we're probably getting there slowly much like the frog in the pot), it would be my obligation as an American to overthrow it so that I can live freely. Is this bad? No. It's good. It is a good use of violence or the threat of violence. Do you disagree?
  • Isn't this basically the same as the case against the Rio, which RIAA lost? They said it was made to let people listen to pirated songs and the courts said it wasn't made for that and Diamond wasn't responsible if some people did use it for that. I don't see a difference between this suit and that one.

    If things like radar detectors are legal and those have no other use than to evade capture for speeding, how can something that is used to exchanged files be banned because some people might use it for exchanging illegal files? Like one of the other posters said, crowbars can be used for breaking into cars but they aren't illegal.


  • Actually, "burglar's implements" such as lockpicks are illegal to posess in some states.
    A few months back, I had some time to kill. Inspired by a Richard Feynman story about picking locks, I made a set of lockpicks out of a bobby pin. I had no experience with locksmithing, but within twenty minutes I was able to pick the lock on my front door. (Which was very old and had loose tumblers - easy to pick.)

    Making tools is one of the things human beings do well. That makes banning tools pretty useless, 'cause if we can't get them (be they lockpicks, handguns, or file transfer programs) we'll make them ourselves. It's our nature.

  • Ok, I was holding off on this comment, but this is a perfect lead in. Nice and clear example for what I'm thinking.

    Crowbar: tool devised for multiple applications, primarily for demoltion of wooden structures, but also handy for halving cranial cavities and breaking into people's homes.

    Lockpick: tool devised for a singular purpose, that of bypassing a secutity measure as implemented by a system of raised bumps on a metal device (key) and spring actuated differentiated cylindars (lock) which work together to limit access to a physical space to those in posession of said key.

    Software: tools such as web browsers, FTP clients and email programs provided for multiple uses, generally transferring and displaying digital information such as web pages, files, images and electronic messages, but also handy for sending e-mail bombs, warez and pirated mp3 files.

    Napster: (well, I've never used this so I can't provide a description here, but it sounds like this has a pretty narrowly defined purpose. Correct me if I'm wrong.)

    So I agree that the RIAA is going after the makers of the tools rather than the users, but c'mon - putting Napster in the same broad category as other file transfer mechanisms doesn't really make a point, does it?


  • the CD writer they're selling makes an exact copy of a CD you have already. There is NO POSSIBLE PURPOSE for this device except for making copies and then distributing them illegally.

    It would PREFECTLY LEGAL for me to make one copy of every music CD I own, so that I can keep the originals in the closet where they won't be scratched, and use the copies in the CD player in my living room.

    This is the save 'fair use' that allows archival copies of software.

  • How many of you have downloaded mp3s from actual sites like mp3.com that are not copyright protected?

    The songs on mp3.com [mp3.com] are copyrighted. You are not permitted to distribute them, unless the artist overrides this restriction (and I haven't seen any that do). Of course, it's in mp3.com's interests to see their artists' songs distributed far and wide, so I doubt they'll crack down on anyone who distributes the files.

    To answer your question, though: I think you'd be surprised. I've downloaded a few dozen songs from mp3.com, at least. I've also bought 5 D.A.M. CDs from them, and will probably buy more in the future. A lot of the artists on mp3.com are good -- as good as anything on the radio (which isn't saying much these days).

    The vast majority of my MP3 files were ripped directly from CDs that I own. I've got several hundred CDs, and a couple thousand fully-legal MP3 files.

    Most of the "illegal" MP3 files I have fall into two categories: rare/live/B-side songs from artists I adore, or one-shot singles from artists from whom I only like one song and don't want to buy a whole album just to get that song.

    E.g., I have bought every Tori Amos studio album, and every single I could get my hands on. But most of the singles are out of print -- so the B-sides on those singles can only be had by either buying the single from someone, or copying it. In either case, neither Tori nor Atlantic Records gets any money at all. So why not just copy the B-side tracks?

    If I could pay, say, $0.50 USD directly to Tori Amos for every B-side, live track, etc. that I've downloaded, I'd do it. And I think a lot of other people would, too (though the price they'd be willing to pay might be different, and of course the artist might not be Tori).

    The same goes for the one-shot songs. There are a lot of one-hit wonder artists out there, or artists who only have 1-3 songs I like. Would you pay $0.25 for a copy of Tommy Tutone's "867-5309 (Jenny)"? Or The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star"? A lot of people would, especially if it were easy and had no overhead. Even more would, if they knew the money was going to go straight into the artist's pocket, and not to some record company exec. But would you buy a whole album at $12-$18 USD just to get one of those songs? No, probably not, unless it's a Rhino Records compilation or something.

    The next great innovation for the human race is going to be secure, anonymous, untraceable electronic currency. And it's going to turn the whole world upside-down.

  • Yes, this is where "shot to the head" comes from. Still, you are killing something.

    Uh, when you eat a plant you are still killing something. Food comes from living things. The way that cattle are shot is probably about the most humane way they could do it (its not like you could effectively guillitine a cow).

    And, by the way, you don't have to eat things killed with guns to survive

    Why would I mind if things were killed with guns or not? I don't see anything wrong with it, in fact, I have hunted, and probably will hunt in the future. I would now if I had the time.

    Although a certain portion of meat products has generally been proven necessary. Try chicken - no guns used there...

    I eat chicken, beef, pork, sheep, whatever. I don't see the fact that chicken is killed by a different means makes any difference to me. As long as it is done humanely, I don't care. From an economic standpoint, food processors should use whatever humane method is the most cost effective.
    It is worth noting that people generally let fish die by suffocation which is not very humane and think nothing of it. Most commercial fish is killed that way too. I don't generally eat fish, but that is because I don't like most kinds of fish, not because I am morally opposed to it.

  • by werdna (39029) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @09:47AM (#1477057) Journal
    The last time a manufacturer was meaningfully alleged to be responsible for piracy resulting from the use of new technology was the famous Betamax case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court held that a defendant CANNOT be guilty for contributing to the infringement by a third party, whenever the apparatus being sold is capable of a substantial non-infringing use -- even if he has knowledge that the piracy might occur. In Betamax case, the Supes held that "time-shifting" broadcast TV by a consumer is fair use, and thus, there existed substantial non-infringing uses.

    Of course, Sony lost to the Supreme Court of the Marketplace in the long run, but they set a virtually unassailable precedent for those who follow: if the thing can be used for non-infringing purposes, there won't be responsibility unless the defendant, itself, is actually doing the piracy.
  • So, the RIAA wants to sue Napster? What about Microsoft? Has anyone ever heard of SMB?? And did you know that SMB also works over TCP/IP??

    Go ahead and try it - open up an SMB client and type in my machine's address - luxojunior.res.cmu.edu You should get a directory listing. No, it's not publicly available, but it could have been.

    Actually, I was once at home on mid semester break and successfully started playing an MP3 from my personal stash all the way back at my college dorm address, right through SMB.

    Yes, Napster might be a little faster (since it's direct peer to peer transfer), but it's entirely plausible with Windows Networking and SMB.

    So, RIAA... how about suing Microsoft? They might actually have that $100,000 per pirated song you're looking for.
  • >On the other hand, a lockpick is clearly designed with the sole intent of breaking into areas one shouldn't be in. There isn't any real, legal use of lockpicks (at least, not without stretching the imagination). Napster and lockpicks are not really in the same ballpark.

    Well, true enough - I see your point. Like I said, I have no first-hand experience in napster, was going bysome of the posts here that it was 99.999% used for distributing illegal mp3's.

    I hate to stretch a bad analogy to the breaking point, but a lockpic might be a perfectly legal item for a locksmith to posess. A slim-jim for a cop on "locked my keys in the car duty".

    I'm not siding with the RIAA on this, but I can see how they would try to shut down the guy handing out do-it-yourself mp3 copying software just as fast as the cops shut down a guy that sells lockpicks, slimjims and latex gloves.
  • Hmm... interesting point. I bet though if your screwdriver had been in a zippered pouch with a couple other tools, rather than just stuffed into your back pocket, it might have been viewed differently.

    I'm not saying that the cops are right to run you in for having a tool in your pocket, but at the same time I can see how I might want to make sure I'm not putting myself in a situation where I've given them an excuse to harass me. It sucks, but that seems to happen in a lot of situations in life.
  • Okay then - let's try a solution like this:

    Minors aren't allowed to purchase, own or operate firearms (though there will be a grandfather clause)

    Upon turning 18, all regular citizens in good standing are required to learn how to safely use, own and operate pistols and rifles unless they deliberately want to opt out (for religious/moral reasons, but not because they're lazy or they have a date).

    No records are kept of who attends the class, and it's not required to have taken the class to legally obtain firearms but it is now much more likely that any generic person will be know what they're doing. Sounds okay to me.
  • Locksmiths have special access to a lot of information needed to do their job. I locked my self out of a rental car while traveling once by dropping the keys in the trunk. I called a locksmith. He was able to open the door with a slim jim, and then make a key by reading a code from the inside of the glove compartment, and a second code from a book that he carried.

    It would be obvious that such a professional could be licensed to have such tools, just as many other professionals (say, doctors) have access to otherwise illegal materials.

  • You're right about the lawsuit being a useful stick for the RIAA regardless of whether they have any chance of winning in court. However, there is a counterpoint to that argument.

    Napster is a corporation that is not only easy to sue but may even be lucrative to sue. It is a sitting duck in corporate waters.

    To avoid that particular stick you must either not be a sitting duck or else not swim in coporate waters. If you can avoid both, all the better.

    The above metaphor maps directly to a solution that we know well: the RIAA could do nothing against open-sourced napster-type systems distributed through newsgroups and mirrored on thousands of servers across the world. There need be no identifiable people nor companies to sue, no money to make, no injunctions to serve. They would be entirely powerless to do anything about it.

    Napster is comparatively vulnerable because its source is fixed, closed, and corporate, but we're already nearing a less vulnerable solution in gnapster, and much better total solutions could easily be devised. Let's get to it.
  • I'm no expert - the incident I describe above is my only experience. But what I did was something like this (hope I've got the terminology right):

    A keyed lock has a set of tumblers that have to be depressed to a certain depth. When this happens, the cylinder can turn and the lock opens. Since this is an imperfect real-world system, one tumbler holds the cylinder a little bit more than the others. (If the lock is old and worn (like the one I picked was) or just cheap, probably a lot more.) If you try to turn the lock while you jiggle the tumbers, eventually you'll get that one tumbler at just the right height and the cylinder will turn just a little and hold that tumbler in place. Repeat for the other tumblers and eventually you'll get them all and the cylinder will turn. The more tumblers, and the better things fit together, the harder the lock is to pick.

    Get two pieces of thin flat metal. A bobby pin broken in half worked for me. You need two tools, one to try to turn the cylinder of the lock, and the other to stick into the lock and rake across the tumblers. We'll call them the "tension wrench" and the "rake" (which might not be real names, but we'll use them anyway).

    Lay these two piece flat out on the table. For the tension wrench, bend the very bottom bit (just like the last millimter or two) and bend it up at 90 degrees to make an L shape. That small bottom bit is what you hook into the top of the lock cylinder to apply pressure to turn it. (You only want a small bit to go into the lock so you won't interfere with the rake.)

    For the rake, bend the bottom centimeter or so of the second piece to the side about 30 to 45 degrees.

    Rake the tip of the bent part of the rake over the tumblers (i.e., stick it in the lock and pull it out while pressing down on the part where the jagged edge of your key goes) while applying tension with the tension wrench. You'll feel the cylinder turn just a tiny bit with each tumbler that you get in position.

    I was really surprized at how easy it was. This is probably a factor of the lock being pretty old, though - which is why it's been replaced. See, another example of "cracking tools" being used for legitimate security analysis.

  • And, that RIAA representative wasn't the brightest. But, napsters servers can be compared to a "thieving guild" or however it is spelled. It provides the tools, the server, the information on how, and the oportunity to - trade copyrighted mp3's illegally.

    No. Napster's servers provide the tools and opportunity to trade any mp3s. Whether these are copyrighted mp3s traded illegaly or public domain mp3s traded legally (or copyright mp3s traded legally with the permission of the copyright owner) is entirely beyond the control of Napster. Since these files never pass through their servers (they go directly from user to user on a TCP connection), Napster has no way of verifying the legality of a particular file. I personally have downloaded several legal mp3s from Napster, so yes, they do exist. That the majority of people using their software choose to disobey copyright laws is the fault of those users, not of the Napster software. The users who trade copyright m3ps illegaly should be prosecuted, not the software manufacturers or the Napster users who do not break copyright laws.
  • Incorrect. Napster was designed for the sole purpose of transferring mp3 files. Since these files never pass through Napster's servers, they have no way of enforcing copyright laws, as they never actually see the files. If you look, there are quite a few legal mp3s on Napster (mostly from relatively unknown bands such as those at mp3.com). The fact that more people choose to trade illegal mp3s than legal mp3s is something beyond Napster's control.
  • Actually, I'd wager that counting bytes/day, illegal file transfers constitute a majority of ftp traffic. The vast number of warez and mp3 FTPs out there swamp the relatively few remaining major legal FTP sites (the majority of software the typical person downloads these days is downloaded via HTTP).

    Even if not a majority, pirate sites make up at least a quite large percentage of total FTP traffic.

    So ban FTP then?
  • Hopefully the courts will see that this case is similar. There is certainly a substantial non-infringing use of the Napster software. While the RIAA is probably right in that the majority of users are there to trade pirated music, there are quite a few who are there to trade their own music. If one takes the time to actually hang out in the chat rooms and talk to people rather than just attempting to pirate the latest hit single of some radio band, there are quite a few independent artists who let people download their music (completely legally).

    Of course, I'm sure the RIAA isn't too unhappy about "accidentally" taking out the independent artists along with the pirates. After all, "independent artist" means "artist not represented by the RIAA."
  • RIAA *has* problems with minidiscs, CDRWs, and other recordable medias. Every media sold already has pre-levied RIAA TAX.

    I have always wondered: How does RIAA accomplish this? They aren't a government agency or anything, so it isn't by law. Do they simply bully all possible manufacturers, or what?
  • I'm just saying that even if there were no guns, we'd still be able to enjoy meat products.

    I'm not so sure about that in the long run. If we give in on one thing, sooner or later the militant PETA-philes will be pushing for legislation outlawing the eating of meat. Sure, they'll start with just banning hunting. Sooner or later they will outlaw eating cows (because eating beef offends Hindus) and pigs (because eating pork offends muslims and jews), eventually it will be poultry and then fish.

    It is a slippery slope that we shouldn't go down.

    At any rate, I disagree with your point in that I don't believe guns are only used for violence, and I think that even if it was possible to eliminate guns that it wouldn't eliminate violence from society. I think that eliminating guns would be a huge mistake in the long run.

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

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