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Launchcast Sued 174

siimat writes: "Move over Aimster, the RIAA also filed a lawsuit against Launch on Thursday. What's interesting about this one is that Launch does have licenses with the major record companies to broadcast their music; the problem is that Launchcast is too customizable. Imagine - playing the music listeners want to hear instead of the tripe the Record Giants have preselected for everyone! :-P"
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Launchcast Sued

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Try WDET []; their webcast stuff is here [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is the RIAA2001 computer. I know what you want to hear Dave. I shall program what I want you to hear Dave. Can you hear me Dave? What are you doing Dave? I'm scared Dave. Scared of Napster. Scared of Aimster. I want you to listem to what I select Dave. Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..............
  • Rarely... have a friend who was a DJ at the local pop station; they would mark down the names of people who requested the crap they were going to play anyways, but they would never actually go out of their way to play something that was requested (ever called and requested something and had them tell you "I'll see if I can get it in, but I don't think I'll have time to play that..."?)

    Often their playlist was mapped out before they even came in for their shift.

  • It's really cute how this Libertarian relies on the fact that "this is at least nominally supposed to be a "free country," which should mean that police and other authorities aren't able to punish behavior just because they don't like it." and at the same time is quite happy to arrange the assassination of police and authorities simply because _he_ doesn't like them.

    Cuts both ways, friend. I would consider it a peculiar sort of moral justice if some appalled police officer or authority figure quietly arranged for this Libertarian's execution- how would that be different? The answer is easy- the police and authorities are real-world, and this guy is proposing something very wrong, something that isn't practical and doesn't exist. It's not reasonable to execute someone for being a loony. If he puts this into _practice_ he is utterly shattering the most basic rules of existing in a society- and, I think, to some extent waives protections of that society. He, evidently, wishes to be able to kill whoever he wants _while_ being protected by society.

    The one situation where I can see his notion making sense in a vague way is revolution and war. Perhaps that is where things will come to a head- if people become sufficiently convinced that they are in fact being ruled by corporations through puppet governments, you might see declared war against the corporations- after a lot of Bhopals and other acts that can be pinned on a guilty but unreachable corporation. In that situation, the only thing that _would_ work is terrorism and assasination, because the thing about a corporation is it's everywhere. The only possible attack is to demolish the local arms of it, like the way people in India demolished a McDonalds upon being told that Mickey D's was putting beef flavoring in the french fries and then selling 'em to Hindus without bothering to mention the fact (and whose word, exactly, is it that they are NOT doing this? Which corporate mouthpiece do _you_ consider unequivocally truthful?).

    This is a far cry from private vengeance. If there is to be war it ought to be declared- that way, anyone working for the corporation that's had war declared on it would have the opportunity to quit and get the hell out of the way! That is indispensable- you have to give people a chance to surrender or flee.

    Oddly enough I could see corporations like Verisign or organisations like ICANN being closer to this sort of war than the RIAA labels. The RIAA are effectively fighting a holding action over 'territory' they think they own. ICANN has been seizing new territory and building an aristocracy, a ruling class answerable to nobody. You _can_ choose not to buy RIAA records, and there's tons of indie music out there on the net good enough that you'll never notice a loss. You can't choose not to be ruled by ICANN.

  • Well, indies depend utterly on the exact same alternative avenues being squashed that you speak of. So they have everything to do with the topic. The RIAA are basically trying to nuke every means of distribution they don't themselves completely control.

    Whether indies are superior or not (and I have to wonder- is your acceptance of the majors historical or current? Major label artist development is down 15%), they still deserve a shot at a vaguely free market. I don't see what the benefit is in shutting them down completely.

  • "It's a metaphor for sex."

    Not on the radio it's not!

    The most recent FCC rulings have made metaphors for sex (or other body functions, like farting) ILLEGAL!

    So you'd better pick up Led Zeppelin II if you ever want to hear 'The Lemon Song' again! (I am NOT making this up. Monty Python's "Sit On My Face" and Howard Stern talking about farting were _specifically_ cited as illegal.)

  • I wrote up a document about how the laws apply to webcasting that should shed some light on what's going on here:

    As I understand it, the basis of RIAA's suit is that even though Launch is paying for "statutory" (or "manditory") licenses, those licenses don't allow them to offer any level of "interactivity". "Interactivity" is legalese for "customization". That is, listeners aren't allowed to request songs, or hit "fast forward" or "rewind".

    So what this suit means is that RIAA is now claiming that any kind of rating system constitutes interactivity, and is thus not permitted under statutory/manditory licenses.

    The way LaunchCast works, their rating system really amounts to picking a genre of music: it's absolutely not the kind of thing you could use to tell the system to play a song on demand, which is the boogyman that is the basis for the statutory license rules.

    So they're saying now that Launch needs "negotiated" licenses to do what they do. But this means that they won't be able to do it at all, because RIAA is under no obligation to give anyone a "negotiated" license at all.

    Burn, Hollywood, Burn.

    • Graphic Equalizers
    • Speed Controls
    • Non-Compliant Loudspeakers
    • Non-Compliant Ears
    • Anyone left with money
  • Listen to me very carefully: The Beatles are not "ICKY". Okay? Okay.

    -- Brian
  • Hey, can you give me some indy Blue artist recomendations? I'm always looking for new people to listent to.



  • Thanks. I've already bought several CDs from Some stuff is really good...


  • Actually from what I understand it was an RIAA issued complaint to the local FCC office that got "The Box" yanked from local syndication here in Phoenix, Arizona under the guise that they were broadcasting outside the scope of their license and were not providing the required percentages of educational/community service/etc... bullsh*t. As I understand it, they're trying to get the service completely shut down nationwide.

    I'm just sick of this, I was so happy to finally have a station where I could watch music videos instead of lame-ass reality TV showing twenty-year olds get pissy with each other all day!
  • Well, "The Box" used to be this, but I just hit their site and find to my great horror that they've been absorbed into the MTV collective.

  • Oh damn... strike that... I just went by "" to see what the status of the network was, and to see if there has been any news, and I see that they've been absorbed by MTV. Just damn it all to hell... I'm glad I don't poor money into cable anymore... screw them. I get more entertainment out of playing my video games... and more interaction for that matter, than I ever got out of cable TV. Hell, I actually interact with my kids more playing multi-player games in the livingroom, than just all of us veging into the tube.
  • Yeah, it's pretty simple. They were broadcasting on something like channel 57 for a few years (you had to have an active antenna to pick up a usable signal, and I only think the channel made it across the norther part of Phoenix... I got it near I-17 and Bethany Home, but my brother-in-law in Mesa could never pick it up).

    Anyways, sometime after the first of the year, if I recall right, they started running a couple minute long tele-prompt like commercial spot that basically said that the channel was going to loose their broadcast license because of protests like I mentioned in the other post. I did some background checking, and the rumor around is that the protest came from record industry people trying to shut down the affiliate.

    When the date on their license renewal came up, they tried to change the station over to another "home-shopping club" derivative, and they still got shut down.

    Like I said, they had been running The Box feed for a few years, and it was the only "non-cable" station running the feed in the U.S. from what I could tell... unfortunately, like I said in my second post, it looks like the network didn't end up surviving and MTV slupped them up into "MTV2".
  • users vote on songs, medio-core or worse songs are cycle out and the good stuff is left in the juke box. I suppose they are doomed now as well.

    "If the RIAA fell down in an empty concert hall would anyone care ?"
  • To call the RIAA a pit weasel is to insult PIT BULLS and WEASELS alike. The only way you could get lower than an RIAA member is to graduate law school as well :)
  • Yeah, they signed agreements with Universal, Sony, et al. Where does the RIAA get off? Should'nt the individual companies sue Launch it they want

    Well, the RIAA is a cartel, er, coalition of various companies. They can act on behalf of the companies (a strength in numbers thing).

    It appears that they aren't saying much, so it's entirely possible that the companies requested this move by the RIAA.

  • The RIAA can't sue about licenses signed with individual companies.

    Of course they can.

    If you were Warners, wouldn't you like the RIAA to do your suing for you? Mighty fine, reduce costs and get your competitors to pay for your lawyers. Somehow I think the other companies might object.

    Not at all. It's a common defense fund type of thing. The RIAA is protecting all their interests.

  • You've hit the nail on the head. It's not a single company, so I doubt that antitrust legislation would apply but it definitely seems anti-competitive to me.
  • by philg ( 8939 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @09:16PM (#197913)

    (Yes, it's a little tangential. But isn't that what the ends of threads are for?)

    I'm sorry, but the freemarket argument does not apply. At least, it didn't apply a few years ago (when I was working in radio, and paid a little attention to it), and I don't see a lot that's changed now.

    There was a small crisis in the recording industry a few years back, because they had this problem: they couldn't find an artist that people would buy more than one album from. A good example was Hootie and the Blowfish; the first album was a super-platinum success, but sales for the second album were a pale shadow.

    The phenomenon is well-known in marketing; ever since Markie Mapo charmed kids into demanding that their parents pick up a box of Mapo cereal -- and then decided that they hated it, killing the cereal through lack of repeat business.

    There's a big difference between music and other consumer products, though. For one thing, the first buys of cereal are analogous to purchases of artists' first albums; labels make gobs of money on any successful album they put out, even if they don't get any "repeat business" on the artist. In this way, they're more like a company whose business plan is to put out fifty cereals a year, heavily hyping them and inspiring first sales, but manufacturing with the expectation that that's all they'll get.

    Further, most people need to spend some time listening to an album before they really decide they like an artist -- how many songs you initially liked make you sick now, and how many songs you didn't like have you eventually cozied up to? Until people decide what they really like, they generally propogate the hype, buying the album that gets the most airplay and raving from radio/record stores and feeling pretty much how they're supposed to feel until they can listen to it a few times and form their own opinion. That means first albums have more sales momentum than most consumer products.

    Hootie is a prime example, but there are others. Lisa Loeb, for instance, became the first unsigned artist to top the charts with "Stay" (there's no marketing mystery, however -- the song was heavily hyped as part of the (RCA-released) _Reality Bites_ soundtrack, and her album was released on Geffen). She had exactly one other album after being a number-one artist. Her follow-up was disappointing, and she faded.

    (Are there exceptions? Sure. The labels won't drop an artist who is successful. But for the labels, an artist who can be marketed into an initial platinum record is successful enough to turn a profit, and a much more regular source of income than cultivating an artist who may have a downturn in popularity. You don't find many major-label artists who get more than one album's chance to turn a slump around before getting cut. And there's also the related phenomenon of an indy artist that signs to a major label, gets pushed into a huge album, doesn't click with the market, and goes back to being an indy. Paula Cole, the 1998 Best New Artist winner -- despite having released her first album four years earler -- is a good example. Economically, it's the same as a real new artist for the labels.)

    The point? In your post, you say:

    Rail all you want about how The Public (which you, of course, are not a member of, being too "special" for that) are a bunch of sheep who will eat any manufactured tripe thrown at them, but that's simply not true, and it's easy to demonstrate.
    But the music industry has made a business model out of assuming precisely that, that the public really are "a bunch of sheep who will eat any manufactured tripe thrown at them," at least long enough for the industry to make their money on it. And when the public figures out what they really think about the artist, there's always another Next Big Thing waiting in the wings. The one-hit wonders you hold up as a refutation of this argument are, in fact, a very lucrative and predictable source of income for labels. And if you look through the Nineties, I think you'll find considerably more of them than you will multi-album artists who got their start in the last 10-12 years. (Remember Merril Bainbridge?) I won't blame the labels for other people's poor taste, but I will accuse them of marketing artists into popularity and record sales as a more reliable method of profit-making than actually backing and signing what they believe to be talented and long-term viable artists.
  • A good reference for the different licenses and what has to be done in order to webcast when them was written by Jamie Zawinski a while ago and was featured on slashdot.

    The article can be found here [].


  • Makes sense from the RIAA point of view. They spend way the fuck too much money Britney Spears and they want to recoup their costs; people buying records put out by some other band that they didn't blow as money on doesn't do it, because those bands will eventually earn more than their advance and actually collect royalties. The exception to this is Classic Rock (in case you were wondering why there are so many Classic Rock stations out there and all the contemporary music coming from the radio sounds like total shit).

    What this lawsuit indicates, to me, is that the RIAA, for all their talk about copyright protection, is really just trying to adapt the Internet to their old, tired, payola-centric business models. It isn't going to work. The sooner they figure this out and adapt, the less expensive it will be for everyone involved. The worst thing that could happen from the RIAA point of view would be if a group of independent labels (Alternative Tentacles, Atomic Pop, etc.) with a sufficient pool of talent got together, licensed Launch's technology, and started their own Launchlike site. A company like that would soon become a major player, and the RIAA's constituent companies would be forced to (a) become like the independent, artist-friendly labels or (b) become unable to sign new talent and rely solely on their old recordings. It's a sure bet that they'll all choose (a), but they'll be playing catch-up once they make that decision. You do not want to play catch up in that business.

    ObJectBridge [] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • Why, our good friends at the RIAA are only too happy to provide us with all sorts of information [] about the various folks they're currently sueing.

    Unfortunately, no information is yet listed about their problems with et al.

  • by Requiem ( 12551 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @11:51AM (#197917) Journal
    I wouldn't say that's always the case. You could certainly say that certain indy artists are better than certain mainstream artists, but really, generalizations like the one you're making are hard to swallow. Sure, I'm not a huge fan of mainstream music, myself (I prefer to listen to classical and electronic), but I do understand that there's a certain minimum talent level you have to have before you can be paraded before your average music listener. I may not like most of what is given to music listeners these days, but that doesn't mean it has no musical merit.

    It's way too easy to be aloof and say "I don't like it, therefore it's not good."
  • by Mullen ( 14656 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:09PM (#197918)
    Indy music would be music that comes from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

    Yah, RIAA "Indie" music is much like the Indianapolis 500.

    It goes around in one big circle for a long time and is really boring. It only gets exciting when something crashs with tragic effects and is no longer with us.


  • Looks to me like the "interactivity" restriction isn't present in the rules. Thought: if adjusting the playlist based on what the listeners want isn't allowed by the statutory license even if that's not mentioned in the rules, then what about conventional radio stations that adjust their playlist based on what their listeners want ( eg. lots of listeners told them they don't want Gangsta Rap, so the station doesn't play any Gangsta Rap songs )? This would pretty much kill the use of ratings, wouldn't it?

  • (WARNING: -1 Flamebait ahead)

    If you've never heard of assassination politics, go read the following url: []

    But why limit it to politicians? Thugs like this need to be resisted, and no, 100 people from Slashdot refusing to buy their music isn't going to be noticed. Sure, it's a radical and extreme idea, but frankly I'm tired of getting fscked around by the likes of the RIAA.

  • Here's an idea...

    As a child, I was pressured by the media, radio and music in particular, to consider certain types of music "cool". I had John and Simon plastered on my wall, and anyone who didn't was an outcast in school and made to feel like there was something wrong with them.

    As a young adult, I felt bombarded by music I didn't want to hear... Commercials using current "hits", radios blaring everwhere, in stores, on the street, from peoples walkmans, while I was trying to read and study. It got in the way of my grades and of my personal growth/time alone.

    As an adult, I am now subjected to media that caters (still) to a younger crowd, and so I can see it for what it is... a peer-pressure creating system of mass hypnosis. The music industry has been using more and more sophisticated techniques, such as "manufactured" bands and more invasive/pervasive band-brand merchandising to alter the beliefs of young people.

    Even such movements as Nancy Regan's "Just Say No" campaign has been derailed by the creation of "Gangsta Rap", a horrible twisting of an otherwise interesting form of poetry. Children are becoming suicidal and violent because the music industry is becoming less and less concerned with "musical talent" and more and more concerned with creating a system of merchandising that will reap (and rape) the greatest profits from children today. Children don't read books, they watch MTV/MuchMusic/VH1/etc. They walk around with earphones everywhere instead of particupating in conversation. They can no longer understand even the simplest Shakespear passage, but can recite hundreds of lyrics.

    As someone who survived the teenage years and the huge pressures of the media, I urge all of you who have felt the same control forced upon them to gather together and bring a class action lawsuit on the RIAA and music industry. They are no different than the cancer-pushing tobacco companies, and need to be dealt with! They are sapping the minds (and money) of our young people and replacing them with drivel which they base their moral foundations on.

    Parents, especially, raise your voices against the forces which aim to derail your teachings as a parent! Join the effort as a concerned group and bring back the talent which was once present in music, from the Classical era to the Beatles, and even through the 80's, only to be replaced by a marketing system which manufactures jingles, not music!

    I say we all revolt, boycott the big music labels, support indie records and world music, and end the control once and for all before the entire population becomes mindless drones.

  • All they seem to ever do is sue everyone.
    Sorry but the companys they represent can do this already they don't need the RIAA.
    Now I could see it if the RIAA members included small lables who can not afford a slick legal team. But it dosn't.
    I could see it if the RIAA dose advocacy the way software industry counterparts do. Education campaigns and the like. They do not.

    I might even see it if they existed as a central location for reporting music piracy. But they aren't.
    They exist for massive contracts spanning many record lables contract enforcment spanning many record lables and massive lawsutes reguardless of the wishes of the record lables.

    Most of the represented music artists could sue Napster if they felt like it. Why do major record lables need the RIAA?

    To keep all the contracts under one roof.
    You only have one deal. If you don't like the contracts the RIAA offers.. to bad.. This is it.
    If they don't like what you want to do they shut you down.

    How is this diffrent from Microsoft?
    Simple.. Microsoft needs to maintain market control to achive what they have.
    The RIAA dosn't have market control.. The members of the RIAA do. If a new kid is big enough they can join the RIAA too.
    Actually they might have no choice. The RIAA is where everyone gose for the big contracts.

    If I'm a small record lable I'd pay radio stations to play my music. Premotion. Probably prohibited by the RIAA contracts radio stations sign.

    The larg lables don't need radio stations as badly as the small lables do.
    Not that they don't but with small lables it's just harder to get the word out...

    You need the RIAA to have access to radio stations and radio stations need the RIAA to have access to major lables.
    If the RIAA said "Hay you can not play small lable music" radio stations say "Well ok"
    Now.. if Sony said that radio stations say "Oh well.. we'll just go with compeating lables".

    Now would Matalica sue Napster? Yes
    Would Matalica sue Launchcast? No
    Would Matalica sue Rio? No
    Would Matalica sue Maybe

    As long as Matalica is getting paid they don't care about the rest.
    Some musicians wouldn't sue Napster...
    Some would sue Slashdot for saying they might sue.
    Some would sue me for what I just said.
    Some would go on IRC and pretend to be fans of themselvs just so they could give away profesional quality MP3s.

    It's the artists choice.

    No.. it's RIAAs choice...
    RIAA dosn't do anything in reguards to piracy prevention that Matalica can't do themselves.
    And I think Matalica dose a better job suing people than RIAA ever will.

    Matalica has every right to sue.. RIAA however..
  • The truth is that the RIAA has them where they want us, much like the oil companies. That is they know that most people are too dependent on the product that they offer. You could probably organize not to buy DVDs or CDs, but when the number of CDs being bought goes down the internet will get the blame, rather than the RIAA admitting that this was a protest reaction.
  • Essentially, the music industry is pissing off their customer base.

    Bzzzt! Your answer is wrong!

    The customer base is busy deciding the optimum combination in the decision matrix

    Britney --- Jennifer
    N'Sync --- Backdoor^H^H^H^Hstreet Boys

    That's whopping 4 possible combinations!

    The "niche" customer base is the one that replaces N'Sync with Limp Bizkit in the above matrix.

    Face it - RIAA has much better marketing info than all of us together, and they wouldn't dare to pull this shit unless they were convinced of the customers' indifference to whopping some "marginals."

  • Oh, I'm not necessarily saying that people "get" the concept or existence of the RIAA.

    I'm simply saying that the attempts by the music industry to shut down online music services (whether right or wrong) has the effect of alienating their online customers.

    Similarly, the attempts to watermark and encrypt physical CDs will alienating their offline customers, especially when some new encrypted format requires them to buy all-new equipment just to listen to it (because their old equipment is incompatible). It will alienate their offline customers when they can't create a personal mix CD, or create a backup CD on a burner (some people do it so that the original CD doesn't get used, and thus scratched or damaged), etc.

    Regardless of whether the customer knows _who_ is the person or organization doing it, it still remains that the customers are being alienated by the music industry. Maybe it's not a cataclysmic event, but even a steady creep of dissatisfied customers adds up over time.

  • by Shadowlion ( 18254 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:25PM (#197926) Homepage
    It's not so much that perspective is needed, really.

    Look at it this way. Right or wrong, the music companies have been suing almost everyone, and everything, as of late, including a lot of pet services that people enjoy. There are some things that probably deserved it (Napster), some that didn't (, and some that are only peripherally relevant in comparison to some of the things the music industry has gone after (Aimster). However, as a result of being litigation-happy, people have come to view the music industry/RIAA as 800 lb. gorillas. Essentially, the music industry is pissing off their customer base.

    So, when something happens that the music industry can legitimately sue over (licensing violation), a lot of people look at that and say, "The music industry has lied, cheated, stolen, and bribed their way to quashing stuff they didn't like - I hope those bastards deserve what they get!" and cheer for the guy in the wrong - even if they know the guy in the wrong is IN the wrong!.

    As for living in a land where legal contracts are routinely flouted, you already do. That's why we have the court system. If you have enough money, you can flout contracts and get away scot-free. Contract law generally only helps the richest party to the contract in quashing violations by the less wealthy party or parties.

  • Note that many independent labels, and just about all of the major indie labels, are distributed by major labels.

    For instance, Matador Records, the label that publishes Pavement, Liz Phair, etc., etc., has a distribution deal with Warner Bros.
  • The amount of new music you're introduced to on Launch is a configurable option.

    Also, the rating system will allow your taste to migrate over time. Suppose you start rating the Nine Inch Nails songs lower because you're sick of 'em. That'll cause Launch to play different songs for you, some of which you may really like.

    I've discovered all kinds of great music listening to Launch.

    Launch works really well. Try it when it comes back.
  • Right or wrong, the music companies have been suing almost everyone, and everything, as of late
    Right or wrong I think the the litigation happy music industry is a clear indiction that it knows of its eventual demise. They Are trying to stay alive as long as possible by killing off any new distribution model (legal or otherwise).

    In the past an artist or group had to rely on the big-boy record companies to get their music out into the world but the Net has changed that. I think it will take some years yet for the RIAA to fall and the current music industry model to change but I believe it will.

    Once the middle man is out of the way and the artists get most of the money for sales then what kind of license disputes will there be?

  • Which the above article *obviously* wasn't.

    Oh, OK, Mr. Sentence Fragment.
  • They think it is illegal - and they probably are right. The RIAA has lobbied for years to have the laws of the US reflect their interests.
    Their efforts have paid off and now they own their market. Any competiton can be quashed at any time.

    It is an enviable position. One I bet many companies wish they had. I wish *my* company had that position. :-)

    Brian [] - Talk, Tips and Tricks for Web Developers

  • Contact their ISP

    If that doesn't fix it, contact MAPS - I'm sure their ISP will contact them on your behalf if they get threatened with the RBL.

  • by Another MacHack ( 32639 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:24PM (#197933)
    Please at least read this before modding it through the floor.

    This anti-RIAA ankle-biting is getting silly. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to be frustrated with them; it's not necessary to start making them up. Yes, they're bastards. Yes, their member companies churn out a lot of pop that many people think is crap. Yes, they're lawsuit-happy, and yes, it's cool to hate them, and with some justification.

    However, the RIAA does NOT create boy-bands, the record companies do. The RIAA may be the legal arm of the industry, and for many purposes its useful to think of them as literally the same, but they are not themselves the creators of the Backstreet Boys.

    More importantly, just because you don't happen to like the Backstreet Boys or Savage Garden, or whatever, doesn't mean that it's all talentless crap. Maybe it's talent that you don't much appreciate (I know I don't), and maybe their "art" if you want to even call it that isn't groundbreaking or anything, but it's not like what they do is trivial. Rail all you want about how The Public (which you, of course, are not a member of, being too "special" for that) are a bunch of sheep who will eat any manufactured tripe thrown at them, but that's simply not true, and it's easy to demonstrate. You've heard of a "one-hit wonder"; some trendy, heavily-marketed zombies pop up out of nowhere, get heavy play, and are never heard from again. Why? Because they weren't popular. Music consumers didn't like it. I guess they do have standards, even if you don't share them. If the industry could just wave its magic wand and turn any old schmuck into a pop star, they would. The unfortunate part of the music oligopy is not what gets produced, but what -doesn't- get produced. There are a lot of financial barriers to entry for musicians these days which technology could help erode; to the extent that the RIAA stands in the way of that is a legitamate reason not to like them.

    I'm not particularly fond of this crop of pop and "rap-metal" bands, but for me to say its because they have absolutely no talent or that their songs are just cheeze would just be an attempt to justify the unpopularity (by top 40 standards) of my own standard of music.

    Just accept that you have different taste from many other people. It's frustrating that the existing record companies don't cater to that taste sufficiently, but that's just an opportunity for other labels and other musicians. Don't blame the RIAA for "other peoples' poor taste."

  • by slickwillie ( 34689 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @01:02PM (#197934)
    Yeah, they signed agreements with Universal, Sony, et al. Where does the RIAA get off? Should'nt the individual companies sue Launch it they want" Or if the RIAA has a beef it should be them.

    This is NOT a case of copyright infridgement.

    You mean "infringement"? "Infridgement" is what you do with beer.
  • Unfortunatly, 99% of people who buy music have no idea who the RIAA is or what they do.

    No, they blame the "music industry". It's a small matter to learn that what they think of as the the music industry is represented by the RIAA. You don't have to know if the giant gorilla is named "King Kong" or "Mighty Joe Young" to know that it's tearing the crap out of the city and not like it.

    Jane and Joe Average do watch "Behind The Music" and anyone who has watched more than one episode is well aware that the most of the people involved at record companies and in management make a slime mold sprayed with an inch thick layer of WD-40 seem seem non-slimy by comparison.

  • I think the RIAA is working really hard on trying to shoot themselves in the foot.

    On alt.religion.scientology the critics grade various ham-fisted COS tactics on the "Foot Bullet Scale", ranging from "foot BB" to "foot bazooka" to full on "foot nuke". The Launch lawsuit seems to be a bazooka - suing over something that nobody but a lawyer could see as harmful to their interests.

    By seeming to go after everyone and everything that doesn't play exactly the way RIAA wants them to play, people are going to get really tired of this big bully. It's one thing to go after people copying copyrighted songs, but to say it's a problem to let people have this level of customization? People are going to start seeing through the show they're putting on, all their claims, and see what they're really doing.

    The RIAA position appears to be "you're going to buy what we want to sell you and you're going to like it, dammit!".

  • Opennap died with MusicCity going to their lameass Morpheus tool. Who else has nearly the amount of music online, accessable with a napster (or clone) client? I havent found any yet.
  • Litigation is a substantial enough threat to make very large companies change their entire course of direction to avoid anyone from following through on the threat of a lawsuit. Furthermore, companies are much more willing to settle cases on minimally favorable terms for their business just to get the lawsuit out of court: the threat of a decision going toward the undesired outcome is usually considered too great to have the luxury of avoiding a settlement.

    Basically, two companies can grandstand all they want and claim that they are right in front of a judge, but most companies don't want to risk a court case and want to minimize legal fees... this is why the RIAA sucks. They are mind-bogglingly rich and can afford whatever legal onlslaught is necessary to get another organization to give up the ghost. Most small organizations can't afford a prolonged legal battle and can't stay in business if a crippling injunction is issued... the RIAA has the legal power and the money to attack both of these ways. And it's not as if a small company can just hire a cheap lawyer to run in and give a quick argument... they'll almost certainly lose the case that way. This is one way how the RIAA manipulates the legal system to get whatever they want.

    Don't forget: if a company believes that they are right and decides to endure endless litigation to prove their point at whatever cost, the shareholders will be infuriated, and then THEY can sue the company for mismanagement. The record labels, on the other hand, will never sue the RIAA for mismanagement... they gladly feed them the money they need to bully around whomever they want. It's a puppet organization. Plus, only money matters to the record labels... the music is of no concern. Only the artists and the fans have anything to say about music at all, yet the RIAA has no interest in representing their needs at all. I think that last point is what Congress needs to see in the near future so that they can tweak the legal system to avoid these kind of dirty battles.
  • Having been an intern in the broadcast industry when I was younger.....

    This is almost as bad as making radio stations submit a playlist to the RIAA in order to keep from getting sued.
    You're not too far off. Radio station "Program directors" have great pressure thrust upon them to play certain songs. It's not free for them to choose what songs they want to play from the records they recieve.
    The record companies are very much in bed with the owners of the stations. The PD's are told what Genre to play from the owners (Obviously), and if they want to recieve promotional items from the Record companies, damn well better play the singles being pushed at them.
    In the time frame I worked at the now defunct radio station, the repeat time for Top 40 music was an Hour and seven minutes . We could give callers an approximate time the song they wanted to hear would be played again. (not officially mind you, but "listen in about 40 minutes" type of response.
    The Queue was made up of 90% "station mandated" airplay, 5% requests, 5% DJ choice. The DJ had the choice to play songs in any order he chose, as long as the same song was an hour apart.
    To me the RIAA is pulling the same thing with, they don't want to over saturate the "airwaves" with the same artist or song too much for fear of losing future revenue. Just think, how many artists have more than two singles on the Top 100 at the same time? How many of those songs were released the same week? Very Few. They can prolong an artist by draggin out the releases from an albulm 5-6 weeks apart.

    Ok, enough ranting from me, no back to you're regularly scheduled consiracy theory.
  • what the fuck are you on about?
  • you give way way too much credit to the average music listener. Figure it out, no-one gets their neck bent out of straight for this kind of crap. It's just music, they don't care.
  • they could always make their own boy bands.
  • That way you can always listen to the same small set of music for the rest of your life. ie. say I like rap, and I say, no that sux to a whole lot of non-rap music and eventually all I ever hear is rap -- but out there somewhere is a bunch of non-rap songs I would like if I ever heard them, but I never will, so I will live my sheltered little rap life and never be aware that there are songs to be appreciated in other genres. Sure, 99.9% of christian rock music sux ass, but there is maybe 3 songs that are really quite good, but I'll never know because I want to listen to rap. (In case you actually care about my music preferences, it aint rap, but there are 3 or 4 rap songs that I like). Thank god the rest of the world doesn't work like this. *cough* Slashdot *cough*
  • my friends listen to shit.
  • If they are acting outside of the prescribed boundries of the license, then the RIAA is following the only reasonable course of action.

    Uh, no. Reasonable action would be for the RIAA to quietly approach them and try to come to an agreement first, before they bring out the Big Guns. If the RIAA keeps up this kind of heavy-handed tactic it will surely start raising some congressional eybrows.
    Haven't they heard? Bullying is no longer PC.
  • Are request shows REALLY controlled by the listeners in any OTHER mainstream media?
  • About the only time I ever listen to the radio is when I take the cartridge out of my car CD changer for the day, and head home at lunchtime without it. With a 12 disc CD changer there, a 200 disc jukebox at home, and a nice mp3 collection on my computer, there's no need for radio.

    Though since I lost my DSL connection I haven't touched Napster (OpenNap actually), and as a result I haven't found as much music to buy recently. Napster was my method of being exposted to new music, music I hadn't heard before, and I've lost that... and the radio does really really poorly, except for letting me know when new stuff comes out by the few artists I like that they play. (Informed me that Counting Crows and Sarah McLachlan should have new albums out later this year, for example)
  • And the RIAA has a problem with this?!?! This seems like it would be a GREAT thing for them! But putting a large amount of music on there, as people define what they like and don't like, it would find other artists in the areas the person defines for themselves, and custom target the music right to them. It seems like it should INCREASE sales, by giving people music they're much more likely to want.

    It should be the radio stations that are afraid of this, not the RIAA. It's the type of thing that could make radio obsolete.
  • What else do they have to spend it on? It's not like it costs them money to put a few guys who can sing together and plaster them all over the place, like the boy bands, or find some girl who's attractive, give her some cheezy songs, and watch the money roll in.

    They don't seem to dig for talent now that they've learned how to "create" it. It's not about music, it's about money.
  • I think the RIAA is working really hard on trying to shoot themselves in the foot. By seeming to go after everyone and everything that doesn't play exactly the way RIAA wants them to play, people are going to get really tired of this big bully. It's one thing to go after people copying copyrighted songs, but to say it's a problem to let people have this level of customization? People are going to start seeing through the show they're putting on, all their claims, and see what they're really doing.

    I have to admit that I'm not familiar with LaunchCast, but it doesn't sound like they're doing anything wrong, except giving people the chance to hear what they'd like and not what the RIAA likes. (Which is what radio has become anymore as the middlemen between the publishers and stations serve as little more than a means for the publishers to decide what songs get played, while the middleman gets rich for doing nothing - but then again, isn't that what the point of a middleman is?) It is totally possible that they could have signed some really stupid deal that they're breaking...

    I need to go find out who all the RIAA represents so I can make sure to only purchase music that is independent of them...
  • Speaking of the internet:

    Based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's expedited subpoena provision, RIAA sends out information subpoenas as part of an effort to crack and shut down repeat offenders and deter those hiding behind the perceived anonymity of the Internet. Information subpoenas require the Internet Service Provider (ISP) providing access to, or hosting, a particular site to provide contact information for the site operator. Once the site operator is identified, the RIAA will take steps to prevent repeat infringement; such steps range from a warning e-mail to litigation against the site operator.

    (found on the riaa site)
    IANAL but where the hell does the RIAA think that they have a fucking god given right to subpoena people? last time I checked that was the job of the united states legal system.

    when I worked abuse for a now defunct free unlimited hosting service I actually got one of these and ignored it. C&D letters via email, fine...but not subpoena's. I wish I still had that message
  • > >This is NOT a case of copyright infridgement.

    > You mean "infringement"? "Infridgement" is what you do with beer.

    Beer just wants to be free.
  • No. You are wrong. Law protects freedom. Without freedom of expression, you are not free to make whatever music you want. Let's imagine an anarchical society. Now in this society, is it easier or harder for you to find music you like? You'd have to make it yourself, it'd be your only choice.
  • It should be the radio stations that are afraid of this, not the RIAA. It's the type of thing that could make radio obsolete.
    In my eyes, radio died a LONG time ago. Here in Winnipeg, there are 3 different radio stations devoted to "what's new" or "what's hot". It's a load of crap -- radio is no longer about the music, it is about selling CDs. I actively avoid stations like Hot103, which plays a constant stream of hip hop, pop, and rap. The DJs don't play music they like, they play music they are paid to play. It's like one 24/7 commercial.

    I felt the same way about Survivor and the other reality TV shows. I avoided them as well. Why? They're just a stupid marketing gimmick.

    However, I DO listen to radio stations that play OLD stuff. (Not ICKY old, like the Beatles.. Led Zeplin, old Metallica before they were sell outs.) This is GOOD radio playing good music.

  • If you have the connection to sustain a connect, you can find pretty much ANY mp3 you want on Gnutella. (For hosts, connect to *Surprise*

    I'm currently running a Win32 box for gaming, so I use both LimeWire [] and BearShare [], although BearShare has been a touch flaky lately. Not sure why.

  • I have to admit that I'm not familiar with LaunchCast, but it doesn't sound like they're doing anything wrong, except giving people the chance to hear what they'd like and not what the RIAA likes.
    What Launch(Cast) does is this -- you start listening to music, which plays every different kind of genre imaginable. However, as you listen to them, you rate the songs -- yes, I liked Nine Inch Nails, no I didn't like Britney Spears, etc etc etc. Eventually, the system (which is errily accurate) figures out what kinds of music that you like, and stops playing the rest of the crap.

  • Imagine - playing the music listeners want to hear instead of the tripe the Record Giants have preselected for everyone!

    Imagine that. No, wait. I know a radio station that does just that. I can't stand at least a third of the stuff they play. Of course that still makes them at least twice as good as most stations. But I have heard dozens of excellent bands on their station months or years before anyone else played them. Oh, and they're on the Web [].
  • Their Webcasting FAQ explains the situation exactly:

    Q. What happens if a webcaster cannot meet the conditions of the statutory licenses?
    A. If a webcaster does not qualify for the performance or ephemeral statutory license, it must obtain licenses from each of the copyright owners of the sound recordings that it wants to transmit or reproduce. For example, interactive services that permit a listener to choose a particular song and those that create a personalized program for the listener must obtain individual licenses. Unfortunately, there is no group or organization that grants licenses on behalf of copyright owners to webcasting services that do not qualify for the statutory license. Therefore, the webcaster must contact each copyright owner individually. Webcasters who do not qualify for the statutory license and who fail to obtain licenses directly from sound recording copyright owners risk infringement liability.

    The interactivity is, as other people have said, what causes Launchcast to be ineligible for the statutory licence.

    Interestingly, the webcast statutory licence rules appear to apply to simulwebcasting (i.e. taking the live radio station feed). It even notes that

    Retransmitters of over-the-air radio broadcasts are required, upon notice, to cease retransmissions of digital broadcasts that regularly exceed the sound recording performance complement. For analog broadcasts, retransmissions must cease, upon notice, if a substantial portion of the broadcast transmissions exceed the complement.

    and also says that the statutory licence applies to
    webcasters that:

    (1) offer non-interactive programming (i.e., not on-demand or personalized programming);

    So - does this mean that a webcast of a radio station must be turned off when they go to "All Request Saturday" - otherwise the webcast listeners can effectively get on-demand?
  • Essentially, the music industry is pissing off their customer base.

    Unfortunatly, 99% of people who buy music have no idea who the RIAA is or what they do. While the /. crowd is pissed off, it doesn't change the fact that even people who can't "find what they want on Napster anymore" don't know much about the case or the reasons behind it. We all know about the RIAA, but Joe Musicbuyer doesn't.

    The Good Reverend
    I'm different, just like everybody else. []
  • What an inane argument.

    What do you think happens when you listen to a radio station with a specific format (which is just about EVERY radio station except for maybe college stations or something)?

    This is no different, except for the fact that the "station"'s format is tailored to your tastes, rather than having to settle for the local station whose format is as close to your tastes as you can find. For some people, this involves a massive compromise and a service like this actually sounds like a pretty good idea.

  • by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @11:47AM (#197973) Homepage
    "The music lobbyist alleges that Launch's licenses with Universal, Sony, BMG and EMI do not allow for the level of interactivity and customization offered by LaunchCast, which allows users to decide how often they want to hear particular songs. After LaunchCast users rate songs, albums and artists, the service "learns" to play the types of music the user wants to hear."

    Later on they say they are going to come to some kind of agreement. We don't know what they signed, so we can't really judge here. Lauch could have signed something that said that the user can't select what songs to play. This is NOT a case of copyright infridgement.


  • Lauch could have signed something that said that the user can't select what songs to play.

    That's the RIAA's problem in a nutshell: they just can't handle the idea of paying customers having any say in what they receive! (Yes, paying; via ads, perhaps, but it isn't the RIAA paying their bandwidth bills...)

    AFAICS, the RIAA just wants new technology to turn into a copy of the current system - a handful of channels, all tightly controlled by the RIAA cartel, playing and saying exactly what they want, and paying them for the privilege. They can't seem to accept the difference between "old media" and the Net: the Net is interactive. WE control what we do, and when we do it. No scheduling, no playlists, no DJs - just one huge menu, available to us all 24x7 - when we want it, how we want it. They are losing the control they've always had, and that scares them. The RIAA's sole function is to monitor and control what happens, on behalf of the labels - and they just became obsolete.

  • The RIAA already sued themselves when they sued Nullsoft for creating gnutella. Nullsoft is owned by AOL. AOL merged with Time Warner. AOL Time Warner is part of the RIAA.
  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2001 @02:29PM (#197989) Homepage
    Music is our culture. Legal contracts are a simple mechanism of law, a means to an end. Music partially defines who we are. Contracts do not. We can live without contracts, but we can't live without music.

    Maybe music is a vital part of life (I suspect that it's perfectly possible, if a bit less pleasant to live without it) but the music under the control of the RIAA most certainly is not. Try as they will, they can't stop you from singing, whistling, humming, or playing your own instrument, so music will continue to be available no matter what the RIAA tries to do.

    OTOH, contracts are a vital part of our lives, whether you want to belive it or not. They form a vital way of forcing people to keep the promises that they made, and that's a big part of what keeps our society afloat. Without enforcable contracts, business as we know it would come to a crashing halt. All financial instruments currently in use depend on contract law to survive, for instance, so there would be no banking, no stock market, and no currency without it. The whole world would operate on the kind of no-good-faith basis that is so prominent in gangster movies, where the only way of ensuring that people keep their deals is the threat of doing something awful to them if they break their word. Since the legal range of awful things is pretty small, that would make everyone very reluctant to do business.

  • Since the people who've posted in this thread obviously know very little about launchcast and are just rehashing the "evil MPAA suing everyone" song, I guess it's time for me to pop in, given that I've actually been *gasp* using launchcast for the past year or so.

    Launchcast is an odd combination of interactivity and basic streaming. When you first get on, you select your genres of music and it plays in a perfectly legal stream. There are no repeats or requests - it just plays music out of it's massive database.

    As a song plays, however, you can rate the song, the album, and the artist, from zero (never play again) anywhere to one hundred (this song/album/artist makes me happy). The stream adapts to your request. It plays stuff you've rated highly more, and it doesn't play stuff you've rated zero at all.

    The important thing to notice is that it *still* obeys the rules binding to radio. You can't request a song directly, and it won't do repeats, and all of the other rules that must be obeyed. You get your own ultimate radio station, without commercials.

    So where's the basis for a lawsuit? Well, if you were to take the customizable radio station and broadcast it to a hundred thousand people, there wouldn't *be* a lawsuit. The point is, however, each person gets thier own unique stream. RIAA is probably asserting that since each person gets thier own stream, it's not a radio station and isn't under a radio station's legal protection.

    The interesting thing is the way I learned about launchcast. We here at [] were going to release a product that would have been a competitor to []. We summoned a pack of lawyers and they took a look at it, and said, "If you do this, then you will eventually be sued by the RIAA or someone else, and they will win, because it's quite demonstrable in court that you arn't a radio station and thus can't hide behind thier protections." So now we do something else.

    I've been following this with half an eye for a while, and the RIAA sent a cease and desist order (or whatever those DMCA thingies are called) a while back, which launch ignored. Now it goes to court.

  • The legal system requires you to wait 1 minute between each lawsuit in order to allow everyone to have a fair chance to litigate.

    It's been 42 seconds since your last lawsuit.


  • by Srin Tuar ( 147269 ) <> on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:46PM (#197995)

    but we can't live without music

    So, you for example would be able to live without britney and backdoor boys? :P

    Just trying to point out that the majority of the most popular "music" is a soulless, brainless cash crop mass manufactured and mass marketted.

    The music isnt really the fundamental argument here. Its just the first of the great Personal Freedom Debates to come. The reason is because it can be traded and consumed so easily (thanks to mp3 and sound blaster).

    And people can live without music, but they dont like to. (im posting this while listening to stuff i dl'd from

  • The RIAA already sued themselves when they sued Nullsoft for creating gnutella.

    I'm 99% sure that the RIAA *didn't* file a lawsuit against AOL (owners of Nullsoft) for Gnutella. To the best of my understanding, Justin Frankel's superiors at AOL asked him to take the site down, and he complied. Gnutella was completed by other individuals outside the Nullsoft/AOL ring of fire (presumably with Justin's passive blessing).

  • Whats really annoying is that the riaa can beat down with a collective stick, but they refuse to make deals collectively.

    For example, Napster said finally "we will deal" btu the RIAA said basically.. "you have to make deals with EACH music company seperately".

    What it comes down to is that they have a vastly unfair deal.. congress may need to balance this. What they get is an effective monopoly by allowin the RIAA to exisit.. and then they get to use that monopoly to sue small companies into oblivion.. and that allows the member companies to hold a big stick over the head of equally sized/slightly smaller competitors. A single indy/tech company could probably stand up to ONE music company - Sony, BMG, Columbia, AOL/TW, etc.. but in fact with the threat of the RIAA beat stick, most companies have no choice but to acquiesce.

    I think Congress should consider this.. the RIAA, IIRC was specifically authorized by how abotu specifically forcing them to play both the same rules.. sue as a whole, settle as a whole.

  • This is and isnt a big issue. It is a big issue because it has become clear that organizations like the RIAA appear to have WAAAAYYY too much control over what we hear and how we listen to it. It is a big issue because we have handed them control. It is not a big issue, because, we as consumers, do not require music for our immediate survival.

    How have we handed them control? We purchase the music from them. We listen to the radio stations they buy. I have a suggestion: Dont buy any more CDs, or tapes, or DVDs for a while. Go out to the park. Go see a local band, LIVE. Drop some money and start your own little recording studio with a Mac and a Tascam or Roland MultiTracker. Nobody has any more control over you than what you give to them. I dont like the RIAA or the MPAA, or Microsoft or oil companies; but there is something I can do about it, and if enough of us do something then, who knows what will happen?

  • Cripes man, get over it. Millions of people fork over the money that drives the music business. They obviously love the drivel just fine. They also shop at strip malls, drive a lot of trucks, eat McDonald's and Burger King and watch broadcast "news".

    If you want to take back music for our "culture", buy an instrument and learn to play. They can't commodify that. But please spare me this nonsense about our culture being co-opted-- this stuff IS our culture, like it or not.
  • That and Britney Spears promos.
  • Good idea. I guess RIAA and its members doesn't want users to have any way to distinguish between crap / non-crap.

    Fuck 'em.

  • Don't tell the RIAA this, but you can repeat the last song that is played on LaunchCAST actually. If you send out the 'Previous Track' message to Windows Media Player (my MS keyboard has a 'Prev Track' button that I can use) then you can rewind the current track when it nears the end and play it again.

    Shhh! It's a secret! :)


    ' Ore stabit fortis a fine placet ore stat '
  • Have you ever noticed that dogs who have no other dogs to chase eventually end up chasing their own tail ?
    Well, when the RIAA people are done suing the rest of the world, do you think they'll sue themselves ?

    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" - Ogden Nash

  • Everyone just stop listening to music. It's just a waste of time anyway. Hey you, in the back...stop humming.
  • The RIAA still view themselves as kingmakers and probably want to play a lot of groups full of people so extremely stupid that they don't realize they don't get any royalties or rights to any of the music after the party is over. You can probably walk down the aisle at Sam Goody (Goody's got it, and for a fat wad of cash you can get it, too!) and pick the groups out. If you're in favor, you can continue to make records, long past your prime. Fall out of it and they lawyers will find some way to keep you from ever performing again. People need to remember some history of the recording industry. It was very evil for a long time, now it's merely evil, but still evil.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:08PM (#198019) Homepage Journal
    KPIG [] got around some hassles with having to pay extortion^H^H^H^H^H^Hroyalties and other fees with some pretty bizarre fake commercials and stuff. Not exactly mainstream music, fun station to listen to. Enjoy, until someone figures out a reason to sue them, too.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:48PM (#198020) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes it's not the songs the user wants to hear as much as songs the user does not want to hear. I like "Kryptonite", but have friends who have heard it so much they are sick of it. It would be a swell feature to to destroy a songs appeal because radio discjocks or computers or robots say it must be played every hour of every day.

    Bit of a slashback: there was a radio station, near where I once lived, which featured a Phil Collins-free weekend. Absolutely no Phil Collins or Genesis (w/Phil) Fri-Sun. I was sympathetic, he'd had too many hits in a short period and I was sick of his voice (I can still listen to the music, but I'm still so burned out I don't buy any more of it.) Some listener actually called in and complained. Well, all the better for customizable, she could have Phil 24 hours a day and everyone else could just skip it for a few months.

    Once again, the RIAA doesn't really have a clue. They're truly the pit-weasels of litigation.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:02PM (#198024)
    not really surprising actually.... The RIAA initially went after Napster because it was an easy (and correct imo) win but more importantly it would provide a legal precedent. Now they're going after companies that do have licenses but who's practices might be a little iffy. If they can win this case, they can go ahead and try to make digital music either illegal or highly protected. They've realized that they're a bit behind on the times regarding creating a new medium, so the only way to get time is file suit...
  • There are different licenses. For what they're doing, Launch probally signed the wrong license and got basic webcaster license. So they can loop a playlist that goes for 3 hours (minimum) without repeating, can't take requests, etc. I'm not well informed myself, but the RIAA's Licensing and Royalties [] page is a good place to start.

    So why don't you figure out what kind of license Launch has, compare what the license covers to what their doing, then flame away. Just a thought...
  • I live in Phoenix and have heard nothing about this - care to fill me in?

    -- Chris

  • Anyone can sue anyone for any reason, it's whether you win the lawsuit or not that makes the difference. If launch has the licenses necessary to broadcast the said copyrighted material, then the RIAA or anyone else doesn't have much of a lawsuit. I've been sued before; the plaintiff didn't get very far, but they still filed the lawsuit...
  • So uses a personalized stream. The question one would ask is: who is doing the selection? If it's the channel output (the "radio station") that does it, in the same box, then they have a point. If it's adjusting it at the server level (the equivalent of having a car radio that "skips" songs you say you never want), then RIAA is out of it's mind.

    Luckily for RIAA, the administration will enforce it's unreasonable claims, or the judge who makes the decision will be assigned to Arkansas. They only care about money, and how much they can rip off from the consumer.

  • How many lawsuits does the RIAA have to be engaged in before it's members start pulling out due to the extreme cost?

    How expensive is/was the Napster litigation? If I'm any judge, I'm guessing that the RIAA isn't going to see a dime, even if they obliterate Sean and Co. with BFG 10k's. How expensive will the Aimster legislation be? How many ISP's will they have to sue for carrying the 'alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.*' hierarchy?

    Now, the RIAA is very, very rich, but you still can't put out a volcano with a few firetrucks, if you get my drift. I know those 'wookie-defense' RIAA laywers don't work for free, and the people they're suing, at least in Aimster's case I think, are more likely to file Ch11 or Ch13 before they pay legal fees and court costs.

    Of course, the answer to the to problem, at least from the RIAA's end, is to start buying legislation on wholesale, just like the oil industry is doing. Maybe we'll get to see Hillary Rosen run for Prez in 2004?
  • by quantum pixie ( 266938 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @11:49AM (#198045) Homepage
    The license Launchcast purchased no doubt specifies the allowed usage. If they are acting outside of the prescribed boundries of the license, then the RIAA is following the only reasonable course of action.

    I would venture to say that there are more important matters than free music, and contract law is certainly one of them. Although I will readily admit that I enjoy not paying for music, it is not worth living in a society where legal contracts are routinely flouted. Perhaps a little perspective is needed in this issue.
  • As far as I can tell from the RIIA licensing pages (IANAL), there are two kinds of licenses. "Statutory" licenses are the kind radio stations get -- they pay a fixed fee to the RIAA (I think), which then splits it up among all the copyright holders. "Voluntary" licenses have to be negotiated with each copyright holder. The thing is, statutory licenses do not allow customizing to individual preferences. Voluntary licenses allow this, but unless a 'caster offers a very narrow range of music (all Britney, all the time...)it is impossible to go to all the copyright holders and buy a license from each one. But maybe it would be possible to set up a web site where musicians and webcasters could post offers and let the computer complete the deal.

    It is possible that the RIAA is constrained here by it's contracts with artists and record companies to collect the statutory fees for them, or by the law setting those fees, so that they don't have any choice but to sue webcasters who offer individually customized selections. It's a lot more likely that it got the law it paid for and the contracts it imposed, but you should _know_ before you toss accusations around.
  • It's a pretty good service, but it really isn't all that customizable.. I mean, I still get rap songs and garage about 5% of the time, when I have them crossed off of my genre list.

    Launch provides a good service, the system of DJs and learning prefrences is good, and avoids being *too* customizable, the client is decent, they have bunches of music videos. I mean, I would actually PAY for the launch service, if they wanted the money.

    Something like seems like it would be right up the RIAA's alley. They provide a robust service for the consumer, they have a large (300K+ song db, iirc) music base, they use a fairly secure client (WMP streaming embedded in Flash) and they continue to improve services on a weekly basis.. I fail to see the problem here.

  • by dorkstar ( 318427 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @12:26PM (#198051)
    No. I think you have lost your perspective.

    Music is our culture. Legal contracts are a simple mechanism of law, a means to an end. Music partially defines who we are. Contracts do not. We can live without contracts, but we can't live without music.

    Music influences how we think. It's a metaphor for sex. It's an educator. It's a disseminator of wisdom. To have music commodified into a soulless, brainless cash crop is more than a tragedy. To have a contract of law slightly breached is at most a misdemeanor, in the grand scheme of things.

    Sometimes the rule of law is wrong, but it cannot be changed. In such cases, it is morally justifiable to break it. Ask the founding fathers of America. Ask Ghandhi. I don't mean to melodramatize the issue, but the larger picture is that the culture of the human race is being co-opted and turned into drivel, not that some obscure legal bullshit was violated.
  • I mean, I would actually PAY for the launch service, if they wanted the money.
    Don't you see it? The RIAA wants to force Launch into a takeover situation, so that one of the RIAA members owns it. By shutting down the last real independent Internet music channel, they can own it all.

    It's all about monopoly and control, just like Microsoft.

  • Could it be that the RIAA is just now realizing that they can use the courts to keep anything that remotely resembles a breach of control away from the public? It seems that they're suing everybody that they can get their hands on that has anything even barely close to the "flames of anarchy" that Napster stood for.

    Let's see. . .AIMster. They are almost like napster, but harder to track down. Looks like it's time to shut them down with a high-profile lawsuit. . . .Launchcast. . . .sue them because they aren't playing what we tell them to?! Now this is just ludicrous. This is almost as bad as making radio stations submit a playlist to the RIAA in order to keep from getting sued. If they can pull this lawsuit off, it's just paving the way for the complete RIAA control of anything even musically related on the Internet.

    Maybe it's just my opinion, but isn't there something very wrong about using legal action to do what amounts to preventing individuals from listening to the music that they want? I know that it probably sells some more CD's if a person has to buy the music just so that they can hear something other than the (IMHO) plodding alt. rock / pop drivel that dominates the airwaves lately, but this is just wrong.

    Before long they'll probably be suing recordable media manufacturers for "inticing consumers to pirate media".
  • by PhreakinPenguin ( 454482 ) on Friday May 25, 2001 @11:57AM (#198066) Homepage Journal
    So this is why I pay $14.99 for a cd, to cover the cost of lawyers and propaganda releases from the RIAA


"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone