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99% Blockage Isn't Good Enough, Says Napster Judge 273

Masem writes: "Articles at CNET and CNN say that Judge Patel has ordered Napster to remain offline until they can offer 100% blockage of copyrighted songs by the plaintiff record companies. Napster officials said that they can guarentee 99% complience, but Patel says this is not good enough. Napster is arguing that this order violated the appeals court's ruling, and are appealling it."
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99% Blockage Isn't Good Enough, Says Napster Judge

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems to me that people in this country have a reluctance to face facts and numbers. We deal with statistics and decisions about worth each day, and it's just unrealistic to draw absolute prohibitions on things like this. There will *always* be someone out in the 9-sigma tail who can defeat your algorithms. But in so many debates, you encounter people who won't compromise over "even a single case" at the expense of everyone else. Let's face it -- these kinds of calculations are made every day by car, health, life insurance companies, large corporations, the government, and I'm sure they don't hold themselves to a 99.9% standard of success... And we don't see lawyers mounting nearly as costly a fight as the lousy record companies have over this. Get your priorities straight...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Fine!!! Deal with it. Napster and its networks are shutdown by the courts, but that certainly doesn't mean that new and better clients with peer-to-peer functionality are not available. Bear Share and AudioCity are OK, but do not nearly have as much of the wealth of files to search as Napster did. There is one though with around 200 TB of information!!! Go to The technology is such that neither search requests nor actual downloads pass through any central server. The network is multi-layered, so that more powerful computers get to be search hubs. I CAN'T STOP DOWNLOADING!!!!! Work productivity is coming back down!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And I'll bet there's a lot of eclectic or classic jazz music that you would have never heard before if it weren't for Napster. That's how it was for me. Now I have to go back to listening only to the bands I know so I don't waste $15 on a CD that I'm not allowed to preview in mp3 format.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's called copyright law. You see, there's this thing called "Democracy" and a thing called a "US Constitution".

    Here's the idea. Democracy is this wonderful thing whereby the people can be represented by a government, and where we can create rules for, say, commerce, etc, that everyone agrees to abide by. The constitution thingie - well, that makes the democracy legit, and tells us how far our government is allowed to operate.

    And lo, one of the things this "constitution" allows our government, the government elected by us, answerable to us, and with a duty to represent us, to regulate is copyright. It allows, specifically, for the government, our government to secure for artists monopolies in the redistribution of their works.

    Our government, which represents us, has said this to the artists: "If you, the artists, spend time and effort and money producing art - music, books, even movies and TV shows, we, the people we represent, will not go around copying your stuff for a limited time - each of us will pay you when we want to possess a copy of our very own of the work you have done for us."

    Now, one can argue if one likes that the terms of the contract are currently unfair, that the time periods are extraordinarily long, that corporations that produce "art" shouldn't be treated the same way as artists, that most artists have signed up with distribution agents - such as the RIAA - that make fools of them. But what we can't deny is that we made that promise, through our elected representatives, and we have to follow it through. We have no RIGHT to download anything from anywhere where we do not have the express permission of the artist unless, and this is unlikely, it has gone into the public domain.

    Was it a troll? It was an unsubstantiated comment which is clearly wrong, both in a technical "no, it's not a right" and a morally abhorent "We have the right to rip people off!" way.

    If you don't like the system, you must work to change it. You must get involved in the politics, lobby your politicians, your elected representative, and get the terms of the contract changed. But you can't just stand alone and say "I don't like it, so I'm going to treat it as my right to break that contract that my representatives agreed with the artists."

    There is a case for civil disobedience. When a person cannot live a reasonable life any longer, has no control whatsoever over the powers that decide his or her future, then those laws must be challenged. Breaking easily complied with laws, which were justly proposed and agreed to, is wrong. And haplo21112 is either a troll or a kook for saying otherwise.

  • You can't do it without banning guns, which is unconstitutional. Is Napster a forum for free speech? If so, you can't stop 100% of piracy without banning cree speech.

    "No one can gurantee the actions of another." - Spock

  • by Alan ( 347 )
    Do the artists believe this or do the /record companies/ believe this? Personally I'd guess that the artists don't fully understand the technology or the potential of the technology. If you went and asked the artists, after explaining the main points about how try-before-you-buy works, how people buy cds based on napster downloads (yes, I have), and how this is a way to get their music out to billions of people, I think they might say different things.

    Chances are they are informed by their lables that napster is evil, is stealing money from them (I'm sure that the label glosses over the bit where they get the lions share of the artists income) and then of course they come out with "I want my stuff off napster!"

    This is expected from the boy bands, britney spears and the like who aren't really artists (IMHO) and who are just there to make money, but the real artists out there, who actually care about their music might sing a different tune (pardon the pun) when they see the potential for distribution.

    A while back there was a story on pirating in china [] and how there they *want* their music to be pirated, as it leads to more sales, more fans, and more concert goers (where they make the bulk of their money.
  • Your point about the insane forfeiture laws in the US for drug crimes is well taken but I think landlords are exempt. If drugs were found in a rented room of your house, the house could be seized (arrested actually) but an apartment building couldn't. Could you imagine the feds seizing an entire apartment building in the projects? Where do you draw the line between apartment building and house? I don't know, but such lines are drawn in many areas of the law.
  • I'm more worried about the RIAA getting more money to buy bad laws than my favorite bands get for actually being creative.

    Besides, the House of Blues is much more fun.
  • Ok, fine then.

    Lets shut you off from your ISP, University or whatever other common carrier(s) you might be connected with and through.

    If you allow them to demand the last %1 here, the rest of the net might as well be turned off.
  • You simply have no clue. Real courts generally don't operate under this draconian fantasy you have. Napster is not the perpetrator. Their customers are. The real question should be what is REASONABLE. It is not generally required that someone like Napster operate the equivalent of

    Besides, copyright law is far less simple than you realize. It's probably even less simple than the judge realizes that. Such things are not unprecedented in IP law (judges clueless of law as well as technology).
  • by Amphigory ( 2375 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @12:29PM (#89014) Homepage
    "just because blocking infringement is hard or impossible to do, the judge should just let Napster continue trafficking in infringing material "
    Wow... That's original. Let's apply that in other areas, shall we?

    How 'bout: just because blocking child pornography is hard or impossible to do, we should allow printing presses to continue to be sold?

    Or: just because distinguishing between legitimate protected religious action and cult behavior is difficult to do, we should allow people to sacrifice goats?

    Or: just because you're 99.9995% sure that this hunting rifle will be used on deer we should allow you to have it?

    Or: just because hate-speech is impossible to distinguish from political expression, we should allow it?

    Or: just because the PRIMARY USE of this hammer is to build houses, not kill people, we should allow you to own one?

    Do you really believe that it's okay for government to restrict anything that MIGHT be used in an illegal way?


  • The appeal is under way and the appeals court told Patel that she couldn't quite ask for what she was asking for- and this new twist may well be in violation of the higher court's order in that regard.
  • The phrase SHOULD be...

    checking them at the door...

    It is ironic that a spelling/grammar flame would mis-spell "grammar".

    In my case, it's a typo.

    In your case, well...
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @11:01AM (#89017) Homepage
    Put the money in the artist's pockets- that is what I want to do. That, and pay a fair share for the production thereof. If I buy from local bands, etc. at their shows that's what transpires. If I buy from a record store, most of my money goes to people that had little to do with the music I'm buying. I don't like that.
  • Because the music industry charges usurious amounts and the food, etc. industries usually don't. Because of this, I choose to not deal with them. Largely speaking, I do the same where possible with the print industries as well.

    As to your second paragraph, ever read Courtney Love's rant? It's closer to the truth than you think and it pretty much invalidates your claims- because the record labels were the gatekeepers, if you didn't play by their rules and sign, you pretty much didn't get to play in the game at all.
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:26AM (#89019) Homepage
    The system has sufficient non-infringing uses, they guarantee 99% compliance (which is worlds better than everything else out there...) and Patel's still not satisfied.

    Should we say that Patel's biased at this point and remand the situation to another Judge- she sure isn't acting with neutrality or anything like that.
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @11:04AM (#89020) Homepage
    The Supreme Court ordered that /. posters stop posting until they verify all their facts instead of checking the at the door.

    Patel is a SHE.
  • That is the most insane law I have ever heard of in my life, second only to having your hand chopped off in Saudi Arabia for stealing.

    I can't get over how insane that is.

  • NEVER EVER pretend that copyrights and patents are about freedom.. they are socialist in nature.

    No, they are explicitly capitalist in nature. They are limited-scope monopolies on reproduction. Without the ability (according to the theory) for an artist to assign publishing rights to one and only one publishers, and to enjoin other publishers from also reproducing their work, the artist cannot be guaranteed compensation for that work. The entire point of copyrightz was, in fact, to empower artists in a manner which is a near antithesis of socialism:

    socialism n.A political and economic theory or policy of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, capital, land, property, etc. (The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary)

    The majority of socialists advocated a philosophy they saw as a way to increase freedom: if everyone owns X, no one has a right to restrict X. This is partially what most defenses of Napster boil down to; the insistence on a "right to share" isn't too far away from what early 20th century anarchists and libertarian socialists argued. (It is qualitatively different from Marxism, which instead advocated a duty to share.)

    As a postscript: no, I can't think of any attempt to fully socialize an economy that didn't end in disaster, either. How this applies to copyrighted file sharing is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • The match wasn't how they found Larry

    That's why he said, "in the absense of all other evidence."

  • So, since the usage has dropped 90%, we can assume that it's no longer being used for infringing purposes.
  • This is correct. The RIAA members have a cartel. They have exclusive distribution and promotion deals. It's not a monopoly because there are many companies. Unfortunately, almost ALL of them are either members of the RIAA or are subsidiaries of companies that are RIAA members.
  • I did publish some stuff, such as Bizet's Farandole, but the copyright has long since expired

    This is incorrect. Even though Bizet doesn't have a copyright on this work, the recording label that recorded it DOES have a copyright.

    Everything else you said was correct, however.

  • by Bob McCown ( 8411 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:23AM (#89031)
    How can they assure 100% compliance? Someone, somewhere, will post a file that gets by the blocking software somehow....
  • by Pac ( 9516 )
    Wasn't it last week that Napster was officially considered dead and, its "beyond-the-grave" loquacity notwithstanding, unworthy of further notice? Have the nice editor forgot?

    The 2-5 Napster users remaining, if consulted, would probably answer that they continue using Napster because "it the greatest music trading service out there and hey, we work here".

    The rest of us have already migrated to greener networks.
  • I know this system would be a pain in the tuckus. It would involve Napster officials checking every submitted song to make sure that the submittor actually held rights to the music, or that nobody held rights to it.

    That's what I thought at first myself.

    But, the involvement of human beings in the process does not remove the potential for error. In practise, all that it does is buy you better process justifiability before a judge or similar technologically illiterate decision-maker, at the expense of a lot more time per song, a lot more money per song, and (probably) a worse false negative rate. Anything on the scale of Napster has to be automated. Even if Napster weren't that big, it wouldn't be perfect.

  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:37AM (#89035) Homepage
    Apparently this judge doesn't understand the technology required to ensure compliance with the court order.

    Checking that a music file (X) matches another music file (known copyrighted material Y) is a matter of doing a checksum, or otherwise scanning features of X and checking them against features of Y. If the files are exactly the same then you can do a CRC on each file, and if the checksums match, you have a 1-in-four-billion chance that the two files are *not* the same.

    But the two files being exactly the same is one hell of an assumption. An intrepid music pirate could feed Y through some kind of distortion to produce Y', which would look different to a CRC. That means you have to look for features in the sound itself. Even with the algorithm produced by the genius 20-year-old, I am very doubtful that you'd have 0% false negative rate. There's always going to be something crawling through. That's the nature of pattern recognition.

    I think the judge has made this court order impossible to comply with, barring one option: Napster closes down. That strikes me as more than adequate grounds for appeal.

  • by sith ( 15384 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:29AM (#89044)
    Interesting ... now that I think about it, I haven't purchased any CD's since napster stopped being useful either. Not because I was specifically protesting anything, but because I have all the CD's that I want right now, and without napster I have no way of finding new music that I might be interested in. Hmmm...
  • "When 99% Blockage Isn't Enough."
    Sounds like a new ad campaign for Kaopectate.

  • All circumstances you have mentioned in your post are 100% non-compilance with a law. They are not 99% compliant in any way. However, napster just has to have substantial non-infringing uses beyond it's infringing use to be in 100% compilance with the law. So if they manage to block 99% of the infringing use and the majority of the remaining use is non infringing, then they are compilant with the law. 100% compilant, not 99% compilant. The percentage of infringing use that they block does not magically translate into a percentage of compliance with the law as you suggest. This ruling seems to make new law, instead of enforcing the laws on the books.
  • I work for GM and recently saw prototype of an in dash car stereo with an MP3 player that will undoubtedly become standard equipment in future vehicles.

    The guy who was supposed to demo the thing went on vacation, so nobody could tell me anything about the MP3 player other than it will pick off MP3s from CDs and that there would be other methods for getting MP3s onto the player's 40GB hard disk. (Several people thought that one of the methods was via wireless Internet access, but no one could confirm that for sure)

  • ?!? For christ's sake, most cars still dont even come with a CD player

    Most inexpensive cars, true. However, all of the SUV's that the Big Three sell above the very basic models come with an in-dash CD player as standard equipment.

    You have to look at the primary market segment. Right now that's SUV's....

  • With Napster/Gnutella/whatever P2P software, music makers get less money back. So you're *stealing* them.

    This is quite possibly the most inane argument I have ever had the misfortune to see.

    First off, you have the tendency to used loaded terms like "stealing" and "piracy" to imply that copying bits is somehow fundamentally immoral and evil. Hello? Have you been living in a cave for the past 20 years? The debate is about the difference between information (an unlimited resource with zero marginal cost) and material goods (a limited resource).

    Then you have the gall to assert that by depriving somebody of income "potential" is also "stealing".

    Let me get this straight (by making a stupid, flawed analogy that you can understand). If I DON'T buy a burger from burger king, I am stealing because they get less money?

    Or that by inventing the automobile, I have "stolen" from blacksmiths because they get "less money back" from selling horseshoes?

    The music industry is a slow, stupid dinosaur that hasn't figured out it is doomed to extinction BECAUSE people like you have their heads in the sand and can't figure out that this particular form corporate welfare (in the form of copyrights/patents) simply doesn't work anymore.

    It is NOT about protecting the artist and the artists rights, or even filling the needs of the consumers. It is about filling the needs of the RIAA to rape you in every possible way they see fit.

    That it costs money to produce music is not in question. What IS in question is the method by which we recompensate the artist. Giving them %0.001 of gross album sales is NOT a sign of a functioning system. An "alternative" rock radio station that plays the same 6 songs 24/7 is not the sign of a functioning system. 6 different (but identical) boy bands is not a sign of a functioning system. 6 different (but identical) blond teen singers with fake boobs is not a sign of a functioning system.
  • "You've stolen the copyright owners freedom. The freedom to decide how and when the music is distributed"

    The freedom to restrict SOMEBODY else's freedom is NOT freedom. NEVER EVER pretend that copyrights and patents are about freedom.. they are socialist in nature. They are considered (by those who support them) a necessary evil, just as my freedom to swing my fist ends at your face.

    I am tired of hearing these lame arguments about how if somebody is allowed to restrict MY rights, it is somehow ok, since it is giving THEM the freedom to do so. Don't I have rights too?
  • Don't fool yourself into thinking that what you want is truly FREEDOM(tm) and trumpet it as such. You want control over your creations. That is understandable. But that is not a "freedom."

    What is your bank account number? I want to exercise my FREEDOM to go withdraw all of your money.

    The fact that you wrote that proves you actually understand what I am trying to say. ;P
  • Sorry, i really should have clarified my line of thinking.

    I realize copyrights aren't socialist per se, but the line of thought that leads to them is somewhat related... if only as a "solution" to the common good/free rider problem. So technically, I concede the point. Copyrights != socialist basically ;)

    A truly "socialist" solution to the problem that copyrights "fix" would be to nationalize all inventions and writings and turn ownership/control of them over to the state for "free" distribution, the cost of which would be paid entirely by government subsidies.

    Not convinced this would be better than our completely hopeless copyright/patent system, however.
  • In the end, the PURPOSE of the GPL is to ensure the freedom of the user of the code, irrespective of the codes "owner".

    In fact, the GPL doesn't even properly RECOGNIZE the "owner" or "copyright holder" at all. The only reason it does it only to prevent others from yoinking the code and re-releasing it under a MORE restrictive license - e.g. one that doesn't allow others to resdribute it however they see fit.

    Again, to reiterate, the purpose of the GPL is NOT to protect the "rights" of the author and copyright holder, but to protect the "rights" of others to use and modify the code, in perpetuity. Not just one user or programmer, not just one corporation, but EVERY person, in perpitutity.

    Just because YOU wrote some clever code does not make you special. We value your code above all else, because that is what is important, not your petty little ego.
  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @01:05PM (#89060) Homepage Journal
    First off, you make sense, 100%. Your point is well taken, and I agree with it.

    But your supporting case is a very weak one. Unfortunately, in the United States, not only could that apartment owner be sued criminally, but he could forfeit the building WITHOUT a hearing of any sort.

    His ability (or lack thereof) to know about the activity doesn't matter. If illegal drugs are found on property, that property is forfeit. No trial, no appeals. Bend over and kiss your apartment, house, car goodbye.

  • Don't they have radio where you live? MTV? VH1?

    Umm, that is what two companies decide should be popular music. Not a lot of choice. (Clear Channel own 1200 radio stations, second is Infinity/Viacom which owns the rest and VH1/MTV)

    These are much more effective than Napster in exposing one to new music one might like.

    Not a chance. Can you use this with only the name of some random band and listen to it within 10 minutes? Napster is the best type of tech we have for finding diverse music. That's why they wanted to kill it. After spending so much comandeering all distrubtution channels, it's annoying to have people looking for stuff themselves.

  • Napster is totally done-for, and was even before this. They'll probably run out of money before they're able to appeal something like this.

    The concept only worked with regard to trading illegal files, not legitimate ones.

    Legitimate files can easily find a good space on a website, or several, why bother with peer to peer sharing? Last time I checked, there were multiple places to post unsigned artists' music on the internet...

    Places that won't cut your download off in the middle because the person you were downloading from designed to go offline. Places that won't charge you money for the convenience of downloading freely-available music all while turning your computer into a fileserver for a large corporation's benefit....Why bother with the uncertaintly of file availablility if you're not trying to hide your actions?

    There's just no reason.

    Stick a fork in them, because they sure are done.

  • by einTier ( 33752 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @12:17PM (#89069)
    ...because Napster provides no good way of preventing piracy. Even though Napster has made an effort at preventing some piracy, effort is not and should not be enough to get it a passing grade in this case.

    A VCR doesn't natively provide a good way of preventing piracy either... but VCRs are legal. Just because something can be used for infringing purposes does not mean that it can be outlawed. In this case, I definately think that there are significant non-infringing uses (for those that continue to use it, whoever they are).

  • I am a proud DOE employee and have been [suffered] through the rigormoraul of saftey classes and policy. While the Lab here is very concerned with safety, I was surprised at how reasonable and pragmatic they treated the issue. That is, they conceeded that 100% safe is not attainable, but, let's do our best by learning safe practices.

    So, even the gub-ment, in all its presumed beauracracy, can admit that a 100% guarantee is unattainable.

    I can't believe anyone out there with a slight understanding of what these com-pu-tor things are could think that a 100% guarantee of non-copywritten songs is possible.
  • Well, they're getting 100% blockage now -- Of course they're also blocking 100% of everything else. I would have been very disappointed if they didn't appeal this obscene ruling.

    As far as I remember it, the copyright laws require the copyright holders to inform the ISP of the names (fingerprints) of the offending files. This ruling seem to be putting the onus on Napster to figure out what files are being traded....

    I think that I can understand blocking 100% of files explicitly noted, but predicting all permutations is asking for the eye of the needle. If the RIAA were asked to provide this information, without impinging too much on non-copyright material, they'd just throw up their hands and walk away.

  • You're playing with words. Producing music costs a lot of time and money. With Napster/Gnutella/whatever P2P software, music makers get less money back. So you're *stealing* them.
    Fortunately, vinyl presses are very expensive. So DJ's are still buying a lot of records.

    -- Pure FTP server [] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.
  • by chrysalis ( 50680 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @11:11AM (#89076) Homepage
    Oficially, Napster is not supposed to be a system to share copyrighted songs. It's supposed to be a way for musicians to share their music. Free music.
    And that idea is really great. It'd have been wonderful for music makers if the rules had been respected.
    But it hasn't been the case. Napster is a tool for piracy. Only copyrighted materials here. And not only music from majors full of $$$, there's also a lot of songs from little labels as well. Without their agreement. That's bad.
    People are crying because Napster is dying. But they don't even realize that they really *stole* commercial songs. This is shameful piracy. Blaming the judge or blaming Napster that only filters 99% is stupid. Blame yourself. Blame stupid users that violated the rules and turned something legal into a 100% illegal stuff.
    Internet is nice to share opinions, to ask help, to work on free software and to share *free* stuff. Using it as a convenient way to share warez/commercial movies/commercial songs is a shame. People doing that should better shup up than yell "oh shit, someone wants to stop us from stealing commercial stuff. Fuck him, we will have to install another software to do the same thing, it will take 5 minutes of our precious time".

    -- Pure FTP server [] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.
  • by Coward, Anonymous ( 55185 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:38AM (#89077)
    in that case, i think a global condom and birth control pill recall is in order.

    Impossible. Recalled products have to be mailed back and no parcel delivery service can guarantee 100% delivery.
  • They already tried taxing the sale of used CD's.

    They claim that cd's last much longer then cassette and thus could be resold quite easily and with no loss of quality. Because you can now get the same music, cheaper, and without them making a buck, it must be stopped.

    This happened a while ago, I remember garth brookes making comment on how he was losing out because of used cd resellers.

    Anyhow, I guess it didn't get to far... unless there is a tax on used cd's and I wasnt aware!
  • by thnmnt ( 62145 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:28AM (#89081)
    in that case, i think a global condom and birth control pill recall is in order.

    unless of course the judge allows napster to use the rhythm method.
  • I think by now this is a pretty moot point, few people if anyone is still using their service, with multiple OpenNap networks (go OggVorbis!) holding their own, along with all the other P2P clients out there. It's a shame MusicCity moved away from OpenNap onto their own client, their server farm was awesome (though I'd love to see a Morpheus client for Linux, they have some really neat stuff going on there).
  • by TMB ( 70166 )
    Judge Patel appears to lack the technicall savvy of say, Judge Jackson - he clearly has no clue what he's asking for.

    Judge Patel is a woman.


  • One way that I could see it is opt-in: IOW, an artist produces an .MP3's, and sends it to Napster with documentation suggesting identity and authenticity. This, then, can be traded. Likewise, the RIAA could furnish official .MP3 versions which are explicitly licensed to Napster... then, only files whose time/frequency fingerprints and, say, CRCs matched known ones would be permitted.
  • I stopped buying new CDs when Napster went away

    The whole napster thing was one small part of the already huge music industry. When you compare the number of people that used napster to the number of mindless drones watching MTV, and buying whatever Carson Daily tells them to, you'll realize that the industry is not going to be noticably hurt. (And even if they are hurt by napster users not buying anything anymore, they would claim otherwise, so they could get support for the "napster hurt our business, and sales increased now that it is dead" argument).

  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:26AM (#89090) Homepage Journal
    We all knew Napster was doomed, now the war moves on to Gnutella and true peer-peer networks, and other fronts.

    On the act locally front, I stopped buying new CDs when Napster went away, and I strongly urge everyone else to do the same.


  • In other news: handgun manufacturers shut down until they can gaurantee that 100% of their guns aren't used illegally

    highway patrol funding cut until they gaurantee 100% of traffic doesn't speed

    Sony shut down until 100% of VCR owners do not illegally copy tapes

    No law has 100% compliance, I don't see why napster, a private company, should be the first to make it happen. Jesus Christ.


  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:28AM (#89094)
    It's sad really. In a previous post I saw someone refer to napster at its height to "the history of recorded music on-line".

    How long before the record companies will offer up something similar as a pay service?

    Never, you say?

    That's too bad, because that's what the consumers really want. But I guess the consumer is not the record companies concern. (I leave it to a reply to talk about the poor quality of music these days ;-) ).

  • by Gerad ( 86818 )
    Jeez, I don't think I've ever seen a company promise 100% ANYTHING. Even Conxion, which hosts everything Microsoft, doens't garuntee 100% uptime. I wonder if the judges would be happy with 99.9%? Hell, do governments even require absolute 100% for things like <b>saftey</b>? Anyone who works in the US government care to comment?
  • by kannen ( 98813 ) <<jkannen> <at> <>> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:44AM (#89104) Homepage
    The order by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel came in a closed-door session, according to an RIAA spokesman.

    First of all, Judge Patel is a woman. (Not a male, as you indicated.)

    He should really have appointed a special master to help him deal with the technical issues (which are clearly over his head).

    Furthermore, a technical specialist has been appointed.

    At that hearing she also appointed A.J. "Nick" Nichols as a court mediator to handle technical issues related to proposed filtering solutions.

    Please read the articles. Just as we become furious with judges who seem out of touch with technology, it is also infuriating to hear condemnations of others by those who are clearly out of touch with the articles being discussed.

    However, I do also hope that this will be overturned. It seems clear that Napster is making a "reasonable" effort to bar music piracy.

  • There are tons like that []. The one I'm thinking of gettig is this one []. Audio CD, or file CDs (CDR and CDRW), and a steering wheel remote. For $299. Forgetaboutit. The cheapest one on that page is $199, though it doesn't do CDRW.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald: What if I aim for his foot?

    Bill Clinton: What if I just put my hand on her knee?

    O.J. Simpson: What if I just scratch her up a bit?

    Clyde Barrow: We're Bonnie and Clyde, and you're gonna give us one penny on the dollar or we'll shoot!

    (Let's face it -- 99% compliance with the law is still non-compliance)

  • by desiato ( 102185 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:22AM (#89108)
    99% usually seems to be good enough for anything else the government mandates. Hell, 65% is usually good enough.
  • Nothing is 100% secure. Nobody can reasonably offer that type of protection.

    If this is the type of standard expected there would be no products or services offered anywhere. Even the FDA has set food allowences on the amount of rodent-hair/bug-parts in canned food. If it was 0 we'd be a mighty hungry nation.
  • "Napster, shut down, or I will shut you down."

    I'm impressed that Napster is still trying. Their service now blows, and almost all of their users have jumped ship. Even more are gonna jump ship when they start to charge money.

    Then again, who's gonna pay money for a service that doesn't do anything.

  • and without napster I have no way of finding new music that I might be interested in.

    I find that rather hard to believe, since Napstar is not a particularly good medium for finding new music.

    Don't they have radio where you live? MTV? VH1? How about internet radio? These are much more effective than Napster in exposing one to new music one might like.

  • I have not seen a single regulation that requires 100% compliance. Having been in the service of the Marine Corps, an organization renowned for high standards, working at the three star level, if one existed I would have seen it. One thing though... this ruling is 100% impossible to enforce. There is always the matter of slightly modifying a music file(recorded or encoded as Mp3 at different settings, adding or cutting small bits of material, sending it up or down in pitch a slight amount, etc... I can see requiring Napster to do everything in their power to stop copyrighted songs from being traded, but the madness has got to stop. Unless you ban ALL distribution of copyrighted materials, period, including all currently legal methods of distribution, there will be ways online and off to pirate it. Whether or not you agree with trading of music files, you have to realize that there is no way for Napster to obey this order and stay in existence. Even if Napster folds, it will not dent sharing of copyrighted files. Nuclear war(and the accompnying extinction of Homo Sapiens) is about the only way to stop copyright infringment online that currently exists. Cpl George E Worroll Jr. USMC
  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @11:45AM (#89120)
    The reason Napster's in trouble is that, as you say, they are aiding and abetting in copyright violation. Remember, NAPSTER isn't the one doing this, the users are. So, by implementing the measures that they have, they are no longer aiding this copyright violation, they are making it difficult.

    Analagously, you would probably prosecute a landlord who owned an apartment building in which pot was being grown on the roof, because that's something he should know about and stop. However, you would not prosecute a landlord because one of his tenants was growing pot in a closet, and never smoked it in the building, because he would have no reasonable way of knowing about, or stopping that. Likewise, as long as Napster makes a good effort to stop copyright violation, they should be guilt free. The RIAA should then have to sue the users if they are still unsatisfied.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • The suspicion could have to do with anything - he, Moe, and Curly were seen together regularly, and Moe was out of town on the day of the murder. This isn't evidence of murderous intent, it's just a connection that police might follow up.

    And you think that connection makes him no more likely to have done this than the other hundred or so people around the city? Many of those would likely have never even seen Curly.

    I'm not saying that your hypothetical situation is unbelievable, that they couldn't make a mistake like this. All I'm saying is that your 100:1 odds make no more sense than their 1:50,000.

  • Then you're defrauding them; they are, in effect, saying 'anybody can have this music in exchange for twenty of these little green pieces of paper.' You are receiving the music, but are not completing the agreement and handing them twenty little green pieces of paper in exchange. This might not be 'theft,' but it is criminal, in that you are taking without giving back, when the agreement WAS NOT that you would recieve with no expectation of recompense.
  • They are not giving it away for free. The implied default contract is that it is not available for free. Yet you are taking it without giving anything in return. By your logic, I could go loot your house, because I've never heard you tell me not to, and I certainly never made an agreement with you, or your government for that matter (I'm assuming you're American; I'm Canadian) that I wouldn't.
  • That would include, therefore, your teenage daughter when she goes off to college. Oh, wait, just because she's no longer under your direct control/supervision/whatever, you still have an interest? Ahhhh.
  • If it's already been ruled that any pirated songs on Napster are Napster's fault, then it doesn't seem surprising that 100% compliance should be expected. The argument everyone's putting forth is that they shouldn't be resposible for the "small number" of people getting through, but the thing is - they are responsible as far as the law is concerned.

    99% compliance for parole conditions is still non-compliance, 99% payment of taxes paid still leaves unpaid taxes. Napster shouldn't have to remove every copyrighted file from its network, but if it's been found responsible for every file, then it should be responsible for removing every file from its network. Everyone's problem is with giving Napster responsibility, not ensuring 100% compliance with the law.

  • by mszeto ( 133525 ) <`mszeto' `at' `'> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:29AM (#89138)
    At one point Napster will figure out that the record industry was happy about the verdict because it ineviatably means the death of napster.

    It may cost them millions of dollars to figure this out, but eventually they will. The other file sharing programs are really taking off. Go to Zero Paid [] and check out all file share programs. Napster has become unnecessary - and their service depends on them being necessary.
  • I think the precise concept you want is "pound of flesh".

  • On the act locally front, I stopped buying new CDs when Napster went away, and I strongly urge everyone else to do the same.

    I have done the same. However, I'm just waiting for the RIAA to spin the loss of sales as a result of mini-boycotts like this into another argument against Napster or Napster-like services. "Napster was killing our sales before, but now that we got rid of it, it's really killing our sales now!"

    One of these days, the RIAA will have to wake up and realize that online distribution isn't going to go away, no matter how hard they try.

  • On the act locally front, I stopped buying new CDs when Napster went away, and I strongly urge everyone else to do the same.

    Well, no. That will not work for the simple reason that most of the RIAA's income is based on popular music (hence the name of the genere). Try to explain to a 12 year old girl who loves the Backstreet Boys why she should not buy the newest album. It's not happening. Same thing goes with other pop divisions, such as the "new hardcore" bands (i.e., Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, et al). IMHO, they fscking suck. They haven't invented anything, they just feed off the testosterone in pubescent boys who think they are really "hardcore". Hell, most of them even steal forgotten riffs from songs the 13-17 year-old's won't know (Papa Roach's biggest hit was a rip off of a Sabbath riff).

    Well, personally, I too have bought few records since Napster died. I still use gnutella, but it's not as good for finding new artists (I found most new stuff by browsing the harddrives of people I was getting good speeds from). Without Napster, I would have never gotten back into Jazz, and would have not found the great genere of trip-hop and abstract electronic music (Amon Tobin, Minus 8, Nightmares on Wax, Cujo, AFX...) and it got me really into surf rock (Man or Astroman, Shadowy Men From a Shadowy Planet, Dick Dale, the Ventures...)

    They (RIAA and friends) are just afraid of the new medium, even though the charts show improved record sales during the era of napster. Sure, I bought the new Tool and Radiohead albums, but that's only because I've been a fan of them for years. Until there's something that fully replaces all of Napster's features (WE NEED FILE BROWSING!!!), the RIAA will be seeing a LOT less money.
  • The Supreme Court ordered that /. posters stop posting until they verify all their facts instead of checking the at the door.

    In a similar ruling the Supreme Court ordered that /. posters use the "Preview" button to ensure 100% spelling and grammer compliance.
  • You can easily bypass any of the filters napster has put in place. On a web page, list the songs and randomly generated or sequentially generated numbers such as M01020. Then compresses the music with a compression program such as winzip, arj, pkarc or one of the other compression formats. Next you take and rename the file to name.mp3. Now once you do that simply login to napster. Their software will not see a matching title, artist, or song signature since it is in compressed form. Thus, there is no method, which anyone can promise to be 100% successful in blocking all copyrighted material.

    I am not a music pirate. Nor do I suggest or encourage anyone to use this method. However, what I have used napster in the past for was to recover music I have legally purchased in the past but I have since damaged and/or lost the media for.

    When I'm good I'm very good, when I'm bad I'm better, But when I'm evil you better run :P
  • by xmutex ( 191032 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:29AM (#89179) Homepage
    This is a horrible judgment. It's insane.

    What's next? Are judges going to shut down university computer systems because obviously, some kids somewhere in the system are using their home directories to store w4r3z?

    I realize that the judge is really just trying to do the RIAA favor and really stop Napster's heartbeat, but this silly.

    People ship CDrs with pirated software through the USPS-- better shut them down, too!

    Crap, I tell you. Crap.
  • by guinsu ( 198732 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:28AM (#89181)
    How can they expect 100% compliance from Napster when video tape/cd-r and mini disc manufacturers have never had a burden like that placed on them.
  • by maddogsparky ( 202296 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:24AM (#89182)
    ...they can guarentee 99% complience, but Patel says this is not good enough...

    Wish the judges in the Microsoft case were that strict...

  • by byteCoder ( 205266 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:34AM (#89184) Homepage

    I guess this sets a legal precedent for anyone who has a file distribution mechanism to make sure that there are absolute no unlicensed copyrighted material on their sites.

    Does this mean that AIM needs to start blocking Buddy Icons that are infringing on someone's copyrights? I guess so much for my Bart Simpson buddy icon. (But how does AOL know that I don't have proper authorization and clearance to use that icon?)

  • Napster has effectively lost what few remaining users it had now that they aren't running at all (and haven't been for over a week). The newly announced pay service is completely new software where certain approved songs from labels and artists bought off are available at low quality in some yet-unspecified format where users "can't make cd copies", or so they say. Basically it's a service where you can download low-quality versions of songs to listen to on your computer for a fee, except you have to supply your own bandwidth and put up with only getting what is offered by others. Mark my words - that will never be sucessful with AudioGalaxy, etc around now.

    In other words, napster is history. The media is just writing stories about it because they don't have anything better to write about it or don't have any clue what they are saying (See the hilarious CNN stories about Microsoft letting manufactures alter desktop icons. Every time it was repeated on headline news last night, it changed slightly until it was so far from true it was hilarious. Poor anchors.). AudioGalaxy, etc are the stories these days, not napster.

  • Personally, I find myself buying a lot more CDs after Napster. I've found bands like Tortoise, The Beta Band, and Kings of Convenience that I didn't know about, listened to a few songs, and bought their CD. Like you, I was pretty jaded against modern music (still am, for the most part), but file sharing programs helped change that.
  • Why not ? Because most artists believe that Napster is costing them sales and infringing on their rights. Why would they opt in, when most are probably celebrating Napster's imminent demise ?
  • Are judges going to shut down university computer systems because obviously, some kids somewhere in the system are using their home directories to store w4r3z?

    On most any university system, if the admins find people trafficking in warez they can expunge their accounts, prevent them from getting new accounts and/or monitor their activity later, and possibly subject them to disciplinary action. These are recourses unavailable to Napster because of the essential anonymity - you close my account ? I open a new one, and all the files you hoped to make unavailable are now all available again, and just as easy to find. The judgement is not insane, because Napster provides no good way of preventing piracy. Even though Napster has made an effort at preventing some piracy, effort is not and should not be enough to get it a passing grade in this case.

  • Uhh, I haven't bought any new CD since napster started either. Let's face it, why would I pay for music when I can download it for free? Yes, it's probably illegal, no I don't really care. Yes, the artists are getting screwed. I'm simply being honest.

    Ahh...some honesty ! I too have not bought much music since Napster started, but I don't claim it is because I haven't hear or thought of a single song I might want to have. It's because every song I could think of, I could rip off Napster easily. Lots of songs from my youth which would have prompted me to go buy the CD now that I have the money are more economically stolen off Napster. The only CDs I have purchased have been CDs that are obscure enough that I can't grab the tracks off Napster - do you think that is a coincidence ? That's my truth, and I bet it is the truth for more than a few Slashdot readers who so sanctimoniously try to rationalize their behavior as something other than it is.

  • There's always going to be something crawling through. That's the nature of pattern recognition.

    So just because blocking infringement is hard or impossible to do, the judge should just let Napster continue trafficking in infringing material ? Should she be happy that Napster gave it the old college try ? The difficulty of preventing an illegal act is irrelevant to whether or not Napster should be allowed to continue facilitating that illegal act. To argue in the extreme, someone might be an incorrigible pedophile/rapist/bankrobber/shoplifter. Should that person be free if he is successful in curbing his activities 99.9% of the time ?

  • by Calle Ballz ( 238584 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:26AM (#89202) Homepage
    This means that DNA evidence can no longer be allowed to stand up in court. It's only 99.999998% effective, you know.
  • Judge Patel appears to lack the technicall savvy of say, Judge Jackson - he clearly has no clue what he's asking for. The only really reliable way to ensure this would be to only allow users to swap authorized files with, for example, known names, sizes, and MD5 checkums.

    He should really have appointed a special master to help him deal with the technical issues (which are clearly over his head).

    Of course, the other explanation is that he's in someone's pocket. Hmm... Are judges required to give disclosure of their personal finances - investments and all that?

    Anyway, I have to bet this will get overturned by any half-bright appeals court.

    Just my US$2e-02,
    - B

  • Nonsense. The big market for CD audio is the 18-30 age group - reasonable incomes with no kids or houses to pay for, buying up everything they wanted when they were 16.
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"
  • Whoo! $prog++!! I was just listening nostalgically to B'Sides themselves, and Misplaced Childhood, last night.

    I'm also gradually accquiring the Yes back catalogue, but also wanting more-or-less complete King Crimson, Genesis (up until Steve Hackett left, anyways), some obscure British stuff like Strawbs (np: "Autumn [The Winter Long]") and IQ... and of course, the mighty Hawkwind []!! :)
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"

  • "Proglodyte. "

    *giggle* yeah,... that's me ;) I'm into a lot of other stuff too, though - "indie" (well, Spiritualised, Verve, Blur, et al), classical, barouque, bebop, flamenco, techno, hell I even have some happy hardcore. Variety eq spice of life, init.

    Personally I think "Clutching at Straws" even better than Misplaced Chikldhood, but then I'm a pisshead ;)
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"

  • Actually, they should be actively targeting individuals. Whether you believe in the concept of IP or not (this is not the time for the debate), the fact of the matter is that it is the individual who breaks the law, not Napster. If I rip a Dave Matthews CD and post it online, I have published copyrighted material; that is against the law. If I post the file to the web, and add it to AltaVista's index, I have published it an easily-searchable and easily-accessible venue. Is AltaVista responsible for the material? No. I, personally, am responsible. Napster is functionally equivalent to AltaVista. I use(d) the Napster service, but never shared anything I didn't know was public domain, or otherwise unrestricted (I know, I'm a bastard user. Deal with it.); all of my copyrighted songs were explicitly kept off the service (on a separate hard drive, on a separate machine, which didn't have a copy of Napster). I did this as a CYA move; our network admins (University of x) watched for outgoing MP3 transfers. A side result of this is that I did not publish or cause to be downloaded any copyrighted material (I did publish some stuff, such as Bizet's Farandole, but the copyright has long since expired). The fact that I published non-copyrighted material doesn't make me a criminal any more than it makes Napster, Inc. a criminal for indexing it. If I had published my Chicago collection, I, and I alone, would have been responsible for violating the copyright law; Napster would simply have been the vehicle. Actively targeting individuals is absolutely the correct way to combat copyright violation; the reason the RIAA went after Napster is because it was an easy target, not a legally valid one.

  • Hello yourself. Judges don't enforce the law, but even beyond that, "judge" Patel (and I use that term in her case with total contempt) has stepped well outside the bounds of judicial propriety. Napster did NOT engage in the infringement of copyright, nor did Napster enjoy any commercial benefit. Both of these conditions are absolute and mandatory requirements in order to render a judgement against them. What "judge" Patel did was decide that Napster committed "contributory" (secondary, tertiary, and perhaps quaternary) infringement, and MIGHT benefit commercially sometime indeterminately in the future. None of this was proven, nor did the RIAA ever demonstrate any actual damages or prove any specific infringement. So what you have is a "judge" who cares not one whit about the law, ruling upon conjecture and hypothesis, requiring conditions not imposed on any known human activity. To use your analogy, no car dealership can actually assure that 100% of their cars aren't stolen (obviously, based upon past incidents, there are a few that slip through) although you can always attempt to prosecute them if you end up with a stolen car and suffer some problems resulting from that. However, if they can show that they did not knowingly handle the car as stolen, they can't be held liable for the act of stealing it or for "aiding and abetting." What "judge" Patel did was to say that you, however, could be convicted for "tertiary" stealing of the car, since you bought it from a "secondary" thief (the dealer, whether he knew anything about it or not), but the original thief gets off scott free. And so on. Bias isn't the right term to use in conjunction with Patel. Blatant judicial misconduct, contempt of the law, malicious malfeasance, and just plain stupidity come to mind here. I, for one, believe that she has committed a gross miscarriage of justice that should entitle her to immediate removal and disbarment.
  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:43AM (#89229)
    Interesting point. I haven't bought a music cd in ages. Not because I'm a cheapskate or beacuse I'm particularly poor but like you I haven't found anything half decent lately. The only CD I pondered buying recently was some Karl Jenkins stuff. I wanted to buy it BECAUSE I found a couple of his pieces on Napster and thought it would be cool to have it in my car...

    Anyway I think the music industry's problems have nothing to do with piracy but everything to do with the utter crap that they keep producing and sponsoring. I can't name a SINGLE modern band that would make me download their music let alone buy a CD. RIAA napster isn't your problem. Shit music is.

  • by karmawarrior ( 311177 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @12:46PM (#89234) Journal
    This isn't as daft as it sounds. DNA evidence is commonly misrepresented, using extreme odds to suggest that something is highly unlikely, when the evidence proves the opposite. Likewise, many posters here are making the same mistake.

    In LA, Larry is charged with Curly's murder. No evidence exists except a suspicion on the part of the police and a hair on the knife used to kill Curly. A sample of Larry's hair is sent to a DNA lab. "Good news", says the lab technician to the police. "The DNA matches. Only 1:50,000 people have that strain."

    The prosecutor tells the jury. The jury convict. After all, the chances are 50,000:1 that Larry's innocent aren't they? That's what the prosecutor said, and he was just repeating what the lab said wasn't he? As the prison warden throws the switch and Larry burns to a crisp, something odd happens. A close circuit TV film is revealed which proves that someone completely different murdered Curly. What happened?

    Answer: People misread the statistics. There are well over 50,000 people in LA. If there are 5,000,000 people in LA (which I suspect is a low estimate) then there were approximate 100 suspects. In other words, the odds were not, in the absense of all other evidence, 1:50,000 against Larry murdering Curly, the odds were actually 100:1 that he didn't do it.

    How is this relevent here? Answer: People are interpretting Patel as meaning that she wants more than 99% of the activity on Napster to be legitimate. This is by her demand that Napster remove more than 99% of the copyrighted material.

    But one is not the other. To use statistics I've written elsewhere, if there are 100,000 transactions enabled by Napster, and 99,500 of them are illegitimate, then a 99% reduction would still leave 995 illegitimate transactions against 500 "Patel Approved" ones. The way most posters are reading it, Patel has instead demanded that more than 99% of transactions be legal. That's not what she's said.

    Clearly she believes, rightly or wrongly, that there is an excessive amount of violations of copyright law on Napster, to the point that the vast majority, well in excess of 99%, are illegal. Patel is demanding that there be a massive reduction.

    Whether her comment "100%" is supposed to be taken literally or not, I don't know. But simply reducing the number of copyright violations on Napster by 99% may actually not be enough, depending on the scale of the issue, to mean that legal uses of Napster would be in the majority.

    DNA evidence doesn't always mean what people think it means. 99% doesn't mean the same thing as 99% in another context either.

  • by BIGJIMSLATE ( 314762 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:30AM (#89239)
    Heh, exactly. I'd like to see ONE gov't regulation that requires 100% compliance.

    And 100% is pratctically impossible anyways, because if just ONE song out of...say...5 billion gets through, its not 100% anymore.

    Personally, she's asking WAAAAY too much from them, considering they're already dead.

    Oh look, a dead horse! Let's beat it!
  • Wish the judges in the Microsoft case were that strict...

    You know, the parent post is modded as "funny" but it really isn't. If I had "mod" today, I'd make it "Insightful." Think about the implications. If Napster was a wealthy powerhouse like Microsoft, would they have received this kind of ruling? I bet not. This, of course, is not to defame Microsoft, but rather the justice system that lets large rich corporations get by with a slap on the wrist while punishing smaller companies until they are dead -- then giving them an extra kick in the ribs for good measure.


  • Remember when L Bob Rife (of Neal Stephenson's excellent 'Snow Crash') is pontificating on his rise to power, and his contempt for government? A reporter is asking him about how the government broke up AT&T once upon a time, and Rife says something like 'It's like they figured out how to legislate the horse just as Henry Ford was cranking out Model Ts'.

    The RIAA is just now putting the screws to Napster, just as Aimster and a dozen other programs are taking off. You can't kill an idea.

  • buy CDs used at pawn shops for $1 to $5... the RIAA sees none of it! (I wonder if they will make that illegal next...) but like you I havent purchased a new CD with the exception of a few indi artists in the last few months... in 2000 (using napster as a guide) I purchased 50+ CDs


  • by Derkec ( 463377 ) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @10:36AM (#89269)
    Napster pretty much sits out there and gets beat up on. Then it gets back up and fights again. That takes some guts. More importantly, as long as Napster is fighting, the RIAA lawyers have work to do. When Napster finally concedes defeat, the lawsuits will start targetting distributers of Gnuetella and other sharing tools. That, or they'll start actively targetting individuals. Go Napster! Keep on getting beat on, the rest of us love ya for it.

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