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Music Media Businesses The Internet

Kazaa Backs Plan To Bill P2P Music Transfers 388

Darth Coder writes "From this article at The Age: Kazaa has thrown its weight behind a plan to start billing song swappers for their music downloads. The idea is to phase in a billing mechanism for peer to peer networks, such as Kazaa and Morpheus. Initially payments would be by credit card, but in the future downloads would be automatically detected and a charge added to the monthly internet service provider bill."
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Kazaa Backs Plan To Bill P2P Music Transfers

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  • by Delphix ( 571159 ) * on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:39AM (#7192922)
    and thus endeth Kazaa.

    If they did that, how long would it be before another network popped up to replace them? Hours? I guess they forgot they aren't the ones who invented P2P...

    I guess they also don't realize people use the network....because it's... free... Not free and it will go away.
    • "If they did that, how long would it be before another network popped up to replace them? Hours?" ...and how long before the replacements start trying to justify their business plan by hypothesizing that after they've built marketshare, then they'll cash in and charge subscriptions? If you have any sort of centralization on big, expensive servers (btw: Even bitorrent has such central demands), you will have to find a way to charge directly (no, tip jars wouldn't work) or indirectly. We all know that the ind
      • User's already pay for their bandwidth. Kazaa is just a pretty GUI slapped on top of some Windows COM Components (media player, explorer) and FastTrack (replacable with Gnutella a la Limewire).

        They don't exactly have huge development costs there. All the pieces were there, they just stuck them together. Replicating it wouldn't take more than a day or two worth of effort considering all the truely hard / clever stuff is available for use free.

        And since the network works off a SuperNode concept, there's
        • I remember Hotline - in fact, I believe it is still alive, although I haven't connected in a few months. It's still one of the best places to find rare stuff - along with FTP, but finding FTP sites and getting access is much harder than with Hotline.

          A few years ago, I was heavily into Anime and could find pretty much any Anime on Hotline within weeks of it coming out - in Japan.

          Then a few months ago I went back to it, this time to find Kung Fu movies - finding a good server was a bit harder, but once I go

      • I don't use Kazaa. Quite frankly, their interface pissed me off. More importantly, Gnutella is an open standard and works quite well thank you. Kazaa has already been worked around. Too bad for them.
      • Well, that's the beauty of p2p - there are no "big, expensive servers".

        As for "replacements trying to justify their business plan" - some of the replacements don't have, want, or need a business plan. Just take a look at some of the open source p2p protocols and apps such as gift []. It surprises me that people are still using commercial p2p.

    • Hm ... I'm Joe PC User. I want music. What?! Kazaa is charging me for downloading music from other users? When that music could very well come in the form of a crappy 96 kbps, non-LAME MP3? When the download rate sucks ass most of the time? Goodbye, Kazaa. Hello iTunes Music Service, eMusic and whatever other big company has quality and bandwidth guarantees.

      Are they really that stupid?
      • I agree completely with this. How often have people downloaded a song only to find it was renamed by some dickhead; or somebody decided to replace the file with random crap.

        What guarentees will there be for things like this.
        Will the guarentee that the song I download is good quality (technical quality, as we all know most music from the RIASS is what you get when you push a 16 year old through a PEPSI can).

        PS is anyone else getting a lot of "500 internal server error" messages. (Slashdot is being slashdot
  • This is just posturing. Even if they were able to pull it off, imagine how many hashes each song would have. How many different versions of each song do you typically see on a P2P network?
    It has to be server oriented to work, and is nothing more than a smoke screen for Kazaa, not that I am a record label sympathizer.
    • Re:Not feasible (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:24AM (#7193117) Homepage Journal
      It'd be worth the fee if Kazaa would put together a team to verify the hashes, whether by paying them outright or comping them on the service. You know, earn their keep a little.

      The ISP would also need a cut from Kazaa, since they're taking a portion of the bandwidth hit.

      If there's anything that raises my hackles a bit, it's the concept of building a business model on illegal behavior as a means of doing legitimate business down the road. That's the opposite of the way things are done in this country.

      • Re:Not feasible (Score:2, Informative)

        A major problem with Kazaa is that it only hashes the first 32K of any file. Any glitches after that go undetected. This is why I won't be sorry to see Kazaa lose out to Overnet, or some other network which hashes the whole file.
      • Re:Not feasible (Score:5, Informative)

        by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:52AM (#7193375)
        If there's anything that raises my hackles a bit, it's the concept of building a business model on illegal behavior as a means of doing legitimate business down the road. That's the opposite of the way things are done in this country.

        No, it's exactly how things were done. In the 19th C the US didn't recognise foreign IP rights, to allow its industry to catch up with Europe. That included copyright, so authors like Charles Dickens were screwed by US publishers who just reprinted their books with no payment to him. Only when the US started to want to sell IP, that's when you got sanctimonious about "respecting" it.

        • Re:Not feasible (Score:4, Informative)

          by Felipe Hoffa ( 141801 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:12PM (#7195027) Journal
          I hadn't heard this claim before, and it really sheds some light on USA's postures. Anyway, as you shouldn't believe anything you read on /., I went to find confirmation on this claim, and it seems its true (at least by Harvard School of Law):
          A second, related long-term change was the transformation of the United States from a net consumer of intellectual property to a net producer. Until approximately the middle of the nineteenth century, more Americans had an interest in "pirating" copyrighted or patented materials produced by foreigners than had an interest in protecting copyrights or patents against "piracy" by foreigners. The shift in the "balance of trade" had a predictable effect on the stance taken by the United States in international affairs. In the early nineteenth century -- as Charles Dickens learned to his dismay -- the American government was deaf to the pleas of foreign authors that American publishers were reprinting their works without permission. n55 In the late twentieth century, by contrast, the United States has become the world's most vigorous and effective champion of strengthened intellectual-property rights. n56 Thus, for example, the American delegation successfully took a very hard line in the negotiation of the TRIPS agreement, demanding that other nations acquiesce in their generous version of patent and copyright laws. n57 And software piracy in China has triggered a much sterner reaction from the United States than has widespread human-rights violations. n58

      • Contrary to the other replies, I'll agree with you here, though for me the primary issue isn't one of legality, it's one of corporate hypocrisy.

        With the position Kazaa is now taking, they are essentially wanting this model:

        File trader 1: Obtain music conversion, invest time in learning how to do so and how to use the Kazaa application, make available on Kazaa, personally take all legal risk.

        File trader 2: Invest time in learning Kazaa application, pay for bandwith, act as server to other peers, person
  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:41AM (#7192933)

    ... but in the future downloads would be automatically detected and a charge added to the monthly internet service provider bill.

    If there was ever an incentive to get people to lock down their wireless networks, this is it.

    ISPs will probably also like the idea that it provides an incentive for people to not share their broadband connections with their neighbors.

    • HAHAhahaha (Score:3, Interesting)

      by krappie ( 172561 )
      ... but in the future downloads would be automatically detected and a charge added to the monthly internet service provider bill.

      hahahha. Sorry, but am I the only one that just completely fell over laughing after reading that? Its NOT going to happen.

      1. People wont allow this to happen. Never. Not in a million years. People wont accept an ISP that just charges them for certain things on the internet. People will have the service turned off if possible. Then what? Will the isp stop them from shari
    • The big if there is that ISPs will agree to do other people's billing. This is a big hole in this plan. RIAA loves it, Kazaa loves it, but they're sticking the ISPs with the dirty work. Neither of them can get money out of the user's pocket, so let's ahve the ISP do it.
      Look at this from the perspecitve of the customer getting this huge bill that is going to the RIAA and Kazaa. What does it say, it says your ISP wants $200. Who's going to have to send the collection agency after people who don't pay? The
  • by cubyrop ( 647235 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:41AM (#7192934)
    Since all my KaZaA downloads end at about 4% anyway, will my payment be reduced 94%?
  • Why Share (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aoverify ( 566411 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:42AM (#7192936) Homepage
    P2P file sharing apps work for just that reason. People sharing on their own free will.

    What is the reason to share if you are paying for downloads?
    • Under the plan they have compensated RIAA, "artists", and ISPs.

      Take it one step further: how about compensating the sharer for providing a delivery mechanism? RIAA didn't have to pay for the bandwidth and delivery. Sharers should get a cut from the fees as well.
  • What about movies.. and ebooks.. and software.. and roms.. and images.. and the personal documents of people dumb enough to share them..?
  • by droopus ( 33472 ) * on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:43AM (#7192941)
    This sounds a lot like the AHRA (Audio Home Recording Act), which added a surcharge onto the cost of tapes, divided among labels, songwriters and artists, under the assumption the blanks would be used to duplicate music.

    I don't think you'll ever get people to pay for what they can get for free. Why would I pay $1 for what I can get for free three clicks away?

    There is an interesting experiment [] going on where ex-members of Candlebox, (now KMHW) are giving away their next CD in return for label-like benefits ($$) by increased sales of their sponsors product. It's more like the sports model, where Shaq and Tiger make more money from Reebok and Buick than they do from their team/winnings.

    Interesting alternative. But pay Kazaa though my ISP? Wouldn't that violate the "no internet taxes" law? Also, how would FTP, Usenet, and Freenet (among others) transfers be taxed?

    It seems that what is happening is that labels are saying "hey this worked before, let's try it again!" Perhaps if more people considered new models [] like the KMHW one, taxing bandwidth would be unnecessary.
    • It's more like the sports model, where Shaq and Tiger make more money from Reebok and Buick than they do from their team/winnings.

      There's very, very few atheletes that's true for. It's only really going to happen for the top 1 or 2 athletes in any given sport.

      It's not a business model you try for; it just sometimes happens if you're the best at what you do.
      • There's very, very few atheletes that's true for. It's only really going to happen for the top 1 or 2 athletes in any given sport.

        Indeed true, but how difficult would it be to get at least the top 500 -1000 bands sponsored, lifting the subsidy off the labels' backs and maybe enabling them to do what they do well...find and market talent.

        They havent had a chance to do that in ten years.

        Hey I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's a pantload better than "we'll sue you motherfucker" don't you think?
    • "Why would I pay $1 for what I can get for free three clicks away?"

      Tell that to Apple's customers.

      I'm sorry, but I've never been a big fan of this argument. People don't just pay for goods, they pay for services. Coffee is free where I work, but many of my coworkers still hike a couple of blocks to go to Starbucks. Why would they do that? They're engineers. They know that the coffee is free! So why do they do it? Because it tastes better! Starbucks is competing with free coffee where I work and wi
      • I agreee with you...I wouldn't use Kazaa or most P2P services myself. Grab it off IRC or Usenet and save a lot of trouble.

        Like you seem to be, I always challenge the concept of "having" media, versus "consuming" media. My feeling is that the two will eventually will merge, and actual ownership of the bits will be irrelevant.

        • Well, I 'have' six or eight big boxes full of old Jazz, Classical, and popular LPs and 78's that I've accumulated recently. I haven't gotten around to playing much of it at all yet, but I know that I 'have' it and it won't go away because some 'service' ceases to exist or I decide I don't need an ISP bill any longer.

          Go ahead and be a 'consumer' if that's what you're into. I'm glad somebody in the past 'had' all these records. Some of it is damn fine music to listen to, and it wouldn't have made it's way
    • Wouldn't that violate the "no internet taxes" law?

      No more than paying your ISP for access is a "tax." Or paying for things you buy from Amazon is a "tax."

      This isn't a tax or "use fee" type plan. It's a straight purchase.

      You can very simply avoid the "tax" by using other means to obtain your music, just as you can swap books and CDs with friends instead of buying them new from stores.

  • First, peer to peer. Now, peer to disappear ...

  • Right on. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by headkase ( 533448 )
    Finally some compromise, I'll be glad when I can finally pay for the music I sometimes download. I live in a small town so trying to get my favorite bands is too much of a hassle because of long order times. Once this is fully phased in I can instead enjoy 3 minute downloads of my favorite songs through my broadband connection.

    As a bonus, hopefully this could see a standard p2p system developed and maybe ported to Linux - then I could get rid of my Windows partition completely.
  • Uh right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:44AM (#7192947) Homepage Journal
    Not every download of an MP3 is copyright infringment. It's doubtful the RIAA will make any distinction.

    Frankly, I don't see why they should make people pay for a service they're not providing, especially when they don't know why somebody is downloading an MP3.
    • Frankly, I don't see why they should make people pay for a service they're not providing
      They're going to be mp3 pimps. The people that use their service will be the whores.
  • Charging people to download songs is a good idea, but I would only support it if I knew my download money was going to the artist of the song I was downloading.

    Then again MP3s don't contain any fancy packaging, and they take songs out of context, reducing an album to a bunch of singles.....Buying the full package will always contain a certain magic for me :)

  • Yeah, this'll work (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 )
    People are already beginning to become concerned with KaZaA's legality in light of the recent problems with the RIAA, and many are finding new filesharing networks. If they used Napster and figured out how to find KaZaA, they'll be able to find another like freenet or BitTorrent or something new that doesn't publish IP addresses, and the whole situation will start over again.

    Once you give something to the public, taking it away isn't very practical, especially when the technical ability to 'give back' s
  • Hmm.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now, technically, if Kazaa wants to bill its users for downloads, shouldn't WE be getting paid? Kazaa itself only provides the login servers and the search mechanism. The overwhelming majority of the bandwidth and content provided by the service is paid for by the users themselves.

    Why should I pay Kazaa when their service plays only a small part in the P2P network?
    • Actually, they don't even provide the search mechanism. When you connect to the Kazaa server, it just gives you a list of some "supernodes" - people using Kazaa with fast connections. You connect to a supernode and it relays your search requests.
  • This could work out for the very best.

    the Freenet [] developers are currently working through some teething pains of the new Freenet routing protocol. When this settles (and this seems to be happening quicker than expected), Freenet should be ready for the really big time, especially with all the new Freenet client programs coming up for release.

    With KaZaa 'phasing in' this billing, there's every chance that Freenet will be ready in time for the millions of KaZaa refugees.

    Let's just see the RIAA/MPAA/BSA tr
  • That most people just don't want to pay2p
  • that's it for kazaa. what we need is a robust, decentralized network -- anyone know of any current implementations?
  • Sharman Networks does not pay my bandwidth. It does not hosts any music files. It does not need to run any server, except its web server. The only thing they give in the deal is their software, which they already sell. Can anybody give me a plausible reason for me to give them a cut of the money?
    • To keep lawsuits away from your bank account? TO make it legal?

      I imagine that would be worth it for you... unless YOU want to administrate a P2P yourself and bare the responsibility. I mean most of the software is OSS and you could do it yourself, if you've got the guts to negotiate contracts with the RIAA, etc.
  • 4 years late. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 ( 10537 )
    "Mr Lafferty predicted that within four years of the big record labels adopting the plan..."

    Yea, but iTunes for PC launches next Thursday. Thus ends the MP3 "war". After that anyone who wants to pay can, and anyone who doesn't can go elsewhere. I don't see a crappy P2P service anywhere in the $ picture.
    • Not to mention the imminent relaunch of Napster as a legal pay-per-song service much like iTunes!
    • Yea, but iTunes for PC launches next Thursday. Thus ends the MP3 "war". After that anyone who wants to pay can, and anyone who doesn't can go elsewhere.

      One of the big reasons many people use peer to peer services is that there is quite a lot of content that you just can't get at your local music store, or from some of the large online music stores. iTunes music store is a great example of this. The itms selection is pitiful. I signed up for an itms account and looked up a handful of not-so-mainstream ar
  • In the beginning, there was Napster, and all was good.
    Then Napster got shut down and Kazaa rose like a brilliant phoenix from its ashes and all was good once more.
    Then Kazaa decided to start charging its users, and the future became very bleak indeed.
    Until a new savior approached, destined to bring free content to the masses without any spyware.

    You see, I hope Kazaa realizes that while people may be using them because they are the easiest to use now....that the convenience is certainly NOT worth paying for.

  • Initially payments would be by credit card, but in the future downloads would be automatically detected and a charge added to the monthly internet service provider bill

    Dream on, sphincter boys. Many people have tried to solve the problem of micro payments on the internet. The ISP is NOT going to handle this for you, and they shouldn't.

    Never mind the 'automagical' detection of what you have to pay. No way that will ever fly.

    btw (OT): what the hell is going on with the really low amount of replies to arti
  • by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:00AM (#7193024) Homepage
    From the article:
    "Initially payments would be by credit card, but in the future downloads would be automatically detected and a charge added to the monthly internet service provider bill."

    Those idiots over at Sharman realize that the majority of their userbase doesn't have credit cards don't they? Also, this is not something parents are likely to just hand over their card for. "Sure Jimmy, you can download all you want and charge it to my card, AND open us up to potential lawsuits!" Nope, I can't picture that one happening any time soon.

    The one thing I would be interested in seeing is if by paying....if you were to download a copywrited file illegally, and then get busted...would they indemnify you?

    Would they be held responsible because they would be profiting from the distribution of copywrited material?

  • Kazaa is now dead (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkHazard ( 713597 )
    The reason Kazaa appealed to people was because it had FREE music. How many of their user base will stick to Kazaa once it's a pay service? I'm sure once Kazaa makes the change there will be an instant replacement for it.

    Sherman Networks seems to think that users will just stick with Kazaa because they know its name and they don't want to switch because Kazaa is nice and familiar. Their buisness plan just isn't viable. For example if I wanted to download a song on Kazaa I would get more than 100 matches.
  • "Initially payments would be by credit card, but in the future downloads would be automatically detected and a charge added to the monthly internet service provider bill."

    Do ya know when every single ISP will have the infrastructure to invite online services to tack on categorized fees?

    Teh Nehvar.

    If it sounds like bullshit, and quacks like bullshit...
  • by SoVi3t ( 633947 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:05AM (#7193044)
    Doing something like this may persuade the RIAA to back off of Kazaa, giving them a year or more of safety from lawsuits, as they are "preparing" a pay per download service...
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:06AM (#7193055) Journal

    Ummm... someone gets a virus on my box, then convinces my ISP that I dowloaded a whole bunch of crap, then I get a huge bill, then I have to prove I didn't download?

    No Thanks.

    If that's going to work, the ISP had d*** well better be sure they are filtering packets on a per user basis, so that I can't download anything through the Kazaa port unless I really am a registered Kazaa user, and they had better make sure that if "I" try to do that they flag it as a virus and not a new signup or something. No other way.


    The ISP billing right now is "pure". I get billed for connectivity and that's it. The last thing I need is for my connection to turn into something like the POTS line, where kids in the house could "dial" the equivalent of a 900 number.

  • by Bruha ( 412869 )
    Is this just another spin on the tax for using the internet? What next?
  • by El ( 94934 )
    Automatically billed by ISP? This should really piss off my next-door neighbor, who has left his 802.11b router unencrypted, allowing anybody access though his cable modem... but seriously, how are libraries etc. that want to provide free internet service going to block this?
    • Sueing a few kids who download? No contest, RIAA wins. Trying to make commercial ISP's, college nets, and anyone else who hosts a connection charge people for each download? Or in the case of "free" connections like the colleges host, force the ISP to pay for each download?

      "Hey, Joe, how come there are suddenly so many more lawyers at the defendants' table?"

      Watch for this one to go down in flames.
  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:28AM (#7193139) Journal
    It is apparent that we should start separating concerns as soon as possible. If we proceed along these lines, with a kazillion ad hoc contracts and agreements, everything is going to come in to a babelesque and screeching halt.

    Time for a few RFCs.

    Everybody should do one thing well. Music licensing companies do one thing well -- collect money and offer licenses. P2P services do one thing well, facilitate distribution of content and sharing of information.

    I can conceive of a few things we could do to facilitate it.

    Imagine a license server protocols for license servers, which are capable of tranmitting a license, song-by-song, that permits the licensee to receive from ANY party a file representing that song. Presumably, the licensee can be given a token and authentication means that a prospective filesharer can check, perhaps by interaction with the license server, which then permits the file-sharer to transmit that song at will.

    Now, conceive of various ways to engage in lawful commerce of great tunes:

    1) enhance p2p services to perform license checks, so that when a person seeks to receive a tune, it will first have to authenticate the right to receive it. now, p2p can operate completely legally and in the clear -- and evolve to provide whatever value it can; and

    2) vendor servers, either on the web, or through applications like iTunes, can provide super-duper interactions with users, combining and putting together tunes and samples, and then sell the tune to a customer (if unlicensed, sell the license -- if licensed, perhaps charge a bit because of special quality encoding or whatever).

    Thus, we can always check to see if all of our tunes are licensed, and we can always check to see if the recipient can get our license.

    Clearly kinks should be worked out, but I would WAY prefer to see the internet community get together to figure out the right way to do this -- rather than see yet another distribution infrastucture built up to protect yet another ridiculous hunk of turf.

    This approach should be VERY attractive to music sources, making it possible to collect real revenues almost immediately, and from a kazillion purchase sources, without worrying too much about technology or distribution, and without having to negotiate with each and every individual prospective vendor -- by making it possible to create lightweight music servers that comply with the law, we make it easy for everybody to get legal.

    This would be a good thing.
    • until

      3: Music companies want $1 a song, then $2 a song, then they want exclusive access to the network, then they want $5 a song since they have a monopoly, then we get the listeners lisence coming in (, and so on and so on and so on. Nice in principle, but it completly needs for reality to be thrown out the window to work.
  • His last idea, in Spring 2003, was to have compulsory licensing with compulsory royalties charged to ISPs and blank media manufacturers. That went nowhere. This won't go anywhere either.

    "File sharing" networks are unnecessary for paid downloads, after all. The record industry has no need for Kazaa, except for, maybe, the brand. And the record industry is already dealing with "the new Napster".

  • Well if they charge people that are downloading for me, I better be getting some of it since it is using my bandwith. Say 50%, after all, we are acting as distributers.
  • Right.... I'm gonna pay for downloading music when I 90% is crap to begin with. You know what I'm talking about, blank mp3 files the RIAA stuck on the network, music with skips, blank spaces, only encoded at 112 kbps, etc. No thanks. I'd use the Apple online music solution, or any other method, before I would pay for access to a network where I would get music from other users - and then get billed by a company that didn't have a damn thing to do with distributing it besides writing their lame ass softwar
  • Hmmm... I have an idea. ISPs would simply keep track of how many bits of information are transmitted to each user, and then each user would pay a small nominal fee of $100.00 for each bit. For spam and other unwanted information, users will pay $200.00 per bit. The proceeds from these small charges will go directly to the RIAA, the MPAA, and Microsoft, to compensate those fine organizations for the evil effects that piracy on the high seas has on them.

    Oh yeah, and since most people cannot afford to pay $100

  • Kazaa is feeling the burn from the RIAA. As P2P networks wake up to the realities, and problems, of non-anonymous transfers better anonymous P2P clients will take their place.

    One such client is Freenet [] and is starting to get to the point where I think it is useful, especially the new 'unstable []' build that has many new routing features that make it faster. (After installing, stop freenet, and save the unstable jar file over freenet.jar and restart to use the unstable (often better) build.)

    Another benefi

  • by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:41AM (#7193339)
    No one in their right mind would pay money on a per-download basis for peer-to-peer access. The cost of developing a client-server system, in which you know you're getting some standard of quality, is fairly low when amortized over the millions upon millions of downloads that you'd have, so the fee would be only slightly higher for the same royalties. If the labels were smart, they'd read the writing that's been on the wall for the past few years and actually do this. The only possible justification for allowing a fee-based pay-per-download would be that people who get crappy downloads would end up paying again, which is not something the labels want, since customer frustration over pricing is what got them into this mess in the first place.

    Of course, it is possible they're just stupid.
  • by YouHaveSnail ( 202852 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @02:46AM (#7193359)
    How is this any better than buying your music straight from a web-based service like the iTunes Music Store, PressPlay, etc.? At least with those services, you have some assurance that you're getting what you pay for. With Kazaa and other P2P services, you don't really have any idea what you're getting or even who you're getting it from. Nobody cares much right now specifically because you're not paying for the stuff you download, but that'll change when the download costs you a buck and the quality turns out to be crappy, or when the file ends up being something completely different from what you wanted.

    Anonymous P2P file swapping cannot support a pay model unless there's some way to trust the people you're swapping with. I can think of two ways to do that: 1) something like PGP's web of trust concept; 2) some sort of centralized system for rating users the way eBay does. But PGP's web of trust doesn't really seem to have taken off in any big way, and a centralized authority negates a lot of the advantages of P2P in the first place.

    Frankly, I don't think that the record companies will go for this either, since there's no mention of DRM, and they have no assurace that you'll actually get what they produce instead of some modified version which they can't control and which might make them look bad.
  • by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug AT opengeek DOT org> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:04AM (#7193397) Homepage Journal

    Leave my ISP billing alone. I know what my Internet access costs each month and that is the way it should stay. As soon as one charge hits the bill, everybody is going to want in and Internet ISP billing begins to look like the mess that is our phone bill today. --No thanks.

    Mp3 music is crap at all but the highest quality. Most of the encodes you find on Kazaa are poor. Downloads are iffy as well. Add this up and what do we find? Millions of people downloading bunches of crap music.

    Go back a few years ago. FM is crap, unless you take the time to really make the most of it. This is a lot like spending tons of time on Kazaa looking for only the best encodes. People all have tape decks. Add it up and you have millions of people making crappy copies of music.

    Didn't hurt things then, does not now.

    Just for the record, I no longer use P2P for music. (I will still get other things however.) Got tired of the crap. Funny, I got tired of the crap taping FM as well.

    How to trade? With friends via SSH. Nice and private, not too much distribution. In fact, this form of distribution is not too much different from people trading discs.

    I would be more inclined to encourage this, but I am not sure we can put a centralized payment scheme on a decentralized service in a fair manner. These jokers should have taken the first Napster deal. They would be making a lot of money right now and would own a popular name. It's too late now.

    So will all mp3 downloads be taxed? How? What if the creator wants to provide the content? Do I still need to pay for it? If I am paying for one kind of download, why not others? If downloads begin to be charged according to their type at the ISP, what exactly am I paying for? Will general Internet access get cheaper? Who pays for the new ISP billing systems? Me --you?

    This is not the answer. At this point, the answer is marketing. Clean honest marketing of music with added value services and content attached.

    Basically, these folks need to earn their keep. Since we all know distribution is cheap, why do they need to make the money they do? Hell, it was cheap with CD media. As far as I am concerned, they have been making far too much already.

    They could link music downloads with all sorts of things to make plenty of money. They could make the downloads worth downloading as Apple clearly shows.

    What to do with Kazaa? Not sure, but I don't want to pay for something I do not use.

  • Kazaa (Score:3, Interesting)

    by __aagmrb7289 ( 652113 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @03:23AM (#7193436) Journal
    Who the hell uses this shit anyway? You'd have to be an idiot to choose Kazaa from among the other choices out there - why would you want to use software from a company that knowingly installs malware & snoopware on your machine? Kazaa is crap.
  • by LuYu ( 519260 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @04:43AM (#7193562) Homepage Journal

    Besides the obvious user reaction about this, I think it should be pointed out that they do not understand the record industry's position at all. The execs at Sharman Networks believe that the RIAA and their contributors only want to legitimize music distribution on the Internet.

    They could not be more wrong. The record industry does not care if the artists get paid. It cares if it occupies the lucrative middle-man position in music distribution. If they were to do this deal with Kazaa, they would be sharing their monopoly rents with another greedy group of execs whould could completely usurp their power over their golden egg laying hen. The music industry wants to be the only distributor of music on and offline and in any alternate universe that remains to be discovered.

    Therefore, this plan, however wicked and evil to any reasonable person concerned with freedom, is twice as unpalatable to the monopolists working in the offices of the RIAA or any organization that actively contributes money to it.

    Obviously, this also means that the execs at Sharman Networks are an untrustworthy ally in the struggle for freedom against the tyranny of ignorance created by copyright law. While that should not have been a surprise, it sounds like more alternative and easy to use clients for serverless P2P networks need to be created (and fast) as insurance from the potential loss of such an important information distribution system.

  • Pay P2P? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @06:11AM (#7193670)
    Right, so will I get guaranteed high-quality files (160+ kbps for MP3, 96+ for Ogg) and consistent fast downloads? I doubt it.

    If I download a file, say 'Pulsedriver - Galaxy.mp3' and it turned out to be 3 and a half minutes of static would I still get charged? Probably.

    If I make my own music and people download it from the service, will I get a share of the profits? Can you see it? Nah, didn't think so.

    This idea is DOA. Plus the fact that hosting a 4Mb MP3 these days costs very little, and the provider gets much better control over the downloads. What's the point?
  • Agoric is essential (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jamiefaye ( 44093 ) <jamie@fentonia . c om> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @07:01AM (#7193731) Homepage
    The problem with P2P has always been the asymmetry between people willing to share and those willing to download. Downloading is far less risky because it does not require you to present yourself to others on an extended basis. You are thus are less likely to be discovered by the enforcers of the copyright laws and to be subjected to litigation. You also do not have to give up your bandwidth to others as an alturistic gesture.

    Ultimately this leads to the classic "Tragedy of the Commons" in which a few are exploited by the many.

    The only cure it to come up with some sort of compensation system that rewards those willing to share. The MoJo Nation project was an attempt at this.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @07:55AM (#7193816)
    ..... to use this [] encrypted, cross-platform P2P file sharing software instead!
  • Only fair if... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bagels ( 676159 ) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @08:12AM (#7193837)
    This would only be fair if you're given the chance to sample the file you're downloading and decide whether or not you like its sound and quality (if it is indeed the file you actually wanted). This could be done with a "buying queue" of some sort - after a predetermined amount of time, you must pay for the files in said queue or have them deleted.

    To be truly effective, this system would also have to keep track of which files you've already downloaded, so that users don't just download and "preview" songs whenever they want to hear them. It would also mean that the Kazaa folks would have to work to make sure that only one "official" copy (preferably high quality) of a song exists, because otherwise it would be easy for a user to just keep grabbing different rips of the same song and "previewing" them.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"