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Cell Phone Ringtones Give Music Industry Another Headache 380

Alien54 writes "Xingtone's desktop software allows you to create mobile phone ringtones using digital audio files on your computer. As seen here, The software evokes the same ``oh wow, oh no'' reaction from the labels that greeted the original Napster. The fear is that people will make 30 second long ringtones out of popular songs, thus compounding the file-sharing problem while robbing the music industry of a new source of revenue. Many users find the technology quite cool. IANAL, but current copyright guidelines seem to permit fair use of "Up to 10% of a body of sound recording, but no more than 30 seconds". All of which should make for an interesting legal debate. I can hear the gnashing of teeth already."
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Cell Phone Ringtones Give Music Industry Another Headache

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  • So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:47AM (#9230142)
    Very few pop songs last 300 seconds. The monopoly on long ring tones is maintained.
    • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dackroyd ( 468778 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:59PM (#9230838) Homepage
      So take it from the album version.

      Seriously though, Copyright laws are just broken with respect to format shifting.

      Consumers do not want to and are going to refuse to pay for multiple versions of the same copyrighted material.

      Producers of copyrighted material (mostly) want to maximise the cash they can get for it, and are in fact obligated to do so if they work for a company that has shareholders.

      At some point something is going to have to give.

    • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

      by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:26PM (#9231045) Homepage Journal
      People should have to pay for long ringtones. Jesus H Christ, they are annoying as fuck.
  • by mister_jpeg ( 46354 ) <jpgburroughs@hotm a i l .com> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:47AM (#9230145) Homepage
    I predict the phenonmenon of making ringtones out of the latest teen pop will fade quickly as more and more annoying idiots are beaten to death with their own phones. It's happened in isolated incidents before but now we'll have critical mass.
    • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:13PM (#9230386) Homepage Journal

      - remove your socks
      - insert one sock in the other sock
      - insert the ringing phone
      - swing the socks (with phone in the toes) to bludgeon the offender

      Works great, even if the phone breaks the mass in the socks still does damage.

      Works with soda cans, coins, ice, or any other innocent until used as bludgeon objects.

  • Great. (Score:5, Funny)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:47AM (#9230148) Homepage
    Yeah, because "Classical Music Butchered Beyond Hope" isn't obnoxious enough. I work at a college. I can't wait for every shitty pop song to be blaring out of some asshat's saggy A&F jeans during class when his roommate's older brother calls to say he got the beer.

    Fucking christ. You know the only people that use this are going to be people infatuated with dreadful pop music. It's the same phenomenon as loud car stereos -- I don't think I've ever pulled up to someone with a thumping car at a traffic light and thought, "Oh, good, I really like this song."

    • personally I'd say it's because most of the people who listen to the same kind of music as you actually expect to be old and grey someday, and want to still be able to hear their favorite music by then.
    • Re:Great. (Score:3, Funny)

      by deft ( 253558 )
      "I can't wait for every shitty pop song to be blaring out of some asshat's saggy A&F jeans during class when his roommate's older brother calls to say he got the beer."

      I know you've been wondering, so I'll confirm it to you. Those are the guys having sex in college.
    • Once again (Score:3, Informative)

      The slashdot timewarp strikes again... what you're describing has been happening for years in Europe, it's a huge revenue earner for the record companies.

      Surely the point is that now we can compose our own music and download that, instead of the current pop and classical tunes which are advertised for download in every newspaper and magazine on premium rate numbers and have been for years.

  • Headache? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MP3Chuck ( 652277 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:47AM (#9230152) Homepage Journal
    The only headache I forsee is having to listen to everyone's favourite song every time a phone rings.

    But how is taking a snippet of a song and putting it on my phone any worse than taking an entire song and putting it on my computer? Obviously the record companies want people to pay for ringtone-specific clips, but I see nothing wrong with this software.
    • Re:Headache? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:51AM (#9230191)
      The record industry just did a lot of work to set up information toll booths, just to discover that there's a very easy and legal way to work around them.

      It's just plain stupidity that they didn't see a program like this coming.
    • When your mobile phone rings, it's often in a "place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered". So if your phone ever rings in a public place, then under U.S. copyright law's definition of "publicly" (17 USC 101 []), causing your phone to play a copyrighted work whenever a call comes in amounts to performing the work publicly. Copyright law also gives the owner of copyright in a musical work a monopoly on authorizing such public perf

  • Dude, seriously... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:48AM (#9230155)
    *MUST* the RIAA get paid for *EVERY* time someone does anything *REMOTELY* connected to the shit music their labels pump out? I mean, DAMN. Can't they just let it go!?


    - GNU/Anonymous Coward
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:02PM (#9230288)
      You can't fault the RIAA for trying to soak the maximum value out of everything they do, that's just plain the nature of greed and we all have it to some degree.

      Still, we just have to be organized enough to realize when they're asking us to repay for a song when we can just do the format shifts on our own.
      • by AgntOrnge ( 718563 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:30PM (#9230520)
        I think them trying to soak the max out of everything isin't so much greed as they have no idea how to make money anymore so they insist on leeching every idea that they don't come up with right now. I still believe that if they provided the delivery means that the consumer wants and a product that they actually want, we wouldn't have to deal with this crap every 6 months.
    • Short answer: NO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#9230342) Homepage Journal
      No they cant let it go.. they DO want every time, they DO want pay per listen..

      Its their business model.. ( or at least what model they want.. )

      Ya, they suck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:49AM (#9230160)
    "That oxygen is ours. We paid for it. It's used to create the high quality music you find at your local vendor. If we find anyone using or sharing that oxygen we'll have no choice but to seek reparations in court. We don't like to be heavy handed, we're just protecting our clients."

    I'm waiting for them to hit this stage...then maybe they'll finally run out of things to bitch about..
    • You kid, but we might get intellectual property reform a lot faster if they cracked down on every currently unauthorized use of their "property."

      By that, I mean suing people who sing "Happy Birthday" at parties in their home, or charging people who hum too much of a song for giving an 'unlicensed performance in contravention of their exclusive rights' and crap like that.

      Or, say, getting a drug patent and *only* allowing it to be used in places that do not recognize them. Or the same with patents and soft
  • Overpriced (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synesthesiatic ( 679680 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:49AM (#9230161) Homepage
    Cell ringtones were way overpriced anyways. You're basically paying a buck for some bleeps and bloops someone hammered on a midi-keyboard in ten minutes.

    Some people already own the music, or can buy the actual song for the same price. Why pay twice?

    • Re:Overpriced (Score:4, Informative)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:55AM (#9230229)
      Actually, there are now real-sounding ringtones which T-Mobile call "Megatones" and Cingular call "Super Tones" that are actually not MIDI-based files but real audio/voice recordings. Effectively, they're just media files suitably edited to fit the small timeslot they get for ringing.

      We're beyond the MIDI stage... but still, selecting the 10 second hook of an MP3/OGG/WAV/Whatever file is something a consumer can do with very little software help.
    • by Patrik_AKA_RedX ( 624423 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#9230343) Journal
      Why pay twice?
      Because the poor shareholders need money. Don't you have any idea how expensive a ferrari, big house with pool, trips to various locations and a fourth wifes's boob job is? You should sympatise a bit with their situation.
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:49AM (#9230164)
    The fear is that people will make ringtones out of pirated songs, thus compounding the file-sharing problem while robbing the music industry of a new source of revenue.

    That's not the real fear. The real fear is that people will make ringtones out of the CDs they already have. That process is nothing more than format shifting, trimming, and then playback when a particular event happens to the phone. Uhm... there's no laws against that process.

    The record industry is a bit worried because this had appeared to be a new business model for them... but if the software to make a good enough ringtone is easy enough for the average consumer to do on their own, then consumers don't need to pay to re-buy a track they already have if they want it as a ringtone.

    Sorry, this business model was dead on arrival. Please try again.
    • by goon america ( 536413 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:18PM (#9230980) Homepage Journal
      Dude, ring tones brought in $3.5 billion last year [] (believe it or not), that's 10% of the global music market revenue.

      I'm not suggesting that makes an ounce of sense, but it's certainly not chump change here.

      • Barnum was right. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sulli ( 195030 ) *
        There is a sucker born every minute.
        • Re:Barnum was right. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Daetrin ( 576516 )
          There is a sucker born every minute.

          With 3.5 billion in sales at an average of 60 cents each (according to the article) it's more like 11,098 suckers born every minute. The number is probably lower due to repeat buyers, but i doubt there's one sucker born every minute who buys 11,098 ringtones :)

          How many cellphone owners are there in the world? Maybe a billion? Two billion at most? I know cell phone rates are higher in many other countries than the US, but still, there are only 6 billion people on the

    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:32PM (#9231094) Journal
      The real fear is that people will make ringtones out of the CDs they already have. That process is nothing more than format shifting, trimming, and then playback when a particular event happens to the phone. Uhm... there's no laws against that process.

      If your phone plays the exact cut, you may be right. But if your phone plays a bunch of beeps that are the tune, that is a "derived work". And we're back to the issue of how much is "fair use".

      IANAL, but current copyright guidelines seem to permit fair use of "Up to 10% of a body of sound recording, but no more than 30 seconds".

      The linked web page says that the North Carolina Department of Public Education believes that is the case IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL SETTING. For instance: As part of a class project in K-12 education.

      That does not necessarily mean the same guidelines are applicable when you're doing it to replace purchasing a ringtone for your telephone from the copyright holder. The limits of fair use in that situation may be narrower.

      Remember that one of the issues to be weighed in determining whether an act is "fair use" is how much it impacts the potential income of the copyright holder. We have evidence from the existing market that people are willing to pay over a buck for a ringtone. Things get even more interesting if somebody is making a profit by selling the tool, or (worse yet) selling the ringtones themselves.

      IANAL either. I would love it if a lawyer or paralegal among our readership could post a pointer to an authoritative guideline or (better yet) a precedent on the boundaries of fair use OUTSIDE the educational context.

      The fear [of the RIAA] is that people will make ringtones out of pirated songs, thus compounding the file-sharing problem while robbing the music industry of a new source of revenue.

      IMHO that's correct. "Whack-a-mole" enforcement, no doubt preceeded by a strike against the toolmaker based on the claim that the tool is a piracy aid.

      So for the reasons above we should be prepared for the courts to agree with the RIAA when the inevitable suit is filed.
  • More Noises? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tezkah ( 771144 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:49AM (#9230165)
    Ugh, stupid cell phones. While this is a neat idea, I keep mine on vibrate, just because I know how annoying a music ringtone is when its someone elses.
    • Re:More Noises? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kryptkpr ( 180196 )
      You know, I've gone through several phones with varying usefullness of the vibrate feature.

      Nokia 5190 - Vibrate function was only available with a special battery. I actually got one of these batteries, and was completly unable to get the damn thing to vibrte. (0/10)

      Nokia 3390 - Great vibrate. When someone calls, even if it's tucked away under 4 layers of clothing, you'll notice. (10/10)

      Nokia 8390 - So-so vibrate. This phone is much smaller, so I guess there wasn't room for a big weight. I'd missed s
      • Re:More Noises? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by djplurvert ( 737910 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:01PM (#9230866)
        I call bullshit.

        1) It is your responsibility to select a phone that has a vibrate feature that works as you need it too.

        2) If you are SOOO important that you can't miss a call or two then spending the money to get the proper phone shouldn't be an issue. For normal people, missing a call or two should override being inconsiderate of others.

        3) If you must recieve a call when others might be bothered with your dumbass ringtones then get the damn thing out, put it on lights only mode, and sit it in front of you. Now you won't miss that oh so important phone call.

        4) Finally, there is a BIG, and I mean BIG distinction between someone who occasionally let's the phone ring audibly with the STANDARD ringer vs someone who leaves their phone on audible all the time so others can hear how coooool their ringtones are.

        Stop making excuses for your rudeness. When your phone goes off in a theatre, classroom, library, or any place where people expect a certain noise restraint you are being inconsiderate. There is no legitamate reason, not even the fabled doctor and his dying patient, for your RUDENESS!!!

    • Re:More Noises? (Score:3, Insightful)

      I always have my mobile phone on vibrate because with vibrate on I have no need for a ringtone. Take these scenarios:

      a) I am somewhere loud - my phone vibrates and I can answer it.

      b) I am somewhere quiet - my phone vibrates and I can answer it.

      Being a male and thus keeping the phone in my pocket, ringtones are virtually obsolete. It should be the same for most males out there.

      Women are tricky (as usual) because most keep their phone in a handbag (that's a purse, USAians) and the phone is kept further
  • History (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The_Mystic_For_Real ( 766020 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#9230172)
    It seems that the current actions of the record industry are analagous to the papal authority during the reign of Pius IX. In both cases, science and technology began to encroach upon the ideas, or intellectual property, of the parties mentioned. Instead of trying to move with the flow of progress, they lashed back with extremist policy (The Syllabus of Errors, lawsuits). For Pius IX, this accelerated the demise of his authority. It should be interesting to see how these policies work out for the record industry.
  • by tuxette ( 731067 ) * <[tuxette] [at] []> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#9230177) Homepage Journal
    The fear is that people will make 30 second long ringtones out of popular songs

    I don't know if they last 30 seconds, but ring tones of popular songs already exist, at least in Norway/Europe. It has existed for a quite some time, at least 5 years if not more.

    • In some countries you have a "private use" exception (Spain is one I know of) which makes it legal to make a copy of your music CD as a ring tone. This may be the case in Norway too.

      Otherwise, I don't see why the creator of the music shouldn't get an additional reward for the new use? Of course, I speak as someone who creates works and earns money from them, not as a mere consumer.

      • by karmatic ( 776420 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:37PM (#9230629)
        Because when you've already paid for a license to a work, why should you have to pay every time you manage to do something else with it?

        With my car, for example, I can use it to get from point A to point B. I can cut it up and call it art. I can use it as a door stop.

        With a book - I can use it to make paper maché doodads. I can use it as a weapon in self defense. I can even tear out the pages and use it as toilet paper (I can think of a couple books that can justify it, too).

        When you purchase something (Adobe vs. Softman - it's a Sale, not a License), you have the right to do almost whatever you want with it, with the exception (sometimes) of distributing copies, due to patent or copyright restrictions.

        The creator of the work has been paid for said work. He has excercised his right of first sale. Beyond that, what happens to the work is not really any of his business. Just because it's IP, doesn't somehow give it a special exemption.

        Furthermore, you should ask yourself "what is the purpose, the reason behind copyright?"

        The answer to this question is contained in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution:

        "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts..."

        Stifling innovation through charging for any improvement or new use seems contrary to the very purpose of copyright in the first place.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That way Xingtone will be mad about people ripping off their idea to rip off the music industry.
  • How about the rest of us people that don't really think banging out some recent candy-crap-hop tune from ones phone is cool, but rather annnoying as all hell?

    i'll take my answer off the air....
  • The sooner that annoying ringtones are stamped out, the better. It's getting to the point where you can't even watch a movie or go to a lecture without being distracted by mobiles ringing constantly. What's the big appeal of having a loud, obnoxious musical ring tone, anyway? Is it just novelty or what?
  • ... a new way for teh real artist(s) to promote their own music so to develop a following that the middleman RIAA will have to bid on (compete in deal making with each other) to ultimately give the artist(s) a better deal and actually pay the artists their proper due...... rather then subsidizing wannabe artists who played the who knows who, who fu&'d who game..

    Consumers win..... getting better music...and so do the real artists.
  • I worked for a cell phone company and they had a way to make sure you could not upload midi or wav files to your phone by hiding the file extension (not the MIME type) the phone will accept. Thus, to upload a midi file, you had to name the file something other than .mid for the phone to accept it. Of course, all is needed is a leak and everyone can do it...
  • This is why... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aznxk3vi17 ( 465030 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:52AM (#9230201) make your OWN ringtones. Use a midi-notation software, then use a site like 3gupload [] to put them onto your phone. Much cheaper than buying them (the site has a whole bunch of ringtones too), and if you're like me, you can put strange ringtones that you'll never find elsewhere.
    • I don't even need MIDI software and uploading sites with my Ericsson phone. I can enter music directly into my phone with the "My Melodies" feature. You have to have The Fine Manual handy when you do it, because it's very different than using notation software. Anyway, I have the intro of one of my husband's songs as my ringtone. I can be reasonably assured that nobody else has this ringtone, which is great when you are in a crowd. Danke, Ericsson.
    • Re:This is why... (Score:3, Informative)

      by protohiro1 ( 590732 )
      I recommend Coding Workshop's polyphonic wizard...yes they also make a popular rootkit, but their program is pretty cool, it includes a WAP server for your mac or pc so you can transfer the files.
    • by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:56PM (#9231269) Homepage
      I made my own ring tone.

      It's a 14.4k modem training sequence. Beeeep-dooop braaap-beeep-beep-bip braaaaaappppppppp scrreeeeeeeeeee(for 25 seconds).

      My phone has been banned from every telecom facility in the Benelux. On the downside, every time I hear somebody still using an analog modem I check my phone.

      the AC

  • Buying ringtones through cell phone providers is a joke. You pay $2.50 for a ringtone that will expire in 2 months. Atleast that is how Sprint is. You were able to create ringtones before just it wasn't as easy as a couple clicks. You would need to take the song in winamp or a sound recorder and trim it to 30 seconds and save it in a low quality format. Then you have to convert it using QUALCOMM PureVoice Converter. Most people that I know get "free" ringtones already from
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:57AM (#9230242)

    Far from worrying here in the UK music ring tones are popular in the UK. People are willing to pay 1.50 (or more) for a ring tone, yet are not willing to pay that much for a single this has a few analysts baffled. It's probably all convenience, anyone can copy a single from the radio, from a friends CD, download it from the net etc.. but getting ringtones on a mobile phone is a bit more complex for the average person. As a result people are willing to pay for them.

    It's not uncommon now to see adverts on peak time TV for ring tone services where you text a number with the name of a song, and you'll receive that ring tone.

    A few people have made millions of pounds from these services. There not hush-hush services either, a few of these people have even been the subjects of BBC Documentaries.

    Channel 4 even allow you to download ring tones from their site - []

    With Cellphones Europe seems to be ahead of the the game compaired the US. Japan on the other hand are ahead of Europe with 3G phones!

    • I don't know the whole situation with ringtones in the US, even though I live here, as I hate cellphones quite a bit, but I can definitely say that I've been hearing irritating pop music ringtones for at least a year.

      The point of the article isn't that you can get a pop-music ringtone, it's that you can get a pop-music ringtone without paying the RIAA, which pisses the greedy bastards off.
  • IANAL, but current copyright guidelines seem to permit fair use of "Up to 10% of a body of sound recording, but no more than 30 seconds". All of which should make for an interesting legal debate. I can hear the gnashing of teeth already."

    It's odd that you linked to guidelines of some non legal body as opposed to some actual legal document.

    While I usually disagree w/ idiots blathering on about fair use, I think short clips at vastly degraded quality for personal use on your cell phone come pretty damn
  • challenges profits? (Score:2, Informative)

    by farkinga ( 113105 )
    Come on - the RIAA can't make electronic distribution of music profitable but cellphone companies can? ...and by virtue of that, the particular mathematical transformation that re-encodes the sequences of acoustic impulses necessary to modulate the cellphone speaker to produce a familiar noise must be challenged in court? It's okay to use some speakers but not others?

    These companies have a horrible time keeping their business models up to date... and inter-industrial consistency in argument seems to be f
  • I for one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Complicity ( 30481 )
    ...kind of secretly hope that the record companies win this one, just so I don't have to listen to the ringtones :) Most of the 'music' ones (especially using MIDI) are just horrible, and once people start making them more frequently on their own, expect the quality to get even worse, just like good ol' mp3s.
  • The music industry does't seem to have a problem with every rap "artist" sampling the heck out of other peoples music. I don't see the difference when I sample it. Call my cell phone "ART" --Colin
    • I think one of the more famous cases was when Vanilla Ice stole^H^H^H^Hampled Queen/Bowie's "Under Pressure" for his hit (?) "Ice, Baby". He didn't get permission and got the shit sued out of him. He wound up settling out of court, and made everyone in the (at the time) new "sampling" style of music very aware that they were using bits of copyrighted works and had BETTER get permission!

      There's a fascinating bio of this artist (?) on Here []
  • Music Industry (Score:5, Informative)

    by smoondog ( 85133 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:03PM (#9230301)
    This week on Frontline, arguably the best show on television, is titled, "The way the music died []." It looks fascinating and, perhaps, even balanced. I do hope the bottom line is, however, that the music industry is a dated industry that refuses (due to some dumb executives) to adapt.

    • It's interesting that Woodstock is claimed as a highlight moment in music history... when it actually was one of the greatest failures of attempted music commercialization. It was never meant to be a free concert. They just couldn't handle the number of gate crashers they ended up with and the rest, as they say, was history.

      Most forms of art are covered by the "Information wants to be free" principle. That's not to say information should always have zero value, but just that the natural tendancy of people
  • but you're gonna get *so sued* when Apple patents the name for its oh-so-cute white vibrator.
    iAnal, that is .*)
  • just ban them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by marchere ( 748896 )
    New concept: ban all ring tones; all that is needed is vibrate mode. It would solve so many problems...
  • Could the labels claim that Xington has reverse engineered or cracked the process for uploading ring tones?

    I personally hate ringtones, even in the office some nut has beethoven beeping and booping... what's wrong with vibrate?
  • by DanTilkin ( 129681 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:05PM (#9230324)
    The submitter claims IANAL, but current copyright guidelines seem to permit fair use of "Up to 10% of a body of sound recording, but no more than 30 seconds".

    The submitter is missing the context of the part of the document he referenced. The 10%/30 seconds guideline is meant to clarify what portions of referenced works means in the top of the document. There is no fair use when the only purpose is your own enjoyment.

    Whether owning the CD gives you the right to use this is a seperate question, but there the 10%/30 seconds rule doesn't apply.
  • So how does one load a ringtone? I was disappointed to find that my new Nokia phone didn't include a ringtone composer. The various ringtone services must download them by text message or something. If I have a computer with a modem can I send ringtones to myself?
    • If you have a new Nokia phone (IE, new model, not just new purchase), you just upload the ringtones (in MIDI, AMR or MP3 format) by IR or Bluetooth.

      Considering the vast amount of MIDI, AMR or MP3 format songs out there, and for that matter the ease of creating one in the first place, I don't see why this is such big news. Unless, of course, this is a way to create monophonic ring tunes out of MP3s, which is pretty darn stupid IMHO.
  • Wake me when someone comes out with a Mac or Linux/BSD version.
  • by TDScott ( 260197 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:15PM (#9230404)
    there's this handy site [] I made,which will take any MIDI file, put it on a WAP server, and let you use it as a polyphonic ringtone, for free.
  • Er, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:16PM (#9230411)

    So let me get this straight:

    1. Fair use is 10% of a song or 30 seconds, whatever comes first, right?

    2. Making ring tones out of popular songs falls under fair use.

    What am I missing? Ah yes, I know!

    3. Someone with a large lobbying department is not making a profit.

    Don't worry. If fair-use prevents the making of a large profit, fair-use will be weakened.

    A little over two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson considered copyrights as a sort of necessary evil to promote the creation of works that would (eventually) be in the public domain.

    Today, copyrights exit for only three things: profit, profit, profit. The company that benefited from the vast amount of ideas that had passed into the public domain (Disney) was the company that promoted the idea of "forever" copyrights.

  • by Mitleid ( 734193 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:27PM (#9230490)
    Once I finally got my hands on a Bluetooth enabled laptop a few months ago, I've been able to send ringtones to my T610 without any problems whatsoever. The best part is that I can use practically any MIDI I find online, which means I don't have to settle for the tripe that is otherwise "offered" by my cell phone provider.

    Anyways, I've found that video game MIDIs, particularly SNES, make the best ringtones. The instruments carry over well to a ring, there are hundreds and thousands of available songs you can get online, and they're just all out fun.

    So, I don't really see why a community like slashdot would really care that they can't put the latest Outkast or 50 Cent ring on their phone. There are much better rings out there. Just be courteous and turn those goddamn things off before entering a movie theatre or something, cause I can tell you right fucking now I don't want to hear Kefka's theme from FF6 blasting out of your phone right as a J. Lo-portrayed Samus Aran is putting the hurt down on some aliens in the next big John Woo movie.

    Not that our phones are ringing anyway...
  • by licamell ( 778753 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:49PM (#9230757)
    Just follow these simple steps

    1. slice your songs into 10 equally sized chunks (10% each)
    2. name them original_song_title.mp3.X where X = (0-9 corresponding to the chunk that it is).
    3. Have each smaller file shared on P2P network.
    4. Laugh at the RIAA
  • by shadowj ( 534439 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:50PM (#9230765)
    Several newer phones (such as my Sony-Ericsson P800) can use any MIDI or MP3 file as a ringtone. No need to do any fancy file manipulation... just upload the .MID or .MP3 file to the phone and that's it. How can the RIAA control that? Sue the cellphone makers? Pretty amusing, seeing as the Sony half of Sony-Ericsson would be suing itself...

    BTW, my own ringtone is a recording of an old-fashioned telephone bell... I don't inflict reedy-sounding pop music on innocent bystanders.

  • Reality Check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djplurvert ( 737910 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @12:50PM (#9230767)
    Since ringtones have become popular I've noticed that fewer people choose the vibrate option. For those of you with ringtones get a clue, your ringtones are NOT cool! Everytime I hear one I just roll my eyes. Everyone thinks that they have the one tone that is soooo cooool that nobody will mind listening to it. People fail to realize that others don't want to be interrupted by random snips of ANY music played on a crappy speaker.

    Perhaps if the RIAA managed to get some draconian measures enforced to charge you a royalty fee everytime your dumbass ringtone went off you'd switch back to vibrate. I hate the RIAA, but honestly, I hate ringtones more.


  • by Blic ( 672552 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:02PM (#9230875)
    ...part of me hopes the RIAA can ban this. I am so @#$% sick of having to listen to long, annoying song clip ringtones erupting out of coworkers cubes at maximum volume, especially when they aren't there and left their cellphone on their desk, and it just plays over and over and over...
    • "left their cellphone on their desk, and it just plays over and over and over..."

      My favorite remedy to this? Take their cell phone and put it up in the ceiling tile. Then when they come back, call their phone and laugh as they franticly look around for it. Done this to a couple of co-workers.
  • by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:06PM (#9230906) Homepage Journal
    Right now ringtones for the song itself are running nearly 2.50 per tone. Now if I can buy the same song off napster for .99c then what am I paying for. Most of those tones are of the parts of the song I dont want for the ringer either way. This gives me choice. Something the RIAA cant stand anyone to have.
  • by __roo ( 86767 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:26PM (#9231048) Homepage
    It's very easy to turn sample files into ringtones for free. For Sprint PCS users, the Xingtone software just creates a GCD file [] (more info []) and hosts is on a website for your phone to download. It converts the WAV file to Qualcomm PureVoice (.QCP) format [] (which you can do using Qualcomm's free converter for Windows and Linux) []. There's more info here [].
  • ... has ruled that RIAA does have the right to install microphones and automated tune-recognition systems on sidewalks, hiking trails and hallways througohout the US to 'identify and prosecute lawbreakers' who violate their copyrights by whistling, humming or singing copyrighted songs without permission.

    In its ruling, the Court agreed with the precedent cited by RIAA, their successful case against the Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls for royalties accrued as a result of girls singing 'Kumbaya', 'Happy Birthday' and other popular songs around the campfire.
  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:34PM (#9231109) Journal
    How is playing a song on my phone as the ringtone different than playing songs on my (disc|walk|mp3)man? I can put music on my alarm clock too(CDs), should they get extra royalties for that?

    These people are insane... why aren't they simply ignored? Oh, right... they bribe our politicians, and sometimes even write the actual laws they want passed -- God bless Word(TM) meta-data.

  • by Phybersyk0 ( 513618 ) <(gro.ngisedmrots) (ta) (okysrebyhp)> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:38PM (#9231146)
    Xingtone is awesome.
    Here's how to upload your OWN TONES without paying for XINGTONE:

    1. start XINGTONE.
    2. have your pre-trimmed .wav or mp3 ready.
    3. navigate to the xingtone app directory
    4. overwrite a demo tone with your new sound (keep the name the same).
    5. upload.

    Congratulations. You are t3h winnar!

    Now you can finally have the guitar intro to "Where is my mind" by the Pixies, instead of "In Da Club" by 50-Cent. Treknerds can make their phone sound like a tricorder, or get beamed up everytime their phone rings.. whoopee!

    Why a freehack? -- The audio quality is crappier than 8-bit audio, you may also have normalization problems (too loud/soft). Their demo is just 3 canned sounds that are decompressed onto your hardrive when the app is started, and removed upon app-shutdown. The app is useful, but not worth $15. Not to mention the fact that many people have to pay additional $$ to their mobile service provider per byte/kb of data transferred...


    Remember: We only use recordable devices because of human playback limitations.
  • by Spolster ( 654241 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:46PM (#9231192)
    My current phone allows me to use any mp3 as a ringtone, no conversion necessary. As far as I can tell this is becoming more and more common on new phones. With more and more phones and computers supporting bluetooth it's also getting easier to transfer them onto the phone. Eventually it's going to become convienient enough that people won't be willing to pay to be sent ringtones when they could just use music they already own.
  • Slashdot, 2022 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @01:54PM (#9231251) Homepage
    Posted by michael [] on Monday May 23, @01:25PM
    from the we-miss-the-dmca dept.

    The RIAA [] announced today that they have secured the exclusive right to the key of G-flat [].

    Previously, the key of G-flat was a popular key among independant Open Music authors, as the RIAA had neglected to secure rights to it during the Commercial Copyright Reforms of 2016.

    RIAA spokesman Darl Hollingsworth explained, "After CCR/2016, the RIAA secured the rights to all keys in which music can be composed. Traditional music theory, dating back to the 15th century, stipulates that there is no such key signature as G-flat major. Unfortunately, Open Music pirates have discovered a way to represent the key of G-flat; however, G-flat major is simply an isomorph of F-sharp. The court rightly recognized this equivalence and the blatent theft of musical keys by Open Music pirates everywhere. In accordance with the law, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has assigned us the world-wide copyright to these songs."

    While timing is expected to vary from state to state, all residents of the USA will have their CRMIs (Cranial Rights Management Implants) updated by the end of 2023. The levy for mentally accessing a song written in G-flat will begin at twice the regular rate, to make up for nearly a decade of Note Piracy. The levy will be scaled back to the regular rate of $19.84 per thought once the new CRMI software has been uploaded for two years. Residents of the so-called "Oil States" of Iraq and Saudi America will continue to receive the Western Culture subsidy.
  • iPod Cell Phone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @02:43PM (#9231634)
    Suppose Apple and Motorola team up to produce a cell phone iPod. It'd be able to play securely and legally purchased music (from iTunes, for example, or ripped from legally purchased CDs) at any time, including when someone calls you. You wouldn't have had to pay any extra money for it, either.

    I don't see how this is any different than that, and cell phone tech is already at the point where you could download an mp3 to normal cell phones and use it as your ring tone anyway. (Why this hasn't happened yet is anybody's guess, but I would not be in the least surprised to see it in the next round of cell phones.)

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @03:21PM (#9231937) Homepage
    One advantage of MIDI ringtones is that they don't involve the RIAA. You may need BMI/ASCAP clearance, but you're not reproducing a recording, you're generating a performance. That's far cheaper and there's a compulsory license.
  • Fair use is not evil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @04:19PM (#9232281) Homepage Journal
    The fear is that people will make 30 second long ringtones out of popular songs, thus compounding the file-sharing problem while robbing the music industry of a new source of revenue. Many users find the technology quite cool. IANAL, but current copyright guidelines seem to permit fair use of "Up to 10% of a body of sound recording, but no more than 30 seconds". All of which should make for an interesting legal debate. I can hear the gnashing of teeth already."
    Again we hear the record executives cry out "Damn you fair use!" I'm sure they'll try to pass some legislation that further erodes the concept of fair use so they can make a few extra bucks. Maybe this time they'll just repeal fair use entirely since it is apparently just a tool of piracy (people copy the music without paying for it, that's theft!).

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