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ARIA Sells a Licence for DJs to Format Shift Music 239

lucas writes "The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) has set up a new licence to let DJs format shift their music to use at gigs. DJs will need to pay a licence fee to copy music they already own legally from one format to another for ease of use, and as a back-up in case originals get lost or stolen. Criminal penalties for DJs involved in "music piracy" are up to sixty thousand dollars and 5 years imprisonment. There are also on-the-spot fines of over one thousand dollars."
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ARIA Sells a Licence for DJs to Format Shift Music

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  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:34AM (#22948688) Homepage Journal
    The AIRA declared all Australians to be DJs, and that converting from optical media to an electronic signal in a player (and then from the electronic signal to an audible one) were conversions requiring a license. Botany Bay is to be used to house all juveniles who fail to pay the double licenses.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Beam me up scotty, no intellegent life here...
  • we have this... or... wait... My bad. I guess nothing another organization can do can actually make RIAA look any better.
  • by elynnia ( 815633 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:51AM (#22948782)
    Speaking as an Australian, I encourage DJs to not purchase this license. What the ARIA are doing is legally questionable, and shelling out for this only justifies their actions and legitimizes it in their eyes.

    With the number of DJs here, I would not expect all of them to even know of this rule or for the ARIA to suddenly take all "offenders" to court. Don't feed the hands that bite you!


    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why would DJ's want to use this? Perhaps we're using two incompatible versions of the term DJ here, but to me a DJ is someone who you go to see play live because they have a reputation for playing new and interesting music. It's already been established in the 1990s dance culture that DJs replaced the function of the record company as a selective taste filter. Indeed some would say that the DJ became *too* powerful in the UK with people like Tong, Cox, Rampling, Cook, Grooverider &c becoming the leaders
      • It's already been established in the 1990s dance culture that DJs replaced the function of the record company as a selective taste filter. Indeed some would say that the DJ became *too* powerful in the UK with people like Tong, Cox, Rampling, Cook, Grooverider &c becoming the leaders of mass culture.

        You missed out John Peel. How could you?
      • DJs could also include people who are hired to play pop music at weddings.

        Could also include radio DJs (although I would assume that they would already have special licenses since they're broadcasting and have been the biggest target of music licensing and copyright issues for the past century).

        I did not RTFA so I don't know what type (types) the law applies to.
  • by Zey ( 592528 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:54AM (#22948794)
    Sounds like a fair deal, presuming DJs are free to charge a similar fee back for all that previously free advertising of ARIA's recording artists. Without their music played in venues, their sales plummet and music loses mind-share as a passtime to other forms of entertainment such as the Internet, video games, cinema tickets, etc.
  • by uuxququex ( 1175981 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @02:55AM (#22948802)
    The music distributing companies should make their minds up.

    You either:

    1. Buy (and subsequently own) the music on the physical media. Then you are legally allowed to do whatever you want with it, including selling.


    2. Buy a license to listen to the music. Then you can media-shift all you want, as you are licensing the music. You never have to rebuy it either, if your disk breaks, just download the music, you already have a license.

    This thievery has to stop. It is insane.

    Imagine a world where the people weren't such meek sheep.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:41AM (#22948954)
      > 2. Buy a license to listen to the music. Then you can media-shift all you want, as you are licensing the music. You never have to rebuy it either, if your disk breaks, just download the music, you already have a license.

      They can simply say that you have the license to listen to the music on THAT media you purchased.
      • even if he is capt'n obvious, his point is correct.

        Generally, if you don't like the power that copyright owners have over us then don't give them so much bloody power.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      2. Buy a license to listen to the music. Then you can media-shift all you want, as you are licensing the music. You never have to rebuy it either, if your disk breaks, just download the music, you already have a license.

      Says who? If you have a license, you're bound by whatever the license stipulates. Since you don't own anything, you don't have any ownsership rights like first sale or fair use or anything like that. You're thinking of one possible license which grants you everything you want, but there's no more reason a media-bound content license should be any more invalid than a computer-bound OEM software license. Licensing does away with pretty much all the pesky problems of selling anything, because you can agree to

      • Wait a minute. Copyright is an artificial right. It is a temporary monopoly granted by the government. As such it only gives exactly as much power to the copyright holder as the law allows. If that goes too far, change the laws, at least in a democracy. If democracy isn't working you have much bigger problems than putting CDs onto your iPod.
    • Sure, but you need to bear in mind that if you buy a licence (which would be the option they'd invariably go for, because it's what's on the that's of most value) and physical implementations come gratis or at cost, the price will go up. The prices as they are now rely on increased profit margins from people who are careless enough to break or lose their media, and as people realise they can get cheap copies for themselves and friends, there's going to be increased piracy rates and production costs, which w
    • by Phoe6 ( 705194 )
      Can you buy license for "listening" alone without copy? Does such a thing exist in the world?
      You buy the song, the file and the license prevents you from sharing it or reproducing it for public use. AFAIK, license for listening is weird.
  • by Michael Wardle ( 50363 ) <mikel@mi k e l> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:18AM (#22948868) Homepage

    In 2006, the government passed a law making format shift legal. In particular, it would be legal to copy from a CD to an iPod.

    It turns out this is only for "private, domestic use", which wouldn't apply to DJs on commercial premises.
    Format shifting fact sheet []

    • by invader_vim ( 1243902 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:34AM (#22948936)

      From the fact sheet:

      You may download and print one copy of this information sheet from our website for your reference...

      Heh! Can't even distribute it to your family members...

      I can see the 'A' slowly shifting... ARIA becomes RIAA. Give it six months and the malicious law suits will begin...

      Since the venues are already paying a licensing fee for public performance, maybe DJs should 'sell' their music (in all its formats) to the venue for the duration of the gig. I know it doesn't get around the 'private use' element of the act, but I'm sure there will be some creative workarounds.

  • by sahonen ( 680948 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:26AM (#22948898) Homepage Journal
    Wait wait wait, how the hell does that work? Let's say a DJ works on a laptop as opposed to spinning vinyl or CDs... He buys a CD, rips it to MP3 and loads it into his software. Even if he's paying ASCAP fees for the use of the music (or whatever the equivalent organization is in Australia), he gets fined $60k unless he pays a SEPARATE fee for the ability to work from MP3s instead of the original CDs? My mind just exploded. As long as he's paying his ASCAP (or whatever) fees, who gives a shit whether he's working off a CD or an MP3?
  • That is you don't really own the music, you just buy the right to use it from the CD. Not that it makes any sense and why should they pay twice or more because they want to change format to something more convenient than fucking CDs? Retarded. But then I don't buy music so not much of a problem for me.
  • by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @03:40AM (#22948952) Homepage
    It surely seems like you don't buy a song from ITunes, and you don't buy a movie from Blockbuster, etc. At the very least they should stop using the term buy.
    • About the same time they stop calling it "theft".

    • It surely seems like you don't buy a song from ITunes, and you don't buy a movie from Blockbuster, etc. At the very least they should stop using the term buy.

      They don't call it "buying" - They call it "stealing". If the recording industry had its way, we'd have to fork over $16 for a "license" in the form of a shiny plastic disc (non-transferrable and corporeally-bound, of course - Don't go thinking that just because you "license" their content you have some silly rights to either resell it or to keep u
  • Are the record labels so scared of promotion that they want to kill it? That they want nothing to do with it?

    Yes, copyright infringement is illegal, but paying to shift formats (from disc to any more portable format) should fall under fair use. And DJs already pay royalties to be allowed to play the music. So why should they have to pay twice?
  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @04:10AM (#22949062) Journal
    What are professional DJ's supposed to do?

    As a rule, when speaking of bigger names, not only do the record labels definitely give them the
    music for free, actually they beg them to play it. Now suddenly the same DJ's who were GIVEN
    all of these songs from the record labels, the producers or specialized promotion companies for free
    would have to pay for the use of them?

    A while back, a little known organization in the UK named the PPL managed to get similar laws enacted []
    To my knowledge, no one has ever gotten busted for not complying with their arcane rules
    which border on extortion pure and simple, and are impossible to comply with.

    What's happening pure and simple is that many of the people who make up the voting boards of these
    entities are totally overwhelmed by technology they just do not understand, and are passing measures
    which they believe in earnest are going to help stem the tides of something they feel they can still control.
    As someone posted above, paying such tax is only helping legitimize something which is patently
    unfair at best, and not ever going to be a solution to anything other than yet another desperate attempt
    at trying to put the proverbial cat back in the box, when the box itself has all but disappeared.
    Let's not even go into details on who is going to get the money collected (probably pop artists
    whose songs never get played once in the clubs, but who have enough airplay stats to register
    on the radar of performing rights societies... LOL)

    Who thought the dying throes of an entire industry were going to be that much fun?

    • Well, with everybody breaking this law, the music industry can now cherry pick which DJs to sue. For instance the DJs that do not play the right kind of music!!
  • Maybe I'm just stoned, but I read the article heading as:

    RIAA Sells a License for DJs to Format Shit Music

    Which seems to make more sense.
  • by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @04:16AM (#22949076)
    Performance fees for dance music in Australian nightclubs are changing [] from $0.07/patron to $1.05/patron, a 1500% increase!
    • by caffeine_high ( 974351 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:48AM (#22949356)
      About 15 years ago one of my first dance coaches in Australia was approached by APRA to pay a fee to play music. He was about 70 at the time and was not happy with paying them a fee. He asked if they only represent Australian music. It seems that they did not really have the right to collect 'royalties' on behalf of overseas artists. He told them he only plays German dance music and they just left him alone. I'm not sure if this is still correct or even if it was the full story. However, it would be sad if Australian clubs could avoid apra fees by not playing Australian music.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      So you're telling me that it's going to be cheaper for everyone to buy a take-home copy of the song being played from iTunes than it will be to hear it once on a night out?
    • I love how XIAA's always say...

      "Have to pay a fair rate/pay their share."

      Which translates into "Paying whatever the !@#$% we want. Even if it's more than all their profits.
  • by ma0sm ( 944420 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @04:57AM (#22949206) Homepage
    Or something similar, at least: []

    "I only use original CDs in my performance, do I need these licences?
    No, these licences are for copying or dubbing music tracks to pc or mp3 player.
    These licences also DO NOT allow you to copy from CD to CD-R.
    To understand more about which licences apply where download the NADJ Licensing Grid []."
  • These days you have to be prepared in case you show up and the venue has either vinyl turntables, or a digital setup. They could say that they have turntables, and they turn out to not have needles or better yet - they haven't been used in years and end up not working. Of course, with this you would have to buy your music twice, and 12" electronica vinyl records have 1-3 songs for $12-25 EACH. How much can one pay for one song they will actually play?!
  • started charging record companies for "promoting their music in public venue's". TV stations charge record companies why can't DJ's.
  • WTF is Shift Music, and how does one format it?
  • Pretty soon the RIAA will have a direct debit into out bank accounts and they'll be driving around with loudspeakers to make 100% sure we're all eligible to pay.

  • pointless change (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chuffpole ( 765597 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:51AM (#22949714)
    What's with the intrusive new ugly "Reply to this" and "Parent" buttons here?
    Horrible. Is there any way to go back to the old appearance?
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )
      Indeed. On OS X, I see flat grey buttons (with a mouse-hover effect) and I see regular Aqua-styled drop-down menus right to their right (for modding).

      Just because buttons are ugly by default on Windows doesn't mean you should mess with the interface of others.

      What's more, I see that the Preview, Quote Parent, Options and Cancel buttons at the bottom of my reply window are still regular Aqua-styled buttons.


      Not to mention that this new interface doesn't even offer me a "Submit" button ev
      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )
        P.S. to the coding monkeys: I only had the "no submit button" problem when I also had mod points AND had already modded the discussion.

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @09:03AM (#22950240) Homepage
    The real problem is that DJ's don't have a massive lobby group like the record labels and radio station conglomerate.

    Realize, at least in the U.S. that something like 80%-90% of albums rights are held by four conglomerate corporations. Likewise, probably about 80%-90% of radio stations are owned by 4-5 major conglomerates.

    DJ's are thousands of independent joe-average people, many working part time on the side.

    > We have to buy the albums but are never given a license. We have albums stolen, broken, etc. at a much higher rate. But have to replace said albums at the full price (even though we already have a license).

    > We have to pay performance licensing for the right to play songs in public. (FYI, weddings are a private event and different rules apply.)

    > We receive few guarantees and protections. While a specific grant in the DCMA allows for radio stations to make ephereal recordings. DJ's are not given that protection. For one simple reason...they didn't have a mega-association with millions of dollars to lobby (bribe) Congress. Yes there are some DJ associations, but the industry doesn't really lend itself to such a conglomerate as labels & radio does.

    > Advantage of digital recordings. Our masters are safe from theft. Instead of having to lug 4 80lb suitcases of CDs to bring all our stock. We can lug one 5 lbs external hard drive.

    It's disgusting...

    Oh, by the way, if you are a musical artist and you want me to respect your copyrights. Get the law changed to protect DJs and web radio.

    Cause I quit recognizing your copyrights as soon as the laws stopped. If your an artist...don't gripe to me about the violation of your rights. Cause us DJs have had our rights violated repeatedly.

    Copyright is a two way system. If you want it honored, you have to honor the users as well. If you're going to claim people are only buying a "license". Then give them a real license and let them register their license. Otherwise, more and more people are going to cease recognizing your copyrights.

    I no longer do. Anyone who wants copies of any of my CDs are welcome to make them. I've got a burner in the basement. Having lost several hundred dollars to copyright law abuse, I've cease recognizing your right. While you may have the law on your side.

    Most people don't care about legality, rather, they care about right & wrong. (There are plenty of laws on the books that are 'legal' but far from moral.) And most people only feel a moral contractual obligation to another party if that party is acting in good faith. (Which the conglomerate copyright holders are NOT doing.)

    The ones that need to change the system are the artists!

  • My wife and I had vaguely looked into relocating to Australia, as it seemed to embody a lot of what the US was once proud to stand for. From all the news we've been hearing from there, though, it seems like they're following the bad example we're setting. Am I misreading things, or is Australia really rushing to become another nanny state of infinite laws?

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson