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Easy MP3 Distribution 355

capncook writes "There is a cool new tool out there called Napster that allows anyone to become a publicly accessible FTP site- tapping in to that huge resource of personal mp3 collections that everyone has, but have not been able to share. It's still in beta, but the bugs are mostly harmless, and it certainly does the job- although no Linux version is yet available. RIAA should be scared out of their minds because users are not logged on permanently, so it's hard to track them down to take legal action. "
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Easy MP3 Distribution

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  • by nd ( 20186 ) <nacase AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @05:37PM (#1526734) Homepage
    I would just like to point out that Napster has been out for quite a LONG time. In fact, it's been out long enough for people to copy the concept (take a look at CuteMX, or whatever it's called). It's basically the same concept, except generalized to support all media and not just mp3.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, there is a Linux version. You just need to visit napster's channel on efnet, and download it from one of the bots. It's text based, but it still rocks.
  • Napster 2, full version is out now, and fixes a lot of the annoying bugs.

    It is very good in that unless the user you choose to download from logs off the net while you're downloading, you're guaranteed that the search results are accurate.

    These results are further grouped by ping speed, line speed, and optionally, sample rates, and so forth.

    The choice is obviously limited by who is online at the time, but is generally very good.

    The only concern I have, re the comment about the RIAA, is that they could much more easily attempt to shut down Napster itself, rather than the individuals using it. Napster doesn't give out IP addresses etc.

  • Is this just a ftpd for windows?
  • by refoo ( 66670 )
    get your story straight, it's been around for a
    while, and there is a linux version.
  • by jkujawa ( 56195 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @05:40PM (#1526742) Homepage
    It's text-only, and I've not had a chance to
    look at it yet, but it is available at [].
  • According to the article here [] the RIAA is planning to sue the people/company behind Napster.

    Even though the files swapped around on Napster could theoretically be 100% legal, the RIAA is suing. This is prety similar to what happened when the Diamond Rio came out. Sadly this time the company they're suing doesn't have deep pockets to fight back with.

    The recent tactics of the RIAA are very disturbing, but I'm pretty sure that most people saw it coming. The worst part is that there's no one to stop them either. Yet.
  • Search engines are still the best way to get mp3s IMO.

    I'd tend to disagree. for example is 95% ratio sites, bad directories, full servers, missing files, etc. etc. etc. Tools like Napster, which make finding mp3s easer should really scare the RIAA. In other words, I love that kind of software ;)

  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @05:41PM (#1526746) Homepage
    No Linux version? How will us Linux users ever
    serve files over ftp, then?
  • Napster is the ultimate in mp3 sharing.
    Imagine this:
    A huge online community with hundreds of users sharing over 100,000 songs. Each person shares what they have, and each person can download any song from any person, with no ratio! Its like Mp3 communism, but cooler :) There is a nice little search engine on it, so you may find the song your looking for quickly and easily, and it even shows the users connection speed so you can pick that nice T3 to download from instead of the 14.4.
    Too bad the RIAA is going to sue them to oblivion.....:(
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @05:43PM (#1526748)
    Opening your HDD to the globe is one thing (http, ftp) but an unknown protocol on an unknown port? hmm. I didn't see enough explanation (or source) to re-assure me this would be a good idea.
  • Napster is a Win32 program (with a text-based Linux beta version that also sorta works) with a poor GUI. It allows you to share your MP3s with all other Napster users and vice versa. You tell Napster how fast your connection is; many people abuse the system by claiming to have a 14.4 so that no one ties up their bandwidth as they download. Napster catalogs your MP3s (those in a directory tree you specify, anyway) and reads their ID3 tags to get searchable information about them. It (I'm guessing here) sends it to the server. You can then search for what you want and download it. Napster supports queued, paused, and resumed downloads, but because of the peer-to-peer nature of the file transfers, you can't be guaranteed that you'll find the same person again. There's also an IRC-like chat feature, which I haven't looked at very much. A disclaimer when you login warns you that they can't take responsibility for any of the content, but very little of it is legal.

    Executive summary: if you have a Win32 box, install it and see how easy it is to get (RIAA/lawyer-owned) MP3s. (If you're into that sort of thing, you'll probably like Napster.) If you don't, look at their site and get a better idea of what it does.

  • Heh, Napster ain't university's residential hall network already blackholed it. :P
  • by mnemon1c ( 51802 ) <> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @05:47PM (#1526753)
    one of the best MP3 search engines is starting thier own "napster" like project. goto
    it is a simpler client, and linux client is coming out soon
  • this sounds like a cool idea. Too bad that the l337 $kr1p7 k1dd33$ that will, unfortunatly, eventually log on and try to "haX0r" your computer. That's why I sit here with all incoming ports closed and accost these 3l337 d00d3$. I had one saying he knew C better than anyone... when asked what a pointer was, he said "well, it points to something, you dumb fuck!"
    One of the guys on that particular IRC channel got so pissed of he got on the kid's box found out his address and home phone. The kid recieved ten pizza deliveries that night alone >:)
    MUAHAHAHAHAH... *puts pinky to left corner of mouth*
    OK now that I've gotten a -5 for going off on a tangent I think I'll stop... I'm already at -3 karma *sniff* ;~(

    If you think you know what the hell is really going on you're probably full of shit.
  • for the linux version. its similar to bitchx/ircii
  • Isn't this basically the same thing as the Hotline protocol?
  • no, the one who wrote up the 'story' really isn't right. there's no 'ftp' inolved. napster is a means of file sharing (specifically mp3) and chat.
  • by davidu ( 18 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @05:55PM (#1526762) Homepage Journal
    Ok, here is the low down:

    First: the RIAA has already taken legal action against Napster. They story is here [].

    Second: Another program by the folks who make CuteFTP called CuteMX is out. It seems however, that GlobalSCAPE the company that makes it, has removed it from their servers []. Maybe they are scared of what is happening to Napster.

    I am sure I am gonna get in trouble for this, but I have a version of the Win 95/98 CuteMX exe here []. I would appreciate it if people would mirror it quickly, so not to saturate the cable modem...thanks
  • Is there a Mac version for any of these things?

    Especially the AudioGalaxy thing pisses me off. The fucking thing is Java and it only works on Windows? Does anyone else see a problem?
  • [] has a positive review of Napster here [], with a walkthrough on how to use it. A couple of people have posted follow ups with some extra info.

    As others have posted, Wired is reporting [] that the RIAA is suing Napster - because apparently alot of Napster traffic is made up of unauthorised music.

    Alot of Internet traffic relates to illegal activites, etc, so err, let's sue it! ;p
  • if being on the front page of, zdnet, wired, and is being hidden, then yeah, its been hidden. =)
  • they are suing Napster...

    more info here: usiness/0,1367,32559,00.html []

    Also, Napster was first featured in wired nov 1 over here: /technology/0,1282,32151,00.html []

    I've had napster for about a month now, there have been MP3s ive been looking for for about 6 months that I found thanks to napster.... the author is young so I hope he is thinking about security also, I dont want someone gaining access to all my files through this...

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • its not going to help much, but i can assure you its secure. napster and crew are /very/ big on security.
  • There isn't. Most of the mac owners I know use virtual pc to emulate windows and then run napster.
  • Hotline requires that clients download from a server. With Napster, everyone's a client to one central server (perhaps equivalent to a Hotline tracker, or a web search engine) and the clients transfer files to each other directly (ala IRC).
  • Yeah. And my car could be used for smuggling, so maybe we should outlaw automobiles?

    RIAA = Another feudal kingdom trying to turn back the clock on the modern world. And their legal fund dwarfs yours, so you're screwed.

    We need to set up some scripted servers to absolutely flood the net with automated trades of legal MP3s, and let them go bankrupt paying lawyers to go through all the traffic.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • Not the software of cours,e but what it will be used for. Its just plain sad, how blatent people and Slashdot for that matter are about not caring that good music is being ripped off. As a music fan, I find it to be very very dissappointing how prevelent the sharing of mp3's has become. IF there are any other actual music fans out there please keep in mind that you are really going to hurt the industry and your favorite bands; because, while the bands themselves make very little from record sales, it does determine how much airtime they get and if/when they go on tour. Just a little something to think about. Sadly, Fynd
  • One major problem with the whole thing, is the huge reliance on the server. Technologies like ICQ, for example, rely minimally on server-based apps, letting Netscape give it away for free... When you use Napster, you can tell the immense server load: it takes almost 5 minutes to load the list of chatrooms, and even longer to find a file. With the law suits, I wonder how Napster is supporting this entire enterprise... I see no advertising in the program, and they give it away from free... hmm...
  • The linux version is available at: []

    Maybe a little pressure could get the napster guys to OS this.. (-;

  • it's a program that allows you to transfer mp3s like you're on a LAN.. those of you in college know what I'm talking aobut..
  • Then obviously you've never used Napster before. Thats what I thought as well until I tried it. I downloaded over 300 **specific** songs in a matter of a few hours. Its fairly buggy but more than good enough for now.
  • That doesn't make sense...

    First of all, for many people mp3s is the only way they'll get the music. I'm too poor to buy any CDs, so if I'm not going to pay for it either way, why not not pay for it and hear it anyway? Noone looses, and I gain.

    More importantly, I would think that airtime is more determined by people calling in and requesting music, plus the personal likes of the DJ, how do record sales fit into it at all?

    In fact, if music gets less airtime, then it means other music will take its place, meaning more bands will get exposure or at least more music will, and isn't this a good thing? You might never hear some really good music from a little band because the well known stuff is hogging the airwaves.

    It's only in the going on tour part that you may have a point. Of course, I don't think sales are really all that affected by mp3s anyway.

    Chris Carlin

  • You can't forget to outlaw e-mail and ftp while you're at it... hell, why not just outlaw any form of digital communication... it could be used for piracy!

    Dr. E
  • Ok, there is now a mirror at Xdrive [] I dunno if it'll work...maybe, hehe

  • This won't be cool until I can run my own server. Puleeze when the feds knock down napsters door and snags his logs noone is safe.

    We need an open source server and client pair. Or else it's useless.

    Isn't this just hotline with a built in mp3 player?

  • You can't forget to outlaw e-mail and ftp while you're at it... hell, why not just outlaw any form of digital communication... it could be used for piracy!
    &ltgtshakes head&gt
    Dr. E
  • Question: Which is worse? People who run mp3 sites that require a people to click on a banner to get the login and password thus them making money off of piracy, or people sharing mp3s without making money off of it? Hmm... maybe the RIAA should sue all ftp-server makers while they are at it...
  • i agree, it'd be in the best interest of the RIAA if they just bought them out, if they shut them down surely they'll release the source code, and then who do they sue? Why don't they just accept the internet is here and develop a business model, I'd pay a reasonable amount for mp3 (and software), but if you gouge me, I think I'll just take it for free thank you very much.
  • Um... no, they're back to Beta 4. Napster is still just as big a piece of crap as always. Their client is buggy as hell and their servers are crashing all the time. I mean really, these people could work for Microsoft.
  • Sssh! Don't give them any ideas. :)
  • That's probably not a bad idea.

    What would happen if you took the names of the top 10 songs each week for the past...say,...10 years, renamed a legal mp3 with those names, and sent it out. Would that be illegal?

    Some could argue that it was diluting the recognizability of song titles, and the RIAA might try to sue because of watering out the market, but, I can think of about 10 songs of the top of my head that are titled "One".

    If you were to receive a mp3 titled "One.mp3" - what band made it? They would have no choice but to listen to all mp3s traded and determine the license. On a massive scale, especially with freely tradable mp3s, you would effectively nuke their campaign. No matter how big their coffers are, it would take an unbelievable amount of manpower to listen to all mp3s traded to determine if one was illegal.
  • Hahaha, yeah right, Yahoo being up-to-date? Like that's ever going to happen. Their news aren't half as up-to-date as CNN's is.
  • Didn't the Diamond Rio lawsuit basically state that the law says record companies lose all copyright ownership once the data on the CD hits a hard drive?

    I was under the impression that it did, and if it did, then they're screwed. Even though I have the capability to rip and encode simultaneously, I put the data on the HD first. Gogo is so fast, it doesn't really matter, and this would slide me through the nice little loophole in the law.

  • by Ater ( 87170 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:30PM (#1526796)
    First of all, I may be redundant, but I would like to emphasize the napster has been here for quite some time, there is a Linux port of napster [], and the RIAA already has sued napster, as shown in this article [].

    Now that I have said that, I still have to wonder why napster is getting so much press as the next big mp3 thing. I have used it many times, and occasionally still do, and I find it to be nothing more than a glorified http search. Here are listed some the biggest flaws I found in napster. Note: I don't want to start a flame war, I honestly want to know why napster is such a big deal considering its vast problems.

    1. Quality of mp3's - Napster is cool in that it lets you specify bitrate, but to be honest, that doesnt mean much at all. Try searching for a popular band, say Nirvana at "atleast" 128... you'll find 100's, but then try searching at "at least" 192, you'll find like 3 at most. Its search engine is a little bit better, but it doesnt change the fact that most of napster's content is regurgiated ratio ftp stuff, and the rare high quality songs are just renamed mp3 group releases (apc,bkf,rns,ksi,etc...) that are much quicker to get on irc. It's cool for the people that just want to find a quick song regardless of quality, but really no use for anyone who is knowledgeable about mp3.

    2. Server Connections - I have frequent problems getting on the server, I find large amounts of lag when trying to join the channels, and I noticed something else odd. Whenever I leech from a "hot list" site of mine that is online, and I reconnect to the server, the hot list site is no longer to be found online. This has prevented me from getting a lot of complete mp3's/albums.

    3. Downloads - Maybe it's just me, but downloading seems a lot slower running through napster's servers. Same goes with viewing lists. If it's not the servers fault, it could be the clogged upload on the other box (see point 4), but I'm on dsl and a rarely get >isdn speeds even when downloading from a t3. Also, why isn't there a way to save queues in case a user logs off in middownload... that would save me lots of time, and why it isn't in is beyond me.

    4. Upload control - Herein lies the huge problem. Napster is about sharing, and I'm cool with that, but it gives you NO control over outcoming file transfers. Whats wrong with letting someone limit the amount of downloading users on their box? Whats wrong with killing a user in middownload to save bandwidth? It can really add up on high speed, high content boxes which tend to be targeted en masse for downloads. I can see why colleges are cracking down on napster and blocking it... napster refuses to allow upload limits, the resnet box uploads vast amounts of mp3's, and the college network will obviously experience some drop in speed as this adds up. It's the person's own computer and files... they should have the right to control access to it. I usually put my files in a dummy directory to avoid being leeched to a halt while downloading because of napster. Which brings to me another point... that devious close scheme... if you click the "X" icon to exit, napster only minimizes. For someone inexperienced, this leaves their box continuing to upload files without the user's knowledge. Yet another reason colleges such as UIUC would ban napster... I bet students "closed" napster and it u/led and consumed lots of bandwidth without the student being able to tell it was only minimized. Sure I want to encourage sharing, but deception and force is NOT the way to do it. I trust that users would rather share their files if given some control than hide their archives to avoid napster's ridiculous "sharing enforcement" scheme.

    I'm not totally dissing on napster, because I have found some cool stuff there. But, it still has a long way to go from the buggy program it is now. Maybe when some bugs are fixed, people will be closer to their little online cyber-music community. But right now, napster seems more like hype and hoopla, and private ftp sites and irc will remain my methods of choice for getting mp3's
  • The fact that you spent SIX MONTHS looking for one MP3 shows how cost ineffective MP3's are. Supposing you are a computer professional, your time is worth $50-$100 per hour. If it took six months, suppose you spent fifteen minutes per day trying to find the MP3. That means you spent $4,000-$8,000 to just get that one MP3. Now you could have got the CD for $15-$20. So not only did you con yourself out of $3,980-$7,980 but you also conned the hard-working artists and A&R people out of their share also.

    I am a serious music lover and buy 5-10 CD's per week. If I were to switch to pirating MP3's instead of buying CD's, it would take me umpteen hours just to locate the music, download it, and burn it into CD's. I can buy 10 CD's in a one hour trip to CD store, for the cost of less than $200. It would cost me literally thousands of dollars to pirate the equivalent amount.

    In my opinion, MP3's are only for the most casual music fans. Most of the specialized music is not available. I hope the RIAA takes agressive actions to end MP3 pirating, and I hope pirates are put behind bars. The people who pirate MP3's aren't doing anybody any favors: they waste network bandwidth like nobody else, they cheat artists out of their money, they raise prices for people who honestly buy CD's (not to mention put the whole concept of the music industry under question), and are spitting on the notion of property rights.

    Please, for the sake of the future of music, for the sake of common sense, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of not wasting your life away waiting for your next batch of warez to arrive, please stop being a moron and STOP pirating MP3's. Thank you.
  • Napster is still a bunch of different, un-conected servers, thats why you almost never see your friends online (they're loged into a different server). Napster officials are working to fix this problem, but until then. . . . .
  • RIAA should be scared out of their minds because users are not logged on permanently, so it's hard to track them down to take legal action.

    Instead of tracking down the users who are running illegal sites, I think the RIAA would just sue Napster or whoever runs sites like them. Even though they would probably never win, it would sure scare the s**t out of most small companies, and bring them into compliance with the RIAA's wishes.

    I'm not american so I don't really now much about US Law, but doesn't the new "Digital Millenium Act" or whatever it's called make it illegal to allow people to make available ways to obtain illegal warez such as MP3's etc...???

  • I haven't bought a CD in almost a year and I hope it stays that way. MY Mp3 colletions is close to 2000 songs now and it feels almost rediculious spending 15 to 20 dollars so I can get 1 or 2 songs that I want to listen to.

    This is my first post ,ever, so please be gentle :)
  • All right, I've responded to similar comments before, but hopefully I'll manage to get my side of the story without sounding like some hothead wannabe revolutionary.

    Well first of all, as you noted "bands themselves make very little from record sales." and then you correlate record sales with the amount of airplay of band gets. But it is completely the other way around. Airplay and concerts are the true way a band actually gets started. Nobody would go out and buy an unproven band's album... what happens is they hear the song on MTV/VH1/Radio, like it, request it more, and maybe buy the cd. Airplay for singles generally occurs weeks before the record comes out and gives the band more exposure (of course so does mp3). Record sales occur as a result of this exposure, and not vice versa.

    Also, mp3 isn't just for piracy reasons. Other key reasons for mp3 are bootleg and concert album trading (they don't sell them in stores, and many bands support/condone recording of concerts, and the band has already made money through the concert) and new artists (trying to get the exposure which leads to record sales and gigs). Granted, mp3 has become a huge pirate trend, but you have to admit, it is really a great thing to be able to find a rare track or an old favorite song you want without having to pay $18 for the whole cd.

    I don't think any big mp3 collectors are trying to rip off artists and put them out of business. We still go to their concerts, buy their merchandise, and maybe even buy their albums. I'll be honest and say mp3 is popular because people don't want to have to pay out the ass for their music... let's be honest, $18 a cd is really ridiculous and eventually unaffordable when it adds up, and as you said the artist gets only a small cut. Actually, though part of my motive for mp3 getting is admittedly getting free music, I assure you that I would buy my music if it was at $5 a cd like it should be. And who knows, with all the pressure of mp3, maybe the RIAA will lower prices. If anything, I hope that the mp3 collectors will do some good and show the RIAA that they cant keep ripping off the average person in the name of the almighty dollar.
  • if you're into this kind of stuff check out it let's you register your computer as a server in exchange for access to other's mp3 files. i haven't used it in a while (since i was in college) but it worked fairly reliably.

    i'm not sure how different this program is.

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [] has blocked traffic to/from since they have been a major drain on our resources. Furthermore, the UIUC NROTC is launching a full scale attack on the Napster.
  • Sounds kind of cool. However, I'd rather leech hundreds of files off mp3 sites using favorable ratios when the admin is away.

    When the RIAA starts busting single users for running sites, then these products may start to become necessary.

    50% of my mp3 searching starts off at audiogalaxy though -- so maybe I should try it out :).
  • "Why reinvent the wheel?"
    Because Windows users are still walking around on their legs. :-)
    Chris Dunham
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica AT supjessica DOT com> on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:55PM (#1526816)
    first off, i dont have a job so i cant buy that many cds, my pc is my home pc, so it dont cost me money to waste my time looking for a song.... I have social phobia and havnt left my house since august(working on fixing this though)... and the song i was looking for was made in the 1940s, the singers are dead, so they wont profit from me buying their cd, plus the cd stinks, i hate their music, just this one song because it was on the xfiles once... i first got into MP3s by downloading metallica mp3s... guess what, even though i had tons of MP3s, i went out and eventually baught every CD, and deleted the MP3s... the only MP3s on my system now are single songs that i like but hate the rest so i wont buy the cd, i also have some mp3s i ripped from my brothers CDs, and then i have mp3s of TV theme songs, nothing big, leave me alone ::cries::

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • Give me a break... if it takes you six months to find an mp3, you must have started searching in your garbage can. I can find any mp3 I want in under five minutes.

    Plus, doing simple math: 6 months times 30 days in a month equals 180 days, times 15 minutes a day equals 2,700 minutes, divided by 60 minutes an hour equals 45 hours, times $50 or $100 equals $2,250 to $4,500, not $4,000 to $8,000.

    Oh, and assuming your time is worth $50 an hour, and you sleep 8 hours a night, you have conned yourself out of $72,000 in just 6 months! For the sake of humanity, for the sake of not wasting your life away sleeping, please stop being a moron and STOP sleeping. Thank you.
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @06:56PM (#1526818)
    Napster may go down the tube, but thisissorta their own fault for notmaking it open source. If it was an open source project the RIAA could not kill it since other people would pick it up or they could continue working on it in secret.

    I would like to urge the people behind Napster to open source the project before it is too later.. or at least give the source out to trust worthy people with a lisence which GPLs the current Napster source if the company if forces to stop distributing it.

    The good news is that now everyone knows about Napster and many many more people are probable using it now, so maybe the RIAA will actually cost themselves big time with this.. and even if they do shut down Napster an open source alternative may take it's place (though the running under Windows is importent for this type of program).

    Finally, I believe it is time for those of us who wish topirate to begin developing technologies which aid in piracy. Napster is definitly the right approach since it makes it easy to make data available.


    BTW> A system that could deliver delayedmessages and make requests from your actual CD collection might be better for those hard to find songs though, i.e. it acts as a CD player too, but it records the songs allongwith your list of mp3s which are then made available. People can request that you rip a song for them and the ripiing process is almost totally automated, i.e. Napster or whatever would ask you to insert the CD for 5min.
  • All the RIAA people need to do is start a download from someone, then go netstat -a to see connections (in Windows 95 for example).

  • > the cost of producing an album is quite high -- in the millions of dollars (think: production cost, music video, marketing, distribution, etc., etc.).

    Think mp3: production cost for actual CDs goes to 0, production costs for recording and distribution to radio stations are payed by radio stations, production costs for music videos are paid by MTV, the radio stations and MTV thus end up doing the marketing by exposing it to the public....
  • As a musician myself, I find it rather disturbing that there is something like this that is so blantantly designed for widespread piracy.

    I spend a LOT of my time and money on my music, and some of it, I give away on, and am quite happy for as many people to download and share as they like.
    However, if I then put together an albumn, and sell it, I would like to think that I could expect people to buy it, and that I could make money off it.
    Afterall, if it's my music, that I have spent my time, and my money on, so I think I have a right to sell it.

    MP3's and the sharing of, even with a program like Nabster, don't in themselves hurt the music industry, but the people using them to share copywrited music with people that have not bought that music DO hurt it.
    It is not automatically your RIGHT to hear someone elses music, something that they have put a lot of time and money into, they give you the right, either they'll charge for it, or they wont, but the right to hear it still has to be granted by the Artist.

    A lot of people say that piracy like this only hurts the record companies, and not the artist, due to the artist getting only a tiny percentage of the albumn price, but they seem to miss the fact that the artist is still missing out on his / her rightful royalties.

    Another argument people use, is the model of making money of merchandise and concerts, kind of similar to the 'give away the software, charge for the support' idea in the open source world.
    The problem with this is, that starting artists do not have a big enough fan base to make money this way. And concerts / live gigs are only appropriate for particular styles of music, and more traditional bands, and are simply impossible for those of us that rely on multitrack hard disk recording and sequencing to produce our music.

    Anyway....I'm rambling and I dont know what I'm actually trying to say...

    except that theft by any other name is still theft
    and Piracy == Theft.

  • Naw. It only takes this long for the inexperienced. You can start off on audiogalaxy [] looking for a particular band and then run into sites with hundreds of cds in the same genre. I only do this maybe a couple of hours a month and I have a pretty big collection. I have a 200+ legit cd collection to supplement this as well, though I won't pretend like I'm only downloading mp3's before buying cd's (though I do this frequently). Sometimes there are just one or two good songs on cd's but they aren't worth the 18-22 CDN. It is nice downloading and listening to future releases (usually 3 weeks - 1.5 months before their actual store release).

    Note that the recording industry hasn't seen profits tail off as mp3's became popular. I'm not advocating piracy "because I think it doesn't hurt anyone", or "because all those musicians are incredibly overpaid" -- but seriously, they should overstate the effect mp3's has. I have all the cd's of my favorite bands []. All my friends who frequently pirate music as well have vast cd collections that are in the hundreds to thousands.
  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Tuesday November 16, 1999 @07:09PM (#1526828)
    Airplay, actually the whole radio/record company dynamic is based on a system of favors(collusion) now that payola scams get caught too easy.

    Record companies tell radio stations to play so-and-so this many times a day and radio stations agree but they want 100 cd's to give away, concert tickets, promotial royalties for concerts etc.

    Maybe even a promise for the band to come in for an interview, think they want to be up at 6am for your local annoying inane morning show?? Sure its promotion, but its mandatory for the band and they'll get in contractural troubles if they don't show up.

    Phone calls to popular radio stations mean nothing. People are calling over and over again for a song thats on the playlist anyway. So the DJ might say, 'This one goes out to Carol in Woodridge.' Carol could have sat on her fat ass eating bonbons and saved herself the nickel and Ricky Martins would still be spewing from her box.

    Who decides what bands will be aired is strictly up to the record companies. They *might* make their decision based on fan approval and quality of music, but from my experience its image + profitability + market saturation + minor ability in music. A million dollar studio and a band of good studio musicians plus a decent producer can even make Ricky Martin a star.

    In the end copying music probably doesn't steal shit, most people wouldn't or couldn't buy most downloadable songs in the first place. And the ones who do 'steal' are, if they try REAL hard, taking pennies from multi-millionares and a few billionares. Most established musicians don't even care, its the record companies who stare all day at the profit margin, well except maybe Garth Brooks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    (1). Artists make almost nothing from the sale of a CD.
    (2). Artists make music.
    (3). Record Companies Don't make music.
    (4). Record Companies distribute music.
    (5). Napster makes distributing music easy and free.

    So, in like of number 5, what do the Record Companies do that can't be done for free? A simple say $20 a month to subscribe to a music service offering you anything you want in any quantity electronically is the solution. $15 of which goes directly to the artists you listen to, and the rest runs the system. Simple.

    Why doesn't this happen? Because the Record Companies need to survive to make money. So they will continue along with the RIAA to pressure MP3 out of the market, because it is a threat to them.

    I feel that I have had money stolen from me when I pay $20 for a CD. The movie Waterworld cost MUCH more to make than the Michael Jackson Thriller album, and sold much fewer copies. So why is it cheaper to buy? Because...... NO BLOODY RECORD COMPANY, that's why.

    As long as I feel money is being stolen from me, I won't buy the product. If the product was $5-$7, I'd reconsider.

    MP3 will not destroy the industry, they'll just make it better. And I have news for you, most "serious music lovers" don't listen to the latest and greatest. Since all the costs of production are paid off, why does an OLD copy of Michael Jackson's Thriller (used because it is the most popular record of all time) still cost $15 on CD? It should cost $2 ($0.50 for the CD, $1 for the Artist, $0.10 for distribution, $0.40 profit).
  • should == shouldn't. Also note that I greatly enjoy trading songs of local bands from all around the world who want to get known. It's a great way for them to become popular.

    I'm sorry, I'm evil. I can't help it. At least I'm not selling CD's :).
  • "You have a good point, and the reason I like mp3's is because I have found some of my favorite bands through this medium."

    Exactly. I've bought many, many cd's because I've run into a site with some stuff in a genre I like that I haven't heard before. The only thing comparable that I use as well is CDNow (I get the majority of my cd's from them as well). Anyway, CDNow has medium quality pretty long clips of songs. They only put online clips for every song in a cd if it is popular though ... which leads me to mp3.
  • No. The Rio lawsuit said no such thing, and it's doubtful ANYTHING will. Copy rights don't just dissapper.

    What you are thinking of is the decision that the DHRA (Digital Home Recording Act) which specified a copy-protection mechanism (essentially, 2 bits, one for 'original', and one for 'copyright'. If both are set, a copy is allowed, but the copy must have 'original' turned off. You get the idea)

    And the original DHRA specifically included computers and their peripherals. It *only* applied to home recording devices.

    And since computers are the method by which the mp3 is created, then the RIO does not have to follow the DHRA, which was what the lawsuit was about in the first place.
  • There is *some* semblance of control -- you can allow the number of connections at one time to be no larger than 1 (or 50, if you are so inclined).
    I think one nice feature would be if napster would remove duplicates for you (maybe based on length and filename, bitrate, etc -- if both match, it must be a duplicate of something else). Also it takes minutes to do searches that don't generate your hit limit right away, and I think taht sucks.
  • CuteMX keeps telling me that the beta is old and that I need to download the newest version.. of which is not available. hm this looks like a nice program too, guess we will have to wait till the napster suit is over before we might see it. Maby GlobalSCAPE has a motivation now to help napster win.! wouldn't that be fun!
  • You can get any mp3 you want in 5 minutes or less if you like either 1)Any of today's crappy pop music, or pop music for the past 10 years or so, 2)"underground" stuff, or 3) MTV.
    For those of us who like things other than what's played on the radio constantly, it's sometimes difficult to find things. I spent a month looking for a particular recording of a Gershwin song on Cdnow, in record stores etc... and then Napster came to my rescue, someone else had it too. Saved!
  • Streaming audio over the net is still digital audio though. The bits still come into the computer. The only reason the RIAA doesn't go after those is that the clients for that don't let you save it to files...and/or the quality's just not as good. That's why the RIAA tolerates radio -- people will still buy CD's to get the better quality and be able to play the songs when they choose.

    If there were streaming-audio sources that had the same quality as MP3, and someone wrote a program to capture the data to a file (say, in MP3 format...), then the RIAA would probably go after the streaming-audio folks as well.

    But I want to see what they do about digital cable...which supposedly has CD quality sound, and it has plenty of music channels. And my digital cable box has an ethernet port, a USB port, an AC-3 port, and a port marked "data" on it...haven't tried hooking up to these yet, but I suspect it may be possible to rip the digital bits. Most certainly with something like the Hauppauge WinTV-D card.

  • > Sure, Sony hates it.

    I know I'm not the first to say it, but that's undoubtedly the real reason the RIAA is trying to squash MP3.

    Yes, piracy is a problem -- both the "just one track now and then" kind and the "let's print 10,000 CDs" kind. But neither is new. Cassette recorders and (ick!) 8-track recorders didn't destroy the industry. Digital tapes and CD-R's didn't destroy the industry. Nor will MP3's -- at least not in terms of piracy, which has been a fact of life for the industry for 30+ years.

    But what's new that threatens to let the artists cut out the middle man is the channel for distribution -- the internet. Self-recorded artists who sell a handful of CDs at concerts were never a threat to the RIAA, but self-recorded artists who can distribute a billion copies at almost no cost to themselves are a huge threat.

    And if people can surf the Web, browse a little music, and decide on their own what they like, rather than having The Man tell them what they should be listening to this week... well, the RIAA is in deep trouble, and not from piracy.

    ps for the reading impaired: I don't condone piracy, and my claim above that it's a constant background to the industry is not a way of saying there's nothing wrong with it. What I am saying is that I don't think it's right for an industry with a stranglehold on the production and distribution of some good to invoke "piracy" as an excuse to bar technological innovation that threatens to loosen their grip. They don't like piracy? Good. It's against the law, and they have every right to drag the pirates to the nearest courthouse. But that's the full extent of their rights. Screw 'em if they don't want me recording my own crappy rendition of my own crappy songs and making it available for download without paying a middle-man. Or if they don't like the technology that makes it possible.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • You are assuming that there is no voice recognition out there. It would be very easy to sample all songs recorded in, say, the last 10 years. Those samples would be integrated into a voice recognition program. Boom! You got yourself a litlle sniffer to weed out all the falsley named songs. Ok engaging in trades could be considered entrappment, so it might not be used. Then again all those FBI and Police stings to weed out the child-molesters involve the police engaging the bastards. Assuming entrapment is protested, sniffing pacets of data being exchanged between servers might do the trick. It could be set to sniff random packets on the server to keep all those privacy advocates happy. The wonderful (....being sarcastic here) Congress will approve and say hello East Germany and Big Brother. The 'safe' net.
  • No open source is needed, we just need a clean spec on the used protocol. Then everyone can start its on client/server software. On the other hand I hope they have a GOOD protocol, because when things grow they'll need to have clustering of servers, good security, etc...
  • The movie industry was arguably /very/ big on security as well...

    Security conscious is not the same as security capable, though...
  • Napster not only has slowed entire campus internet connections, it toasted a few too. Sonoma State University [where I attend] had some major probs after Napster 2.0 was realesed. Our bandwidth usage tripled overnite! This caused our Cisco routers to freak on us. For most of 2 days I was getting ~1K a sec offa sites like /. and ZDNet. It was also totally down for half the next day. Supposedly this also took down one of the colleges in San Fran as well. Definately something to be concerned about.
  • by QuMa ( 19440 )
    I'm currently working on an open source 'clone'. I started 2 weeks ago, and haven't got very far yet.
    Soon I'm gonna put up some real info, but the temporary page is at

    If I get to many hits (you never know with /.), the web server may be shut down (It's operated on a cablemodem, I don't want trouble with my isp). Try again later. As soon as I've got something acceptable, I'll put it on freshmeat.
  • Actually, napster does. Ok, so the ui doesn't throw em at you. But since your client downloads directly from the person who has the mp3, your getting their ip anyway. Try netstat.
  • Open source client? Working on it :-).
  • Even though the files swapped around on Napster could theoretically be 100% legal, the RIAA is suing.

    Eh? Explain this one to me. It cant be legal if you're giving it to someone else. If I rip every single CD I own into legal MP3's it does not matter how legal mine are if someone from napster is downloading them.

    It's not even a grey area. It's totally illegal. Dont kid yourself. Use it if you want, but dont try to wrap youurself around the bill of rights and tout how free you're being. You're doijng something illegal.

  • The thing is though, the Diamond RIO was not designed to allow people to trade illegal MP3's it was designed to allow people to play their legal ones. The RIO does not send a list of your files out and encourage others to download them illegally. The RIO does not provide a service for people to download copyrighted works illegally. The RIO does not enable others who do not own the copyrighted works to steal from it. One requires physical access to a RIO to download from it. You can compare RIO top napster as much as you want, but dont try and think they are the same. Napster is a network designed to steal MP3's. RIO is a product designed to play MP3's. The ONLY legal way to use napster is to download a file from soneone who own original media as a backup to your original media. It's pretty clear what napster is for. As I said in an earlier post, use it if you want, but dont even try to think you're doing something legal.

  • Go on raise your hands...

    Thought so.

  • Treat them with a little of it.

    It's painfully obvious to any reasonable adult what napster is for. It's for trading MP3's; the act of trading which is in almost all cases illegal. You're insulting RIAA by claiming that they're cracking down on something legal. Napster knows what's going on. So does RIAA.

    Everyone is screaming at how absurd RIAA is in their pursuit of MP3 sites but no one is addressing the fact that for the most part everyone they pursue is doing something illegal. Worse yet people are touting napster as if it's some majopr step for freedom online. Cant you see why RIAA is pissed off? This will come back to bite us. The next format for digital audio is up in the air. It'll be real nice, 96khz or more sampling, 24 or more bit. And it will be so closed it will make DVD look like it's under the GPL. Nice work guys. Thanks.

  • Security by obscurity is doomed to fail, as we have seen over and over again, with the DVD encryption being the most recent example. Sure, the designers of the CSS spec assumed that no one would ever reverse engineer a DVD encoder. Right, good luck -- it's only a matter of time.
    (It amazes me that there are still people that have not learned this lesson. It is a FUNDAMENTAL notion of cryptography.)

    You MUST design security into the protocol assuming that everyone already knows the protocol.

    In this specific case, in order to prevent people from claiming they have 5 million mp3's, you might want to try some sort of trust system where people who download mp3s and get what they want rate the person they got them from. This would be similar to the Ebay ranking system or moderation on slashdot.

  • Using MP3s doesn't mean you're not buying CDs. I personally still buy CDs reasonably often, and will probably buy even more CDs when I'm out of school and have a real job.

    Part of the reason for this is because most people only have the latest hits, so often what I want is not around. I also like to collect many albums from a group I like, and it'd take forever to find the more obscure stuff online.
    I also like having physical CDs with the cover art and stuff.
    Oh.. and did I mention CDs are better quality?

    That's another thing.. I find that I never buy singles (except really obscure ones), and rarely even buy poorly-constructed albums with only a few good songs, but if I like some songs and know the album is good as a whole, I'll definitely buy it.

    I'm hoping this will encourage more artists to make good concept albums..

    But aside from that, I do feel a moral obligation to buy CDs as well. Be as it may that most of the money goes to the record companies.. but SOME of it goes to the artist, at least. I mean, I'm fully in support of overhauling the current system to something more fair, but before that happens, I'm still going to do the legal thing.

    I also like to convince myself that I'm really doing nothing wrong when I get MP3s because I'm buying CDs as quickly as I can afford them anyway.. it's just that MP3s are allowing me to spend my money on the better or more obscure CDS...
    But I know I'm just deluding myself because when I get a job and can afford more CDs, I would still probably never get around to buying singles of new good songs and stuff... They'd be too damn expensive for little gain.

    And why don't I want to break the law if the law is unjust?
    There's a time and a place for civil disobedience. In particular, if it's an organzied protest, then it's civil disobedience. If everone is just doing what they feel like, it's just breaking the law.
    Still, the illegal MP3 movement certainly does have a lot of the characteristics of civil disobedience, and it IS having an impact... I guess I just have an overdeveloped sense of legality. :P
  • Music can be art, yes. (It's not ALWAYS art..)
    But that does not preclude it from being information.
    Art is a quality used to describe the information.

    Hell, even the human mind is information.. the information being passed around by our neurons.. but that doesn't make the mind any less significant.

    A lot of things ARE information.. it's what's being CONVEYED by that information that matters.
  • IANAL, but I dont even think you'd have to pay a royalty since you would not be distributing it for profit...

    Too bad no one is using napster for that :-)

    I own 6 guitars two synthesizers and a bunch of audio gear, I'd consider myself a hobbyist musician. If people were using napster to distribute my music around the net, I'm all for it. But you're being naive if you think that's what napster is being used for. the people who made it could (and should, IMHO) do checks for obvioussly copyrighted material and blow it awaw. If they were to do that, RIAA would not be complaining. Let people download all the Grateful Dead bootlegs and bad amatuer recordings as much as they want, In fact i think it could be a great ASSET to the recording industry as they can scour the comunities and pick up unknown artists that already have a following an already have profit potential proven by the community.

    RIAA pretty much only respondes to blatent copyright violations and piarcy issues. Napster cant turn a blind eye and say "we didn't know it would be used illegally" when it's painfully obvious that it is.

  • I downloaded napster last week and installed it. Once it had catalloged my mp3 drive (which for the most part is the result of ripping my CD collection for my RIO) it was pretty clear what the community was for. I'm not saying that napster shouldn't exist, just it should take a little more care in design to prevent widespread piracy. If mp3 is going to work as an online music format everything cant be free, and the people doing this for-profit ( need to have napster be accountable just as much as RIAA does.

  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Wednesday November 17, 1999 @07:05AM (#1527013) Journal
    OK, somewhere between all of the rhetoric on both extremes lies the truth.

    The theoretical purpose of copyright is to protect and reward the owner of the intellectual property, i.e. the music (in this case). The practical results of copyright is leaning more and more towards protecting the companies behind the artists.

    Furthermore, the recording industry has stated in no uncertain terms that All Unsanctioned Recording Is Illegal. In Canada, Bill C-32 will impose a substantial tax (Digital media, such as CD-R or DAT: 50 cents per 15 minutes of playing time) on _all_ recordable audio media, to "remunerate creators for private copying of their musical works." In other words, all blank media is used for piracy, and all puchasers of said media are pirates. This includes:

    1) People who distribute Linux, etc.
    2) People who make compilation tapes/CDs of their own *purchased* music!
    3) Companies who backup to CDR or DAT.
    And very worst of all...
    4) Independent musicians, who don't go through a major recording agency!!!

    In other words, this bill taxes musicians and consumers, and passes the money on to the corporations.

    On the other hand, being found guilty of piracy, we are at least free to pirate music. Specifically; 'In exchange for the levy, section 80 provides that copying of music works for "private use" will no longer be considered infringement.' Oh joy.

    Personally, since I'm apparently a criminal (despite the fact that I have no pirated music), I'm tempted to interpret "private use" as meaning copying for free (or the cost of the media) any music for my friends private use. (however, see below)

    Of course, this is in Canada, as I said. I don't know the details as well, but the US does have a similar act in place.

    One person asked (quite astutely) why the RIAA should give us any respect if we refuse to respect them. The problem is that they are:
    1) Preemptively labelling ALL of us as criminals.
    2) Behaving like the proverbial "Jack-booted thugs."
    3) Benefiting themselves and the industry, rather than the artists.

    More than anything, point #3 make this an organisation not worthy of respect. Consider this snipped from their own website (copied freely under the 'fair use' act)
    Our members are the companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world.

    Our mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality around the world.

    See anything about the artists in there?

    Quite honestly, the industry itself is promoting piracy. Period. They get what they deserve.

    However, the artists _do_ deserve to be paid, and they do need some kind of (financial) incentive to keep recording. If music were 100% free, then professional musicians wouldn't exist (by definition).

    So after all of this rambling, I would ask this of you /.ers: Pay for the indies (always!), and if you copy other music, send the artists themselves five bucks or so. If a popular artist got five hundred $5 bills, they might realise that they could market and sell the album without the use of a greedy, corrupt organisation.

    And don't stop fighting!

    (who has exactly one burned CD, which will be replaced by a purchased copy as soon as I can find it)
  • Actually, aside from the MP3 angle, the concept seems to be a very interesting, crude start at a "cooperative", distributed archive - the Napster "site" servers (the servers used to find sites) are the equivalent of DNS servesr (except by MP3 names instead of site names).

    If you could broaden this idea beyond MP3s, and have "site" servers performing categorization (and perhaps specializing in certain categories of information), you'd have a very decentralized, distributed archive & retrieval system.
  • BTW, I dont oppose napster for legal music distribution. It just seems to me that napster cant turn a blind eye to obvious piracy issues and then not expect RIAA to retalliate. If napster were at least putting up some effort to not share copyrighted files this would be an entirely different story.

  • Song titles are NOT copyrightable. Well established by case law.
  • Would you trust your friendly IRC op? It's a clone that works (or to be precise: will work I hope) over IRC.
  • If you want to support artists, go to their concerts. You'll put more money in their pockets from that one concert ticket then if you had bought all of their CDs.

  • In the U.S., there is a tax on digital audio media. The definition of digital audio media specifically excludes computer media. The result is that CDRs and DDS tapes are significantly cheaper then recordable audio CDs and DAT tapes.

    Since home console CD recorders are designed to only work with the more expensive recordable audio CDs, and because home console CD recorders have built-in copy restriction (SCMS), the recording industry has simply pushed most people who are interested in CD recording towards PC based CD recorders, which have no copy restriction systems, cheaper media, cheaper hardware, and web access.

    Not exactly what the RIAA had in mind.
  • I just need to clarify things here. You CAN control the amount of downloads a single user performs at once, but you CANNOT control how many users can leech from you at once, and this is what can lead to undesired loss of bandwidth. Also, I know my settings well, and you have no ability to kill a download once it starts transfering. You can kill a download BEFORE it starts, but once the file starts you have to either grin and bear the dl until its complete (and suffer bandwidth loss) or close napster (and lose your own downloads, which you probably wont be likely to resume upon connection... I almost never see the same user on twice, even in the span of minutes).
  • Even though the files swapped around on Napster could theoretically be 100% legal, the RIAA is suing.

    Well, there is a difference between theory and practice. Anyone who uses Napster will tell you they use it to get bootleg copies of music. In my (very unscientific) samples, I have never seen a file on Napster that was legal. Not a one. Zip. Zero. It's all pirate. Otherwise, people would just use HTTP and FTP.

    Now, keep in mind, I'm not condoning RIAA's lawsuit. Nor do I like them. I put the RIAA in the same boat with Microsoft -- a boat with a one-way ticket to the deepest, hottest depths of the underworld.

    But if you think Napster is anything but a tool to violate copyright, you're just kidding yourself. :-)
  • This isn't about a format, it's about a program that is used extensivly by pirates and then everyone covers their eyes when accused of doing something illegal. Napster isn't about distribution. Napster is a huge database of mostly illegal MP3's used primarily by pirates. It's a virtual site of pirated files designed to loophole the system and deflect liability elsewhere. This is not about people distributing their own works. It's about ripping off the works of others thanks to napster.

    You might not agree with me, but this is how RIAA looks at it. It's no wonder they are so pissed.

  • I'd say that's another reason we need universal health care so the situation never arises in the first place!
  • Don't dis Ricky Martin, or you'll be accused of racism. It's safer to dis Backstreet Boys

    Jeez I hope you're kidding, cause I don't give a shit what PC-thugs think of me, I've been called worse before.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas