|11-09-03, 09:13 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Peer-To-Peer News - The Week In Review - September 13th, '03
Quote of the week: "I got really scared. My stomach is all turning." 12 year old file sharer Brianna LaHara, on being sued by the Record Companies of the RIAA.
Big Harvest Moon Issue
When I was in radio I had a program director who was famous for his view that people hardly listen to anything you say. He maintained it wasn’t enough to tell listeners something on the air if you expected them to remember it but that you had to tell them essentially three times if you wanted to get their attention. His rule was simple: First you tell them that you’re going to tell them. Then you tell them. Finally you tell them that you told them. If you do all three things he said you’d probably get through to them. Well, the RIAA is doing just that this week with Congress and the media. After having made a less than giant splash in March when they told their hysterical lies about P2P and porn, the RIAA is making sure Americans actually swallow it by telling them all over again - and this time it could be going down. Newspapers are taking it much more seriously than they did last winter, the New York Times on Sunday for instance ran a story on the front page no less and NBC news chimed in with a sensationalistic piece on Tuesday. All this while congress seems adamant in crippling peer-to-peer to “solve” this wholly overblown issue.
When it comes to sex the internet is no different than the rest of the planet. We all know porn is on AOL, MSN, Yahoo and all the other chats; it’s on half the web sites and just about anywhere you can make a connection; it’s on cell phones and PDA’s. It’s accessible at work and in libraries. It’s in cafes and bars and in stores on the racks and it’s even peeked at in school. Sex is everywhere - and so is porn. Checked your emails lately? Whether it’s procreational or recreational sex is everywhere, so what’s going on with Congress and the media and the so-called grass roots anti-porn “family groups” that are really fronts for the RIAA? Why the sudden interest, why the outraged “We’re shocked, SHOCKED to discover porn in here!”? Can the politicos really be on an out and out anti-porn rampage at a time when it’s clear that Americans are more and more accepting? Is this really about sex or is something else afoot? Well I don’t think it’s about sex, porn nor even kiddie porn. I think this is about power. Adult style power. I think this is about shutting down Peer-to-Peer any way they can, and lying about the motive. With the cynical acquiescence of an increasingly amoral U.S. Congress the global media industry is getting the green light to destroy the very foundations of freedom of choice and freedom of speech that make the American democracy unique in all the world. That an industry so dependent on the First amendment would do anything to jeopardize the Free Speech laws is a startling thought, that they would deliberately set out to destroy them for quick profits is nearly beyond comprehension and a wake up call to anyone who still holds illusions about how benevolent these companies are. They are forcefully demonstrating daily that they will sell us out and walk on any one of us who gets in their way. That this is damaging the Republic in a profound way is irrelevant to them - but it mustn’t be to us and it should be stopped soon. Oddly enough it will shortchange their stockholders and will in time destroy the very business of media, but not before lasting damage is done to the country. Again and again their self serving actions prove these domestic and foreign conglomerates cannot and should not be trusted to archive the country’s thoughts and ideas, and that America’s matchless culture has no business being in business with these vultures.
Yo Ho Ho
Speaking of vultures, the RIAA has finally done what they’ve threatened to do for weeks and filed the first lawsuits against non-profit file sharers. If the vast majority of file sharers reacted with barely stifled yawns it’s only to be expected. The RIAA has long since lost credibility with those millions who frequent P2P’s and true or not the feeling among many seems to be that ignoring bullies makes them go away that much sooner. The rest of the country’s in a bit of a tizz though. The Newshour with Jim Leher did a well balanced story on the lawsuits and covered the implications trading music may have on a songwriter. Even my Mom caught wind of it and called me up, asking if I’d been sued ( I told her not to worry, I use “protection”). So here’s another reason to hate the RIAA: Making Laws That Make Moms Worry.
It’s a wind the RIAA may not care to have stirred up. 12 year old girls crying in front of national TV cameras don’t make for the best PR. Not when music company fatcats in posh threads sanctimoniously frown in false sympathy while pretending they’d rather be doing anything else but filing suits against clients, “We wish we didn’t have to sue our customers…” Right. Hey that’s OK, in a few more years you won’t have any more customers. They keep going like this and the whole industry’ll collapse in a yammering heap. Wish granted.
Word is even a politician’s riding the anti-music biz zeitgeist and taking aim at abysmal industry practices. Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman announced he’ll soon be having a tough look at those practices. He also said he thought the so-called “amnesty program” wasn’t something anybody should be too quick to jump onto. No kidding. Send those thugs your picture ID? No thanks. I’d feel safer publishing my credit card numbers on the net.
In any event turning back the file sharing clock is beyond the vaunted power of the RIAA and the U.S. Congress. The people will never stop sharing. They’d sooner remove the obstructionist members of congress who side with the copyright extremists than remove their file sharing programs. The day is not far off when – by their own doing - the leaders of the RIAA and their supporters will find themselves out of work, out of power and out of influence. It’s a day that won’t come too soon.
Tough New German Copyright Law Starts This Weekend - Jail Time For File Sharers
Computer addicts nonchalantly offering and downloading music and films on the Internet in Germany now face legal crackdown as the country’s new copyright law comes into effect this weekend.
Around three billion pirate copies of CDs and DVDs are produced in Germany every year. New copyright legislation which takes effect starting Saturday will now change that.
The "law to regulate copyright in the information society" as it is called makes it illegal to reproduce copy-protected or bootlegged CDs and DVDs in Germany. It is seen as an additional tool in the fight against Internet and software piracy and is meant, in particular, to prevent people from downloading music or films from Internet file-sharing platforms.
German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries warned on Friday in Berlin that whether it was commercial, private, free or against payment, those who "offered or spread music, films or computer games as a download on the Internet without being authorized to do so, were liable to punishment."
The minister added that with the advent of the digital age, it had become necessary to extend the realm of copyright protection and intellectual property to the Internet.
She warned that the cracking or violation of copyright procedures and codes would be pursued with penalties and imprisonment if it "wasn’t exclusively meant for the personal use of the accused" or close family and friends.
The new legislation has been welcomed by the music industry.
The German Music Publishers’ Association said the amendment would finally spell an end to the long wait for copyright protection and said it expected that "the illegal copying of music would now be pursued seriously."
The organization also stressed last month that "enormous economic damage that the music branch has suffered from intellectual theft over the years" could be fought more effectively and added that now everyone should know that there was no legal Internet exchange.
The Scorpions, the most successful German band on the international stage, have also taken a stand on Internet exchanges. "As a band, the Scorpions, who've been together for thirty years now, have never suffered that much from this phenomenon," band member Matthias Jabs told Deutsche Welle recently. "But we do have a natural interest in seeing a fair relationship between artists producing the music and customers purchasing it. In whatever form. As long as people are actually paying."
But the Scorpions said they were concerned that the music industry was losing sight of its customers. They said that CDs were too expensive and that made it more attractive for people to download from the Internet at no charge.
"Record companies need to create new structures so as not to lose customers," Rudolf Schenker, another band member said. "Some kind of compromise must be reached to enable people to download music at any time. We have to get closer to our fans and communicate more quickly with them and respond to trends more quickly."
Many consumers use the Internet to track down new music, to get a taste of new bands. Although the industry has developed legal Web sites where consumers can pay for and download music, peer-to peer sites remain much more popular.
Industry would possibly be wise to find a way to allow peer-to-peer Internet exchanges though, since many consumers use the Web to track down and listen to new music.
"It makes it easy to expand my taste in music and listen in to new sounds," Sven Hansen, an editor at the German computer magazine "c't" told Deutsche Welle. "The Internet is the ideal medium for music and it doesn't have to be a disadvantage for the music industry. It means more people listen to music."
But the impetus in now on the industry. With the new law now in effect, people using the Net in Germany ought to think twice before downloading material from Internet exchanges. At the least they could be sued, at the most they could spend three years in jail.
P2P Group: We'll Pay Girl's RIAA Bill
A peer-to-peer group says it will cover costs for a 12-year-old New York girl who agreed to pay record labels $2,000 to settle a file-swapping lawsuit.
P2P United, a peer-to-peer industry trade group that includes Grokster, StreamCast Networks, Limewire and other file-trading software companies, said Wednesday it had offered to reimburse Brianna Lahara and her mother's payment to the Recording Industry Association of America. Lahara's mother agreed Tuesday to settle copyright infringement charges on behalf of her daughter.
"We do not condone copyright infringement, but someone has to draw the line to call attention to a system that permits multinational corporations with phenomenal financial and political resources to strong-arm 12-year-olds and their families in public housing the way this sorry episode dramatizes," said Adam Eisgrau, the executive director of P2P United.
Eisgrau said he had not yet been in direct contact with Lahara or her mother.
In the few days since Lahara's unexpected rise into the public eye, the schoolgirl's case has become a cause celebre for RIAA critics, who say the recording industry's wave of lawsuits against file-traders is misguided.
According to a New York Post profile, Lahara is a 12-year-old honors student who lives in public housing. Her name turned up in one of the 261 lawsuits filed by the record industry group on Monday.
Lahara's $2,000 settlement was the first announced deal of what is expected to be many out-of-court agreements. RIAA President Cary Sherman said Monday that a handful of settlement agreements, averaging around $3,000 apiece, were already being negotiated.
In a statement released jointly by the RIAA and Lahara on Tuesday, Lahara said she was "very sorry" for what she had done. According to the RIAA, the girl's computer had illegally been sharing more than 1,000 songs through the Kazaa software.
"We understand now that file-sharing the music was illegal," her mother, Sylvia Torres, added in the statement. "You can be sure Brianna won't be doing it anymore."
The RIAA said the deal with Lahara satisfied its goal of sending a message to file swappers.
"As this case illustrates, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on their computers," Mitch Bainwol, the group's new chief executive, said in the statement.
Previous targets of RIAA lawsuits have sometimes found financial help from the file-swapping community.
Daniel Peng, a Princeton University junior who agreed to settle file-trading charges with the RIAA for $15,000 earlier this year, has raised nearly $10,000 toward covering his costs from public donations made through PayPal and other online payment services, according to his Web site.
Eisgrau said P2P United had no plans to pay other file-swappers' legal fees. The recently founded group plans to lobby in Washington, D.C., for policies such as compulsory music licensing on peer-to-peer networks, which would force the music companies to allow songs to be traded on file-trading networks in return for some payment to copyright holders.
Aiming at Pornography to Hit Music Piracy
The recording industry, struggling to curb music piracy, is shining the spotlight on another demon lurking on the Internet: pornography.
The industry is trying to enlist broader public support with a campaign intended to show that its nemesis — the peer-to-peer networks for swapping files like KaZaA and Morpheus — are used not only to trade songs but also pornographic images, including child pornography.
"As a guy in the record industry and as a parent, I am shocked that these services are being used to lure children to stuff that is really ugly," said Andrew Lack, the chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment.
Others ask whether raising this issue is more than a little cynical from an industry that heavily promotes music with sexual and violent themes.
"The entertainment companies have engaged in a deliberate and despicable campaign of lies to smear peer-to-peer technology for political purposes," said Philip S. Corwin, a lobbyist for Sharman Networks, the publisher of KaZaA, the largest file-sharing service. "They are trying to associate us unfairly with the most vile element in society, child pornography."
Pornography has been actively traded through file-sharing services from their start. But the record labels have recently started lending lobbying and logistical support to antipornography and child protection groups that are raising the issue. For example, Dan Klores Communications, which represents Sony Music and other music clients, has been promoting Parents for Megan's Law, a Long Island group involved with preventing child abuse that has been critical of child pornography available through file- sharing services, like KaZaA.
Their efforts are having some result. A bill has been introduced into the House, with the endorsement of the recording industry, that would require children to get parental consent before using sharing software. And on Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to look into the connection between file-swapping services and pornography, called by its chairman, Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican of Utah.
The labels, which blame online piracy for declining music sales, are fighting the downloading services on many fronts. They are trying to make paying for music more attractive through legal downloading services, and in the case of Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, slashing the price of most its CD's by 30 percent.
They are also trying to turn up the heat on those who continue to download songs without paying for them. This week the Recording Industry Association of America said it was going to start filing hundreds of lawsuits against individuals accused of swapping large numbers of copyrighted songs. The association also is planning to offer an amnesty program that would exempt from prosecution people who destroy all their illegally downloaded songs.
But in perhaps the most extreme sign of the industry's desperation, it is trying to focus the attention of lawmakers and others on how the peer-to-peer, or p2p, services can connect users with a range of ills including computer viruses, software that steals personal information and unwanted pornography.
"P2p stands for piracy to pornography," quipped Mr. Lack.
The file-sharing companies respond that the risk of children seeing pornography inadvertently on their systems is being overstated and that their software is no different from Web browsers and e-mail programs that can be used to find all sorts of material.
"This has nothing to do with concern about adult material and everything to do with commercial issues," said Alan Morris, executive vice president of Sharman Networks. He said that KaZaA introduced a parental control feature last year that can be used to block searches for pornographic material.
Laura A. Ahearn, the director of Parents for Megan's Law, argues that the file-sharing services are different because their main use is for trading music, an activity that disproportionately appeals to teenagers and young adults.
"KaZaA is just like Joe Camel," she said referring to the cartoon logo that had been used by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings to promote its Camel cigarette brand. "KaZaA has done an incredible job of attracting young people to their site, and as a result they have been really able to attack children."
The available evidence does not show that pornography on file-sharing systems is growing any faster than through other online vehicles. Indeed, the federally financed child pornography tip line run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that 1.3 percent of the reports of Internet child pornography were related to file- sharing services so far this year, down from 2.1 percent last year. Nearly three-quarters of child pornography reported is on Web sites. The Web sites typically charge fees for access while the file-sharing services are free.
Students Angry Over Music Piracy Suits
Anger, defiance and fear were the main reactions of college students on Tuesday after the music industry said it was suing 261 individuals for swapping illegal copies of songs over the Internet.
The Recording Industry Association of America said on Monday it sued individuals across the United States for as much as $150,000 per song distributed online, targeting the biggest users, those with large libraries of pirated music.
"If kids start getting arrested and dragged out of dorms and fined, other kids will definitely think twice before doing it," Eric Cioe, a biology student at New York University, said outside the university's library.
Focusing on individuals
But other students at NYU, located in the city where 70 of the 261 lawsuits were filed, were outraged.
Many college students upload music and make it available to others on the Internet through file-sharing programs such as Kazaa and iMesh. The new lawsuits switch the record industry's focus from those file-sharing companies to the users of file-sharing programs instead.
"This is insane, they can't just hack into our systems and track our activities. It's our property," said Lucy Chen, a sociology student who thinks downloading free music is fair because compact discs are overpriced.
RIAA members include the "Big Six" record companies: Vivendi Universal's Universal Music Group; Sony Corp.'s Sony Music; Bertelsmann AG's BMG; EMI Group Plc.; and Warner Music, part of CNN's parent company AOL Time Warner.
The companies have promised to file thousands more lawsuits in the coming months against individuals who swap music. The industry believes minimizing file-sharing will stem the three-year decline in global recorded music sales.
Some students settle
Music companies and national trade bodies are pursuing individual lawsuits in Denmark, Germany, Italy and elsewhere. But the blanket region-wide lawsuit strategy, for now, will play out only in the United States where the music industry estimates roughly 90 percent of all file-sharers reside.
"I'm very worried about my brother at Johns Hopkins University. He's very involved in file-sharing and would have to get a lawyer if he gets into trouble," said one pre- law student at NYU.
Four university students who were sued earlier this year for operating campuswide music-sharing programs reached settlements under which they will pay between $12,000 and $17,500 to the recording industry.
College students have access to "peer-to-peer" networks on university computer systems which enable them to swap music with thousands of people.
"When we want to check our e-mail, we can barely connect because people are using up bandwidth to share music with 15,000 people. It's annoying," Cioe said.
Another student who refused to be identified said he uploads music and shares files, but is not concerned by the new lawsuits. "I consider myself technologically savvy, and I know how to erase my tracks," he said.
RIAA also unveiled an amnesty program for individuals not currently under investigation which would remove the threat of prosecution from those who promise to refrain from such activity in the future and erase all copyrighted music they have downloaded.
Still, law student Erica Olsen said downloading music is her best option. "Often, I just want one song from a CD, and I don't want to pay 22 bucks for it. I don't think any amount of legislation is going to force us to buy CDs."
Court Increases Fines Record Companies Must Pay - Executives To Pay As Well
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has welcomed the Federal Court's upholding of a lower court's decision that Warner Music and Universal Music had breached section 47 of the Trade Practices Act. The court increased the fines payable by the two companies to over $2 million.
A full bench of the Federal Court on Friday upheld a decision by a lower court that Warner Music and Universal Music had engaged in anti-competitive practices in the local CD market by threatening retailers who import cheaper CDs.
The court did not affirm a breach of section 46, based on the earlier High Court Boral judgement. The total penalties payable by Warner, Universal and company senior executives were increased by the Federal Court to over $2 million.
During the trial, Justice Hill had held that Warner and Universal had breached the Act by threatening to refuse to supply retailers who stocked parallel-imported CDs, and then refusing to supply retailers who stocked such imports.
The findings made by Justice Hill - preventing Warner and Universal from refusing, or threatening to refuse supply to retailers for this reason - were upheld by the Full Federal Court.
The ACCC, which established a breach of the Trade Practices Act at trial, appealed the penalty awarded by Justice Hill (totalling more than $1 million) saying it was inadequate due to the circumstances of the case.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said: "This decision is important as it sends a strong message to those who would attempt to influence retailers against stocking the often cheaper parallel- imported CDs in competition with Australian-made CDs."
He said consumers could benefit from the lower prices and greater choice.
"Justices Wilcox, French and Gyles further clarified the law regarding misuse of market power by following the High Court judgment in the recent Boral case," Samuel said. "Both Warner and Universal were unsuccessful in appealing the original decision of Justice Hill that they had contravened the exclusive dealing provision of the Act".
The Full Court ordered the following penalties:
· Warner and Universal - $1,000,000 each
· Paul Dickson (formerly PolyGram group managing director of music operations) - decreased from $50,000 to $45,000
· Craig Handley (formerly PolyGram general manager of sales) - $45,000
· Gary Smerdon (director of Warner, formerly finance and business affairs director) - $45,000; and
· Greg Maksimovic (Warner NSW state manager) - $45,000.
The court ordered that the companies pay half of the ACCC's appeal costs and half of its trial costs.
Strange but true - Dell's software license policy
Dude, you're getting screwed
Kat and I just received the Dell Inspiron 5100 notebook we ordered from Dell Canada. We quickly ran across problems.
I pushed the power button to turn on computer. I got the Dell POST screen, then a screen from Dell (Photo):
- Before using your computer, read all of the software license
agreements that came with each program that you ordered.
There may be several agreements to examine. To comply with
the terms and conditions of the software license agreements,
you must consider any CD or diskette set of Dell-installed software
as BACKUP copies of the software installed on your computer's
- If you did not order Dell-installed software for this computer,
or if you do not accept all the terms of the licenses, please call
the customer assistance telephone number listed in your system
Press any key on the keyboard to indicate that you have
read all of the software licenses and agree to their terms.
Be Direct TM
But there are no license agreements in the box that the computer came in. [There are some shrinkwrapped CD containers, but the "Terms and Conditions of Sale (CANADA)" that came with the invoice says:
"7. Software. All software is provided subject to the license
agreement that is part of the package. Customer agrees that
it will be bound by the license agreement once the package is
opened or its seal is broken. Dell does not warrant any software
under this Agreement. Warranties, if any, for the software are
contained in the license agreement that governs its purchase
I've never agreed to those Terms and Conditions, to my knowledge, but I assume they think they're enforceable, so I can't open up the shrinkwrap to see if the license agreements are in there, without automatically agreeing to them.]
So I called the only Dell number I could find on my documentation (1-800-847-4096) and spoke to a customer support representative. I told her what was on the screen, and told her I couldn't find the license agreements I'm required to read and agree to before pressing any key.
She put me on hold while she looked into where the license agreements might be, and eventually transferred me to technical support. The tech support agent told me her database was down, so she couldn't look up anything at all (I hadn't even told her what the problem was yet), and I'd have to call back in an hour.
I call back, and speak to a tech support woman. She says: "press Tab." I explain that I can't without saying I've read and agreed to documents I don't have. She says "press page down". Same problem. She says "scroll down". I explain it's not a Windows screen. She says "insert any Dell-shipped CD". I exlpain the problem of opening the CD packaging.
She insists I have to press a key. I ask her if she really means that I have to agree to the licenses before it's at all possible that i've read them. She says "yes". I explain that that's not acceptable, and ask for her supervisor.
Her supervisor insists it's a Customer Care issue, and not tech support, and that there's nothing he can do. He can't explain why they sent me to him. He enters my info into the call log databse, and I go to call back Customer Care.
So back into the hold queue I go.
I'm finally connected to a Customer Care representative. [Pretty much each sentence in the following was interspersed with long, long times on hold.]
She looked up the call log to get the background info. She insists she doesn't have copies of the agreements, and that I'm supposed to go online and look them up myself. (?!) She says to use a public computer if I have to. I ask how to know what companies have software on my disk. She goes away for a bit, and says she doesn't have that information, and there's nothing they can do. [And there's no supervisor available.] She asks why I don't want to agree to the license. I explain I haven't *seen* it. She says "it just says you won't copyright any of the files". I ignore the mistake, and explain that licensing agreements are long, long documents that say much more than that, and that anyway, the screen says that I have to have *read* it.
Eventually she does manage to connect me to Alan Burley (Manager, Customer Service).
He said he installs things all the time without reading the license agreements. He says I should just do that. I ask if he's really telling me to lie and to agree to legal documents I haven't seen. He says I don't have to, but the only thing he can do is take the computer back. He says that it's the first time this issue has escalated. He does manage to tell me what software is on the system, and says I need to go to those companies' websites to get their agreements. [Never mind that I need the OEM version and that's unlikely to be there.] I ask _him_ what if this was my first computer. He said I would have to go to a library or a friend's house. He really couldn't send me the agreements that Dell insists I read and agree to before using the computer.
He said he couldn't give me his phone number or mailing address, and that he didn't have a boss who could talk to me.
So we've got nothing left to do but send it back. He says he'll send waybills, and will refund the cost of the computer, including the original shipping charge, and won't charge a restocking fee. We will have to pay for the shipping back to the Oakville depot. I figured we could just run it by there ourselves (it's not too far), but he said that that's not possible. (I don't understand why. We'll probably try, anyway.)
It's crazy that it came to this. If they had said *anything* reasonable, we would have been happy to just install Linux on the thing and be done with it. But they were saying that anyone who uses a Dell laptop (with this startup screen) *has* to just lie about having read the licenses, and just blindly agree to them. That's unacceptable enough that it's going back.
It's also interesting to note that everyone except Mr. Burley assumed that I was talking about a Microsoft screen which included the Windows EULA, until I told them otherwise. This was a Dell screen, with no EULA, and I'm surprised that none of these people were aware of its existence.
After all this, we *did* try to boot off a Linux install CD. That just took us to the same screen as before. So we had to go into the BIOS so that it would try to boot off the CD before the hard disk, but after we did that, Windows started to boot, without having displayed the "press a key to agree" screen. We quickly powered the machine down before Windows started. [Though now you no longer get the "press a key to agree" screen when you turn it on, even with the BIOS settings back the way they were.]
This took from around 3pm to around 8:30pm today. I'm just bewildered that Dell corporate policy is that users need to lie to use their new laptops, and to agree to legal agreements that it's completely impossible to have read. This is the next level above "click-through" licenses. Now, they figure no one reads the EULAs anyway, so why bother even providing a copy?
Nordic Countries to Promote Open Source
Posted by michael
from the pining-for-the-fjords dept.
Nordic Avenger writes "The Nordic countries have launched a website to promote open source software to consumers and small businesses. People can submit open source software links as well as exchange information in the forums section. As the website states: 'Nordicos.org is a project of the Nordic Ministerial Council, and addresses the need for a comprehensive overview of open source software available for consumers'. Now, anybody eager to make good suggestions about software that normal people could find useful and live happily ever after in the open source world?"
Italian Spammers Face Jail
Senders of unsolicited junk e-mails in Italy will now face jail sentences of up to three years, according to Italian media reports. The country's privacy watchdog issued the ruling in an attempt to limit the huge amount of advertising and promotional material sent online. Sending e-mails without the permission of the receiver is against the law in Italy. Offenders now risk fines of up to 90,000 euros and between six months and three years in prison, if it is proved that they did it to make a profit.
The ruling follows estimates by the European Commission that spam e-mails cost EU companies approximately 2.25bn euros in lost productivity last year EU legislation banning unwanted e-mail is due to come into force on 31 October, but correspondents say that, given the global nature of the internet, it may have little effect. Most spam comes from the United States and China, and will be outside its reach.
The EU legislation leaves it to each member state how to enforce the legislation, as long as the enforcement is "effective". It is hosting an OECD workshop on the problem in January in an attempt to boost co-operation. The European Commission says that between one-third and 50% of all e-mails sent or received are now junk or spam. The problem is being compounded by virus writers using similar tactics to spammers to spread their malicious creations.
'Don't abandon us!' - pleads Sharman cto Morle
We're still waiting for a response from Altnet, Sharman Networks' Kazaa partner, so we can follow up on important, perhaps even vital, privacy issues we raised in Kazaa Plus -v- Kazaa NonPlus.
And while we wait, Sharman is a great place packed with cool people who really like p2p and who'd never dream of doing anything nasty, says cto Phil Morle.
Or words to that effect.
Because Sharman is now trying to repair some of the damage caused the RIAA-inspired DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) violation notices it fired off the same week it sent out puff pieces on its so-called ad- free version of Kazaa (see Kazaa Plus -v- Kazaa NonPlus).
A 'Gosh golly' PR shot from Morle crafted specifically to give the impression that Sharman (and by default, Kazaa) is full of groovy kids just trying to have fun is now doing the rounds online. It's addressed to Slyck, one of the longest-lived p2p sites and the place a lot of people visit to find out what's happening with the various apps and networks.
Naturally, Kazaa Lite featured on Slyck and it, together with Google and a number of other sites, was, in consequence, the recipient of a DMCA notice.
"[...] we were served with this notice ordering the removal of links to 2 Kazaa Lite related websites namely http://home.hccnet.nl/h.edskes/ mirror.htm#klitekpp210b2e and http://doa2.host.sk/," says Slyck on its web site, going on that Slyck complied.
Said Ray Hoffman, Website owner and administrator: "Slyck has recently been issued a DMCA complaint by Sharman Networks, the company that makes the Kazaa Media Desktop software. The complaint states that we are to remove the links to certain pages that are infringing on their copyrights. We were supplied no proof that these pages actually have been found by legal means to be guilty of infringement. We have decided to remove these links while we seek legal council as to this matter.
"We are saddened that a company that used to be friendly to the P2P world has grown too large and greedy and now seeks to manipulate any avenue to gain it's monetary goals. Slyck.com feels that actions taken on behalf of Sharman Networks are directly opposed to the benefit of the P2P community and we can no longer support the Kazaa Media Desktop."
Saddened but not surprised, we'd bet, since Kazaa went Korporate quite a while back.
Having threatened Slyck, through Morle's letter, Sharman is now trying to make the file sharing community, large numbers of whom now think Kazaa is something you scrape off the bottom of your shoe, believe the people over at the K-shop are all good sticks, really.
Rest of piece and lots o’ comments…js.
It’s just another business apparently.
Piracy may Transform Christian Music Industry
Pirates not only have ruled the Caribbean at the box office this summer, they've continued to ravage the music industry -- including the Christian music industry.
Illegal compact discs and Internet downloads are pushing people out of work and driving creativity and variety out of the Christian music industry, according to insiders.
Christian music sales have fallen for the first time in two years, and piracy is largely to blame, according to John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association. Although he does not have solid numbers of Christian music downloads from file-sharing sites, he said several factors indicate large amounts of activity.
Many songs from Christian artists appear on peer-to-peer file-sharing sites, where people can trade electronic files across the Internet. Songs from artists like Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Amy Grant and Stephen Curtis Chapman are readily available.
Additionally, recordable compact discs outsold music CDs by a 2-to-1 ratio this year in North America, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Sales of MP3 players, which play the digital files, jumped 56 percent last year.
Couple these facts with the 10 percent decline in Christian music sales in the first six months of this year compared to last year, and Styll believes the connection is obvious.
Proponents of file sharing claim the process does not hurt anyone because the artists already make outrageous amounts of money.
Styll agrees the average retail price for albums is too high, but illegal downloading and CD burning hurt everyone in the industry -- from engineers to producers to CD manufacturers, he added. One record label cut its workforce 10 percent because of the sales reductions, he said.
"I would keep making music for free, but because I work for a label, I don't think those people should work for free," said multiple Dove Award nominee Shaun Groves.
Piracy also decreases the variety of Christian music available, said Groves. Recording labels are allowing their artists to take fewer risks, he said, because the profit margin is so slim that investors cannot afford for any album to lose money. To ensure projects make money, executives produce only albums that will have mainstream appeal.
That means leaving certain topics out of contemporary Christian music, Groves mourned. It also means signing fewer new artists and cutting other performers faster. Had such a mentality prevailed in the past, artists like Rich Mullins, who was not immediately successful, would have been dropped and not blossomed into major Christian music favorites, he added.
"If you make music that has the whole truth of Scripture, it's risky," Groves said.
Todd Agnew, whose first single off his debut album shot to No. 1 on the Christian pop charts, echoed Groves' thoughts, saying he does not expect to make money during his first year of touring behind the album but hopes to survive to make a second record.
"We're swimming as fast as we can to keep our heads above water," he said.
Despite the negative effects of illegal downloading and CD burning, Styll and the artists agree that digital music can have a positive purpose. Mainstream artists such as Toad the Wet Sprocket and John Mayer gained popularity through fans spreading their music without buying it.
You Go Grrrl: Confessions Of An Unrepentant Pirate
I like to violate copyright everyday. Usually it's in some small way. I'll copy an Oingo Boingo CD for a friend, photocopy an interesting essay from an anthology, or maybe download an episode of Six Feet Under from a file-sharing network. Sometimes I go bigger, like when I bought a bunch of cracked software from a guy who was literally standing in a shady doorway, or when I bought a pirated DVD on the street in New York City (yes, it looked like shit when I played it).
I only steal from the rich. Once I copied a Mountain Goats CD, because I loved it so much and couldn't find it anywhere. As soon as I did, I bought that CD and about five more by the same band. That was a situation where I was sure the artist, who works through an independent label, would actually get my money. I don't have that same feeling about creators whose work is owned by giant media conglomerates. And frankly, I really don't care if Danny Elfman never sees the money he might have made if I hadn't copied that Oingo Boingo CD. He's rich enough as it is.
When I was a kid, I cried while reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the dystopian novel about a future where books are illegal. I can remember big, hot tears rolling down my face during the scene in which the evil authorities are burning books. Bradbury describes each one as if it were human: Alice from Alice in Wonderland screams in agony; Shakespeare's characters weep as they are reduced to ash.
I know it's sentimental of me, but I think of creative works as if they were somehow human, as if they had lives of their own – many lives, playing out in strange, unknowable ways inside each mind that absorbs them. And when I see art and music and writing and movies and TV shows forbidden to me by draconian copyright laws, I don't think about legal documents full of tidy little justifications of property law. I see living beings in chains. I see Mickey Mouse, who has tried to escape again, burned by the lash. I hear Marilyn Monroe, imprisoned by her copyrighted image, howling to get free.
And I want to set her free. I want to see Marilyn running around in the open air, somersaulting in the grass, smiling and pirouetting for anyone who wants to watch her. I want people to invite her into their own imaginations and turn her into something else.
I've never been one for pussyfooting around when it comes to liberating what some corporation or mogul calls "private property." I don't really give a shit about capitalism. I think it's a scam. Rich guys who own everything trade stocks, and the rest of us, who own the vast majority of nothing, watch welfare wither away. If we make something beautiful and try to make a living by selling it, we can't own it. My beautiful thing will be the property of some company that has slapped a cover on it.
I'll leave it to Lawrence Lessig to explain how copyright limitations can nourish free trade and moneymaking. I'll let Declan McCullagh explain why there is no contradiction between capitalism and civil liberties for all. I don't care if my file-sharing cripples the economy. I want to rebel against the property holders, the people who took away our beautiful things and called them commodities. Until culture belongs to all of us equally, I will continue to infringe.
Protests Delay Software Patents Vote
The European Parliament has delayed voting on a controversial software-patents directive, after protests and criticism by computer scientists and economists.
The vote, originally planned for Monday, will now take place at a plenary session starting Sept. 22.
Software patents have been likened to allowing a monopoly on the ideas behind stories, and opponents of the proposed Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions claim it would effectively allow unlimited software patents. In the United States, large companies acquire arsenals of patents that they use to protect themselves from upstart competition.
The directive, drafted by Labor Member of European Parliament Arlene McCarthy, has generated political opposition from the Greens and the European Socialist Party (PSE), among others. The German and French socialist parties are using the delay as an opportunity to raise MEPs' awareness of the issues surrounding software patents ahead of the late-September plenary session.
A demonstration last week in Brussels, Belgium, that attracted more than 400 participants was organized by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) and Eurolinux, among other groups, which also persuaded several hundred Web sites to black out their front pages in protest.
A June vote on the proposal was put back amid criticism by MEPs that the legislation would institute a U.S.-style patent atmosphere that would be detrimental to European small businesses and open-source software developers.
The proposed software-patenting legislation is the result of a European Commission effort to clarify patenting rules as they apply to "computer-implemented inventions," a term that can be taken to include software. The patent offices of different EU member states have different criteria for accepting the validity of software-related patents, a situation that the Commission's proposal aims to remedy.
MEP McCarthy said in a June analysis of the proposed directive that there were links between the patentability of computer-related inventions and the growth of IT industries in the United States. Such patents aided "in particular the growth of small and medium enterprises and independent software developers," she wrote, citing a study on the issue carried out for the European Parliament by London's Intellectual Property Institute.
But in a recent letter criticizing the directive, a group of economists poured scorn on any notion that software patents and business growth are connected, saying most economic research does not support this claim. They argued that the directive in its current form would "have serious detrimental effects on European innovation, growth, and competitiveness."
Colleges Crack Down on Viruses Associated Press
Still recovering from a summer of Internet infections, colleges are taking unusually aggressive steps to protect campus computer networks from virus outbreaks.
Students returning to classes are finding themselves summarily unplugged if their computers are infected. Oberlin College in Ohio is threatening to fine students $25 for inadvertently spreading a virus.
"When you're drowning you try to do something quick," said John Bucher, Oberlin's director of information technology. "We're really stressed by this whole thing." Bucher said the network suffered "near meltdown" on Aug. 21, when the first returning students arrived on campus with badly infected computers.
Back-to-back waves of devastating infections that spread quickly across the Internet during August crippled some college and high school networks just before the start of the fall semester. The attacks overwhelmed many technology departments already starved for employees and money.
At the University of North Texas, technicians are removing viruses from roughly 16 computers every 90 minutes -- plus assessing a mandatory $30 cleaning fee. Students who have infections cleaned from their computers off campus must show proof before they're allowed to log back onto the school network.
Vanderbilt University found infections in computers of roughly one-fourth its returning 5,000 students. Stunned technicians shut off connections to nearly 1,200 computers they determined were infected and gradually restored service over the next several days after ensuring each machine was clean.
Salisbury University in Maryland shut down its entire network for students in residence halls for one day, even after employees spent two weeks cleaning 500 school computers. The shutdown stranded students who use the network to check class schedules and order meal tickets.
"It just starts firing all this traffic across your network so it slows everybody down," said Jerry Waldron, the school's chief information officer. "If we didn't do anything at all, it would slow our entire network down to a crawl."
It's never been a more challenging time to run a computer network on campus. Unlike managers in corporations, college officials provide Internet connections for student computers over which they have little direct control. These high-speed networks are powerful, widely distributed across campuses and purposely left open to help in the sharing of data.
"Universities don't own a number of the systems that are attached to their networks," said Ryan McGee of Network Associates, a leading antivirus vendor. "They don't have as much control as corporate America."
Technology departments complain they aren't given enough employees, money or respect -- yet they're the first ones called when the networks fail. Many rely on student volunteers, because federal or state money available to buy equipment often can't be spent to pay employees to maintain it.
"They really have their work cut out for them," said Rich Harpel of the National Association of State University and Land Grant Colleges. "There are so many issues that go along with being the steward of some of the most powerful computers and networks."
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology shuts off Internet service to computers it determines are infected, said Kirky DeLong, a manager at one of MIT's research labs. In extreme cases, officials will block all traffic to and from a suspect computer based on its digital fingerprint.
Oberlin, which began requiring all students to have their computers checked for viruses when they arrive on campus, found infections in nine out of every 10 running Windows software, Bucher said.
The wait at the school's computer lab stretched one hour, and scans of some computers loaded with music files took 90 minutes. But students largely took the delay in stride, Bucher said.
In Palm Beach County, the nation's 14th-largest school district shut down its computers for more than two days last week, said Larry Padgett, its director of network services. The district had to delay a head count that helps assign teachers based on school population.
Schools in Cleveland cautioned parents and students that the summer's infections might delay the opening of classes, but the district mobilized 120 employees to scrub viruses from nearly 8,000 computers and schools opened on schedule.
Employees worked overtime so school personnel could finalize student schedules, set up assignments and prepare payroll.
"Everything got done, but it did not make for a pleasant opening," said Peter Robertson, the district's chief information officer.
Some schools managed to avoid disaster. Duke University filtered out 2.5 million infected e-mails, said Christopher Cramer, the school's computer security officer. Only two or three student computers were hit and only a dozen or so campus machines have been affected.
At Temple University, officials sent 90,000 e-mails and 27,000 flyers over the past two weeks warning students and teachers about threats from the latest virus attacks and instructing them how to secure their computers.
Temple's network ensures students' PCs are protected by antivirus software from Symantec -- which the school provides free -- before it allows them to surf the Web or check e-mail. Officials credit that with keeping infections down to about 400 computers out of 35,000 students.
"If it had been 10-fold, it would have crashed the network," said Ariel Silverstone, the chief information security officer. "This could have been a catastrophe."
Japanese IP Experts To Assist Judges
The Japanese Supreme Court plans to nominate 100 intellectual property experts to assist judges with expert testimony during copyright and patent cases. Judges will also receive additional training to handle the complexity of IP law.
Databases--The Next Copyright Battle?
Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are circulating a proposed bill that would prevent wholesale copying of school guides, news archives and other databases that do not enjoy copyright protection.
The proposed bill would provide a legal umbrella for publishers of factual information such as courtroom decisions and professional directories. The measures would be similar to the copyright laws that protect music, novels and other creative works.
The bill has not yet been introduced, but the Judiciary Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a joint hearing on the bill in the coming weeks, a Commerce Committee spokesman said.
Backers of the measure say it would allow database providers to protect themselves against those who simply cut and paste databases to resell them or to make them available for free online.
Violators could be shut down and forced to pay triple the damages incurred.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and consumer advocates said they plan to write letters of protest soon, arguing that the bill could dramatically limit the public's access to information. Database providers can protect themselves through terms-of-service agreements with their customers, said Joe Rubin, director of congressional and public affairs at the chamber.
"We think this is already dealt with under license and contract law, and there's no reason to extend beyond that," Rubin said.
Sometimes user agreements do not provide enough protection, said Keith Kupferschmid, a policy expert with the Software and Information Industry Association, which supports the bill.
In one instance, a Minnesota magazine publisher had no legal recourse when its entire directory of local schools was copied and redistributed. In other cases, operators of pornographic Web sites have copied real estate listings and lawyers' directories to lure in unwitting visitors, he said.
The law could help those who make information available for free online, Kupferschmid said. Reuters America, a unit of Reuters Group, is a member of the trade group.
"If database producers know they have some law to fall back on, when someone steals their database, they'll be much more willing to get that information out there for free," he said. "Without that law, there's really nothing to protect them."
Mike Godwin, senior technology counsel at the nonprofit group Public Knowledge, said the bill would likely make information less freely available.
"Information, when not copyrighted, is something that can be shared. Once you start putting fences around information...there's no freedom of inquiry," said Godwin.
"That doesn't make us smarter, it makes us dumber," he said.
File-Sharers Scoff At Lawsuits
The recording industry continued to push mounds of paper Monday, filing suit against 261 people for allegedly pirating songs on file-sharing Websites like Kazaa.
That leaves about 59,999,739 to go.
But if the countless tune-swappers trolling through cyberspace were intimidated by the spate of lawsuits, you wouldn't know it. The consensus message from a bounty of cavalier posts aimed at the Recording Industry Association of America became abundantly clear: Bring it on!
Nanuk, for example, heartily pounded his chest along with his cronies on Yahoo: "You can take away my MP3's when you pry my mouse out of my cold dead hands."
It's all about the money, according to Tnintbubse: "Consumers will not tolerate their price gouging and they need to come up with something else besides suing college kids. The industry has gone unchecked too long and has passed the cost down to us. Now they are crying."
Howler24 drew a line of futility between what he feels are two ill-fated crusades: "Yes, you can cry and moan about the 'evils' of drugs and file sharing. But when you're through foaming at the mouth, you have to realize that they are BOTH here to stay. No law, no court can change that. The best thing to do is to control it and make it profitable, instead of driving it underground."
Needless to say, the RIAA's option for file-sharers to turn themselves in didn't go over to well. See full story.
From Rmonster: "I have a feeling that anyone who signs up for this 'amnesty' is going to find themselves up the creek. Sending a notarized copy of your ID and statement that you did, in fact, break the law (in their eyes at least) does not sound like amnesty, but suicide."
As Apophis sees it, the RIAA is out of touch "It's time for the RIAA as we know it to go away and an agency more in tune with the 21st century needs to be put in its place. One that looks forward and not stuck in decades old business practices."
Though greatly outnumbered, some did play devil's advocate --AndyCane, for instance, didn't see much wiggle room for the virtual apologists: "I'm no huge fan of the RIAA, but they have a right to protect their copyrighted material and (neither) you, nor I, nor anyone else, has the right to 'share' it without paying for it, at least not on the scale that it's done on file-sharing sites."
Then, of course, there was plenty of cheeky advice. This morsel from SkyPilotTB: "Stop book sharing. Sue libraries."
And WWWFairfield hinted at hopping aboard the Justin and Britney bashing bandwagon with his take: "Look at the top ten -- THAT explains why sales of CDs are lacking. Stop looking for pretty faces and recruit real musicians to record and sell music."
Finally, ArbaCadarba painted the picture just about everyone on line has been clamoring for since the rise and fall of Napster: "Now what I would love to see is all music artists selling their stuff directly to music lovers, bypassing the music industry completely.
"That would bring more money to the artists, more music to the people, and the extra pleasure of watching rich music industry execs pulling their hair out."
“I think it's very possible the record industry might already be on its way out.” John Flansburgh
Senator Questions RIAA Amnesty Plan
Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who has been critical of the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) tactics in bringing music file sharing to heel, on Monday warned consumers that signing the RIAA's amnesty agreement may not be the brightest idea.
On Monday, the RIAA filed 261 lawsuits against file swappers in federal courts across the country, and unveiled its Clean Slate amnesty program, which requires users to sign and deliver an affidavit in which they promise to delete or destroy all illegally- obtained digital music files, and swear off downloading or copying any in the future.
“The newly proposed 'amnesty' is clearly a strategy by the industry to address some of the concerns I and others have had in this matter,” said Coleman in a statement. “But, it raises new issues that require careful analysis and review.”
In particular, Coleman took exception to the idea of millions of minors potentially submitting and signing legal documents that plead themselves guilty to the RIAA.
“That may not be the best approach to achieving a balance between protecting copyright laws and punishing those who violate those laws,” Coleman said.
The Senator vowed that he would soon announce Congressional hearings to look into the RIAA's tactics to quash tune copying and sharing.
Music Downloads And Pornography
Congress Investigating P2P File-Sharing Networks
Some young teens who go online searching for music may stumble upon smut instead, the record industry warns Congress.
The recording industry this week decided to file lawsuits against more than 250 people, charging them with illegally downloading music over the internet. But something else is finding its way into music files — hard core pornography — and the music industry is calling it a growing problem.
Jackie And Catie, like many 12-year olds, are going online for music and finding porn instead. The teens search for music to record, using a relatively new software that gives them access through what is known as peer to peer file-sharing networks. But some of their so-called peers are using it as a vehicle to distribute smut.
“It’s not something that you want to see, like, ever, for even adults. It’s really disturbing,” said 12-year old Jaclyn Ribaudo.
The girls have learned, in a shocking way, what Congress is trying to come to grips with — that the networks, say investigators, are being turned into pornography super-stores. A kid wanting a Britney Spears song often finds her name connected to hardcore sexual content. Many parents don’t have a clue.
“If your child can outsmart you on the computer then peer to peer’s a dangerous place for your child to be,” said industry expert Randy Saff.
One of the networks alone averages 3 million downloads a week. Congress’s investigative arm examined a small sample of file-sharing searches that children might attempt, and found almost half led to pornography.
The P2P industry says that the problem is being exaggerated by the music industry which wants to stop the free exchange of music on the Internet, and that porn peddlers use e-mail and other Internet services as well.
“We give people a tool,” said P2P industry representative Philip Corwin. “It could be used for good purposes and bad purposes and we have no control over how individuals use our software.”
And most experts agree it is technologically impossible to block all sexual material from these networks — short of shutting down the computer. Music companies want Congress to forbid file sharing altogether, claiming they’re losing billions in music sales when kids download pirated songs.
“Piracy’s not good. Downloading pornography’s not good for a child. There’s just not that many applications that a child would actually get use out of peer to peer,” said one music store patron.
But for Congress, it could be a censorship issue and until that’s resolved, parents have to police their kids on the Internet.
“Well, I don't think you're going to solve the problem by suing 12 year olds.”
The Recording Industry Association of America on Monday filed lawsuits against 261 people for allegedly downloading thousands of copyrighted songs via popular Internet file-sharing networks. Two musicians debate the merits of the RIAA's move and its effect on the music industry.
RAY SUAREZ: Yesterday the music industry took another step to stop it, for the first time going after people downloading and swapping music online. The Recording Industry of America, or RIAA, filed 261 lawsuits against people who shared copyrighted music over the Internet.
While the largest group of music swappers are college students, the lawsuits targeted all walks of life, including parents, bankers, and bus drivers, who had all copied an average of 1,000 songs into files. Record companies have blamed the 31 percent drop in CD music sales over the past three years mostly on the online music piracy, and sued many of the online file-sharing networks. RIAA President Cary Sherman said yesterday's lawsuits were aimed at keeping people from stealing music.
CARY SHERMAN: We want people to stop engaging in the theft of music so that people can go on making it. This is a terrible thing where people are biting the hands that make the music and destroying the very music that they want to continue to be created.
RAY SUAREZ: In April, the industry settled lawsuits against four college students accused of making thousands of songs available on campus networks. Now the recording industry is offering an amnesty deal for file- sharers who turn themselves in before being subpoenaed and promise to stop sharing music. Under copyright law, music companies can sue for up to $150,000 per song. This week's lawsuits are expected to be followed by thousands more.
RAY SUAREZ: Some reactions now to the lawsuits and the industry's actions from two men who are writing and making the music. John Flansburgh is a singer and guitarist for the rock-pop duo They Might be Giants. Their web site features songs by the band that can be downloaded for free. And Chuck Cannon is a songwriter in Nashville whose work has been recorded by such artists as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Trisha Yearwood. He is the president of the music publishing company Wasissa River Music.
Chuck Cannon, let's start with you. What is your reaction to the RIAA's decision to sue individual down-loaders?
CHUCK CANNON: I think it's sad that the RIAA has had to do that to basically serve as a deterrent for people who are stealing music online.
RAY SUAREZ: Do you think that will stop people who were doing it regularly, doing it commonly, once they see that, a sort of cautionary warning?
CHUCK CANNON: Well, I'm not certain that it will entirely stop it. I know that there are speed limits on the freeway, and it doesn't entirely stop speeders. But the threat of a ticket slows people down.
RAY SUAREZ: You say you regret that the RIAA had to do it, but when you watch them move ahead with these suits, do you feel they're protecting you, as someone who writes songs?
CHUCK CANNON: Well, I think that they've tried everything else, and it seems that nothing else has worked. And I do believe that if someone is faced with the likelihood that they will, that they may face a fine or face some prison time, I'm sure that will serve as a deterrent for a lot of people.
RAY SUAREZ: John Flansburgh, what is your reaction to the RIAA's move?
JOHN FLANSBURGH: It seems kind of bizarre to me, actually. I think it's very strange for a company that, an organization that represents such a schmoozey business to be kind of running for grinch the way the RIAA has been for the past five years or so.
RAY SUAREZ: But it says, the industry says, and individual companies that are members of the RIAA say that people have been getting for free what they're trying to sell in stores and their options on how to stop it are pretty limited. What is your reaction to that?
JOHN FLANSBURGH: Well, I mean people hear the radio for free as well. And in some ways I think a lot of artists have realized that the MP-3 format is a great way to promote what they're doing, especially if they don't have unlimited access to the radio or MTV. It's a way for people to stay in touch with recording artists. I think the RIAA has a valid point. They're losing a lot of business. But I'm not entirely sure that it's a battle that they're really going to be able to win. I think they're losing valuable time catching up with technology and figuring out where the industry really needs to go next.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, where do you cross the line between promotions-- and as you say, I mean, the radio has been seen as a tool for getting people to like new artists since there has been radio. Where do you cross the line between promotion and forgoing people who would otherwise go into a store and buy a recording of yours?
JOHN FLANSBURGH: It's a very blurry line. And it's been blurry for a long time. I think the reality is, the challenge of the Internet is trying to figure out where ownership starts; you know -- in some ways, what's the difference between broadcasting and publishing if there is no actual thing. If you have on-demand music in your house that you can just play from what appears to be a radio, what's the difference between that and owning a CD?
RAY SUAREZ: Chuck Cannon, over the years, I've spoken to performers who have given their music away for free on the web, and they see it as a way of garnering more interest in the touring and performing they do. Are they in an objectively different spot from someone like you who writes material for other artists and doesn't tour?
CHUCK CANNON: Of course there are. You know, first of all, radio music is not for free. All radio stations have to pay blanket license to BMI, CSACR and ASCAP in order to use that music. The music you hear on the radio, the songwriters do get paid for that music. And, you know, I think it's exciting that someone would want to give their music away for free. If that works for your business model, that's fine. But this is a business model that's been foisted upon people who make their-- whose livelihood is making music, making up music and not necessarily going out on the road to promote it.
There's a long history of professional songwriters in America. And what this does is basically foists this business model on us without our permission. I make 8 cents... well, a song will make 8 cents for a songwriter who wrote the song that is on an album that sells. If he co-writes that song, he makes 2 cents. If he is published, he is going to make 2 cents. If I want to give my music away for free, I would do that.
But it doesn't... I'm confused a bit here about what the business model might be that will compete with free. And if you want to give your music away for free, that's your choice. If you own it, you ought to have that choice to be able to do that. The problem with that is that no one's asked me. No one's asked me if it's okay to take my music for free. And in fact it's not okay for people to take my music for free.
I've taken out a mortgage. I support my family. I'm not any different than anyone else who has a job. I just happen to make up songs that millions of people want to own. Typically what has heretofore been the case, I have been paid by anyone who wants to get one of my songs. I get a small royalty. And what this does is basically, when you download one of my songs without my permission or without paying for it, you have, in essence, intercepted my paycheck.
RAY SUAREZ: Let me go right to John Flansburgh at that point and ask him if he could envision a business model where someone like Chuck Cannon is protected, where his intellectual-property rights are protected, and people still get to bypass the music shelf?
CHUCK CANNON: I'm definitely interested in a business model that competes with free. That would be really interesting. I'd like to hear John address that.
JOHN FLANSBURGH: Well, I think your point about business models changing is really well taken. I think in some sense, the business model might have already changed. I think there is a real generation gap between the record industry and record consumers. The kids who are downloading MP-3s don't even feel as guilty as they would if they were stealing penny candy. They feel so alienated from the music business and all the money related to the music business.
And there are a lot of organizations intercepting paychecks besides fans. I think it might actually be too late for...
CHUCK CANNON: Such as?
JOHN FLANSBURGH: Record companies. It's a strange business, the music business, um, and I think there's... the point here is that the technology is already here and we haven't come up with a solution to figure out a way to get songwriters royalties to them. And it might just be too late.
RAY SUAREZ: John Flansburgh, the first attempt was to try to make places like Napster into legitimate businesses that paid royalties to artists. Has that worked, or is the RIAA trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle and try to just not work with this technology?
JOHN FLANSBURGH: Well, I don't think you're going to solve the problem by suing 12 year olds and 72 year olds for downloading too much free MP-3. I think the Apple site is probably a good example of what could work, but there is a generational shift. You know, most college students today have downloaded an extraordinary amount of MP-3s. It's very common behavior. I think people get used to it; they're already used to it. And in some ways I think it's very possible the record industry might already be on its way out.
RAY SUAREZ: Is the Apple site an encouraging development for you, Chuck Cannon, where people do pay 99 cents and download a single song?
CHUCK CANNON: Of course it is. I'm not a Ludite. I'm quite interested in people getting my songs. That's my object. I write a song. I hope a recording artist records that song, then I hope that people really enjoy that song enough to go out and get it. I want people to get it. As a matter of fact, I think that downloading is probably the wave of the future. It's the best distribution model I've ever seen for distributing songs. But the problem is that... there is not a generation gap. I have to take issue with that. There is not a generation gap about stealing.
If you take something that doesn't belong to you without paying for it or without permission, that's stealing -- any way you look at it. We haven't invented technology that makes the concept of it being wrong to steal, We haven't invented technology that makes that concept go away. I'm encouraged by people who want to give their music away to generate more support for their tours, generate more support... but they're able to go out and sell T-shirts. They're able to go out and sell tickets. They're able to still have a business model that is viable in a world where they give their music away for free.
RAY SUAREZ: We are going to end it there. Chuck Cannon, John Flansburgh, thank you gentlemen both.
Peer-to-Peer Trade Group to RIAA Bullies: Come Out and Fight Us If You Want, But Leave the Little Guys Alone !!!
The head of a newly-formed Peer-to- Peer industry trade association today said his group will reimburse the single working mother of a 12-year-old the $2,000 which he says was "strong-armed" from her by the Recording Industry Association of America because the little girl downloaded songs such as "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands" on her home computer.
"We don't condone copyright infringement, but it's time for the RIAA's winged monkeys to fly back to the castle and leave the Munchkins alone," said Adam Eisgrau, Executive Director of "P2P United," a group consisting of six of the largest file-sharing web sites.
Yesterday, the multi-million-dollar RIAA filed suits against 261 individuals seeking up to $150,000 per song for music they claim was illegally downloaded using file sharing, "peer-to-peer" technology.
Among those the industry giant targeted was 12-year-old Brianna LaHara, who lives in public housing in Manhattan and whose mother, Sylvia, manages to send her to St. Gregory the Great Catholic school on her salary working at a nurse placement agency. Among other songs for which the RIAA sought her prosecution, Brianna was alleged to have downloaded the nursery rhyme, "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands."
"They're using $150,000-per-song lawsuits and a squad of high-paid lawyers to strong-arm $2,000 from single mothers in public housing," charged Eisgrau, who noted that other targets of the RIAA's "legal assault" include a 71-year- old grandfather and a Columbia University senior whose father recently died of cancer whose response was, "I just don't know how much more tragedy I can handle."
"File-sharing technology could be the best thing that ever happened to the record industry, but instead of acting like the Wizard and working with us, they're playing the Wicked Witch of the West, using $150,000-per-song lawsuits to frighten the little people."
"Like the Cowardly Lion, the record industry bullies should come out and fight us if they want, but leave the little guys alone. Put up your dukes! Put 'em up, put 'em up, put 'em up!"
File Swappers Face Data Limits
It is not just the music industry that has a problem with file-sharing. Net service providers and network managers are struggling to cope with the deluge of data that peer-to-peer systems can generate. Many are adopting tools that limit how much of a network file-sharing systems can sequester.
Some organisations are imposing daily limits on how much people can download. Persistent offenders who regularly exceed their quota are being punished with long-term download limits.
Ever since the emergence of Napster, file-sharing systems, that allow people to search through and download files from other net users, have been hugely popular. In May this year the Kazaa file sharing program became the net's most downloaded program. More than 230 million copies of it have been downloaded. But the huge amount of traffic that Kazaa and other peer-to-peer systems generate is swamping the networks of many organisations. Many organisations based their whole business around particular patterns of use, said Matthew Finnie, vice president at European backbone supplier Interoute.
The typical pattern of human web browsing behaviour involves visiting a few websites, receiving and sending a lot of e-mail, downloading a few files, some net-based chatting and perhaps some online gaming. But, said Mr Finnie, peer-to-peer systems turn expectations of demand on their head because they involved machines talking to machines constantly. File sharing systems consume as much bandwidth they can get and send large amounts of data flying back and forth as people search for the files they want and start to download them. The biggest files on peer-to-peer systems are hundreds of megabytes in size and users are happy to stay online for hours and constantly use the full bandwidth available to download them.
Many file-sharing systems organise around so-called "super-hubs" which host lots of files on a fast server with high-speed net access. For example, bandwidth congestion at the University of Texas was found to be due to 2% of its users consuming 50% of its bandwidth. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that the top 10% of users were generating 58% of net traffic.
"Here you are dealing with something that can seriously distort what you think your network needs," he said. This caused problems because of the way that net firms and other organisations bought their bandwidth, said Mr Finnie.
Organisations that have a fixed upper limit on their bandwidth may find that everything slows down as any traffic beyond that capacity will be put in a queue. Other organisations that buy extra bandwidth on demand can find they are always using more than they expect largely because of file sharing traffic.
Mr Finnie said Interoute was now offering customers tools that let them inspect the packets of data crossing their network to pick out the peer-to- peer traffic. This will help them limit how much bandwidth such applications can grab for themselves.
Firms like Packeteer and NetReality offer network management systems that let technology staff spot file sharing traffic and keep it under control. Other organisations are using different methods to tackle the growth of file sharing.
For some time North Dakota State University has used a system that gives its students a daily quota of how much they can download. The institution allocates 600 megabytes of network usage to each user every day. Average users consume about 100 megabytes. The quota includes how much someone downloads from the net as well as how much is downloaded from them. Anyone exceeding this daily quota is placed on a lower speed connection they must share with other heavy users. North Dakota also has a "probation" system which gradually gives these offenders more and more bandwidth over a few days. Persistent offenders may find themselves permanently on probation.
Parents Scramble Over File Sharing
Seeking answers about what to do and how to do it
Hiawatha Bray and Chris Gaither
Since the music industry began suing digital pirates this week, personal computer consultant Osama Shanaa has uninstalled four file-sharing programs during house calls to homes in suburban Boston.
Shanaa, owner of OrraMac Inc. in Watertown, offers the service to regular clients. This week it wasn't much of a hard sell. Just yesterday he suggested removing the LimeWire software, which lets people swap music over the Internet, from a customer's Macintosh in Lexington.
"I didn't even have to say it twice," he said.
Shanaa's increased workload is a testament to the anxiety and confusion among the parents of children who store and share digital music on their home computers.
The grown-ups have good reason to worry that their children's music downloading habits might get the whole family into trouble. This week, the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group representing the major music recording companies, began a legal offensive against 261 individuals who have allegedly offered thousands of popular songs for free distribution over the Internet. Among the first targets: a 12-year-old New York girl. Faced with the possibility of a $150,000 fine for each illegally copied song, the girl's mother agreed to pay a $2,000 settlement.
The actions of the recording industry have spread anxiety beyond parents of teenagers.
Nancy Webb, a 59-year-old bus driver from Olalla, Wash., is a reluctant computer user, preferring the telephone to e-mail. So it's no surprise that she never noticed that her adult daughter had downloaded and stored hundreds of music files on Webb's home PC through Kazaa.
Her other daughter, Diane Webb, 31, discovered the files one day. Her mother worried about the songs taking up disk space, so Diane Webb said she spent days removing Kazaa and deleting the files. But once news of the lawsuits against file sharers broke, her daughter said, Nancy Webb panicked.
"She's freaking out because she wonders, what's going to happen to me?" Diane Webb said.
As a result many Internet file sharers, and parents who are concerned about a child's file sharing habits, now feel they have no choice but to learn about the latest peer-to-peer programs and to make sure they're not running on any home computers.
There are dozens of file-sharing programs, with new entrants appearing constantly. But users tend to gravitate to a handful with the broadest collection of files -- Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster, iMesh, BearShare and LimeWire, to name a few.
Programs designed to protect minors from unsavory Internet influences are of limited value in shutting down these programs. For example, the popular Internet filtering program Cyber Patrol can prevent a child from running certain software. But the parent must tell it which programs to block. Shut down Kazaa alone and the child can simply switch to one of the other file swappers.
Another option is to shut off the file-sharing features in these peer-to-peer programs. That way, the user can download music from other users' machines, while blocking access to the music on his own machine. File swappers consider this selfish, and with good reason -- if everyone did it, there'd be no files to share. Indeed, this is why the RIAA has focused on suing people who share files, not those who merely download them.
The ultimate defense against a recording industry lawsuit is to remove the file-swapping software from the computer. Again, this requires knowing which programs are in use. Armed with this information, a Windows PC user can simply use the standard procedure for "uninstalling" a program.
Deleting the software may not remove the illegally downloaded music files. But if the file swapping program is no longer running, music industry investigators have no way of detecting those files on someone's machine.
And what if recording industry investigators have already gathered evidence of a child's file swapping activity. Are parents liable? That depends, said Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University. Swire said it's often hard to show that a parent knew his child was downloading music illegally. The record companies would have to demonstrate "first, that the parents knew of the infringement, and second, that the parent caused or materially contributed to the infringement," said Swire. "That would be hard to prove."
But even if the parents are in the clear, the music companies are free to sue the children themselves. Swire said that there's no age limit for applying federal copyright law. Even if you're a minor, he said, "they can get a judgment against you for a million dollars."
RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy confirmed this interpretation of the law. "Minors are generally liable for their unlawful acts," he said. But Lamy predicted that most cases would be settled before coming to trial.
Michael Albert, a partner at Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks in Boston, said some of the defendants might try to argue that they copied the songs in accordance with the fair-use provisions of copyright law, which allow protected works to be used for such things as scholarship and journalism.
But those accused of copying files and making them available to others online would have a hard time mounting a defense that the fair-use provisions of copyright law protect them, he said. One key test of whether a copyrighted work was used fairly is whether that use affected the market for the work. With record shipments down 26 percent in the last three years, the recording industry can make a strong case that its market has been hurt by file sharing songs, he said.
The recording industry has sued 261 people and issued 1,500 subpoenas to Internet service providers for information about file sharers. But with an estimated 60 million people who share music files online, Albert said, "Statistically speaking, most people are still pretty safe."
And despite the high-profile lawsuits, traffic on file-sharing networks is up sharply over last month, according to BigChampagne, a market research firm based in Los Angeles that tracks activity on peer-to-peer networks. About 4.2 million users were on Kazaa at any given time yesterday, up from 4.1 million on Tuesday and nearly 3 million in August.
"That's not to say that there is no deterrent effect," Eric Garland, the chief executive of BigChampagne, said of the lawsuits. "But it's probably being countervailed by a bigger force -- back to work, back to school."
File Sharers Thrive Under RIAA Threat
Lawsuits haven't stamped out music swapping, according to one Manhattan software company. In fact, it's just made traders more defiant - and crafty.
"There doesn't seem to be any decline. Many people are still doing it," said Greg Bildson, chief technology officer for Lime Wire LLC. Along with Kazaa and Grokster, Lime Wire is one of the leading "peer-to-peer" programs that allow file swapping between different computers.
Bildson said that he expects users will tinker with the Lime Wire software over the next few months, developing ways to mask their identities and avoid lawsuits. Earlier this week, the Recording Industry Association of America sued 261 people who had used Lime Wire and other software to swap copyrighted material.
Officials hope the suits will have a chilling effect on file trading. But so far, anecdotally at least, Kazaa and Lime Wire remain popular.
"The RIAA is not going to be able to contain this problem," Bildson said. "There is no technical solution for this."
The better resolution, Bildson said, would be the creation of a compulsory license for the Internet - similar to radio. Access to peer networks would be taxed, and those fees would be distributed to copyright holders based on the volume of trades.
The RIAA said compulsory licensing would be unworkable, requiring the government to regulate the Internet in ways that would be difficult and intrusive.
"When was the last time government pricing worked better than the free market?" an RIAA spokesman asked.
"Those who support this idea of compulsory licensing apparently conclude, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' That's the wrong way to go."
The association warned that - although other peer-to-peer companies have claimed that the identities of swappers could be protected - some of those supposedly anonymous users ended being sued by the RIAA.
"The promise of anonymity is more a marketing tool than a technological wonder," he said.
The RIAA has sued companies like Lime Wire - though not Lime Wire itself.
So far, however, the software firms have prevailed in court, as executives have argued successfully that their programs have legitimate uses, and that they can't be held accountable for people who used the software to violate copyright laws.
Bildson said that peer-to-peer networks could be the backbone of a complete media-on-demand system, through which someone could download any television show, song or movie the user wanted.
Compulsory Licensing - What is Noncommercial Use?
Much of the debate over compulsory licensing has been with regard to how fees are to be raised and distributed (including how the distribution of copyrighted works is to be tracked), which are enormously thorny problems. I don't believe these problems have been adequately solved by any of the schemes with which I am familiar.
However, compulsory licensing raises many more questions than that, and before we can seriously consider such schemes these questions must be answered. In an occasional series, I'll ask some of those questions that haven't gotten nearly the same attention as questions regarding fees and distribution of fees. My questions won't be all inclusive and I encourage readers to add their own questions and answers as well.
What, exactly, is noncommercial use?
Virtually all compulsory license schemes restrict themselves to noncommercial use. They are put forward as a solution to the P2P issue, of file sharing between consumers. No serious compulsory licensing scheme that I am aware of advocates that commercial vendors should be allowed free rein under the compulsory license. Unfortunately, I think that the distinction between commercial and noncommercial use in the P2P realm is not so easy to make. After all, previous compulsory licenses were essentially in the commercial realm. The commercial realm is, in many ways, much easier to regulate than the public or P2P realms (isn't that why people advocate compulsory licensing schemes in the first place?).
Some have argued that one couldn't solicit donations for engaging in noncommercial use. But how far would this restriction go? If I run a blog with a tip jar, am I prevented from having my music webcast link to my blog page? Am I prevented from running public service announcements on the webcast? If I run a neighborhood webcast that includes announcements of local events, would that be considered commercial? If the neighborhood got together and pooled money for such a webcast, would that be commercial? Who would police noncommercial use and how would those who violated this restriction be punished? There are serious questions regarding how this new regime would replace current copyright law on these issues.
Generally, most compulsory schemes would also have at least some limited privileges for noncommercial remixes, adaptations and other derivate works (often including a requirement noting the original author and the fact that modification was without consent). But what is a noncommercial remix? If I am a video artist, is it noncommercial for me to create music videos using popular music and spread them around the internet as a calling card or resume? Is it noncommercial if I identify that it was I who created the music video (and here's my homepage URL) in order to drive traffic to my site? What if my site then has a tip jar? What if my site is hosted on a service that includes third party ads in return for free hosting?
What about advertisements for third parties? Presumably it would clearly be illegal for McDonald's to make a commercial or jingle using someone else's copyrighted works without permission. But what if some fan turns a popular song into a jingle for McDonald's because they love Big Macs, or creates what is essentially a commercial for their favorite sports team using highlights and popular music? I can imagine fans of all sorts of endeavors creating their own commercials - check the web, you'll find them already. The individual creating the mixup gets no commercial benefit, so that would seem to be noncommercial use. Or would it be considered commercial, and how would we make that determination? Would third party advertisements for nonprofits be noncommercial? What about political advertisements? I recall that songwriters have objected to politicians using their songs at rallys ("I'm a Dole Man" as opposed to Isaac Hayes and Dave Porter's orginal "I'm a Soul Man").
A related question regards those who distribute such a work. What happens to P2P users who distribute a commercial work? Their distribution of the work is noncommercial, but the work itself is commercial. In traditional copyright law, if a business creates an advertisement with unlicensed content, damages can be sought and an injunction ordered to prevent distribution of the infringing work. However, once such a work gets out to the P2P public, would the public be liable for continued distribution? Could a copyright holder sue somebody who distributed an unlicensed commercial, even if the distributor didn't create it and gets no benefit from distributing it? Would the company that initially created the work have essentially unlimited liability if the infringing work became popular with the public?
Compulsory licensing has gotten a great deal of interest recently. However, I believe that we need to think a little more deeply about the issues such a system would raise.
Big Blue's New Experiments in Real- Time Communications
With established successes like Lotus Instant Messaging (formerly known as Sametime) and Lotus Notes in its product portfolio, IBM's (Quote, Company Info) position in the enterprise messaging and communications realm seems secure. But Armonk, New York-based Big Blue isn't content to rest on its laurels, and like many of the leading players in business software, the company is exploring new ways that business users might collaborate in the future.
One early, yet promising project at the company is known as Socializer. It's a prototype of an open, distributed, peer-to-peer platform with capabilities including chatting, file transfers, application sharing and broadcasting and discovery of services.
Socializer users can create profiles and exchange personal information with others, and in finding others with whom to collaborate, can search and filter by profile information.
"It allows a peer-to-peer client network that is based on location," said Marc Goubert, manager of IBM's alphaWorks site, where internal and outside developers and end-users can demo and provide feedback on prototype software. "Individuals coming into a local subnet who have a wireless device -- or who connect to a LAN somehow -- can recognize other users that have this client on their computer or PDA."
The software relies on a proprietary protocol that sends out UDP broadcast messages on the local network. But as an extensible platform based on the Open Systems Gateway Initiative (OSGi) -- which provides for a common framework for delivering services to multiple devices -- that protocol can be swapped in favor of others, like upnp.org. Currently, the software is available for Windows, and for PocketPC and Palm handhelds.
"One interesting application of this might be where a user walks into a conference, and because they've got access to the wireless LAN, they see services that are available immediately, like a schedule of upcoming events or speakers, or areas of interest for a particular audience," Goubert said. "That user can also instantly see which other users are using the Socializer peer-to-peer network, and start chatting with them and transferring files and sharing services, immediately."
The thinking here is that some Internet communication and collaboration services can become more useful for users if those services take location into consideration. The concept has been driving a slew of new applications (mostly dating- or community- related) for wireless handsets, such as a mobile matchmaking tool launched earlier by AT&T Wireless. It's also the idea powering WiFi instant messaging community plays like Trepia.
"This is an interesting way of looking at things -- location-based, as opposed to user- based, or using a massive registry of users like the IM systems we're used to," Goubert said.
"How much are they going to regulate without destroying what is really so great about the Internet?"
Assistant Professor To Testify On File Sharing At U.S. Senate Hearing
An assistant ISU professor will be testifying in front of the full Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., Tuesday at a hearing concerning peer-to-peer networks and how they are used to transfer pornography.
Doug Jacobson, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and president and chief technology officer of Palisade Systems, Inc., a company he founded in Ames in 1996, was asked to testify at the Senate hearing because of his company's research on searches on a file- sharing network. He will present the results and statistics to the judiciary committee.
For the study, the company acted as a user on a file-sharing network from February 6-23, 2003, collecting 22 million search results, according to the peer-to-peer executive summary on the Palisade Systems, Inc. Web site, www.screendoor.com.
"Part of the reason [the Senate] contacted me was because the study shows quite a bit of searches were for pornography," Jacobson said. "42 percent of all requests were for pornographic material."
Six percent of the total requests were for child pornography, he added.
When most people think about file searches and downloads they think about MP3s, not pornography, Jacobson said.
According to the executive summary, a strong reason for using peer-to-peer file sharing looks to be for easy access to pornography.
The summary reported pornography was requested in 63 percent of video file searches and child pornography in 10 percent. It also reported that 75 percent of image file searches were for pornography and 24 percent were for child pornography.
Jacobson said he was shocked by the overall number of pornographic materials requested on the network, but not as much with the child pornography results because of the anonymity of peer-to-peer networks.
The Palisade Systems, Inc. research summary explains that peer-to-peer networks are made up of individual computers that use similar software to communicate over the Internet. KaZaA, Napster, Morpheus, LimeWire and BearShare are all identified as peer-to-peer applications. A user who connects to the network connects to a web of computers that are all linked by the peer-to-peer application, which allows information and files to be freely exchanged among users.
"[Peer-to-peer] is like anything -- it's a tool," Jacobson said. "There are few legitimate uses of peer-to-peer networks."
Steffen Schmidt, professor of political science, said the government is becoming more interested in these networks because of their increased use.
"The problem of peer-to-peer file-sharing has been growing over the last few years," Schmidt said.
He said at first there was much reluctance from the government to get involved or pay attention to the issue because exchange of information was considered a part of the freedom of the Internet.
It was when people started exchanging intellectual property, things a company has rights to own and keep from duplication, that Congress started looking into it, Schmidt said.
Jacobson warned users should be concerned when searching and downloading from networks because much of the material is copyrighted and illegal to possess.
"Be aware of what you're doing," he said.
This warning is backed up by results from the Palisade Systems, Inc. study. Ninety-seven percent of all the searches tracked by the company on the peer-to-peer network could have resulted in a criminal or civil suit for copyright infringement, sexual harassment or felony- level charges.
The music industry first began filing lawsuits for the exchanges of copyrighted material on peer-to-peer applications.
"Many said that they were suing their own best customers," Schmidt said. "So the music industry started looking around for a tastier and more powerful way to control peer-to-peer networks."
He said they began to research what users were exchanging to control file-sharing, and it was then discovered that many of the files were sexual in nature.
The Senate hearing is titled "Pornography, Technology and Process: Problems and Solutions on Peer-to-Peer Networks."
Other witnesses testifying are representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Verizon Communications, Recording Industry Association of America and the U.S. Copyright Office, according to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Web site, http://judiciary.senate.gov.
Jacobson said Tuesday's hearing is the second on peer-to-peer networks.
The first hearing, held June 17, dealt with the personal and national security risks that peer- to-peer networks pose, according to the Senate Judiciary Web site.
"A hearing is really to get the facts and then have the [Congressional] staff draft legislation that will impose some sort of restriction on peer-to-peer applications," Schmidt said.
"Now the question is, how much are they going to regulate?" he said.
"How much are they going to regulate without destroying what is really so great about the Internet?"
Columbia Turns In Student for File-Sharing
The Recording Industry Association of America is seeking to sue a CC senior.
Rachael Scarborough King
Columbia University on Friday released the name of a senior whose IP address had been identified by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegal file-sharing.
The student, Lauren Venezia, CC '04, has yet to be served papers, but she has been aware since July that Columbia was issued a subpoena to release her name. It's unclear whether or not the RIAA will pursue a lawsuit, but in recent weeks Venezia has been scrambling to cobble together a legal defense.
The subpoena was issued last spring as part of a push by the RIAA to crack down on illegal file-sharing. The RIAA filed 261 suits Monday against individuals whose names it had obtained through the subpoenas filed to universities and other internet service providers it linked to file-sharing over the summer. These were the first such copyright infringement suits against private citizens.
Among those being sued were Venezia, as well as a 12-year-old girl from Manhattan, who yesterday settled a $150,000 lawsuit with the RIAA for $2,000.
These universities and internet service providers are not legally responsible for their clients' actions, but RIAA subpoenas demand that these organizations release the names of the individuals whose IP addresses are ports for file- sharing.
The subpoena that the RIAA charged to Columbia said that illegal file-sharing had occurred on a specific Internet Protocol address operated by the university. It required that Columbia turn over the name of the student using this IP address. They did so last Friday.
"[The RIAA] has the right under the [Digital Millennium Copyright] Act to issue a subpoena," said Beryl Abrams, associate general counsel and the lawyer in charge of internet property law at Columbia. "Initially we filed motion to quash [the subpoena] because it was issued out of the district court of Washington, D.C., but then RIAA issued another out of the federal court in New York." Law Professor Eben Moglen represented Venezia during her fight to prevent the University from releasing her name.
"It should be clear that Columbia University, when it receives an order from a court, must turn over information if it has any," Moglen said. "On the other hand, the University is also obliged to take certain steps to keep information that is accumulated in the course of a student's education private. This is a federal statute. The legal situation is a compromise between obligations to students about their privacy and obligations to the court."
In filing these suits, the RIAA is going after those who not only download music from the internet, but also allow their computers to share downloaded information with other people using the same network. This is often done unintentionally, since when a person downloads a file-sharing program such as Kazaa it comes with the sharing option already activated.
"When I first spoke to the guy at AcIS [after I had been informed that I was suspected of copyright infringement], I said, 'Why me? Everyone else is doing it'. He said, 'You were sharing files'. I didn't know there was an option to turn it off," Venezia said. But, she added, "I don't think ignorance is valid excuse for anything."
Although downloading and sharing music may seem to be an anonymous, risk- free activity, it is fairly easy for an entity like the RIAA to obtain an offender's IP address. An IP address is a series of numbers that corresponds with a certain internet connection. Since Columbia's ethernet system uses static IP addresses, this number refers to a specific ethernet outlet. If this outlet is in a dorm room, it can then be determined who is using this IP address.
The RIAA can run a downloaded audio file through a sophisticated program to determine whether it is an original track that an artist recorded in a studio--which can be shared legally--or whether it is a pirated copy. If it is pirated, they can then determine the IP address from which it originated.
The IP address is as far as the RIAA can go on its own, which is why it has to subpoena ISPs in order to obtain the IP address user's name.
For Venezia, this lawsuit follows a string of personal tragedy. "This year for me has been so awful, and I really don't know how much more tragedy I can take," she said. "I was physically assaulted by my ex-boyfriend, then my best friend got a rare infectious disease, my dog died, my father died, and now here I am dealing with this. It's just one thing after another."
Venezia is also worried about her future, as the lawsuit could potentially cost her a great deal of time and money.
"My dad, when he was sick, didn't have any insurance," she said. "The month or so he was in hospital pretty much ate up all our funds. Columbia gave me financial aid to finish this year, but I can't afford a lawyer, and I can't afford to pay the RIAA if they win the suit."
The list of artists on whose behalf the RIAA filed suit against Venezia includes U2, Michael Jackson, Guns and Roses, and Duran Duran.
File Sharing Wars
Andrew Gilman And Ben Kupstas
Contentious Alliance: Music and Technology
The age-old marriage of the music and technology industries has found itself on the rocks again. Over one hundred years ago, artists protested the proliferation of sheet music because they feared parlor room piano players would steal their art and livelihood. With the invention of the phonograph, one of the first devices to play music carved onto discs, the sheet music industry did everything it could to protect its monopoly on the means of dissemination. Despite their best attempts, the personal record player caught on, and began the century long evolution that eventually culminated in the compact disc. Throughout the process, from records, 8-tracks, tapes, to CDs, the recording industry has most often resisted technological innovation out of fear for falling profit margins. Nevertheless, these fundamental changes in the standard medium have ended up benefiting the industry in the long run, especially when many record collectors re- bought their collection for the CD-changeover. To some extent, the dominant medium for music is decided by the listeners, not the recording industry. Clearly, the will of the people has at times subjugated the top-down control the recording industry has attempted to wield. And so, with scientific developments and changing preference for listening devices (not to mention shifting musical tastes), the recording industry has been forced rapidly to adopt new distribution paradigms over the years. The modern age of digital and Internet technology is no exception to this pattern.
Music listeners today, especially on a college campus, need no explanation of how Napster and like-minded peer-to- peer file sharing networks revolutionized the distribution of music -- they were the revolutionaries (or pirates, depending on your point of view) trading MP3s over fat, college ethernet bandwidth. Despite the Recording Industry Association of America crack down on Napster, peer-to- peer networks only seemed to multiply to match the insatiable desire for "free" music. With the availability of MP3s, affordability of CD burning technology, and inflation of CD prices to $18 or higher, the recording industry's distribution system faced sizeable challenges. Instead of recognizing the staying abililty of the MP3 as the next media mutation, the recording industry scrambled to preserve the flawed distribution system by bolstering CD- based sales. The RIAA quickly tried to fight the new medium in court with a multi-million dollar legal campaign. Now, in retrospect, it would have made more sense for the industry to devote these resources to developing a new, digital- based distribution system, where artists and recording companies are compensated and prices are reasonable. It has taken too much time for industry to readjust as it has squandered the precious few years since the demise of Napster.
Pay-digital music services, like Apple's iTunes, Real Music's Rhapsody, or Buymusic.com present the beta-versions (so to speak) of the new distribution paradigm. With more artists allowing their catalog to be purchased on these services, it seems the recording industry is finally making some forward progress. Though CD sales have dropped considerably in the past years, 300 million from 1999 to 2002 according to the RIAA, this slump can only in part be attributed to file-sharing. As a result, it remains essential for recording companies to take aggressive steps toward recapturing profits through such business strategies as Universal's 24-32% price reduction on their retail prices (to bring the price down from the current $18.98 to $16.98) or the inclusion of bonus DVDs with CDs. The recording industry might have to endure some losses during this period of transition as businesses, artists, and listeners adapt, but in the end, this industry shift opens a new realm of possibilities: improvements in the means through which the listener buys, and the industry sells, music.
An Apple today keeps the RIAA at bay.
If, by analogy, we see the RIAA as a one-eyed (maybe blind) giant like Goliath and we see underdogs like Shawn Fanning (the now deified Napster founder) and Jesse Jordan (one of the college students sued by the RIAA this past April) as modern-day Davids, then Apple may just be this fable's closest thing to Gandhi. Their message has always seemed to be, "Can't we all just get along" -- the musicians, the record companies, the fans, and the technology.
Since its inception, Macintosh has fought the battle against the PC at least partly by catering to artistically minded computer users, specifically musicians. With the recent plethora of laptop-toting composers, producers, and performers, the Apple PowerBook has emerged as the musician's computer of choice (everyone from Jim O'Rourke to Cex to Kid 606 uses an Apple). Many of the modern editing software and digital synthesizers are tailored to Apples, and as the computer is fast becoming a studio and stage touchstone as integral as the guitar, the PowerBook is the veritable Stratocaster of this revolution. So, Apple is no stranger to the realm of music.
In the post-Napster world of music distribution, the war is still against the PC, but the acronym now refers to political correctness (at least as dictated by the RIAA). While many in the music industry are scrambling to either exploit modern distribution technologies (file-sharing stalwarts like Kazaa and Limewire) or stomp it out completely (the Philistine RIAA), few are seriously and realistically proposing ways of helping this mess evolve into a mutually beneficial arrangement. Apple's iTunes is thus far the most feasible and appealing alternative to the current state of anarchic trading and absurd lawsuits, a climate that ultimately alienates the fans, the artists, and the distributors.
In April, while the RIAA was busy prosecuting undergraduates for hundreds of millions of dollars, Apple head honcho Steve Jobs launched the iTunes Music Store, which basically sells songs for $.99 each (adding up to roughly the price of individual songs on full-length CDs). What makes Apple the apparent "good guys" in this story are the relationships they've been fostering with independent record labels and individual artists. Apple has expressed a commitment to helping independent labels, and representatives from labels such as Matador and Sub Pop have already met with Apple to discuss possible partnerships. Bands like Dashboard Confessional are now top-sellers for iTunes. While mainstream artists are still a major part of Apple's initiative, their attempts to befriend the indie crowd have been largely successful. In a Rolling Stone interview, Sub Pop boss Jonathan Poneman said he is "psyched" about their participation with iTunes, which pays the label about $.65 per song.
Even the musicians and members of the file-sharing community are supporting iTunes. In an interview with Magnet, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke expressed his endorsement of iTunes. In the words of one Soulseek user, "Apple has done the unthinkable by convincing labels and artists that making it easy for people to do the right thing is infinitely more constructive and lucrative than throwing money into a fight against the consumer that smacks a little too much of the drug war" (from the Soulseek message board).
So, Apple has stepped up to the plate preaching peace through iPods. Concerns about the looming death of the album aside, iTunes is looking like the people's choice for the future of legal musical distribution.
|11-09-03, 09:14 PM||#2|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Backlash In Suits Over File Sharing
Bay area music fans speak out over crackdown.
Sam Diaz and Marian Liu
Record industry lawsuits, filed Monday in an effort to curb sharing of copyrighted music over the Internet, instead may have sparked a backlash among music lovers -- many of whom aren't even downloaders.
The suits prompted discussions in homes and classrooms throughout the Bay Area, where teenagers are a large portion of the people logging to peer-to-peer networks such as Grokster and Kazaa.
And the Recording Industry Association of America said that one target of its nationwide legal assault, a New York woman, had already settled her case for $2,000 Tuesday, and other defendants were discussing similar deals. Meanwhile, a Marin County man sued the trade group on behalf of all California residents, saying its ``amnesty'' program is misleading.
A day after the music industry filed 261 federal suits against individuals across the country, fear sent some music downloaders running to delete music files from their computers, and outrage prompted others to defiantly swap even more songs.
Gene Brunak, a teacher at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, said he talked to his journalism class Tuesday about the lawsuits. ``There was a hush in the room. Everyone put their heads down.''
Some teens said they realized that downloading music is wrong and can understand why the recording industry would want it to stop.
``If I was working in the entertainment business, I would be upset too,'' said Grace Wang, 14, a freshman at Mission San Jose. ``But it's like drugs: you know it's bad, but people do it anyway.''
Other young people, such as Angel Gutierrez, 20, of San Jose, said they will continue to download music and are not afraid of the recording industry group.
``There are too many people,'' Gutierrez said. ``They can't sue every single person doing it.''
But the initial blitz of music-piracy cases, which ultimately might reach into the thousands, attracted a lot of attention and resulted in one early settlement.
Sylvia Torres of New York, whose 12-year-old daughter Brianna Lahara had more than 1,000 copyrighted music tracks on the family's computer, agreed Tuesday to pay $2,000 to settle the suit a day after the case was filed.
``We understand now that file-sharing the music was illegal,'' Torres said in a statement issued by the RIAA. ``You can be sure Brianna won't be doing it any more.''
Recording industry group spokesman Jonathan Lemy said several people had contacted the group Tuesday to discuss settlements. The group's Web site, www.riaa. com, was busy for most of the day and inaccessible at times because of the number of people trying to access it, according to Keynote Systems of San Mateo, which tracks Web site traffic.
The industry site is also home to the Clean Slate amnesty form, which users can fill out, have notarized and send in with a copy of a photo ID to protect themselves from future suits.
Users must agree to delete all illegal files and promise to never again share copyrighted music. In return, the recording industry group has said it will not share the information it obtains from users.
But Eric Parke, a Marin County mortgage executive, sees the form as promising anything but amnesty and sued Tuesday to halt the amnesty program.
``They're not really providing amnesty,'' said Parke's attorney, Ira P. Rothken. ``When you read the legal document closely and get past the headlines, there's no protection from lawsuits. There's no release of all claims.''
Under subpoena, the recording industry group could be forced to release the names of admitted copyright violators, and anyone who signed the forms would be unprotected, Rothken said.
It could be weeks until the motion for an injunction is heard by a judge, Rothken said.
Although interest was high, opinions among local parents were split.
San Jose mother Tammy Willyard said she told her kids to stop using the file-sharing services out of fear of being sued. She admitted not knowing how downloading works and whether her kids were doing it. And she said she was not alone.
``You know, I'll bet a lot of parents don't know,'' she said. ``Parents are so busy and kids are pretty much left on their own.''
But Rubin Wang, a computer programmer from Fremont, said parents are obligated to know what their children are doing online.
``You need to educate teenagers on good and bad,'' he said. ``The bottom line is not Internet access, but watching your children and teaching them.''
The RIAA, recognizing that the file-swapping services do have legitimate uses, is not asking people to uninstall the software. The group just wants people to stop sharing music illegally.
But some small bands said Tuesday that such sharing helps them gain exposure. Now, they're worried that downloaders will stay away and won't ever have a chance to hear their music.
``When it comes to smaller bands, online is better for exposure,'' said Matthew Fazzi, 18, a guitarist with Tragedy Andy, a San Jose pop Indie rock band. ``People rarely pay $10 to $20 if they don't know what you sound like.''
He said he has downloaded music in the past but won't do it anymore because he doesn't want to get sued. Instead, he and others will go back to the ``root of piracy: borrowing a record from a friend and burning it that way.''
The Sounds Of Silence
Record industry pulls plug on illegal file sharers
When Allie, a sophomore in the School of Humanities and Sciences, received a message from the Office of Public Safety last Friday afternoon, she had no idea what warranted the unexpected call.
“I immediately thought that something went wrong at home,” she said. “So I called home and was panicking.”
Allie soon found out that she was being judicially referred for sharing more than 400 files over the Internet. And she’s not alone: since Thursday, a total of 12 students on campus have been judicially referred for illegally sharing copyrighted files after the college received a warning from the Recording Industry Association of America on Sept. 4.
In addition to the referral, the students had their ResNet connections disabled and were required to delete the shared files from their computers.
The consequences on the Ithaca College campus are just part of a larger crackdown by RIAA in an attempt to stop widespread file sharing on peer-to- peer networks like Kazaa, Limewire or Gnutella. The association announced Monday that it had filed 261 lawsuits against users who were sharing an average of 1,000 songs each.
Since file sharing is a violation of college policy, students have been judicially referred before, but never such a large number in such a short amount of time, said David Weil, director of web, systems and departmental services in Information Technology Services.
In previous years, complaints about file sharing only occurred about once every other week, he said.
This is the first time RIAA has contacted the college, and the association is taking what Nancy Pringle, vice president and college counsel, calls a “more lenient” approach than it could. Rather than suing the students for fines that could potentially reach up to $150,000 per file shared, she said, the recording industry is allowing the college to deal with them judicially.
Rachel, a sophomore who was contacted by the college on Thursday about her file sharing, said she was relieved that she hadn’t been sued by RIAA.
“I’m just glad that all that’s happening is I’m being judicially referred and that the recording industry isn’t using me to make an example,” she said.
However, according to a letter sent by the RIAA to Weil, the recording industry still reserves the right to sue students who are illegally sharing files even if the college takes judicial action against them.
Weil said that by judicially referring students, the college is merely performing its responsibility to prove a pattern of action in response to RIAA’s notifications.
“The college really has little choice as to how we respond to these,” he said. “We’re not trying to make life difficult for anyone. We have legal requirements in these cases.”
Failure to react to RIAA’s warnings could result in the college being held liable for any other copyright infringement that occurs on campus.
Several colleges, including Boston College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles, have received subpoenas from RIAA demanding the identities of students sharing files on their campus networks.
Ithaca College has not yet received a subpoena, but Weil said such a move could be likely.
“We are definitely on the RIAA’s radar,” he said. “I would not be at all surprised if we got a subpoena at some point.”
While Pringle is uncertain as to whether the RIAA plans to subpoena the college, she said it would respond accordingly and release the requested information if a subpoena was received.
Both Pringle and Weil said that currently the most important matter is to educate students about the risks and consequences of file sharing.
“[The recording industry’s] not fooling around,” Pringle said. “They’re really trying to send a very loud message here, which is ‘Stop doing this.’”
Weil said that while more than half of the students he contacts about file sharing know that it is illegal, there is still a percentage of people who do not realize the possible consequences of sharing songs over the Internet.
When Michael, a freshman in the School in the Humanities and Sciences, discovered that his ResNet connection had been disabled on Monday because of the issue, he had no idea that Kazaa was running on his computer.
“It was just something I had thrown on while I was at home,” he said.
Allie, who lost her ResNet connection on Friday, said she was shocked that she was getting in trouble for file sharing.
“I don’t know anyone on this campus who doesn’t file share and doesn’t download music,” she said.
Rachel voiced a similar complaint.
“I was like, ‘Damn, I can’t believe I got caught,’” she said. She added, “It’s kind of irritating. I know friends who have so many more files downloaded, so many who file share who weren’t questioned.”
RIAA: One Down, 260 To Go
Fred "zAmboni" Locklear
While the RIAA would like to lump all P2P file sharers into the 18-30 year- old single/loner/hacker/cracker/pr0n monger/movie & music pirate demographic, the typical P2P user can come from all walks of life. The RIAA wants to scare people into thinking no-one is immune from prosecution...and that is the problem with the "gotta subpoena and sue them all" strategy...their lawsuits could be aimed at anyone. That person could be a 12-year old living in subsidized housing, a 71-year old grandfather, or maybe a 50 and 21-year old father-son combo.
Hoping to halt the quickly growing PR nightmare, the RIAA has quickly settled with the parents of the 12-year old girl for $2000. That is a far cry from the $150,000 per song they were seeking for "pirating" songs such as "If You're Happy and You Know It", and the theme from the TV show "Family Matters." Sensing a good time to strike while the coals are hot, Wayne Rosso, the president of Grokster, decided to join in the fun offering to pay the family's $2000 fine from his own pocket.
But Rosso plans to step in and pay the fine. "I'm trying to contact the mother to offer to pay the $2,000 for her out of my own pocket. I'm disgusted by the RIAA and its extortion tactics," he told vnunet.com.
"I thought that the two Joes, McCarthy and Stalin, were dead. But little did I know that they're both alive and well and running the RIAA."
Of course, if Rosso and other P2P top brass wants to step in and pay fines, the RIAA may start hiking up the settlement cost. It looks like people in Congress are taking notice, and it isn't doing the RIAA any good when it looks like the schoolyard bully is beating others up and taking the lunch, rent, and Christmas present money over downloading children's songs. With this backdrop, I wonder how the politicians will feel now that the recording industry is trying to equate P2P with Peer-2-Porn? Will they see through another RIAA attempt to protect their money pool?
On a side note, I was a bit disappointed last night with a file trading discussion segment on the Lehrer NewsHour. It could have been an interesting discussion between music industry insiders on opposite sides of the file sharing debate. On one side was John Flansburgh from TMBG, and on the other was Chuck Cannon, a Nashville songwriter. Cannon seemed to be content with the current music industry regime, and Flansburgh brought up good points, but never followed through with them. Those who are familiar with the debate would have understood his points, but he failed to educate those who are new to the situation. Here is a typical exchange:
JOHN FLANSBURGH ...And there are a lot of organizations intercepting paychecks besides fans. I think it might actually be too late for...
CHUCK CANNON: Such as?
JOHN FLANSBURGH: Record companies...
Flansburgh didn't expand on his thought. He could have quite easily laid out a simple business model where the money saved in distribution and overhead costs with online music services could be funneled back into the pockets of artists and songwriters. Instead of educating, he decided on the quick sound bite.
Addendum: Forgot this other tidbit. If you are thinking of signing up for the rumored RIAA amnesty program, you may want to think again. Many sources pointed out it may shield you against an RIAA sponsored lawsuit, but it may not give you immunity against other lawsuits coming third parties such as the singers and songwriters. In fact, these third parties may attempt to subpoena all this amnesty information from the RIAA in the same way the RIAA did previously with ISPs.
Broadband Behavior: I Want My Info Now!
Tenure online has a profound impact on behavior. The longer you’re online, the more your behavior changes, the more you adapt, the more likely you are to be in an always-on environment and the more likely that will accelerate the change in your behavior. According to a UCLA study that AOL participated in, 50% of online users in the United States have been online for four years or more; 27% six years or more. That is a line of demarcation. Behavior starts to really change after four years. Our research says that tenure and an always-on environment go hand in hand. The environment mirrors the tenure effect, and they both affect user behavior.
At AOL we did research with over 25,000 consumers to develop a picture of the always-on lifestyle, what it
means for our consumers. First of all, always-on users just plain use the Internet a whole lot more. 43% of broadband subscribers have multiple sessions a day, versus 19% of narrow band users. They spend twice as much time online. This year at AOL, for the first time, 52% of our users said they consider the Internet a necessity, a must-have part of their lives.
Broadband users communicate more online. There are 88% more e-mail sessions among broadband users than narrow band users, and almost 40% more instant messaging. A broadband household is three times more likely to have a PDA than the average U.S. household. Again, all of the forms of communication and staying connected accelerate with tenure and accelerate in an always-on environment.
Broadband users also consume more media. Almost half—48%—of broadband households listen to Internet music or radio daily. At AOL, our highly-tenured members (four years plus), are four times more likely to download music; 55% watch video clips every day. The role of online content is important, and growing.
There is an impact on TV. 40% of our highly-tenured members watch six hours a week less television than narrow band users. That’s a big number; and as the tenure increases, and the always-on environment grows, that will have ramifications for the television industry. It won’t end the television industry, but it will begin to have a meaningful effect on TV usage and viewing patterns.
There is a significant difference between how narrow band and broadband users allot time on the computer. Narrow band use is batched. A narrow band user tends to say, "Okay, I have a couple of things I’ve got to do today. I’ve got to get a movie time, go to the yellow pages to find the nearest dry cleaner, write an e-mail." So they batch those activities. They go online, do their tasks all at once, and then go offline.
But because with broadband the Internet is always there, users in the always-on environment go to it more often, and use it just to grab quick bits of information. Maybe they just want to know a movie time, or look something up in the yellow pages. They do it when they want; they don’t batch the online tasks, because they don’t have to.
In the always-on environment, not surprisingly, we’re beginning to see newspaper usage go down. In fact, the most important reason broadband users cite for going online is the ability to get information quickly. They just want to get it right away, right there. They are three times more likely to look for news and 25% more likely to look for entertainment information than the average Internet user.
Very importantly, 73% of broadband users call the Internet a better source of information than newspapers or television. The Internet is their preferred source for getting information. That’s a big number.
Apple Sells 10m Tunes On The Net
Music fans have snapped up more than 10 million songs from Apple's iTunes music store in four months. Apple said the 10 millionth song bought from its online store for 99 cents (66 pence) was Complicated by Avril Lavigne. The success of the iTunes music venture contrasts with other industry-backed, subscription-based music services. It comes as the record industry steps up legal action against people accused of illegally sharing music online.
The iTunes store is widely seen as one of the most consumer friendly methods of buying music online. It has become hugely popular since it was launched in May, partly due to the few restrictions on what people could do with the music they downloaded.
"Legally selling 10 million songs online in just four months is a historic milestone for the music industry, musicians and music lovers everywhere," said Apple boss Steve Jobs. Backed by the five major record labels, Apple offers 200,000 songs at 99 cents. At the moment the service is only available to Mac users in the US, but a Windows version is due by the end of the year. The iTunes store offers music fans a legal way to download songs over the internet, at a time when the record labels are trying to stop the millions of tunes shared without permission online. The music industry blames a slump in CD sales on online file-sharing services. It is now taking legal action against individuals accused of downloading pirated music.
Other companies are trying to replicate the success of Apple's iTunes, moving away from subscription-based services. These have failed to attract music fans as they are seen as too complicated and expensive. One service, BuyMusic.com, is selling music downloads for 79 cents per song and $7.95 per album. In Europe, Virgin has just joined other companies in launching its own service, reselling licensed music from the British technology company OD2 for as little as 60 pence a track. OD2 has a catalogue of over 200,000 songs and is the only European firm to have permission from each of the five major music labels to resell digital downloads.
Apple is seeking to capitalise on the appeal of its music service by announcing new versions of its digital music player, the iPod. The new model comes with a 40GB hard drive at a cost of US$499 (£399). which can hold as many as 10,000 songs. Apple also sells a 10GB iPod for $299 (£249) and a 20GB one for $399 (£299).
"The iPod and the iTunes Music Store offer music lovers an unbeatable combination that our competitors can't even come close to," said Mr Jobs.
"I don't want to get sued, but I don't want to support an industry that wants to sue me either," said Robert Vitro, a Columbia University student. "I'll just go back to primitive methods, like borrowing CDs from my buddies and burning a copy or two."
Deepest Musical Note Detected In Outer Space
Who knew: big black holes sing bass. One particularly monstrous black hole has probably been humming B flat for billions of years, but at a pitch no human could hear, let alone sing, astronomers revealed yesterday.
"The intensity of the sound is comparable to human speech," said Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. But the pitch of the sound is about 57 octaves below middle C, roughly the middle of a standard piano keyboard. This is far, far deeper than humans can hear, the researchers said, and they believe it is the deepest note ever detected in the universe.
The sound is emanating from the Perseus Cluster, a giant clump of galaxies some 250 million light- years from Earth. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km), the distance light travels in a year.
Fabian and his colleagues used NASA's orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory to investigate X-rays coming from the cluster's heart. Researchers presumed that a supermassive black hole, with perhaps 2.5 billion times the mass of our sun, lay there, and the activity around the center bolstered this assumption.
Black holes are powerful matter-sucking drains in space, and astronomers believe most galaxies, including our own Milky Way, may contain black holes at their centers. Black holes have not been directly observed, because their gravitational pull is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it.
So researchers have concentrated on what happens around the edges of black holes, just before matter is pulled in. When scientists trained the Chandra observatory on the centre of Perseus last year, they saw concentric ripples in the cosmic gas that fills the space between the galaxies in the cluster. "We're dealing with enormous scales here," Fabian said. "The size of these ripples is 30,000 light- years."
Fabian said the ripples were caused by the rhythmic squeezing and heating of the cosmic gas by the intense gravitational pressure of the jumble of galaxies packed together in the cluster. As the black hole pulls material in, he said, it also creates jets of material shooting out above and below it, and it is these powerful jets that create the pressure that creates the sound waves.
To scientists, he said, pressure ripples equate to sound waves. By calculating how far apart the ripples were, and how fast sound might travel there, the team of researchers determined the musical note of the sound. Fabian said the notion of singing black holes might well be extrapolated to other galaxies, but not necessarily to the Milky Way.
AT&T Bundles More DSL
AT&T today introduced its new residential digital subscriber line (DSL) high speed Internet service in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland. The four new states join New York as part of a nationwide rollout of DSL service that can be packaged as part of an AT&T local and long distance communications bundle.
AT&T intends to eventually offer the new DSL service in all states in which it provides bundled local and long distance residential services. AT&T now provides local phone service to more than 3.1 million consumers in 13 states and expects to expand its footprint by testing or marketing its bundled local and long distance services in 35 states by year-end.
AT&T initially launched its new DSL offer in New York in late July and has had tremendous interest from consumers interested in packaging high-speed Internet access with their other AT&T services. "We've been delighted with the results so far in New York and are excited to deliver the same benefits to customers in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland," said Ray Solnik, vice president of strategic markets, AT&T Consumer. "Families considering adding DSL to their AT&T communications bundle for those back-to-school projects now have an attractive and economical choice."
The new offer, which utilizes a nationwide data network provided by Covad Communications, enables consumers to bundle AT&T's DSL service with other AT&T local and long distance services. The ability to bundle AT&T DSL service is based on a process called line splitting, which involves AT&T "splitting" the loop it buys from the Bells to offer AT&T local, long distance and DSL service on the same line. Line splitting for large volumes of customers is an innovative process that gives consumers more choice for high-speed Internet access.
Consumers can choose the standard AT&T DSL plan for the price of a dial-up Internet connection--$19.95 a month for the first three months--and $39.95 a month thereafter. Or, consumers can choose the preferred AT&T DSL plan and enjoy even faster premium speeds. Consumers who choose the preferred plan get a $20 discount off of the regular price for the first three months. The preferred plan is available for $49.95 a month thereafter.
Doesn’t Add Up
Krugman is a favorite regular read. His latest is a favorite among favorites.
Apparently, the FERC has now settled with “energy companies accused of manipulating markets during the California energy crisis.” Through various price manipulations, those companies cost Californians $8.9 billion — not including the extraordinarily high prices we now face because of long-term contracts signed at the height of the crisis.
The FERC has now imposed a $1 million fine on the energy companies. As Krugman calculates, though they imposed costs of at least $250 on each Californian by their games, they’re required to pay 3 cents.
$1 million for $9 billion in real harm.
Let’s put this in some perspective.
Jesse Jordan (the RPI student who ran a search engine and was sued by the RIAA) was, the RIAA claims, liable for $15,000,000 in damages. When you add up the damages claimed against all four of these students (who again had built search engines), the RIAA was asking, on some estimates, for $100 billion dollars. That’s because, under our law as interpreted by the RIAA, downloading one song makes you liable for $150,000. Or, on the RIAA’s view of the law, cheaper to defraud Californian’s of $9 billion than download 10 songs from a p2p server.
“Oh,” you say, “but that’s unfair. You’re comparing actual fines imposed to the maximum fines that could be imposed.”
Ok, so let’s compare actual to actual.
In January, 2000, MP3.com launched a service called my.mp3.com. Using software provided by MP3.com, a user would sign into an account and then insert into her computer a CD. The software would identify the CD, and then give the user access to that content. So, for example, if you inserted a CD by Jill Sobule, then wherever you were — at work, or at home — you could get access to that music once you signed into your account. The system was therefore a kind of music-lockbox.
No doubt some could use this system to illegally copy content. But that opportunity existed with or without MP3.com. The aim of the my.mp3.com service was to give users access to their own content, and as a byproduct, by seeing the content you already owned, discover the kind of content the users liked.
To make this system function, however, MP3.COM needed to copy 50,000 CDs to a server. (In principle, it could have been the user who uploaded the music, but that would have taken a great deal of time, and would have produced a product of question-able quality.) It therefore purchased 50,000 CD from a store, and started the process of making copies of those CDs. Again, it would not serve the content from those copies to anyone except those who authenticated that they had a copy of the CD they wanted to access. So while this was 50,000 copies, it was 50,000 copies directed at giving customers something they had already bought.
Nine days after MP3.com launched its service, the five major labels, headed by the RIAA, brought a lawsuit against MP3.com. MP3.com settled with four of the five. Nine months later, a federal judge found MP3.com to have been guilty of willful infringement with respect to the fifth. The judge imposed a fine against MP3.com of $118,000,000. MP3.com then settled with the remaining plaintiff, Vivendi Universal, paying over $54 million.
So defraud Californians of $9 billion, pay $1 million. But develop a new technology to make it easier for people to get access to music that they have presumptively purchased: pay more than $54 million.
Such are the values of our time.
Smiling Mouse Smells Like A Rat
For some reason unknown to me, my daughters love watching Tom and Jerry cartoons. I guess the image of a little mouse smiling innocently before whacking the cat in the head with a 10-pound sledge hammer is riveting entertainment for children.
Even at their young ages, they know what is going to happen.
The giggles start before the weapon of choice is even shown on the screen.
That’s why the newly announced amnesty for file traders makes me smirk a little. The Recording Industry Association of America is smiling, offering a reassuring piece of mind to users who will admit they have downloaded or shared music files in the past.
Of course, those users have to provide a copy of a photo identification, sign a notarized form promising to delete any music files they may have downloaded and pledge not to do anything so nefarious ever again. In exchange, the RIAA mouse promises not to add lumps to the user’s noggin with its legal ball-peen hammer.
Let’s look more closely at this one. If users admit to file trading and have their data as part of this huge permanent record, the RIAA will have all the documents it needs to start batch filing civil actions if the amnesty seekers ever download again. I haven’t seen the notarized forms yet, but I can bet they are worded in such a way as to cover undiscovered or unimplemented technologies as well as the current file trading systems. Also, it is doubtful that any of the true music pirates -- the ones reproducing discs and selling them for profit -- will buy into this. What will happen is the general populace will be defenseless against the legal actions of a corporate lobbying group, while the true criminals continue to prance away, copying and selling music illegally.
Someone needs to stop the madness. The RIAA is acting more and more like an enforcement arm of the federal government at best, like mob protection men at the worst. Even if the organization has the right and power to guarantee amnesty for illegal file traders (which I doubt it does), the only thing that can come of a database such as the one being compiled is further encroachment on the already challenged rights to consumers’ personal use of music.
If I were to start collecting data from online users without their knowledge, compile it and use it to extort money from them, I would be a criminal. The RIAA has managed to do the same thing, except it was aided and abetted by legislators, courts and even the White House.
Current anti-piracy laws were designed to fight music pirates, not music consumers. The logical resolution of this battle, in the eyes of the RIAA, at least, will be the elimination of any consumer fair use rights. I don’t know that for fact, but all of the actions taken so far certainly point in that direction. The only option for the consumers who want to be able to use music they purchase is to stand up to the whims of the music lobby now. Take my advice. Just say no to the smiling mouse. Your bump-free skull will thank me later.
Free Data Recovery Software for Hard Drives and Digital Storage Media From Germany Is Now Conquering the US Market as Well Press Release
The two free data recovery programs from PC Inspector, a business division of CONVAR Deutschland GmbH, have already been downloaded over 500,000 times by customers from the USA during the last 3 months. Both free programs allow the recovery of deleted or damaged files on hard drives and digital storage media such as are used in digital cameras.
With PC Inspector, Convar has succeeded in integrating years of experience in the professional data recovery sector into a user-friendly program for the end user. The European Convar Group became known in the USA at the end of 2001 as over 400 disk drives from the destroyed WTC were processed at the Germany location with the "blue laser scanning" reconstruction process developed by Convar. The free data recovery programs, PC Inspector smart recovery, and, PC Inspector File Recovery, are available in the Internet at www.pcinspector.de. http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release...lease_id=57304
Fear May Not Spur CD Sales
A barrage of copyright-infringement lawsuits from the recording industry may have succeeded this week in striking fear in the hearts of heavy file sharers.
But opponents of the Recording Industry Association of America's approach say its heavy-handed tactics are unlikely to prove effective over the long run. Rather than give up on file trading, they say, fans probably will either seek more-anonymous ways to swap music or collect tracks from artists not affiliated with the RIAA.
"For the 60 million Americans who are using file-trading services right now, even if they get scared away briefly, I don't think it will be long before they find a less-traceable way of exchanging music," said Wendy Seltzer, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which offers legal aid to people targeted in RIAA suits.
Seltzer's comments come on the heels of a Monday announcement by the trade group, which represents the largest music labels, that it has filed suits against 261 people it claims illegally distributed music files using peer-to-peer networks. The suits, filed in courts around the country, targeted traders who had on average posted more than 1,000 songs to file-trading networks.
The RIAA blames file traders for contributing to declines in U.S. sales of new CDs over the past three years. While industry-sanctioned download sites, such as iTunes and BuyMusic.com, may be picking up some sales, they have not attracted anything close to the volume of users on free file-trading networks like Kazaa.
But as the industry's courtroom offensive takes shape, some music industry analysts and file-trading fans question whether the strategy will do much to further the RIAA's goal of boosting legitimate music sales.
"If you're trying to instill fear, you may have success. But if you're trying to increase CD sales by getting people to stop sharing music, I don't think it will have any effect at all," said Brian Zisk, technologies director for the Future of Music Coalition.
Zisk believes some of the blame for falling CD sales lies not with file sharing but with the growth in popularity of other entertainments products, like DVDs, video games and even cell phones. As people spend more money on these items, they have fewer dollars left for CDs.
Michael Goodman, a Yankee Group analyst, said the recording industry's legal campaign appears to be having an effect on file traders, but is also stirring a consumer backlash.
According to Goodman, early indications show that the RIAA's crackdown has resulted in a decline in peer-to- peer file trading. In mid-June, simultaneous users for Fastrack (the network that supports Kazaa and Grokster) averaged about 4.5 million per day at its peak. By late August, the number had dropped to about 3.5 million users. While vacations may have been a factor, the majority of this decline is likely because of the threat of a lawsuit from the RIAA, he wrote.
Notably, however, the decline in CD sales accelerated during the period of reduced peer-to-peer file trading. On June 15, the day the RIAA launched a subpoena campaign against file traders, CD sales were down 6.1 percent year to date. In the seven weeks since launching the subpoena campaign, the decline in CD sales has accelerated 54 percent.
"Although a seven-week period is not conclusive, it should give the recording industry pause," he wrote.
And while CD sales are down, traffic to the Boycott-RIAA website is up. The site, which asks people to buy music from artists not affiliated with the RIAA, saw a surge in visitors following the RIAA's latest announcement, said the site's founder, Bill Evans.
New RIAA Amnesty Forms
File-Swapping Lawsuits: Are You Next?
The Recording Industry Association of America sued 261 alleged file swappers Monday, launching a legal campaign against ordinary Internet users that could ultimately result in thousands of additional lawsuits.
But are you at risk?
If you or a family member have used Kazaa or any other file-swapping application recently and have left your computer open to the Net, the answer is possibly--although the odds of being singled out among an estimated 60 million people using peer-to-peer software remain small. If you've kept thousands of songs in the file you're sharing with other file swappers, then the odds are a little better, though still slim.
Here's a quick look at how the RIAA has done its investigations and what kind of information it has used to find people and file Monday's lawsuits.
Step one: Finding file-traders isn't hard. Anybody who opens a shared folder on Kazaa, Morpheus or any other file-swapping network is susceptible to potentially prying eyes.
In the most recent wave of investigations, the RIAA has used automated tools that look for a relatively short list of files. When it finds a person sharing one or more of those files, it downloads all or many of them for verification purposes. A complete list of these target files is not available, but a sampling of files cited in the early lawsuits includes the following artists and songs:
• Bobby McFerrin, "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
• Thompson Twins, "Hold Me Now"
• Eagles, "Hotel California"
• George Michael, "Kissing A Fool"
• Paula Abdul, "Knocked Out"
• Green Day, "Minority"
• UB40, "Red Red Wine"
• Ludacris "Area Codes"
• Marvin Gaye, "Sexual Healing"
• Avril Lavigne, "Complicated"
This is far from a complete list, but if you've downloaded and shared any of those songs recently, you may be at greater risk of finding your way onto the RIAA's list.
Step two: The RIAA uses features within Kazaa, Grokster and some other software programs to list all the files available within a person's shared folder and takes screenshots
of that information. As filed in court, that provides a record of what in some cases has been thousands of songs shared at once.
Step three: The RIAA's software records the Internet address associated with a computer that is sharing one of the copyrighted songs the organization is investigating. Some file-swapping programs try to hide this by using mechanisms such as proxy servers, but most downloads still expose this information.
Step four: According to information filed as part of a related lawsuit, the RIAA also has the ability to do a more sophisticated analysis of the files that have been downloaded. The group checks the artist's name, title, and any "metadata" information attached to the files, looking for information that may indicate what piece of software has been used to create the file or any other. Some files swapped widely on the Net include messages from the original person who created the MP3 file, such as "Created by Grip" or "Finally the Real Full CD delivered fresh for everyone on Grokster and Kazaa to Enjoy!"
The RIAA has also analyzed in detail some files' contents. The trade group has databases of digital fingerprints, or "hashes," that identify songs that were swapped online in Napster's heyday. Investigators check these fingerprints against those found in a new suspected file swapper's folder, looking for matches. A match means the file has almost certainly been downloaded from the Net, likely from a stream of copies dating back to the original Napster file.
Step five: The RIAA files a subpoena request with a federal court. The subpoena allows the group to go to an Internet service provider and request the name and address of the subscriber who's associated with the Net address that was used to swap files. A few Internet service providers (ISPs) have fought back against these requests, but most have been forced to comply with the RIAA's request.
Many ISPs notify their subscribers when a subpoena comes in that targets their information. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has set up a database that allows people to see whether their online screen name has been the target of one of these subpoenas.
The RIAA said it has filed more than 1,500 of these subpoenas to date.
Step six: Once the identity of the ISP subscriber has been exposed, the RIAA puts together all the information gleaned through the earlier technical investigation and files a lawsuit. In earlier cases, it has accepted settlement agreements that range between $12,000 and $17,000. In this case, it has accepted some settlement agreements for as little as $3,000.
Artists Blast Record Companies Over Lawsuits Against Downloaders
Joel Selvin, Neva Chonin
Recording artists across the board think the music industry should find a way to work with the Internet instead of suing people who have downloaded music.
"They're protecting an archaic industry," said the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir.
"They should turn their attention to new models."
"This is not rocket science," said David Draiman of Disturbed, a hard-rock band with a platinum debut album on the charts. "Instead of spending all this money litigating against kids who are the people they're trying to sell things to in the first place, they have to learn how to effectively use the Internet."
After three consecutive years of double-digit sales losses, and having lost a court battle against file-sharing Web sites such as Kazaa and Morpheus, the Recording Industry Association of America -- the industry's lobbying arm -- trained its sights on ordinary fans who have downloaded music. On Monday, the RIAA filed suits against 261 civilians with more than 1,000 music files each on their computers, accusing them of copyright violations. The industry hopes the suits, which seek as much as $150,000 per violation, will deter computer users from engaging in what the record industry considers illegal file- swapping.
This unprecedented move brings home the industry's battle against Web downloads, which the record business blames for billion-dollar losses since the 1999 emergence of Napster, the South Bay startup the RIAA sued out of existence. The suits are expected to settle for as little as $3,000 each, but the news was greeted with derision by the very people the RIAA said they moved to protect, the musicians themselves.
"Lawsuits on 12-year-old kids for downloading music, duping a mother into paying a $2,000 settlement for her kid?" said rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy. "Those scare tactics are pure Gestapo."
"File sharing is a reality, and it would seem that the labels would do well to learn how to incorporate it into their business models somehow," said genre- busting DJ Moby in a post on his Web site. "Record companies suing 12-year-old girls for file sharing is kind of like horse-and-buggy operators suing Henry Ford."
Artists are feeling the downturn in sales, too. "My record royalties have dropped 80 percent since 1999," said Steve Miller, whose greatest hits album has been a perennial best-seller since its 1978 release. "To me, it's one of the weirdest things that's ever happened to me because people act like it's OK. "
Recording artists have watched their record royalties erode over the past few years ("My Van Halen royalties are history," said vocalist Sammy Hagar), but, in fact, few musicians earn the bulk of their income from record sales.
"Bruce Springsteen probably earned more in 10 nights at Meadowlands last month than in his entire recording career," said rocker Huey Lewis.
Many artists painted the record industry as a bloated, overstuffed giant with too many mouths to feed and too many middlemen to pay, selling an overpriced, often mediocre product.
"They have all these abnormal practices that keep driving the price up," said Gregg Rollie, founding member of Santana and Journey. "People think musicians make all that money, but it's not true. We make the smallest amount."
The RIAA did not initiate these lawsuits to defend artists' rights, the musicians say, but to protect corporate profits.
"For the artists, my ass," said Draiman. "I didn't ask them to protect me, and I don't want their protection."
Artists also see the opportunities for promotion the Internet offers. Most acts maintain Web sites, and virtually every one features some free downloads. Country Joe McDonald said he posts more than 50 tracks available for free downloads on his site, countryjoe.com.
"Who doesn't want to get paid for their work?" said Wayne Coyne of the indie-rock band Flaming Lips. "But I think it works to musicians' benefit for people to be able to occasionally listen to their music and, if they really like it, go out and buy it."
Many of the musicians pointed to the iTunes Store recently opened by Apple Computers that sells individual songs for 99 cents apiece to downloaders. As diverse a cross-section as Disturbed's Draiman, the Dead's Weir, Moby and the Flaming Lips' Coyne all endorsed the officially licensed site -- run, significantly, by a computer company, not a record label.
"Apple has the right idea with the I-store," said Disturbed's Draiman. "You'd think these conglomerates like AOL Time Warner would have easy ways of doing the same thing, with these mergers between record labels and Internet service providers."
Many other factors along with the Internet are having an impact on the industry's financial slump: the poor economy in general, computer CD burners, the high retail price, and mundane, uninteresting music.
"I don't know that there's any one factor behind the industry," said Coyne. "Maybe it's downloading, or maybe people just didn't feel like buying so many records. So Metallica makes $10 million instead of $20 million, who cares? To me, the sympathy is unwarranted. Some of this is just the hazard of doing business. It's the nature of the world. At the end of the day, it's just rock and roll. It isn't that big of a deal."
All agree that the Internet is here to stay and that downloading files will be an increasingly important delivery system for music, regardless of the music industry's lawsuits. "The focus of the industry needs to shift from Soundscan numbers to downloads," said Draiman. "It's the way of the future. You can smell it coming. Stop fighting it, because you can't."
Will File Traders Face The Music?
John Borland and Declan McCullagh
Charles Dumond of San Mateo, Calif., learned that he was targeted in a landmark series of recording industry piracy lawsuits only when reporters started calling his home on Monday.
One of 261 people named by the Recording Industry Association of America in an unprecedented wave of lawsuits aimed at alleged "egregious" file traders, an angry Dumont said the accusations had taken him wholly by surprise.
"Personally, I have not done this," Dumond said in a brief phone conversation Monday night. "There may be other family members who do this. But the (Internet service provider) bill is in my name."
Dumond's experience was likely repeated hundreds of times in the last 24 hours, as lawsuit targets heard about the actions filed against them from reporters long before they saw legal documents or talked to an attorney.
Many of the lawsuit targets will likely end up settling with the RIAA in the largest copyright enforcement operation ever mounted against ordinary Internet users. But as details emerge, casting some of the defendants as parents of Kazaa-loving children or otherwise unwitting owners of file-swapping computers, some RIAA suits may turn out to be more complicated than they appear.
The suits themselves are simple. Filed in near-identical form in courthouses around the country, they are bare-bones copyright infringement claims, each listing a short number of works that each defendant allegedly offered to the public through file-swapping services such as Kazaa. Investigators downloaded and verified the authenticity of each of these allegedly infringing files, RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a conference call, as he announced the lawsuits.
Each suit contains a name and an address that has been provided by the alleged file swapper's ISP as part of an unusual subpoena process the Digital Millennium Copyright Act authorized. The RIAA has issued more than 1,500 subpoenas for alleged file swappers' personal information but has not said why it sued just 261 people of the larger pool of potential defendants.
But those addresses lead only to a single name on an ISP account. Many of those are likely to be sole account holders. Some, such as Dumond, will have an account several family members use. Others may use company computers or even be linked to wireless access points that serve the public without maintaining records of who is logged in at any particular time.
Mark Lemley, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, predicts that the RIAA will encounter problems if it sued someone who shared his or her Internet connection through a Wi-Fi wireless network. "Opening a computer to a Wi-Fi network...is definitely not an act of direct infringement, so the RIAA would need to find the people who actually did the uploading," he said.
In general, the RIAA's lawsuits against alleged file swappers are believed to stand a reasonable chance of succeeding. Every court that's considered the topic has concluded that illegal copyright infringing is omnipresent on peer-to-peer networks. But legal experts still caution that there are plenty of ways the RIAA's phalanx of attorneys could slip up.
First, the alleged copyright infringer could have a valid "fair use" defense for file sharing. The defendant might have "wanted to analyze a certain song for a music theory class but (was) unable to find a copy anywhere else," said Megan Gray, an attorney in Washington, D.C., who specializes in intellectual property cases.
Furthermore, Gray said, the file trader might be liable for damages but so impoverished that there's no way the RIAA member companies can collect. Finally, a minor child could have been the person trading files, and whether a parent is liable for a child's actions varies state by state, she said.
Dumond, the San Mateo resident, declined to give more information about his family or his own personal situation, criticizing the process that has made him a public figure without warning. "I am not a Kazaa user. I don't share music files on the Internet," he said. "Also, I received no letters prior to this, nothing from the RIAA, nothing from my ISP, nothing from anyone, which I think is inappropriate."
Another way an alleged file trader might succeed in defending a lawsuit is by relying on the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA), which could provide some form of legal immunization for peer-to-peer users. Napster unsuccessfully invoked the AHRA when the music industry sued it into oblivion, but courts might be more sympathetic to individual users, some legal experts believe.
The law says no lawsuit may be brought that alleges copyright infringement based on the "noncommercial use by a consumer of such a (digital audio recording device) or medium for making digital musical recordings." The latest generation of multimedia PCs that are equipped with CD and DVD burners may qualify as a digital audio recording device, the thinking goes, which would mean the AHRA applies.
Jessica Litman, a law professor at Wayne State University who testified before Congress when the AHRA was being debated, said it's "an argument I'd expect to see made, and it's possible that it will succeed.
"It's absolutely clear from the legislative history that Congress' attempt at the time was to protect all noncommercial forms of music copying, period. Consumers were exempt from making noncommercial copies of digital or analog music recordings...The argument hasn't been made since (Napster), but there hasn't been a consumer in front of the court. With a consumer in front of the court, the argument becomes significantly more compelling."
Like Dumond, Lynette Neuman, a Concord, Calif., resident also named by the RIAA lawsuits said she was given no warning before reporters contacted her. She also declined to divulge any information about her own situation.
Many RIAA lawsuit targets are still waiting to see what they are accused of before deciding whether to fight or settle.
"What I don't know is exactly what I'm supposed to have done," Dumond said.
WARNING: THIS PAGE LISTS PORNOGRAPHIC LYRICS FROM SONY MUSIC RECORDINGS
In the Sunday, September 7 issue of the New York Times, Andrew Lack, the President of Sony Music, and Mitch Glazier, an RIAA Vice President, are quoted heaping blame on filesharing software for spreading pornography. This charge is so thinly supported and blatantly hypocritical that it hardly needs comment, but if it can make it into the paper of record, it demands a response. That the major labels are even willing to try this strategy indicates that they are desperately flailing for allies of any kind. Unfortunately for them, liberals won't fall for it and conservatives probably hate Eminem just as much as Jenna Jameson. But the only pro-filesharing view expressed in the Times article (other than the reporter's own jabs) is an obviously self-interest comment from a Kazaa lobbyist. Since a public voice was missing, Downhill Battle has issued a quick press release response and has created this web page which has examples of pornographic lyrics from Sony Music recordings (...did you know that Sony distributes this smut in family-friendly, teen-unsupervised malls from coast to coast?!?!).
Sony Music and the RIAA say they want warnings on filesharing software like the un-enforced (and rather enticing) warning stickers on CDs. It should be noted, however, that if the record companies actually believed this line, they would have called for labeling on all web browsers, email, and chat programs-- but that would sound a little too ridiculous. In fact, most filesharing software already has mature content filters, but what the major record labels are really working for is legislation that would require parental approval before kids can use filesharing software; they want to create as many stigmas and barriers as possible. And how do you think record companies would feel about requiring parental permission before kids could enter CD stores where they sell their own pornographic recordings? Probably not quite as supportive.
Of course the other irony of record labels criticizing porn, which the Times article points out, is that the pornography industry and the music industry are actually united in their efforts to ban filesharing. Both realize that filesharing threatens their coercive business model: music fans have no allegiance to the corrupt major label system and porn companies know that you can't even try to guilt trip porn fans into paying for movies. So they're both pinning their hopes on lawsuits and scare tactics, while everyone else will just be relieved when the two industries crumble.
According to Andrew Lack, "P2P stands for piracy to pornography." Here then are selections of pornographic lyrics from two fairly recent Sony Music releases which pay the salary of this new anti-porn crusader. Of course there are many, many, many more examples of Sony Music and RIAA releases with pornographic and violently sexist content, we just got bored of looking them up. If you'd like to suggest some particularly choice nuggets to be added to this page, please email us at: email@example.com.
PORNOGRAPHIC LYRICS FROM THE HYPOCRITES AT SONY MUSIC:
From Sony Music's 2001 hit single "Oochie Wally" featuring Nas and Bravehearts:
"then that ass gettin tossed / fuck a hustler book, penthouse or blacktale / I got bitches sendin my niggas flicks in jail"
"Little young thing go around my dick with your tongue ring / Deep throat my nine inch,"
"Fuck my whole crew, you know how we do / you got that good pussy I can share with my peoples"
"I'll fuck a big boned or slim chick / Beat that pussy up real quick then send home the bitch"
From last fall's Sony Music release "Man vs. Machine" by Xzibit:
From the song Break Yourself:
"In the street make a nigga sleep six feet deep / Fuck piece bare back doggystyle"
"Fuck y'all, y'all homosexual / Hangin on my dick like testicle"
From Choke Me, Spank Me (Pull My Hair):
“She act like she ain't gon' survive the night without my dick all up in her ass, so quick, so fast / I see her twin towers and I'm ready to crash”
“I don't want to love, you / I just want to fuck, you / You should bring your friends, through I'll fuck you and them, too”
“I know it's hard to talk with all this dick in your mouth”
We don't mean to single out Nas and Xzibit, we actually like some of their less misogynistic songs. We've posted these lyrics to show the hypocrisy of Sony Music's anti-porn statements.
RIAA Sued For Amnesty Offer
A day after the Recording Industry Association of America filed a slew of lawsuits against alleged illegal song swappers, it became the target of legal action over its own "amnesty" program.
California resident Eric Parke, on behalf of the general public of the state, filed a suit Tuesday against the trade association because of its amnesty, or "Clean Slate," program, a provisional shield it introduced Monday that allows people to avoid legal action by stepping forward and forfeiting any illegally traded songs. The suit, filed in the Marin Superior Court of California, charges that the RIAA's program is a deceptive and fraudulent business practice.
It is "designed to induce members of the general public...to incriminate themselves and provide the RIAA and others with actionable admissions of wrongdoing under penalty of perjury while (receiving)...no legally binding release of claims...in return," according to the complaint.
"This lawsuit seeks a remedy to stop the RIAA from engaging in unlawful, misleading and fraudulent business practices," the suit reads.
The RIAA responded to the suit with a maxim: "No good deed goes unpunished, apparently."
"It's also unfortunate that a lawyer would try to prevent others from getting the assurances they want that they will not be sued," an RIAA representative wrote in an e-mail.
The complaint is the first legal retaliation to the RIAA's lawsuit campaign against individual file swappers. The trade group filed 261 lawsuits against computer users it said were exclusively "egregious" file swappers, marking the first time copyright laws have been used on a mass scale against individual Net users. The barrage of lawsuits signaled a turning point in the industry's three-year fight against online song-trading services such as Kazaa and the now-defunct Napster and one of the most controversial moments in the recording industry's digital history.
On Tuesday, the RIAA settled its first case with Brianna Lahara, a 12-year-old New York resident. The recording industry agreed to drop its case against the preteen in exchange for $2,000, a sum considerably lower than previous settlement arrangements. Legal actions by the RIAA had been taken on a sporadic basis against operators of pirate servers or sites, but ordinary computer users have never before been at serious risk of liability for widespread behavior.
After long years of avoiding direct conflict with file swappers who might also be music buyers, industry executives said they have lost patience. Monday's lawsuits are just the first wave of what the group said ultimately could be "thousands more" lawsuits filed over the next few months.
Under the RIAA's "Clean Slate" program, file swappers must destroy any copies of copyrighted works they have downloaded from services such as Kazaa and sign a notarized affidavit pledging never to trade copyrighted works online again.
But Ira Rothken, legal counsel for Parke, said after reviewing the RIAA's legal documents that the trade group provides no real amnesty for such file swappers. With the legalese, the trade group does not agree to destroy data or promise to protect users from further suits, Rothken said.
"The legal documents only give one thing to people in return: that the RIAA won't cooperate," Rothken said. "The RIAA's legal document does not even prevent RIAA members from suing."
The suit asks the court to enjoin the RIAA from falsely advertising its program.
The BBC's Lessons For America
Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, announced last month that the broadcaster would make the contents of its vast archive available to the public so long as any re- use of that content was for non-commercial purposes. (Commercial re-users will have to strike their own deal.) The BBC Creative Archive would enable the British to cultivate this national resource - for which they have already paid - for educational, critical or comedic purposes. The very structure will also make it much more likely that commercial creators will be able to identify content valuable to them, and then license that content from the BBC. The idea is a brilliant response to the extraordinary explosion of creative capacity enabled by digital technologies, in light of the BBC's founding mission - as Lord Reith put it - to “inform, educate and entertain”.
It also required a bit of creative thinking. For the natural intuition of content owners is control. The very idea of giving up perfect control over how and whether content is re- used is treason among insiders. But as the BBC understands, it does not live in Disney World. And in the course of its internal review an obvious question has become increasingly pressing: if the BBC could make its archive available cheaply, what reason is there for keeping it from the people who have already paid for it? Moreover, such access would increase the BBC’s chances of selling content commercially and make it more likely that the technology to cultivate this content (computers) will be more eagerly bought.
On the other side of the Atlantic there is little evidence of similarly creative thought. Instead, the US government remains captured by the extremists. The very same week that the Creative Archive was born in Britain, it was exercising its power to kill a planned meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), the United Nations’ intellectual property agency, to consider “open and collaborative projects to create public goods”. The examples that had led Wipo to call for that meeting included the internet and World Wide Web (whose protocols are in the public domain); a consortium of biomedical researchers and companies exploring single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs); and the Global Positioning System, which Ronald Reagan had set free for any use, commercial or non-commercial, in the United States in the early 1980s. It also included the phenomenon of free and open source software (F/ OSS). It was this last category that excited the opposition of Microsoft.
While there are many commercial developers who build and rely upon F/OSS (IBM and Apple to name two), Microsoft is not one of them. For it, F/OOS is instead a competitor. And it therefore launched a lobbying campaign to get the US to have the meeting cancelled.
There is no surprise in Microsoft's behaviour. Nor is there anything wrong with a business lobbying the government to behave in a way that benefits it, even if it harms everyone else.
But what was surprising was the US government's reasoning for the meeting’s withdrawal. Lois Boland, director of international relations for the US Patent and Trademark Office, explained “that open-source software runs counter to the mission of Wipo, which is to promote intellectual-property rights”. As she further explained: “To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of Wipo.”
These statements are astonishing for a number of reasons. First, they are just flat wrong. Neither “free” nor “open source” software is in the public domain. Both depend fundamentally upon strong intellectual property rights, and supporters of both are eager that Wipo facilitate easy enforcement of their rights in any jurisdiction.
Second, who said Wipo's sole purpose was to maximise intellectual property rights? Is Wipo against generic drugs? Is it a failure of Wipo's objectives that patents do not run for 100 years? As every serious economist since Adam Smith has taught, good intellectual property policy is not the same as maximal intellectual property rights. And as every serious policymaker should therefore understand, Wipo's objective should be good policy, not maximal rights.
But third, and most troubling, why would it be “contrary to the goals of Wipo” for intellectual property rights holders to “disclaim or waive” their rights? Property is all about individuals having the right to choose what they do with their property rights. Does Bill Gates undermine private property generally when he gives $20 billion to do good in the world? The last time I wrote about the United States Patent and Trademark Office on these pages, it was to praise the apparent scepticism of the Office's new boss. I was quickly scolded by the USPTO press office. The only problem with the patent system in the US, I was told, was that patents were not issued fast enough.
Ms Boland's comments confirm that the US administration remains captured by a simplistic and fundamentally misguided idea: that if some control is good, then more control must be better. That idea is simply wrong. And if the BBC survives the pressures now bearing upon it from the intellectual property extremists, perhaps its Creative Archive will help the US think more creatively as well.
Music Piracy Suits Could Bring Backlash
The recording industry has taken its piracy fight directly to music fans, suing more than 200 people this week alone. Now comes the hard part: Persuading the very people it has threatened with legal action to revisit music stores or sample legal downloading services.
That might prove difficult, some observers say, because the industry's lawsuit campaign could spark a consumer backlash spurred by the discontent many music fans already feel over soaring CD prices and the shrinking number of retailers offering varied music titles.
"The real hope here is that people will return to the record store," said Eric Garland, CEO of BigCampagne LLC, which tracks peer-to-peer Internet trends. "The biggest question is whether singling out a handful of copyright infringers will invigorate business or drive file-sharing further underground, further out of reach."
Jason Rich, of Watervliet, New York, said the record companies' campaign prompted him to stop downloading music from file-sharing networks, but he called the issue "disconcerting."
"I think it's kind of silly to go after individuals," said Rich, 26. "There are so many Web sites out there, people don't know necessarily they're doing anything wrong."
Some of the music fans caught in the piracy net cast by the recording industry took steps Tuesday toward settling the copyright infringement lawsuits levied against them for sharing song files over the Internet.
The industry sued 261 people on Monday and has promised to sue hundreds more in coming weeks as it strives to stamp out music piracy it blames for a three-year slump in CD sales.
The Recording Industry Association of America settled the first of the suits Tuesday for $2,000 -- with the mother of a 12-year-old defendant, Brianna LaHara of New York. Brianna was accused of downloading more than 1,000 songs using Kazaa.
RIAA Vice President Matt Oppenheim said he was not surprised to see young and old alike caught in the industry's snare.
"We know that there are a lot of young people who are using these services and we totally expected that we would end up targeting them," Oppenheim said. "As we have said from the beginning ... there is no free pass to engage in music piracy just because you haven't come of age. We're not surprised and we're not deterred."
Consumers already think so little of the music companies, that the lawsuits likely won't make much difference, said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research, Inc.
"The industry has been backed into a corner, and their image is so bad, the lawsuits are not going to be much of a problem," he said.
The industry opted to target individuals earlier this year, figuring music fans who prefer to get their music online now are beginning to have viable options to do so legally through for-pay music download services like Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store and Buy.com's BuyMusic.com.
But while iTunes has sold more than 10 million song downloads since its April launch, no service has emerged for the large majority of computer users on the Window platform.
There are signs some people have stopped file-sharing since June, when the RIAA announced its lawsuit campaign, and also have moved to other file-swapping networks perceived to be safer than the market leader, Kazaa.
Traffic on the FastTrack network, the conduit for Kazaa and Grokster users, declined over the summer and climbed again last month, as has the number of people using less popular file-sharing software like eDonkey, Garland said.
At the same time, a decline in CD sales worsened. Between June 15 and August 3, the decline in CD sales accelerated 54 percent. And as of August 3, CD sales were down 9.4 percent over the same period in 2002, according to the Yankee Group.
Apple Customer Resells iTunes Song
A customer of Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store said he has successfully resold a he song purchased through the service, ending a weeklong exercise he hoped would highlight the legal and technical nuances of emerging digital music services.
George Hotelling, a Web developer in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Tuesday reported the details of the transfer on his Web log.
In an interview Wednesday, Hotelling said he was able to give the song to a friend, Keith Elder, a Web developer in Ypsilanti, Mich., whom he met through an Internet discussion group. In order to close the deal, Hotelling said he had to transfer control of his entire iTunes Music Store account to Elder. He said he intends to demand 50 cents from Elder for the account, which included one song, the Devin Vasquez remake of Frankie Smith's song "Double Dutch Bus," which he'd originally purchased for 99 cents.
"For the average user, I'd definitely say this was extremely difficult," he said. "I guess you could say we're both extreme geeks."
An Apple representative declined to comment on the transfer.
Hotelling last week put the song up for sale on eBay as a way to highlight resale rights for digital music services, but eBay pulled the auction, saying it violated its listing policies.
Under the "first sale" doctrine, the owner of a lawful copy of a work is allowed to sell it without the permission of the copyright owner. But a recent study of the first sale doctrine from the U.S. Copyright Office suggested that the doctrine does not apply to digital goods, because such transfers imply making a copy of the work--something that's not explicitly addressed in the doctrine.
Hotelling said he transferred a copy of the song to Elder and then deleted it from his own computer. He said didn't know if the transfer violated Apple's terms of service, or whether it might be construed as piracy.
Apple has so far refused to directly answer the question of whether the iTunes Music Store's terms of service allow songs or accounts to be transferred. Queried by a reporter about the issue recently, an Apple executive downplayed questions over the download resale policy, saying technical, if not legal, barriers would largely prevent such transfers from taking place.
"Apple's position is that it is impractical, though perhaps within someone's rights, to sell music purchased online," said Peter Lowe, Apple's director of marketing for applications and services.
Hotelling said he accomplished the transfer by changing his account credit card to a prepaid card he purchased at a 7-Eleven store. After spending most of the money on the card, he gave Elder his iTunes account information and password.
"Not that I didn't trust him, but I wanted to show how this could be done by someone selling a song to a complete stranger," he said, regarding the use of the prepaid card.
Hotelling said he paid $29.95 for the card, including a $9.95 service fee and a minimum $20 balance. He said he used the card to donate $19 to online legal activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, effectively losing $1 dollar when the card wouldn't allow him to expend its full value.
Hotelling said he believes digital music services that develop techniques for easily reselling and transferring songs as gifts could have a competitive advantage over those of rivals.
Outside of the digital music arena, Hotelling said he's concerned about end user license agreements from some software companies that contractually limit the first sale doctrine, for example, PC makers who preinstall Microsoft's Windows operating system but require the software to be removed before the computer can be resold.
Although Hotelling lost money on the deal, he said it was worth it to make an important point about digital resale rights.
"It was a success," he said. "I was able to transfer the song, I documented it, and Apple even said it was probably legal. I think the biggest success was raising the issue in a lot of people's minds."
'Amnesty' for Music File Sharing Is a Sham
Fred von Lohmann
No one can hold a candle to the music industry when it comes to squandering an opportunity. Having gotten everyone's attention by threatening to sue 60 million American file-sharers, flooding Internet service providers with more than 1,500 subpoenas and on Monday suing hundreds of individual file-sharers (or their parents) in federal court, the Recording Industry Assn. of America has blown it again.
Here's what the RIAA has proposed as its "solution" to file-sharing: an "amnesty" for file-sharers. Just delete the MP3s you've downloaded, shred those CD-R copies, confess your guilt and, in return, the most change-resistant companies in the nation will give you nothing. Oh, the RIAA promises not to assist copyright owners in suing you. But its major-label members reserve the right to go after you, as do thousands of music publishers and artists like Metallica.
In other words, once you have come forward, you are more vulnerable to a lawsuit, not less. This is more "sham-nesty" than "amnesty." What a waste.
Rather than trying to sue Americans into submission, imagine a real solution for the problem. What if the labels legitimized music swapping by offering a real amnesty for all file-sharing, past, present and future, in exchange for say, $5 a month from each person who steps forward?
The average American household spends less than $100 on prerecorded music annually. Assuming that many people will continue buying at least some CDs (a recent survey by Forrester Research found that half of all file-sharers continue to buy as many or more CDs as they did before catching the downloading bug), $60 per year for file sharing seems reasonable.
And such a plan would surely be more popular than the use-restricted and limited-inventory "authorized" alternatives. After all, the explosive growth of file-sharing is the strongest demand signal the record business has ever seen. The industry should embrace the opportunity instead of continuing to thrash around like dinosaurs sinking in hot tar.
Rather than asking music fans to brand themselves as thieves, the music industry could be welcoming them back into the fold as customers. Five bucks a month doesn't sound like much, but it would be pure profit for the labels. No CDs to ship, no online retailers to cut in on the deal, no payola to radio conglomerates, no percentage to Kazaa or anyone else.
Best of all, it's an evergreen revenue stream — money that would just keep coming during good times and bad.
It has been done before. This is essentially how songwriters brought broadcast radio in from the copyright cold. Radio stations step up, pay blanket fees and in return get to play whatever music they like. Today, the performing-rights societies like ASCAP and BMI collect the money and pay out millions annually to their artists.
It's easy to predict the industry's excuses: "We don't have all the rights." "Antitrust law prevents us from acting together." "What about my cut of the CD?"
Puh-leeze. You tell us your industry's on the brink of extinction: It's time to do something daring, not suicidal.
The labels can create a new business model that will serve as an example to other copyright owners. After all, it's no more radical than their threatening millions of Americans — customers — with ruinous litigation. What court or regulator is going to get in the way of a new approach that turns fans back into customers? Especially if the labels decide to offer a piece of the pie to artists — the only group with a credible claim to victimhood, even if most of their victimization has come at the labels' hands.
There are only two possible outcomes here: Either the music companies stop whining and woo the 60 million potential customers who have voted with their PCs for file- sharing, or some new companies will. There's no place in the world for companies that are bent on holding back the future.
Let's see a real amnesty, one that displays respect instead of spite for customers.
|11-09-03, 09:15 PM||#3|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New England
Study: Two-Thirds Of Digital Music Files Come From File-Sharing Services
Two-thirds of all digital music files come from file-sharing services, while the rest are copied from CDs, a research firm said.
Among the most popular services for sharing tunes are Kazaa, which accounts for 21 percent of downloads, and WinMX, 5 percent, The NPD Group said in a survey based on information gathered from 40,000 households with PCs.
NPD also found that 64 percent of the households with Internet access had at least one digital music file on their computers, 56 percent had more than 50 files and 8 percent had more than a thousand.
"NPD's most recent information shows that a majority of people have a very basic experience with digital music; however, there clearly are a small percentage of users who have taken advantage of file sharing services to compile massive libraries." Russ Crupnick, vice president of the Port Washington, N.Y., research firm, said in a statement. "The RIAA's focus on those sharing the most files makes sense, because this group provides the most egregious example of one of the music industry's most pressing business issues - copyright infringement."
The Recording Industry Association of America this week filed 261 lawsuits against file sharers in federal courts across the nation, accusing them of breaking copyright laws by downloading music files. The suits were the result of subpoenas the RIAA had sent to Internet service providers, universities and other organizations asking for the identities of some 1,600 people. Some of the defendants in the suits were as young as 12 years old.
Grandfather Caught In Music Fight
A grandfather has said he was wrongly accused of illegally downloading music online at the start of a legal campaign by the US music industry.
Durwood Pickle, 71, of Texas, said his teenage grandchildren used his computer during visits to his home.
"I didn't do it, and I don't feel like I'm responsible," he said.
Mr Pickle was among 261 individuals accused of sharing music files on the internet without permission.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed lawsuits in federal courts across the US on behalf of major record companies Universal, BMG, EMI, Sony and Warner Brothers.
HAVE YOUR SAY
It is the public and the artists that should be suing the RIAA and its members for anti-competitive, monopolistic practices
It warns those found guilty that they face fines of up to $150,000 (£100,000) per song swapped. Critics have accused the RIAA of being heavy-
Yale University professor Timothy Davis, who was also named in the lawsuits, said he would stop sharing music files immediately.
He said he had downloaded about 500 songs before his internet provider notified him about the music industry's interest in his activities.
There are presently no plans to launch US-style legal actions internationally or in Europe
Another defendant, Lisa Schamis of New York, said her internet provider warned her two months ago that record industry lawyers had asked for her name and address.
She said she had no idea she might be sued but acknowledged downloading "lots" of music over file-sharing networks.
RIAA president Cary Sherman said he hoped the legal action would prompt parents to pay more attention to potentially illegal activities by their children.
"We expect people to say 'It isn't me, it was my kid,' but someone has to take responsibility," Sherman said.
The music industry says file-sharing is a violation of copyright laws and blames the practice for a drop in CD sales worldwide.
The film industry also says it is being hit by online piracy but it has not yet announced it will be taking similar action.
But media analysts believe it is only a matter of time.
"There's no question other industries will do the same," said Latika Sharma, head of IT law practice at London-based law firm Landwell.
The global music industry trade body, the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said it will focus its efforts outside the US on education.
"There are presently no plans to launch US-style legal actions internationally or in Europe," a spokesman for the IFPI said.
He added: "But uploading copyrighted music is illegal, and for a good reason, and legal action against uploaders cannot be ruled out in the future."
Can Rip-Proof CDs Save The Music Biz?
Coming soon: The untouchable compact disc
Can anything save the music business?
Since 1999, CD unit sales have plunged 26 percent -- a decline of $2 billion -- thanks in part to file-sharing services and other forms of digital piracy. The record labels'
frustration is so acute that the Recording Industry Association of America has begun suing hundreds of consumers who have exchanged music on peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa, Morpheus, and Gnutella.
But what technology giveth, can it taketh away?
The industry hopes so: This month the first copy-protected CDs are expected to start showing up on music-store shelves in the United States. And that's great news for the one or more lucky companies whose music-locking tech will be adopted. Even by modest estimates, licensing fees will amount to more than $100 million annually.
The big winner could be Macrovision, a major provider of copy protection to Hollywood. With revenues of $102 million in 2002, the company, based in Santa Clara, California, commands a near monopoly on video and DVD copy protection, providing the system used in more than 2.1 billion DVDs and 85 million DVD players.
Macrovision also built the antipiracy technology used to protect 150 million music CDs sold in Europe and Japan.
"Our DVD business is in the $40 million- to $50 million-a-year range, but the CD market is twice as big," says Macrovision CEO Bill Krepick.
The technology for the U.S. market is expected to be a better version of the trouble-prone systems introduced in Europe and Japan, which generated complaints when they failed to play on many car stereos and PCs.
Macrovision's technology, called CDS-300, hides the original audio tracks but makes pre-compressed music files available for limited downloads to PCs. The company's main competitor is Phoenix-based SunnComm, a 25-person upstart that already has a contract to supply copy-protection technology to BMG, the fifth- largest record label. SunnComm's MediaMax CD-3 also restricts the original audio files, but does so on the user's PC, rather than the disc, by installing a kind of software lock.
Krepick argues that Macrovision's experience and size give it an advantage.
"We're not a garage operation," he says.
But Bill Whitmore, SunnComm's chief operating officer, points out that CDS-300 has been plagued by delays.
"Nobody's seen Macrovision's new technology work," he says.
Looking for sales
No need to fight, boys: Analysts like Sterling Auty of J.P. Morgan say the labels may well hedge their bets, relying on several vendors to provide copy-protection technology.
But even if everyone's system works flawlessly, will the new CDs improve sales? Don't bet on it.
In Germany and Japan, where the labels began selling copy-protected CDs in 2000, sales have continued to decline.
Review: The Archos AV320 MediaBox
Richard Menta 8/26/03
This milestone portable fully achieved its purpose of liberating digital video files from PCs (despite having a few flaws like a small screen). A year later Archos has released its successor, the AV320, and this portable is even better.
The Archos AV320 is a notable improvement over the Archos Jukebox Multimedia. The key is a significantly larger 3.8" display that takes up most of the AV320's sizable faceplate. The Archos Jukebox Multimedia, released at a time when color LCD displays were much more expensive, utilized a 1.5" display to keep its price reasonable. It was a very good display for its small size, but we still wanted a larger screen.
The display is not the only area where the Archos AV320 makes improvements. You can see both significant and subtle progress in the evolution of this new breed of portable, one whose niche Archos still has mostly to itself. (RCA has a unit coming out in the fall and rumors are that a video iPod is in the works. Sharp and Panasonic have units in the Japanese markets, but they use low capacity SD cards instead of a hard drive for storage so they don't really fit in this class).
As of this writing the Archos AV320 sells for a healthy $600, a price that includes the digital video recorder module.
The most important element to the Archos AV320 is its ability to record video on the fly from a VCR or DVD. The Archos Jukebox Multimedia was also designed with this in mind, but Archos has yet to release the video record accessory for that player.
Other features of the unit include modules to read various flash memory cards and an FM radio that connects to the AV320 via a cabled remote control.
Fire up the AV320 and the screen lights up brightly, then in a couple of seconds the best display we have ever seen on any media portable appears. The body of the Archos AV320 is 90% display -- that is a big plus. Nine clear icons come alive to navigate the user between recording and playback duties, as well as through various setup controls.
Next, we switched to video and played "Ice Age." What we saw in the first few minutes was impressive. The video quality was excellent, better than what we expected and an improvement over the Archos Jukebox Multimedia. Of course, the better the video quality the higher the file size, but the Archos has an ample 20GB worth of memory.
We loaded the supplied drivers into our test computer and the unit was recognized immediately. Archos keeps file transfers straight and simple. The user's PC sees the unit as another hard drive. Simply drag and drop files into the proper folder and you are done. Make sure it is the right folder, though. We dragged a video file into the music folder just to see what would happen and when we powered the unit back on it did not appear on the AV320's menu.
The unit plays compressed AVI files or those later converted to comply with MPEG-4 Simple Profile (there are two implementations of MPEG-4: Simple Profile (SP) and Advanced Simple Profile (ASP). Like the Jukebox Multimedia, the AV320 can't play the latter). There are also several flavors of AVI files that will need to be converted using a video translator like Virtual Dub before the unit will play them. For those who have tons of files in the MPG format, you are out of luck unless you can convert them to AVI.
The unit comes with the Archos Jukebox Multimedia MP4SP program which incorporates Virtual Dub to handle the conversions. When we first loaded the program it directed us to the Virtual Dub site to download that freeware program. MP4SP also prompted us to download DiVX, which did not exist on our test computer. Adding all the needed programs was an uneventful procedure.
Those who trade movie files online today will find that most of the files they download will have to go through the conversion process, a time consuming job.
To play the Archos AV320 on a TV set, simply use the composite video/audio cable that comes with the unit. As long as your TV or VCR has video/audio inputs, you should have no problem playing your files. There are three cables; one for video and two for the left and right audio channels. Stereo TVs will take all three while Mono sets will only accept one of the audio cables.
Once the player was attached and the TV was set to AUX, we were ready to start. For those who wonder why the TV is not put on channel 3, like it is when used with a VCR, it is because the Archos puts through a straight video feed as opposed to a VCR that transmits its picture via a RF (Radio Frequency) signal.
The AV320 comes with all the cables needed to connect to a video source such as a VCR or DVD. Most television sets don't have output jacks, so to record your favorite TV shows, you just need to use the VCR tuner.
Once we had all the connections made, we toggled to the Archos' VideoCorder icon and hit enter to begin the recording process. This menu is only accessible when there is a signal feeding through the unit. Once in, we immediately saw the signal come up on the AV320's screen, a baseball game between L.A. and St. Louis. We hit record and the player did just that. Even though connecting the player to the source was a fuss, recording was effortless.
The AV320 plays and records both in the American NTSC standard and the British PAL standard. There is a menu in the record screen that allows you to select the proper standard and to adjust the recording quality. Another interesting feature we did not expect since it was not mentioned in any of the literature was a programmable record timer.
The recordings came out very well. They were less sharp than the "Ice Age" recording that came with the player, but the color was excellent and the resolution was satisfactory.
Since the Archos allows users to make good quality recordings of TV programs and DVDs, you will start to see more such programming reach the Net as the mediabox niche grows. The Archos player records via analog methods (a cable to a DVD or VCR), so it is unaffected by any Digital Rights management protections added to DVDs. If you can view it on your television, the Archos can record it.
In our opinion, file trading is not the threat the entertainment conglomerates make it out to be. Yes music sales are down and that allows the record companies to blame it all on file trading, but DVD sales are up. Way up. Every major movie release has made it on the Net, usually well before the DVD comes out. Did DVD sales go down? No. Did they stay the same? No. Did they go up? Yes, by 61 percent.
But our protests and logic mean little if Disney takes you to court. You lose the moment you have to shell out for that first session with the lawyer, so our advice is to be cautious with the files you create and remember, Micky Mouse is not a nice guy in real life.
How One Telecommunications Giant Reconnected After 9/11 Destruction
The telecom company's cables were crushed and submerged in water after 7 World Trade Center crashed. Verizon's phone cables were crushed and submerged in water after 7 World Trade Center crashed. Finally, its rehabilitation work is just about complete. By the end of this year, more than 1,000 customer-service staffers at Verizon Communications in New York City will face one of the toughest mornings of their lives. They'll return to work for the first time to 140 West St., the building that stands across the street from where the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001. The building may still be erect, but it has taken two years to make it habitable after sustaining severe damage from the towers' collapse—a catastrophic event that took out a vital nerve center in Verizon's network in Lower Manhattan.
That 140 West remained structurally intact is testament to its bunker-like construction. Its next-door neighbor, 7 World Trade Center, fell right against it. Steel beams crashed through an underground vault that held all of the wiring at 140 West, virtually destroying the building's links to Verizon's network. Cables were crushed or submerged in floodwaters. Verizon executives and workers had to wear moon-suits to enter the building. "Words can't describe what was going on," Paul LaCouture, Verizon's Network Services Group president, would say nine months later.
Today, Verizon continues to retool its network in Lower Manhattan. While the physical restoration of switches, underground cables and other network equipment at 140 West was finished more than a year ago, Verizon still has some 600 technicians working on what it calls "de-hubbing"—off-loading some of the network traffic handled at 140 West to other switching offices in Manhattan. That work is expected to be finished sometime next year.
The World Trade Center events tested Verizon to an extent unimaginable on Sept. 10, 2001. Yet, less than a week after the twin towers fell, Verizon supplied the New York Stock Exchange with enough telecom service to reopen for business.
The damage inflicted by the falling towers caused a complete failure at 140 West—200,000 voice lines, 150,000 business lines, and the equivalent of about 4 million data circuits went out of commission. The worst damage occurred underground. Verizon inspectors found about 300 of the 500 underground cables that fed into 140 West were damaged or rendered inoperable because of water damage from broken mains at Ground Zero. The steel beam that crashed through the underground vault cut off a key connection point between 140 West and Verizon's local network. The air compressor system in 140 West that kept those conduits clear was badly damaged. Overtaxed power generators eventually gave out.
Verizon deployed 1,600 technicians to rig up a replacement network. The upper floors of 140 West had to be cleaned up enough to get some of the network equipment running again. Emergency power had to be reestablished. New cables were run out the building's windows and down to the street. Those cables then had to be spliced, wire by wire, to undamaged conduits a few blocks away from the destruction.
But, Verizon also had to keep the aboveground conduits clear. "We built an entirely new air compressor system from scratch," says Joe DeMauro, a Verizon regional president responsible for the outside wiring plant in Lower Manhattan.
All told, about 3,000 field technicians and managers were involved in the restoration work in Lower Manhattan.
A Korean company by the name of Axxen Technology has released a PC component whose sole purpose is to enable all cassette tape functionality controllable from your desktop. The hardware, called PlusDeck, fits into a spare 5 1/4" bay and allows for a single cassette tape to be inserted and played.
It can be used to record in analog from other sources within your PC, whether it be a website or music authoring software.
The main features of the kit is the ability to record music onto the cassette tape from any digital source and record audio from a cassette and convert it into MP3 format. The aim is to provide the ability to still record information to and from what is now seen as quite an old format. The website points to the fact that many people still have tape players in their hi-fi and cars or have old tapes containing music they wish to save and this provides an easy solution to converting that data into a current format.
Graffiti Artist Sues game Maker For Using Vandalism Without Permission
New Filing – Grand Theft Auto
US SD New York 03CV-5147
Rockstar Games, Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Graffiti artist Christopher Ellis filed suit against two software companies for allegedly using without permission his artwork in the video game, “Grand Theft Auto III”.
In the suit, Ellis asserts that Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software copied, used, and distributed his artwork, “Daze” in the videogame that is played on Playstation2 and other medians.
The suit says that Ellis has gained an international reputation for his work, which has been reproduced in books, magazines, and film.
Causes of Action: Copyright infringement.
Filing Counsel: Carl I. Kaminsky.
Big TVs, MP3 Players Most Popular Electronic Gear
Large-screen television sets and MP3 players were the most popular electronic products sold in 2002, and will continue to dominate sales in 2003, industry figures show.
The Consumer Electronics Association, a U.S. industry group representing more than 1,000 corporate members with annual sales of $85-billion (U.S.), also said in its yearly report that despite the poor economic climate, total sales of consumer products are expected to reach $95-billion in 2003.
The figure is up slightly from 2002, when it was $93.9-billion.
The report covers such items as video, audio, mobile, home information, blank media, accessories, electronic gaming and home-security products. This year the CEA added personal digital assistants to the mobile electronics section.
After large-screen TV sets and MP3 players, highest sales in 2002 were in aftermarket autosound, mobile video and navigation, digital cameras, blank media, accessories and batteries, and electronic gaming hardware and software.
"Despite deflation, which puts downward pressure on revenue growth, the strong up-and-coming categories such as LCD TVs, plasma TVs and digital still cameras will continue to grow … over the next five years, even as some sectors continue to shrink due to convergence and bundling," CEA director of analysis Sean Wargo said.
In percentage terms, sales of LCD TVs are expected to more than double in sales from 2002 to 2003 (212.3 per cent), while plasma screen TVs will go up 76.3 per cent. Sales of MP3 players will rise 9.8 per cent, wireless phones by 0.8 per cent and personal computers by 0.5 per cent.
Last year, plasma TV sales grew by 344 per cent, followed by MP3 players (105 per cent), digital still cameras (41.7 per cent) and LCD TVs (36.6 per cent).
Ultra-Wideband: Multimedia Unplugged
Very short low-power pulses can move a DVD's worth of bits around the home in seconds
Part 2 of this special report deals with a new mode of very high- speed, low-power networking called Ultrawideband.
A funny thing happened to ultrawideband wireless technology on its way from the laboratory to market. It changed from a unique carrierless radio system into something far less exotic.
When the technology is finally standardized, it will be a carrier-based system most likely incorporating frequency hopping and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM). Its purpose, however, will remain unchanged: to replace almost every data cable in your home, even the ones going in and out of your television set, a job that requires moving hundreds of megabits of data per second. That's faster than all but the speediest of wired networks. The speed is achieved, however, over distances of only 10 meters or so.
But it's the speed that has so many companies excited. Such heavyweights as Hewlett-Packard, Infineon, Intel, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, and Texas Instruments all want a piece of the impending action. They formed the MultiBand OFDM Alliance in June and have come to dominate the IEEE's ultrawideband (UWB) task group that's writing a UWB standard.
Ultrawideband's new clothes have two tailors. The first is the growing recognition of the technology's commercial potential. The other involves the surprising limitations placed on it by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC, Washington, D.C.) in February 2002, which made the carrierless approach less attractive.[see [see "FCC (Finally) See Little Noise From UWB"]Now the large companies are vigorously promoting a technical approach different from the ones developed earlier by the smaller companies that started the commercial UWB movement.
Despite this change, UWB promises to revolutionize home media networking, taking over such tasks as downloading images from a digital camera to a computer, distributing HDTV signals from a receiver to multiple TV sets around the house, connecting printers to computers, and potentially replacing any electronic signal (not power) cable on the premises [see figure].
The advantages of UWB are several. For one thing, it works well in crowded and noisy radio environments. Before the FCC put limits on the spectrum that a UWB signal could occupy, developers thought in terms of spectra that began somewhere in the vicinity of 100 MHz and stretched up to several gigahertz. Such a broad signal is quite resistant to interference because any interfering signal is likely to affect only a small portion of the desired signal. Also, if some frequency components of the signal have trouble penetrating the walls of a building, the theory goes, the majority will probably get through.
As far as causing interference is concerned, the pulses are at such low power levels that any equipment along their path cannot hear them. In fact, their power must be less than the level permitted for the incidental electronic noise generated, for example, by appliances or the switching power supplies in computers.
EU Software Patent Opponents Turn Up Lobbying
Free and open software proponents rally against proposal
Opponents of a proposed European law on software patents have overhauled their lobbying efforts in a last ditch attempt to turn lawmakers' opinions in their favor.
Next Wednesday the Green Party in the European Parliament, which agrees with opponents such as the open source and free software communities, will host a conference on the draft law, which is scheduled to be voted on at the next plenary session of the European Parliament towards the end of this month.
Unlike previous such events, the list of speakers at the half-day event come from the academic mainstream, and also include consumer representatives.
Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium and the inventor of the Web, is expected to give a virtual address and then participate in an online debate with conference attendees.
Dr. Alan Mycroft from Cambridge University will present a petition signed by fellow scientists urging lawmakers to re-think their supportive views about the draft law before they vote.
Dr. Luc Soete, Founder of Merit at the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, will present a letter co-signed by fellow economists also urging European Parliamentarians to change the position they appear set to take at the plenary vote.
Jim Murray, head of the Europe-wide consumer group BEUC, will explain to delegates that the directive as it stands is too unclear to pass as law. "I doubt a few amendments by the European Parliament will fix that," he said Thursday.
As a consumer representative he will argue why it is in the interests of European citizens that European Parliamentarians should take more time to understand the complex issues at stake before voting on the text.
The conference will also hear from representatives of local government in Europe who have already opted for open source structures for their office software needs. Jens Mülhaus, a member of the City Council of Munich, Germany, will outline why his organization prefers a computer software environment that isn't dominated by a few large patent-owning corporations.
Previous attempts by the open source and free software communities to steer European lawmakers away from supporting the draft law are widely seen to have failed, according to public affairs and lobbying experts in Brussels.
"Up until now the lobbying effort against this software patent law has been a shambles," said one expert with no direct involvement in the debate, who asked not to be named. He added, "They have been totally outgunned by the slick lobbying of corporations like IBM and Microsoft. At last the opponents appear to be getting their act together, and now the fight appears to be more balanced."
Previous lobbying efforts used Richard Stallman, the uncompromising, evangelical figurehead of the free software movement as their ace when trying to win over members of the European Parliament (MEPs) bewildered by the complexity of the subject.
File-Sharing Firms Await Suits' Outcome
Jon Healey and P.J. Huffstutter
The companies behind Kazaa, Grokster and other file-sharing networks weren't named in the 261 copyright-infringement lawsuits filed this week by the major record labels, yet their livelihood depends on how the public responds.
Like television networks, the companies whose software makes file sharing possible survive on advertising and other revenue tied to the size of their audience. The labels hope to shrink the audience by making people afraid to share songs, depleting the virtual inventory that makes the networks appealing to millions of music lovers — and profitable to their operators.
Recording Industry Assn. of America President Cary Sherman has said the labels plan to sue thousands of people, with new claims coming "on a regular basis until people get the message." Legal experts say it won't be easy for the labels to have much effect by going to court against individuals, given that more than 60 million people share files online in the United States alone.
In fact, the biggest blow the labels have been able to strike has been in saddling three of the most popular file-sharing companies with large legal fees, by suing Grokster Ltd., StreamCast Networks Inc. and Sharman Networks Ltd. The record companies, which were joined by movie studios in the suits, lost preliminary battles with Grokster and StreamCast but are continuing those fights on appeal. The Sharman case is pending.
The recording industry "just can't accept the fact that they lost, and they still think that they didn't lose. So obviously, there's a certain parallel to the California recall election," said Grokster President Wayne Rosso. "By attacking users for uploading, they're trying to attack our network."
Monday's lawsuits targeted users of Grokster, Kazaa, IMesh, Gnutella and Blubster. Sharman's Kazaa is the most popular file-sharing network by far; it attracted a total of 12.6 million people in the U.S. in July, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
The privately held file-sharing companies don't release their earnings. Executives at two of the companies estimated that a popular network can generate $100,000 to $300,000 in revenue a month and that Sharman probably collects several million dollars per month. Executives at Sharman declined to comment.
The file-sharing companies' advertiser-supported business model should be familiar to the media giants suing them. They also are tapping into new sources of revenue, selling advertisement-free versions of their software and taking a percentage of their partners' sales of products and services.
Unlike broadcasters, file-sharing companies don't have to pay for the programming that attracts people to their networks. Instead, that programming — in the form of digital movies, songs, photographs and games — is supplied by the users themselves. Users also cover the cost of distributing those files, further cutting the networks' expenses.
Practically every business that advertises online now uses file-sharing networks as well, "everyone from auto insurance to debt to credit cards to mortgages, right across the spectrum," said Robert Regular of Cydoor Technologies Inc., which sells advertising space on Kazaa and Grokster. The main holdouts are "top tier" brands such as Coca-Cola, he said, adding, "These brands usually do not want to attach themselves or participate in anything until it's extremely proven."
One Voice on Piracy
The five major labels cast competition aside to fight illegal downloads
Warner Music Group Chairman Roger Ames wouldn't budge. The industry veteran refused last summer to join an effort by his four major competitors to sue illegal downloaders who were crushing the industry's bottom line.
Ames insisted that before the labels unleashed their attorneys and risked a potential public relations backlash, they needed to provide consumers with an alternative, a place where the pirates could legally download songs from all five major record companies.
"We made it clear to everyone that we weren't prepared to go forward with lawsuits until there were attractive and comprehensive online services up and running," said David Johnson, Warner Music's general counsel.
Warner Music's cooperation was crucial.
"If there had been division among the major record companies, it would've given license for a lot of other people to take contrarian views," said Hilary Rosen, who was then the industry's top lobbyist as head of the Recording Industry Assn. of America.
In the end, Ames' resistance forced the labels to put aside their cutthroat rivalries and agree for the first time to sell songs from all the companies on two label-owned online services.
"People realized this wasn't 'Let's see if we can sweet-talk Roger into this over a beer," said one executive familiar with the contentious, yearlong negotiations that on Monday led to the filing of 261 lawsuits against a nationwide assortment of alleged pirates.
As the effort to enlist Warner Music's support illustrates, the decision to take legal action did not come easily or quickly. The deliberations among the fiercely competitive big five record companies were plagued by distrust and conflicting agendas, which is often the case when they are forced to confront industrywide issues.
The fact that agreement ultimately was reached, however, is testament to the shared miseries and desperation of the record companies owned by AOL Time Warner Inc., Vivendi Universal, Sony Corp., Bertelsmann and EMI Group.
Last year alone, piracy was blamed for siphoning about $10 billion from global music sales. Even before this week's lawsuits, the labels had coalesced to combat illegal downloading by taking legal action against a variety of file-sharing networks but failed to put a dent in the pirate population.
Hauling individual downloaders into court seemed the only option left to the labels, which had been feuding with one another over Internet strategies as the problems they jointly faced only worsened.
Bertelsmann, for example, had outraged its competitors in 2000 by providing financial support to ailing Napster Inc., the pioneering online service that allowed music fans to obtain free songs with a click of the mouse. The purchase came at a time when the German company's BMG music division had joined the industry's lawsuits against the file-swapping network.
Some labels also questioned Warner Music's resolve to fix the problem, fearing that parent AOL Time Warner would soft-pedal any anti-piracy litigation that could threaten its America Online unit.
Last summer, several labels resisted Ames' demand that they "cross-license" their music for sale on two separate sites financed by the five companies. Some thought there was no time to waste on tangled talks. Wary of giving the slightest edge to a competitor, they could not even agree on how the music would be made available and at what price. In all, it took six months for the labels to reach an agreement.
Litigators for record conglomerates had kicked around the idea of suing individuals for years, at least since Napster popularized file swapping in 1999, sources said. But the attorneys hadn't pushed the idea, fearing a public relations disaster.
But by last summer, the piracy crisis had become so severe that lawyers for the major record companies believed their bosses would finally pull the trigger.
Universal executives, who had discussed the plan internally, favored litigation against individual downloaders from the outset.
"No one relished the idea," said Universal Music President Zach Horowitz. But, he said, "artists and songwriters were losing their livelihoods. Retail stores were closing. Employees at music companies were being laid off. The message wasn't getting across that the underlying behavior was illegal and wrong."
Top executives from the other music giants, including Sony Music and EMI, chewed over the potential backlash against the industry that probably would follow the litigation but also decided to sign on.
"The PR issues are always there in the front of people's minds. But you either let that run the agenda, or you get your best PR in place and then deal" with any bad publicity, said David Munns, chief executive of EMI's North American division. "Basically, people realized we didn't have a choice."
Piracy Gets Mixed Reviews in Industry
File sharing is seen as a burden and a boon
Alex Pham and P.J. Huffstutter
By going to court, the major record labels are showing a united front against music piracy. But the bootlegging of songs online isn't universally reviled by the thousands of people who make their living in the $14-billion U.S. recording industry.
To the chief executive of a rap music label, every pirated song means less money in his pocket. To the bass player in an independent band, however, file-sharing networks provide far more exposure than traditional outlets, such as radio. And to the musician who tours with acts such as Beck and Sheryl Crow, the popularity of Kazaa, Morpheus and other online networks ought to persuade the record labels to embrace the Net to reach customers.
A sampling of what rank and file members of the industry had to say:
Bass player for Earlimart, an independent band
People today have new expectations about being able to browse music before they buy. If people are downloading our music, we look at it as a positive thing. For us, it just seems to be a promotional tool. If anything, it's helping us at this point.
Maybe my opinion will change when our record sales start to have a more direct effect on our personal incomes.
At this point, I like the fact that people can listen before they buy the product. Not everyone has the disposable income to go out and buy everything.
I still believe that if a band is really good — if you're writing great songs and you work real hard and tour like crazy — people will buy your record and that's going to help your income.
We put a lot of art into our work. Our record is an enhanced CD with videos on it. That's not something you can download, at least not yet. So we hope that's an incentive for people to own the record.
My reservations about downloading is really an aesthetic one. Imagine if Pink Floyd's "The Wall" came out now. There's this whole idea of concept records, the idea of a record that has a beginning, a middle and an end. There are some records that should be listened to that way. If people download individual tracks, they miss out on the artistry that goes into making the whole.
Chief Executive of 2 Real Entertainment, a rap label
I've been writing songs since I was in a talent show in fourth grade. That was back in '84 or '85. It was a way to have a conversation with people in the streets, a way to reach out with words. And it got me paid.
I don't download music at all, but bootlegging's been around forever. I know a lot of the kids don't understand it. They don't understand that whole publishing thing. That's what you eat off of, because you don't make huge money when you sign up with the labels. It's the other things that help you get paid. It's the clothing lines and the producing and the publishing. It's the songwriting and the licensing you get from that.
The kids don't see that. I have college kids come up to me all the time, saying, "Hey! I've got this hot bootleg mix CD with your music on it." What he doesn't figure out is he's taking food off my table. They sell the tapes for $10 a pop.
At first, I got mad. Now, I roll with it and use the tapes as a promotional avenue. I go down to the studio once or twice a month, and knock out three to four songs that will just be for these mix tapes. One of these mix tapes might get the word of mouth going, and that's good for me.
Co-owner, Amoeba Music stores, Berkeley
For our business, it's been as equally helpful as hurtful. If people [who use file-sharing services] are listening to things they otherwise wouldn't listen to, it's great for us.
People who are into music need a way to discover artists, because the radio isn't a very good way to do that. File sharing can be helpful in educating the public.
I'm 46 years old. People [from] my generation have been alienated from the music world. Nothing is played on the radio for us. We have no way of finding out what's new and cool. NPR maybe breaks about one or two interesting things a year that percolate through my generation. But there are so few examples of that.
Stealing — I'm certainly not a proponent of that. Everyone loses out, especially the artists.
But the music industry long ago should have developed a system to help listeners learn about music so they can look up artists and hear what they sound like. Then they can go out and buy what they're interested in.
As far as Amoeba goes, we're doing OK, because people come here to find the unusual stuff, the broad catalog.
It's the chain stores that are hurt by this. People who listen to pop are more likely to shop at chain stores, and they're more likely to take it off the Internet. No one wants to spend $20 to get one song.
Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
Band member, co-founder of Jellyfish and TV Eyes
Session and tour musician for Beck, Blink 182, Sheryl Crow
The world of recorded media is changing at lightning speeds, and nobody knows what to do about it.
I am on the fence right now about this whole thing. I see where it can be a powerful tool for promoting small and medium artists. On the other hand, all the artists are being ripped off to a degree.
But it's the medium-sized bands and smaller acts that suffer the most from piracy. That scene relies incredibly on sharing and word of mouth.
It's not the Limp Bizkits and the Metallicas. Sure, they can argue losses on paper. So what does that mean? They can't buy their sixth Mercedes?
I make a lot of my living through session work. Many of the bands that I work with are so big that piracy doesn't affect them. The multi-platinum acts still hire me. I don't see them hurting.
But I'm painfully aware and sad about the current state of the business.
We've all been living with the old design where bands sign up with record labels, and musicians end up losing control. In my opinion, that model has ripped off more from musicians [than piracy].
Why not try something else? What have I got to lose by jumping in and experimenting with doing a selected release on a few Web sites?
There has to be some kind of alternative that omits the recording labels so the artist becomes the salesman for his wares. And the Internet could be the vehicle by which he can do that.
Suits Could Clarify File-Sharing Rules
A slew of cases expected to be filed by the music industry will test how copyright law applies to individuals online.
On this there has been virtually no dispute: People who share copyrighted music online with strangers are breaking the law.
Several federal judges have held as much in cases against file-sharing networks such as those of Napster Inc., MP3.com Inc. and Grokster Ltd. Even the most ardent defenders of peer-to-peer networks acknowledge that many users run roughshod over copyright rules.
But that conventional wisdom has never been tested in a case pitting copyright holders against individual file sharers.
That could change as early as this week. The recording industry is poised to sue potentially hundreds of people who offer free music online — an unprecedented action expected to ripple across the music business and the community of 60 million people in the United States who use file-sharing networks.
At the very least, the lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Assn. of America probably would provide a much clearer guide to just what's allowed as lawyers tease out previously unheard defenses and argue over the nuances of copyright law. At most, the suits could upend conventional wisdom about online piracy.
"Permissible aspects of file sharing exist, and we need a rule book," said Glenn Peterson, a Sacramento lawyer representing an alleged file sharer whose identity and address have been sought in a subpoena by the RIAA. "I have teenage kids. I want to be able to say, 'You can do A, B and C, and you can't do D, E and F.' "
In 2001, a judge shut down the pioneering Napster service. (The brand later was bought by Roxio Inc., which is working to launch a version of Napster by the end of the year that will pay the record labels and music publishers for their wares.) The record labels this year lost a case seeking the same fate for the Morpheus and Grokster services, which don't keep control of what their users do. Morpheus is distributed by StreamCast Networks Inc.
But because those rulings involved the file-sharing networks themselves, not individual users, "it isn't clear to me that the courts have really confronted directly the question of whether the things that some people do with peer-to-peer are or are not acceptable," said Peter Jaszi, a copyright specialist at American University's Washington College of Law.
Simply figuring out whom to name as an individual defendant takes a fair amount of sleuthing. The RIAA spent the summer using more than 1,000 subpoenas to force Internet service providers to reveal the names and addresses of customers suspected of distributing free music.
Music collections are easy to find online. Once the RIAA identifies a particularly large stash on a PC, it tracks down the machine's Internet protocol, or IP, address — essentially its location on the Internet. Then it tries to get Internet access providers to match that IP address with a name.
But some caution that the name attached to an IP address isn't necessarily the right name; the user who downloaded music could be another person in the same household — or even a hacker thousands of miles away.
An IP address is "not DNA, and it's not a fingerprint," said Joseph Singleton, a lawyer at the Beverly Hills firm Vorzimer, Masserman & Chapman who has been contacted by two people whose information was subpoenaed by the RIAA.
RIAA attorney Matt Oppenheim said that if evidence in a case shows someone else in a particular home was using the suspect computer improperly, a suit will be amended to add that person as a defendant. And he pointed out that the law doesn't exempt minors.
Legal experts expect many of those sued to settle quickly. Yet there also is a good chance that advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation will pick out certain individuals who tell a convincing story and subsidize their defense.
For those who fight the suits, a key goal will be to show that enough of the facts are in dispute that they deserve to have their cases go before juries. Given that half the Internet users in the United States have used a file-sharing network, the odds are high that a jury member would know someone who has downloaded music improperly. Those jurors could be sympathetic, and multiple trials could stretch the record industry's resources.
"If everyone fights it, they lose," Singleton said. "The federal courts will shut down."
Spontaneous mass support could conceivably erupt as well. One of the four college students sued by the RIAA this year for running a small peer-to-peer network asked for donations through a Web site and recouped all of his $12,000 settlement costs.
Juries might also consider something they are not supposed to under copyright law: intent. One anticipated defense is that any file sharing was accidental.
Most of the major peer-to-peer networks allow users to indicate whether they wish to open up files on their computers for others to copy. (The RIAA is going after people who they believe both offered and copied files because the law is slightly different in each instance.)
Some file swappers have told the networks that they didn't want to share music — but didn't realize that when they downloaded a file, the new music was still placed in a folder that could be accessed by others.
"I know of a couple of cases where somebody has opted out" of automatic sharing but "didn't appreciate that" second mechanism, Peterson said.
Oppenheim, the RIAA lawyer, said a jury would not forgive such ignorance.
"The first response is, you must have your head in the sand. We've done everything humanly possible to get the word out, sending millions of instant messages" to logged- on users of Kazaa, offered by Sharman Networks Ltd., and other such services, he said. "The second response is it's irrelevant as a matter of law."
True, but a surprising amount of digital copyright law is still unsettled, including whether "ripping" a song from a purchased CD is legal. Some defendants probably will say they downloaded only music they already owned on CD. For them, downloading arguably had the same effect as ripping.
The U.S. Supreme Court, when it legalized the videocassette recorder by a 5-4 vote, ruled that what it called "time-shifting" — that is, taping a show now to watch later — is fine. The law on "space-shifting," which includes ripping and arguably downloading copies, is less clear.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco authorized sale of the Rio portable MP3 player in 1999 and made comments favorable to space-shifting, implying that moving a purchased song from one format to another is permissible. (The Rio is now sold by Tokyo's D&M Holdings Inc.)
Yet when Universal Music Group sued MP3.com, a federal court in New York held that the Internet firm wasn't entitled to copy CDs and then play the songs online for people who had purchased the same CDs.
MP3.com's defense was based on the concept of "fair use," which permits such activities as critics quoting passages of a book. The Copyright Act lists four factors that must be weighed in determining when an act qualifies as fair use: the purpose of the copying, including whether it is commercial or educational; the nature of the work; the amount of the work that is copied; and the effect of the copying on the market for the work.
In part because MP3.com was, like Napster, trying to make money, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that it flunked all four tests.
Nonetheless, individuals who try a fair-use defense have a chance of winning on the first and fourth tests, some experts believe. Theoretically, they could fight to a draw. "Nobody's really sure how far it goes," said Tyler Ochoa, a copyright professor at Santa Clara University's law school.
In "Tone Deaf to a Moral Dilemma?" (Sept. 2) an important view held by many musicians and file sharers alike was not mentioned: Record companies have been made obsolete by technology. This is to the benefit of the consumer. The only valuable service that record companies ever had to offer was distribution of music. To raise the demand for this service they took on the secondary "service" of promotions.
Clearly the former service is no longer needed, and the only people who ever benefited from the secondary service were the record companies themselves and the few musicians ("performers" is a more apt description for some) who were fortunate enough to be chosen to be advertised.
In the transition between these distribution methods it is unfortunate that record company employees will have to spend some time finding new jobs. Though I'm sure it will turn out all right for them. Most of us have survived such periods. To impede such wonderful technological progress for the sake of paying people to do a job that is no longer of any use would be a shame.
10.7M New DSL Subs
LONDON -- DSL - the world's most popular broadband technology - added another 10.7 million subscribers in the first half of 2003 according to new figures prepared for the international DSL Forum by London analyst firm, Point Topic. This brings the total number of subscribers to 46.7 million. North America added 1.2 million new subscriber s in the six month period, with Japan (at 8.257 million) being the only country overall with more connections than the USA's 7.575 million.
Additionally, the USA's growth rate for the six months was the third largest globally; only Japan and China grew by more subscribers. Western Europe showed the greatest growth for the first two quarters, where 12.8 million homes and businesses are now using broadband DSL, second only to Asia-Pacific at 17.8 million subscribers.
Top 10 D/Ls - Singles
P2P Billing Arrives
LONDON -- Bridgewater Systems Corp., a provider of IP service fulfillment and billing software, believes Internet users are going to swap music files no matter what, leaving service providers with no choice but to manage and, more importantly, profit from P2P traffic (see Bridgewater Manages P2P Traffic ).
With this in mind, privately funded Bridgewater, based in Ottawa, has teamed up with Ellacoya Networks Inc. to enable service providers to manage peer-to-peer traffic and bill for it (see Ellacoya, Bridgewater Demo Provisioning ).
”There’s little point in doing all the tiered services and bandwidth management if you don’t integrate with billing and back-office systems,” says Matt Burke, spokesman for Ellacoya.
At the Broadband World Forum tradeshow in London this week, the two companies are demonstrating how broadband subscribers can use self-service Web portals to order changes to their broadband services, such as increasing bandwidth on demand and adding or modifying services. The demonstration shows on-demand access to a premium streaming service, premium peer-to- peer, and an Xbox-only gaming service.
According to Bridgewater, once a user requests changes, billing is initiated, required network element changes are effected, and the service is activated in real-time.
"The influx of peer-to-peer, gaming applications, and other premium services is an indication that subscribers are taking advantage of their broadband connections not for just higher speed but for value-added services and content distribution," says Ron Sege, president and CEO of Ellacoya Networks. “The Ellacoya/ Bridgewater deal saves the provider significant operational expenses by automating the provisioning of both the network and back-office systems. It brings the whole thing under control.”
Keeping P2P traffic in check is a worrying problem for service providers as more and more users sign up to file-sharing networks, undeterred by the record and movie industries' latest efforts to contain them.
Just this week the Record Industry of Amercia Association (RIAA), on behalf of several major record labels, filed separate lawsuits against 126 individuals in federal courts across the U.S. The suits target users with libraries of 1,000 or more songs, which they share with other users on networks including KaZaA and Grokster among others.
”Some people have been scared off by the RIAA’s actions, but there are still millions out there sharing files, and the record companies can’t get them all… The sensible thing for carriers to do is accept the situation and work with it,” says Mark Denton, Bridgewater product manager.
Bridgewater’s customers include Bell Mobility in Canada, Covad Communications Inc. (OTC: COVD - message board), ICG Communications Inc. (Nasdaq/ Frankfurt: ICGX - message board), and TeliaSonera International Carrier (TIC) among others. It claims to have more customers in Europe, although it's unable to name them due to non-disclosure agreements. The same goes for Ellacoya's customers on the continent. “European providers are more into on-demand services because they went through the regulatory process before the U.S., so there’s more competition there,” says Ellacoya’s Sege. "They have to implement new services to compete."
Bridgewater is also working with Allot Communications and is said to be in talks with P-Cube Inc., both of which provide P2P management platforms.
Big Media Lack Creativity
The low-risk, bureaucratic way to run a media company is to focus on products similar to those that have already succeeded...you need only look at television, music and films today to see that this is exactly what happens.
Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric, invented a process by which you could record sounds and play them back, over and over again. The modern media business was born. And now, after dabbling successfully in aero engines, medical equipment and financial services, GE is returning to these roots. Through Universal Studios, Jeff Immelt and his colleagues are now promoters of Eminem and producers of Seabiscuit.
The prospect of media industries inevitably being dominated by large international conglomerates has long excited investment bankers and depressed creative people. But, more recently, it has seemed to be yesterday's idea rather than today's. Time Warner, whose appetite for acquisitions was always greater than its capacity to finance or absorb them, made a deal too far and gave away half the company in exchange for AOL. AOL has now cheekily announced that its brand is tarnished by association with the struggling AOL Time Warner. And two European adventures in America have come to grief. Thomas Middelhoff was fired from Bertelsmann, Jean-Marie Messier from Vivendi Universal, and the empires they built are being dismantled.
Although other media giants are in better shape, their experience does not offer strong support for the inevitable consolidation of the industry. News Corporation and Viacom are the creations of business geniuses with an exceptional eye for undervalued assets and the evolution of their industries. But with Rupert Murdoch aged 72 and Sumner Redstone 80, the direction of these businesses is bound to change. Michael Eisner's vision for Disney is that you make money for Disney's shareholders - and chief executive - by exploiting the existing repertoire far more exhaustively than anyone had imagined possible.
The argument for vertical integration is that delivery needs content and vice versa. This is why the AOL Time Warner deal was, briefly, thought to be a marriage made in heaven. Content does need delivery - but it does not need to own it; the FT needs the newspaper delivery boy's bicycle but does not need to buy it. The notion that Disney required the ABC network for distribution was ludicrous. And there are good arguments for keeping these businesses apart. The newspaper round will be more efficient if one bicycle carries several titles - and there will never be much rapport between a rap artist and a telephone company.
Perhaps horizontal integration is required by technological convergence, as new media blur boundaries between print, film and music. But assembling disparate groups of people with past success in established production and distribution systems is not necessarily the best way to exploit these opportunities. Music publishers have been more concerned to defend their existing businesses against the internet than to exploit it. New thinking comes most often from new companies.
Some people emphasise the opportunities for cross-selling in a multi-media business. Warner Bros can use AOL to promote Harry Potter films on the internet. But you do not need common ownership for this. The originator of the Potter phenomenon is Bloomsbury, the independent book publisher, and subsidiary rights are licensed to many different companies. Books with television tie-ins are today's fashion but it is only fortuitous if the network and the publisher are part of the same corporation.
Media conglomerates are the product of the ambitions of those who run them rather than the imperatives of the market. Media businesses depend on talented, often difficult, individuals and their well founded suspicion of multinationals is an obstacle to the success of such businesses. The low-risk, bureaucratic way to run a media company is to focus on products similar to those that have already succeeded. And you need only look at television, music and films today to see that this is exactly what happens.
Current bestsellers, for instance, tend to be diet guides, courtroom thrillers and sporting biographies. I counted three genuinely original works among them: The Life of Pi; The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency; and Schott's Miscellany. Each was brought to market by a small, independent, specialist publisher.
Music Industry Could Have Turned Customer Complaints to Gold
The Internet is a powerful medium to harness consumer discontent, says Gartner analyst Adam Sarner. "It's one thing if customers complain to the company about a problem. It's another if they complain to each other and the attention becomes more and more public."
When the Recording Industry Association of America made its dual announcements Monday -- that is, saying it would pursue lawsuits against some 260 music file-sharers while at the same time offering amnesty to anyone it had not yet targeted -- critics bemoaned the association's tactics and lack of foresight.
"This movement of getting music off of the Internet has been long in coming," Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Jason Schultz told CRMDaily.com. "The music industry knew this is what customers wanted -- yet they didn't respond."
There is certainly some truth in Schultz's observations, as well as a lesson for other industries on the perils of ignoring consumer complaints.
"The music companies had a wealth of data that told them that these business and distribution models [would be] the growing trend," Gartner research analyst Adam Sarner told CRMDaily. "Customers became angry at the perception that the music industry didn't care about what they wanted but just wanted to make a fast buck."
The end result, as we all know, was something of a perfect storm in the annuals of customer complaints. In droves, consumers developed and flocked to their own exchanges when the music industry failed to respond. To be sure, there are other issues involved -- such as the legalities and moralities of downloading something that is the creation of someone else, who therefore does not get paid. That is not the point in this particular discussion, though.
The point is that the music industry did not respond when it should have, choosing instead to ignore or dismiss the warning signs, Sarner said. "The handwriting was on the wall years ago."
Harnessing the Complaints
Increasingly, companies are learning that it can be dangerous to dismiss customer griping. The Internet has become a powerful medium to harness this discontent, Sarner said. "It's one thing if customers complain to the company about a problem. It's another if they complain to each other and the attention becomes more and more public."
He said that message boards in particular are prime resources for companies to see what their customers are saying about them - - both good and bad -- and to translate that data into solutions for problems or, better yet, improved products or services.
"There is a wealth of consumer data out there that is free or next to it," he said. To be sure, not all of it is completely constructive (see, for example, aolsucks.org) but by shifting through it, there are valuable nuggets to be found (complaints.com).
Beatles Suing Apple
Apple Computer Inc. is being sued by Apple Corps. The parent company for music legends, The Beatles, has begun legal proceedings against Apple Computer, citing breach of contract for the suit, according to Fox News.
Apparently when Apple Computer first started, The Beatles sued them for the use of the corporate name. In addition to a hefty cash settlement, Apple agreed to only use the corporate name for computer products and not enter the music markeplace.
Years later, The Beatles sued and won another lawsuit when Apple shipped computers that allowed music to be played through attachable speakers. That lawsuit charged breach of a trademark agreement since Apple had agreed to steer clear of the music business. Fox News estimates Apple has paid US$50 million in the lost suits so far.
The latest round of legal proceedings surround Apple's popular MP3 player, the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, which just sold its 10 millionth song online.
"When it first happened with the iPod, we said, "What could they be thinking?" said a Beatles legal insider, who agreed that posters announcing the iPod from "AppleMusic" were among the most egregious violations. "They knew we had the agreement, and that we'd won a lot of money from them already."
An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.
Music Services Hit a High Note
Consumers appear ready to make the switch from free to fee.
The digital music download industry has turned a corner, with Apple Computer selling its 10 millionth song and RealNetworks announcing that its Rhapsody service achieved an average of 500,000 streaming song downloads per day in August.
RealNetworks streamed over 16 million on-demand tunes through its newly acquired Rhapsody service in August. The service is available only to Windows users.
"In the past five months, the service has more than doubled the number of songs streamed to customers each month," the company says. Rhapsody offers a subscription-based service that lets members listen to songs on demand using their computer.
Sean Ryan, RealNetworks' vice president of music services, says, "The consumer market is finally ready for music services that deliver a better-than-free experience. August's numbers prove what we've been saying for months: Legal music services have unquestionably caught the ears of music fans."
Apple launched the world's first consumer-friendly digital music distribution service, ITunes Music Store, on April 28. On its launch, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs called the service "downloads done right," and criticized existing services for failing to capture consumer need.
The company sold its 10 millionth track--Avril Lavigne's "Complicated"--through the service on September 3. "Legally selling 10 million songs online in just four months is a historic milestone for the music industry, musicians, and music lovers everywhere," Jobs said at the time.
Artists and analysts agree that digital music delivery is the likely future for much music sales. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin says, "It's clear Apple has delivered a working and successful platform for music fans to discover artists and purchase both albums and single songs instantly with ease. We embrace these efforts enthusiastically and see them as the future of our business."
With so much at stake, competition in all territories is intensifying, and major online media properties are taking position to reap the benefits of the emerging industry. Microsoft has teamed up with the OD2 service (cofounded by musician Peter Gabriel) to deliver music downloads to Windows users in Europe. Tiscali and Virgin have also joined up with OD2 to offer the same.
Roxio is still preparing to relaunch its recently acquired Napster brand, RealNetworks plans to upgrade its Rhapsody service, and Sony has launched its own. Even controversial Internet entrepreneur Scott Blum has joined the feeding frenzy with BuyMusic.com.
Many existing services use Microsoft's Windows Media 9 service, which is not currently supported on Macs but is going through ratification as an Internet standard. Microsoft plans to release Windows Media 9 for Mac OS X this autumn.
The Recording Industry Association of America, meanwhile, is continuing its attempts to end music piracy, which emerged to fill the vacuum left by the established music industry's signal failure to exploit new technologies as they emerged in the 1990s.
In its retrospective attempt to control online music distribution, the RIAA has begun legal actions against individual file traders. Most recently, the RIAA took $2000 in settlement from the mother of a 12-year old girl for alleged file piracy.
Critics say the RIAA's strategy could become a PR disaster for the music business, and consider it unlikely to revamp CD sales. Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff told Associated Press: "Many of these individuals have fallen out of the habit of buying CDs. They think CDs are too expensive; they only want a couple of tracks on the CD."
Bullying, Balls, Reflectoporn And Some Work For Charidee...
Anybody who watched 'The Curse of FriendsReunited' on Channel 5 this week will have been
reminded of two things. First, that Channel 5 is the source of some of the UK's most trite television programming (as if you needed reminding), and second, that the school bully really wasn't a very nice person.
A number of victims spoke out about their experiences at the hands of a bully, and in some instances those bullies are still continuing to persecute their victims, including teachers, even years after leaving school - posting defamatory remarks on the FriendsReunited message boards and in their personal details.
But bullies aren't just a product of the British school system. They're everywhere. Take the Recording Industry Association of America for example, which this week took about five years' worth of dinner money from a 12-year-old girl.
The already unpopular RIAA excelled itself by launching legal action against Brianna Lahara who had downloaded some copyrighted material from the internet. One UK tabloid newspaper even suggested the poor innocent girl had been downloading nothing more controversial than some nursery rhymes - which as the average 12-year-old will agree is a preposterous suggestion. (Unless Eminem now does 'parental advisory' style nursery rhymes...)
Brianna, who lives with her mother in a housing project in New York City, was named along with 260 other offenders in the RIAA's first raft of suits against file-sharers.
However, little Brianna's mother, who clearly has more compassion than the RIAA, decided to protect her daughter from a harrowing courtroom experience and made an out of court settlement to the tune of $2,000 - which effectively means Brianna will be without pocket money until some time in mid-2028.
However, the plight of poor hard-up Brianna and her (now) even more hard-up mother has not gone unnoticed and a group of peer-to-peer advocates called P2P United has said it will pay the fine on Brianna's behalf. Good on them. While the Round-Up would never condone file- sharing of illegally downloaded material, major corporations bullying children with threats of legal action would still rank as a slightly less acceptable practice. (To read more about the arguments for file-sharing, read this.)
The latest salvo from the RIAA has also seen it indulge in a little mud-slinging - accusing peer- to-peer networks of distributing illegal pornography and arguing in favour of closing them down on grounds of good taste (and not at all on grounds of revenue), which is very magnanimous of them.
Well somebody call the cops. The Round-Up thinks our boys in blue really ought to know about all this illegal pornography being traded.
'Why...' the Round-Up hears you cry '...because they will want to make some arrests?'
Sadly no. It's just that if there's porn to be had then it appears the police will more than likely want to get involved. A police investigation is currently underway in Scotland looking into how some unsavoury material found its way onto the computers of officers in the Lothian and Borders police force.
In total four police officers and one civilian worker are being investigated but the long arm (and hairy palm) of the law is also reaching out to a number of other police stations who are also being investigated in the ongoing case.
A police spokeswoman told the BBC: "There is an internal inquiry into the misuse of computers by a number of members of staff. A report will be sent to the Deputy Chief Constable. We are fastidious about the integrity of our IT system and we are determined it will not be abused." Which is good to know.
And while we're on this seedy subject, there is a new craze doing the rounds on eBay currently, called rather imaginatively 'Reflectoporn'. The basic idea is that users put articles up for sale, such as chrome kettles, which have highly reflective surfaces. Alongside the article listing they include a picture which appears normal on first glance but on closer inspection reveals the naked seller, with nothing to protect their modesty than a camera to their face as they photograph their lot, complete with reflection of themselves in the buff.
RIAA's Tumultuous Week: Lawsuits and Headlines
Even by the litigious standards of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), it was a tumultuous week. Already engaged in a three-year legal war against peer-to-peer (P2P) networks for serving as conduits for alleged music piracy, the principal trade group of the major music labels flooded courtrooms from coast to coast with 261 civil copyright infringement lawsuits against individual file swappers.
The RIAA also announced an amnesty program for those who voluntarily identify themselves and pledge to stop illegally sharing music on the Internet. In exchange for signing the pledge, the RIAA said it would not sue file sharers who have not yet been identified in any RIAA investigations.
And that was just on Monday.
By Tuesday, the RIAA was awash in national headlines, both supportive and derisive, for its individual lawsuits against file swappers. To bolster its anti-piracy campaign and to defend its use of the controversial subpoena provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to obtain the names cited in the individual lawsuits, RIAA President Cary Sherman dropped by a Senate committee hearing to explain his group's actions.
Sherman didn't miss the opportunity to bolster the RIAA's campaign against piracy on the P2P networks, laying the blame for the slump in CD sales directly at the feet of music pirates using the file-swapping networks. But the hearing primarily became a platform for Alan Morris, EVP of Sharman Networks, owner and operator of Kazaa, who claimed the music labels were mounting a "vile and reprehensible" smear campaign against P2P providers.
Morris told the Senate Judiciary Committee that allegations of "strong linkage" between file-swapping networks and the distribution of child pornography simply were not true. He said the "vast majority" of the child pornography problem stems from Web sites accessed by browser software and claimed the music labels were perpetuating the rumors as part of their efforts to discredit P2P networks.
Sure enough, Sherman worked in a reference to P2P networks and the distribution of child pornography in his testimony.
In a separate announcement, the RIAA touted its first settlement in the individual lawsuits with a New York woman agreeing to pay $2,000 for the copyrighted songs distributed over Kazaa by her 12-year-old daughter. The settlement was reached with Sylvia Torres, mother of Brianna Lahara, who had offered more than 1,000 copyrighted song tracks on the family's personal computer.
By the end of Tuesday, a Novato, Calif., man slapped an injunctive action against the RIAA's amnesty program, claiming it is a deceptive business practice. Eric Parke, a 37- year-old mortgage broker, said in a lawsuit filed in Marin County Superior Court in San Rafael that the amnesty offer is "hollow and deceptive" and provides "no real legally binding assurance" that those who sign the amnesty offer will not be sued at some later date by copyright owners.
The heat didn't fade on Wednesday when P2P United, a file-swapping trade group that includes Grokster and StreamCast Networks, said it has offered to pay Lahara's $2,000 settlement and described the RIAA actions as a "sorry episode." Online media retailer MusicRebellion.com also said it they would give $2,000 in free music to Lahara.
The Terre Haute, Ind.-based company quickly added that it has "no intention of ever donating to file swappers again, but hopes that online music fans, who might otherwise be unaware of a legal alternative, will now recognize the vast availability" of legal downloads available on the Web.
In turn, the RIAA released a survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates between Sept. 4-6 that the RIAA claims showed an "overwhelming majority of music consumers" support the industry's decision to gather evidence and take legal action "against individual computer users who are illegally sharing substantial amounts of copyrighted music online."
The survey question, asked of 803 consumers age 10 and over, was: "When you hear that the recording industry is gathering evidence and preparing lawsuits against individual computer users who are illegally sharing substantial amounts of copyrighted music online, would you say that you are supportive and understanding of the recording industry's decision to take these actions, or unsupportive and negative about what the recording industry's decision to take these actions?"
According to the RIAA, 52 percent said they were supportive and understanding of the industry's actions, while 21 percent said they were unsupportive and negative.
Things quieted at the end of the week, but more headlines are in store next week when Verizon on Tuesday goes into a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court in hopes of overturning a January lower court decision that has forced Internet service providers to turn over names of alleged copyright infringers to the RIAA.
In a case ultimately headed to the Supreme Court, Verizon is questioning the constitutionality of the subpoena power provision of the DMCA. The 1998 act allows copyright holders to issue subpoenas that have not been reviewed by a judge and requires no notice to, or opportunity to be heard by, the alleged infringer. Unlike a usual subpoena, which requires some underlying claim of a crime, under the DMCA a subpoena can be issued by a court clerk who only checks to make sure the subpoena form is properly filled out.
The RIAA has used the January court victory to issue more 1,500 subpoenas. Those subpoenas led to the 261 civil lawsuits being filed by the RIAA.
Scientology Loss Keeps Hyperlinks Legal
The Church of Scientology has lost a courtroom battle to compel a Dutch writer and her Internet service provider to remove postings from a Web site, in a ruling that keeps hyperlinks to copyrighted material legal.
On Friday, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague, Netherlands, denied the Scientologists' latest appeal in an online copyright dispute that dates back to 1995. The Church of Scientology has repeatedly pursued legal action in the Netherlands against the writer, Karin Spaink, and her local ISP, Xs4all, over documents first posted in 1995 on the Web site of another customer of the company.
In denying the appeal, the court also overturned two previous rulings that lower courts had handed down. One of these decided that ISPs should be held accountable for any illegal or copyrighted materials posted by their subscribers and that ISPs should take down hyperlinks to such materials. An Xs4all representative cited the overruling of that decision as the larger of the two victories.
"I think this establishes an important freedom of speech precedence for the Internet and ISPs in particular," said Edith Mastenbroek, an Xs4all spokeswoman. "Any laws set to control how ISPs interact with copyright laws must be made crystal clear."
Representatives for the Church of Scientology could not immediately be reached for comment.
The disagreement began in 1995, when, according to Xs4all, a representative for the Church of Scientology showed up at its office with a legal official and attempted to take possession of the company's servers. The religious group took issue with the publication of some of its church documents on a Web site hosted by the ISP.
Spaink subsequently became involved, when she heard of the dispute and posted the same documents to her own site hosted by Xs4all.
The Church of Scientology then filed a copyright lawsuit, demanding that the published materials be removed from the sites in question. The church also contended that the ISP should be held accountable for its subscribers' activities in regards to copyrights.
But a District Court of Amsterdam judge ruled in favor of Xs4all and its 1996 subscribers, saying the posted documents were legal, based on individuals' rights to quote from copyrighted material.
In a second lawsuit decided in 1999, the Amsterdam courts again ruled in favor of the ISP, citing the right to freedom of speech. However, in that ruling, the judge said that ISPs should be held accountable for posted materials that might violate existing laws and copyrights.
That 1999 decision also made reference to hyperlinks to materials that might infringe on copyrights. The ruling said that if a provider was made aware of illegal publishing of copyrighted materials, or hyperlinks to copyrighted information, it should take action and remove the Web site or links.
Friday's appellate ruling quashed that decision as well.
Xs4all representatives said they were particularly happy with the ruling, as it relates to hyperlinks.
"After all, a hyperlink is merely a road marker on the Internet, and it can therefore never be unlawful," the company said in a statement.
Deep Has New Forum For Recording Industry Battle
Richard A. D'Errico
Johnny Deep, creator of file-swapping software Madster, has started a new business, Internet Defense Inc., to help Internet users defend their rights.
Deep has been in and out of court for more than two years battling the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and numerous record labels over his file-swapping software.
The fight cost him his businesses--BuddyUSA, which made the file-sharing software, and AbovePeer, an Internet service provider--both of which filed for bankruptcy. Deep has filed for personal bankruptcy as well, saying he is $770,000 in debt.
Deep plans to charge $4.95 a month to be a subscriber to Internet Defense. Deep said he will be writing and publishing information to help people who use instant messaging and related services "protect their privacy and their right to due process."
His daughter, Madeline, started her own site earlier this year, musicpundit.com, that allows people to comment on music industry news.
Deep said there are other organizations, such as Electronic Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, with the same target audience. Electronic Frontier filed a friend-of-the- court brief in support of Madster.
When the RIAA announced in June plans to increase lawsuits against users who illegally offer copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks, Electronic Frontier put out a tip sheet on how not to get sued by the RIAA.
Deep said the RIAA effort points to the need for his Web site--he can relate his personal experience in courtrooms and his development of an instant messaging service.
He plans to debut his site sometime this month.
The RIAA could not be reached for comment on Deep's new venture.
Within a Lilliputian Player, a Hefty Archive That Travels
J. D. Biersdorfer
IT seems so simple: You push the Play button and you get an earful of Missy Elliott, Daniel Barenboim or whatever your musical whim. Unlike portable cassette or CD players, svelte digital audio jukeboxes like the silvery Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen or that sassy little white Apple iPod do not require swapping tapes or discs. Your entire digital music collection is on the device in the form of computer-encoded files in MP3, AAC, WMA or any of the other formats belonging to the alphabet soup of digital audio.
You may have thousands of songs in your pocket, but do you really know where they live? Or what really goes on inside the jukebox as you scroll up your playlist or search frantically for that one song you positively must hear right this instant?
At the heart of it all, beneath that stylish exterior, spins a hard drive like the one found inside your desktop PC. This hard drive is where the songs (which the record industry hopes you have encoded from your personal compact discs or downloaded legally from the Internet) live.
Hard drives, which have been around since the mid-1950's, used to be fragile monsters up to 24 inches in diameter. The basic design of a hard drive has not changed much: motorized spinning platters coated with magnetic material store and retrieve information using an electromagnetic head that moves over them.
But like cars and cellphones, hard drives have gotten smaller and more efficient over the decades. By 2000 they were down to 2.5 inches in diameter, small enough to fit inside a portable digital audio player like Creative's original Nomad Jukebox, which could hold 6 gigabytes on a device slightly larger than a portable CD player.
Three years later, Creative's players have gotten even bigger on the inside, with the 2.5-inch diameter hard drives now holding 20, 30 or even 60 gigabytes of song files. (At about 3 megabytes for an average three-minute pop song, a 20-gigabyte jukebox could hold about 5,000 to 6,000 songs.)
So how do these newer hard drives manage to pack even more songs into your pocket? "The magnetic materials, the chemical compounds coated onto the disk, are finer and finer molecular shapes," explained William Ball, a senior product specialist for portable audio at Creative. "Basically, we're just storing pluses and minuses, electronic charges, in smaller areas."
The hard drive is not the only part of a digital audio player, as the players also provide a small display screen so you can see your music collection listed, controls on the front for navigating through songs and a connection port - usually a high-speed FireWire or U.S.B. 2.0 connection - to transfer a CD's worth from computer to player in 10 seconds or so. Most players have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery to provide at least eight hours of power for music on the go.
The songs are kept in a library, a specialized database used by the device to store and organize the music, and each song has its own code assigned by the player's music- management software. When you tap the Play button to hear a song, the song file's location is read from the database and loaded from the hard drive into a buffer - at least eight megabytes of solid-state memory that prevents skips or other problems that may occur if the jukebox is jostled.
Once the selected song has been loaded into the memory, a digital signal processor decodes the digitally compressed music files back into analog signals and applies any volume, equalization or other sound preferences the listener may have assigned. The music then flows through the headphones or speakers and into any available ears.
Although other jukebox players contain drives as small as 1.8 inches, Creative has gone even smaller. The company's new MuVo2 player, which is about 2.5 inches on a side, uses a 1-inch hard drive. It can currently hold only 1.5 gigabytes of songs, but that is sure to change. "You can expect 10- and 20-gig miniature drives," said Mr. Ball, who predicts that such players will arrive within the next few years.
So, although science may never know the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin, at least it has vastly improved the number of Beatles tunes that can fit on the surface of a hard drive.
Court Rules Universities Need Not Provide Backup Tapes
An Australian court has denied a request by Sony Music that it order a trio of Australian universities to provide backup tapes which might provide information on file sharing students. The court noted that no request for the backup tapes was ever made during the initial discovery process.
RIAA To Engage With The Silver Surfers
Operation Short Vision Memory Loss
IT HAS BECOME CLEAR that the RIAA is losing ground in the file sharing wars. They tried to play nice (actually, no they didn't), tried to offer a superior product (actually, for years they offered no product), and tried to appeal to people's decency (actually, they called everyone thieves from day one). To fend off users legal rights, they have tried to employ a variety of technological methods which seem to have stymied those without permanent markers for the better part of 20 minutes. All is not well in lawsuit central, the California edition, not the Utah one.
The latest tact has been to throw out a large amount of lawsuits out whenever the press starts flagging, or worse yet, questioning their viability. Nothing like big numbers and scare tactics to get headlines, especially when most media outlets are owned by companies that also own a large record label. The synergies are incredible.
A few months ago, they announced over 700 lawsuits, and that tided them over for a while. Numbers show that since that announcement, file sharing is down substantially, and record sales are, err, down substantially also. Probably just a blip, sales declines of late have nothing to do with overpriced CDs, bad music offerings, and alienated users, it must be those filthy pirates.
Well, in the weeks following the initial lawsuits, the file sharing ecosystem let out a collective yawn, and went back to doing what they were before. The RIAA leapt into action, this time with a new tactic, targeted subpoenas. From the headlines garnered in the latest round of 261 lawsuits, they have gone after specific demographic segments that are at high risk to pirate music. The first demographic was the evil 'Under thirteen girls who live with a single parent in government subsidized housing and are honor students at catholic school'. (See here) Others evildoers in this group of gangsters and organized criminals are the over 70 demographic (See here), and the ivy league professor gang.
In all, a very effective tactic at headline grabbing, nothing like suing a 12- year-old girl to strike fear in the hearts of those set on illegal activity. Quake mortals! The next round will start in a few weeks, most likely about six. Other specific groups will be targeted, just like the last round. While the RIAA is keeping the groups targeted close to the vest, we have it on good authority that 'Operation Paraplegic' and 'Operation Low-Vision' are already under way.
Music Lobby Frightens Congress With P2P Kiddie-Porn Nightmares
Thomas C Greene
The RIAA's vendetta against file sharing is entering a new phase, applying the taint of child pornography to foul the waters. Not content to sue twelve-year-old children, the music industry is now marshaling its flacks on Capitol Hill to stigmatize P2P technology as a vehicle of kiddie porn.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings earlier this week to expose the problem. Our children are encountering the most appalling images of child rape when they search for music files, a number of witnesses claimed.
General Accounting Office (GAO) Information Management Issues Director Linda Koontz had done some hands-on research.
"In one search, using 12 keywords known to be associated with child pornography on the Internet, GAO identified 1,286 titles and file names, determining that 543 (about 42 per cent) were associated with child pornography images. Of the remaining, 34 per cent were classified as adult pornography and 24 per cent as nonpornographic," she said.
Of course it's unlikely that children would accidentally search for music using keywords known to be associated with KP, but Koontz was prepared for that objection and brought along some research using more innocent keyword searches. Here the torrent of KP by which our children are being swept away seemed to slow to a trickle.
"Searches on innocuous keywords likely to be used by juveniles (such as names of cartoon characters or celebrities) produced a high proportion of pornographic images: in our searches, the retrieved images included adult pornography (34 per cent), cartoon pornography (14 per cent), child erotica (seven per cent), and child pornography (one per cent), Koontz admitted.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota has had some experience prosecuting pedos who've used P2P services. He implied that the KP available on KaZaA and other services is actually worse than that found elsewhere.
"The images of child pornography available on peer-to-peer networks are some of the worst seen by law enforcement to date. Included in the images seized by police in the cases being prosecuted by my office, are still photographs of very young children engaged in sexual acts with other children and adults and video clips lasting several minutes of children being subjected to unspeakable acts of sexual violence," Spota claimed.
How this is worse than the same vile material found elsewhere on the Internet in vastly greater quantities was not explained.
Later, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Chairman Robbie Calloway asserted that there is a direct connection between the availability of KP images and the likelihood that children will be assaulted in the real world.
A pedo "can convince himself that his behavior is normal, and eventually he will need more and increasingly explicit child pornography to satisfy his cravings. When mere visual stimulation no longer satisfies him, he will often progress to sexually molesting live children," he explained.
Next, Sharman Networks Executive Veep Alan Morris did his best to counter the demonization of KaZaA as a tool for dangerous perverts by pointing out that there are far safer ways to trade KP.
"Pedophiles quickly realized, when P2P first appeared, that it was a foolhardy way to pursue their warped ends. To make their collections publicly available on P2P is counter to their cloak of secrecy. Law enforcement agencies quickly picked them off and so they retreated back to their sordid encrypted sites, newsgroups and the like," Morris said.
When it came time for Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) President Cary Sherman to speak, he spent the bulk of his time whining about a "drastic decline in record sales" brought about by "the astronomical rate of music piracy on the Internet."
After mentioning kiddie porn briefly in passing, he then launched an attack against telecomms behemoth Verizon, which has not been quite as cooperative with the RIAA as Sherman would wish, having moved to protect the privacy of its subscribers from the music-lobby's 'John Doe' subpoenas.
He then recapitulated the RIAA's excellent arguments and Verizon's spurious arguments in this dispute at considerable length, and detailed exhaustively the various provisions of the DMCA that Verizon is supposedly violating, as if giving court testimony in that particular dispute.
Sherman concluded that "the DMCA information subpoena represents a fair and balanced process that includes important and meaningful safeguards to protect the privacy of individuals" and protect the music cartel's revenues, as if this had been the hearing's topic.
And of course it always was the topic. It's clear from Sherman's tirade that the day's exercise was purely an attack against P2P technology for its presumed negative effects on the music cartel's profits, not on children. The specter of child rape may have hung over the proceedings like a revolting stench, but it was nothing more than an atmospheric effect. If Sherman has the slightest concern for the welfare of children, he certainly knows how to hide it.
Activity on Song-Swapping Networks Steady
Activity on file-sharing networks has not missed a beat this week despite the record industry's high- profile lawsuits against individual song-swappers, industry trackers and executives said on Thursday.
"There's no mass exodus, that's safe to say. Ironically, usage this week and this month is up," said Eric Garland, a spokesman for BigChampagne, a research firm that tracks peer-to-peer networks that enable file-swapping between different computers.
"We've been looking at dramatic increases on the FastTrack Network. The number of people using these file sharing services in the first 10 days of September is up more than 20 percent from the August average," he said.
FastTrack is the network used by the popular Kazaa and Grokster peer-to-peer networks. The average amount of simultaneous users on more popular services topped 4 million this week, versus 3.3 million in August, he said.
The Recording Industry Association of America filed suit against 261 people on Monday for allegedly pirating songs online and plans to file many more to curb activity on the networks, which it blames for a drop in CD sales.
"On the face of it, this is the opposite of what the RIAA intended," Garland said.
The RIAA shrugged aside the data. "We don't put much stock into many of these estimates. Clearly our enforcement efforts have stimulated conversation among parents, children and many others about the illegality of distributing copyrighted music online and its consequences," said an RIAA spokesman.
"The objective here is to create an environment where legitimate online services can grow and thrive," he said.
Garland said he expects some people will be scared by potential exposure and increased parental pressure.
"But what we're hearing from users is they enjoy safety in numbers," he said, adding, "there's a perception that suing even a few thousand means the odds of getting sued are like the odds of getting struck by lightning," he said.
"If it starts to taper off in October and November, then you can clearly say something is deterring activity. But at the moment, these services are very popular with the back-to-school rush," he said.
Greg Bildson, chief technology officer for LimeWire, said traffic on the Gnutella network, the underlying network that LimeWire, BearShare, Morpheus tap into, has not been affected.
Peer-to-peer officials said people would likely improve ways to conceal their identities to avoid lawsuits.
"If you're smart, and most file-sharers are, you can insulate yourself," said Wayne Rosso, president of Grokster, which is involved in a suit of its own against the industry.
Rosso said the lawsuits only wasted money, alienated music fans and will have less of a shock value in the future.
"The next time, the suits won't get this kind of media coverage. They're a desperate and dying industry," he said.
The RIAA released a survey this week showing a slim majority supported its move to target individuals. The survey of just over 800 people was completed on Sept. 6, two days before the suits were filed but after the industry announced its intentions in June.
Some industry watchers argue music companies would get better results by spending money on more heavily promoting legal alternatives such as Apple Computer Inc's Itunes and RealNetworks Inc's Rhapsody service and others.
"The suits are a step in the right direction, but there's still a lot of problems like the fact that more and more people are burning and sharing CDs with friends," said Lee Black, analyst with Jupiter Research.
UK, OZ Unlikely To Sue P2P File Sharers After US Backlash
The UK and international music trade bodies have said they're unlikely to follow US colleagues in suing individuals for copyright infringement, following early signs of a media backlash in the US.
This week the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) fulfilled long- running threats to sue heavy users of file-sharing services who exchanged copyrighted material for free, and served notice to 261 individuals, including young children and some pensioners. There have already been accusations of heavy-handedness from some sections of the US media.
Plans for similar actions here are described as unlikely by the British Phonographic Industry and the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), but they refused to completely rule them out.
Allen Dixon, general counsel and executive director at IFPI, said the RIAA's action was 'entirely understandable' after several months of warnings to P2P providers, ISPs and users, but that the US market was a special case. 'At the moment we haven't any plans to bring these kind of actions as we're concentrating on educating users,' he said.
Andrew Yates director-general at the BPI, took a similar stand: 'It's a huge problem but we need to promote the legal services in the UK.'
However, some observers believe the industry is simply holding back until the implementation of the European Copyright Directive later year. This is believed to give the record companies more latitude to take legal action against offenders.
Ian Brown, director of the Federal Institute for Policy Research, said European citizens will be next in line if the directive comes into force as written.
'It's unlikely the music industry, which has been lobbying to get the powers to sue anyone thought to infringe intellectual rights, will get those powers and then not do anything with them,' he said.
ARIA: We Won't Sue
AUSTRALIAN record companies will not follow US leads and sue music file sharers.
The Recording Industry Association of America took court action against 261 Internet music file sharers yesterday.
It also announced an amnesty program for file sharers to confess to sharing music illegally.
Late yesterday, the Australian Recording Industry Association said it would not follow suit.
That decision comes amid research figures that show 3.4 million Australians illegally downloaded music over a recent six-month period. Last year, music sales fell by 8.9 per cent, from $629 million to $573 million.
Nui Te Koha
Until next week,
Current Week In Review.
Recent WIRs -
http://www.p2p-zone.com/underground/...threadid=17325 September 6th
http://www.p2p-zone.com/underground/...threadid=17374 August 30th
http://www.p2p-zone.com/underground/...threadid=17325 August 23rd
http://www.p2p-zone.com/underground/...threadid=17265 August 16th
Jack Spratts' Week In Review is published every Friday. Submit letters, articles and press releases in plain text English to jackspratts (at) lycos (dot) com. Submission deadlines are Thursdays @ 1400 UTC. Please include contact info. Questions or comments? Call (617) 939-2340, country code U.S.. The right to publish all remarks is reserved.
|12-09-03, 03:00 AM||#4|
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Area 25
Thanks again Jack for a fine essay and for the huge news digest! You're da man!
|14-09-03, 02:58 PM||#5|
Guardian of the Maturation Chamber
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Unimatrix Zero, Area 25
Excellent op-ed Jack! Thanks for the mega 3-post edition.
Making defiant statements such as this under cover of an online pseudonym is risky enough in the current legal climate. Handing out your real name, address and DOB to the media while doing so is priceless!!
|14-09-03, 09:55 PM||#6|
Thanks for being with arse
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The other side of the world
later....probably didnt think at the time....(it was probably some cute girl reporter )
i beat the internet
- the end boss is hard
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