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OpenNaps Targeted; Gnutella "Validated" 333

Posted by jamie
from the gnu-complete-me dept.
An Anonymous Coward writes "As early as Wednesday, the RIAA has sent letters to the ISPs and operators of OpenNap servers in the U.S. which were listed on Napigator. Here's the story from ZDNET. The RIAA's letter refers to the U.S. Supreme Court decision against Napster. Given that nearly all the OpenNap servers are run by individuals who are never intending to charge for the service, this is an interesting assertion." And HyperbolicParabaloid points out this NYT story (free reg. req.) in which a lawyer says the decision "validates Gnutella" (ok, whatever, but there's also some interesting discussion about how the Sony VCR time- and space-shifting precedent fails to apply to Napster).
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OpenNaps Targeted; Gnutella "Validated"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    So the RIAA thinks they can shut down anyone using a server running the OpenNap protocol now? This is ridiculous. What next? Target people who run DNS servers that point to sites with illegal content? Sue Internic for contribitory infringement?

    OK, lets say that I decide to run an OpenNap server specifically to pass around my own music and 'jam sessions' of my buddies. Then somebody comes along, logs in, and lists their share full of crappy 90's pop music. (And just to make it more fun, lets say this user is from a country with no copyright laws.) At the same moment, somebody at the RIAA checks napigator and decides to run their standard battery of searches on my server and finds Mr.PoorMusicalTaste and his 'illegal' MP3's. All of a sudden, my high speed connection is yanked and I've got a lawsuit on my arse. This isn't right, people.

    Whatever your view on the whole philosophy of copyright, there's a certain point where personal freedom must come before the ability to protect IP. What I fear most is that somehow, the OpenNap / Gnutella / Freenet protocols *themselves* will wind up banned in the US just like DeCSS. The War on IP is not going to stop at Napster Corp. And eventually, the RIAA is going to grow tired of playing whack-a-mole and go for even more comprehensive legislation. The time to do something is now.. and I don't mean setting up as many OpenNap servers as you can or copying RIAA content on Gnutella. Support your local cultural centers, bands, artists, etc. Support your local charitable organizations and communities. Lets get back to REAL American culture. The culture before it was owned by corporations.

    I wonder how they think they'll shut down SneakerNet?
  • Can anyone seriously claim that the intent of the creation of the lists on napster servers _aren't_ to facilitate trading of popular music?

    Sure. The intent is obviously to facilitate trading of music that has been expressly licensed for such distribution. Offspring and Brunching Shuttlecocks have been mentioned on Slashdot; Napster has a list of more.

    --

  • For anyone that does, please use any or all of my tracks at besonic.com/chrisj [besonic.com] for your purposes- or get the tracks off Napster, I don't care.

    I'm currently in arguments^H^H^H^H^Hnegotiations ;) with Ampcast, to get the ability to produce CDs through their soon-coming CD burning service using my own usage restriction, which is 'all commercial rights reserved, noncommercial copying OKAY'. If you got into legal trouble (as you'd like to do- sounds like a good experiment) I can't speak for other artists but I would happily send you _written_ permission to host my stuff- in fact I would make helping you a priority, and would rush you whatever you needed for the court case, anything that I could do. If logistics permitted I'd even participate as a witness or something.

    If anybody is in this situation and needs my help let me know, I consider it supremely important...

  • where was the RIAA when I was copying songs off the radio when I was 8 years old?

    Passing legislation that gave them a cut of every blank tape sold, in exchange for which _you_ theoretically got permission to make copies of stuff for your own use.

    It's called the Audio Home Recording Act. I'm not surprised you're not familiar with it, because it took only a minor change in recording media for them to completely forget _their_ part of the bargain and start acting like you have no right to copy anything.

    Of course, they still get paid a cut of every blank tape and 'audio' CDR! :P I think next they should lobby for getting 1% of the price of every _car_, because people listen to pirated music while driving down the street.

  • Full time artists in the current system have, on the average, maybe two years worth of career. Two years of full-time versus a life-time of 'hobby time' isn't as big a difference as you might think. Mind you, this could also be fixed by getting the labels to respect artists more (in theory...) but I thought it was a relevant point. It's possible that allowing artists to grow at their own pace and contribute art over their _whole_ lifetimes is a better way...
  • I am not a lawyer, so please verify this with someone who is, but under the terms of the DMCA *THEY* are required to tell you who is infringing and with which files. Only then are you required to remove those people.

    Additionally, if they ask you to remove something under the terms of the DMCA, and do so falsely, they may be leaving themselves open to legal action.

    --

  • Not only did they get a cut of the sale of all blank recording media, a /. article from a couple of weeks ago said that Germany is trying to write a law requiring all computer manufacturers to pay a fee, because all computers are potential copyright infringement devices - it would equal out to about $80 more per machine.

    Is your ass feeling sore now?
  • How sad. They will continue to fight this at the effect level, and ignore the cause. The fact that people go to Napster et. al. for music is just an effect of the prime cause -- CDs are too damn expensive.
    Until that is "fixed", any number of solutions will be pursued by those who love music, but think they are getting gouged paying for it.
    ...and this action is fruitless. So what if they shut down OpenNap (and as the article points out, overseas servers are going to make that a difficult proposition)? At the worst, I could set up a private anonymous service to put Bob in touch with Joe so they can exchange whole burned CDs of MP3s -- and then what is the RIAA going to do?
  • I think you mean the gunwale.
  • But any viable replacement for Napster (and there will be one) must stress NON-INFRINGING uses from the beginning.

    How do you "stress" one particular use of this sort of system? It's a directory service! Since MP3 files have specific types of metadata (ID3 tags with artist/songname/time/etc), OpenNap servers can provide a directory service which stresses that sort of audio encoding; but what, to a computer, differentiates copyrighted MP3 files from public domain MP3 files or copyrighted files authorized for redistribution? That stupid little "copyright bit" in the header that nobody sets?

    OpenNap is a server, not a judge; to a server data is data. Now, if by "stress non-infringing uses" you mean that the operator/programmer should make some sort of blather about what their service should *really* be used for, then that's at least practical, even if it is completely meaningless. Do Stallman's views on proprietary software prevent me me from backing up my Windows partition with GNU tar? (Great idea if you're as tired of reinstalling self-destructed Win9x partitions as I am, BTW) Software doesn't care what it's owner's moral beliefs are, unless those beliefs are reflected in the code's operation.
  • Any open, publicly shared network will be subject to cache or data poisoning, as described in this article [inventnet.com]. Freenet and Mojo Nation will be just as susceptible as Gnutella or Napster to this sort of attack. And I think the Hughes/DirecTV hacker war shows that commercial entities are likely to use this sort of tactic to protect their interests.

    You need some sort of trust relationship between the peers to prevent this sort of attack. It is possible a SlashDot-like moderation system to rate the trustworthiness of the peers could lessen the impact of such attacks.

  • yeah i had a similar problem. it was with a new car. they wanted 35k for that suv. i said to myself "self, they are trying to screw you... it's ok to just steal it". since they were going to try to charge me too much, self and i decided to steal the car.

    If you take a car, you have a car and the owner doesn't.

    If you take an idea, the owner still has full possession and use of it. Music isn't a car, it's an idea.

    -
  • "So on one hand we take television broadcasts. It's legal to record these things, so long as they are used for private showings.
    What about video rentals? Do those shops pay an IP licencing fee (beyond the purchace of the actual movie)?"

    Ummm...yeah they do. The video stores don't pay the same $19.95 we do when we buy DVDs or Video Tapes...they are spending quite a bit more and most of this is because of licensing fees.

  • Personally, I think Sean Fanning shot himself in the foot a long time ago

    No he didn't. He took the idea to a bunch of capitalists, who saw it as a chance that they might get a significant piece of the music distribution business by putting them in a negotating position with the record companies. If they were wrong, they were out their investment. But if they were right ... BIG money!

    Note that these weren't a bunch of starry-eyed slashdotters who believed in the higher ideals of "Sharing" and "Information wants to be Free". They were balls-to-the-wall, copyrights-be-damned, give-me-a-piece-of-the-action types who could give a shit about anything but potential longterm profits.

    Fanning and his little dormrooom VB project was just along for the ride. Well paid for his efforts, of course.
    --
  • I agree. I've been saying that for a long time. The only aspect of P2P that is worth mentioning in Napster's case, is in the way it clouds the issue of liability for both Napster and the sharers, ethics aside. Put simply, if we were to do away with copyright tomorrow, music "sharing" (piracy) services would surely revert back to client-server architecture, as it's a more efficient, more reliable, easier to use, and easier to maintain design.

    Of course, I still have doubts about the long term success of mp3.com and like ventures, but those same arguments would apply every bit as much to Napster-like technologies. I believe people over-emphasize the "distribution" elements of the music industry. In other words, there is a lot more than merely recording and distributing music, the only issues that mp3.com (and its user) seems to pay substantial attention to. Even if we assume the music on mp3.com is of equal or greater quality to what is popular today, there is still a large void between the independent artists of today and the masses that popular music draws on. Marketing and promotion is how the artist crosses the void between obscurity (having to work a day job) and popularity (doing it full time), unfortunately, both cost a lot of money to do at the required levels. The only way the artist and/or the industry can recoup their costs is by making a hit, that sells millions of records. Not every record that is marketed (ignoring the other costs) is going to be a hit, only a percentage of them can be. In short, what results is the need for capital that is willing to be risked and know-how. Today, this comprises the much reviled industry that RIAA represents.

    Whether distribution is online or on land is practically irrelevant to the industry (ignoring the potential for piracy), as it's a relatively small percentage of their costs. Everything else being equal, if a client-server technology were to replace the retail stores that sell today, their costs would certainly drop. However, those costs are just a small fraction. Air time would still need to be bought. Promotion would still be necesary. Is it possible that a few of the players might change? Sure. But their fundamental nature would be much the same. The people that take the brunt of the risk, the labels, would still have to demand the lionshare of the profits. In short, the most artists will only see a slice of what they sell. There is life.
  • Monopoly generally means that only one company, distinct entity, or individual controls an industry. RIAA is an organization that is comprised of a handful of companies, to represent their common interests. These common interests needn't have anything to do with furthering their control of the industry; they can, and do, have something to do with preventing things like piracy, regulation, legislation, etc. The existence of RIAA and the fact their their companies control 90% of the industry does not, in and of itself, mean they are are a monopoly. Now if RIAA was some sort of conspiracy, where they routinely conspired to fix prices and keep competition out, the most you might call them is an oligopoly.

    In any event, if you call RIAA a monopoly, then you should definetely call any number of unions monopolies too, especially because they explicitly set out to exercise control over any number of industries and services. In other words, it's quite common place for an industry to be 95% unionized. They often use these controls to fix wages and prices. Even though each person is distinct, the union, the entity, controls 95% of the industry in question. So by your definition, this is a monopoly.
  • I consider the Usenet to be p2p because every user contributes network resources. With DCC, or anon FTP, or a BBS, that's not the case. The result is superb performance compared to any DCC/anonFTP/BBS. (BTW, Napster works pretty darn well too, compared to a lot of FTPs out there.)
    Well Usenet really isn't P2P, but that's a semantic argument. However, even if you base Usenet P2P-ness soley on the fact that content comes from the user:

    First, the same is true of most client server systems (includes newsgroups, being client-server). So it's hardly "new" or worthy of hype.

    Second, virtually all of the popular file downloads and such are not user generated at all, they're piracy of some form or another. So it's truely not user generated, it's user supplied. If the user is essentially just a middleman, why bother with the middleman? If piracy were to be made legal, you could get it all from one source. The point is (I know you accept this argument somewhat already) that MOST (except for amateur porn and such, as you point out. But even there....) of these file transfers would be made obselete.

    Third, do not confuse user interaction with speed. Usenet is not fast because of your self-defined definition of P2P, it is fast because the data is essentially PULLED by your ISP to a _server_ very near to you and because your routing to the outside world sucks relatively speaking. (Again, this is well established technology, it has nothing to do with P2P.) What's more, to the extent that this is P2P, it is essentially relatively faster because of freerider syndrome. In other words, you and the other uploaders are not the one that have to pay for the total bandwidth and storage costs. Let's say you upload your 500mb of home videos to a particular usenet server, this goes from your ISPs newsgroup servers, to more central newsgroup servers, to the other ISPs newsgroup servers. It takes up space and bandwidth across many systems, no matter if anyone wants it or not.

    You have a good point here; P2P is a security problem. But digital signatures by trusted folks would be a good solution to this problem. Here's hoping they catch on one of these years. In the meanwhile, this is only a problem for software; audiovisual material is fine.
    First, why bother with P2P when you can go to a dependable server? Second, this depends on user(s) to follow some kind of standard in signing. It depends on users using standard name conventions, in order for searching to be reliable. It probably can't be indexed effectively, forcing users to search everything. It probably couldn't be effectively rated, promoted, improved, etc.

    If I have five hundred megabytes of video that I want to distribute for free, I can't use an HTTP or FTP server to do it. The cost will be much too high. P2P, and Usenet in particular, is the only reasonable solution at this time.
    Actually you're wrong. There are all kinds of servers and such online that'll archive it for you. Like I believe I-drive (I think that's what they call it) will do it. The only real fixed cost is the storage costs. The bandwidth scales with demand, and with demand there are generally sources of revenue that can be obtained. It comes down to a judgement call, but speaking for myself at least, I believe most people would rather pay some nominal fee in some way or another (i.e., watching ads, paying a fee, or what have you) then have to put up with _unnecessary_ inconveniences associated with these decentralized techniques. What's more, there's nothing magical about usenet. Someone is paying for your file uploads, just not you.

    It's pretty rare when some random schmoe has 500mb of video that any substantial group in the world would want to watch. It's even rarer when you can match the consumer with the producer (and to that end, traditional client-server is far more apt to produce a solution by indexing and such).

    The free software community is so tech savvy that we keep ourselves nicely set up with ftp and web sites, even with no revenue to spend. Other free data communities, like fan artwork or cult video communities, find p2p more attractive.
    Who is "we"? If you say the avg. open source coder, then I'd say no. It's the ISPs and other parties that provide those services, whether for charity or for profit. These exist because it is legitmate and because it fits other nominal requirements (like decency).

    I agree that client/server is best for a revenue generating corporation. It delivers ease of use, ease of administration, and control. But in the realm of free data, it's necessary for end users to kick in. Distributed p2p (including Usenet) is a viable solution that is working today. "Monied and legitimate downloads" is an inadequate measure; the non-monied stuff is of interest to me also.
    I'd certainly agree that it's essentially necessary for a corporation. However, I think you miss the point. My point is not that the corporations must be made rich, rather that revenue is _ultimately_ necessary for the creation and distribution of _most_ desired resources. Hence, even where systems like Napster appear to work, they only work in a context where you ignore the creation of value. Yes, I know that issues like open source software are debatable, but even there I'd assert that open source leaves, and will always leave, a lot to be desired.

  • Although I agree with much of what you say, I simply think bringing usenet clouds the issue with respect to what my original point was, that the only reason P2P is a buzzword today is because of Napster and other "new" technologies. Napster, et. al, has popularized P2P for all the wrong reasons. In essense, it's made P2P seem like a gift from the gods, when the only uniquely "valuable" aspect of P2P on Napster is that it has skirted the law with respect to piracy (at least up to a couple days ago) while remaining a reasonably effective network. Yet somehow people infer that it must be because of some magical elements of P2P, like it not "costing" anything, or being "of the people", or what have you, and therefore must bestow great benefits on other things. By and large, there has been very little clear thinking and no articulation as to how and why P2P (the supposedly "new" stuff) will change anything but piracy.

    So I went on to list a couple flaws in the common P2P architecture and why it won't work for most anything that we humans are interested in doing that is legal. That said, usenet doesn't really make a case against my argument. So a couple quick points... The newsgroup are client-server, heirarchical, and old. Its apparent "speed" largely comes from the heiarchical side of the equation. However, to the extent that is it faster, it is more heirachical, and to the extent that that this is true, it is not terribly scalable. Usenet in essense hinges around an old way of thinking, that an ISP can provide a service, providing what was largely a _text_ based service, where the costs on download and storage are nominal and the benefit was relatively large. It was not designed, it is not designed, to provide access to a large database of binaries. When an ISP sets up a newsgroup server, they're not creating additional storage space, they're essentially just a well localized mirrior with nominal space. In other words, the available database size at any given moment in time is nominal, unless an ISP wants to spend a lot of money providing an archive for everything posted on usenet. Which brings me to another point, the end users are essentially free loading by putting or downloading these large binaries, whether legal or illegal, on usenet. They're creating costs greater than what they put in. In other words, they live on the good graces of the ISP and/or its end users that ultimately pay for it (since most users dont even know what a newsgroup is), not on some unrecognized efficiency that allows them to create a vast database with trivial costs.

    What has allows usenet to keep on going to some extent is that the costs of bandwidth and storage have been falling. But, here too, this is not an argument for the relative benefits of P2P, quite the contrary. It is an argument for the relative benefits of C/S technology. Now the server can serve out larger files, more often, faster, and for less.

    In short, I don't see any significant relative advantage on "P2P". Of course you don't seem to disagree much, but I just wanted to clarify.
  • That sounds pretty reasonable, until you consider the gigantic and growing p2p piracy system known as the usenet. The advantage of the usenet over the web is the same as napster over client-server systems: by distributing the load among all the participating sites, the aggregate storage and bandwidth available is tremendously larger than any individual pirate could ever contribute. Sure, a big company could buy a lot of bandwidth, but pirates don't have access to those resources.

    The Usenet is very hairy, but if copyright were abolished, I don't think it would go away. Same for p2p systems like Napster.
    Sorry, but I think you're mistaken. First, Usenet is really not Peer to Peer. In fact, it's less Peer to Peer than virtually every other method of obtaining pirated goods (i.e., IRC, because of DCC and such). I simply don't see what you're referring to there. Second, Usenet is not that efficient the way it's currently configured, many admins have problems with the wasted bandwidth. [The only argument that you might be able to make is that is offsets the actual costs to 3rd parties, but that's hardly an argument for legitimacy]. Third, Usenet's piracy elements are largely the same as Napster's, insofar as its ability to cloud issues of liability. That is why it appears to succeed at piracy, because it is less affected by law than more centralized designs where the admins must conciously put files in place. Lastly, your conclusions simply do not follow from your statements.

    You imply that usenet is good because pirates cannot afford or bring the necessary resources to the table. Well obviously, but then it should also follow that when pirates are no longer considered pirates, that the vast demand for a legal product would result in many companies seeking to meet that demand with better alternatives. Think about it for a minute.

    When you want to download a piece of shareware/freeware/open source software/whatever, where do you go? Usenet? Napster et. al? Or one of the many centralized and maintained servers? Look at the success of sites like Tucows, Cdrom.com, etc. Why would anyone want to put up with all the inadequacies of either Napster or Usenet when they can save time and effort by downloading a verifiable copy of software (or music/videos) from a legitimate source? What's more, empirically speaking, if Usenet and the like are so efficient, why aren't there any substantial and legitimate downloads on them? In almost every case, the traditional client server method is preferred. Lately we're seeing technologies such as Akamia (sic?) that do a good job of distributing highly demanded downloads across the internet in an efficient and speedy manner, even more reason not to use P2p.

    I just don't buy it. I can't say that P2P will never have a use, but most of the hyped software that supposedly employs it is either silly or illegal--hardly proof of its worth. Also, let me head off an argument that you might make, sometimes we do find certain legitimate downloads are more available using P2P-type systems (because the servers are at excess capacity), but there are generally rare and brief. They tend to happen when demand scales so rapidly that the distributors do not have time to scale. It may be true that some P2P systems do not have this problem, because as demand goes up, so does the replication in a suffiently corresponding amount. But whenever there is a sustained or predictable demand for something, there is almost always a financial incentive to meet the demand (i.e., grow). Once that has happened, P2P is relatively worthless. In other words, on the aggregate, P2P does not hold up against the more established and beter monied methods.

    In my opinion, one need look no further than where and how the monied and legitimate downloads are occuring. It's capitalism in action. It may not be perfect, but it's generally quite efficient. Even when the reasons for the state of things is not immediately apparent, there are often underlying issues that reveal themselves when you re-examine them. The piracy community does not fully enjoy the benefits of capitalism (nor should it). Because it is illegal to pirate goods, it's damn hard to setup a central server and cover your costs (never mind make money). Because legal goods fully enjoy capitalism, they tend to use the more efficient methods (e.g., servers). When there are legitimate and substantial uses for P2P in its current form, then you might say that there is proof that it's worthwhile, but until then it's just a theory.
  • Now - "Meanwhile, Sherman said his group had ideas about ways of dealing with Gnutella, but wouldn't discuss them publicly."


    Reality - umm, how?

    Spreading FUD about it counts as a "way of dealing" with it, no?

    My Edguy "The Savage Poetry" CDs have this printed on them:

    Do not copy! Virus Danger!

    The manufacturer is neither liable for computer
    crashes nor hard drive failures nor data loss!!!

    It may be a laughable "way of dealing with it" but it's still a way. ;-) Saying that they have a way to deal with Gnutella (thereby making some Gnutella users hesitant or nervous, perhaps) is an action in itself.


    ---
  • What do you expect from a company that's incompetent at both Internet and telephony?

  • Whatcha gonna use if they do outlaw FTP? HTTP?
  • They use a wide variety of networks, including dialups. Start blocking them and they will just use more. There's two sides to "cat and mouse".
  • There are really several issues at hand.
    1) Napster, the company, and it's trial
    2) Client-server technology
    3) Peer-Peer technoogy.

    1) Napster & the lawsuit. The real issue here is that Napster is a company, and as a company, was attempting to profit, knowing their service would be wildly popular because people would use it primarily to pirate music. OpenNap servers, being non-profit, might have a way around this.. it's one thign to make money off contributory infringement.. it's another to do something for free.
    2) Napster is based on the client-server model.... lots of clients, few servers... you take out the servers, you shut down the model. It has an easily-attackable point. OpenNap servers also suffer this same problem.
    3) In the peer-to-peer model (god I hate that buzzword though..) we merely use the bandwidth and computing power available to us to all share things with each other, in a decentralized fashion. This is really how things MUST go in the future; it leaves no single point of attack. Evenetualy I predict that Instant-messaging clients (icq) and other technologies will al come under legal attack simply because there is a way to do so.
  • by mindstrm (20013)
    Their 'product' is already protected by copyright law, period. Their 'copy controls, like CSS on DVD' are not 'implying' anything...though breaking those protections for the purposes of copying is illegal accordign to the DMCA.
  • they are providing a service whose purpose is to facilitate the exchange of copyrighted works for no charge. That in itself is enough to go after them. it's not "just a list" any more than an anti-abortion registry of doctor's names, address, and family members is "just a list." Ok that comparison is inflamitory, but you see what I mean. It is not just the list, it is what the list represents and the purpose for which it is created that is important. Can anyone seriously claim that the intent of the creation of the lists on napster servers _aren't_ to facilitate trading of popular music?
  • While we're at it, have a ORBS-like blacklist of clients and servers known to be used by the RIAA. Not a perfect solution, but will help slow down the process of gathering evidence for their legal attacks.
  • I cannot understand how any reasonable judge could argue that explaining how to commit a crime is the same thing as committing it.

    The OpenNap servers are only directories-- they don't contain illegal contents, just listings, so how can they be held accountable?
  • Similarly, Google provides a service that facilitates the exchange of copyrighted works for no charge.

    The purpose is irrelevent. It is completely legal to tell people how to commit crimes. Your First Amendment is supposed to protect speech like that.
  • Earlier this week, Napster unveiled a proposal under which it would pay the record industry $200 million a year if it is allowed to stay open. But record industry officials have been cool to the idea, and say they are moving ahead with their own online plans that don't involve Napster.

    Wouldn't be surprised if this has been discussed before somewhere, but would Napster be able to patent the distribution of music via centralized servers? Is there prior art somewhere that would nullify a patent like this? If not, it would be a wonderful little surprise to the RIAA/record companies when they try to get their own plans out the door...

  • I think the answer is something along the lines of the Reflector strategy being devloped here [clip2.com]. A good idea, but not quite stable enough to keep up for extended periods (yet). Give it a read-thru and see if it doesn't address the issue quite well.
  • it has nothing to do with what you are copying. by current laws this is defined as theft. people use this "you're not hurting anyone" argument to justify it, but it's still theft. i might not agree with the laws, but i'm not going to try to justify what i do. i accept that downloading mp3's off the net that are of copyrighted works is illegal and is considered theft. people should spend more time trying to change the laws and less time justifying breaking them.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • I heard that Ford makes $15,000 on every Explorer sold.

    So I'm planning on stealing an Explorer, and sending Ford a check for $13,000. If I'm strapped for cash at the time, I'll arrange a payment plan with my offshore bankers.

    Problem solved.
  • This might make things difficult for hosts in the USA, but what can they realistically do about servers in, say, Europe? Or a "Sealand"-ish offshore host? (Although the DeCSS [lemuria.org] issue does come to mind...)

    Ultimately the RIAA would seem to be aiming at an ever-moving target here anyway--have all the recent attacks on "software piracy" by MS and others been a deterrent to the warez d00dz? I still see just as much free (as in beer!) stuff available now as there has ever been...

    The Napster argument gets old here on /. 'cause the rebuttal is always "yeah but you're STEALING!!! It's WRONG!" Nevertheless, people are now accustomed to getting free music and WILL NOT GO BACK. Even the clueless will get clued in quickly when Napster (1)shuts down (2)begins charging $, and millions will migrate to whatever alternative is available. Stealing or not, that's just how people ARE.
  • But you didn't like that, because you have a magic photocopier too. You wanted to photocopy all of your stuff at a cost of $~0.30 to you, and sell the copies at the full retail cost of the originals. Because you believe that don't just own the toaster, you insist that you own the idea of the toaster.

    So why should any company decide to develop a toaster then, if there isn't any way they can make money because 'its okay to steal as long as its a copy'...?
  • Hey! They linked to sites that offer software for copyright infringement (according to them at least). Can someone sue them?
  • Sony [sony.com] had the billions to spend on lawyers to fight it to the death.

    1/2 :-)

    Marginally more seriously, Sony was, what, twenty, thirty years old at the time (founded in 1949, making a rice steamer, of all things). Lots of stock holders. Lots of existing vested interest. And existing analogies (audio tape) to draw on. And let's face it, TV broadcasters still made their money. They were tossing the content over the transom anyway.

  • mean that the operator/programmer should make some sort of blather about what their service should *really* be used for, then that's at least practical, even if it is completely meaningless...

    Yeah, that's what I mean, and even if it is meaningless architecturally, it's important legally. I mean, that's what the sony case and the napster case have shown us - a technology is legal if and only if it has substantial non-infringing uses. Unfortunately the definition of "substantial" is quite arbitrary, but anything we could do from the very beginning of a project to help sway this definition, would help.

    1. Try this: http://archives.nytimes.com/2001/02/23/technology/ 23CYBERLAW.html
    2. Use one of the zillions of NYTimes ID's people have posted here before. Try cyberpunk/cyberpunk and slashdot/slashdot for starters; I myself registered so I lost track of the shared ones a while ago.
    The NYTimes is good! I haven't gotten any spam from them yet, either, so go ahead and sign up.
  • A much better system would be to have a gnutella like cluster of "servers". Clients could connect to one of the servers by getting a list of servers from a known source (just like connecting to gnutella) and then upload a list of all the files they're sharing to it.

    Everything you describe already exists. It's called IRC. Why not set up a P2P client on top of it - using IRC for the requests, then P2P for actual transfer ?

    Thomas Miconi
  • The MPAA demostrates this pretty well.

    1) Have software declared illegal

    2) Rabidly pursue and shut down any site that even links to it.

  • by MattW (97290)
    (Score: -1, Redundant)
    Napster hopes to operate under a plan in which it will pay recording companies $200M a year. But recording companies are "cool to the plan, saying they are moving ahead with their own online plans".

    All I want to know is: why the hell do the labels have lawyers that move at warp speed, and engineers that move like snails? If they'd gone ahead with their online plans a bit faster, they would have had results that convinced them it wasn't even necessary to sue Napster. I don't really want to go back to having to swap mp3s over ftp and irc.

    They should spend more effort on progress, and less on suing people.
  • What really needs to happen is a way to compensate artists for their music and not the RIAA. Thats the inherent problem, the artists are still being stolen from the RIAA is just mad because now the users have figured out how to steal from both the artists and the RIAA.

    The best idea I can think of is for some of the big artists to go off on their own and make their songs availiable for a small fee (50 cents?) without giving one red cent to a record company. In the end everyone would win. We would get (almost free) music, the artist gets compensated and the greedy executives that control the RIAA are out of jobs. (which is a very pleasing thought).


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Pick one:
    1. RIAA is so confident that They Are In The Right that they take the upcoming Supreme Court decision for granted. (But I thought we were the only moralists here.)
    2. RIAA has paid enough to enough SC justices that they take the decision for granted. (Not likely: SC isn't that bribeable.)
    3. RIAA is trying to cause Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, just like whippersnapper Nephew Microsoft. (Which explains why Microsoft never bothered to patent that particular business practice.)
  • Well, they claim that we're not purchasing their music, but we know better.

    I for one, have noticed that I've been purchasing more music since I started using napster than I did before (I'm 39).

    I can definitely see college students being the ones least likely to increase their immediate purchasing of CDs, but it's mostly because almost all of their money is going into their education. Once they get a decent paying job, I'd expect that they'll be model consumers of music -- and that their consumption of music is going to be in line with what's available to them via napster.
    --

  • A little over 10 years ago, polygram records (and a couple of related labels) decided that they wanted to charge radio stations to for broadcasting their music. Community (e.g. campus) radio stations revolted. They refused to play any polygram music whatsoever.

    Polygram "relented". They offered to allow community radio stations to play 'alternative' music for free. The stations held firm and simply refused to play polygram until they withdrew royalties altogether. Polygram finally gave in to the demand.

    Napster is in a similar situation. Record companies have to explicitly say that they want certain tracks/files deleted from napster. Once they do so, Napster has to remove those files.

    It is the record companies' decision to have napster remove specific files. Companies /artists that like the service that Napster provides are free to allow their files to be shared on the service.

    If people refuse to buy music that is banned on Napster, the RIAA is going to be very slow to pull music from the service.

    I think that it's worth noting that the RIAA has not, from what I can find, made an application to get a new ruling from the trial court. I expect that it's because they know that doing so will cost them sales.

    The original, blanket, ruling was good for them because it shut down ALL music sharing -- including non-RIAA artists who wanted their music to be available. It would have put the RIAA back firmly in control of all music distribution, including non-RIAA artists. This is what I think they really want in this lawsuit.

    Despite their in-court bravado about what napster is supposedly costing them, I'm sure that there's a stack of internal email about what it would cost them to start pulling only their music from napster.

    I, like many others, presume that this lawsuit is more about the RIAA wanting control of music distribution than it is about Napster supposedly cutting into their profits. If that's true, then they can't afford to just pull their own music from napster, and it's not going to happen. The reason why is that it would create a powerful ecological niche for smaller music distributors and independant artists.

    With a popular, viable non-RIAA-controlled distribution channel available to small artists, artists would not be quite as hungry to get an RIAA contract. The RIAA would have to bargin in better faith with artists.

    Fair terms for artists are not in the RIAA's financial interest.
    --

  • How about an anonymous proxy for Napster/Opennap/Gnutella. You log into the proxy, the RIAA only gets the proxy's IP address in a trace, and they have no idea who to go after.

    The added latency of the proxy is a problem, but the security and privacy inherent in the architecture is outstanding!!

    The final solution to this RIAA crap is so dead simple.
    ========================
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • No, you're missing this guy's point which I think is very subtle and very insightful.

    You can work all your life, pay off your debts and own your own property and then you die and the government gets a nice slice of your property and then your offspring, who should have had an easier time of things, now have to work to pay for their property.

    This affects the poorer much more than the rich. The rich, although loosing a bigger chunk, can soon make it up as the money that they have breeds money. Although it looks like inheritance tax hits the rich, it's actually much more crippling to the poor.

    Rich

  • ok, the US courts determine that anything Napster must be blocked at all levels. The RIAA starts suing ISPs, bandwidth providers, international router hosts. The ISPs, bandwidth providers and international router hosts all start to close ports and scan packets and spend lots of money doing it. The US citizens get higher ISP charges to pay for the lawyers and techniques blocking their access to a service. The software maintainers incorporate common random port usage with compressed/encrypted packets. Rinse, lather and repeat. non-US citizens have a lovely distributed music (file) sharing system and US citizens are starting to try and figure out just when they started to lose control of the internet (about the time it became quicker to dial-in to a canadian/mexican/irish server for internet access, until the phone providers started to block it to avoid paying the RIAA any more settlements).
  • RIAA has paid enough to enough SC justices that they take the decision for granted. (Not likely: SC isn't that bribeable.)

    Take a look at this [smirkingchimp.com]. You won't be whistling the same tune by the time you're done.

    It makes me retch. I had the utmost respect for them (hell, I'm not even American), but that's all but gone now.

    --
  • Not even the best of the best, only the stuff which the masses like. This could be called "hypemarketing": change the hype often enough to let people buy more and more CD's, without considering quality.

    Yes, I consider quality when I buy a product, also a CD. But I know most people buy because of the magic word: "hype".

    Let's mix up the terms hype and art. Put it in a can, close the lid and mix it around a bit. Look again, and you'll see Art in a small corner and Hype all over the place.

    Music is art IMHO, and art should be promoted. It's utterly insane to think that record labels can make the decisions of us to consider whats good and whats bad art.

    One line: "Record companies promote hype, not art!"
  • 4. The AC who submitted this confused the Supreme Court with the United States Circuit
    Court for Ninth Circuit, District of California, which is what the RIAA's email mentions.

    ---

  • If all judges were reasonable, Dubya wouldn't be in office. ;)

    It is just like that other slashdot story about how a NY ISP is paying due to the content they hosted.

    Ever lovable and always scrappy,

  • think that record companies make money all the time but they also take alot of risk with artist

    Please, don't make me come find you and vomit in your face. "Alot" is not a word. It's "A lot." Definite article "A", adjective "lot." Two words.

    Oh, and also, record companies don't take any risk whatsoever with an artist. The artist is required to pay back all of the record company's "risk" out of their own measly 7% return on the record sales.

    The average first album for any band almost invariably is recorded in a period of one or two days. I can think of a number of memorable examples (the first Beatles album took 12 hours to record, I believe) where the "risk" cost the record company exactly dick in terms of effort. One day's worth of normal operations wasn't a fuck of a lot. Then there's the mass-production. This is where a record company really cashes in. CD reproduction costs less than a penny per in major quantities. The cover, minus the cost of commissioning the art, is even less. And again most "first albums" by bands feature cover art in the form of a blurred photograph of the band with some cheap computer-generated lettering showing the band's name. So the major cost is in marketing the album. We all know where those marketing dollars go -- to Britney Spears' account, of course! The record company, after investing what I guarantee you is less than ten thousand real dollars on this kind of "risk" then puts their CD out, and immediately realizes a massive return of 93% per unit sold, especially if the band already has an underground following. If the band is one of those Nirvana-types that actually spawns a whole movement, the record company immediately starts scouting the area where the band first broke through and picks up every phony-ass act that sounds just like them and pimps them out there too. There's no risk at all in marketing a Bush album. Fuck, the band doesn't even need to know how to play (believe me, I've seen them in person and they don't). So frankly you are either ignorant or a shill. It's hard to tell.

    Record companies are not interested in the well-being of musicians, or their music, or the audience that the music is directed to. They are merely there to collect fees as the music passes from the creator to the listener. That's why they own the copyright on the recordings, not the artist, without whom the recording is completely impossible.

    Also you said: I know if I owned a Record company I would hound you till the ends of the earth.

    It's funny, as a musician I hound people all the time to take free copies of my music. Because I know that if the message therein reaches you you'll be back for more of what counts. Record companies can only view this kind of behavior in terms of "potential lost sales." The concept of generating a loyal customer base designed around repeat business due to the high quality of one's product just doesn't seem to be in vogue in corporate america these days. Instead most prominent and popular business models seem to revolve around finding an already existing popular source of wanted products, frequently created at someone else's expense and with someone else's efforts, squatting on the source of that with an army of asshole lawyers, and charging the holy hell out of people to get access to it. The typical record company is an excellent example of this. They do not create the music (some of them seem to be unaware that their product is in fact music), they do not actually record it, and it exists entirely independent of them. The Internet makes their existence far less important, they know it, and are running around in a blind panic trying to prevent the inevitable.

  • No, you are wrong.

    Have you ever heard the phrase 'ars gratia artis'? It means 'art for art's sake'.

    Many artists throughout history have created art for the love of it. In fact, the work of most painters has traditionally been worth money only when the painters are dead.

    You seem to think that being an artist is like being a plumber or a software engineer. (I'm not saying there's no art in these jobs, but plumbers and software engineers don't get paid for art).

    Art is what some of the human race does in their spare time to try to make their life worthwhile. Others write code because they enjoy it. If you try to do it for money, it doesn't have any soul. Hence the large amount of voluntarily contributed software you enjoy, which seems to me to have soul.

    Money has to be a beneficial side effect, or art becomes a meaningless product, tailored to a market, with nothing useful to add to what came before it.

    As I've said elsewhere, if an artist feels that I should not experience their work without paying for the pleasure, it's not worth experiencing.
  • But its even worse because Napster users aren't even committing a crime! Listen to this steaming pile from the fated decision:
    Napster users engage in commercail use of the copyrighted materials largely because (1) "a host user sending a file cannot be said to engage in a personal use when distributing that file to an anonymous requester" and (2) "Napster users get for free something they would ordinarily have to buy."
    (See legal update [napster.com].)

    By this logic a canned food drive is a commercial activity because food (which ordinarily one has to buy) is given to anonymous recipients. Man this upsets me. An ordinary person would think that charging money is what constitutes commercial use.

    The music industry stole music from us. We are just taking it back!

  • The way to beat these guys (MPAA, RIAA) is to not have central servers to shut down. The problem then becomes co-ordination.

    There is a pre-existing set of servers that are already set up to co-ordinate users, by which I mean allow them to identify each other online. Its called ICQ.

    Lets create an app which hooks into ICQ to see what other users are online.

    The other problem is the number of nodes on the network creating expotential searches. This should be addressed by each client being part of a 'group'. The members of a group would store the directories listings of each member in the group - but not the actual data.

    When a search is performed the search is only sent to one member of the each group chosen at random from those currently online, thus the traffic requirements are greatly reduced.

    I havn't done simulations to determine the ideal group size yet, but it shouldn't be too difficult.

    ICQ could be used as just a starting point - an entry point. Once you are 'hooked into' the network you will be given other IP's of others online. The reason for this is that we don't want to give ICQ any way at all to determine who is operating the service, otherwise they will be able to close those accounts under pressure from the bad guys.

    We could even avoid ICQ totally by having very basic servers which provide simple hooks into IP addresses of those in the system.

    You could also make this idea of 'groups' go further, with groups of groups - where certain clients store directories for several groups.

    I find it ammusing that the Internet was so successfull at information distribution that big companies are now fighting tooth and nail to PREVENT people communicating freely.

    I don't believe copying commercial music is right, however that is not the concern of the bad guys. The bad guys are worried about control of the distribution media. Without control of the distribution media anyone can create 'competitive' music, and sell it without giving the record companies a cut.

    This is the real concern of the bad guys - that artists will find out that they don't need to hand over their rights to the bad guys.

    The system I enision is a method of sharing information - any information. I don't see how that can be outlawed.

  • This got me thinking. How does this relate to usenet? I understand that the court rulling have essentially said that there are not enough legimitate uses for these mp3 file sharing networks to allow them the protection that normal service providers have. But, how does this relate to usenet servers that choose to carry various binary newsgroups? For example, alt.binaries.multimedia.*, alt.binaries.cd.image.*, alt.binaries.movies.*, and alt.binaries.music.mp3? It seems to me that there is very little difference between a news server admin decident to host alt.binaries.music.mp3 and a person deciding to host an OpenNap server.

    I'd like to see what happens when RIAA tries to "lay the smack down" on all the major ISPs (who, unlike Napster and to a larger extent OpenNap server owners actually have money and clout).

  • Dammit! My ISP gladly cut my DSL line because of my Alternap server, but they didn't notify me. After 3 days, they still won't tell me why they cut my account! I guess I need to find out from slashdot. Time to switch ISPs!


    -mdek.net [mdek.net]
  • Sorry, I hit the Submit button too soon. Please mod down first post from me, and mod this up so I regain my karma :-). This is what I meant to say:

    Let's be sure we know what we are fighting for first. On the one hand, mp3s are not a right, they are a privilage. Noone ever died because they had to shell out $20 for a CD (if someone has, they have really messed up priorities). On the other hand, this reasoning just leads us down a slippery slope. After all, free speech is not essential for life (in the strictest biochemical sense.) So does mean that the government and/or companies should have the power to limit speech? I don't think so. We need to draw the line somewhere. I think many(most?) Slashdotters would say that free speech is a good cause to die for, but mp3s aren't (yes, mp3s are speech, but not the only way of getting that same information). I agree that there is a possible threat, and that it will become more and more likely as time goes on. We should not let this threat scare us into paranoia. Not all corporations are evil, nor are all governments. If the threat becomes real, as it very well may given current trends, I would be willing to die for the cause. In some cases, violence IS the only answer. But we shouldn't all storm the RIAA's building with bazookas before there is good reason.

  • Who the fuck moderated this up to +4: Insightful??? This false analogy has already been refuted a hundred times over in older Napster discussions (and several asute people already did it in this discussion).

    Would someone please meta-mod this down to the -1: Troll that it deserves??


    -------

  • they wanted 35k for that suv. i said to myself "self, they are trying to screw you... it's ok to just steal it". since they were going to try to charge me too much, self and i decided to steal the car.

    This is, in fact, exactly how things work in Eastern Europe and Central America. Cars are ridiculously expensive, so they are stolen in neighboring prosperous countries, transported, and sold at substantially below market value. These thieves would be out of business in a second if car makers charged reasonable prices.

  • I'm really getting sick of the MPAA trying to pretend like it's some sort of all-powerful organization.

    First claim - nobody cracked SDMI. All reports to the contrary are completely false.

    Reality - the unwatermarked data has to exist in memory somewhere. It's inherently insecure. And all the claims that the scheme was cracked are falsehoods?

    Now - "Meanwhile, Sherman said his group had ideas about ways of dealing with Gnutella, but wouldn't discuss them publicly."

    Reality - umm, how? Aaah, so they'll shut down the Internet in the Name of Holy Copyright.
  • RIAA sues MP3.com [mp3.com] even though MP3.com provided a legitimate way to access music you already have. Net result: MP3.com (among others) subsidizes the RIAA because RIAA has a flawed business model and is unwilling (read: incapable) to adapt to changes in technology (I'm sure IBM is still in business because the still only sell balances and typewriters)

    RIAA doesn't touch MyPlay.com [myplay.com], which allows ANY MP3 to be stored on its servers, without even checking if it's legit.

    Here's my math:

    • numbers of total MP3 I have: 102
    • number of MP3s I have on MP3.com: 26
    • number of MP3s I have on MyPlay.com:76
    • number of illegal songs I have on MP3.com: 0
    • number of illegal songs I have on MyPlay.com: 76

    Yep, RIAA is clueless.

  • a distributed server for Napster-like programs? The current system has your machine logging onto a pre-specified server to get the goods, but what if machines volunteered not only to share files, but also server duties. The duties could be distributed and handed off frequently to create a "moving target." It would be like SETI@HOME...Napster@Home maybe.

    If I get modded up even once I'm going to apply for a patent (I'll split the rayalties with whoever figures out how to tell new clients where the servers are.)


    Scratch-o-Matic
  • next they will be after irc servers... sheesh. we can't have anything cool anymore without someone crying that they aren't making money on it.
  • Even gnutella have a 'central' server that we connect to (correct me if i got this wrong); gnutellahosts.com or some such?

    That's the major problem with P2P. There always has to be an index somewhere if you want Joe Sixpack and his buddy John Q. Public to be able to find you. If it's a static IP, they shut you down. If it's on a dynamic DNS service, they call up Judge Kaplan and get the service shut down, appealing to some twisted "providing DNS versus hosting the server is a distinction without a difference" logic.

    For starters, maybe each client thats running this search using 'moving-anon-guntella' would broadcast a query over a limited ip range . . .

    Bad idea. All the RIAA has to do is have some people watch that port range for matching packets, do a quick whois on ARIN to get your ISP's address, and pass it down to the lawyers.

    On the other hand, if we want to have servers/indexers with changing ip's (an about to be disconnected server would inform other servers to take over the load and a new server would tell existing servers that it is available for service), the main problem would be for clients to know where are the servers.

    IIRC, gnutella actually does something like this (isn't that what the ath.cx hosts are?). As I said above, though the servers themselves might be sheltered somewhat, there's nothing stopping the RIAA from having the dynamic DNS service shut down your account, driving them to bankruptcy, etc. Now, if you could find/make a dynDNS/index server in another country that would refuse to cooperate with the RIAA, you might have something. Barring that, it's either word-of-mouth, or up to your head in legal quicksand.

  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @04:32PM (#407022) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't stop there. Art can easily lead to craft- and craft is something people can and will pay for, depending on how good it is.

    I make music- but I've also had a lifelong fascination with audio gear, and that is craft. When I compose music part of it is art and part is craft... I'm expecting to begin a massive remixing of all my work soon, because again the _craft_ level of my work will take a quantum leap.

    Specifically, I got into an argument with other audio techies. I'd been doing very high-end mixing through custom gear to straight 16-bit sampling, and getting very good results, too, but I was convinced through this argument that sampling at a higher resolution and dithering down to 16 bit could well deliver far superior results. And so I am getting a soundcard that has S/PDIF inputs, and will be recording through the outboard A/D converter in my Lexicon MPX-100 which can be used as a dedicated converter. In addition, I'm picking out high end audio caps to upgrade the Lexi (which is already heavily modded) seeing as it's going to be _the_ top performance A/D converter I've got.

    Now, all that is craft- there's art in the choices, but mostly it's craft. And along with that, I'm paying money to Alesis, to Lexicon, to Midiman for their CO2 converter, to some vendor for whichever cap I settle on- commerce happens, driven by my needs. As a result of this, I end up with gear that can drastically outperform what most people have- and can sell that ability as a service to many artists who want to get a competitive sound with the recordings they've made.

    That's how art can become craft can become income- it's not hypothetical, I'm doing exactly this, and will be able to offer mastering services in the near future, which will also extend to mastering mp3s of the music as well and having those, too, sound better than what you get off preset consumer encoders.

    Yet in a sense it's all still art- because I'd be doing it anyhow, even if it wasn't laying the foundation for good honest work. Maybe that's the key- art is wonderful, important, but as you increasingly put good honest work into it, it increasingly becomes capable of bringing a return. How much? That depends on who you are and exactly what you're expecting to get a return from. I put work into _mastering_ mp3s, but it would be insane to say that distributing them was good honest work, because I just sit there and my ISP, or besonic, or ampcast, or Napster does all the work.

    I must say that I respect the viewpoint that "art is not an endeavor in which one should expect to 'earn a living'". I think the operative word there is 'expect' and the second most important is 'living'. I personally live on about $600 a month. I know many people who would consider that absolutely intolerable, impossible. But for me a 'living' is not a very complicated thing. As for expectations- I expect what I'm doing to translate into a 'living' in the long run, but not because of any particular event or thing- because of my _mode_ of work, of continuing to put constant, tireless work into what I do. The purely-musician version of what I do would translate to gigging 360 days a year, no vacations, no weekends off. James Brown did basically that, and he did quite well for himself. I don't think anyone who simply sang like James Brown and wouldn't WORK like James Brown could expect the same...

  • by jafac (1449) on Friday February 23, 2001 @04:15PM (#407023) Homepage
    1) You're probably right about the undercover bit. And the RIAA will probably do it themselves, just to get it done more efficiently than the cops will. And the RIAA will probably offer bounties to anyone who's willing to sell-out his former trading buddies.

    2) I simply will not accept this abridgement of my fair use rights. People will challenge this and challenge this until somebody finally listens. In America, we have a captialist system, and as a consumer, I was raised to believe that a consumer does capitalism a great disservice by allowing themselves to be screwed over or cheated by a seller - therefore it is a consumer's MORAL DUTY to be informed, not be misled, and make sellers WORK for a living.
    About a year ago, I found some songs online by a 70's rock band. Some of their songs that were on the radio, I remember, were phenominally great. You don't ever ever hear ANY of these songs played on the radio anymore, even on most "classic rock" stations. I always thought it would be great to own all of their albums. I downloaded them, but never had time to listen to them, except for a couple of the songs that I liked. I recently sat down and listened to the whole lot - and found that only the few songs that I remember were really great, the rest was kindof just filler. (sound familliar?) I mean, what if I HAD gone through all the trouble to locate these albums, likely out of priint, likely $20 a pop, likely not available at any local record store - and found out that it was mostly crap? I would have gotten screwed over, and with my dollars, I would have been supporting a system that screws over consumers, and done a grave disservice to other consumers because I was enforcing a system that encouraged uneducated consumption. exploitation. I then deleted the whole lot. Disk space is cheap, but not cheap enough to waste on crap. It basically wasn't even worth my time to burn them onto a CD for posterity.

    Same thing happened with a 60's band (and lots of other music) - and I ended up tracking down and buying 4 CD's from that group.

    Like it or not, free MP3 distribution IS an essential part of the music industry's distribution model. Like it or not, it's here to stay. You can't lock an idea.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday February 23, 2001 @05:22PM (#407024) Homepage Journal
    All I want to know is: why the hell do the labels have lawyers that move at warp speed, and engineers that move like snails?
    That's because in the U.S. of A., companies who have engineers that move at warp speed and lawyers that move like snail go belly up so fast that they don't even register a blip at the stock exchange.

    --

  • by Syberghost (10557) <syberghostNO@SPAMsyberghost.com> on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:49PM (#407025) Homepage
    Reality - umm, how? Aaah, so they'll shut down the Internet in the Name of Holy Copyright.

    Don't laugh. After all, they tried to shut down radio, and tried to get a cut of the sales of all blank recording media.

    -
  • by tbo (35008) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:14PM (#407026) Journal
    Check out Fairtunes [fairtunes.com]. It's a way to ensure all your money goes to the people who earned it--the artists, songwriters, etc.
  • Right on. Personally, I think Sean Fanning shot himself in the foot a long time ago when he said (in writing) "this is piracy and we're going to take down the RIAA." Okay, that's a paraphrase, not a quote, but you get the point.

    Of course, that's when he was about 2 steps beyond messing around with his friends in the dorm; they didn't know it was going to bite them in the ass so significantly later on. But any viable replacement for Napster (and there will be one) must stress NON-INFRINGING uses from the beginning. Ideally, there would even be a company who would deal with some musicians directly, getting them to put their songs up on purpose... we want to show people that this is a viable distribution system, no matter what the RIAA whines.

    Of course, I think the system should also make it difficult (nay, impossible!) to track who's doing what, so we won't have this problem in the future. Probably the focus should be on anonymity for privacy's sake, though, and not to concientiously protect "pirating" like Fanning intended to do all along.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @02:28AM (#407028) Homepage Journal
    You could perhaps use the mbone to randomly advertize indexing servers. Of course, they could be used to index much more than MP3 content. Or you could use freenet to distribute dynamic indexes. The question is, could you update them fast enough and could you set it up so the server you're downloading the content from may or may not be the one actually hosting the content (Which is pretty much how freenet works anyway.)

    It seems like the biggest problem with gnutilla and freenet (Or sharing information in general) is finding what you want. The problem with the RIAA and MPAA attacks on the infrastructure is that it's going to become illegal to index or share ANY information because you MIGHT be sharing copyrighted information. That indicates to me that the American Justice System has been founded on a presumption of guilt. In the near future it'll effectively be just as illegal for me to post MP3s of my public talks or video files of classes I teach because no one differentiates when they shotgun out these cease and desist letters.

  • Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

    More seriously, for the pragmatic reason that the decision SONY CORP. v. UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC [findlaw.com] doesn't apply, I think it has more to do with:

    The District Court concluded that noncommercial home use recording of material broadcast over the public airwaves was a fair use of copyrighted works and did not constitute copyright infringement. It emphasized the fact that the material was broadcast free to the public at large, the noncommercial character of the use, and the private character of the activity conducted entirely within the home. Moreover, the court found that the purpose of this use served the public interest in increasing access to television programming, an interest that "is consistent with the First Amendment policy of providing the fullest possible access to information through the public airwaves. ... Even when an entire copyrighted work was recorded, [464 U.S. 417, 426] the District Court regarded the copying as fair use "because there is no accompanying reduction in the market for `plaintiff's original work.'"

    Honestly, the same can't easily be said about Napster-based exchanges.

    Sig: My Latest Censorware Essay:
    What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [spectacle.org]

  • If you've paid for ADSL for the month, and they've cut you off, they're breaching contract.

    Try calling them up and having a conversation like the following.:

    Hi. My ADSL was cut off by you guys without warning or reason a few days ago, and all of my attempts to figure out why have gone unanswered. So, I was wondering: Could I please have the correct address for service of your legal department?
    The explanation, if they ask, would be that you're preparing to respond to their actions, and you expect that you'll need the information. (it's far more efficient to deliver a writ direct to the legal department.. It's less likely that it'll get lost/redirected/etc.).

    There's no reason or need to be specific here. You're setting stuff up, and what you precisely you'll be doing with the targeting information is entirely your business, until the payload lands.
    --

  • by Deamos (108051) <deamosthaneNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:43PM (#407031) Journal
    Will they? If they do how long can it last? How many people are willing to have lawyers threatening them?
    I certaintly don't mean this as a flame or troll of any sort, I do ask it as a question though.
    While shutting down your server after a week or a day of operation is no big deal, eventually you are going to run out of loyalists that are willing to take the risks of lawyers banging at the doors because your doing something that a huge corporate entity doesn't want you to do. Personally, I have enough stress in my life that I would just as assume not have a lawyer send me a letter. Who needs that, and supposing that there was some trial down the road, then I really wouldn't want them having my real name and information. Would you?
    I don't like the shutdowns of OpenNap, and I certainly don't condone them, but while lots of people are idealists (is that even the right word?) at heart, their fear of the reprocussions will hold them from actions that would bring trouble, even if its only possible trouble, down on their own heads. So I ask you, how long will people be ready and willing to bring themselves before the corporate sharks just to keep OpenNap going?
  • by Stelmsind (119787) on Friday February 23, 2001 @10:10PM (#407032)

    The RIAA aren't that bothered (at the moment) about the priacy taking place on Napster - honestly that doesn't eat into their profits that much. Ever wondering about those "studies" that show napster users buy more CD's - doesn't matter. What about the fact the RIAA aren't terribly interested in a subscription based Napster (ie. royalty payments).

    The fact is that even if Napster demonstratedly improved CD sales, even by a sizable amount, it doesn't matter! More CD's sold != more profit as some would think. A lot of people use Naspter to make informed choices about the music they buy. You can source a wide-range of material, find what you like and just buy that. This means less profit!

    The record companies use ecomonies of scale to keep their profits so high. Hypothetical record company "A" might have 1 million artists signed to it - but 995,000 are consigned to the "only make 50,000" copies basket. The record companies promote who they want to big, they get big and you print 5 million CD's of just them. There's very little waste, and you don't have to change the presses that often.

    Now imagine that people start making highly informed choices about the music they buy - and are less swayed by the marketing pushes. You could no longer predict who's going to big. Obscure bands could become popular over-night, and "insert famous band X"'s latest album flops because everyone hears it first and decides it sucks.

    Eventually you might have to print an even quanity of CD's across your whole range simply because you no longer have control over who makes it. A whole lot of a whole lot of different stuff to burn makes you a lot less cash!

    They don't just want to be the content-providers they want to govern what people think the content is - they're had this hold for years and their shareholders will demand that they don't give it up now.

  • by burris (122191) on Sunday February 25, 2001 @03:15PM (#407033)
    Actually, Freenet and Mojo Nation are not as susceptible as Gnutella. Unlike Gnutella, data in MojoNation and Freenet is identified by it's cryptographic hash. Corrupted or poisoned data is different data with a different hash.

    You are quite right about trust. The term is "Distributed Trust Metrics" ... At the O'Reilley P2P conference, Zooko of Mojo Nation [mojonation.net] and Raph of Advogato [advogato.org] gave a presentation on "Attack Resistant Metadata." Presumably a system of that sort will be integrated into Mojo Nation in the near future. For it to work your system needs hash based identification of data and signed metadata.

    Burris

  • by Magila (138485) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:35PM (#407034) Homepage
    It seems whenever a story regarding Napster is posted everyone starts talking about how it'd be so much better if everyone moved to gnutella. Hello? gnutella will never become anywhere as popular as napster becuase it just too damn inefficient and slow. It is absolutly ridiculous that each and every client serving files also has to route searches, and searches would have to be sent (directly or indirectly) to every freaking client on the network in order to be sure you've gotten every possible hit. No non-nerd types are going to put up with searches that can take several minutes and still not turn up what your looking for even if it's availiable on the network.

    A much better system would be to have a gnutella like cluster of "servers". Clients could connect to one of the servers by getting a list of servers from a known source (just like connecting to gnutella) and then upload a list of all the files they're sharing to it. The servers in the cluster maintain a list of the files all the clients connected to them are sharing as well as ips and sharelists of other clients which they periodicaly download from other servers, the server could also set some limit as to how big their client/shares DB gets. Ther server would also periodicaly ping the clients they have sharelists for so when the client exits it can remove their sharelist from it's DB. Searches would be handled in a similar method as gnutella except that because the servers are dedicated to routing searches and because each server contains the sharelist for multiple clients, searching would be much faster and produce better results. With this system clients serving files no longer have to route searches and the system is no more vunerable than gnutella to legal attacks.

    If you ask me the ideal P2P filesharing system is something truly distrubuted like Freenet or Mojo Nation. But niether of thoes are ready for prime time and this kind of system has to reach a critical mass befor they can provide reliable/fast downloads.

  • some of the big artists to go off on their own and make their songs availiable for a small fee (50 cents?) without giving one red cent to a record company.

    I think if you examine the affair logically you will see this is exactly what the RIAA is afraid of. The recent record sales certainly aren't slagging off enough to warrant this attack. There have always been pirates, and there's always been home copying, and it's never damaged them in the slightest before. What never existed, and what the Internet brings, is a wide, rapid distribution system that the RIAA cannot control. This allows the artists, if they have half a brain, to do a complete end-run around the useless middlemen of the recording industry. Let's face it most of them probably don't make much more than 50 cents per unit off their CD sales today so having a reasonable distribution system that didn't include the bloodsucking record companies would be a giant bonus. With digital recording technology prices falling into the basement it's only a matter of time before an act makes it really big without ever having to put a CD in a record store. Ani DiFranco is probably the scariest example for the RIAA in recent memory.

  • by mgoyer (164191) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @02:59PM (#407036) Homepage
    Let's start a OpenNap co-operative: People can buy in for $n to finance the deployment and maintenance of an off-shore group of napster servers. Some people are optimistic about decentralized p2p systems, but I think that at least in the short term after a Napster-shutdown order, OpenNap will be the way to go. And why shouldn't these servers be owned by their users, hosted in a country with more rational laws?

    Recommended contribution to the Offshore OpenNap Fund [fairtunes.com] is $10/year. In the event not enough funds are raised to support an offshore OpenNap server for a year all funds will be returned to the contributors.

    Matt.

  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Friday February 23, 2001 @04:45PM (#407037) Journal
    The simple fact is that there is a demand for a free internet music sharing system, and it will be fulfilled, whether that is morally correct or not

    You have made a mistake. It is *NOT* morally incorrect to dload files from Napster - it is proven by the fact that their are *50 MILLION* Americans using Napster. What you see here is *CITIZENS* displaying what they feel is moral (by demonstration) and a Corrupt Plutocracy defending the pocket books of RIAA. This is a very simple issue. Napster users are doing nothing wrong. The *SUCCESS* of Napster proves this - laws are based on the moral beliefs of a community.. what you see here is Ruling Class dictating to 1/5th of the country.

  • by grammar nazi (197303) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:40PM (#407038) Journal
    Actually Syberghost, they didn't just try, the did get a cut of the sale of all blank recording media.

    At least until computer recording media became available.

  • by diamondc (241058) <gabrielfmNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:21PM (#407039) Homepage
    The mp3s I mostly download are all old obscure 60's tracks that are hard to find in stores without mailordering. It's mostly about preserving those songs so other people can hear them, not ripping off any artist's money. Just the other day a member of a band called the Tigermen messaged me on Napster and saw I had one of his songs on mp3s and was glad and surprised that people still listen to that stuff. I DO have that song on vinyl I bought a while ago, but it's quickly losing it's quality.

    And who really cares if somebody's trading a britney spears mp3? It's not like we hear Eminem, Britney Spears, Offsprint, etc, enough on the radio.

  • by MOBE2001 (263700) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:52PM (#407040) Homepage Journal
    Intellectual property laws exist only because we have a slavery system. Out livelihood depends on working for others so we can pay our taxes. The reason that we have to work for others is that 99% of people have been deprived of an inheritance in the land. Income property is owned by a few and the government. The others are slaves. Artists and inventors depend on their art to make a living. Can we blame them? We all do because we are all slaves. So now we are swimming in a ocean of laws and rules that take away our liberties, one by one.

    The internet and other communication technologies are the first major kinks in the armor of a sick system. As technology progresses, it will eventually die a horrible death. What will happen to a slave-based economy when robots replace everybody, i. e., when human labor, knowledge and expertise become worthless?

    We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property, a piece of the pie. There is plenty for everybody.

    Communism confiscates all property and enslaves everybody. Capitalism gives property to a few and enslaves the rest. It's sad. The land should not be divided for a price. It should be an inheritance for us and our children an their children.

    Demand liberty! Nothing less.

  • by XMyth (266414) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:38PM (#407041) Homepage
    Aren't we already not purchasing any music? =)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:05PM (#407042)
    Yes, you are quite correct that it was the Ninth Circuit court, not the Supreme Court. Here is a sanitized version of the letter that is being circulated.

    From: Antipiracy@riaa.com
    Subject: unauthorized distribution of sound recordings
    Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001

    VIA EMAIL

    February 20, 2001

    RE: IP Address: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

    Dear XXX:

    We are writing concerning the above referenced system being made available
    at an IP address assigned to XXX. The Recording Industry Association of
    America, Inc. (RIAA) is a trade association whose member record companies
    produce, manufacture and distribute approximately ninety (90) percent of all
    legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States. Under penalty of
    perjury, we submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its
    member companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound
    recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on
    the Internet.

    Our investigation has revealed that XXX is hosting
    or otherwise making available a Napster-like (OpenNap) server that is
    operating a peer-to-peer file copying system. The system is located at the
    above-referenced IP address. This system allows users to search the file
    libraries of other users connected to this system and facilitates the
    copying of files between users. In order to access this type of system, a
    user must download specialized client software such as Rapigator
    (www.rapigator.com) or FileNavigator (www.filenavigator.com).

    This system, which we accessed on XXX, offers directories of downloadable
    digitally-encoded files containing sound recordings. The vast majority of
    these sound recordings are owned by our member companies, including songs by
    such artists as XXX. We have a good faith belief that the above-described
    activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
    We assert that the information in this notification is accurate, based upon
    the data available to us.

    The system provided at the above IP address is almost identical to the
    system Napster provides. You may be aware that the United States Circuit
    Court for Ninth Circuit, District of California issued a ruling in RIAA's
    lawsuit against Napster, finding that Napster is actively facilitating
    widespread copyright infringement and, in doing so, directly affecting the
    legitimate market for copyrighted works. The Ninth Circuit ruling upheld a
    United States District Court's issuance of a preliminary injunction against
    Napster. You may obtain a copy of the Ninth Circuit decision at
    http://www.riaa.com/pdf/napsterdecision.pdf.

    We request that you immediately remove or block access to the infringing
    material offered via this server. In addition, we ask that you inform the
    operator of this server about the illegality of his or her conduct and
    confirm with the RIAA, in writing, that this activity has ceased.

    This letter does not constitute a waiver of any right to recover damages
    incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized activities, and such rights as
    well as claims for other relief are expressly retained.

    Finally, if you or your users wish additional information concerning
    copyright law as it applies to sound recordings, please feel free to visit
    and/or link to our web site at http://www.riaa.com.

    You may contact me at RIAA, 1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 300,
    Washington, D.C., 20036, Tel. (202) 775-0101, or e-mail
    antipiracy@riaa.com, to discuss this notice. We await your response.

    Sincerely,
    Jonathan Whitehead
    Anti-Piracy Counsel
    RIAA

  • The fact that people go to Napster et. al. for music is just an effect of the prime cause -- CDs are too damn expensive. Until that is "fixed", any number of solutions will be pursued by those who love music, but think they are getting gouged paying for it.

    yeah i had a similar problem. it was with a new car. they wanted 35k for that suv. i said to myself "self, they are trying to screw you... it's ok to just steal it". since they were going to try to charge me too much, self and i decided to steal the car.

    well when they arrested me i tried to explain to the judge, but she said something to the effect of "self if you cannot afford it, you can't just steal it". to make a point she told everyone in the court room that they could go over to my house and point to things. i had to tell them how much i thought it was worth, and if they thought the number was too high they could just take it...

    i guess it's a two way street. so where exactly do you live?

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • by jorbettis (113413) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:37PM (#407044) Homepage
    to make a point she told everyone in the court room that they could go over to my house and point to things. i had to tell them how much i thought it was worth, and if they thought the number was too high they could just take it...

    How about this: the judge had a magic photocopier than could copy anything perfectly, and everyone went over to your house and photocopied everything you own, leaving the original in your house unharmed.

    But you didn't like that, because you have a magic photocopier too. You wanted to photocopy all of your stuff at a cost of $~0.30 to you, and sell the copies at the full retail cost of the originals. Because you believe that don't just own the toaster, you insist that you own the idea of the toaster.

  • by mickwd (196449) on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:35PM (#407045)
    "...some of the servers are located overseas ... it will be more difficult to enforce compliance with a shutdown request".

    Too damn right it will. Especially if no national laws are being broken in some of those countries.

    So they'll have to make do with threats instead.
  • by bacchusrx (317059) on Saturday February 24, 2001 @03:32AM (#407046)
    The RIAA has done a good job of convincing the general public and miscellanous yahoos that copyright infringement is *theft* haven't they?

    Copyright infringement differs greatly from theft. If I *steal* something from you, you can no longer have it because I have taken it from you. So, if I go over to your house and take your table without your permission I have stolen it.

    But, if I go back to my house and build an exact replica of your coffee table I have not *stolen* it, I have *copied* it.

    You're allowed to enjoy your table as much as I enjoy my replica.

    The difference between copying music and copying tables is largely a matter of degree. Lawmakers have seen fit to make the copying of music illict and not the copying of tables. But, that still does not make the former any more "theft" than the latter.

    Sheesh.

    BRx.
  • by drsoran (979) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:29PM (#407047)
    You know, PBS was running an interesting program last night about how the media is directly to blame for influencing the cultural of American teenagers. It was quite interesting and showed in detail and behind the scenes how these huge media monopolies directly target shit to teens that they think will be "cool" based on their market research. In the end, most of the time, what turns out to be "cool" for the mainstream is what these mega media monopolies are pawning off. They're feeding off their own shit like some sewer dwelling parasite. After seeing the amazing job PBS putting this all together and seeing what a disgusting atmosphere American corporate media giants have brought upon us I'm inclined to say "no more."

    No more of your shit. No more force feeding us the music you think we want to hear. No more of you marketing violent movies to 11 year olds. No more selling a sexual image to pre-teen girls as the model to follow. No more bullshit. I think it's time for the world to stand up and say "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." MPAA? Fuck you. RIAA? FUCK YOU TOO. Take your cookie-cutter bubblegum rockers and your homoerotic punk metal clown possies and shove them up your ass. Take your idiotic teenie-bopper horror slasher flicks and put them where the sun don't shine. It is time for us to wake up from this crazy capitalist induced nightmare that has resulted in us only having 5 huge mega-corporations being responsible for the sales, marketing, and creation of over 90% of the music, movies, and media in the world! What kind of sick society have we become where we allow this to happen? We exist to feed the fat overbearing media gods. Our only purpose in life is to make them profit so they can turn around and force more garbage down our throats.

  • by codermotor (4585) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:13PM (#407048)
    Gee, what happens when people get so tired of this nonsense that they just quit going to movies, watching TV, buying music, etc?

    Will that ever happen? The cynical say "Never". But, at this rate, such commercial "entertainment" (a term I use loosely, usually preceded by the word 'mindless') will, in the not-too-distant future be affordable only by those who own and control it.

    Maybe it's time we revert to the practice of people producing art because they are compelled to, not because they are paid to. When artists are paid only on commission, or for a live performance. That is, they earn their living like the rest of us, based solely on the merit of their work - as judged by others.

    And don't anyone spout that tired old line about how no one will create without getting paid to do so. That would mean that no one, anywhere, ever created purely for the joy and satisfaction of seeing their imagination realized - not to mention such a theory invalidating the whole Free Software movement.

    Art is not an endeavor in which one should expect to "Earn a living". It is a gift which the artist willingly and lovingly shares with others. His expected reward comes from self-satisfaction, and, hopefully, the appreciation of his audience.

    Any artist who would give up his art because no one would pay for it, is most likely a very poor artist.

    Or a fool.

    ~cm.
  • by swb (14022) on Friday February 23, 2001 @03:40PM (#407049)
    Isn't this basically the same argument that we get away with all the time at when it comes to software? We're licensing the intellectual property from the vendor, not the fsck'n media. In fact, we've lost/damaged the media to applications and called the vendor (we "registered" the software) and they sent us new media for a nominal fee (like, $10 or something on a $3k license). In fact, when we buy multiple licenses we only get 1 CD and are expected to dupe it or otherwise copy it to other distribution media ourselves.

    Why doesn't this apply to music? I can accept the idea that an album originally sold on vinyl that has been put onto CD *AND* that has gone through extra special processing or contains extra material is different than the original. But when it's just a transfer to CD from the *same* masters used to make the album I don't see where it's any different than supplying an application on floppy vs. CD ROM. The intellectual content is otherwise the same, just delivered differently.
  • by rw2 (17419) on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:27PM (#407050) Homepage
    It does not matter 2 cents if gnutella is declared illegal, because it is a decentralised system. I thought that the entire point of gnutella is that it is beyond the bounds of control of government, being run by the people for the people, in the American cooperative tradition.


    Except that the net is IP based and, if found illegal, it would be easy to have the courts demand that ISPs cooperate with turning in the gnutella users. Fine them each $500 a pop and you end up with something a lot like speeding. People do it, but only within reason and only when they have a good chance of not being caught. This is precisly what the RIAA wants. Free advertising, but nothing so pervasive as to cut into profits.

    --

  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:18PM (#407051) Homepage
    Guh?

    I don't remember there being a "U.S. Supreme Court decision against Napster" so if the RIAA's letter really did refrence it, there's some interesting legal points to be analyzed.

    More likely this guy just confused that Circuit court that made the Napster ruling with the Supreme Court.

    --

  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:33PM (#407052) Homepage Journal
    Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.

    It's important to read The Appeals Court decision on Napster [uscourts.gov]

    This decision discusses Napster and contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. A key part:

    We observe that Napster's actual, specific knowledge of direct infringement renders Sony's holding of limited assistance to Napster. We are compelled to make a clear distinction between the architecture of the Napster system and Napster's conduct in relation to the operational capacity of the system.
    Sig: My Latest Censorware Essay:
    What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [spectacle.org]
  • Sorry folks, this is a LONG one...

    Well, this was nice. Got home from work to find this lovely message in my Inbox. Yep, you guessed it... the RIAA contacted me because of my li'l old opennap server. Actually, they contacted my ISP instead, and they were "kind" enough to forward it to me...

    Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 10:18:58 -0800

    To: dburr@pobox.com
    From: Jason Cormier
    Subject: Fwd: unauthorized distribution of sound recordings

    Donald,

    I'm forwarding this to you on behalf of RIAA because it is regarding the
    activity on your servers. Please consider doing whatever is necessary to
    deal with the situation accordingly.

    Regards,

    Jason Cormier


    VIA E-MAIL

    February 22, 2001

    Jason Cormier
    VP, eBusiness Infrastructure
    Netlojix Communications
    501 Bath Street
    Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    RE: IP Address: 207.71.226.193

    Dear Mr. Cormier:

    We are writing concerning the above referenced system being made
    available at an IP address assigned to AvTel Communications, Inc. The
    Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) is a trade
    association whose member record companies produce, manufacture and
    distribute approximately ninety (90) percent of all legitimate sound
    recordings sold in the United States. Under penalty of perjury, we
    submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its member
    companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound
    recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on
    the Internet.

    Our investigation has revealed that AvTel Communications, Inc. is hosting
    or otherwise making available a Napster-like (OpenNap) server that is
    operating a peer-to-peer file copying system. The system is located at
    the above-referenced IP address. This system allows users to search the
    file libraries of other users connected to this system and facilitates
    the copying of files between users. In order to access this type of
    system, a user must download specialized client software such as
    Rapigator (www.rapigator.com) or FileNavigator (www.filenavigator.com).

    This system, which we accessed on 02/22/01 at 12:16 p.m. (EST), offers
    directories of downloadable digitally-encoded files containing sound
    recordings. The vast majority of these sound recordings are owned by our
    member companies, including songs by such artists as Outkast, Janet
    Jackson, Mariah Carey, Aerosmith, and Matchbox Twenty. We have a good
    faith belief that the above-described activity is not authorized by the
    copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We assert that the information
    in this notification is accurate, based upon the data available to us.

    The system provided at the above IP address is almost identical to the
    system Napster provides. You may be aware that the United States Circuit
    Court for Ninth Circuit, District of California issued a ruling in RIAA's
    lawsuit against Napster, finding that Napster is actively facilitating
    widespread copyright infringement and, in doing so, directly affecting
    the legitimate market for copyrighted works. The Ninth Circuit ruling
    upheld a United States District Court's issuance of a preliminary
    injunction against Napster. You may obtain a copy of the Ninth Circuit
    decision at http://www.riaa.com/pdf/napsterdecision.pdf.

    We request that you immediately remove or block access to the infringing
    material offered via this server. In addition, we ask that you inform
    the operator of this server about the illegality of his or her conduct
    and confirm with the RIAA, in writing, that this activity has ceased.

    This letter does not constitute a waiver of any right to recover damages
    incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized activities, and such rights
    as well as claims for other relief are expressly retained.

    Finally, if you or your users wish additional information concerning
    copyright law as it applies to sound recordings, please feel free to
    visit and/or link to our web site at http://www.riaa.com.

    You may contact me at RIAA, 1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 300,
    Washington, D.C., 20036, Tel. (202) 775-0101, or e-mail
    antipiracy@riaa.com, to discuss this notice. We await your response.

    Sincerely,
    Jonathan Whitehead
    Anti-Piracy Counsel
    RIAA



    Jason Cormier
    VP, eBusiness Infrastructure
    NetLojix Communications, Inc. NASDAQ: NETX
    www.netlojix.com
    v - 805-884-6372
    f - 805-884-6311

    Well, I do have to give them some credit: at least they didn't summarily axe my connection like so many others did. Anyway, what was I to do? I can NOT afford to lose my DSL at this juncture, considering how I use it for EVERYTHING -- receiving email, hosting my website and several others (and some local nonprofits' websites), online gaming (of course :) ), etc. And I didn't really want to piss off my ISP, since decent connectivity is so hard to come by in this two-horse town. So I swallowed my pride and ran "killall -9 opennap" Sent them a nice "yes, I am ceasing and desisting" email, and got a response. End of story... or so I thought!

    (Incidnetally, the phrase "unauthorized distribution of sound recordings" caught my eye... UHH, HELLO PEOPLE??! I was *NVER* actually SHARING any MP3's... my server only acts as a "gathering point" to connect everyone else who wants to trade files. This would be like the police raiding and shutting down an ENTIRE Shopping Mall just because some drug dealers happen to hang out there to ply their wares. DUHHHHHH!!!!)

    Anyway, "Time passes..."

    The time: Later that afternoon. The place: in my Command Center, ice cold can of Coke(tm) by my side. The activity: reading through my webserver logs. Why? Because I am a nosy bastard and like to know what people are doing on my webserver! :P (actually, I had just tweaked around my CGI's and installed some new ones the other day, and wanted to make sure everything was running happily)

    Well, what do we have here? Someone at my ISP is happily reading through ALL of the websites that I host!!!

    dhcp165.sba2.netlojix.net - - [23/Feb/2001:23:12:02 +0000] "GET /~dburr/employ.g if HTTP/1.1" 200 1798 "http://207.71.226.193/~dburr/" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98)"

    dhcp165.sba2.netlojix.net - - [23/Feb/2001:23:12:03 +0000] "GET /~dburr/services .gif HTTP/1.1" 200 1500 "http://207.71.226.193/~dburr/" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible ; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98)"
    dhcp165.sba2.netlojix.net - - [23/Feb/2001:23:12:03 +0000] "GET /~dburr/class.gi f HTTP/1.1" 200 1633 "http://207.71.226.193/~dburr/" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; M SIE 5.5; Windows 98)"
    ...

    "Hmmmm... what's this? A deliberate and methodical browse through of my website? Someone trying to look for more infractions by me (not that I have any, my websites are all pretty boring and really poorly crafted...) Or maybe it's just someone who saw my URL in my .sig and was curious?" Well, I had my doubts...

    (and, before you ask: yes, this is somebody in the ISP's office, not a random dialup user... A traceroute proves that.)

    But later that day, my doubts were erased. There I was, happily cavorting around the new UO 3D betatest server (which ROCKS btw...), when all of a sudden my connection goes straight to hell. "Great, more OSI routing trouble, or maybe the beta server is clogged to capacity..." I think. Wrong, try again. Because then the firewall messages start flying:

    The firewall has blocked Internet access to your computer (TCP Port 9994) from 207.71.234.165 (TCP Port 3756).


    Time: 2/23/2001 16:36:10

    The firewall has blocked Internet access to your computer (TCP Port 9995) from 207.71.234.165 (TCP Port 3757).

    Time: 2/23/2001 16:36:10

    ...

    The firewall has blocked Internet access to your computer (TCP Port 9971) from 207.71.234.165 (TCP Port 3733).

    Time: 2/23/2001 16:36:10

    Yes, boys and girls, a real honest to god portscan!!! Meanwhile, my bandwidth is going to hell in a handbasket with all the probing I'm getting. No, I am NOT happy about this. But is it the same guy? Hmm...

    [dburr@borg-cube:130 ~]% host 207.71.234.165

    165.234.71.207.IN-ADDR.ARPA domain name pointer dhcp165.sba2.netlojix.net
    [dburr@borg-cube:131 ~]%

    Yep, same guy.

    There's some real nasty stuff going down out there...


    --
  • by x-empt (127761) on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:28PM (#407054) Homepage
    To: Piracy@RIAA.com

    Mr. Whitehead,

    The OpenNap efforts of many individuals are not about piracy. OpenNap only
    indexes and allows easy searching of content already available online.
    Instead of wasting your money going after servers and hosts, you should
    target the individuals who host content.

    Since the servers do not enable or promote piracy which was not already
    available to other clients, they only index content, they do not have to
    accept any terms given them by you. Of course there are more individuals
    than there are servers, which explains your flawed strategy of attacking
    OpenNap servers, because servers are not in violation of any legislation ...
    only the clients sharing your files are.

    I must question what RIAA has plans to do as more secure, anonymous,
    sub-networks are developed that do not rely on single-host entities that
    index content. RIAA is throwing money out the window in efforts to stop the
    sharing of information.

    Things are changing in today's world. Software is becoming free. Large
    corporations are being turned upside down by the availability of that
    software. Information is being made free, for all to use, not just the
    people that have a big wallet. RIAA cannot accept these changes and RIAA's
    business model is flawed in that it cannot deal with such changes. RIAA has
    attempted to utilize the court systems to stop such changes in society, but
    it will only hinder one aspect of it... that hinderance will lead to
    stronger weapons against RIAA.... like Freenet. The massive media attention
    RIAA has gotten from these series of bull-shit legal battles has lead to
    RIAA's own destruction.

    You have kicked the chair out from under you and now the rope has
    tightened... it will be over in a few seconds.

    -
    It looks like 90% of the "legitimate" sound recordings in the United States
    are being shared... something music was made for. Ohh my.

    If I record the sound of my own fart, will it be "legitimate" ? Probably
    not... Why don't you write what you mean, instead of trying to scare people
    off by saying they do illegitimate things and attempting to scare them with
    legal terms and shit. If you want the people to listen, speak their
    language. It is okay to cry sometimes and say "We have a failed business
    model, we need to find a better way to make money besides sueing everyone
    up-the-butt for excessive amounts of money that will never be paid."

    Sorry to say this, but ...

    Get a new job, Mr. Whitehead.

    --

    Your friendly mentor,
    x-empt

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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