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EU May Block Music Labels' Download Sites 148

Posted by timothy
from the fettered-and-trammeled dept.
csmiller writes: "The BBC is reporting that the EU is (according to The Sunday Times) considering blocking music-labels setting up their own download sites, as 'Some politicians fear that the two services, Pressplay and MusicNet, would be anti-competitive and unfairly dominate the market.'" I wonder when the idea of a Neighborhood Cache will catch on -- it looks like large-scale digital trading will always be subject to this kind of interference.
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EU May Block Music Labels' Download Sites

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  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Coolmoe (416032) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @07:47AM (#2435442)
    I think the RIAA should be banned from online distribution anyway. This should be handled like long distance and the phone company. Banned from online distrubution as long as thier "CD based monopoly" still exists. They need to be forced to give the littlde guy a break. Besides they have way more market share then whould be allowable in almost any other market. I say good for the EU for having balls!
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

      by muffen (321442)
      I totally Agree.

      I used to think that the US was very much ahead when it came to free markets. When the Microsoft trial started, I was really happy that the US government was doing something about the monopoly.

      However, lately, it seems like the US government are those who, indirectly, are creating monopoly situations for companies.

      My biggest dream right now is that everyone in the world will refuse to buy a single CD for one week. That should put the RIAA back on the ground.
      • Welcome to the Good Ol' Boy club (tm). Bush may not have vested intrest in Big Companies, but he still has plenty of friends there.

        Jaysyn

      • However, lately, it seems like the US government are those who, indirectly, are creating monopoly situations for companies.

        Sadly, this isn't a matter of "lately" - this has been the case since the late 1800's, as I recall.

        Don't forget that a "corporation" is a government-created entity, granted rights and powers by government, who at least ORIGINALLY made them stick to their corporate charters. I don't think I've ever heard of any corporation having its charter revoked even for the most egregious acts, at least not in the last century or so...

      • I also agree, Im tired of all the abuse the consumer is experiencing due to overpriced and overpayed companies.
        You cant beat the real sound of an orriginal cd but I cant afford to buy all the tunes I enjoy.
        Sharing tunes is next to the days I sat and recorded videos, or taped tunes off the radio.
        Whats the difference? None as far as im concerned. The companies should give us all some respect and just leave it alone. They arent loosing anything because more people are buying due to a larger population. Not everyone is getting their music online.
        I still like buying orriginal cd's but cant afford them anymore.
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by interiot (50685) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @09:46AM (#2435772) Homepage
      The first great monopoly, Standard Oil Company, came about largely because they got the railroad companies to raise the transportation rates for their competitors.

      Fast forward to today, and it's worse. Now the producers OWN the distribution channels, not just pay them off.

    • I agree with this, although I wouldn't say the record companies should be completely excluded from distribution online, they just shouldn't have a monopoly either, or have laws designed to promote monopoly (compyright extension, some of the anti-piracy bills, etc). Compulsory licensing, as the MOCA proposes, would be nice. (What's happening with MOCA anyway?) Copyright reform, to disallow corporations from holding indefinately copyrights to music that really should be held by their artists, federal limits on contract law (indentured servitude?), and maybe anti-trust action would be nice too. IMO, the Big Five have not only almost completely sown up the market from the consumers end of the market with 90-95% dominance, they've also sown up the market from the "labor" (artists) end too, by standardizing their Draconian contract terms and maybe other practices they'd rather us not know about.

      I'm always suprised that while both copyrights and patents are on about equal footing as far as their (U.S.) Constitutional basis goes, the courts (AFAIK) regularly extend copyrights, but more rarely extend patents. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this. I also don't how the less-than-recent case-law is different concerning copyrights vs. patents.

      Gosh, two stories in one day about Europe: Germany considering switching to Linux, and the EU proposing blocking music sites. What was that little voice I heard saying that the 21st century wouldn't be an "American century"?

  • by standards (461431) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @07:48AM (#2435446)
    If the labels' current effort is blocked by the EU, the labels will simply shift their plan so it becomes acceptable to the EU. This will likely include the creation of two or three other "independent" on-line distribution companies.

    Three or four sights will be found to be acceptable to the EU.

    Of course, these other companies won't really be all that independent - they'll either be so weak that they'll be out of business in a short period of time, or they will have such strong ties to the major companies that they'll be non-competetive.

    Either way, the labels successfully killed Napster, and now they want to take over with a similarly illegal scheme. The EU might not like it, but it'll be hard to stop.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @07:48AM (#2435447) Homepage
    Hardly interference. The point here is that while now there are large numbers of record stores which make a good living selling CDs, Records et al from a large number of labels this would produce a few sites totally tied to a specific label. Most record shops have a few albums from indie or small labels and it is that range of selection that is in danger. The aim here is quite clear... dominate the digital market place, don't allow others to sell your albums digitally and so the equivalent of the high street store that has the breadth of records is never allowed to exist as they can't exist selling _only_ indie records.

    Fairplay to the EU for this one I say. It isn't interfering its making sure that the big boys don't create a digital monopoly that squeezes the minor players out.

    Hopefully this will be the start of a number of such actions including Hailstorm, Passport et al from the boys in Redmond. This is pro-consumer and anti-big-business.

    Fairplay I say.
    • by MartinG (52587) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @08:06AM (#2435480) Homepage Journal
      How can you say this is not interference when clearly it obviously is?

      That doesn't make it good or bad, but it is interference.

      In this case, IMO it is interference thats only ended up being needed because of earlier interference by government in the first place that allowed such powerful organisations to form. ie, the ridiculous rights granted to copyright holders (or from another perspective, removed from everyone else) by the state.

      If that hadn't happened and copyright terms are were shorter there would be a more competitive market and this counter-interference would be unneccessary.

      The length that copyright should apply for is debatable, but right now it is much too long. I would say that if power tends to become concentrated among a small minority of powerful companies then the time is too long. On the other hand, if it becomed anarchic with no artists able to make a living then it is too short. Is should be adjusted and played about with until the correct balance is found. Jobs and companies will be lost (as well as new ones created) in doing that which is why no government will dare, but that is the cost of drastically improving the situation for absolutely everyone else in society.
    • The EU has always been very "careful" with monopolies. It's not just about the digital market but about the whole market.
      There exist strong laws in the EU in this area
      (anti-cartel, anti-monopoly). Several
      takeovers and merges in the last years have either been forbidden or have only been allowed
      under some strict "sanctions". So this case is nothing special in the EU because the laws are more strict there than in the US.
    • You're right on the money here. While the US DoJ is pussyfooting around with M$, the EU is putting some pressure on them in regards to bundling. The Register [theregister.co.uk] has had some good articles on this lately, though their site is down at the moment. The analogy is clear in that the major label owned conduits using proprietary content formats restrict not just what you can get, but from whom you get it. It's a blatant attempt to cut the small business owner out of the picture.

      It's been the case for a long time now that US laws set the standards and other countries tend to follow suit (drug laws are a good example), but maybe this trend will change. Leadership with some thought toward the consumer, specifically in regard to the right of choice, instead of the deep pocked corporations is good to see.

    • Most record shops have a few albums from indie or small labels and it is that range of selection that is in danger. The aim here is quite clear... dominate the digital market place, don't allow others to sell your albums digitally and so the equivalent of the high street store that has the breadth of records is never allowed to exist as they can't exist selling _only_ indie records.
      Not true.

      Most music stores have a jobber that comes in and fills the racks with RIAA-produced schlock. Then there are the little mom-and-pop establishments that carry indie media... and usually trade in used RIAA produce as well. These will survive quite handily...

      Furthermore, the indie bands usually have their own websites, where a selection of their stuff is available for download and where they often list the stores that carry their physical media... which, amazingly enough, indie fans generally run out and buy when they find something they like. And as has been said elsewhere in the thread, if you can't find something in your favorite indie store, google it, and find out where it is. That is, if your band's website isn't selling them on their website alreddie...

      Indie music is not in any danger; matter of fact, more and more bands are figuring out that it does NOT help to get into the racket, and staying out of it. The trufans know where to go to get their fix, and are providing more than enough financial support for the bands to make ends meet...

      While I think it's good that RIAA is getting its comeuppance, and think all such monopolies should, the indies are doing just fine, thank you very much.

  • -1 Halfwitted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mike Connell (81274) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @07:48AM (#2435448) Homepage
    > it looks like large-scale digital trading will always be subject to this kind of interference.

    Oh yeah - if "large-scale digital trading" is synonymous with "having a bloody cartel"

    There is a whole new world on the horizon - music over the net - where we have the possibility of a lot of new players, new ideas, exciting new possibilities - space for real innovation. Or we can have the same old traditional monoliths controlling it. Yippee.

    "Interference"? Spare me...
  • They (MusicNet) could just run the servers in the US and accept credit cards. Granted the service might be slower, but I'm pretty happy with the services that aren't in Europe. (I live in Finland.)

    Of course setting up a full local service using local currency with local banks with a help desk speaking my native language might have a better chance of being successful.
    • They (the major labels) might be in rather hot water, if they circumvent such a decision, by distributing the content from, say, Sealand.

      All majors either have major subsidiaries in Europe, or are European in the fisrst place.

      The EU is quite powerfull in terms of monopolies (I think rightfully so). Ask companies like Volkswagen, Mercedes or Tetra Pack. They where all fined dozens of millions for abusing monopoly powers.

      I don't think, that Mario Monti would consider this to be a funny prank if major companies just stick out their tongue on EU laws.

      • Re:Hot water ? (Score:2, Informative)

        by JonnyCalcutta (524825)
        I think you'll find that only one of the majors is actually American. BMG and EMI are European, Vivendi Universal is European (although Universal was American at one point, I guess), Sony is Japanese and you're left with AOL Time Warner as the only American owned record company (majors that is).
        There's irony in there somewhere.
        • There's irony in there somewhere.

          Sure have to agree with that.

          However, the cartel comission is quite blind when it gets to nationality. Companies that where fined where all European. You could argue about Daimler-Chrysler, but their fine is not yet final.

          The American merger they prevented was GE with Honeywell. This, because that would have a major impact on aircraft turbines.

          Although such measures should be handled very carefully, and never as a market protective measure, it's nice to see that it's more difficult to buy EU politicians. Albeit they are lobbied of course.

    • >They (MusicNet) could just run the servers in the US and accept credit cards.

      While this is certainly possible, violating EU law would mean that the moment an RIAA representative stepped on any bit of EU soil they'd be arrested/tried/convicted for their offense. The EU could even attempt to have RIAA officials extradited from the US for trials for their crimes. Considering countries from the EU have willingly helped the US try people in America for DMCA violations, I think an exchange like that is only par for the course.

      That is unless their site denied sales to you if your CC# was from an EU country.
    • They (MusicNet) could just run the servers in the US and accept credit cards. Granted the service might be slower, but I'm pretty happy with the services that aren't in Europe.

      I think given the current connectivity and reliability of the Internet, this is a moot point. Like you said, you're happy with non-local (national) services. In fact, when I was in France this past summer, many sites in North America were faster than French sites presumably because they use better technology and thus have greater capacity, even across the Atlantic.

      I think what the EU is proposing is a ban on sites outside and inside of the EU. Sites outside of the EU will be filtered out at ISPs by new legislation created by the EU and sites inside the EU will be forbidden to exist. Also, hardware technology needed to play the new 'digitally secure' music will be forbidden from the EU. Done. Some people may circumvent this, but not enough for the EU to worry.

      Personally, I think the whole digital music thing is laughable. I'd like to go back to the early 1980's and listen in on meetings with tech guys saying "There's no way people will be able to store whole albums on their hard drives! We don't need to protect the data." ... talk about letting the cat out of the bag.

      ... and now the RIAA is running around trying to bag the cat, dye it's hair and let it free again - all by themselves. Good luck!
  • Monopolies suck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by serps (517783)
    Good on the EU for this action. As history attests (Standard Oil, Bell, de Beers et c.) cartels and monopolies screw over their customers in the interest of continued profits. Not always tremendous profits, but a steady, large supply of money. What I can't work out is why any cartel whose monopoly depends on controlling the distribution channel can hope to retain control in the zero-cost-of-entry distribution network that is the Internet. Maybe it's like the de Beers diamond consortium: it's branding over substance (in de Beers' case: the whole 'diamonds are forever' spiel; in the RIAA's case: get your legal MP3s here, or we'll wipe your hard drive :)
  • It's just like having to buy my Sony CDs from Camelot only and my Universal CDs from Sam Goody only. It doesn't make any sense. It's not what the customers want - they want to be able to subscribe to one service, among several choices, and pay to access mp3s from all companies, preferrably paying a flat fee, and certainly not paying CD prices, because after all, an mp3 isn't as good as a CD. They'd also like to be able to choose individual songs to buy, not have to buy 1 song they want and 10 dogs they don't. What gives the music industry the idea they can continue to ignore their market and their customers without hurting the bottom line? Maybe that's why CD sales are dropping.
    • This is it, most of the new stuff I've heard is either Bubblegum Pop or Poser Trash, there is nothing out there that really makes me want to go out and buy a CD anyway. MP3s are just a scapegoat. Culture has been in the dumps since we invented disco. Only the changing music formats has masked this for so long!
    • You wanna know what people want? FREE MP3s. I'm at college and I guarantee none of my friends here will spend one dime to buy an mp3 online. The efforts to find new sources of mp3s when napster went down and when Audiogalaxy finally started blocking songs in a way where you couldn't still get them are enough to convince me that we would go back to searching ftps if we had to. I hate to sound trollish, but people are cheap, and once you've sampled getting whatever music you want for free, the idea of going back to actually *gasp* paying for it does not sit too well.
      • I agree totally. If you can't think of it this way, try to think of it as having to pay for your net access, then getting it free, then having to pay again. This happened to me.. it's not good.
      • People aren't cheap; you and your friends are cheap. There's a difference.

        Trying to extrapolate the behavior of a bunch of college boys to the world as a whole is ridiculous. Someday you, too, will graduate (with luck) and then you'll no longer be an irresponsible little college brat who has the temerity to apply the behavior of himself and his friends to the entire world population.

        Most of us - responsible working stiffs - actually buy cds of downloaded mp3s that we like. Perhaps because we want better sound quality, or think the artists should get some small amount of money for their efforts, or just because we aren't blowing all of our cash on drunkfests and ski trips. Whichever sounds most reasonable.

        Max
        • Perhaps we are cheap, but our age group (including those a bit older and those a bit younger) are the driving force behind popular music these days. We buy the most cds, movies, and video games. We are the ones that are targeted by the music industry. AND, at the same time, we're the ones taking advantage of free mp3s the most as well. Quite frankly the fact, that my dad, who perhaps buys 1 cd a year at most, doesn't get music for free, is not as important as the millions of kids downloading entire albums. Oh, and thanks for all the personal attacks, were they really necessary to get your point across?
          • Your age group *isn't* the driving force behind popular music; college kids don't have the necessary disposable income and they're more likely to steal their music online than to buy it.

            The driving force behind popular music is the *high school* crowd, who get their disposable income straight from their parents. These are the people being targeted, not you. They're the new sheep; you're the already-bought-and-paid-for sheep and no one in the RIAA gives a rats ass what you think. The RIAA no more cares about your music preferences than it does mine.

            College students aren't nearly as important as they think they are.

            And yeah, the personal attack was warranted. You blithely assume that because you and your friends do something, that 'everyone' does that thing - or at least everyone that counts. Sheer arrogance.

            In posting as in cutting wood, measure twice and cut once.

            Max

            • Did you even bother to *READ* my post? I said our age group INCLUDING those a little older and younger. Unless you were 30 years old when you went to college, a little bit younger than college age is high school age. And by the way, I did happen to be in high school two years ago, and believe it or not, they pirate mp3s too.
  • Metashops... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kragg (300602) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @08:11AM (#2435493) Journal
    This kind of phenomenon is not uncommon already - if you want to buy a rare book, then chances are amazon has it. If not, you google it and find that small site that stocks it.

    All that will happen is that some enterprising guy will set up a meta-shop where you go and enter whatever criteria you like (name, genre etc), and it'll go off and search all the record stores out there. If it isn't on X label, it's on Y instead.

    The net result is that if people WANT the broader range that isn't provided by the label-specific sites, then someone will come along and fill the void.

    Don't panic, people, the internet is more powerful than that; it'll take more than a record label trying to be restrictive to halt the information flood.

    • Do you mean something like:

      You can always find any music you want available online, even if in practice you have to get it as a (physical, delivered to you) CD instead of a binary download?

      or

      Specialized engines will appear that allow you to find the music you want in electronic format, be it in one of those Big Record Company web stores or in some independent record company/band web site/store?

      If we take this last idea further, such sites could actually end up as The Music Portals for most people. After all, they could aggregate information about content (you can find anything from one site), reorganize that information (create all sorts of searches) and add value to it (such as independent reviews instead of the "independent" ones, pointers to (real deal, not company promoted) fan clubs, information about the artist).

      Hey, to have a viable business model they could even act as a sales point for Independent Artists (instead of relying on advertising).

      This is basically what MP3.com could've turned itself into if it hadn't sold itself out (correct me if i'm wrong)

      On the other hand, i bet the Big Record Companies will buy laws (at least in the US) to forbid the embebing in web pages of pointers to their web stores ...

      • I meant the latter.

        Having such a portal also act as a download point for small independant artists is a great idea - taking the business model of things like WorldPay (who manage online transactions/orders for countless small companies who want an ecommerce front) makes this almost certainly viable, and by linking to mainstream record labels' downloads directly, there's no reason it shouldn't be the first stop.

        Thanks for taking the idea one step further ;)

        Now lets go get some VC...

        • Nice idea, but it still requires the culling of the large monopolies.

          If the presently proposed Publisher-owned shops would be allowed there's hardly any chance independends would get a hold of needed merchandise.
        • Yes, it does require monopolies. But monopolies don't always have to be bad things. 99% of the time they are, but I think that's just becuase there's a often-greedy capitalist at the other end of them. I am a capitalist, but it's a system that can be abused far too easily. However, if the government too control of licensing copyrighted materials for a reasonable fee, I think it could work.



          Give the recording studios a limited time to have exclusive rights (to recoup expenses and make a reasonable amount of profit if they can (otherwise they just need to run a tighter artistic ship and not hide behind the "only 5 out of 100 artists make it" crap - well, choose better artists!). These regs should be rigidly enforced, not subject to change by less than a 95% vote of Congress, and a time-period based on the size of the advance given to the artist, and have the accounting independently audited by different firms regularly to avoid "creative accounting" ("Hmm, what's this - a $10 million advance to pay for popcorn?")

    • This kind of phenomenon is not uncommon already - if you want to buy a rare book, then chances are amazon has it. If not, you google it and find that small site that stocks it.

      According to a friend of mine (who sometimes need some really obscure books), Barnes & Noble is an even better "metashop". He doesn't even bother finding the smaller shops that resells the the books to B&N, since he wants the convinience, and "securety" of a brand name shop he knows.

      In my country (Denmark) antique bookshops has setup a common metashop and search engine, and are making a "killing" of it, each book store often getting 1500 - 4000$ extra sales per month.
      The point is, that these mostly are extra sales, since people like me, are presented with editions we didn't even knew existed. (eg. Juvenalis satires in translation)

      All that will happen is that some enterprising guy will set up a meta-shop where you go and enter whatever criteria you like (name, genre etc), and it'll go off and search all the record stores out there. If it isn't on X label, it's on Y instead.

      But those kinds of metashops, depends wholly on the subcontractors willingness to cooperate (send in /make available up to date prices and inventory, in some kind of common data format etc.)
      If a site _don't_ want to be part of a some meta-price-compare scheme, or product search, they can easely sabotage any attempt. So don't expect a working, common search portal for "cartel-multi-corp-music" and "Small-music-labels".

      And apropos metashops; normal online cd-shops are metashops in a way, since they mostly have lots of different music labels, even indie labels.
      But this new Behemoth would probably not "resell" its online music to other shops (why would they), making even more difficult for the consumer to get a varied selection.
  • Although I can support the spirit of the act "stopping cartel/monopolisitic powers", I don't think you'd be able to win that fight by giving "the opposition" the tools to form a monopoly themselves... They -do- have that opportunity when we're restricted in used RIAA content. Doesn't look good as this could mean a trade war over music between two economic powers - USA and Europe, as I don't think that the RIAA will take it... Perhaps I should start listening to local bands then.
  • "And an American congressman is trying to introduce a law that would give all download services the same access to music regardless of whether they are affiliated with the record company that releases the songs. "

    THIS I want to know more about.
  • by Self Bias Resistor (136938) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @08:21AM (#2435517)

    The big reason why the politicians are trying to block the major record labels from setting up their music download services is that the major players may be anti-competitive (that would never happen in the software industry!) and unfairly dominate the market. Before we decide to post reactionary "EU sucks" posts en masse, we have to consider that they may actually have a point.

    One of the fundamental aspects of the major players' (ie. AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal, Bertelsmann, Sony etc) control over the music industry is that of control of distribution. The big labels have managed to buy up/price out everyone else in the market over time until they become the majority providers in the market. They have so much money behind them that it's hard for the indie players to compete if they don't have multi million-dollar advertising budgets and large amounts of capital to professionally record and produce hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of CDs, although prices for both are dropping. You want your CD to reach a large enough audience for it to go gold or platinum? Do it through us. Sure you can refuse to, but it's not like you can compete with us. One of the reasons the RIAA decided to shut Napster down was not for mass copyright infringement (the Audio Home Recording Act allowed people to copy CDs to tape for years), it was for the loss of control over the distribution of their product.

    The Internet may, if we're not careful, merely provide the big labels with another avenue of control over their product. We may see a repeat of past history where a couple of key players (both of which seem to be merely extensions of the major recording labels) grow and grow until they become so big they can have the kind of control over the digital market that they have over the physical market right now. This means high prices, low quality of service and even less money going towards the artist. They can control access that small players have to the product (ie. the music) by charging high prices for access to their copyrighted product. This is similar to Telstra being able to price out competitors by charging high prices for access to its telecommunications network (although the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) is trying to put a stop to that, just like they did with DVDs [slashdot.org]). Although an American congressman is trying to introduce a law that gives all download services the same access to music regardless of whether they are affiliated with the record company that sells the songs, which (for once) actually makes a lot of sense since it removes at least one measure through which the major players can unfairly control the market. This complaint by the politicians of the EU may actually be a good thing for all of us who download digital music.

    • The Internet may, if we're not careful, merely provide the big labels with another avenue of control over their product. We may see a repeat of past history where a couple of key players (both of which seem to be merely extensions of the major recording labels) grow and grow until they become so big they can have the kind of control over the digital market that they have over the physical market right now.

      You know, I just don't see this happening. Of course bigger labels will always have a monetary edge, but one of the beauties of the Internet is the advantage of lower cost than brick-and-mortar operations. One key point of the major labels' current monopoly is cutting deals with record stores for shelf space. On the Internet this issue goes away when anyone can set up a few servers and jump right into competition with the big boys. Costs aren't nil, but I imagine they pale in comparison to the cost of worldwide physical media distribution.

      So I think the EU is probably overreacting to Pressplay and MusicNet. Let the record companies try their outdated muscle tactics in cyberspace. The net has a way of spawning smaller, more nimble services [google.com] to compete with ones that have gotten too big [altavista.com] and bloated [yahoo.com].
    • Before we decide to post reactionary "EU sucks" posts en masse, we have to consider that they may actually have a point.

      Methinks someone doesn't read /. much, or at least hasn't been assimilated into the collective fully...:)
  • It's good that the EU is fighting an oligopoly, but might this lead to music regions (segregation), as we already have with movies and video games? I hope that the internet can eliminate borders and let content flow everywhere, as it did with Napster.
  • I love this line (Score:5, Interesting)

    by A_Non_Moose (413034) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @08:38AM (#2435559) Homepage Journal
    These record companies do not throw money into black holes and the commission fears that if they come together, it could make them into a cartel and make it virtually impossible for a rival model to compete" --emphasis mine

    Excuse me? What do you mean *could*?
    How bloody stupid can one be...a rival model (Napster, et al) did try to compete... they got E3'd (embraced, extended and extinguished).

    And, correct me if I am wrong, did a music company just try this? One of the same that was fighting napster?

    As one poster so eloquently put it, Napsters popularity was spurred on not by the "desire to steal" but by the ham fisted approach to music and individual freedoms by the "music cartel".

    I could not have said it better myself.

    Heck, just look at the "uncopyable" cds that are coming out? Individual freedoms (tossing motion) going out the windows. HDTV...whoosh...bye-bye.

    Oh, never mind the law says you have the right to do this, but the moment you excercise that right you are running afowl of the law? Excuse me?

    Did I mis-read the first line of a famous document as "We the corporations, in order to form a more perfect monopoly..."

    Moose.

    Oh, and next election, if you want sweeping changes...put a single selection first on the ballot that reads "Vote *against* all incumbants".
    If it is not there, just look, all incumbants are listed...heh.
    • by hyphz (179185)
      You have to watch out with the "individual freedoms" claim.

      First of all, the "uncopyable" CDs are a laugh. Unless they're going to start banning the sale of short gold-plated analogue audio cables and digital audio cables. They've tried to stop people playing the CDs on computers, but have ignored the fact that the computer doesn't need to play the CD - it just needs to get at the audio stream somehow.

      But second, the simple reason you have to be careful is that if you DO triumph over all these rights protection businesses, then the owners of the content can just Take Their Ball And Go Home. If the DeCSS case had crushed the DMCA early in DVD's life, they just wouldn't have made any more DVDs. Of course, what their big fear is that sooner or later somebody will say We've Got Our Own Ball Now.

      Unfortunately in the case of music this is pretty unlikely, as long as they can tie up all methods for making money by distributing music that way. Piracy is a (relatively) minor issue because it'll always happen anyway (and it can help - see below); distribution of free music is a relatively minor issue because you can't do free work forever.

      But, try writing a piece of music and finding out how much it'll cost (or even if it'll be possible) for you to distribute it with DRM. Try making a film and find out what it'll involve to get it CSSed. Most of these don't bother with money - they just won't sell to you unless you can prove you can be trusted - by already being a music/film firm. And if you aren't one now, you can never meet that, because you can't become a firm if you can't make money because you have no protection.

      And that's another side: as long as people are not pirating because it's technologically impossible for them to do so, rather than because it's wrong, no attitudes will change. The moment something gets released without protection, many will say "What a goof!" and copy it to the skies. This neatly prevents people who can't get the protection from making money, as discussed above, and thus is actually beneficial to the existing companies who can afford protection. Using piracy to wipe competitors off the map is well-established by now, although it's unusual in music (although pretty frequent in IT)

      And yet another: people are used to judging the quality of a musician by the fact they got commercially released. Many famous musicians are famous *before* their first song gets released. Moving to a non-publisher model, in which all qualities of music are distributed and you just choose the ones you like, would probably be rejected, because it would require people to actually think about what they were buying.
  • Like Microsoft, the Music Industry cant innovate anything on their own and have to steal/litigate the competition out of business...

    if it was up to the RIAA, ALL music would sound like N'Stink
  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @09:06AM (#2435632)

    I am outraged by all these people attacking the recording industry. If it wasn't for them then how would any band succeed? I think the internet is going to do incredible damage to musicians and their ability to earn an honest living.

    I have my own pop band and one day we're hoping to be really big. We've sent tapes to some of the big record companies, but so far we've been rejected. Apparently we're not commercial enough, but we'll keep trying.

    But guess what - people have been copying and distributing our music on the internet! Some of our so called 'fans' came to one of our concerts and made a recording of some of the songs, then they emailed them to their friends and suddenly we found that thousands of people were distributing our music without our permission! Some 'fans' set up web sites without our permission, with photographs and with virtually all the songs we played at the concert downloadable. We have sent them emails to tell the to take them down, and if they don't then we'll be contacting our lawyers.

    Some of these 'fans' had the cheek to email us and ask us when we were next going to play a concert. We've decided that from now on we are not going to publicise our concerts to prevent these types of parasites coming.

    I think we're going to really big and popular one day, but of course that can only happen with the help of the big record companies, so lay off them!
    • Is this a joke? I hope so.

      If it isn't, PLEASE research recording contracts. Very very few popular bands make money from record companies. Read how it really works at http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/

      --jeff
    • How did musicians make it before the explosion in recorded media? They worked locally or regionally. Before so much music was available and able to be carried around you had to pay a band for music in your club or at your party. Making it 'Big' meant playing regularly and making a living. Now it means being promoted and marketed, being a media whore.

      I still feel the best bands are those that grow to prominence in your community. In my area, the midwest, there are several who are busy night after night, and have been for years. They have a large, loyal following. They get my money at the door and from a shirt or locally-produced album.

      And what is it going to do to your crowds if you don't publicise? Sounds like a bonehead move if you ask me.

      Your whole post sounds as though you're saying, "Leave my pimp alone!"
    • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @09:43AM (#2435759)
      Irony is the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. Satire is a literary work (such as a Slashdot posting;-) in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

      Satire can sometimes be difficult to spot, especially for those of low intelligence. However, people who use irony often leave clues that they are not being serious.

      If you read a posting on Slashdot that appears to contain extreme views, and statements that are obviously untrue, it could just be a troll. However, be careful! It might be satire! Then you'll look stupid if you respond to it seriously. If you're not sure or are confused, then it's better not to respond.
      • Irony is the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.

        I can't help but think that the people who moderated this post "Insightful" as opposed to "Funny" really didn't understand the concepts contained in it.

        • You use that word a lot.. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          The definition of irony I gave was taken from a dictionary. Sarcasm is defined as a cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.

          You may be confused by that song by Alanis Morissette, in which she uses a slightly different meaning of ironic - something that happens that's the opposite of what you expect.

          Look them up in a dictionary.

      • I think it is hilarious that this post has been moderated as insightful and informative. In the UK most people would recognise that this post is 'taking the piss'. It's meant to be funny and is mocking the stupidity of some slashdotters.

        Obviously my English humour is too subtle for some people.
  • by call -151 (230520) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @09:20AM (#2435685) Homepage
    According to this NY times article [nytimes.com] an investigation into the possible anti-competive practices of the big music companies on their internet distribution plans for Pressplay and Musicnet is being launched by the antitrust division of the US Dept. of Justice (this link [nytimes.com] is has same story, no NYT registration required, I think.) No surprise that an investigation is being launched; the news is that subpoenas have been sent out.

    • CNN is also reporting this as well here [cnn.com]. The interesting part is that it is the result of a civil investigative demand. I'd be interested to know who did it. *cough* Napster *cough* ;-)
    • Above says it all.
      Physical or online, it is a product, and there must be no restraint of trade, or refusal to licence other wanabe online music exchanges, insofar royalities get paid at the end of the day.
      No doubt RIAA will support windows only, and try to quash other platforms, and try to prevent these wantabes from keeping copies on their servers, or try to scam an 'authorization charge' - just like the banks - presently also being investigated for collusion and price fixing on credit card transactions.
      EU take note - make sure the royalities will be no more expensive -and that availability of titles are same.
      But the brick wall of discrimination comes up too - royalities are lower in 3rd world / low gdp countries - does that mean that India and China will be prevented offerinfg online music downloads. - or that servers in Denmark made to charge +27% VAT tax. The issue of global pricing is not being addressed.

  • Please... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheMMaster (527904)
    "Some politicians fear that the two services, Pressplay and MusicNet, would be anti-competitive and unfairly dominate the market."
    Please, I know the european (politician) way of thinking (I'm from holland) and the line should read:
    "Some politicians fear that the two services, Pressplay and MusicNet, will pay too little taxes"
    That's why we are having trouble buying stuff from america or outside the EU for that matter. But MP3's that you download... how can they stop that???
    Well... at least that's what I think
    • That's why we are having trouble buying stuff from america or outside the EU for that matter.

      Now, now....I never had trouble buying stuff in the US! I can guarantee you that they know how to tax stuff that comes from the US. Recently I bought a whole batch of T-shirts from ThinkGeek for our development team (hey, we did a good job, we deserved it!) Since the whole batch cost quite a lot money the customs noticed it and I had to pay a humungous import tax...and I live in an EU country known as a tax paradise.

      Of course taxing downloaded MP3's would be a very difficult thing, but in essence they'll just shift the way of taxing. For example, tax your internet connection more (just like "kijkgeld", you know what I talk about, I don't know the english word). There are tons of ways to tax some service that is untaxable in an direct way.

      Oh, by the way, shoudn't you say "The Netherlands" instead of "Holland"? ;-)

  • Will the RIIA propose an amendment in Europe allowing them to hack into computers in order to upload their copyrigthed files in your hard drive ?
  • But that industry says it will not put a stranglehold on the download sector, and is planning to work together with a new, legitimate Napster that will launch before the end of the year.

    Is it me, or does this quote sound like a little kid saying: "No, mommy. I won't eat all the cookies. I'll share some with my little brother."

    I mean, come on. How naive do they think people are? Everybody knows that given the chance, they'll monopolize the download sector and crush (through illegal use of the legal process) legitimate services.

    I say kudos (the congratulation, not the candy) to the EU for putting a halt to MusicNet and Pressplay until it can be assured that the download sector is a competative one.

    This quote brought to you by MoronCo. Industries, the leading source of stupidity on the internet,
  • by Insipid Trunculance (526362) on Tuesday October 16, 2001 @10:19AM (#2435918) Homepage
    This is a point i make often and this instance is no other,the Fact is that People Forget
    that outside US (include Canada in the tag pls)these anti Common Man things wouldnt simply work.

    Stop worrying and in a few years time just like the cryptography thingy these restrictions will go away when they are found harming US interests.

    You ask me how??Well here's How:

    Imagine a major European/Asian Label which:
    1.Gives the artists it contracts Better % of revenue.
    2.Provides its customers with no fancy works,just workd CD's etc.
    3.Reduce its margins to realistic levels and make CD's cheap enough so that ppl dont mind buying one just for a few songs(i am assuming that some people will continue to pirate--But most wont)

    isnt it possible that you US guys will order more and more of your CD's over the net from these guys?

    • isnt it possible that you US guys will order more and more of your CD's over the net from these guys?

      But, all the US has to do is block access to unpatriotic sites all over the world. Fortunately, China is working on just such a technology and is probably putting it into its Red Flag Linux distros. So, the US can download it and force all Americans to use this technology to help prop up the domestic music industry.
  • Never heard that term before. I assume it's sharing over a local network. Can someone clue me in?
  • Lets expand on the idea of a blackhole list. and dump all traffic from some sites.

    Benefits:

    Suddenly they would have no more complaints - they could no longer see the rest of the world.

    They would not be able to hack our machines. (prevention of terrorist activity via USA act)

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