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Predicting The End Of Digital Copying 583

Posted by timothy
from the we-control-the-vertical-we-control-the-horizontal dept.
prostoalex writes: "Christian Science Monitor warns about approaching era of digital prohibition. With FCC requiring the use of copy prevention mechanisms in future generations of television sets, soon 'Americans may not be able to copy a song off a CD, watch a recorded DVD at a friend's house, or store a copy of a television show for more than a day'. Of course, no article on this topic can go without a mandatory quote from Jack Valenti, who points out: 'It is not legal to make a copy of a DVD now. Everything people are doing legally today, they'll be able to do legally tomorrow'."
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Predicting The End Of Digital Copying

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  • by bcilfone (144175) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:03AM (#4102043) Homepage
    You *cannot* prevent copying. You can't make it illegal and you can't prevent it technically.

    I would however expect that we will see more **AA taxes such as the ones already in place on CD-R and radio broadcasts. 5% on your cable modem bill, 3% of your hard drive, 6% of your compactflash card.

    If this money were actually distributed to all affected copyright holders and not just those that belong to the **AA, this wouldn't be the worst solution in the world.
    • Here's my beef:

      I agree with the absurdity of the proposal, and with any current levies. In my opinion, if the government plans on charging us fees on the 'assumption' that we're going to be breaking copyright laws, then in those cases IF and when we do break copyright laws, we should consider our debt as paid in full. Otherwise, if the record industry decides to sue someone on the basis of lost sales, we could easily point out that they received compensation for their music, in the form of a fee from the sale of the blank CDs.

      So what if the gaming industry decides later this year that they want to get a piece of the pie, too? They'll be asking for their $1.23, or $2.27 for the lost sales of games, because someone copied a PC or Playstation game onto a CD. Then the literary world will get wind of the idea, and decide they want some $$ for their lost sales of e-texts, pdf documents, etc...

      There are far more legitimate uses for CDs than there are illegitimate uses. And my guess is that the majority of CDs sold are for legitimate uses. Looking at my stack of CDs, I see some photo CDs that I made, dozens of backup CDs for my hard drive, a collection of MP3 CDs for music that I already own, software backup CDs, temporary storage CD-RWs, various document CDs, etc...

      BTW, I think the record industry should pay the same levy on the blank CDs that they use for distributing their music to consumers. This would, in effect, take money from the smaller record labels, and distribute it to the largest label. They may whine, "But we're using these blank CDs to distribute our music for which we own the copyrights." Tough shit ! I want to buy some blank CDs to distribute to friends a set of photos for which I own the copyright!

      And those RIOs.... how about someone just using them for storing music they already own, to listen to while they're out for a jog, or a bike ride, etc...

      And don't get me started on the flash memory levies. What the hell !?!? The record industry wants me to pay them because I take use flash memory for my digital camera !?!? I don't own a stinkin' flash-based MP3 player!

      Grrrrrr....

    • Any time consumer owned hardware/software is part of the copy protection scheme, that scheme is doomed to failure. Reverse engineering is a highly advanced art and it's just going to get better. Ask DirecTV how many generations of access cards they've gone through trying to "secure" their signals. Each one was supposed to be unbreakable.

      The goal for commercial content protection has to be to stay ahead of the curve just enough to assure current profitability. They realize that sooner or later the copy protection WILL be broken. It's inevitable, even if it's a hundred years from now (but more likely less than one year), that any copy protection will be defeated and the content plastered across the Internet. But that doesn't matter to THIS year's balance sheet.

      What's going on with the RIAA, MPAA, Etc. is the industry trying to stay ahead of that curve any way they can. They don't have to stop everyone, just most everyone and they do that by making it just difficult enough that most people won't bother. Like insurance, it's a numbers game.

    • If this money were actually distributed to all affected copyright holders

      But here lies another problem: How do you determine what an "affected copyright holder" is? And how do you determine to what degree a particular copyright holder is affected?
    • by dslbrian (318993) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:49AM (#4102300)
      Thats a ridiculous proposal. Why should I pay tax to a -company- !?!?!

      Companies don't fund the schools that my kids will go to, or pave the roads that I drive on. In fact those companies don't provide any -public- services at all. You have to pay for their products and services.

      If I start an entertainment company, does that mean I can suddenly start collecting taxes?? Imagine the possibilities for corruption of such a system. Suppose a company collects a tax based on how many artists they sign. You can bet every name in the RIAA register would be signing every no-name retard on the planet to increase their portion of the pie.

      Sorry, but I'm not interested in maintaining the RIAAs bottom line. If they can't find a real way to make money in the digital age then they should get another job just like everyone else...
    • You can't make it illegal and you can't prevent it technically

      Wana bet?? Check the recording specs for SDMI compliant hardware here.

      http://www.sdmi.org/

      Sorry about the documents in PDF.

      They are making it very hard to record anything of your own creation that isn't Monural voice grade bandwidth limited. This is collateral damage limiting indi creation using new hardware.
      Watch out for this to become mandentory instead of optional and anything else not legal.

      In the USA, having a lockpick is illegal if you are not a locksmith. Expect audio and video recorders to have the same restrictions soon.
      • On the subject of lockpicks, I don't believe that they are illegal to posess in the US...I bought a set about a year and a half ago, and no one hassled me or asked me if I was a locksmith. Neither my friend (who also owns a set) nor I make a bit deal out of owning lockpicking tools, as people tend to assume that you are a criminal, but I use it fairly often to let people into their (own) houses, dorm rooms, cars (if possible), and so on. The laws in your state may vary, but I don't think this is the case in Wisconsin. You are correct, though; very soon all audio/visual equipment (at the consumer and prosumer level, at least) is going to have severe DRM hardware, at least according to current trends.
        • On the subject of lockpicks, I don't believe that they are illegal to posess in the US

          At the very least, mere possession _is_ illegal in many states. Big ones. And in others, only possession with intent to use criminally is illegal, but possession itself is enough to construe criminal intent (ie the burden of proof is shifted to the defendant once such implements are found). California, New York, and Texas are among the states with anti-lockpick laws.

          I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

          Sumner
    • by guttentag (313541) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @01:52AM (#4102520) Journal
      I realize that this happens in Europe right now. Before it can come to the U.S., here's what needs to happen:

      the explicit legalization of all copying of copyrighted works, and the explicit endorsement of copying by the industry that will be the beneficiary of the tax revenue

      If we are being charged (financially) on the presumption that we will engage in copying of copyrighted works, it has to be legalized. You can't tax an illegal activity any more than you can have your cake and eat it too.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:05AM (#4102059) Homepage Journal
    Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission approved regulations that would require television manufacturers to include anticopying technology in the next generation of televisions.

    Did they also pass a law banning screwdrivers? 'Cause if not...I plan to use one to exclude anticopying technology in my next generation TV.

    • Did they also pass a law banning screwdrivers? 'Cause if not...I plan to use one to exclude anticopying technology in my next generation TV.

      Nope, but I'm afraid you are in violation of DMCA in doing so.

      In the process of removing the screws you need to turn each of those with a screwdriver n-turn anti-clockwise, where n is the exact number of turn the manufacturer has turned to put that screw in place. By reversing the process you are effectively doing reverse-engineering on it and violate the DMCA.

      • Whimsical descriptions of how regular everyday activities constitute DMCA violations are NOT CLEVER ANYMORE. They're as bland and predictable as the endless Natalie Portman hot grits Beowulf cluster goatse first posts.

        Let it die, already.
    • It's not illegal to own a screwdriver, but it is illegal to screw with the MPAA, the FCC, or their anti-copying technology.
  • 'Americans may not be able to copy a song off a CD, watch a recorded DVD at a friend's house, or store a copy of a television show for more than a day'

    Guess that means they don't need any new laws. Which, in turn, means they can stop buying congress critters. I'm sure their accounting departments will be glad to hear that.

    (Point being, this is as transparent as usual for Valenti. The things implied by this quote don't bear out at all.)

    -Rob
  • 'It is not legal to make a copy of a DVD now. Everything people are doing legally today, they'll be able to do legally tomorrow'

    But we will be working our butts off to have most of the things you are doing today classified as illegal.

    Of course we'll be making small changes as not to conflict with the constitution.
  • by paladin_tom (533027) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:08AM (#4102075) Homepage

    From the article,

    Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission approved regulations that would require television manufacturers to include anticopying technology in the next generation of televisions. The technology would identify programs that broadcasters do not want consumers to copy without first paying a fee.

    So what's stopping companies from countries other than the US from making a copy-protected version of their hardware for the US market, and a non-copy-protected version (possibly at a higher price) for the non-US market?

    Sure, companies don't like having to support multiple products, but I'll bet there'd be a market for this. Wouldn't the FCC's new regulation just push American companies out of this market?

    • And they haven't been here for ages. IIRC, Zenith was the last brand to manufacture here, and I think they stopped at least a decade ago.
    • The shit's going to hit the fan when Joe Sixpack presses 'Record' on his remote control and his fancy new home-entertainment system says "Permission Denied". There will be a bloody rebellion when the DMCA starts to directly impact most consumers.
    • lmfao. which american TV manufacturers would you suggest this will be pushing out of the market?

  • Hrm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RomSteady (533144) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:08AM (#4102076) Homepage Journal
    My question is this: there is nothing legally wrong with space-shifting my CD collection, so what is legally wrong with space-shifting my DVD collection?

    I copy my CD's to MP3 format and take those into work so that I won't have my CD's stolen. I do the same with my DVD's, except I convert them to Windows Media 8 format.

    As long as you own a copy of the video in question, aren't you basically doing what is already legal to do with CD's? (Aside from the whole DMCA riff, which is OK, because I have several region-free DVD's.)

    I'm not talking about distributing those copies. That is, of course, illegal as hell. I'm talking about using a copy of your own item for personal use.
    • My question is this: there is nothing legally wrong with space-shifting my CD collection, so what is legally wrong with space-shifting my DVD collection?

      Nothing. Valenti just pulled that out of his elderly ass.

      • Re:Hrm... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by homer_ca (144738)
        In this interview with the President of the RIAA [blogcritics.org] he spouts the party line.

        Eric Olsen: How are you actually going to overcome the "fair use" doctrine? It's already a fact that "archival" copies are allowed, so why is "space shifting" not archival and thus "fair use"?

        Cary Sherman: ... It is not a fact that "archival" copies are allowed. Copyright law specifically allows certain kinds of archival copies of software, but not of music, movies, books or anything else. In fact, in the Texaco case, the court held that making archival copies of scientific papers was not a fair use. As for space shifting, I don't think any court has actually held that it's a fair use. And a couple have specifically ruled that it isn't.


        Now compare and contrast with Orrin Hatch questioning Hilary Rosen in the Senate- here [membrane.com]:

        ''Can I make a copy of a CD that I buy and put it into a car?'' asked Hatch. When Rosen hemmed and hawed, Hatch muttered, ''The answer is yes.''
  • More has always been accomplished under prohibition than not. Enterprising young 'uns will always be a step ahead.

    Besides Jack, you can't live forever.....
    • speaking of Prohibition (yes I know I'm taking it out of context), To the best of my recollection, alcohol is legal again. Why? Oh sure some of it had to do with the public interest in ending Prohibition, but more had to do with the fact that they simply couldn't stop it. What did they do instead? Tax it. Fair enough.
  • And everything that people are illegally doing today, they will be doing tomorow, same goes for whatever you and your whored congresscritters decide is illegal tomorow.
    Get with the fucking program.

  • If my kids are watching a DVD in the living room and I record my show on the DVD recorder in my study I won't be able to watch it on the DVD player in the living room.
    This is insane nonsense. The truth is that most people won't realise that they are being butt-fucked until it is too late.

    Valenti's quote should read "Grab the Vaseline and bend over, here comes the MPAA."

  • No prevention... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jlrowe (69115)
    Laws do not prevent crime. They merely provide punishment for those who disregard them. And if they are *stupid* laws, it is a virtual guarantee they will be disregarded.

    Laws also mean nothing to the 'good' citizen. That citizen would behave properly whether the law existed or not, providing it is a proper and just law.

    Not does the law mean anything to the criminal. He will break them ( or rather, do what he wants )whether or not they exist.

    Again I say, that laws merely define a punishment. They do *not* control behaviour.

  • Stock up now... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tinrobot (314936)
    I guess I should hang on to my TVs, stereos, and other various analog/digital devices that allow me to copy audio and video today -- and oh, by the way, will most likely allow me to copy audio and video tomorrow.

    On another point, I'm not sure if fewer features will be a big selling point for the electronics manufacturers - "sorry, sir, the ability to record was phased out with last years model." If there's a demand, someone will supply it.

  • Fair use, remember? I may not be able to legally make a copy of a DVD and give it to someone else, although some congresscritters have made noise that perhaps it is. I certainly can make a copy of my own for backup purposes. Having just bought my first CD in years, I fully intend to do so. I also have lots of CDs which have degraded over the years (scratches, cracks, etc). I'm entirely within my rights to make copies to protect the money I've spent.


    Of course the obligatory shot at the RIAA's stupidity is in order. I'll drop $30-$50 for a book without thinking about it. I've spent less than $14 (exactly one CD for $13 and change) in the last 4 or so years on music (and pirated none) because the RIAA places their profit over their customers' rights. Ya make yer choices, you suffer the consequences.

    • You won't pay $18.99 for a CD but you will give "$30-$50 for a book without thinking about it" to an industry that is just as evil? Print publishing isn't all cuddly and fuzzy. They are equally as ruthless as the **AA. These are the people who want to outlaw public libraries. The only reason you don't see stories about them on Slashdot is because they are still "analog". As soon as digital eBooks become the norm (just like digital music became the norm in the late 80's and digital movies in the late 90's), they will start making just as much noise about copy-protection.

      And let's not forget our friend Dmitri. eBooks are what put him in jail (albeit the ebook software maker and not the publisher).

  • by myov (177946) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:17AM (#4102142)
    It is not legal to make a copy of a DVD now

    Since when? I can't use my SuperDrive to copy the content that I create on my own?

  • Valenti is a liar. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "It is not legal to make a copy of a DVD now. Everything people are doing legally today, they'll be able to do legally tomorrow," says Valenti.

    Umm, actually, shit-for-brains, despite your consistent propaganda to the contrary it IS, in fact, perfectly legal to make a copy of a DVD.

    Sell the copy? No. Give a copy away free to anyone who asks for it? Probably not. MAKE the copy in the first place? LEGAL.

    "It is not legal to make a copy of a DVD now" is a flat-out lie. Someone in the mainstream media needs to call him on this crap.
  • Yeah right, Jack! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by serutan (259622)
    This is the same guy who proclaimed a couple months ago that television viewers who don't watch commercials are guilty of stealing programming. Sure, I'll believe whatever he says about DRM.

    Don't watch tv. Don't buy music.
  • *Shrug* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:20AM (#4102158) Homepage Journal
    Too bad they won't supply my demand for music in MP3 format.
    • Re:*Shrug* (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mochan_s (536939)

      Well, there are plenty of artists and bands who are selling thier music in mp3 format. The problem is you are not hearing or interested in those artists because they aren't on MTV or hyped in magazines (which they mostly own).

      Hence, the point never ever has been of demand and supply. When you have advertisment and product differentiation, there is no point talking about demand and supply. You either buy ("you favorite band or musicians")'s CD or live a miserable life without it. There's no substitue product.

      • "Well, there are plenty of artists and bands who are selling thier music in mp3 format"

        So? The artists I want to listen to don't do it, otherwise I wouldn't be bitching about it. Music isn't like buying chocolate (few ppl are picky about chocolate), it's like buying paintings.

        If the RIAA wants me to buy their music, they should be saying "What does this guy want?" instead of saying "How do we make sure this guy doesn't give his music to everybody."

        Geez they act like I'm interested in giving my crap away.

        • (few ppl are picky about chocolate)

          They should be, though -- the difference between good and bad chocolate is about as big as, say, the gap between Bach and Eminem.

          (Many thanks to Dubious-Analogies-R-Us for that one.)

  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:20AM (#4102161) Homepage

    The interesting (and disturbing) thing is that this stuff was never legal to begin with.

    Copying a CD, making a mix disc for your girlfriend, having a group of people watch one copy of a videotape, loaning CDs to friends, these are all legally fuzzy.

    These things have been going since the beginning of consumer recording devices. I have stacks of home-copied tapes and Apple II games from my high school days. But not until the internet have the Media Corporations been able to actually *see* the data flying around. And not until the internet have they even considered the idea of *monitoring* your recording devices.

    So to them, this is great. Now they can finally fully and completely enforce all those laws that were drafted in the phonograph era and patched here and there whenever a new technology comes out.

    But to the rest of us, it shows just how much power copyright law gives the copyright holder.

    What to do? Well the obvious thing is to never ever buy anything from those corps again. And avoid new technology until the appropriate "DeCSS-esque" hack is available (no matter what the article says, the technology will be cracked and the information will be relatively easy to find). That way you can always remain in control of your own possessions. I don't see any other solution. The government believes "copyright" and "capitalism" go hand-in-hand, even though too strong copyright is decidedly anti-freedom and anti-capitalistic.

    • What to do?

      For starters, join the boycott of all commercial movies in December 2002. The Boycott is aimed at bringing public attention to the fact that these companies are buying our representatives and using them to take away our rights. It's unlikely that we'll be able to actually cut into their profits, but hopefully it will inform enough of the public that the MPAA won't feel so good about doing it anymore. So tell your friends and family not to go to commercial movies between November 30th and January 1st (non-inclusive). Take the time you would waste staring at a screen and spend it with your family and friends, read a book, or whatever - just don't go to the theatres.
  • by Mirell (459881) <tryn@mirell.org> on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:22AM (#4102176) Homepage Journal
    Seeing as the sheer stupidity of the basics of this proposal, I wanted to bring up a point that no one may have thought about before...

    The article states that some Television manufacturers might include anti-"theft" copy prevention systems, to deter users from recording shows on the TV. What makes me wonder about this, is what about such things as "Cable in the Classroom", a public service for the education of elementary students. I have seen it used quite often in public schools. (Whether or not the usefulness of this program is worthwhile, that is left out of this discussion)

    You also have other stations such as PBS, and at times school districts and colleges may have their own channels. As a few college radio stations do around where I live in Arkansas, everything they broadcast is part of the NPR (National Public Radio) program, or locally done programming, which is all in the public domain.

    An arguement can be said from people that such things as books and movies which have entered the public domain (Silent films, ne?), you still have to pay for the cost of publication, even if it is only $.75 for the Dover book version of Plato's works.

    But the point is that such things as PBS, et cetera, are broadcasting free of charge, as a public service, and intend for you to be able to record these shows, for either your own children, school, et cetera. Therefore, would the television industry require them to use some encoded stream on the SAP to allow the television to record these shows? Or would it just ignore this altogether and basically say Screw you, PBS.

    Just thought it would be an interesting viewpoint on this issue...
    • regarding public domain material and accessibility.

      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=38224&cid=4095 027 [slashdot.org]

      In a nutshell I argue current interpretation and enforcement of copyright has to be reexamined in the context of the intent of copyright (which is a GRANT to the originator by power of law for benefit of the greater society, not an inherent right to be exploited to the detriment of greater society.)

      Yes, I'm karma whoring, damnit!
    • But the point is that such things as PBS, et cetera, are broadcasting free of charge, as a public service, and intend for you to be able to record these shows, for either your own children, school, et cetera... Or would it just ignore this altogether and basically say Screw you, PBS.
      It's un-American to give away anything of value unless an American company is making a profit (ask the NSA [slashdot.org]). PBS is an un-American institution that will be liquidated in the New World Order TM.
  • ...this will be pretty damn funny. I'm not really that worried since I know whatever they try will ultimately fail. There *IS* no perfectly secure system... haven't there been enough examples yet?

    My only really paranoid fear is all this crap will eventually lead to the entire US as a Police state. Yeah ok, so thats a little extreme. But either they will just fuckin' give up already, or they will keep getting laws passed till you need to have goveremnt issued DRM compliant occular implants so you are deported from the country.
  • Jack Valenti: Everything people are doing legally today, they'll be able to do legally tomorrow

    There is a flip side to this coin. Most of the things people are doing illegally today, they were able to do legally yesterday.

    The solution is simple: repeal the freedom-destroying laws and put a moratorium of new ones and most people will be law-abiding citizens. An added benefit is that there will be fewer blood-sucking lawyers. Add more freedom-destroying laws to the hundreds of thousands of laws already on the books, and help create a growing criminal society.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:28AM (#4102211) Homepage Journal
    And once they remove all the things that make digital media useful, live plays and shows will enjoy a resurgance. Digital media will have become just as short-lived and expensive as a live show and taking in a play will be a welcome escape from the constant barrage of advertising that you are already increasingly subjected to in digital media. The MPAA and RIAA will take their declining bank accounts as proof that more laws need to be passed to prohibit digital piracy and the less convienent they make the use of the digital media, the more customers they will lose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:29AM (#4102213)
    Under fair use laws, what Jack Valenti and his cronies at the entertainment cartels are trying to change through "drm" legislation, it is legal for you to copy vhs cassettes, cd-roms, dvd discs of movies and music.

    For the specifics, go to NYFairUse.org [nyfairuse.org] and learn what right you have, and what Jack Valenti, Sony, AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, Vivendi, and many others in the entertainment cartel and digital camps promoting drm are trying to ban. And find out what your legislators position on the issue is, then call them, and let them know you'll be voting on this issue this November.

    For a NYC based organization that promotes Linux use, Fair Use rights, freeing Dimitry, and many other issues important to the community, see NYLXS.com [nylxs.com] and if you are from the area, drop in at our next installfest or in-service demo, or CUNY Linux demo, or our boat cruise around Manhattan on August 24th, or join us in Washington DC at our next protest against drm [newsforge.com], and attacks on our fair use rights.
  • J. Valenti: Everything people are doing legally today, they'll be able to do legally tomorrow'

    Hmm... He conspicuously failed to address the day after tomorrow and all subsequent days.
  • From the article:

    According to Viant, a Boston-based market-research firm, 400,000 to 600,000 films are illegally downloaded from the Internet each day.

    How many broadband users are there worldwide? I believe I've heard numbers around 10 million. Does the typical broadband user download a full-length movie every 3 weeks? Or are most movie downloads in a very-low-quality format that is plausible to download over at 56K?

    I suspect BS.

  • I live in Germany. Also here the entertainment industry is very much concerned about illegal copies of their material.

    So recently a sort of law passed that says that manufacturers have to pay 6 Euro for every CD writer they sell because there is the possibility that this device is used for illegal actions.

    Practically that means, that I as the customer have to pay a penalty for not doing anything illegal. I'm not able to purchase a CD writer for my downloaded ISO images of a Linux distribution or for making backup copies without paying the penalty for illegal copying.

    In acient history there was a motto "in dubio pro reo" that means that you can't put a penalty on somebody if you are not totally sure that he's guilty. Nowadays it looks like its enough that the entertainment industry complains a lot about illegal copies and that its not controllable what a man does with his CD writer and so they are enabled to charge every user for illegal copies without any evidence that he really does it. Its like they got permission to print their own money.

    I wonder when its time to send the male part of the population to jail since they all are carrying the tool with them that could be used to rape somebody...

    For me that means that I will get my 6 Euros back by NOT buying CDs any more. After around 1000 CDs the entertainment industry convinced me that I'm probably a bad guy and that they don't want to make any more business with me.

  • It's perfectly legal to backup your software as long as you own a license of it don't distribute it. With their logic computer software should make no exception and we must beg the vendors for replacement when you lost your own copy, which would at least take a week. It'd be awkward if your life/business depends on it. :/

  • The economy is in bad shape. Lots of people are out of work. As such, they have fewer dollars to spend on non-essential items like entertainment. If the price of entertainment goes up, they'll consume less. So, Jack Valenti may get his way. But it probably won't be the outcome he wants. He should be careful what he asks for. He might just get it.


  • According to Viant, a Boston-based market-research firm, 400,000 to 600,000 films are illegally downloaded from the Internet each day. "[These films] are innocents in a jungle, ready to be ambushed by anyone," says Jack Valenti

    This from the man who makes fun of anyone who says "information wants to be free".
  • by FlyerFanNC (112562) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:46AM (#4102284)
    I'm not about to rearrange my schedule for my favorite TV shows. I hope the TV broadcasters understand that if they make it illegal, or at the very least a pain in the ass, to record shows a la Tivo, then I will be watching very little TV in the future. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.
  • DRM is Theft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrBrklyn (4775) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:46AM (#4102285) Homepage Journal
    NY Fair Use [nyfairuse.org] and NYLXS [nylxs.com] have worked really hard at preventing this. Your COngressman in Town this week!!! Pay a visit with your lug to the office this week. We have to keep hammering it just like that, line for line on these arguements, just as they are laid out.

    Jack Valenti and July 17th, Washington DC, Department of Commercie DRM Workshop:

    "A little Demagogary Never Hurt anyone"

    Jack agian in 1982: "The VCR is to Movies like the Boston Strangler to Young Women"

    Ruben Safir: President of NYLXS and Co-Founder of NY Fair Use August 2002:

    "Jack Valanti is to Private Ownership and Property as the Boston Strangler to the VCR"

    Jack Valenti again at the DRM Workshop:

    "If this body connot find a way to agree to find a way which will protect private property from Theft then we'll just have to go to Congress and get it done"

    Ruben Safir at the Press Conference after the Workshop:

    "I completely agree with Jack Valenti. Congress has to step in and protect our private property from theft. It's my damn disk, my damn computer. If someone breaks into my home and steals my computer and my DVD's, who calls the cops and files the police report?

    Me or Universal Pictures?

    DRM is Theft. Congress must pass a law which will protect the property of every owner of a computer and purchaser of Digital Information by outlawing anything which prevents the full enjoyment of their property. We don't need prior aproval of Warner Brothers, Jack Valenti, or Barry Sorkin to use our computers to augment our enjoyment of our property. There is no forced contract to a cash sale. Forcing a contract on the public which they didn't negotiate as equal partners is a form of slavery no free citizen can put up with.

    That's why we propose a New Fair Use Bill, one which guarantees that Copyright is secondary to the Constitutional Right of Security in ones Home and with one's pocessions. Because Copyright is secondary to my property rights in my home and Congress has to make it clear.

    If anyone should be forced into a license, then Bertleson should be forced to License to Listen.com. That's why we gave them the limited exclussive Monopoly in the first place, to make sure the material is published. If they don't want to publish, too bad, make them do it anyway or strip them of their Monopoly.

    How can we can we continue to expect to maintain a free society if we can't accumulate, copy and archive on our digital systems and information. How are we expected to be able to publish from annotated facts, with references to the original works when everything on the internet can expire or disapear. We have to be able to copy to archive. It's essential to our politcal speech, or for that matter our abilty to have party music mixed to our own enjoyment on Saturday Night."

    • by Louis Savain (65843) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @01:28AM (#4102451) Homepage
      There is no forced contract to a cash sale. Forcing a contract on the public which they didn't negotiate as equal partners is a form of slavery no free citizen can put up with.

      How true! Here I go again. This bears repeating over and over even if I get modded down as a troll:

      Intellectual property laws exist only because we have a slavery system. Our 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 wealth of the land. Income property is owned by a few and the state. The others are slaves. Artists, programmers and inventors depend on their work to make a living. Can we blame them? We all depend on our labor because we are all slaves. So now we are swimming in a ocean of laws and rules that take away our remaining liberties, one by one.

      Let's face it, if you cannot put a fence around it or put chains on it, it does not belong to you. Makes no difference whether it is ideas, writings, software, music or what have you. Once you've released it, like the air, it belongs to nobody and everybody.

      Intellectual property owners (such as Microsoft, Adobe, and the music industry) will fight freedom with everything they've got. Right now they have two formidable weapons: IP laws and powerful police states to enforce them. But those who yearn to be free also have a formidable weapon, the internet.

      The internet and other communication technologies (e.g., file sharing systems) are the first major kinks in the armor of a sick system. As technology progresses, the system will eventually collapse. What will happen to a slave-based economy when robots and advanced artificial intelligences replace everybody, i. e., when human labor, knowledge and expertise become worthless?

      [And Jack Valenti, what will the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) do when all human actors are replaced with virtual actors? Do you think they are going to sit on their arses? Should SAG follow your example and lobby congress to pass laws prohibiting virtual actors? Not that Valenti cares about actors, mind you. He seems to only care about insuring that the cash flowing into Howllywood Inc.'s coffers never stops.]

      And don't think for a minute this won't happen in your lifetime. The internet is the latest giant leap in human communication. Before that came mass telecommunication technologies and before that was the movable press. If history is any indication, we can expect a giant leap in technological progress and scientific knowledge. In fact, it is happening before our very eyes.

      We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property, a piece of the pie, an estate if you will. 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 and their children. It's the only way to guarantee freedom and a truly free market in a world where human labor is about to go the way of the dinosaurs.

      Demand liberty! Nothing less.
      • We hope to have this Bill written in the next few months, and can use help in this matter from a lawyer. NYLXS hopes to fund this process. The basic outline is as follows:

        Consider it a Digital Bill of Rights for the New Millennium:

        The legislation to be drafted will accomplish the following main stream objectives which all reasonable people can expect:

        -All copyrights to individual scores, writings, and recordings will be returned to the original artist after a period of 10 years.

        -No technology can be deployed which spies on, wiretaps or discloses privately owned information which is stored on digital devices by any government agency or private 3rd party without the issuance of a publicly pronounced and disclosed warrant limited to a specific criminal investigation.

        -All copyright cases must prove, prior to a judgment of guilt, proof that the actions in question did not infringe on Fair Use, and the individuals rights under the 4th and 1st amendment of the Bill of rights US Constitution.

        -Ownership of all physical media, and devices to read such media, is the sole property of the purchaser of the media, without an expressly negotiated and signed contract between both the copyright holder and the purchaser.

        -No technological software or hardware method can be deployed in a digital product and made available for normal retail sale which inhibits, in any way, the full enjoyment of the property by the purchasers, regardless of any agreement between the designer of the hardware or software products. Such agreements are null, and not contractible.

        -Copyright is an exception to Fair Use as it limits the ability for individuals to enjoy their private property and express themselves with the use of such copyrighted materials. Fair Use is a doctrine to be based on the 4th and 1st amendments of the US Constitution.

        -Individuals have the right to express themselves to others about the means, mechanism and workings of all digital devices, including but not limited to, discussion on how to make fair use of media, how to improve such devices, or to reverse engineer all such devices and the algorithms which are used to help them display, copy or run media.

        We need to get as many big guns on this as possible and then relentlessly campaign, actively working to elect supporters and vote out incumbent opposition. In fact, we should look to defeat, not just the proposed spyware legislation, but also defeat Senator Hollings

      • > Intellectual property laws exist only because
        > we have a slavery system. Our 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 wealth of the land.
        > Income property is owned by a few and the
        > state.

        If everyone owned some, it would no longer be income property. Why pay someone else to use their property if you can use yours just as well?

        > The others are slaves. Artists, programmers and
        > inventors depend on their work to make a
        > living. Can we blame them?

        Not at all. Artistic talent, programming acumen and inventiveness are amongst the few income properties which can't be taken away by the rich. The fact that in order to realise the income they have to sell their souls to distribution companies *IS* a problem, but the fact they live on their work ISN'T.

        In the system you propose, a talented musician would be unable to write music because he'd have to spend all his time maintaining his physical 'income property', and he'd have no reason to release the music to others because they'd be no extra income for doing so.

        > Intellectual property owners (such as
        > Microsoft, Adobe, and the music industry) will
        > fight freedom with everything they've got.
        > Right now they have two formidable weapons: IP
        > laws and powerful police states to enforce
        > them. But those who yearn to be free also have
        > a formidable weapon, the internet.

        I hate to tell you this, but it simply isn't true. The internet isn't run by 'those who yearn to be free'. It's run by big companies who have just as many interests as the IP owners. Lemme guess, you're posting this in Internet Explorer?

        > What will happen to a slave-based economy when
        > robots and advanced artificial intelligences
        > replace everybody, i. e., when human labor,
        > knowledge and expertise become worthless?

        Everybody goes to work fixing the robots.

        > We should all demand a system where everybody
        > is guaranteed income property, a piece of the
        > pie, an estate if you will. There is plenty for
        > everybody.

        Then you hit the above problem - it stops being income.
        A better one would be to pass a law saying that the owners of income property must use it to the good of society (although of course they can use it for their own benefit too if that is compatible). In my home town, many small businesses are being crippled by the fact that the big firms have bought big chunks of commercial land in the town centre and have let it lie fallow and decrepit. They only bought it so a competitor couldn't. Eugh.

        > 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 and
        > their children.

        These are incompatible, I'm sure you see.
  • I especially like how Congress has started making the adoption of Digital Television and Broadband the stated goal of this legislation. This angle of the debate doesn't get talked about too much, and I think that this is more interesting than the simple "piracy" rant we hear daily out of the MPAA and RIAA. From the article:

    Such protections, proponents say, would give Hollywood an incentive to offer more entertainment in digital format, thereby spurring consumers' adoption of such technologies as high-definition TV and broadband services.

    WHY? Why should they give a f*%k if consumers are buying new digital televisions and getting broadband? What does that really have to do with the economy? The way they talk about it, it was as if this were THE ANSWER to all of our economic problems....yeah, I can just hear the fat bastards and their groveling, whiney lobbyists now....

    "How can we turn the American public into even greater couch potatos and better consumers at the same time...we need to have a
    fast pipe into their homes so that we can sell them even more "George Forman grills"! We need to make it so they CAN'T turn it off! We need an avenue to push even MORE commercials!"

    But don't even think about creating your own content though...that's forbidden in the "Acceptable Use Policy" for most broadband providers (no servers, and if you post on their hosted machines, you give them all rights to the content). They only want you to consume, not compete. Most AUP's only allow information to travel ONE direction....from the marketeers to you.

    But don't answer yet, if you liked broadband policies, you are gonna love "Digital Convergence"... when your computer is prevented from doing anything usefull (like running software that you wrote and/or compiled yourself) and is morphed into a constant movie trailer machine....that you can never fast forward through!

    The way things are going now, I'm not going to be purchasing a "NEW DIGITAL TELEVISION" and I hope that others don't either! Keep your old set! Stay analog!

  • by AntiNorm (155641)
    Of course, no article on this topic can go without a mandatory quote from Jack Valenti, who points out: 'It is not legal to make a copy of a DVD now. Everything people are doing legally today, they'll be able to do legally tomorrow'."

    I just noticed a subtle thing in what Jack Valenti said that can make a pretty big difference, and knowing him, may well have been intentional:

    You'll notice that instead of saying "they'll be able to do tomorrow", he says "they'll be able to do legally tomorrow." What he is saying is that what is legal today will be legal tomorrow; what he is not saying is that what is legal and doable today will be doable tomorrow. Saying that one will be able to "legally do" something does not necessarily imply that the same act will actually be doable, just that it won't be illegal to do.
  • by Inexile2002 (540368) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @12:50AM (#4102311) Homepage Journal
    "[These films] are innocents in a jungle, ready to be ambushed by anyone," says Jack Valenti.
    Those POOR films! I can just see "The Matrix" walking "When Harry Met Sally" home after a nice night out when all of a sudden out jumps ME, ready to ruthlessly make a copy of innocent old 'Harry Met' for my own use. We're animals, you hear me, ANIMALS!!!

    Oh, wait, Jack was being mellow dramatic... ah... I get it now. Never mind.

    Seriously, they can legislate, tax, rant, criminalize and encrypt all they want. They'll never win and they'll still be Hollywood so they'll still be making billions. They can spend millions of dollars figuring it out and push people's freedoms to the limit. People will still 'pirate' songs for their own use, third world distribution pirates will still get away with it, good artists will do well, bad ones won't and life will go on.

    Pay them no mind, help with the circumvention when you can and support the people who are standing up to this non-sense. But never will there be an underground file sharing 'le resistance' and no matter how hard or illegal it becomes, we'll still be listening to our mp3s at work.
  • Murder is illegal because practically everyone can agree that it is wrong. Those that don't agree have the threat of imprisonment to stop them.

    Copying data, on the other hand, is something that a lot of people like to do. Having a few people lobby about not copying data may work in the short term, but in the long term enough people who are doing copying legitimately will run into the barriers artificially imposed by the lobbyists, and the backlash will be resounding.

    Why are region free players so popular in Europe and Asia, etc? Because people want the most feature-filled releases, and are willing to pay for it. The money is there for those who want to provide the access, legal or not. And enough people want it that, like prohibition, it will eventually be overturned.

    Social systems at work may take a while to correct, but they will correct, and the tryanny of a few trying to get more money by selling less will end.
  • Yes, that digital prohibition like bootlegs cassette? VHS copies? Sure, their maybe a prohibition, but I cannot think of one damn thing that would prevent file sharing without turning the PC into a very limited piece of hardware stripped of most of it's useful capabilities. Major PC developers would die on the vine as their profits dwindled along with it's usefulness. They're making lots of money. Think they're just going to roll over and let themselves be dominated like that? Bill Gates won't be the only one that can play the governement...
    • Major PC developers would die on the vine as their profits dwindled along with it's usefulness. They're making lots of money. Think they're just going to roll over and let themselves be dominated like that?

      Evidence indicates that they're doing just that.

      Otherwise, they'd be doing political organization, throwing in megabucks into an industry PAC, and calling on the community for help.

      What's really going on is that they are putting even less effort than MS did into "Trustworthy Computing".

  • by guttentag (313541) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @01:15AM (#4102398) Journal
    Any good college textbook on "oppression and how to make the masses scream for it" will tell you that the following pattern must be followed:
    1. Introduce oppression as a theoretical idea. Guage the response.
    2. Make oppression optional. Depending on the opposition to the idea (you did remember to guage the response to the theoretical idea, didn't you?), offer some worthless token that the masses believe has some great value and tell the masses that the oppression is the "tradeoff" needed to obtain the token. Highlight the fact that it is still optional -- if they don't want the token, they don't have to accept the oppression. Some people will buy into it; others won't.
    3. Make oppression mandatory for some things. It is essential that you create the appearance that the masses have a choice. Only instead of pointing out that those who do not choose your oppression are missing out on exclusive benefits, paint the opposition as a deluded group of sadists who are "depriving themselves" of "basic rights" to your worthless tokens. This will win you converts, because no one wants to be seen as depriving himself of anything.
    4. Make oppression mandatory across the board. If you have followed the above steps, you can now claim that the oppression is the de facto standard that has not only been "accepted" but "endorsed" by the masses. Anyone who questions the oppression can be refuted with this claim, which will strengthen the masses' belief that the oppression is "right" and "good." At this point, you may withdraw the worthless tokens or advance your oppression, because the masses no longer have a choice -- they have already made it and must trust their own judgment.
    The industry seemed to be following this pattern pretty well.

    DIVX was its theoretical idea, which created a backlash that was carefully guaged.

    The masses who bought DVDs (which are optional -- a superior alternative to VHS for those who like the finer things in life) congratulated themselves on defeating the sinister premise of pay-per-view disks, but gave no thought to the copy-protection and region-encoding incorporated into DVDs. "At least we're not paying to watch our own disks!" And people can still tape movies from cable/broadcast TV, so they feel secure because they have that option.

    Consumers are all too happy to pay more for the superior picture and sound on a disk that actually costs the industry less to mass produce and ship than VHS tapes. The higher price and the mandatory five-minute commercials (which one could FFWD through on a VCR) are accepted as the "tradeoff" for these great benefits. The industry sweetens the deal by offering special features for PCs (worthless Flash games that could be reused from disk to disk by slapping a new front end on them -- anyone play the Bowling Game on the Shrek DVD?) and chides non-converts for "depriving themselves" of their basic rights to the superior picture quality and sound of DVD. Meanwhile, DVDs that work with your PC now install software on your PC, connect to industry Web sites (sending who knows what information back) and some even require you to register to use the "features" on your disk. "Why not," people shrug, "I already bought the disk. I'm not going to deprive myself of features I paid for just because I'm afraid to give out my name and address."

    Here's where Valenti fucks up. He should have killed the consumer's ability to record when it was in its infancy. He certainly tried, but failed, and people became accustomed to being able to make and share recordings (share as in "bring a movie to a friend's house," not Napster).

    Since he failed to kill the consumer's ability to record, he should have conceeded that victory to the people -- then they would continue to follow him blindly, satisfied with their little VCRs. Now that he tells us we've been been breaking the law all this time, that we are not only morally but legally wrong, he may lose the trust of the sheep. If he mounts a serious effort to inform consumers that they cannot watch movies at friends houses, that they cannot tape movies off their TVs, the sheep may wake up. And they won't be happy little sheep anymore.

  • Remember Divx? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by robpoe (578975)
    Remember Divx? No, not the Mpeg video compression codec. The players.

    Remember. Sales were slow - why? because the discs weren't portable. You registered it to YOUR player and YOUR player only. Your player broke? You had to call them and beg them to unlock the disc for another player.

    There was an article in Salon bout 2 months ago with Courtney Love. this article [salon.com] where she talks aobut Record Labels and Piracy. A VERY good read. Even if you (like I do) think her music sucks.

    I think, as she states, that we're going to see a big upheaval in the Recording Industry as a whole. Not by the consumers, but by the artists. Artists are out there to create something, and to have that something viewed or listened to by the public masses. Not to be censored down so far as to only PAYING customers by record companies that only have themselves to think about..

    Wish I had the venture capital to start what she's talking about.

  • They're right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Featureless (599963) on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @02:20AM (#4102591) Journal
    And digital prohibition is a good term for it.

    Stallman wrote a wonderful piece of science fiction on the subject. If you want to think about where this is going, it's worth reading. [gnu.org]

    When you think about how it's possible for such a small industry (content is infinitessimal compared to, for instance, consumer electronics) to have such incredible influence, remember that politicians have a unique respect for those who control the media.

    It's a remarkably cynical viewpoint, but the television in some ways restored an old social order called the monarchy. Content actually is King. More specifically, those who control the TV rule the world. I mean, think about it; that joke doesn't quite get the laugh it used to. Anyone who'se ever worked for a cause and felt the crushing, inevitable apathy of the world around them knows what I mean. Five minutes on Oprah could mobilize tens of millions of people to vote or to read or to free Tibet, but at the moment its highest calling is to sell beer and diet drugs.

    And the days when the media owners were innocent and principled are ancient history. [time.com] They know what they're doing. The federal government's ONDCP editing scripts of prime time TV shows? [salon.com] Disney making anti-file-sharing propaganda cartoons? [wired.com] Oh, they know exactly how it works.

    They may be doomed anyway, but the content trust will fight brutally to the end. They'll take whatever we wont fight to the death over. They'll leave a wake of ruined lives and an ocean of lost opportunity in their wake. If we're lucky, our children and their children will get to clean up the mess we make today.
  • Right to Read (Score:2, Informative)

    by markw365 (185614)
    RMS is right on the money. Right To Read [gnu.org]

  • There's a ton of music out on CD that can be copied, and countless movies out in formats that can be copied. All of these things can be pirated, and will always be pirateable.

    Let's assume that these new schemes, unlike all the others that have come down the pike, will really be solid.

    It just means that people can't trade this year's crappy new content. Here's a tough problem: listen to The Beatles for free or to the latest manufactured boy band or Celine Dion type singer for $20 a disc, when there's only one halfway decent song on the disc?

    The entertainment industry depends, in a very fundamental sense, on controlling access to the distribution systems. If you want your record at the Virgin Megastore, you've got to give a big label a cut. An unreasonably big cut, in my opinion.

    They're acting as if they've got better music than people outside of their system. Ask anyone who listens to indie or underground music -- that's just not true. All they have is distribution. Even if they can build a closed and pirate proof system, THEY CAN'T KEEP PEOPLE FROM DISTRIBUTING MUSIC AND MOVIES IN OTHER WAYS. The ability to prevent people from distributing their art has always been the foundation of their power. That's why the mob was (is?) so important to the music business. They understood that, and they enforced it.

    In other words, artists will be able to do an end run around them. They're going to go from having the best distribution to having a crippled distribution system, one that delivers a less desirable product, due to the heavy restrictions they're fighting for now.

    Hollywood doesn't get it. You can channel a river, but you can't stop it all together, and the changes that technology is bringing down the pike are too big for anything but channeling. But they don't try to do that. The entertainment industry reacts the same way over and over again -- they try to litigate and copy protect their way back to the way things used to be.

    Well, it ain't ever going to be the way it used to be. Until they start coming out with strategies to deal with the world as it is now, they're screwed.

    Valenti is a dinosaur who is leading them to disaster.
  • In these MPAA/RIAA IP control discussions, it's invariably pointed out that the movie and recording industries have, throughout their histories, fought every new technology that's come along - and each of these technologies has turned out to make even more money for them than before.


    How can it be, then, that everyone knows this except the industries themselves?


    Obviously, they must know they'll make money from everything from region-code DVD hacking (sells more DVD's) to song swapping (creates more popularity for the music and thus sells more CD's.)


    So what is going on here? Why doth they protesteth so?


    The answer is, they use Forbidden Fruit as a marketing device. Young people especially - the big prize money as marketing demographics go - love to break rules and challenge authority. So the Industries use some reverse psychology and vehemently protest these technologies and practices. This encourages people to partake of them out of rebellion, which in turn generates more revenue for the Industries. And if they're lucky, the Industries pick up some Tax(ation without representation) money to boot.


    Nice, eh?

  • It is indeed legal to copy a DVD, for the purpose of backing up a legally purchased copy.
    Mr. Valenti is as wrong this time, as when he claimed in congressional testimony that VCR's would destroy the movie business.

    Why the FUCK does anyone even listen to that lying bastard?

    -jcr
  • You know, it is supposed to be completely legal to copy a DVD or any other media so long as the copy is commensurate with the provisions for fair use outlined in the copyright act.

    So, mister Jack Valenti, try and prove in a court of law that my copies are *not* commensurate with fair use. I'll be happy to show you my originals sitting safely in their original boxes in my bookcase.

    Just because I *can* violate copyright, doesn't mean I'm going to (well... I guess some might say I've violated the DMCA a few times, but if you look very closely at the text of it, you will see that it was specifically intended to *not* limit fair use).

  • Product and Piracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alizard (107678) <alizard@ec i s . com> on Tuesday August 20, 2002 @03:17AM (#4102719) Homepage
    The music product now is the CD.

    The FM radio plays the songs that the record industry paid to put there. As far as the RIAA is concerned, you can record your favorite radio station 24/7/365. Why? Because they know that if you really like a song, you'll get the CD so you can really hear it. The reason is that given the compression, limiting, and the general limitations of an analog bandwidth-limited FM channel, there's a big difference between what you can record off a radio in cassette and what you'll hear if you play back a CD. The best you can say about the quality is "good enough for casual listening".

    A few years ago, the product was vinyl records and people found out what was on the records by listening to tracks on AM/FM radio. Yes, people once listened to music on AM.

    These tracks played on radio are and were PROMOTIONAL TOOLS. No promotion, i.e. if the people have no way to hear what is on a record, they won't buy it. Why should we pay the industry's promo costs, except as they are reflected in the price of the actual product?

    An MP3 is in many ways comparable to an FM radio signal. Is it a "perfect copy"? If it is, why doesn't everybody but the totally honest download all their music? Despite what's been done to shut down P2P and Internet Radio, it's still possible to get almost anything if you know how/where to look. Why do people buy CDs?

    It isn't just about supporting artists, it's just that CDs sound better.

    128K MP3 quality isn't about getting every nuance of the music to your ears, it's about being "good enough" for casual listening.

    The MP3 IS A PROMOTIONAL TOOL designed to get you to buy the CD. Anyone who mistakes MP3s for products has just fallen for the hype of the people who want to turn our computers into DRM-locked household appliances.

    Why does RIAA care about MP3s and not FM radio? Because independent artists can distribute MP3s via upload to Internet radio networks and to P2P networks without having to pay a gatekeeper fee to independent promoters to get to FM radio. The RIAA labels keep the gatekeeper fees (aka payola) high enough to freeze out "just anybody".

    Do MP3s as promotional tools work? There's a recent album that was released by an unknown band itself on MP3 for promotional purposes before they started selling the CD. They made a very nice profit off it.

    Do MP3s work as promotional tools for major record labels? The evidence indicates that it works just as well as FM radio does.

    What's the problem?

    This isn't about piracy, it's about monopoly.

    I wouldn't mind paying say, $1-2 for a CD-quality track I really liked, if there was any practical way to deliver a 50 meg download... this takes a while even with a broadband link... and I'm running 56K anyway.

    Buy an MP3? I'm not interested in paying for music whose sound is "just good enough". If you're a musician, I'll repay your promotional costs when I buy your record. Don't expect me to pay your promo costs up front, if I can't find out whether or not your CD is worth buying by listening to some tracks at "just good enough" quality to figure out whether I want it or not, I'll find some artist who doesn't expect me to pay promotional costs in advance.

    That's the real problem with the MP3 music services, regardless of vendor and regardless of the level of DRM built into the product/player.

    People know whether they articulate it or not that there's a difference between sound worth paying for and freebie promotional tools whose sound is just good enough to tell you whether the CD is worth buying or not. What an MP3 service provider can do for you is provide you with lots of MP3 music packaged conveniently. . . so you can figure out what CDs you want to buy.

    Why? Not because of artist loyalty or love of the RIAA, because CDs actually sound better, and if you've got a big bucks stereo system, you want to use it so you can listen to every little nuance of what your favorite artists do.

    For an MP3 service, you are buying access to music, NOT the MP3s. This isn't to say that you want one-shot MP3s or time-locked, etc. You might decide to listen to your favorite new album on MP3 for a month or a year before you get around to buying. Maybe you're short on money and have to wait until your next check. But if you really like it, you'll buy the CD sooner or later. The artist and label make just as much money if you buy it a year from now after listening to the MP3 1,000 times as they do if you decide you've got to have it 30 seconds into the song.

    The people who whine about PIRACY are the ones who haven't figured out what the RIAA labels know.

    A product people will NOT pay for has a cash value of ZERO.

    Sure, you'll rip the CD under "fair usage" afterwards if the RIAA's 0wn3d Congresswhores don't stop you, but generally where you can play it under circumstances where "just good enough" is good enough, e.g. your MP3 player when you're out jogging or doing other things where you don't have your full attention on the music.

    The fair usage is what the RIAA/MPAA want to redefine out of existence.

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