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Uni Students Slammed For Music Swapping 437

Posted by timothy
from the what-say-both-are-fudging-a-bit dept.
jomaree writes "The SMH Online reports that Sony, EMI and Universal will be in the Federal Court today, in an attempt to stop students using uni computers to swap music files. Michael Speck, the director of Music Industry Piracy Investigations, is quoted as follows: 'And we're not talking about one track here, one track there,' he said. 'We're talking piracy, significant examples of piracy.' By contrast, Sydney Uni says it knows of one student with a handful of files on a website, which does actually sound quite a bit like one track here, one track there."
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Uni Students Slammed For Music Swapping

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  • Good for them. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ilan Volow (539597) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:22AM (#5324051) Homepage
    Harsh, but preferable to some jerk putting DRM in my hardware.
    • Re:Good for them. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flatt (513465)
      If that's how it would work, that would be great but don't you think they'd like to give you DRM anyway?
    • Re:Good for them. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:57AM (#5324205)
      > Harsh, but preferable to some jerk putting DRM in my hardware.

      What makes you think these two are mutually exclusive? The university, ideally, should be fighting to control their computers, in service of its students, as they wish without outside influences

      Do you really think devulging personal information, sniffing packets, and reporting this to an outside authority without a warrant is good? Do you really think DRM will be put on hold because some student gets busted as an, "example?"

      I seriously doubt it. This is one of the many hard-armed tactics the record companies use. Its not a solution and certainly does not make DRM less appealing to the PC and content industry.

      • Re:Good for them. (Score:5, Informative)

        by KDan (90353) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @04:29AM (#5324289) Homepage
        You live in a dreamworld mate. The universities will bend over and take it in the arse, rather than risk a lawsuit. Especially if they're public-funded. They might let things happen as long as it's not something public that anyone is aware of, but as soon as there's the slightest whiff of a lawsuit coming their way, they'll shut it all down pronto.

        I speak from experience. In Oxford we had this great Gnutella clone called OxTella - ran on the 100Mbit/10Mbit LAN, so it was damn fast and good, and across all of Oxford. Then the RIAA sent a letter about some AIM file sharing to one of the colleges, some idiotic IT college officer sent out a mail to the entire college about it instead of keeping quiet and the next issue of the college newspaper had a big headline about it, and man, you never saw hundreds of nodes go down faster.

        The universities are purveyors of education, not filesharing. They won't jeopardise the first to provide the latter.

        Daniel
        • The universities are purveyors of education, not filesharing. They won't jeopardise the first to provide the latter.

          In my first year at Exeter, one of our assignments was to create "nappygator" - a music sharing program.
      • The university, ideally, should be fighting to control their computers, in service of its students, as they wish without outside influences

        Yes, and the first thing they should do is kick the bandwidth wasting hogs off. Some people are trying to use the network to do research, study - the stuff they're paid or paying to do. Not be hampered by those treating a degree as a three year holiday, and sitting in their rooms downloading music rather than going to lectures. It's yet another reason why the researchers are happy when all the students go away - the network speeds up noticeably.

  • Uni? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ozlore Electorov (601419) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:25AM (#5324062)
    Seriously, people. If you're going to submit a story, please bother to spell out the words, even the long ones.
  • by shr3k (451065) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:25AM (#5324063) Homepage
    Yeah, it sucks for Uni students. I wonder how it will affect Poly students?
    • Re:Uni Students? (Score:2, Informative)

      by emoeric (470708)
      i'm an american studying this semester in australia, and believe me, "uni" is the least striking changes these zany aussies have made to the language.

      very entertaining, keeps you on your toes.

      • by phaze3000 (204500) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @06:20AM (#5324544) Homepage

        Yeah, those crazy Aussies with their 'barbies' (not anti-feminist dolls) and their 'tinnies' (not canned food).

        How dare they violate the colourful English language in such a way, an honourable language which for centuries has been at the centre of trade and commerce? Their pathetic Australian dialogue, in my judgement at least, can never claim to match up to that of those in dear old blighty! If only there was a licence for the use of English, it would surely be revoked!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:25AM (#5324068)
    Sue those university students for all that they're worth!! ...
    They don't have anything? ..
    oh.
    • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:47AM (#5324162) Journal
      Sorry son, the RIAA won the court case... I'm afraid we'll have to take your hall pass, your beer cap, and all your boxes of Macaroni and Cheese.

      Meanwhile, they will probably be kicked out of the University and possibly blacklisted at others.
      <sarcasm> Yup... ruin a few college kids lives, the RIAA is really going to win a lot in this legal battle.</sarcasm>
  • by Sneftel (15416) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:26AM (#5324069)
    Australia's major record companies, Sony, EMI and Universal, are acting on suspicions that students, and possibly staff, are using the universities' computers to swap digital music files. The industry says the three universities have not divulged information, but that others have co-operated.

    Ah, great. BSA-style enforcement that tosses the ol' "guilty until proven innocent" mythos out the window. The alarmist in me wonders how long it'll be before consumers are forced to prove their compliance with copyright, or submit to "music collection audits".
    • It means if i suspect EMI to be creating and album to harm me I can just take them to court without any proof.
      This is getting ridiclous. The record labels are not police, and even the police cant take you to court without a warrant and reasonable evidence. The univs should counter sue, after all i bet there will be enough lawyers!
    • Well, they were going to assert their right to remain silent, until the RIAA informed them that silence was copyrighted and would be considered an act of infringement upon their exclusive rights... :]
    • Welcome to the wonderment that is Australia.

      Disclaimer: I'm an American living in Sydney.

      You're often guilty until proven innocent here. For instance, while riding a bus or train in sydney, you often have to prove that you are not riding illegally or face a minimum fine, or (as i learned the hard way) jailtime for giving them the "innocent until proven guilty" speech. If you can't prove you didn't steal, then Aussie law says you did, and lip service to the transportation authority personnel will get you locked up until you can prove that you were, in fact, riding legally.

      Also, when you leave any store in australia with bags that you entered with, often you must surrender them for a hand search to prove that you did not steal anything. This is even AFTER you pass through the security tag detectors. Guilty until proven innocent reigns here.

      a bit more on topic - if you have tens of thousands of songs that you've downloaded, I say that you shouldn't be too surprised that they're going to try to force you to stop. steal all you want, i think this in particular is a victimless crime, but don't get caught, and don't scream "information wants to be free!" when you get caught, you are breaking the law, after all.

      And if you own the music you've copied to your hard drive, you better be ready to prove it at any time, since music companies do not believe in due process, and they're quite happy to hand you your own ass in a little plastic bag without a trial if they catch you.
      • Disclaimer: I'm a brit who spends a lot of time travelling (to the US and AUS amongst others).

        For instance, while riding a bus or train in sydney, you often have to prove that you are not riding illegally or face a minimum fine

        I'm assuming you mean you need to show a ticket. That sounds fair to me - if you don't have a ticket you are guilty. The rule is "if you ride the train, you must have a ticket" - there is no room for vagueness there, you either have or have not. It's the same everywhere else I've been in the world (including NYC, although their controls are easier to get around as they don't have tickets as such).

        Also, when you leave any store in australia with bags that you entered with, often you must surrender them for a hand search to prove that you did not steal anything

        Again it's similar in NYC - many shops there require you to hand over your bags for "safe keeping" before you can enter. Who knows what will happen while you are gone - did you get a reciept for the contents? There's no difference - if you don't want to be searched, or don't want to check your bag, don't go in the store.

        I'd stop & think before assuming your country is so much better (or more "just") than any other.
  • a guys website which had a few songs to download. Then goes on to say.

    "The focus of these organisations should be on people who are running or pirating music for clear commercial benefit,"

    How does sharing a few singles on a website pose a pirate threat or count as pirating music as a clear commercial benefit. Granted I don't know the full situation but it doesn't sound like anything more than "Hey here are some songs I like from [Fill In the Blank] band! Check em out!"
    • Read the article again. The quote you requoted is from a guy who thinks that the lawsuit is spurious. He DOESN'T think that the website is clear commercial benefit.
      • They still shut down the guys site and are saving it to use as evidence against him. Obviously they believe the user is in some schism with the law. And yeah the guy I quoted disagreed with the lawsuit. What he said is, we need to be going after people pirating for commercial gain, not for people sharing music for the sake of sharing. What's implied is the site was shut down because the recording industry claimed the user was trying to make commercial profit off of his site, which he clearly wasnt, and, as you said, the lawsuit is spurious.

        clear as mud now eh :)
    • "The focus of these organisations should be on people who are running or pirating music for clear commercial benefit,"

      How does sharing a few singles on a website pose a pirate threat or count as pirating music as a clear commercial benefit. Granted I don't know the full situation but it doesn't sound like anything more than "Hey here are some songs I like from [Fill In the Blank] band! Check em out!"


      You didn't read the article closely, that's the defence here, saying that these students aren't getting commercial benefit.
  • by vivek7006 (585218) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:28AM (#5324082) Homepage
    Print Article: It's war on a generation of cyber pirates


    Print this article [slashdot.org] | Close this window [slashdot.org]

    It's war on a generation of cyber pirates
    ByAmanda Morgan
    February 18 2003

    The recording industry has launched its most aggressive offensive yet against illegal music swapping over the internet.

    In the Federal Court in Sydney today, record companies will try to seize evidence of song swapping by students using the computer networks of the universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania.

    Record labels in the United States and Europe have warned the world's top 1000 companies they must stop illegal music swapping on their networks or face legal action.

    Australia's major record companies, Sony, EMI and Universal, are acting on suspicions that students, and possibly staff, are using the universities' computers to swap digital music files. The industry says the three universities have not divulged information, but that others have co-operated.

    Michael Speck, the director of Music Industry Piracy Investigations, which tracks swapping on behalf of the Australian record industry, believes the illegal file trading is significant.

    "And we're not talking about one track here, one track there," he said. "We're talking piracy, significant examples of piracy."

    The University of Sydney says it knows of one student who established a website with a handful of songs for swapping on its system. It has "isolated the website, and will hand over the evidence at an appropriate time", a spokesman said.

    There are hundreds of thousands of song files on personal computers worldwide. They are "swapped" for free using special software, robbing artists and their record companies of royalties.

    But the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Cameron Murphy, said the industry was wrong to target students.

    "The focus of these organisations should be on people who are running or pirating music for clear commercial benefit," he said. "I don't think there is any benefit to the community in prosecuting individuals who do this as a one-off. I mean, we'd have half the students in Australia in jail."

    Mr Murphy also questioned whether the universities should be forced into the role of policing their students.

    Mr Speck denied the industry was making an example of the universities. "Somebody gets caught being involved in a wrongdoing and they utter, 'We're not the only ones, why are we here?' Well, you got caught."

    This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/17/10453305 39310.html

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  • by AntiNorm (155641) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:29AM (#5324090)
    By contrast, Sydney Uni says it knows of one student with a handful of files on a website, which does actually sound quite a bit like one track here, one track there

    John Q Student had a track, EIEIO
    And on this track he had a song, EIEIO
    With a "track track" here and a "track track" there
    Here a "track" there a "track" everywhere a "track track"
    John Q Student had a track, EIEIO!

    (God I love having to stay up late to do homework)
  • Absolutely! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:30AM (#5324097)
    Although putting the perpetrators out of business, destroying the "infrastructure of terrorism" as the Bush adiministration would say, is not without worth, if any advocate of content providers' rights has learned anything over the past few years, it is that, just as Islamic terrorism starts with the corrupt, anti-semitic arab education systems, piracy is also the result of a deeply ingrained culture, and the most effective way to stamp it out is to cut it off at the roots.

    People are always arguing that piracy is somehow reasonable, because "if only there were music available at the price I WANTED to pay, I would buy it, and I wouldn't have to steal it". Try this argument at the convenience store: "I think that bottle of malt liquor is only worth 10 cents, and if you won't sell it to me for 10 cents, I'll steal it". It doesn't work that way. Over the past several hundred years we have replaced the rule of the mob with free markets, which ensure an equitable price for both buyer and seller through the natural interactions of supply and demand. The availability of free stolen products, of course, undermines this market and makes content production ultimately impossible. Some efforts of this type may be necessary initially to restore the rule of law: But remember, if you don't like this kind of intrusion, the best thing to do is stop pirating music right now, let this culture of piracy be destroyed, and allow a market-based system of online music distribution to be established. Once this has happened, heavy-handed enforcement will be unnecessary, and everyone will be able to get what they want for a fair price.
    • Re:Absolutely! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phorm (591458) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:55AM (#5324200) Journal
      Except I'm Canadian. I pay a rather nice premium on all the recordable media I buy, and they want me to pay more. I don't pirate music either.

      All things considered, I'm paying the RIAA for copying music, ergo any song I download and burn should be considered paid for.

      Oh, and for the record, once again:
      piracy != theft
      Theft=larceny [reference.com]
      The owner is deprived of nothing tangible. There are still just as many CD's on the shelves as there were yesterday. And if all goes well, there will be plenty of crap CD's left on the shelves as people continue to revolt on the monopolism, scare, and crush tactics of the RIAA and their brethren
      • Re:Absolutely! (Score:4, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:42AM (#5324460)
        Oh, and for the record, once again:
        piracy != theft
        Theft=larceny

        For that matter:
        copyright infringement != piracy

        "Piracy" is armed robbery on the high seas. How on earth this word got associated with the wholly non-violent act of copying a digital file is beyond me. At least it isn't called "music terrorism" or possession of "musical weapons of mass destruction" (yet).

      • Oh, I totally agree!

        As long as I'm paying the Canadian Levy on media, then as far as I'm concerned, I've paid for any music I download.

        They can't have it both ways.

        N.
    • Re:Absolutely! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MisterMook (634297)
      But we all know that won't happen because the current industry model won't allow it to happen. There are too many pockets being lined by inflating prices on music and not enough to lose by keeping prices fixed at their current levels.

      When was the last time you saw the price of music DECREASE besides when all the hair bands went into the discount bin in 91? There isn't a free market in the music industry, there is a price fixing cartel of less than a handful of companies that collectively control most of the music that gets put on shelves.

      Basically they're going against a smoking type arguement. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you and can have serious consequences, and that music swapping can lead to jail time. If they had made smoking down and out illegal though they would have forced everyone who smoked into an us versus them midnset and pretty much pissed off the general public of "don't kick the common man" mentality. This is exactly what the music industry has done and continues to do, furthermore they shamelessly promote and profit from filesharing in their other corporate faces. It makes them look like asses, and stupid asses at that. Sony Music basically says "don't do anything that our other division, Sony Electronics, makes easy with their huge sales of portable mp3 players." With that kind of corporate logic it's hard to take them seriously.
    • Re:Absolutely! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkVein (5418) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:22AM (#5324419) Journal
      Over the past several hundred years we have replaced the rule of the mob with free markets, which ensure an equitable price for both buyer and seller through the natural interactions of supply and demand.

      This is a poor arguement. While I agree with the sentiment expressed, it is entirely inapplicable to our RIAA/MPAA controlled entertainment industry, and IP in general. I'll explain.

      The idea of a free market applies only to unregulated goods and services. If I patent an idea for providing a good or service, I am temporarily granted power to veto "free market" ideals for the term of the patent. This is so that I have an advantage to capitalize on my exclusive right to a certain good or service. After the patent expires, free market is restored, and anyone may compete with me on price and product.

      Copyright works similarly. Unlike a tangible good or service, dissemination of copyrightable material has always been simple. To encourage creation, competition with creators is "temporarily" suspended. Culture is asked to hold its breath while the economics play out. The free market is suspended, and that "product" may not be aquired anywhere else. Ordinarily this would not be a problem, as an artist could shop around for a better publisher deal for themselves and their fans. The music publishing instustry is oligarchious, however, and runs a racket. [I will not defend this here.] Free market is suspended to give creators an advantage, and their advantage is suspended by an economic force.

      I'm deeply in favor of federal laws that encourage a free market. Present copyright law suspends that market, and RIAA efforts to expand it further are deeply anti-competitive. With whom are they competing? They're competing with the public, and with the force of digital publishing. The RIAA must win legal control of digital publishing, or it will die. I hope and pray to God that it dies. Rent-seekers are a drain on the American culture and economy, and this rent-seeker controls 90% of our music.

      Also, it's pretty fucking arrogant of these recording companys to think that University students would be more interested in Christina Augilera's singing (boobs) than historical music and speeches from periods and places they are studying. University students are classically (and vocally) disdainers of engineered culture [i.e., Monkeys, N~Sync, Linkin Park, Britney]. I'm disgusted that due process and presumption of guilt is suspended so that this dying organization can work its venom.

      I think the RIAA knows that a more decentralized and artistic-centric industry is aching to be birthed from their ashes.

    • No. Music and other "intellectual property" is NOT subject to free market forces because it is NOT a commodity product. Nothing else can be substituted for a particular track by a particular artist.

      This is only available through one distributor, who controls the wholesale price. You can choose which retailer you buy from, but these have limited pricing flexibility as the discount only comes off their margin.

  • by $$$$$exyGal (638164) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:32AM (#5324106) Homepage Journal

    Says the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties:

    "I don't think there is any benefit to the community in prosecuting individuals who do this as a one-off. I mean, we'd have half the students in Australia in jail."

    I totally agree. As long as these students are not making money by trading this music, this seems like a real cheap shot. Before you know it, they are going to prosecute college kids for putting a quarter on a string and getting their laundry done for free.

    On the other hand, SHAME ON YOU TODAY'S COLLEGE STUDENTS! If you're going to be engaged in these illicit activities, at least make a minor effort to hide your tracks. That's what college is all about ;-).

    --sex [slashdot.org]

    • by Evil Adrian (253301) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:56AM (#5324204) Homepage
      So it's ok to violate someone's rights, but only if you only do it a little bit?
  • Note to the editors (Score:3, Informative)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:32AM (#5324108) Journal
    Where it's not obvious, could you please expand on any acronyms used by story submitters?

    Someone who's Australian (or world travelled) might know off the top of their head that SMH refers to they Sydney Morning Herald but it would be nice if the rest of us don't have to go clicking through links or searching the web just to find out what this TLA (three letter acronym) or that ETLA (extended three letter acronym) stand for.

    On the other hand, that sounds too much like actual editing for a /. editor to do, doesn't it?
  • Universities often represent some of the fastest connections to the internet that aren't traffic monitored. People have fast connections at work as well and its the threat of their IT department monitoring the network, finding out about P-2-P and getting the employee fired, that prevents people from filesharing at work (albeit some companies have lenient policies with regards to this)
    Universities, OTOH, aspire to higher ideals of complete freedom (else all of us students would protest, at least in theory). Hence no threat from the University IT department, for the ones that haven't capitulated to such RIAA blackmailing.
    As a result, a very large chunk of filesharing traffic originates or ends at university IPs. Hence they make the perfect RIAA target. Its fairly logical.
    We just have to hope that universities don't give in to this kind of blackmailing. The question of threatening a student's freedom is much larger than that of stopping some of them from taking part in illegal acts.
  • by Mdog (25508) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:35AM (#5324118) Homepage
    It's not just an issue of money. It's a question of control.

    The RIAA's accountants know that their profits have increased in the past few years. The RIAA's lawyers know that their profits have increased in the past few years. But there are people out there that are not using officially sanctioned music in officially sanctioned ways at officially sanctioned times with officially sanctioned equipment. That means there are people out there who are not under the control of the company, the mythical "consumer." This cannot be tollerated.

    Microsoft has been making money hand over fist for two decades. Someone installing WinME on three of their computers when they bought one copy is not doing them any harm. If anything, it means fewer copies of Win98 in use, which means less old stuff for them to support. That's good for them. But it means that there are people out there not using the product in the officially sanctioned way on the officially sanctioned number of systems. Microsoft (and Bill Gates in particular) simply cannot deal with the concept of someone not using the product on their terms.

    All of that goes back to one of the fundamental flaws in the capitalist mindset: The consumer. The mythical consumer is not a person. The mythical consumer is a machine that stands on the other side of a cash register and accepts input (products) and returns output (pictures of George Washington). They can be reduced to a mathematical equation of supply and demand. They can be manipulated by marketing. They can be made to fit into nice little cells on a spreadsheet. In short, the consumer can be controlled.

    It fits nicely into the whole financial theory. Passive object Consumer (C) is convinced by active object Marketing Department (M) to purchase passive object Product (P), created by passive objects Employees (E) under the employ of the active object Owner (O). Add it all up, and you get a nice tity profit (n) for the Owner.

    (C + M) + P(E) = O(n)

    (A very efficent method, eh?)

    There's just one problem: Not all human beings are passive objects C. Humans are not a mathematical equation. The equation works when it is not possible for a person to function otherwise. You force them into playing the role of C or E, and the equation comes out nicely. Everying is predictable, profitable, and controllable.

    But as soon as something comes along that threatens the stability and controllability of that equation, panic mode sets in. The printed book would be the death of learning. TV would be the death of radio. VCRs would be the death of movies. DAT would be the death of radio. Cable would be the death of movies. E-books will be the death of learning. The Internet will be the death of civilization. And so on. A little control slips away, and the end is nigh, defend the System to the last lawyer.

    No one likes uncertainty (except possibly Shrodinger), and no one likes surprises (except at birthdays). It's not your money that the RIAA or the MPAA or Microsoft want. It's your passivity. They want to know that you can be controlled, not because they want power or greed or world domination but because then you are predictable, and they can wrap their minds around something predictable. Everyone likes things to be predictable. Everyone likes knowing where their next meal is coming from.

    So what do we do? Don't be a consumer. Don't be passive. Don't be swayed by marketing. Don't be a part of a machine, however well intentioned and genuinely useful it is (and it is). Most importantly: Don't take your business elsewhere. That doesn't work, it only makes your life more difficult. Saying "we'll just use open source software" doesn't do anything about the continued growth of draconian attempts at regaining control with their collateral damage. Turn and take the issue head on, at its core level: The law.
    • So, do copyrights even factor into your argument at all? You know, the rights that people have to decide how their material is distributed?

      I think it's perfectly reasonable for the person that owns the copyrights to decide the terms of how their material is distributed.

      The fact that people are pirating their materials, and avoiding their distribution channels (avoiding payment) is hurting their business.

      This has absolutely nothing to do with people downloading freely-distributed music. It has to do with people ripping the record companies off.

      They're not trying to "control" you. It's nothing sinister -- they are trying to control their distribution channels, something that is perfectly within their rights.
      • by DarkVein (5418) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:39AM (#5324455) Journal
        They're not trying to "control" you. It's nothing sinister -- they are trying to control their distribution channels, something that is perfectly within their rights.

        I like the possesive adjective. Yes, it's perfectly within their rights to control their distribution channel.

        The University's internetworking uplink is not the RIAA's distribution channel, but the RIAA wants jurisdiction over it. Let's forget that part, for the moment. I have something much better to say.

        I have absolutely no problem with the RIAA trying to control their distribution channel. They have absolutely no right to control my distribution channel. The RIAA's biggest fear is that people will realize how ever-so-fucking-little they need the publishers now. If the RIAA can control digital distribution channels [mine, yours, your school's, the government's...], then it's their distribution channel, and you still need them.

        My sentiment is "Fuck off", I've got a Free Market to engage in.

        • Well, nobody has the right to distribute THEIR material without THEIR permission. Since everybody and their brother is fucking them over and pirating their music, they're going to do what they can to fight back, and I don't see how anyone could blame them.

          Like I've said before, it's not fair for the vast majority of people to pirate things, and then piss and moan when the people they are ripping off push back.
    • God forbid copyright owners should have control over copying of their work. Using the law to take away this right is a socialist attempt to deprive people of their work "for the public good". The public has no right to someone's work, only the right to barter with the worker for something he wants. BTW, It's Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, not Schrodinger (or Shrodinger).
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:41AM (#5324139) Homepage
    Try it yourself... Would you be able to kill all the flies in the world with an elephant gun? I sure wouldn't.

    For anyone who hasn't read it yet, read Tim Oreilly's piece on OpenP2P.com [openp2p.com]. I won't parrot his thoughts here, but I will say I agree with them.

    Oh, and pirate my music [mp3.com] :)
  • by Feztaa (633745) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:43AM (#5324146) Homepage
    ... when it comes to stopping piracy.

    I live in residence at my university, and I don't download much. Basically, I have a year-long track record of going easy on university bandwidth (less than 5MBs/day, on average, I'd say).

    Then one day, I downloaded about 1.3 GBs of public domain movies from the Prelinger Archives [archive.org], and the university blocked my connection (I had to go and bitch to some guy in some office to get it turned back on).

    Contrast this with the other guys on my floor who download at least 1 GB of illegal music, movies, and software every day without incident.

    Oh yeah, and I'm now on some kind of "bandwidth probation", if I ever download too much again, I'll get banned for life from the university's bandwidth, and I could face being kicked out of university, too.

    Where's the justice?!?!

    I guess they're just after communists, not thieves... :(
    • Yeah... I got sold an 'unlimited 2mbit' connection from my residential college in aus. No strings attached.

      They regretted this at the end of the year when the University IT tried to foist a AU$30k bill on us. (Bandwidth = Expensive over here)

      End result was I got kicked out for some other minor misdemeanour.. but they were trying to get me to pay for it, until i asked them to take me to court ;)
    • You know, I don't think I downloaded 1.3 GB total during my entire 4 years in university. It's amazing that yesterday's students managed to squeak by without this valuable educational tool.

      -a
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:45AM (#5324157)

    They are "swapped" for free using special software, robbing artists and their record companies of royalties
    On behalf of everyone and as a gesture of goodwill I would like to volunteer to try and make it up to Kylie for this heinous crime. Someone else can do the record companies
  • If university students started putting their books online, would publishers go out of buisness? Would people stop writing books as a result?

    Likely yes, and most definately no.

    If people put music online, would the record producers go out of buisness? Would people stop making music?

    Hopefully yes, and hopefully people would stop making bad music.

    So who are the only people standing in the way of a revolutionary step in education? Darwin's corporate bastards :) Its funny that they chose to target university students for this, as if they wanted to paint their case a joke.
    • And what exactly do you have against all the people that the recording industry employs? I'm not talking about the people at the top, who say and do the things that annoy slashdotters so much - I mean the people who are just trying to do a job they love, and earn enough money to live in relative comfort. The ones who get told what to do, rather than ever having a say in any policy.

      What have they done, to make you hope that the record producers go out of business?

  • by Niadh (468443) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:53AM (#5324189) Homepage
    The line:

    There are hundreds of thousands of song files on personal computers worldwide. They are "swapped" for free using special software, robbing artists and their record companies of royalties.


    Should read:

    There are hundreds of thousands of record companies worldwide. They are using special contract software, robbing artists of their royalties.

    • I think it should read:

      There are a handful of media companies worldwide. They are abusing the legal system, robbing everyone of technology and free speech.

      ;-)

    • The artists had the option to not sign that contract, but they signed it. Therefore they agreed to the terms of the contract, and they are not getting ripped off in any way shape or form, unless the record company is violating that contract.
      • by DarkVein (5418) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:46AM (#5324469) Journal
        Wow, you're right. Instead of going to Sony, they could go to EMI and get... the same contract, damn.

        Well, I guess they could go to Warner Musi... damn, same contract.

        I know! They could go to Epic an... FUCK!

        Classically, it's called an oligopoly, and can thought of as an oligarchy. Under Free Market laws, it's called a Cartel. As an artist, if you want exposure, you have the same choice under a dozen different names.
        • Did anyone hold a gun to their head and force them to sign the contract? No.

          Did anyone force them to work as a musician to earn a living? No.

          Are there other options? Yes.

          Here's one [epitaph.com].

          It's just like choosing an operating system. No one forces you to use Windows XP, but you need it if you want to play all the latest and greatest major label PC games. No one is forcing you to play those games, though, there are plenty of good games out there that aren't for Windows, it's just harder to find them.
      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:53AM (#5324489)
        The artists had the option to not sign that contract, but they signed it. Therefore they agreed to the terms of the contract, and they are not getting ripped off in any way shape or form, unless the record company is violating that contract.

        A farmer in Bangladesh needs money to buy seed, signs a contract with the moneylender that makes his family indentured servants until he pays it back, which he cannot because of the ruinous interest and the low prices the moneylender (who is also the only grain purchaser) pays. He agreed to teh terms, no one was ripped off, justice prevails.

        Legal != just.

      • dumb artists... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aphor (99965)

        You're somewhat on, but you're also somewhat off

        The artists who sign bad contracts *do* share the responsibility for their resulting misfortune. However, when a person goes to a used car dealer and plunks down hard-earned cash for a shiny lemon car, that person is about as responsible for the car as the artist is for what the record companies do with the music.

        So it goes that we have laws. There's a grey area between legitimately "bundled" goods and services and violating the Sherman Act by leveraging dominance in one service market to exert pressures on other services.

        It is getting *CHEAP* to produce your own CD. Then you have to promote and distribute it. The Internet is making that cheaper too. Before the Internet, the only way to reach a wide audience with your music was through the big labels and their payola networks. Best Buy hasn't made things any better. Soon, people will re-learn how to reach the record boutiques. This time it won't take a big label to do it.

        Which brings me to my point: labels control access to the artists and the audiences. If they lose control of access to either, then their price-controlling ability goes *poof*, and so goes their business. Only small labels will survive (or big ones that begin to behave like small ones).

        In the mean time, I still talk to people who think that *the* music business *could* make them filthy stinking rich. People are amused by the idea of a comfortable (but not obscenely rich) life working and releasing new material, and playing to audiences, and building up a catalog, and slowly building residual income from older releases. I always get raised eyebrows from musicians when I tell them to stick to it because they are lucky to pay the rent without needing a "day job."

        Now whose fault is it that they think they need to sign that contract? Why does it seem like the choice is between bad contract and floundering between music and a crappy day-job? You simply cannot assume that the "mutually beneficial" crap is a given condition. Really ask yourself where the image of selling one's soul to the devil by signing a record contract would come from.

    • And here I am with no modpoints, darn
  • Monash University (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @03:54AM (#5324194)
    A staff member was suspended from Monash University (in the outer suburbs of Melbourne) a few weeks ago for "alleged infringement of copyrights in sound recordings and song lyrics published on the staff member's home page". Apparently this led to a large amount of co-workers' computers being forcibly searched as well. No other suspensions have happened, but a lot of people have become quite nervous. It's believed that this action was at the behest of ARIA, which is basically the Australian equivalent of the RIAA.

    Now, many of us have recently been advised by our superiors that we will "infringe copyright" even by doing such things as copying our own CDs or encoding them to mp3 files and bringing them into work. Also, our networks are being regularly scanned for machines running file-sharing applications.

    It seems that they're gearing up to instituting a policy where having a machine that has transferred large amounts of data and has been seen listening on certain well-known port numbers will soon constitute grounds for having the contents of its hard drive searched.
    • Re:Monash University (Score:4, Informative)

      by Boiling_point_ (443831) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @07:36AM (#5324714) Homepage
      Not many Australians realise that we don't have the same "fair use" rights that Americans and other nationals do.

      We have no legal right to rip mp3s from our own legal CDs. We have no legal right to backup CDs for self-insurance. Check it out [copyright.org.au] (374KB PDF).

      Hell - I'm probably infringing Copyright by quoting this paragraph from the Australian Copyright Council [copyright.org.au] PDF I linked to above:

      Making a backup copy of a CD will involve making a reproduction of the music, lyrics and sound recordings on that CD. The right to reproduce the work is one of the exclusive rights of the owners of copyright in those items. You may not legally make a back up copy of a CD when the CD contains material that is protected by copyright unless you have permission from the owner of copyright or a special exception applies to your use.
  • There are about 3000 bands in Melbourne and I expect about the same in Sydney. Many of these bands give away their tracks because it promotes their tours small international tours.
    For example there are 5 bands in this list [ozmp3.com] and four out of 5 of them travel around the world and play either as a band or as support for other bands. Based on the stats from the web page, I can can tell where in the world the different bands are (unless it gets /.ed). These bands make money by selling their CD's when they play and one sells two online but they make their money by playing gigs.

    (and I am looking for assitance in maintaining the site for any live music lovers Downunder)
  • by nihilogos (87025) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @04:09AM (#5324232)
    Publishers Wiley, Springer-Verlag, Prentice Hall and others have indicated that they intend to pursue legal action in order to stop the piracy of books in Australian universities.

    "It's not just a few students lending a few novels here and there" aaid spokesperson I.L. Douche. "Some campuses have an entire building filled with books which they lend out to anybody."

    • Some campuses have an entire building filled with books which they lend out to anybody.


      Maybe if the campus libraries allowed an unlimited number of people to walk out with a perfect, full copy of a book you might have an analogy. But instead they only allow a single person to have a particular copy of a book checked out (if you can even do that) at a time.

  • Incredible claim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SiliconEntity (448450) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @04:21AM (#5324270)
    By contrast, Sydney Uni says it knows of one student with a handful of files on a website...

    Are you trying to imply that unauthorized file sharing almost never occurs at universities? Don't make me laugh! At least in the United States there are uncounted gigabytes devoted to this activity. Many universities have had problems with network bandwidth due to file sharing. It's a lot more than "one student with a handful of files"! How credible do you hope to be when you make claims like this?
  • by panurge (573432) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @04:23AM (#5324276)
    As politicians have good cause to know, pissing off the middle classes is not a smart move. It rebounds. The legal position of cannabis is a good example: politicians are having to take into account that respectable, well-off people are worried that their children will get arrested, and heavy handed enforcement becomes a vote loser the moment one party is perceived as having a more liberal agenda.

    So Sony et al are either not thinking of the possible longer term consequences, or this is a short-term measure because they suspect in the longer run they will lose this war.

    In the 60s and 70s, students demonstrated against bad governments (South Africa, Greece, US involvement in Vietnam, Chile and Cambodia). Perhaps the time is coming when they will demonstrate against overbearing corporations.

  • by Song for the Deaf (608030) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @04:40AM (#5324326)
    ...who go on long rants (and manage to somehow include microsoft ?) to justify MUSIC PIRACY.

    what i don't understand is why so many people are using their considerable talents and intellect to create arguments FOR, and technology TO rip off some of the most harmless people in this country- musicians. Way to go, guys, hurt a group of people who do no harm to the environment or society, and have done nothing but enhance your lives.

    I can't believe the demonization of the musicians in general, so everyone can not only feel not guilty about music piracy, but you can convince yourself that you're doing a valuable public service as well.

    so let me ask you, MP3 traders, you who are so socially conscious, do you know who is really ripping you off for their own diabolical ends? [exxon.com] Why aren't you going after who's really in control of money and powerin our country? [texaco.com] What are you doing to thwart them?

    it's been proven that when the music industry rips people off intelligent, comitted people can make them pay for it. [musiccdsettlement.com] That's how you do it, that's how you make a real change.

    when you're done with the record industry what are you going to do steal from the 'real' man? [mobil.com] oh that's right- nothing...that would take effort and commitment, and let's face it, making a REAL change in this world just isn't as fun as watching your downloads complete.

    Warez by any other name...

    • Well, unless you're really into Britney Spears there isn't much of value you can find in your local music store - except some worthless "best of" collections. I'm not so into the mainstream music. Have you ever tried to buy Russian rock records from the late 70:s in Europe? I did (even tried some online stores). It's quite hard to do even when you live in Russia. In Europe, that's pretty darn impossible. Many of the "most harmless people" I supposedly hurt are actually dead long time ago. I don't believe they would object against me saving the environment when I download their work from the Internet.
    • The music industry makes it easy to not feel guilty. Whenever i buy media (tape or cdr(w)) i'm forced to pay the music industry because i might make a copy on that media. Since i don't burn music to cdr, i feel ripped off.
      To combat filesharing record companies are selling music online because that way the artist would get payed. Only the artist translates in something other then musician. Because the musician gets shafted once more.
      As far as the oil companies are concerned, since they don't bother me i have less of a problem with them. The don't try to force me to drive a particular car only on their sanctioned routes. It's true that they have lot's of influence (pobably too much). But you just don't feel their grip like the one of the record industry
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "what i don't understand is why so many people are using their considerable talents and intellect to create arguments FOR, and technology TO rip off some of the most harmless people in this country- musicians"

      Speaking as a musician, I have gained far more from people copying and sharing my music than I have lost. I've had any number of people contact me as a result of finding my music and asking if they can buy it on CD. I've sold many CDs and other merchandise at gigs to people who say 'I came to this gig because a friend sent me a copy of one of your tracks'. The only people who are losing by file sharing are the fat cats at the record companies who exploit musicians, and the very small number of major 'stars' who are hyped by the aforesaid record companies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:02AM (#5324384)
    In the U.S. there is a federal student privacy law called "Family Education Rights and Privacy Act" (FERPA) which higher education institutions take pretty seriously. I believe it'd be a violation of that law to reveal student information to RIAA. It's so bad that we had to examine our logging policy to review who had access to logs and what they revealed about a student to ensure that FERPA wasn't being violated.

    But we (I work in IT at a college) *do* have policies against using our equipment for breaking the law, and copyright infringement is specifically listed. And if we catch them, we'll nail them. All the RIAA needs to do is note the date/time and IP and we can trace that back to a specific student and disciplinary procedures WILL happen. Problem is, the RIAA doesn't get personal satisfaction. Just like when someone e-mails abuse@ and we reply "We are investigating and will take appropriate action. However, FERPA prevents us from sharing with you the results of our investigation and any disciplinary action." It pisses the complainer off and it's to no good end because we *do* act on these complaints and if a student is violating our terms, they get disciplined and sometimes expeled.

    • Nope. Kids sign the right away to do illegal shit and hide from behind the University's skirts in our AUP at my University. The Privacy act is meant to protect their grades, not conduct. You are acting as an ISP not as the University of Whatever. Trust me. I've seen a little warez twerp-thief try to hide behind FERPA and get burned.
    • "All the RIAA needs to do is note the date/time and IP and we can trace that back to a specific student and disciplinary procedures WILL happen. Problem is, the RIAA doesn't get personal satisfaction."

      Universities are not court systems. If the RIAA wants to prosecute a student for violating federal law, they can and will. FERPA cannot protect a student from being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and it also cannot keep law enforcement agencies from obtaining the information from the University given they have the proper warrants.
  • by sholden (12227) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:24AM (#5324422) Homepage
    After copying it elsewhere of course...

    I'm a Usyd student and I've known about this was happening for a reasonable amount of time.

    I did a "find ~ -name '*.mp3'" when I first heard about it and was disappointed that I only had three mp3 files. None of which were music, and all of which were legally obtained.

    Since I felt like I'd be missing out I copied one of the directories in my web space and then renamed the files to be .mp3 files. Of course it's pretty obvious that a file that is a couple of kilobytes in size and named index.html.mp3 isn't in fact a Metallica track. But, maybe I'll get to join in the fun...
    • I did a "find ~ -name '*.mp3'" when I first heard about it and was disappointed that I only had three mp3 files. None of which were music, and all of which were legally obtained.

      G'day sholden - long time no see. You obviously weren't looking in the right place. But I think you knew that already :)

      I won't mention anything with the initials M O D.
  • by jedrek (79264) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @05:53AM (#5324490) Homepage
    I'm probably gonna get slammed for this, too bad.

    Universities (and higher education in general) are havens for piracy. File/application swapping among stundents is the norm, but that's been going on for years and I don't think it's what anti-piracy groups have a problem with. They fear one thing: bandwidth.

    The concern is two-pronged:

    1. Students come to school and suddenly get hooked up to a fat pipe. Megabit-speed internet connectivity in dorms and computer labs. Little Johnny freshman sets up a couple of movies to download on edonkey and leaves for the weekend. During that weekend his 1mbps/1mbps pipe is almost saturated uploading. Johnny gets his movies and, before watching and deleting them, manages to share them with 200 other users.

    Home users are usually much more aware of what's going on, maybe even more ignorant of their options. It's hard to stay ignorant when your dorm buddy's always finding new ways to download stuff.

    2. Students working in computer science deparments setting up pirate sites. While P2P piracy is huge, traditional 'warez scene' piracy - while reaching less people directly - is probably just as big. It's hard to run a warez site from a private company, people are going to wonder where all the bandwidth is going. But slip that site into a university network, with it's goverment subisidized pipes and it's terabyte-class monthly transfers and it's just a pebble in a pond. With full access to the equipment, students can reroute traffic, shape other traffic to give their 'users' maximum transfers. They can make systems disapear to all faculty computers, or even all on-campus computers, just to cover their tracks.

    Almost all of the top warez distribution sites I know (I'm talking WHQ and regional HQs for major groups) are run on university pipes. The rest are hidden among other major bandwidth hogs. (VoIP companies and the like)

    Or, maybe the anti-piracy posse is just paranoid.
  • "We're talking piracy, significant examples of piracy.' By contrast, Sydney Uni says it knows of one student with a handful of files on a website, which does actually sound quite a bit like one track here, one track there"

    Give me a break. Typical slashdot fud. The issue is not some stupid website sharing a handful of songs. It's about p2p file sharing on the uni network. Either the uni is completely clueless about what goes on, or they're lying.
  • While I am sure that the music industry has to try to recoup what they perceive as lost revenue it is in stark contrast to the approach a lot of other companies use when targeting students. Namely giving there products away for nothing.
    Yeah sure at present student live on 10 $/euro/pound/drachma a week, and 98 % of that goes on drink and mind altering substances, but the students of today are the consumers of tomorrow (and the next day and the next day), or that is they will be if they don't get butt f#$@$ked left right and centre for making there spending money go a little further.
    Compare the record companies approach to that of the credit card companies (stolen or otherwise). CC companies allow relatively high amounts of abuse on the part of students as the are in it for the long run, they know that the dreadlocked Muppet in front of them now will some day come, cap in hand looking for a credit extension for what ever....


    Of course the record companies could say that by the time these "cyber pirates" start to put their money where there mouth is the out-moded business model they now use will be part of every business 101 class on how NOT to do business.

    A few posters mentioned why don't the Uni(versities) get behind the students, if their uni is anything like mine (www.dcu.ie) then students are a necessary inconvenience that must be tolerated in order to continue to receive revenue to fund the construction of white elephantesque structures, what seats and space in the library, naw we don't think that is needed.
  • At UTAS today... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bcg (322392)
    Today during an ethics lecture at the University of Tasmania for postgraduates, file swapping and using illegal (pirated) software was mentioned in the same context as faking experiment results and experimenting on humans! At least now I know why they mentioned it as they are obviously a little perturbed by the audit...
  • Go to a show instead or just listen to the wind whistling between your classmates' ears.

    Watch the fuckers crumble when their cash flow flat-lines.
  • wrong target (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Tuesday February 18, 2003 @08:28AM (#5324879)
    You would think they would sort out the illegal CD pressing plans in Asia before going after individuals.

    But that would require them to actually do some work or even, gasp, spend some money.

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