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P2P Bits 300

Posted by michael
from the law-of-the-jungle dept.
yohaas writes "Two Op-Ed stories today in the NY Times address music sharing. In one Kembrew McLeod says that the lawsuits aren't working and gives some alternate suggestions. In the other Harvard Law professor William Fisher says that the industry is going about the situation in the wrong way, concluding that 'the record industry's response to file sharing--trying to block the technology altogether--would generate the worst of all possible results'. Neither article is comprehensive, but they are good read nonetheless." Reader Brill Pappin points out that Canadians aren't afraid of the music industry. And reader The Importance of Being Earnest writes "The INDUCE Act, which would make it a crime to 'induce' copyright infringement, such as by inventing things like the Betamax, has finally been officially introduced. The bill has been renamed the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act [PDF]. In addition to the name change, there has been another slight modication: 'counsel' is no longer part of the proposed statute. Here is a line-by-line refutation of Hatch's introduction [PDF] to the Act. EFF has shown how broad the Act is by writing a mock lawsuit [PDF] suing Apple (for making the iPod), C|Net (for reviewing the iPod), and Toshiba (for supplying hard drives for iPods). Previous Slashdot coverage here."
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P2P Bits

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  • by nostriluu (138310) on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:22PM (#9530610) Homepage
    Reader Brill Pappin points out that Canadians aren't afraid of the music industry.

    Not really true, there's just a bit of confusion going on now. The courts are sorting it out for us and will let us know if we should be afraid or not real soon.

    There was a photo of the Culture minister wearing a t-shirt that said "I support canadianmusic.com." Of course, it really should have said "I support thecanadianmusicindustry.com." Two entirely different things.
  • Canada not afraid (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeepee (607566) on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:22PM (#9530614) Homepage Journal


    Pretty logic Canadians are not afraid....
    File sharing is legal here...

    http://news.com.com/2100-1027-5182641.html [com.com]

  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:33PM (#9530763) Homepage Journal

    This lawsuit is creepy, but extremely plausible. After reading so much Grooklaw recently I felt like I was reading a real lawsuit. Time to write our senators this weekend. Find your senators here:

    And the EFF's action item on this, complete with a sample letter, is here [eff.org].

    We should all make a habit of this - I personally don't write these people often enough.

  • Re:Canada not afraid (Score:4, Informative)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:34PM (#9530781) Journal
    In the Canadians' defense, aren't they already paying a surcharge on recordable media and MP3 players to the music industry? It seems unfair to preemptively tax them for copyright infringement and then complain when they infringe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:35PM (#9530794)
    about 15-20 years ago, I was a contributing editor in a long defunct computer magazine.

    At a meeting, we had read Jerry's latest rant. It was a particularly idiotic rant, which was saying something. As a rule, he generally gave good reviews to equipment that was given to him and the manufacturer sent a tech to his house to get it set up.

    Anyway, I asked the editor in chief (as I was a young pup), why do people read him, and why does the magazine employee him.

    He likened Jerry to the town drunk. Yea, you know he a stupid drunk, no you don't take him seriously, but he is a helluva a lot of fun to watch stumble around.

  • by chatooya (718043) * on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:38PM (#9530832)
    Downhill Battle [downhillbattle.org] is the group that's best leading the fight to stop the RIAA and the major record labels. Check out the summer concert flyering campaign.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:51PM (#9530968)
    These days, Sony (re)introduces the MiniDisc. The MiniDisc can play "illegal" MP3-files, just like the iPod (although MP3-files must be converted to Sony's ATRAC format). If the iPod might be "illegal" according to the proposed law, then the MiniDisc must be illegal as well. Sony has known for years that the MiniDisc could store and play "pirated" music, that's why they made it impossible to use them as MP3-players. And that's why RIAA, Sony Music and other record companies tried to fight the original MP3-players such as the Rio. Sony should know about "illegal copying", after all they introduced the Betamax - a device that some people thought would ruin the movie industry.
  • by CHaN_316 (696929) on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:51PM (#9530971)
    EFF has shown how broad the Act is by writing a mock lawsuit [PDF] suing Apple (for making the iPod)

    Ummm...that's not too far from reality. The RIAA tried to sue Rio for making MP3 players in the late 90's. I refer you to this wired article [wired.com].
  • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday June 25, 2004 @01:57PM (#9531036)
    People, stop thinking of the RIAA as a company. They are not. They don't have any distribution or promotion methods. They do 2 things. They "give" labels to albums that have sold X numbers of copies (gold, platinum, etc), and they go to court. Don't believe me, read it from them.

    If I were a lawyer, and couldn't get a real job, playing the RIAA game would certainly pay the bills.
  • Canadian CD's (Score:2, Informative)

    by spectasaurus (415658) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:10PM (#9531190)
    It's not surprising that Canadians are not flocking to pay sites for music. At $.99 USD for each song, an entire CD will often cost more than $20 CAD. Most CD's in Canada are already priced at $12-$16 CAD. Why would we want more expensive, inferior quality music in the form of MP3 or other?
  • by CHaN_316 (696929) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:13PM (#9531225)
    The Canadian Culture Minister you're talking about is Hélène Chalifour Scherrer, and she has a bill to make downloading music not legal again. However, we are days away from the Canadian election, and the riding she's in (Louis-Hébert, Quebec) is a tight race according to this site [electionprediction.org]. Make sure you check this site again after the election (June 28th) to see her fate. And for our Canadian slashdot readers, please get out and vote!
  • Re:Funny timing (Score:3, Informative)

    by steve buttgereit (644315) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:17PM (#9531292) Homepage
    "Songwriters are in a different situation than programmers. I can charge whatever I like for my time or my programs. Songwriters are beholden to federal law (in the US) regarding what they can charge which is $0.085 per song per album cut, and $0.015 per song per radio play. Songwriters cannot charge a salary and forego any rights to what they write legally."

    This sounds like manditory mechanical licensing (might have the exact terms wrong... I can't find my copy of 'This Business of Music' right now). This isn't the fee the songwriter gets paid for an original recording, but rather means two things: 1) that once you record a song and publish publicly, anyone can make another recording of the same song as long as it's substantially true to the original recording (whether the songwriter likes it or not), and 2) the people making the second recording (the licensee) must pay the statutory royalties as you describe them. The right to make the second recording and the payment for that second record is dictated by federal law, but not the original recording of the work. And it's payable to the copyright holder which may/may not be the songwriter.

    Songwriters can negotiate for whatever they want for the initial recording and radio play is mostly governed by the public performance license clearing houses (ASCAP/BMI/others).

    This is worth a double check, it's been about a decade since I was actively in the business, but I think I've got the facts right in principle if not in specifics.

    Cheers!
    SCB
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:21PM (#9531343) Journal
    The bottom line is: I don't think its that much of an issues that the music labels might loose a business model entirely. Jobs have been lost for less and just because a small group of over-paid people happens to be on the line it certainly doesnt mean we should loose rights. Factories close all the time and 1000's loose thier jobs just like that, and all it gets is a 10 minute news item. No-one ever suggests we should have continued the manual production line instead of using robots. There are far fewer people who stand to loose much over loss of CD sales and most of them make enough in a year to retire for ever. The industry is saturated with bad music and acts that all sound the same and frankly it wouldnt be such a disaster if it collapsed. I don't believe for a minute that suddenly no-one would produce music, small-time groups probably wouldnt even tell the difference, neither would those with serious fan-bases, music concerts would still be popular, but you probably wouldnt be able to make millions off crappy boy-bands that churn out the same headache inducing crap every month and the side-effect would be many people not bothering to start their own group because "theres not enough money in it" oh what a loss!

    For years CDs have been sold on the economic principle of supply and demand - people have been prepared to pay nearly as much as a concert ticket to buy a CD (say 1/2 - 1/3) because in their head they figure "i can listen to the CD 100's of times so it must be worth it. Meanwhile the labels and to some extent the artists have thought "well i can sing this song once and sell it 1000's of times!" Now the consumers have started to figure that they can get music for free, this is also how supply and demand works, no its not the same as shop-lifting or raiding the warehouse! so get over it. Governments have no right to screw with our rights over this.
  • by I8TheWorm (645702) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:35PM (#9531507) Journal
    Except that it was a re-published article, and the first link I found to it. Otherwise, I agree that the NYP is a rag.
  • by cbr2702 (750255) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:44PM (#9531600) Homepage
    Congress cannot "overrule" a supreme court decision. They can use logic or recent evidence to convince the USC justices that the "substantial non-infringing uses" test is no longer a good test, and they can even try for a constitutional amendment if they really want to. But simple law-making cannot force the court to reverse itself here.
  • Please note, this isn't just a one sided issue. This bill also has it's cosponors Bill Frist (Senate Majority Leader) and Tom Daschle (Senate Minority Leader). We have to call our Senators NOW to stop this.

    Also of interest, might be the comments made by Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Frist (R-TN). I've got the entire senate discussion of the bill available on my web page [wagstrom.net]. You should read it and the EFF's rebuttal before calling your senator.

    Take action now and we can kill this before it ruins innovation.
  • Re:Funny timing (Score:5, Informative)

    by I8TheWorm (645702) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:18PM (#9531978) Journal
    I imagine some cost less, some cost more, but that $250,000 was from real experience.

    I played with a band that now has 5 CD out independantly. Earlier in their career, they signed a contract with RCA to put their first CD out. They had their own tunes, but RCA demanded they use some "canned hits" as well, and they were wrestled down to only 4 originals on the CD. During recording, the label began catering sessions from restaurants like Sunset Grill (a non-cheap restaurant in Nashville) and the like. Once this band finally realized the catering wasn't free to them, they had it stopped. Then the cost of studio musicians came into play. Added to that, the producer had to find (at the label/band's expense) some obscure rare microphone for just one song, which halted production. Of course, hotels aren't free for the couple of days that you're not working in the studio. When I was a session bassist in Nashville, I was $50 per song, which is scale to the AFM. However, Michael Rhodes, Mike Brignardello, Glen Worf etc... are more like $300 per song. There are other useless extravagent expenses the label throws in, and there's wasted time spent by the label's hand picked producer, all adding to the cost of production. For this particular band, it came out to $250,000.

    The saddest part is after wasting all that money, the label shelved the completed project, not wanting to spend the money on marketing. In reality, they could've had the same quality with $50,000 in the studio, and had $200,000 left over for marketing... or a novel idea, spent less on marketing and having done so, spent less on the project as a whole. But the labels like their model of wasting money on 95% of the artists while 5% of them make the $$ to fund the rest. Anything different would be admitting that the labels have no clue what listeners want, and the Billy Gillman's of the world would never happen.
  • by Jalthar (593369) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:32PM (#9532110) Homepage
    Furthermore, try to take the time to sign up to the "EFF Action Center". Then, instead of wasting time composing messages on Slashdot to complain about the idiocy of this law, spend your time editing the text of the barebones message EFF provides for you, so as to increase its impact. While sending one of a whole slew of identical emails definitely will show your support for this matter, a well-written (be nice!) "personal" note would have even more effect. Bonus points if you can point to specific companies in your local state that would be adversely affected by this law...
  • by shotfeel (235240) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:52PM (#9532294)
    Sure they can. IIRC somewhere in the decision it also says that congress is free to change the law to make it illegal, but as the law stands now (now being now and then), it is not illegal.

    Unless the courts find the new law to be unconstitutional, they are bound by it in making their decisions. That's part of the separation of powers/checks and balances mojo.

    So technically, they can't overrule a court decision, but they can make it moot by changing the law.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 25, 2004 @05:52PM (#9533212) Journal
    How is this funny? We need to be talking about revolution, and we need to be talking about it now.
  • by ClickTheVote (741949) on Friday June 25, 2004 @10:34PM (#9534825)
    1) Judge Patel found and the 9th Circuit affirmed in the Napster case that barter is commercial activity. Making 'unauthorized' copies is commercial activity.

    2) INDUCE trumps the Supreme Court's "Betamax" ruling that a device be "merely capable" of substantial non-infringing uses to be legal. If INDUCE becomes law any device, service or person that induces a person to infringe copy-rights is infringing (and therefore most likely a felon). Once they shut down Limewire and Morpheus as companies, they will go after everyone running those apps and the coders who build anything that touches copy-righted works.

    INDUCE is on the fast track to passing and becoming law. You can help defeat this overly broad and ill conceived piece of legislation by faxing your reps in Congress now. Click The Vote [slashdot.org] has free tools to help you do this.

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