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RIAA Co-Opts More Universities 305

Posted by simoniker
from the more-more-more dept.
southpolesammy writes "The Register reports that six more US Universities and colleges have agreed to enter into protection schemes with the RIAA. In short, several institutions have signed deals with the RIAA's lapdog, the Napster music service, to 'goad these schools toward becoming music brokers'. The underlying threat of being sued by the RIAA if they don't pay them off is almost certainly the driving force behind their acceptance of this scheme. And of course, there's the ever-present gag order they'll probably enforce on these new universities as well. Great business model guys. Way to engender yourselves to your biggest customer base."
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RIAA Co-Opts More Universities

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  • Aiiggghhh (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitalhermit (113459) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:06PM (#9741971) Homepage
    I'll do many things, but engendering myself with the RIAA is not one of them.
    • Perhaps he's saying the RIAA is engendering (in the sense of procreating with) itself in the view of its customers. It has certainly done that. :)

    • by Simonetta (207550) on Monday July 19, 2004 @07:10PM (#9742714)
      I read in Variety that music recording sales are up 7% from last summer. Hurray for them.

      But take into consideration that the target demographic for music sales is growing at more than that rate. Music sales is a young person's game: most buyers of music recordings are between 15 and 25 years old. This is the fastest growing segment of the world's population. Plus incomes are growing in formerly poor and desperate areas of the world. This means that even if the RIAA companies did nothing or completely goofed up their marketing, they would still have the 7% sales growth at least. There are 7% more people in the demographic band than last year.

      The fact that record sales are not growing as fast as the demographic band proves that the record company executives are totally incompetent and undeserving of their seven figure compensation packages. Most of the young people who buy CDs live in the third world where they have a choice of paying $25 US for an official CD or $2-3 for a 'pirate' version.

      Now the CD industry has NO marginal costs (blank CDs cost $0.05 each in bulk) per additional unit of product sold. That means that the RIAA companies are giving away their most profitable market sector to the pirates by not charging $2-3 per CD disk in the developing countries where the young people of the emerging middle-class don't have a lot of disposable income for music recordings.

      The record company executives should all be fired for being too stupid to figure this out or too greedly and inflexible to adjust their business plan to maximize their revenues.

      Sueing people in the 'finished development' world (the USA, EU, Japan, Canada, Aus...) is just a side-show to hide the incompetence of the Music dept execs from the head media corporate execs.

      The population figures say that global music record industry should be booming with profits in 2004. If it's not, it's not because of file swappers.
      • If the industry types did as you suggest and sold music cds for $2-3 in poor countries, some enterprising entrepreneur would import them into the rich countries. Technologies such as region coding and DRM alienate your prime clientele. Better to abandon developing markets to copyright infringers than to flood your high margin markets with cheap imports.
        • I believe this has already been attemptet in britain. The website cdwow.co.uk tried (legally, i might add) importing cds from the continent and selling them for about £8.99 as opposed to the highstreet price of £13.99+. They were made to stop very quickly and nobody has attempted to try this (still perfectly legal, i might add) model again.
  • But I thought nobody would pay for something that they can get for free? How can they be a customer base?

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:07PM (#9741979) Homepage
    en*gen*der ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-jndr)
    v. en*gen*dered, en*gen*der*ing, en*gen*ders
    v. tr.

    To bring into existence; give rise to: "Every cloud engenders not a storm" (Shakespeare).
    To procreate; propagate.
    v. intr.

    To come into existence; originate.
  • by SIGALRM (784769) * on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:08PM (#9741984) Journal
    Cornell University, the George Washington University, Middlebury College, University of Miami, the University of Southern California and the Wright State University (Ohio) have all pledged to have Napster up and running in the near future
    Two years ago, who could have possibly imagined such a quote from a serious news article?

    For fun trivia, Which "slash-and-burn" Sherman was more agressive... (A) [riaa.com] --or-- (B) [ngeorgia.com]?
  • It's about time. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kneecarrot (646291) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:08PM (#9741985)
    Call me a troll if you want, but it's at least good to see the RIAA trying to have dealings with a college or university that aren't purely legal! Yes, I know that some will say that the institutions were pressured on pain of lawsuits, but has that been confirmed?
    • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:30PM (#9742282) Homepage Journal
      I suppose transforming from "mob of looters" into "protection racket" is progress of a sort.
      • This isn't a "protection racket". A protection racket would be if the schools paid them money to avoid being sued. Here, the schools are actually buying/ licensing/ renting music for the students. It's similar to the fact that some of the students tuition/ room&board money goes towards internet access or food. That's not "protection money" to stop comcast from suing students who steal internet access or to stop a grocery store from punishing students who steal food. It's the school actually providing so
        • by maxpublic (450413)
          A protection racket would be if the schools paid them money to avoid being sued

          Well, that's funny - several of these universities have openly admitted that they've bowed to the RIAA over 'fear of being sued'. Which I do believe meets your definition of 'protection racket'.

          Kinda funny, to think that the record industry is run by a government-approved Mafia....

          Max
      • Of course making the progression to an organized mafia type structure is a good thing. The mobsters always wind up machine gunning each other at the end of the movie, and what's a better picture than a bunch of RIAA execs having at each other with tommy guns, really?
    • Why exactly can universities be sued for student file sharing but ISPs cannot? I would think that a university could put students on a seperate network, which they usually do anyway, and call themselves an ISP. I'm guessing the real reason is that a commercial ISP would be more likely to fight a lawsuit like this since they would go out of business if they were responsible for customers' illegal file sharing.
  • First off, let me make something crystal clear up-front. I in no way condone the way that the RIAA
    has tried to unethically shape our legal landscape, much less the shadier tactics they've employed.

    They're scum, no question about it.

    However, the other side of the equation is almost pathological. While you have many honest people who simply want to defend their Fair Use rights, you also have a loud, vocal "I want I want I want" community who simply believes that it is eeeee-vil that they should ever have to pay for goods (cds) or services.

    there has to be some sort of compromise between the two, and I honestly think this is a first, halting step in the right direction. I don't think much of napster, but I believe that if a university sponsored the use of a service such as Real's [real.com] Rhapsody service which allowed unlimited streaming (as opposed to a mandatory $X a song) of music, it would be a good compromise between the two posistions. People would have access to a large library of music, and the artists would be recieving compensation.

    Hell, if nothing else, the sponsorship of such a program may well help to diminish any credible claims that the RIAA has to push through bizarre and draconian laws.
    • Yeah, I'm sick of everybody going on as if they deserve music for free. Like you, I hate the RIAA. However, I still think that artists should be rewarded for their efforts, no matter how little of my money actually gets into their hands-at least they get something. I feel a little better knowing that Coldplay/the White Stripes/The Verve/Radiohead got something for their troubles.

      It pisses me off also how the RIAA is trying to crack down on file sharing. I would never have bought any of those CDs if I hadn't heard them before. Hell, I'd probably never be listening to Coldplay or Radiohead in the first place! I see the Internet as a try before you buy medium, where you can see what you're getting before you take the plunge and fully buy an album. I think that is what the RIAA is missing out on, and I'd like to see them try and dispute it.

      It sort of pisses me off to see all these people going around saying how they have all of Artist X's CDs, when really they just have a bunch of MP3s burnt onto CD. You can hardly call yourself a fan if that's what you do.
      • by EvilStein (414640) <spam@pbp . n et> on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:58PM (#9742581) Homepage
        "It sort of pisses me off to see all these people going around saying how they have all of Artist X's CDs, when really they just have a bunch of MP3s burnt onto CD. You can hardly call yourself a fan if that's what you do."

        I agree with that to a point, but do want to bring up the fact that when a CD goes out of print, sometimes it is *VERY* hard to ever find an original copy. I know of quite a few artists that have released CDs that weren't chart-burners and wound up dropping out of print. I'd love to have the CDs, but they are friggin *IMPOSSIBLE* to find. NO record stores in the entire area have the CD. ("Ambition" by Tommy Shaw from Styx is a perfect example) - I was on the "watch list" at no less than 15 records here in the SF Bay Area. The CD was *NEVER* found. Nearly 8 years later, I found a copy on eBay - and paid $90 for it.

        I would LOVE to own more and more CDs but I just don't listen to a lot of the crap that's out these days. The CDs that I do want, I cannot find. (Example: the brand new Marillion CD - neither Borders, nor Best Buy, nor Circuit City has the CD. Tower Records said they could order it - 2 weeks shipping.)

        Finding music can really be a pain in the ass sometimes.
        In the second example, I'm going to order the CD directly from www.marillion.com instead. They're a very smart band..
      • I see the Internet as a try before you buy medium, where you can see what you're getting before you take the plunge and fully buy an album

        So you're a dial-up user?
    • by alstor (587931) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:34PM (#9742314) Homepage
      As a college student, my biggest problem with this new "system" is whether it creates a compulsory fee for the students. If the gag effect wasn't in place, I might not be as worried because I would know the details, but if this will be a mandatory fee, I have a serious problem. I feel that I have the right to determine what to spend my money on, especially in such a jaded area as this.

      The other part of the program that bugs me is not being able to keep the songs after graduation without "buying" them.

      Once their four years at school are over, the students are cut off from Napster and lose all the music they've download. That is unless they pay 99 cents per song or $10 per album to own a permanent download that can be burned onto CDs or MP3 players.

      In my mind, if I have already paid a fee to buy as many songs as I wish, why should I be required to purchase the same thing later? Will I have to re-purchase the iBook I just paid for using an academic discount when I graduate as well? I sure hope not.
      • Dunno about the rest of you, but I'd swear we've heard this dialog before:

        "I've just made a deal that will keep the [RIAA] out ..."

        which will be followed later by:

        "I'm altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."
      • In my mind, if I have already paid a fee to buy as many songs as I wish, why should I be required to purchase the same thing later?

        Because you haven't paid to "buy" them. That's not the service they're offering.

        If I'm paying through my college for cable television in my dorm, why should I have to pay if I want to get one of the movies I watched on cable on dvd after I graduate?
        • If I'm paying through my college for cable television in my dorm, why should I have to pay if I want to get one of the movies I watched on cable on dvd after I graduate?

          I trust that a Good Guys sales person will be able to explain how you can excersize your fair use rights in this situation.
    • While you have many honest people who simply want to defend their Fair Use rights, you also have a loud, vocal "I want I want I want" community who simply believes that it is eeeee-vil that they should ever have to pay for goods (cds) or services

      You forgot the side that endlessly whines about the music industry. Folks, if you don't like the music industry, don't support it, but for fuck's sake, STOP WHINING ABOUT IT. This isn't "News for Music Buyers", and RIAA shit certainly is not "my rights online",


      • Wake me up when there's a legitimate threat to my rights, or real technology news. Not teenage "I wanna swap music" teenage angst.

        They're trying, but apparently you would rather roll over and keep on sleeping comfortably. Whether you realize it or not, suppression of a technology medium because of the way it is being abused by some (instead of suppressing JUST the abusive usage alone), is real technology news, and is a suppression of rights.

      • First off, I'm the submitter. I have no relation with Timothy whatsoever. Nuff said.

        Second, I originally wrote the story from the point of view of the RIAA trampling on organizations' rights, with the users' rights (or the lack thereof) being the end result of the lack of ability (or funds) to fight back. I happen to agree with the letter of the law regarding the RIAA's efforts, but I disagree with the method they are taking to enforce their copyrights, although ultimately they are doing what anyone els
    • ... you also have a loud, vocal "I want I want I want" community who ... ... were a carefully developed demographic that the music vendors intentionally created and provoked to mass market hysteria with non-stop ads and hype. Gee, maybe they should have priced their product so it would be within the means of the consumer they targetted? Nah. That'd make too much sense. Much better to put a Lexus dealer in South Central, which is exactly what the music industry does by marketing to teens. No wonder thei
    • People would have access to a large library of music, and the

      artists would be recieving compensation.

      By putting artists in italics, apparently you want to emphasize that the artists are getting some of this money. That's probably not true. The artists who have contracts with RIAA companies rarely receive any compensation from the sale or CDs or downloads. Under a standard recording contract all the costs of production, advertising, distribution, shipping, etc, etc, etc come out of the artist's percentage,

  • by haxor.dk (463614) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:09PM (#9741993) Homepage
    Sounds like mafia tactics to me.

    "Pay up, and we'll make sure no unfortunate accidents happen to you..."
  • by Grayden (137336) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:09PM (#9742003) Homepage
    Perhaps the university officials received threats of being SNIPPED and GUNNED down...
    • by xee (128376) *
      Snipped? Like the Depends [depend.com] coupon you snipped out of the sunday paper? Or sniped, like I just sniped that P out of 'snipped' from the roof of a neighboring sentence?

      Still forgetting to click Post Anonymously!
  • Six more US Universities and colleges have announced another round of tuition increases. Hope you're saving for your child's education, ....even if you don't have a child yet.
  • WHY.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheDarkener (198348) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:11PM (#9742029)
    ..Can't the RIAA, MPAA, and everyone else just realize that there is an efficient medium for distributing music, movies, and any other digital/converted to digital media, and WORK WITH IT? They're barking up a dying tree here. People will find better, more secure ways to transfer music/movies over the net, these associations need to embrace these technological advances and come up with an updated business model for them to profit off of.
    • Re:WHY.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Otter (3800)
      Can't the RIAA, MPAA, and everyone else just realize that there is an efficient medium for distributing music, movies, and any other digital/converted to digital media, and WORK WITH IT?

      Actually, that's precisely what's happening in this story, the submitter's furious ranting about "lapdogs" and "protection schemes" notwithstanding. As a fringe benefit, the universities' networks will return to pre-Napster (old Napster, obviously) levels of functionality.

    • ..Can't the RIAA, MPAA, and everyone else just realize that there is an efficient medium for distributing music, movies, and any other digital/converted to digital media, and WORK WITH IT?

      Because they have far too much invested in producing and shipping plastic disks.
      • Because they have far too much invested in producing and shipping plastic disks.

        Oh no, and how did they possibly get through the whole tape to CD evolution? They sure look like they're struggling now!
        • Oh no, and how did they possibly get through the whole tape to CD evolution?

          LP to tape to CD just changed the package that the product came in, but they were still producing and shipping them. With file sharing the package itself is no longer needed because the product can be delivered without it. For a couple thousand dollars, anyone can produce a good quality album and distribute it over the internet without having to go through the recording industry. That makes the recording industry obsolete and t
    • Um... (Score:3, Informative)

      by rd_syringe (793064)
      ..Can't the RIAA, MPAA, and everyone else just realize that there is an efficient medium for distributing music, movies, and any other digital/converted to digital media, and WORK WITH IT?

      You mean P2P? Like Napster?

      People will find better, more secure ways to transfer music/movies over the net, these associations need to embrace these technological advances and come up with an updated business model for them to profit off of.

      Ah, the "new business model" argument. Isn't that what Napster's pay-for-P2
  • by foidulus (743482) * on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:11PM (#9742039)
    is if the RIAA would give students a choice in the matter, instead of forcing Napster down their throats(who knows, maybe someone up there really loves irony) ie you could give me:
    a) a reduced Napster subscription price
    b) a reduced price on iTunes songs or
    c) a free "I None of these would have to be paid for from univerisity funds(I'm from Penn State, I still wonder where our mysterious funding comes from), it would give the users a choice, and the RIAA could still make boatloads of money.
    Gah, people who think they have some sort of inate right to music piss me off, but not nearly as much as the RIAA....
  • by bugnuts (94678) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:12PM (#9742051) Journal
    Sure would hate to see anything happen to it!

    RIAA just hit their highest sales, despite these mobster tactics.

    lying [cnn.com] bastards. [wired.com]
    • "The authors concluded that file-sharing has a statistically insignificant impact on record sales."

      Granted that the findings of that particular study are hotly debated, I still tend to believe it. As far as I've seen, many users of P2P networks use them like a preview service, then go out and buy the albums.

      I can't help wondering, when are the RIAA folks going to get it through their thick heads that suing music fans is much more likely to hurt sales.

      Then again, I'm Canadian and can download with i

    • by vsprintf (579676) on Monday July 19, 2004 @07:02PM (#9742630)

      [From the linked article] Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, called the first-quarter figures "good news," but cautioned that the results were measured against a dismal period. "The numbers of 2003 were down about 10 percent to 12 percent from the year before," Sherman said. "If we didn't have that kind of increase it would be really terrible."

      Nothing new. The RIAA not only believes it is entitled to huge profits but also increasingly huge profits every year - even during a recession. Yearly two-digit profit increases are the RIAA's God-given right; anything less is proof of rampant piracy. Haarrrrrgh, matey, I bought only one (music) CD last year (and downloaded no music). I really plundered the RIAA! Now if they'd just take that long walk on a short plank . . .

    • Get real. They have the right to protect the copyrighted materials that they own. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who understands this. They're even offering a legal alternative to avoid suing the university. That sounds like a good deal to me.

      But what do I know. I don't have blind, unending hatred for companies that end in *AA simply because they dare go after individual pirates--which is exactly what people here on Slashdot were saying the *AA companies should do during the Napster lawsuit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:14PM (#9742067)
    Students: What happen?
    Universities: Somebody set up us the RIAA contract.
    Universities: We just watch you.
    Students: What!
    Universities: Main screen turn on.
    Students: It's You!!
    RIAA: How are you thieving punks!!
    RIAA: All your schools are belong to us.
    RIAA: Your rights are on the way to destruction.
    Students: What you say!!
    RIAA: Your rights have no chance to survive make your time.
    RIAA: HA HA HA HA!
    RIAA: Your ass is mine
    Students: You know what you doing.
    RIAA: Landsharks, engage
    Students: For great justice.

    (Wonders how many time the same joke can be milked for.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:14PM (#9742072)
    And while he'll be paying the costs of this, he certainly won't be getting any benefits from it, since he has a mac... which means, no napster...

    I wonder exactly how much student outrage would have to happen before the universities break down and withdraw from the napstery thing...

    I certainly would have thought more of CORNELL, of all places, at least...
  • by StateOfTheUnion (762194) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:14PM (#9742074) Homepage
    Why is the RIAA going after universities and "extorting" (ok maybe that's harsh . . ."pressuring") universities to grant a cumpulsory license to each student. What about the music student that's studying 16th century harpsicord? If this student doesn't want to listen to pop-garbage or even some of the better stuff in the napster library or if this person has a very trained ear, and they don't want/like to hear compressed music, then why is a portion of their tuition/fees going to napster for a servie that they don't want?

    The RIAA is preying on the lawsuit fears of universities in an attempt to gain a captive market of students that are forced to have Napster whether they want it or not.

    • What about the music student that's studying 16th century harpsicord?

      Are you saying that classical music is not available over Napster? News to me... Are you saying that classical music students don't listen to pop? Hmmm... Next argument...

  • by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:15PM (#9742083)
    Personally, I love streaming music. My stereo at home is connected to my PC, which is always connected to the net. On Rhapsody I can play nearly every album I've ever owned or wanted to listen to, for a flat monthly fee.

    The best thing about unlimited streaming is that I can listen to albums which I would probably never buy, or even take the time to borrow or copy. When someone says 'hey, listen to this band' I can check them out right away, for no extra money.
  • Anticompetitive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by catwh0re (540371) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:15PM (#9742093)
    Other music services should sue for anticompetitive behaviour, probably the source of the gag order on each contract.
    • It won't be an effective gag order. The finances of public educational instutions are matters of public record. You can get them, find out what they paid, do some math, and figure out the per student charge.

      I'm not sure it's even really a gag order, the article mentioned Napster tilling OU not to publish the rates, not getting a court order saying they couldn't. There is a big difference.

      If it comes here, I will do just that (grab the financials and publish the per student rate).
  • How is it . . . (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vegetablespork (575101) <vegetablespork@gmail.com> on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:19PM (#9742146) Homepage
    . . . that state universities and private, but tax-exempt, schools are able to keep these contracts secret?
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:24PM (#9742213) Homepage
    Great business model

    It's a terrific business model, what are you talking about? You think they don't understand that it's an implied threat? Why else would a university bite? Of course they know it's a threat, and they don't care if you think it's sleazy, what they do care about is how much of a threat the universities think it is. Damn right it's a threat, do you think anyone would pay them otherwise? It's a fine business model in a world where "business ethics" is not about "ethics" but what you can legally get away with.

  • by StateOfTheUnion (762194) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:25PM (#9742215) Homepage
    WOuld the music industry actually be able to win a lawsuit against a university? I know that defending the university against a lawsuit is expensive and I know that universities have reputations to protect but . . . .

    If a consortion of universities got together and fought this RIAA pressure would they be able to win? Remember the RIAA has never successfully prosecuted someone for offering music or providing network bandwidth unless this party had a commercial interest in the activity e.g. selling copies rather than sharing with friends (this is to the best of my knowledge). The black and white of the copyright laws say that the person making the copies is the one liable . . . wouldn't this be individual students? And not the university.

    For example a public library is not liable for copyright infringement if someone photocopies a whole book on their photocopy machine. The person making the copies is the legally responsible party. This is exactly why photocopiers are now mostly self service in libraries (and even Kinkos). Because then the owner of the machine is not liable . . . wouldn't this work for universities? The owner of the machine (in this case the network) would not be liable for the actions of the people that used the machine (the individuals that are copying the music). Thus individual students would have to be prosecuted, not the university.

    Assuming all this is true, I would hope that some university would stand up and fight the RIAA rather than rolling over and becoming the RIAA's B****.

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:26PM (#9742235) Homepage Journal
    Here's an article I submitted last month regarding RIAA activities at Georgia Tech. Some useful links and information here:

    2004-06-11 01:49:15 RIAA subpoenas Georgia Tech for student names

    According to Georgia Tech's [gatech.edu] college paper, the Technique [gatech.edu], nine Tech students are among the victims [nique.net] of the RIAA's last round of lawsuits [slashdot.org]. The RIAA has subpoenaed the Office of Information Technology (OIT) [gatech.edu] to release the identities of individuals who were using computers at specific network addresses identified as being the sources of large amounts of file sharing. Tech has indicated they intend to comply with the subpoenas. According to Randy Nordin, Tech's chief legal advisor, the RIAA has asked that he tell the students to contact their attorney to see if an out of court settlement can be reached. The deadline to comply was June 2. In the past, violation of the school's Computer and Network Usage Policy [gatech.edu], would've resulted in disabling the student's Internet access until the student matter was sorted out with the OIT or the Dean of Student's office.

  • Can we please dub the new "Napster" as something else? This isn't the original / real napster, this is big biz cashing in on an old popular (and more respectable) name. At least call them "Napster II" or something. Let's not let them tarnish a once noble name.
  • by zalle (637380) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#9742348)
    I find it ridiculous that the universities themselves are paying anything to the scumbags. How can anyone even consider the possibility that random schools have anything to do with their students actions, much less have legal responsibility for those actions? Even more amazing is the fact that the universities are making any kinds of contracts for the students. Back here in Europe, their purpose is to provide education, but I guess it's pretty much different in the US, where they are more of a kindergarten than a place of research and study.
  • by fire-eyes (522894) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#9742355) Homepage
    Well, I'll have to look at it this way: Schools that I will never apply to or allow my kids to. Schools shouldn't be entering into such rediculous agreements, what does this teach the students...
  • by flinxmeister (601654) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#9742358) Homepage
    So how long until someone writes a program to just save all the streamed music for burnination to CD or use in portables and laptops? Congratulations RIAA! That CD in Sally Student's SUV just net'ed you....I mean the artist....less than 1 cent!
    • There are already lots of tools out there to do this. Most of the freeware MP3 players support it. The MP3 format is designed for streaming... In fact, streaming audio stations, like the ones on Shoutcast, are using MP3 format directly. Any player, including WinAmp, could simply save the streamed data directly to disk. They just disable that feature in WinAmp (as an attempt to stay out of the RIAA's crosshairs, I'm guessing).
  • The RIAA are no better than the Mafia.

    Unfortunately, due to corrupt US senators, RIAA bullying tatics won't end soon - there will only be more laws to support the recording criminals.. especially when RIAA buy them.

    Thank God I can download music for free... being in Canada (It is *legal* to download music here).

  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:39PM (#9742374)

    I'm an alumnus of one of the universities mentioned, and I'm writing up a letter to be sent to the President and Board of Trustees. It will express my disappointment in their capitulation to RIAA pressure and negligent misuse of funds, and let them know that as long as this deal is in place, the university will no longer be getting any alumni support from myself, and I will encourage my fellow alumni to do the same.

    Napster has no legitimate educational purpose. They can go ahead and waste someone else's money (read: the current student body's) on this worthless and unjustifiable service, but I can make sure they will not be wasting my money on it.
    • If anything, you should be upset about how much of your donations are wasted on bandwidth to download pirated movies, music, and software. Go talk to the school's IT staff if you don't think this is a problem.

      And are you going to ask the President & Board to cut off the student's cable TV and non-education related internet access? Let's be serious here, every university provides services that are not direclty related to academics.

      I applaud them for spending a few dollars to keep their student popula
  • One of the leaders before Fahrenheit 9-11 was for the Metallica moive. You know, the guys who sued their own fan base for music sharing.

    I wonder if anyone else appreciated the wonderful irony of that.

  • Just keep it up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nanojath (265940) on Monday July 19, 2004 @06:54PM (#9742529) Homepage Journal
    Anybody who has an inkling of interest in tinkering with the possibilities of alternative distribution of media should be thrilled like this. In a few months I'll be launching my first experiment in home-brew DIY music downloading and I'm so thrilled the RIAA will continue to give me regular opportunities to market it by reminding everyone just how stupid and corrupt the current "market" is.
  • Nice, our Universities are volunteering to become kiosks for dealing in shitty music.

    So I guess the next step is to have class presentations be preceeded by an RIAA commercial?

    Maybe a pre-requisite to any degree will be "Music Consumer 101". The class lab fee could be $18.99 and their pick of a CD by any artist the RIAA couldn't dump on Washington State libraries as payment for the price-fixing scam.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday July 19, 2004 @07:00PM (#9742612) Homepage Journal
    If you threaten to ' not protect ' someone if they don't pay up, there is no question its illegal.

    If you threaten to sue for an illegal act you believe the other party is committing against you unless they agree to get a contract that makes the act legal, I doubt you can legally call that racketeering.. or protection money. It would be called 'giving them a chance to legalize' and would look good in court.. ' see we tried '...

    Not that I'm a lawyer or a judge, but logically this is how I would view it being a jury member..

    They are still slime however....

  • by shogarth (668598)

    I wish the article revealed the source of the funds. Many campuses collect a "technology fee" in addition the more general tuition and whatnot. A subset of those univerities actually put a student committee in charge of spending that money.

    I suspect that many of those committees would be inclined to spend some of the money to make unlimited music a supported technology. After all, the campus has already collected it. Imagine a handful of 20-year-olds sitting on a pot of a few hundred thousand dollars a

  • Youse better pay da protection money. You wouldn't want somethin to *happen* to ya little school, would you? Now, that's betta...
  • Haven't these schools ever heard of Packeteer? Or Allot?

    There's no reason they can't just BLOCK all the P2P apps, and be done with it. Hell, it'd even be cheap, and have the added benefit of freeing up GOBS of their bandwidth.

    I just don't get it. Is there some "right to P2P" access that I'm unaware of?
  • Who's goading these people into getting in with the RIAA? I mean specifically. This sounds a lot like those "strongarm insurance" guys.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Monday July 19, 2004 @07:51PM (#9743091) Homepage
    Can't we just flag the RIAA as damage and route around them?

    Come on, /. musicians, submit your work under a Creative Commons licence and sell it somewhere like here [magnatune.com] or that other one whose name escapes me.

  • by Karhgath (312043) on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:02PM (#9743195)
    Ok, a little rant here.

    I was reading a while ago a comment that started to make me think. I don't remember who and when,. but it went something like this:

    "Let's say we invent a car replicator that could replicate cars at the cost of raw materials. Car manufacturer would go bankrupt. It would throw of the economy as resources aren't as scarce now, and that's the basis of economy(along with unlimited needs)"

    Then a reply:

    "But they[car manufacturers] would fight to the death to make this not happend, have it outlawed and destroyed in it's infancy."

    Then I started thinking...

    Let's go back to the basics. Things cost money because of 2 things:
    1) It costs money to produce/sell/ship/etc.
    2) Supply and Demands

    The economy is based on the fact that a near 0 cost is impossible and that supplies are limited.

    However, with the net we see a radical shift about Information(data). Demand is very high and supplies unlimited(you can copy bits at [virtually] no costs.) Any commodity that can be turned into pure data is at 'risk' of this new paradigm. It throws off economy completely.

    Is it bad?

    Take the car example above... would it be a bad thing for people, us? It sure would be bad for corpos, but us? (ok, bad example, car pollutes and all, more traffic jams, etc...)

    Let's say we have machine that replicates food instead, at virtually no cost. It would make all companies producing food to go out of business, so it's going to be really bad for the economy, same as cars. However, is it going to be bad for us, humans? for humanity? Heck, we'd be able to feed everyone at virtually no cost.

    Building replicators? Energy replicators/cold fusion? Hell, we'd solve all our problems.

    Sure, it's science fiction... unless we're talking about data. With internet and all, costs to replicate and share data is near to nil. We have those sci-fi things in our hands right now, but its restricted to data and information. Is it bad? It's throwing economy off for sure, but in the end, isn't it better this way?

    Sure, RIAA and all are in a uproar, and they should be. Since music, movies, games, etc. can all be conveyed using only data and have no material worth, this throws their market off.

    I believe we'll have to adapt to this new economy. 'The Information Economy'(TIE, that makes us TIE Fighters... ok, bad pun, couldn't resist =). RIAA and all needs to revise their market and all, they'll need major changes if they want to survive. Market based on information and data will be obselete soon(tm). They'll have to start making actual products to make money.

    I don't advocate filesharing of copyrighted materials and all per se, but we won't be able to stop it... and I don't think we should try to stop it. Information wants to be free. It sucks that music, movies, games, etc. are *all* data, but it's not humanity's fault, and certainly not OUR fault. why should we pay for people who based their revenu on information that can now be copied at virtually no cost?

    Information is free because it doesn't fit in the whole 'economy' we created. What should we do, fight it? Embrace it? Makes you think, doesn't it?

    I say, let's do what's best for us, humans, in the long run, and not corpos that will come and go.

    Then again, that's my somewhat socialist view of the whole thing, so YMMV =)
    • It would make all companies producing food to go out of business, so it's going to be really bad for the economy

      I would just like to point out that we already have what almost amounts to "food replicators" - industrial scale farming.

      Farming used to account for approximately 100% of employment. The advent of modern industrial scale farming has resulted in the eliminated of about 98% of all agricultural employment. 98%! That's a staggering figure! We have all seen just how "bad for the economy" that turned
    • Read Karl Marx's Kapital -- specifically "The Labor Theory of Value". He architects beautifully the argument you just made.
  • Wise Guys, eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CristalShandaLear (762536) on Monday July 19, 2004 @09:16PM (#9743785) Homepage Journal
    That's a grand total of eight schools in the last nine months that have agreed to become music vendors and pay an RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) tax to avoid lawsuits against their students.

    So what they're saying is: We, the all knowing and clairvoyant, RIAA know ahead of time some of your students will be guilty. We can't catch them all, but if you pay in advance, we won't sue you?

    I thought organized crime was illegal? How is this any differenct from making sure some "guys" won't come along and burn down your house as long as you pay a "protection fee"?
  • Racketeering? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Niet3sche (534663) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:36AM (#9745363)

    How is this different from racketeering? Seriously; is it just that the forces involved have accountants that seperates them from the mob, or is it more that the mob will *only* break your knees, so that you can at least pay them back for services rendered...

    Not a troll. I'm just curious about how this "protection money" and such is not being jumped all over. I'm sure that I'm just seeing one side of this, but it - to me - appears to be an execution of a more strong-arm agenda.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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