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Music Industry Drafts Code of Conduct for ISPs 818

Posted by Zonk
from the because-of-their-moral-high-ground dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Register is running a story about how the music industry is trying to get ISPs to sign 'code of conduct' agreements to cut people off for excessive bandwidth usage, to turn over details of users on demand, and to block certain 'illegal' websites." From the article: "According to the draft, the duo want ISPs and network operators to 'enforce terms of service that prohibit a subscriber from operating a server, or from consuming excessive amounts of bandwidth where such consumption is a good indicator of infringing activities.'"
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Music Industry Drafts Code of Conduct for ISPs

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  • More information (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:50AM (#12212467)
    In the interest of promoting more enlightened discussion, the full text of the "Music is Driving Growth in Digital Commerce" speech, presented by John Kennedy, CEO and Chairman of the IFPI to the ETNO (European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association) Conference in Brussles, on March 3rd, 2005, can be found here [ifpi.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:50AM (#12212476)
    And so what do the ISP's get in return?

    Customer satisfaction?
  • I work for an ISP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jchawk (127686) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:54AM (#12212532) Homepage Journal
    Good luck with that one is all I'm going to say. Short of them getting a law passed requiring this no ISP in their right mind would turn over information.

    We *require* a subpoena signed by a *judge* not a clerk, before we turn over any information.

  • by Zaxor (603485) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:54AM (#12212533)
    IANAL, but many if not all states have a tort of interference with a contractual obligation. Sounds like this sort of thing might be actionable under that.

    See http://www.lectlaw.com/def/i084.htm : " Intentional Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage" for more.

  • by cfalcon (779563) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:54AM (#12212540)
    I will instantly move to any ISP that doesn't sign this, assuming my current one does. I suspect that this won't be a very uncommon occurance, or at least, I suspect that a few ISPs in everyplace will always be holdouts.

    But man, this is terrible. I hate how everyone wants to make the net into TV. I don't watch TV because it's passive. I hope we'd all put up a good fight for the net.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:57AM (#12212585) Homepage
    I was watching a movie about Metallica's history on VH1. (It was late and I couldn't sleep, that's why!)

    As you probably remember the drummer for Metallica, Lars Ulrich, came out strong against Napster and P2P. He called it stealing, theft, and other bad words.

    But the VH1 show had an early interview with him and he was asked about how the band initially succeeded. He claimed "We made a demo and I gave ten copies to ten friends. They each made ten copies for their friends. As did those friends."

    In other words, sharing is great when it helps you. But it's criminal when it hurts you.
  • by thewiz (24994) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:59AM (#12212634)
    consuming excessive amounts of bandwidth where such consumption is a good indicator of infringing activities.

    This is a very bad way to determine if someone is sharing or downloading songs, movies, etc. I pull down patches for my Linux, AIX, OS X, and Windoze boxes on a regular basis. I easily exceed several gigs a month just doing this not to mention web surfing, viewing online videos, animations, NASA TV, etc.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but ISPs are only supposed to provide a way to access the internet. They aren't supposed to provide services for companies that want to snoop on the ISPs users; i.e. they provide bandwidth not Deputy Dawg services. I hope that the ISPs are brave enough to stand up to this and tell RIAA/MPAA where to stick their agreement.
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:00PM (#12212640) Journal
    all along!
    According to the draft, the duo want ISPs and network operators to 'enforce terms of service that prohibit a subscriber from operating a server...

    They're trying to stop all uploading! I love that ruse, "Excessive" bandwidth usage is a good sign of infringement. They want the net to be "client-server". They're the server. You're the client. How sweet. They can feed us all the propa...er...information we should need. That they're trying this doesn't bother me at all. It's to be expected. I'm worried that some dummy is out there believing it. It looks like it's back to solitare for me. Heh, screw that! It's back to the beach!
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:03PM (#12212683) Homepage
    I recently set up my dad with a computer and a DSL connection. I set up TightVNC so I could take care of any software problems he might have.

    But by the time I got home his IP address had already changed. It appears that his ISP (centurynet) changes his IP address every 2 hours. That would sure make it a lot harder to use P2P for sharing your own stuff, running a game server, a webcam, and all the other cool stuff you get broadband for.

    I can't help but think that broadband companies are going to kill themselves with this type of behavior. They have to remember that their customers are paying their bills, not the RIAA.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:04PM (#12212711) Homepage Journal
    So I can get a new ISP.
    Actually I would love it if the music industry would sign a code of conduct as well.
    Lets see.
    Any employee caught providing drugs or sexual partners to performers would be fired and turned over to the police for criminal charges. If not the Board of Directors are help criminally responsible. If football players have to take drug tests why not employees of music companies. I would love to see them declared a "drug free workplace". If you want you can let the artists off the hook. I want the A and R men, execs, and producers tested:)
    The music industry would provide 401k, medical, and health insurance to performers.
    If a record is not publishes and made available for sale for a period of one year all rights are returned to the artist.
    Accounting standards and full disclosure of those standards.
    If they want to write "codes of conduct" they can start at home.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:05PM (#12212729) Journal
    And very politely started tiptoeing towards bitching me out, asking a bunch of questions about my net usage.

    I'm really not a bandwidth hog, I don't run P2P 24-7, once in a blue moon I'll fire up bittorrent for some reason or another.

    I do use OpenVPN, I get my email from work, my kid brother connects to my LAN via OpenVPN, mostly so we can play games (much easier than forwarding umpteen billion ports for whatever we feel like playing that day).

    Well, the customer service guy calls because they noticed the VPN traffic. Or rather, SSL traffic on port 1194.

    It says in the AUP that I can't run a VPN or servers of any sort (does that mean I can't host a two player game of quake?). He started dancing around the issue, and as soon as I saw where he was going we had this exchange:

    "Is there a problem with my network usage?"

    "Umm, well maybe"

    "Am I abusing the network, hogging bandwidth"

    "Well no, but we noticed a lot of traffic on a port known for VPNs"

    "OK, well go ahead and cancel my account. I've been meaning to go with satellite and DSL for a while now, I just couldn't be arsed to climb up on the roof and install it."

    He apologized and hung up. I couldn't believe that I threatened the cable co and they backed down.

    Anywho, I'm fully prepared to follow through. SpeakEasy and Dish Network are but a phone call away.

    Slashdot, since you're completely in cohoots, will speakeasy be signing this agreement?

  • by johnny cashed (590023) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:07PM (#12212765) Homepage
    The "record" companies just need to go out of business. Believe me, music will survive. I just went to a great house show last friday. Worth every bit of the $5 I spent at the door. The record companies need to be overtaken. Something much better will sprout up.
  • It only takes one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by garnetlion (786722) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:09PM (#12212778)
    They really only need to get one ISP to sign it. Imagine if AOL or somebody like that should sign it (and they will), then they can run ads that say "The only ISP approved by the RIAA/MPAA!" and the current subscribers who are not technically inclined won't know the difference. They'll get more subscribers who don't know what it means because an important group endorsed/approved it.

    Once it starts drawing stupid customers, all the other major ISPs will jump on the bandwagon. Where or not the smaller ISPs will be able to resist remains to be seen.

    I'm told all DSL services rent the lines from SBC. So once SBC has signed it, they can make all the ISPs who rent their lines sign it.

    But nerds are brilliant, and determined not to be hindered by this sort of thing, so they'll find a workaround. The MPAA/RIAA will try to block that, but the nerds will get around it. That's the way of the internet, and I for one think it's a beautiful thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:09PM (#12212786)
    In other words, sharing is great when it helps you. But it's criminal when it hurts you. That's a ridiculous argument. When you give your stuff away, it is a gift. When other people give your stuff away, it is theft.
  • by Trick (3648) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:12PM (#12212825)
    If I were an ISP considering signing this thing, I think I'd have to take into account the effect of a good-sized chunk of my subscribership running continuous downloads of random crap, just to increase bandwidth usage and screw with the music industry.

    Remember, ISPs: Most of us have never gotten an RIAA subpoena, and are still under the impression that it might be a cool souvenir.
  • by climbon321 (874929) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:12PM (#12212835)
    I will fully agree that bandwith consumption has no correlation with illegal activity. I moved into a short term housing apartment a few months ago and have already gotten four strikes and been banned by my ISP for excessive bandwith use. The thing is that none of what I was doing was illegal. I was filesharring legal files and uploading to the websites I run. It made me very frustraded with this particualr ISP. I can't imagine if every ISP acted this way.
  • by Gribflex (177733) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:15PM (#12212877) Homepage
    Why why why is it so difficult to run a server out of my house. I'm not pirating software, music or movies; I just want to host a personal website, or a website on which to showcase current work done on a project to clients, or to host community projects, etc.

    People have legitimate server needs, and ISPs make it terribly difficult to meet these needs.

    Everytime I call an ISP to ask if they allow server access, I get in a fight with the operator at the other end because she accuses me of software piracy.

    All I want is to be able to play with a server in my spare time, without having to fight with my ISP (or pay for a business line).
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:20PM (#12212947) Journal
    Of course, the high speed connection isn't used for too long--just until the server melts down...
    That's the reason to have an ISP in between - this way, your net connection acts like a fuse, and IT melts down before your server does ...

    Now, how about a code of conduct for the music industry?

    1. No more "pop tarts" (that means you, Britney)
    2. No more re-re-re-re-releasing material with slight changes in format/mix, etc
    3. End payola/free drugs once and for all
    4. Guarantee a fixed percentage of every dollar earned goes to artists
    5. Tickets for everyone to the "cattle prod vs RIAA masters" event.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:21PM (#12212964) Journal
    He was way wrong, because he forgot who his fans are (well, were) and where he came from.

    Metallica couldn't get a record contract to save their lives. In those days Van Halen was risky. Noone wanted to touch them.

    It was people like me, passing around bootleg tapes, saying "Dude!! listen to this shit! These mofo's are HARDCORE!"

    I traded a bunch of Metallica on Napster and others. None of the studio stuff. Every fan already has a copy of Master of Puppets, Ride, or Kill 'em All. Most of the Metallica trading was live shows (especially stuff with Cliff, or even the way old stuff with Dave), rarer stuff like Green Hell. The same bootlegs and live shows that made the band.

    I'm not justifying the legality of any of it, but that's what pissed off the fans. It was a big "fuck you, we don't need you anymore now that we're rich!". I *made* them rich, by going to the concerts, buying the T-shirts, picking fights with Megadeth fans, and hyping them to everyone I knew.

    While I still like the older music, I'm no longer a Metallica fan. They should have let someone else be the industry bitch. They blew it, big.

  • Re:I don't think so (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alnjmshntr (625401) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:32PM (#12213124)
    Why not use I2P [i2p.net] instead? It's a great anon network and it already has a bittorrent-type client.
    The more users start using it the better it will get.
  • Re:More information (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lowrydr310 (830514) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:39PM (#12213221)
    Commercials for SBC DSL promote the fact that you can download lots of music at high speeds. They don't mention anything about legal downloads, rather their commercials imply that you can download lots of music at very high speeds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:48PM (#12213362)
    True, In Belgium we even had an ISP that gave away free MP3 players when signing up for there broadband services. I have seen numerous ads on tv where people are using there broadband connection, to surf, to watch movies, to listen to webradio and download some music.

    Hell, we even had an ISP that was advertising about the fact they have a binary newsserver with a good retention for the alt.binaries groups.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:51PM (#12213401)
    "Scary part: It'll probably work."

    Ignorance is scary. Enlighten yourself.

    A lot of the broadband ISPs are big operations in themselves. Some are even owned by content providers (AOL/Time Warner). Plus as I already pointed out elsewere. ISPs DON"T NEED this agreement to do what they need to do. They already have a TOS that'll do just fine.
  • by vettemph (540399) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:52PM (#12213411)
    The ISP's get to sell you 1.5 to 3Mbps for $50/mo with a 56kbps cap. enjoy THE NEW high speed internet.

    ALSO,
    If you do like I do, Download the latest verions of SLAX, DamnSmallLinux, Mandrake, Knoppix and unbuntu just to try out the latest features your going to be on THAT LIST. Good thing I use an encrypted file system with a very original password that has never been writen down or typed ANYWHERE and I don't use a swap file. These are the things that everyone should do to protect yourself from the RIAA and the enforcers. It's just like murder, until the body is found it's just a missing person report.
    PS- don't kill anyone based on my post.
  • Rock. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by quag7 (462196) <deepspace@dataswamp.net> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:53PM (#12213433) Homepage
    Well, first of all I'd like to thank the music industry for making them even more satisfying to loathe. You couldn't create a better bad guy in a novel (Well, there's SCO, of course - again, a real life phenomenon, not some bad guy in a book)...

    Seems to me like:

    (1) There are those who are just opposed to piracy and consider it theft and leave pissed-off messages on forums such as this saying so from time to time. I think they're the minority, but they have an honest viewpoint, and if anyone is making a decent moral case for not ripping off music, it is them.

    (2) The largest group of people are people who just really like music, and can easily get it for free. I don't think they spend a lot of time thinking about the music industry, intellectual property, copyrights, or what have you. They just like music. So they download it.

    (3) There are people for whom pirating music, like smoking a joint, is a political act. I mean sure, guffaw all you want, but we live in a horriby insular, suburban, gated community world where this is as radical as it gets for most. I'm talking about people who enjoy the fact that pirating music is illegal, and enjoy screwing over very large companies, however much a drop in the bucket downloading a few mp3s is. It's not so much that they're really getting over on anyone, but it feels like it...just enough to make it a rush in and of itself.

    (4) I just mention this group for completeness - these are people who are collectors, who like out of print or really obscure stuff that is difficult or impossible to find anyway, or simply is not commercially available.

    And I have to wonder if the music industry is driving more of category 2 into category 3. I'm not sure about this though. I don't really buy the argument that "bad publicity" really affects the numbers. I think music piracy is largely an issue of convenience and R0CKING 4 FREE and not much more than that. Consumers are notoriously mushy when it comes to putting up any kind of united front against abusive companies, employers, or institutions, at least here in the States, and I suspect in much of the rest of the world as well. I doubt corporations would own and run as much as they do if consumers really had any moral conscience and really wanted to know what kind of atrocities their spending money was paying for.

    Certainly, however, one thing the music industry is doing wonders for is assuaging whatever guilt the typical music trader still feels about piracy. I mean, if there is even the slightest hesitation, or opening for someone to make an argument about piracy, it's evaporating quickly due to the music and movie industry going out of their way to embarass themselves by pretending that they see this as a moral issue, as opposed to a dent in their ability to financially exploit people with actual talent. The moral "oh poor us" crap is pathetic in roughly the same way Jim Bakker's penitential sniveling was pathetic. It might mean something when an artist says so, but the industry just seems to be out to sabotage their own credibility at every turn. Like we don't really know the score. Like we don't all recoil in disgust from MTV, Clear Channel's radio stations, and the complete sewage of the pop music scene. It is this - the product they push the hardest, that lends incredible insight into the industry's supposed "moral" (LOL) conscience.

    However one feels about piracy, the music and movie industries are deft black belts when it comes to outright DICKETRY. And one thing that makes the world go 'round is spite, and every time they do something as DELICIOUSLY EVIL as this, countless new "convenience traders" are introduced the sweet, sweet nectar of spite. Now, it's not just R0CKING 4 FREE - now it's R0CKING 4 FREE AGAINST THE MAN. Now there's an affirmative reason above and beyond just having, guiltily, THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MEATLOAF in 128 kbps MP3 format.

    Idiots. This is ROCK AND ROLL they're poking with a stick. Of course its part of the same pa
  • by btarval (874919) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:56PM (#12213478)
    There's more to the article than the proposed code of conduct. From the Fine Article:

    "Expect an interesting discussion next Monday, when this issue, and the draft code of conduct, will be discussed at a meeting in Geneva of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Which as you know has a stellar record defending the little guys against claims of copyright infringement."

    So it looks like the RIAA and MPAA are trying to by-pass Congress on this one, and take the easy route.

  • Red Herring (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cytlid (95255) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @12:58PM (#12213511)
    This is so funny. I work for an ISP, we already have those things in place, called an AUP. Anyone caught abusing their connection for illegal activity is dealt with. Of course, the RIAA just doesn't like the burden of proof being on them.

    This has always made me want to fill a file with random bytes from /dev/urandom let's say, call it "newest_crappy_song_from_jenifer_lopez.mp3", have it just the right size, and send it from myself to myself on several of my colo boxes on my domain(s). Then for the fun of it, null route all of the RIAAs ips from my personal web/mail servers for when they try and contact me. Then when they snailmail me (or call my isp on the phone, again me because I am my isp), I can show them the bogus file and waste plenty of their time and prove to them just how big of asses they really are.

    Ya know, kinda like honeynet for the *AAs. Well, maybe not.
  • by Dhaos (697924) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:05PM (#12213601)
    Not only are you right, you are -so right- it hurts.

    As has been mentioned before, ISPs currently enjoy the status of "common carrier", the same status afforded to telecommunication companies, and even, i believe, postal services.

    Being a common carrier works as follows: You are not liable for damage done due to communications over your network. If Osama uses Pacific Bell (or whatever phone service) to plan his next attack, Pacific Bell is not liable.

    But the rationale for common carrier status is that you -do not know- what traffic is being carried over your network. The second you begin filtering out sites and noting suspicious people as a business, (the government could probably do these things to your network, but thats another story) you're putting youtr common carrier status in jeopardy.

    So yes, they likely would pick up a ton of liability. Which is why they will likely politely decline to acquiesce to this request.
  • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:06PM (#12213608) Journal
    You'd need a pretty dumb judge to count that though. If they told CD-R/DVD-R manufacturers to note down or restrict those that bought large volume of media, would it count as goodwill. The internet companies have a business model, and the RIAA is telling them to change it with zero benefit to themselves.

    I'm lucky though, as a Canadian I find we're still doing rather well in the fight again RIAA/MPAA/DMCA abuse... and our court system seems to quite often have some good heads behind it when dealing with that type of crap. There are some stupid lobbies going through again right now but I've got reasonable confidence they'll be shot down.

    A compromise is a mutually beneficial situation. The RIAA don't want compromise, they want to have their pie and eat it too... I hope they end up with a pie-in-the-face for their BS "efforts"
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:12PM (#12213672) Journal
    ... and a refund on all the "filler" that they shovel onto CDs just to make it up to 10-12 tracks.

    That was one of the main drivers behind rip-n-burn. Who wants to carry around 20 cds with one good song each?

    Of course, now that the horse has left the barn, the RIAA wants to punish people for finding ways of rebelling against their mediocracy/mediocrity.

    Too little. Too late.

    There's no way that ISPs are going to be able to support the extra costs of checking all the crap that flows through their networks. Then what - if there's something "suspicious" they have to store it? How many more servers/hard disks/racks/people are they going to need?

  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:13PM (#12213686) Homepage Journal
    Probably not. Nearly 100% of competitive [wfdf.org] discs are discs [discraft.com] and I'm willing to bet that competitive disc sales outweight recreational Frisbee [wham-o.com] sales.

    You misunderstood. No matter what kind of disc I buy, I call it a Frisbee, and so do most people. No matter what brand of tissue I buy, I call it Kleenex, no matter what kind of bandage I buy, I call it a Band-Aid, even if our photocopier is a Canon, I tell people to go "Xerox this document." The sales figures are irrelevent. These brands are irrecovably associated with the product type rather than a specific brand of it. The point was to provide an illustration of unbreakable social consciousness. In classic Slashdot form, you've missed the point and instead attacked ancillary data.

  • Re:Better Option (Score:4, Interesting)

    by issachar (170323) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:19PM (#12213773) Homepage
    Shaw's probably just sucking. They send you a notice when you go over your undefined "limit". I got a fairly friendly warning that I had to bring my usage down. They were quite friendly and offered a couple of helpful suggestions on how to do that. Their service can be extremely crappy though. They do take advantage of the fact that for high speed in BC you're limited to either Telus or Shaw.

    The fact that they claim to have limits is really irritating though. These limits aren't defined anywhere, they're just called "excessive usage". I'd rather pay by the GB. When I them what the cost for extra transfer once I'd gone into their illdefined "excessive" range, he said they didn't have a cost scale and they'd just have to cut me off or turn it into a business line.

    So I don't have a lot of sympathy for shaw. I was willing to pay to download & upload more, but they wouldn't do it. Incidentally a telus tech support guy claimed that Telus doesn't even track transfer volumes.

  • by skyshock21 (764958) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:23PM (#12213836)
    I run my band's website and none, I repeat NONE, of our music is owned in any way, shape, or form by the RIAA. In fact, we make ALL OUR MUSIC freely available to the public via our website. Mainly for publicity, but also out of sheer spite and contempt for the RIAA. What if I decide to switch and host my website locally through my ISP (they allow you to do this). Is the music industry going to see sites like ours as a threat to them since we get HELLACIOUS traffic?

    (Obligatory band links for reference and shameless promotion... slashdot us if you'd like, it'll only help the cause!)

    http://www.myspace.com/lykachamp [myspace.com]
    http://www.lykachamp.com [lykachamp.com]

  • by holy_smoke (694875) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:37PM (#12214010)
    - Implement filtering technology?
    - Limit Bandwidth?
    - Retain Records?

    and yet "quality digital content is a key driver that makes consumers embrace new services"

    The RIAA and MPAA don't seem to want to provide viable alternatives to P2P's infringing uses, but they want a CARRIERS to police it for them? And invade their customer's privacy?

    This is soo crazy stupid that is is scary. What kind of out-of-tune whackos would think that this is a good idea?

    The bottom line is that Broadband access is a tool. Customers rent the pipe. Just like telephones, electricity, gas. How in the world would it possibly make sense that your local telephone, electric, or gas company would have to make sure you weren't using their product in an illegal fashion?

    Orwellian.

    I am sooo glad that I don't buy CD's or Movies anymore. And no, I don't download either. These industries are just plain selfish and evil. They don't DESERVE my money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:38PM (#12214015)
    Your post is excellent, with one major mistake. Downloading copyrighted material is not illegal. Republishing it is. Downloading is simply you asking a remote machine for a object labeled "X", and it gives you something. It is the same as asking a person to sing you a song, and they sing it. You cannot be arrested for listening, and we would laugh at anyone who suggested otherwise. Downloading is not illegal or even unethical. Only republishing/rebroadcasting/uploading is.
  • Re:France Surrenders (Score:3, Interesting)

    by glesga_kiss (596639) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:55PM (#12214266)
    making France the most freedom-hostile country in europe.

    He he, I love that shit. American's hate the French because they don't agree with them on certain issues. Do you even know what "freedom" means? I'll help you out; it has nothing to do with "follow the leader" or "do what you are told".

    The US is becoming a characture of itself, and if it wasn't for the most powerful military empire in the world, it would be funny. Right now, it's downright terrifying. What you are doing in Iraq (and the political techniques used to get your concent) is the complete opposite of freedom. Orwell is truly rolling in his grave...

  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:01PM (#12214336) Journal
    Just a random thought, which hit me while reading your post. Piracy is a capitalistic force.
    The main idea behind a capitalistic economy is that, consumers will shop around and get the best product for the lowest price possible. With music this has not really been possible. If I want to buy the AC/DC "Back in Black" CD set I can technically shop around a bit, but in the end, I'm going to pay somewhere between US$10 and US$20 (bn.com has it at US$15). I can also go to iTunes and get just the 10 songs from it for roughly US$10 (Not been to iTunes, so I might be off a bit). the point is, the price is pretty fixed. I also cannot get a similar product at a lower price. Music is like that, it's either the band singing its songs, or it isn't.
    This is where piracy comes in. The cost to duplicate the work, is very low. All I need is a computer with a CD drive, and an Internet connection. Each of those items does have a cost, but when that is broken over the various uses and number of CD's which can be copied, the price per unit drops to a pitance.
    Now, what we have is a monopolized market (the legal kind, we're dealing with a copyright here), and the technology to undercut the monopoly significantly. the problem is, that there is no legal way to undercut the monopoly and make money, so an alternative needs to be found. That alternative, which is what Sharman, et al. are capitalizing on, is to make available the method for accessing this cheap alternative to the monopoly and collecting ad revenue from marketers who want access to their large user base.
    This is really capitalism at its dirtiest. A need was identified (cheaper access to music), filled (via piracy), and capitalized upon (via ad-supported P2P apps). The music industry is now having to compete. Yes, the competition is illegal, but only because of government interference in the market. Copyright laws are not capitalistic in nature.
    I'm not trying to argue that piracy should be legal, moral, etc. Just that it is a capitalistic force. Because of the monopolized nature of music, and the overpricing which follows, a corrective force exists. Becasue there is no legal outlet for that force, it has been expressed as rampant piracy. If the current method is stamped out, that force will show up in a different fashion. Basically, as long as there is a legislated monoploy, which is pricing it products higher than people are willing to accept as reasonable, there will be a drive to circumvent that monopoly. The more unreasonable the price, the more willing people will be to break the law to circumvent it.

  • by naily (672109) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:03PM (#12214356) Homepage
    Another analogy: artists were originally paid to perform. Mozart toured the royal palaces of Europe with his dad, to earn money. They would also get commissioned (= paid up front) to do specific pieces of work. This is how performance and art worked for centuries before the technology to record and replay performances came out.

    After this point, up until the internet, the distributors ran the market because no one artist could afford to create the media and distribute it. The distributors increased the barriers to entry by adding dollops of promotion and reducing artists' rights to their work.

    Now there is no need for expensive distribution. The powerbrokers have no leverage other than relentless, expensive promotion. Much cost to recoup, little revenue to be had. No wonder they're p!ssed off, but it serves them right for keeping up prices when costs were dropping fast (as cost of production dropped - think LPs to CDs).

    For performers, the old model is back - you have the opportunity to have control. You might earn some money for no additional effort (ie. recording sales, broadcast royalties), but you'll earn the most through the tried & tested method: getting out there and performing. After all, that's what athletes have to do.

    My future prediction: concert tickets sold by auction only. TicketMaster, I'll have those royalties up front, please - commission only!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:07PM (#12214429)
    Those who say "unlimited" but oversubscribe to a large enough degree will either have to ask for more money, cut back on who they take on or be honest that they contection ratio is x.
  • by Didion Sprague (615213) * on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:08PM (#12214432)
    Ironically, if the corporations would *withhold* content, they'd do us all a favor. It'd be a welcome respite. Plus, it's pretty good copy protection for the recording industry.

    It'd also fuel (what I'd guess would be) moderate to explosive growth in the non-corporate controlled media industry. We'd swing back to the idea of computers as a "hobbyist" medium (back in the days of Heathkit, for example) and would give the cycle time to re-start.

    Withhold content, please! The "pipes" won't go empty. Just leave us alone. It'd also give the artists some time to really give us what *they* want -- and not a bunch of A&R posers pretending to work on behalf of the artists.
  • by suitepotato (863945) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:19PM (#12214582)
    I've never gotten any calls from Cox and they can kiss my behind if they have a problem with me making use of sockets. The very concept that a well-known port must be used by the well-known service is assumption-based cr*p. I've run various things on 80 and 23 and so forth for no better reason than I felt like it.

    By default, I always put any serious ongoing usage on some nonstandard port. Thanks to OpenSSH I can SFTP to my heart's content and they have no idea what the traffic is inside.

    The bandwidth caps made much more sense pre-DOCSIS when all-you-could-eat upstream was the rule. Now we're set at specific levels based on what the area can handle which is entirely based on the head end and its backhauls. Right now, 768K is the max for my area. If everyone in my neighborhood were file sharing it wouldn't bring the node to standstill.

    With regard to the RIAA/MPAA, they too can kiss my rear. I don't listen to their artists, I don't bother buying their cruddy CDs, I see them as worse than Microsoft selling beta code as finished product. They sell anti-artistic expressions of contempt for my audio sanity as if they were soul-changing sounds from Heaven, market them as if they were life-saving elixir, and tenaciously hold on to them as if they were platinum bars. Bill Gates saying Windows is a solid OS is orders of magnitude less laughable than saying that the latest Fifty Cent brag-fest is intellectual property.

    Advances in file-sharing are coming which will lay them low and I can tell you that ISPs most manifestly do not want to be the b*tch for these agencies. They want to do as little as possible on the content side and as much as possible just to keep the pipes flowing and making the money. They're more concerned with virus and spam traffic than anything else.

    What annoys is how easily the legislative branch is willing to kiss these agencies' behinds for a few election donations. Surefire bet they won't pass a law to shut their influence out. We of the networking world will have to provide the solution to these pests by our usual reliance on knowing the technology better than they do, putting redundancy, distributed processing and storage, cryptography, steganography, and so forth to use and engange in ongoing peaceful non-violent non-co-operation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:30PM (#12214728)
    If there is one overriding factor in all these disputes its the function of the Internet in removing middlemen from transactions.

    The high number of layers of marketmakers and their proprietary good-old-boy networks are being surfacted like soap does to grease globs.

    One of the most profitable of the old-boy networks are the consortiums of (mostly lawyers) that invest and purchase rights to various forms of media copyrights and then live off the residuals.

    These consortiums relied on the difficulty of reproducing multimedia privately and the resultant scarcity of the music to make their large profits. Just as musicians once relied on the relative scarcity of musical talent to be able to make a living. Now only the absolute cream-of-the-crop musicians can hope for something other than a weekend job doing weddings.

    In the same way, the lawyers are finding that the Internet is making their reproduction consortiums redundant. When it was just the musicians losing their livelihood it was, sorry, too bad, move on with the times. When its the lawyer consortiums loosing their big piles of cash its another thing entirely.

    That doesn't mean its "moral" to rip off music, but the reality is that the musicians rarely profit heavily off of the music that gets published.

    Fact: If your are a 4 man band and your disc goes gold, that means that you and your buddies can afford the life of a $40K/year junior engineer for one year. That's after promotion fees etc are paid.

    This is just the come uppance for the lawyers.

    If you want to play the moral high ground you have to start thinking about alternate technologies in the reality of the Internet. Yes, we need to find better ways to reward the excellent creative work of (hopefully) a wider range of musicians. The best way to do that is not to continue to funnel more cash into the RIAA etc.

    The best way is to push for better Internet transaction protocols for the creators and investors, such as Street Performer Protocol.

  • by stdarg (456557) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:41PM (#12214891)
    It's too bad ISP's aren't doing more to foster things like bittorrent. It's like a giant squid proxy on their network except even better. They should sponsor some coding to add preferential treatment of "close" ip addresses to who your client connects to, they'd end up cutting quite a chunk of their inter-isp bandwidth usage.
  • Re:Better Option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by orangesquid (79734) <orangesquid@noSPaM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:45PM (#12214941) Homepage Journal
    Seriously.

    If the music industry tries to say I can't run a server [eu.org], I'm gonna say that they better distribute my music projects FOR me since they won't let me distribute my independent music on my own.

    Not like they'll care.
  • by zeeeej (861736) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @02:53PM (#12215054)
    I doubt the limits would be on moment-to-moment bandwidth available. The point would be to limit average bandwidth consumption over a period of time (say 10GB/month - or whatever).

    The ISPs would be utter fools to cave in to this. Unfortunately, though, some of the media companies are the ones who own the ISPs (Time Warner Cable, for instance).

    Now the FCC says cable bandwidth is strictly reserved for cable companies. Which means that if you are one of the many high-bandwidth downloaders, and you get screwed by your ISP, and DSL's not in your neighborhood, you're up shit creek. Hey - there's always dialup!

    Next up on the Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent agenda:
    - Automatic speeding tickets for anyone who drives on the freeway, or in certain models of cars. Because we all know that nobody drives the speed limit on the expressway, and why would you want that fast car if you aren't speeding?
    - Jail time for anyone caught spending a $100 bill. Drug dealers use $100 bills.
    - Vaseline and its evil counterpart, Vaseline Intensive Care, moved with all the other lotions and lubricants to the "adult" section of the store. To protect the moral health of the non-pervy customers, you know.

  • by b1t r0t (216468) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @03:20PM (#12215381)
    Is the music industry going to see sites like ours as a threat to them since we get HELLACIOUS traffic?

    No, they see you as a threat because you are their competition. If they can't maintain their near-monopolistic control over the production of music, then they can't make money selling the same crapy year after year. Not that they're going to say this in so many words when they can simply brainwash Joe Public into thinking that any music you didn't buy on a shrinkwrapped CD at BestCircuitMartUSA is illegal.

  • My take on it all... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by east coast (590680) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @03:39PM (#12215614)
    I'm sure someone has brought up some of this if not all of it but...

    I do not pay my ISP to be the RIAA's bitch. I won't be happy to find that my money to Verizon is going to a witch hunt.

    I have a ton of legal uses of big bandwidth. So, suppose I end up on the warning list. OK. So Verizon checks me out. What legal right do they have to tell the RIAA if my bandwidth is being used for illegal music downloads or if I'm simply playing streaming audio (legally) or running a mechant on Everquest or downloading pr0n?

    And who are they to attempt to enforce this agreement? Frankly I'd not want to deal with a provider of data who lets themselves be beaten around by the likes of the RIAA. The RIAA needs their wings clipped in a real bad sense. They're doubtlessly pushing the limits of legal action into the realms of harassment and misrepresentation.
  • Re:Better Option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by starrsoft (745524) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @03:58PM (#12215815) Homepage
    I work for a travel agency [goldenruletravel.com]. We haven't been decimated by the internet. We have adjusted. We have gone from mainly domestic (20/80 international/domestic ratio) to mainly international (90/10). International is not offered as well on the internet because it is so complicated. We also have numerous special contracts with the airlines, as well as consolidators and wholesalers. We have found our niche and adapted as a result of changing technology. **AA should too.
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @04:14PM (#12216037)

    Seems fair. If the RIAA thinks it can tell ISPs how to behave regarding music, the ISPs should be able to tell the RIAA how to behave regarding privacy or perhaps a few other things.

  • Re:Better Option (Score:3, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @06:20PM (#12217536)
    i'm suprised you even let them get that far, or took any attitude from them at all. if my isp rang me and claimed i was doing something illegal i'd say who the fuck do you think you are? hang up the phone and the call one of the other 100's of isp's dieing for my $ and churn to them right away. i'd then write a letter to the ombudsmen and file an offical complaint over harrasment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @10:50PM (#12219908)
    I work for one of the largest ISPs in the US. I think that if the RIAA/MPAA wants to be able to dictate what my customers do with the connection they pay for, then they ought to pick up part of the tab. Not only for the customers connection, but for the hardware we deployed to build the network. Restricting what our customers do with the connection they pay for will have a impact on business. Sounds nuts but it's true. And really, since we own the network, I think we should be able to let whatever traffic pass that we feel like...which is all traffic. If they want to control that, I think they should have to pay for it.

    What is next? Jerry Falwell and Co will petition Congress to pass a law making online first person shooters illegal? Then we are going to have to filter that as well? Why is it that the MPAA and RIAA think they should be able to pass off the responsibility of loss prevention on Network Providers? IT IS THEIR PROBLEM...not ours!
  • Re:Better Option (Score:2, Interesting)

    by atomic_toaster (840941) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @11:22PM (#12220144)
    I work for a company that produces video programs for broadcast TV, and we haven't been decimated by the internet either. Rather, we use it as a tool to quickly send different stages of the videos to our clients, as opposed to sending out VHS drafts or having the clients drive all the way to where we are and to screen the cuts. Our clients like this system because it is faster and they don't have to commute. The volume of work that we do has actually gone up.

    And as for the distribution side of things, the internet is just a new medium on which the shows that we produce can be "broadcast". So what if some of the things we do are free to view on our client's website? Our company still gets paid, and our clients have content on their sites that draws people in to buy the things that our clients do charge for. Like starrsoft's travel agency, we have adjusted. In business, everything is constantly changing, it's only the companies that refuse to change with the times that become obsolete.

    Now, what would happen if our ISP was required to provide records of all of our company's internet traffic? We do high-volume video swapping via FTP sites, P2P services, and IM's. As we own the copyrights for all the material or are working with the permission of those who own the copyrights, all of our traffic is perfectly legit. But can you imagine how being investigated by the RIAA would damage the reputation of a legit media company? That's one of the things I fear if this deal goes through.

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