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The New World of P2P Advertising 141

Katascope writes "Salon is running an article about targeted advertising on Napster and Gnotella. The worrysome part is the co-opting of P2P search databases to build profiles and advertise using instant messaging" I've always believed that targetted marketing might actually make advertising useful again (Any 24 year old who occasionally watches MTV and doesn't need zit cream knows this). This one is scary because people are sending you IMs based on the tunes in your napster share. Course I don't have IM, and use napster super infrequently, so I guess thats one way to not be annoyed. But frankly if I got junk mail about obscure Who stuff, I'd be happy. Much better then credit cards, viagra, and stock tips. As long as its opt-in. (michael: A number of people have written in with Cringely's comparison of Napster and subways. Good read.)
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The New World of P2P Advertising

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  • yeah, the DAT tax was at least somewhat valid. *Most* people do not use DAT for purposes other than recording music (although I don't see a lot of pirated music being stored on DAT).

    the CDR tax would be a definite annoyance, and it wouldn't really make the RIAA happy. They are still going to attempt to shut down Napster, and they are going to attempt to do whatever possible to stop the illegal copying of music. Bastards!

    I say the hell w/the damn taxes, and the hell w/the RIAA. Let us have our cheap CDR's, and free music. :)

    Just my worthless rambling.
  • Dood, I didn't see you today, get down more often. How are things up in the Great Yankee North? :)

    Well if you specifically legalize MP3 sharing and such, it will make it all appear more appetizing in the eyes of the advertisers. Getting advertisers is almost always a struggle, I'd think it would help to make it easier in any way possible.

  • You're not complaining.

    Neither are many others.

    That's the problem.

    In Winn Schwartau's book, Information Warfare, he makes mention of over 50,000 databases where you might be so blessed as to find your name, placed there without your knowledge, much less your consent.

    You become a commodity, traded and used instead of respected as a human being.

    I don't like that.

    And unless you believe that PRIVACY is a valid exchange for security, neither should you.
    Ruling The World, One Moron At A Time(tm)
    "As Kosher As A Bacon-Cheeseburger"(tmp)
  • Any 24 year old who occasionally watches MTV and doesn't need zit cream knows this

    Aaah, CmrTaco; Bless! Growing up...

  • I have Katz articles turned off in my profile.

    So, please stop mentioning his name. I thought I was rid of him and there you go again.
  • by pen ( 7191 )
    I realized that Napster had an IM function when, in a bored moment, I joined one of the more populated channels and immediately recieved an IM advertising some group's web site. So, yes, there is spam on Napster.
  • Most of the CDs I burn are Linux ISOs or backups. Occasionally I'll burn a MP3 mix CD from my MP3 collection (All ripped from disks I own and have on hand, thank you) to listen to at work. I like not having to swap disks, see; My CD isn't even hooked up to the sound card at home. And I'd far rather carry 1 CD in to work than 13.

    I would find it highly objectionable to have to pay a tax to subsidize an industry that has for the most part gone out of its way to strip me of my rights. Particularly since I'm not doing anything illegal (Fair use allows me to transfer content I paid for to other media.)

  • What exactly is the difference between "data" and "audio" CDRs?

    The difference between data and audio CDRs is that data CDRs won't work in the stereo component CD burners. If you want to burn CDs using the cheaper "data" CDs you have to have access to a computer with a CD burner. Despite the levy that it enacted on these disks they are still quite cheap, or at least cheap enough for making a few mix disks once in a while. They would only start to seem kind of expensive if you were trying to support a major linux distro burning habit on them.

  • If I want this kind of government intervention in my computer media, I'll move to Canada.

    The depressing part is large media companies doen't need the tax laws. Take Sony for instance. They produce blank media along with being a member of the music industry. They can legally impose their own form of "music tax" on their media production division. I wouldn't be shocked if many large multi-industry corporations did similar price fixing.

    There are hidden services fees embeded all throughout our society. To use Cringely's example; I don't ride the subway or the bus, yet I'm still paying for the service. It's going to be a fact of modern day life.

  • by d.valued ( 150022 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:16AM (#443472) Journal
    We have no national privacy policy. In the EU, the consumer has pretty good control over the information that they give out. They have to be told what information is gathered, why it's being gathered, and that the information cannot be redistributed to anyone else wothout the consumer's consent. From Europe's Privacy Cops [], a BusinessWeek article from '98 I dredged up:
    The directive, which was negotiated among the EU governments over six years, guarantees European citizens absolute control over data concerning them. If a company wants personal information, it must get that person's permission and explain what the information will be used for. It must also promise not to use it for anything else without the citizen's consent. A company selling birdseed, for example, can't use its mailing list to hawk Audubon calendars. Citizens have the right to know where information about them came from, to demand to see it, to correct it if wrong, and to delete it if objectionable. And they have a right to file suits against any person or company they feel is misusing their data. One piece of the law is particularly stringent. Article 29 demands that foreign governments provide data protections every bit as rigorous as Europe's, under a similar regulatory structure. Those that fail, the EU warns, could find their data flows with Europe, the world's largest economy, outlawed.
    Now, I like the idea that in the EU, my info is protected ad nauseum. Hell, there are police forces whose job it is to protect private data! The US is a database nation. By the time you're 18, dozens of companies have harassed you by phone, mail, Internet. Then, when you turn 18, dozens upon hundreds more start to crawl down your throat. I would like a law that gave the American citizen the same protections as our counterparts in the EU.
    Ruling The World, One Moron At A Time(tm)
    "As Kosher As A Bacon-Cheeseburger"(tmp)
  • "Any 24 year old who occasionally watches MTV and doesn't need zit cream knows this."

    Yeah right.. anyone who's still watching MTV at 24 years old doesn't know their ass from a hole in the ground.
  • Agreed. You shouldn't have to pay royalties for that. The plan works better for tapes because music was the main if not the only thing people put on them. For CD-R, maybe the royalty should be smaller by percentage of the cost of the CDR than for the tape to account for this change in storage style. You're still paying a royalty, I know, but at least the fact that some percentage of all CDRs are used for music is still accounted for.

    This plan can be made to work to keep the RIAA happy at a very small inconvience to CD-R buyers. If it makes peace with the RIAA, let's do it!

  • C'mon, classical music is just like rap music: a neat idea when it first started, but everything after that has just been the perpetuation of ritualized stylistic elements, with little originality, and only a few notable exceptions.

    I'm not completely sure that Chopin is one of the exceptions: it's complex, sophisticated elevator music, to be sure, but still elevator music.

  • Although I agree that it is more relevant, I can't help feeling that this has crossed a line somehow. Planting cookies on my machine, watching what sites I come from and leave to, and all that is a passive monitoring of activity. I am doing things, and they watch. This doesn't bother me, because I can reject cookies, etc.
    What is bothersome about this is that they are now actively searching through my hard drive to see what I have done. It is like they just broke into my house and went through my drawers, and now Hanes (C) is going to send me some coupons to buy new underwear. Yes, it is relevant, but STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY STUFF!!!
    At the very least this needs to be made an opt-in technology, if not just abandoned altogether.

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:20AM (#443477)
    "I've always believed that targetted marketing might actually make advertising useful again..."

    It's good!

    "This one is scary because people are sending you IMs based on the tunes in your napster share."

    And now it's bad!

    "Course I don't have IM, and use napster super infrequently, so I guess thats one way to not be annoyed."

    Still bad, but now not quite so!

    "But frankly if I got junk mail about obscure Who stuff, I'd be happy."

    Back to good! Incredible play folks--a full 360 in the course of 4 sentences--not just a "360" that's really a 180, but a literal 360.
  • Because the promary use of a blank audio tape is to put music on it. You can put other things on it, like PXL2000 videos and games for a ZX81, but for the most part it is for music. CD-RWs are only marginally musically related. If the RIAA is getting a cut of the tax, then so should software makers, especially game makers (for both PC and Playstation 1), and the movie industry. If we are talking about CD-RWs use for piracy, I'm willing to bet that software piracy beats MP3 piracy.
  • Oh no, targeted marketing, it's corporate rape!
    Is that a Think Geek banner-ad I see?
    But seriously, when you opened your HDD to the outside world what exactly did you think would happen?
  • Yea, but what kind of advertisER would be interested in this? Probably a small market. I doubt Ford would care, Zit creams, etc. I mean how many markets out there will benefit from sending you obscure WHO info like you said?

    I suppose the record companies would...but then we dont' really want to talk about helping them do we?


  • Related to your link, I voted against that woman...I wish I had convinced my SO to do so also.
  • As far as I'm concerned, the RIAA can harass Napster out of business. I don't care. I'm not interested in subsidizing the RIAA OR Napster for the CDR media I purchase for totally unrelated purposes.

    In other words, I'm not interested in paying a few extra pennies on CDR's to get the RIAA off yourback.
  • As usual, comes through again.
    (IIRC, potassium benzoate (C7H5KO2) is a white, flakey powder used as a food preservative. guess it's not all that healthy, like good ol' Red Dye #4 :)

    Homer rushes off to the nearest convenient `House of Evil' (your one-stop Evil shop). He asks the very old Asian owner who appears out of the shadows if he sells toys.

    Owner: We sell forbidden objects from places men fear to tread. We also sell frozen yogurt, which I call ``Frogurt''!

    Homer tells the owner that he is looking for a present for his son's birthday. The owner hands to him a talking Krusty doll.

    Owner: Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
    Homer: [worried] Ooooh, that's bad.
    Owner: But it comes with a free Frogurt!
    Homer: [relieved] That's good.
    Owner: The Frogurt is also cursed.
    Homer: [worried] That's bad.
    Owner: But you get your choice of topping!
    Homer: [relieved] That's good.
    Owner: The toppings contains Potassium Benzoate.
    Homer: [stares]
    Owner: That's bad.

  • The blank media that's marked Data (and is cheaper) won't work in the 'playschool' kind of recorder the dummies buy (i.e. the CD Audio recorders that are stand-alone audio components). They have to be used in the gear the rest of us use, the data drives in our computers.
  • At least with gnapster, instant messages show up in the console window instead of popping up in the foreground, so they are far less obtrusive.
  • Terry Riley. You want to hear Terry Riley's two CD set, 'The Harp of New Albion.' Incredible music.

    There are 'classical' geniuses writing music today. They're not selling 'hits.'

  • Maybe the "[OT]" stands for "Obvious Troll"?
  • Check out the box set 'Einstein On The Beach' from the library.

    You wouldn't seriously consider a Southpark treatment as accurate, would you? U2 played on 'The Simpsons' but I wouldn't call it a fair example of their work (then again, I liked U2's 'Boy' album when it came out and have considered everything since then to be downhill).

  • by typical geek ( 261980 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @08:57AM (#443489) Homepage
    What the hell is he thinking? Why should I want to subsidize record companies?

    For the record, a few times a month I copy a commercially recorded CD on a CDR, but this is as an archival method. Almost all of the CDRs that I burn are for music that is allowed to be copied for no profit, ie. the Grateful Dead. If the artist who holds the copyright encourages me to make free copies, how would the RIAA get off in demanding that I pay them a tax?????????

    If I want this kind of government intervention in my computer media, I'll move to Canada.
  • uh, sure. go back to your verse -> chorus -> verse and give up on labelling classical music.

    or, go out and check out John Cage, or Phillip Glass, or any one of the countless other modern composers.

    id Chopin is just elevator music to you, then you've negated your earlier point anyway.
  • and cassette tapes should not be taxed either. There are legitimate uses for tapes other than pirating music.

    How bout we put a tax on cars because every bank robber uses them to illegally make his getaway?

  • if i had mod points, and I could keep my mouth shut on this topic, you'd get 'em.
  • The good thing about the position that we're in with this is that the law isn't on the books. It can be written to do anything. Do you think that SW makers should get a cut too, not just the RIAA? Let's do that too. What's the big deal?

  • by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:26AM (#443494)
    Using P2P network data for advertising is one thing ("I see you have our music. Our new CD is available at..."), but the same technique could very well be used by labels to distribute threats to those possessing their music ("I see you have our music. Get rid of it or we'll sue").

    Every time I use Napster from now on I'll live in fear of receiving a message from Dr. Dre, informing me that "he still got love for the streets, but if the streets should fail to cease and decist, forthwith, from trading his intellectual property over Internet file-sharing media, he will be forced to pursue legal action in persuance of reparations, personal ownership of said intellectual property, notwithstanding."

  • The targeted advertisments will have to be promoting a product related to music in order to gain any benefit from a user's listening habits.

    Almost all studies (formal, and my personal experiments) - show that there is almost no correlation between a person's taste in seperate categories (ie - people who like these books will like these kitchen utencils - based off of purchasing behavior.)

    Collaborative filtering has been around for a while now and you would be amazed at the places it's evolved (personalized coupons on the back of your receipts at the grocery store). It's all apart of the retailer's plan to have "one view of their customers accross all channels". Is it a bad thing - depends on who you are I guess.
  • guarantees European citizens absolute control over data concerning them.

    That's correct.

    I just got back from hospital following an eye operation. Every time I signed something official over there I was given a copy of the privacy rights of an EU citizen that basically basically that all information concerning me a) will always be accessible (=see, correct, delete) to me b) will not be given to a 3rd party without a sound legal or medical reason.

  • So I think all transit should be free.

    Bad idea. The way to correct the weird problem is to have ticket sales cover 100% of the cost. Only people who use the subway should pay for it. I live in New Mexico. Why am I paying for New York's subway?

  • by lar3ry ( 10905 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:28AM (#443498)
    There is a flaw in both articles.

    With regard to the IM-spam described in the Salon article, it won't work if the Napster user isn't running IM or IRC. It is quite possible to run Napster without being able to receive IM's, and to ignore stuff happening in the IRC window.

    With regard to Cringely's suggestion of a CD-R "tax," I'd like to point out that not every CD-R is being used to make copies of audio CD's, or even archives of MP3's. A CDROM can hold ANYTHING, including a backup of one or more partitions on your system. Why should ANY money of mine be paid to lazy record company execs just because I want to make a copy of /usr/local? What if instead of audio tracks, I was making an archive of DIVX movies?

    In all, I prefer the method mentioned in the Salon article, as there is an "opt-in" method, if you don't mind the spam.

    The Cringely "tax" is regressive, and is as obnoxious as the "Microsoft tax" that people pay when they purchase PC's with Windows pre-installed on them, when they have no desire to run that operating system.

    Interestingly, though, both articles show that more than one person is honestly thinking of how to make the Napster model work. Good try, Cringely. Better luck next time!
  • Everyone seems to get their knickers in such a twist about a CD-R tax. I don't get it. Yeah, I know, I know, we all use CD-Rs for plenty of things that don't involve RIAA music, and yeah, a tax for something that doesn't apply to you might be annoying... but on the other hand, we pay taxes for all kinds of things that don't directly benefit us. Your tax dollars support public transit, even if you never ride it. Not a perfect analogy, but close.

    But in practical terms, if not entirely logical terms, a CD-R tax could make a lot of sense. I know I'd be thrilled to pay a half-penny per blank if it meant the RIAA would back off and some artists got paid. We're talking chump change here, folks. And if they split it with the movie people, then maybe we could get rid of all these ridiculous and irritating content protection schemes.

    Call me crazy, but I'd be happy to pay a few dollars a year in CD-R tax to make the whole copyright issue go away.
  • I should give you the URL to my 'Spiro Agnew Speaks Out' MP3s. It would be interesting to see if the hard drive would self destruct if it simultaneously held Agnew and Chomsky material.
  • I don't think so. Nirvana is nihilistic borderline smackhead music.

    Chopin's music isn't.

    It's not all 'equally good.' Likely as not nobody will give a rip about Nirvana 30 years from now except the producers of 'That 90's Show.'

    People will still be enjoying Chopin's music.
  • There are a couple problems with the industry doing this, though. First off is the issue of collusion. In many countries this kind of thing may be seen as illegal (except when the gov't is doing it, of course). Second, there may be marketing issues... if, say, Sony introduced said tax, who's to say some no-name CDR company would have to do the same? Hence Sony could (potentially) lose market share... not incredibly likely, but possible, and could result in second thoughts.
  • [Obvious Troll] - I like it! Acronymic polymorphism in action...
  • Yep. We just plain don't have as many 'directives' here in the US of A as they have in Europe.

    And apparently we don't have as many 'police forces' out enforcing 'directives.'

    I'm not complaining. If you are perhaps you should move.
  • First off is the issue of collusion. In many countries this kind of thing may be seen as illegal (except when the gov't is doing it, of course).

    It might be considered illegal in a few countries, but I'm talking in the context of the US market. Since the US is the largest market, this is where they would want to do this the most, and they could remove the tax from countries where it would be considered illegal.

    Second, there may be marketing issues... if, say, Sony introduced said tax, who's to say some no-name CDR company would have to do the same? Hence Sony could (potentially) lose market share... not incredibly likely, but possible, and could result in second thoughts.

    Agreed, which is why I'm much more in favor of company imposed "taxing" then governemnt regulation. Sony could also move this price increase over to another one of their industries, say consumer electronics (CR-RW and MP3 players specifically). When you have a company in so many markets, it gets difficult to find where they are hiding the costs.

  • I bet your favorite search engine knows.
  • I'm not saying that we're doing this because it's necessarily the most logical thing to do. I'm saying we should do it because it might keep the RIAA from harassing Napster and so on. I'm willing to pay a few extra pennies on CDR's if it gets the RIAA off our backs.

    If it doesn't get the RIAA off our backs then there's no way in hell we ought to do this!

  • Bank robbers have been known to use bikes to make their getaway.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:30AM (#443509) Journal
    The recording companies seem intent on killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. The look at the goose, and seeing that the eggs are this weird soft metal, the goose can't be worth anything.

    To save their millions they are throwing away billions, because they want 100% of a small pie, rather than 10% of a fantastically huge pie.

    reminds me of the old monkey traps.

    For those who do not know:

    you have a large heavy pot with a hole just large enough to except a fruit like an apple or an organge, etc. (whatever the monkey likes. The hole is also just large enought for you hand. But it is too small for you (or a monkey) to take the hand out while holding on to the fruit. You have to tip the jar over.

    You as a human can figure this out. but a monkey can not. It grabs on to the fruit, and won't let go.

    Voila! One monkey dinner

    The record companies are like the trapped monkey. They won't let go, they can't let go, even if it kills them.

  • I'm wondering can I rent out the little spot on the door in my bathroom to various advertisers. Maybe a nice add on the ceiling in my living room. Maybe I could rent out enough space in my home so I will not have to work and can spend all day just surfing the net and playing tribes.
  • If you decide to make a body of information about you public, it should be expected that the information will be processed, and the party observing will form an argument about that information that will benefit itself.
    thats what marketing is. the most basic is that they observe you are a potential consumer and present their argument.

    so they look in your share and now they know you have 50 brittney spears mp3's, and she just signed a pepsi deal. ( ne/story.html?s=n/rolling_stone/rock/news/20010208 /20010208002)

    now you get an IM to drink pepsi, britneys choice. suprise suprise. you made it public. deal with it.
  • How exactly do the record companies make money on PC sales? And how exactly do musicians make money on them?

    I don't think he's saying that they are. His proposal is that a tax should be levied on CD-R drives and media and the proceeds should be distributed by the RIAA according to the proportion in Napster's logs. His assumptions seem to be that Napster logs perfectly represent the illegal sharing of music and that saving said music files represents a constant fraction of everyone's CD-R use.

    Why that is a fairer approach than requiring Napster to directly pay royalties is beyond me.

  • by VanL ( 7521 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:32AM (#443513)
    There are serious flaws with Cringely's argument.
    Most people only value things (privileges, objects, whatever) in proportion to their perceived cost of acquiring the thing.

    My Mom used to be a social worker and anti-drug counselor. Initially, she gave her services free to those who couldn't pay. Relatively quickly, however, she was forced to change that policy; people would not show up for appointments, or expect unrealistic results in unrealistic timeframes, or even treat her badly. They didn't appreciate what they were getting for free. As soon as my Mom started charging a nominal fee ($5 I think it was), those problems went away. People valued her service more when they felt like they had invested in it.

    Similarly, if the subways were "free", i.e., completely tax-supported, there would probably be positive side-effects not unlike those that Cringely mentioned. However, there would probably be more negative side-effects. The majority of people would start to think of the subways as having no value, or even worse, an entitlement. Vandalism would probably go up, and the amount of abuse on the system would jump exponentially.

    Napster has the same problem. If the music were free, a lot of people would start to consider it an entitlement -- in fact, many already do. I predict that the amount of "abuse" of the artists would increase; people would expect new songs without appreciating the creative work it took to produce them. And even if the market for CD writers and such was temporarily greater than the market for music, the effect of what Cringely is proposing would be the crippling of *both* markets as soon as the market for elelctronic delivery and storage (the Cd-writers, etc) was saturated.

    There are problems with my argument, just as there are problems with Cringely's. For instance, the evidence that CD sales go up because of Napster would seem to contradict my point. But that is only because having the CD adds value to the music -- lyrics, cover art, a physical medium, etc. However, if digital distribution of the *entire album* - including cover art, lyrics, etc - became the norm, there would be no additional value in buying the pressed CD.

    Replies and rebuttals are welcome. I'm not saying that what Cringely proposes is bad; in fact, on some levels I support it. But the costs incurred by the tragedy of the commons must be addressed as well.

    Want to make $$$$ really quick? It's easy:
    1. Hold down the Shift key.

  • First, one of the components is free: the Staten Island Ferry quit charging a fare on July 4, 1997.

    Second, his line about people having "better places to go" than the subway: every time I ride the subway, I see 1 or 2 people per car who don't have anywhere better to go. I can't blame them. If I were homeless in New York City in February, I'd spend all night in the subway, too. But I don't want my subways to become a permanent roving homeless shelter.

    Third, the most important part: Cringely doesn't know the MTA budget. Five minutes of research would have brought up this page:

    MTA Information for Investors []

    The Audited Financial Statements show that Operating Revenues account for $2.19 billion in Calendar Year 1999. Of that $2.19 billion, $2.00 billion is farebox revenue. $0.07 billion is advertising revnue.

    Total expenses are $4.57 billion. The farebox revenue is a lot more than "10% to 15%".

    You might wonder why the MTA publishes an audited financial statement. They do it because they have investors. They don't have any stockholders, but they sell a lot of bonds to pay for all those tunnels and trains and boats. The bondholders want to know how the MTA is going to pay them back before they front their money. They feel more secure when the MTA points to the farebox rather than getting 100% of their money from some politicians who could fuck with their funding whenever it's politically expedient.

  • yeah, the DAT tax was at least somewhat valid

    I have to politely disagree. The people I know that use DAT use it for one of three reasons:

    • To master original recordings
    • To do data backups
    • To exchange bootleg concerts of bands that don't care anyway (like the Grateful Dead).
    On the other hand, the people I know that use CD-R's use them for (in order):
    • copying commercial CD's for bootleg purposes
    • burning bootleg MP3 files to them as audio
    • copying commercial software for bootleg purposes
    • legitimate backup of computer files.
    Either way, I think the whole idea's a crock, but it makes a lot more sense for CD-R's than for DAT.
  • Well, "Songwriters" may not always be the correct term. The people who get the money are the copyright holders, and they give the money to the artists (whether performer or songwriter) based on whatever contract they've negotiated. In the "pop" world of marketed & packaged teen idols, the songwriters are well experienced in this market (as opposed to the "group" that writes its own material). These songwriters are smart enough to remain copyright holders in the pop industry for the publishing rights, which they contract to ASCAP to manage and handle. Bug again, these songwriters are usually attached to either the producer or to the record label itself, and so each contract may be different...they may be slaves to the label just as much as the performer is...but not always...

    This is quite unlike the "group" which often signs away the publishing rights to the label just as they do the copyright on the recording itself.

  • There's lots of people here objecting, but it's quite possible that a 'blank media levy' works a lot better than trying to run the charges on the online end.

    There's a great legal summary [], which includes this quote from the Copyright Board:

    Section 80 does not legalize (a) copies made for the use of someone other than the person making the copy; and (b) copies of anything else than sound recordings of musical works. It does legalize making a personal copy of a recording owned by someone else.
    Yes, this means what you think it means! If someone loans you their CD, you can legally make your own personal copy on another CD!

    There are exemptions for various institutional users, so musicians don't end up paying other musicians to record their own music.

    And - interestingly - the U.S. could simply start charging, because the relevant piece of law simply says 'digital audio recording medium'. That means that hard drives could qualify today. The levy would be extremely low, I expect, because there is a lot of evidence that a small fraction of data on hard drives is music - mostly it's some bloated OS code!

    At the current levy of CAD $0.21, I can burn a CD-R with audio tracks at a typical rate of $0.02 per track. There isn't a payment system on the planet that can afford to charge that and not eat it all up in processing!

    Finally - it's not a tax. Nobody is taxing free speech. It's a levy. The difference matters. Beyond that, though, new musicians likely have a greater chance of reaching audiences through this mechanism than through lots of the traditional mechanisms - they have greater access to the mechanisms of publishing than if everyone was paying for each individual transfer and copy.

    It's times like this that I think people in the U.S. do themselves a disservice. It seems like they only want those mechanisms that provide a benefit to all by providing the benefit to each individual. If the mechanism more directly benefits 'all' and people can't see their individual benefit, they throw out the whole thing as unworkable.

  • A tax on CDRs would effectively be an assumption that people will use them to pirate music. If I am being taxed because I am expected to do something, then I think I have a darn good right to do it.

    This is the worst idea I have heard in a long time. Perhaps Linux should be taxed and the proceeds given to Microsoft, since Linux might hurt them?

    This would basically turn the music business into a state supported industry in the worst traditions of communism.


  • I dont use social security!
    I dont use welfare!
    I dont use information from the studies on insect sex!
    Guess what? You are already paying for TONS of things you dont use. And you are paying the government A LOT of money for them. I wouldn't mind throwing in an extra couple pennies every time I buy some CDs if it would get the RIAA and any other suit wearing music executive to shut the hell up and let me have my music.
  • The person who listens to Chopin is clearly more intelligent and cultured that the person who listens to Nirvana.

    Well, I certainly see which category you fall into... so whad'ya think of the Muddy Banks cd?

  • I agree that the idea needs refining, but this is far better than the existing extortion practiced via blank cassette tapes. Since Napster can track actual downloads, smaller artists - even ones unprotected by the ASCAP/BMI mafia - have a shot at getting their share. The current system overwhelmingly favors mega-artists, since it tracks based on really lame criteria - self-reporting by radio stations and the like. This means that if you aren't likely to get played on that one day, you don't get tracked ever. Add in radio programming suckiness and you get a system that screws smaller artists.

    The fact that real musicians might finally get some real compensation is enough to make me do a double take on this one, although the fact that other uses exist makes me do a double-take. It's probably better "taxed" through some kind of bandwidth accounting at the ISP level or the like; that has lots of problems, too, but it's clear that this whole area deserves a lot more thought than is currently being given to it.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • But it comes with a free fru-ogert!

    That's good!

    The fru-ogert is also cursed...


    That's Bad.


  • This is exactly why I will never pay to use Napster. Often people assume it's because I'm a jackass freeloader who thinks I have a right to take and copy anything I want, but that's not it at all. The reason is that I don't want MegaUniversalSony making money off of the fantastic artists like Death Cab For Cutie, Super Furry Animals, Arab Strap, and others that I use Napster for. The giant RIAA companies most likely aren't going to help out their own artists with the cash from the deal, much less give money to independent label artists. People need to wise up and realize that most of the best music out there is on smaller independent labels like Flydaddy and Jetset, and Napster isn't giving them a cent. So what do I do? Always buy these artists' cds, go to shows, buy shirts, etc. But screw Napster. Until they sign a deal with the independent labels whose artists I enjoy, I'm going to continue to be a "music pirate."

  • The same reason why you're paying for some kid's education in Brooklyn.
  • I don't get it either, this way the "consumer" is hit twice while napster, making the money, pays nothing. Nice.

    The RIAA doesn't represent *all* artists, it just represents the big ones. You know, the ones in the Brotherhood which is already peeling away the big bucks.... So the little guys get screwed *again*, while the RIAA manages to find yet another revenue model.
  • How the fuck does Cringely infer a direct causal relationship between Napster and CD Writable sales? Does he really think that CDRs are only useful for music?

    And does he really think that most people, once they have music conveniently inside their computer, are going to want to listen to it, using something as clumsy as a CD? Sure, some people do that, but I imagine it's not very popular. Good grief, I have spent the last few weeks of my spare time ripping and encoding all my CDs, so that I don't have to deal with bulky stacks of hundreds of those damn things anymore. The last thing I want to do is burn music onto CDRs.

  • calling me an ass is playing nicely?
  • Well, the MTA's site refers to daily paid ridership, so let's assume the number excludes free riders. That takes care of people with passes.

    Seniors and the disabled pay half fare. If fully half of all riders pay half fare, then fares still pay 45% of operating expenses, which is three times Cringely's top figure. Again, I suspect the true percentage is much, much higher.
  • by garett_spencley ( 193892 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:37AM (#443529) Journal
    I for one never make copies of audio cds. My mp3s are stored on my hd and I have never burned a cd with mp3s on them. I do however burn cds all the time. They are mostly linux isos that I download from the web or gpl software that I want to archive for easy retrieval later on. Why the fuck should I pay the RIAA money on cds that aren't even used for making audio?!!??

    A lot of people just don't fucking get it! Yeah let's tax pens because they may be used to forge signatures that'll cost some companies money!


  • Storekeeper: The monkey's paw comes with a curse!
    Homer: That's bad.
    Storekeeper: But it also comes with a free fruit yogourt. I call it frogourt.
    Homer: That's good.
    Storekeeper: But the frogourt is also cursed!
    Homer: That's bad.
    Storekeeper: But it comes with your choice of topping.
    Homer: That's good.
    Storekeeper: The topping contains sodium benzonate.*
    Homer: ...
    Storekeeper: That's bad.
    Homer: Can I go now?

    * I can't remember the name of the chemical. That's close enough.
  • gnotella was (is?) one of the many gnutella clones. Used to be available for dl at, but not sure if it kept up with the times developmentally (i.e., may have been supplanted by bearshare, etc.). As a famous toy soldier used to tell me every AM, "knowing is half the battle."
  • I don't know where you're getting your information from, but from what I can tell, the levy was indeed passed [], and recently was increased to $0.21/unit for 2001 up from $0.052/unit in 2000 for data CD-Rs. And $0.77/unit (up from $0.608/unit) for audio CD-Rs (despite the fact that the music industry gets a big cut from them because of the serialization technology in those discs) and MD. DAT, Video cassettes, Hard drives, Microcassettes, and MP3 players thankfully still are unlevied.

    The government agency that is responsible for this is the Copyright Board of Canada ( [], and they have a release on that site regarding this.

  • I'm guessing that those think geek (TM) banner ads here on slashdot are targeted to a certian audience. I bet that the commercials during 'ER' are likewise targeted. I know that the ads I see when I'm surfing for p0rn are targeted.
    Advertising is a useful way of subsidising things that we like. I read somewhere once, long long ago that a Sunday newspaper would cost something like 7 bucks (US) if there were no ads. And I, for one (of course, I'm one who has been desensitized over many years of being bombarded with these ads) would rather have ads that matter to me personally then ads for, say, Depends (TM) or herpes medication (okay, okay... I already have my scrip for that).
    As has been said many, many times, if you are going to put the contents of your mp3 collection on a publicly available network, you should by-gott well know that people are goign to look at the files. I, for one, enjoy topical advertising, and would do so on the napster network. "hey, banuaba, did you know that John Flansburgh came out with a solo project? Check out for some singles and information".
    To serve its purpose, advertising has to provide the person viewing/hearing it with something of value, usually information (that, of course, is not an all-inclusive statement, but let's pretend for the sake of argument) that helps the consumer make an informed(er) decision on a purchase. The napster ads, provided they don't start being (ugh, bad grammar) for p0rn adn viagra and driver's licenses and get out of debt free; are a helpful service, at least to moi.

  • EMusic already does exactly that. []
  • I heard Phillip Glass play on Southpark and just wasn't that impressed.
  • That's been my philosphy too, my man.
    Britney Spears can stand too lose a few pennies, but I always buy the indie cds to show support.

    uh...I don't actually d/l britney songs.
    seriously. I don't

  • Umm.. considering its Music TeleVision, they do occasionally, every once in a while, have music videos. Not enough to make the station not suck though..
  • I thought the earlier poster was joking, but in case people didn't realize it...

    That wasn't really Philip Glass on South Park. That was a spoof.
  • I'm wondering can I rent out the little spot on the door in my bathroom to various advertisers. Maybe a nice add on the ceiling in my living room. Maybe I could rent out enough space in my home so I will not have to work and can spend all day just surfing the net and playing tribes.

    I don't think they have gotten to your home yet, but you can rent out ad space on your car now, at least in some cities. Your house won't be too far behind.

  • Good point, but the question is not whether social services and mass transit are analogous, but rather if social services and music are analogous. I think that if anything, the social work analogy is closer to napster than the subway analogy that RXC was pushing

  • So what are you going to do about it Razz? When's the last time you wrote your congresscritters? People on here keep complaining about how laws suck, but every time I ask when they last wrote to their leaders, they avoid the question and/or start yelling about how it should just BE right. Sure, that's your opinion and I happen to agree, but how are the people that you elected supposed to know that unless you tell them? As far as they know, the semi-majority vote for them is already an agreement with their belief system, so they may feel validated to believe what they do, and vote likewise.

    So come on people (well, USians, if you are not, insert country name here, if applicable), WRITE your leaders. SNAIL MAIL, not email, give them something a peon can hold and shake in their face. We need people with BRAINS to voice their opinions, not paid lobbyists.

  • What the hell is he thinking? Why should I want to subsidize record companies?

    Yeah, I think Cringley sort of missed the boat on this one. There's *already* a "recording tax" on audio blanks which are specially coded to work on standalone audio CD writers (Phillips is one of the main manufacturers of these boxes). These audio blanks sell for between $3-$5 per disc at the same store where I can get a spool of 100 name brand CDR blanks for about $40.

  • Don't know about other services, but with AOL's IM, it's just a mater of setting a preference to block out anybody not on your buddy list. The adds top & bottom of the buddy list might be better targeted, but you don't have to worry about a message from NirvanaPlayedByBostonPops appearing on your screen.
  • by JohnSmith1138 ( 313010 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:41AM (#443544)
    I know I'm gonna get flamed for this, but it's kind of funny to see everyone up in arms about this. Lots of people are upset about THEM getting into YOUR stuff and giving it away(personal info), but you don't mind YOU getting THEIR stuff and giving it away. Anyone using Napster for sharing files that are in the public-domain (ie not copywritten) I apologize.
  • Last thing I want to do is continually buy a new hard drive. And there is no multigig removable storage now aside from tape backup.

    I like CDs.

    However, I refuse to pay the RIAA for the right to reecord my own music and content onto my own CDs. Shame on Cringely for even considering it.
  • by XLawyer ( 68496 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:42AM (#443546) Homepage
    I don't know how it is in other cities, but here in Sodom-on-Hudson, fares pay a lot more than 15% of the operating cost of the subways.

    Going to the MTA's web site, [] you can see budget figures for 1998. The New York City transit division's (that is, NYC subways, buses, paratransit, and the Staten Island railway) operating cost was $3.8 billion. There were just over 5 million paid rides on each weekday, and a subway fare is $1.50.

    So let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations. Assume that on weekends, ridership is 30% of what it is on weekdays. (I admit I have no basis for this assumption, but it seems reasonably conservative.) This works out to fare revenues of $2.2 billion for that year, or almost 60% of the operating cost.

    The actual percentage for the subways is probably higher. That 60% includes the subsidized paratransit division, and the Staten Island railway. I have heard (but I don't recall where) that fares actually cover about 85% of the cost of running the subway.

    Which is why they charge for it.
  • Erm,calm down dude!

    Take a deep breath.

    Now THINK.

    No-one is snooping round your stuff.
    They aresimply looking at what YOU have placed PUBLICALLY AVAILABLE via Napster.

    There is no problem - if you don't want people to see it, don't share it.

    It really is that simple!

    Oh, and you can let that deep breath out again, you are starting to turn blue...

  • by HooDHoo ( 313771 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:43AM (#443548)
    This seems to be a disturbing precident. I know that Napster directories are available to be read by everyone, but I really don't like the idea of being target-marketed based on what's on my hard drive ("According to our glance at your Quicken folder, you seem to cheat heavily on your taxes. Perhaps you'd care to make use of our legal services!"). Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that they hire human spammers to do all this dirty work. Dollars to doughnuts that they're running bots on Napster's valued no-bot network. Is Napster doing anything about this?
  • We all dislike advertising. Although we will dislike P2P advertising also, there is no reason we should dislike it as much as current advertising methods. It will be better, because it will be more relevant.

    The amount of information you can glean about someone purely from his musical tastes is quite remarkable, and is bound to lead to more focused, relevant advertising for us all, which will be more bearable for us all. The person who listens to Chopin is clearly more intelligent and cultured that the person who listens to Nirvana. The advertising should reflect this. In some cases it may even be useful.

    I just hope that they don't use IM too much, and instead use email or something easily filtered. IM is under the power of AOL, and email under the power of Microsoft. It is far easier to filter the latter for those reasons.

    You know exactly what to do-
    Your kiss, your fingers on my thigh-

  • I thought the conclusion to the otherwise pretty reasonable article was the most stupid thing about it. The blank media tax is boneheaded and infuriating for anyone who uses these blank media and recording devices for entirely unrelated purposes and are requested to pick up the tab for the napster market. They did that in Europe and everybody got pissed. Myself, I use CDRs exclusively to store my own digital photos. Should I pay royalties to the record companies for storing my own creative content?
  • I've already seen napster spam in the form of automated /msg sent by one of the java/web-based napster clients. Whenever someone using this service grabbed a file from my machine, I would get sent a /msg like "Hey, song such-and-such has been downloaded by a user of Java-Napster-Thingy. Check it out at!" Very annoying.

    Of course, it's easy enough to just ignore your chat log, but this is a muddying up of another potentially useful means of communication.

  • I have very ambivalent feelings about the targetted advertising over Napster. I received both the one sent if you had Depeche Mode, and the one if you had Toad the Wet Sprocket (and I own the albums, thank you very much). And I deleted the first, but the one for Glen Phillips made me actually very happy - I was so crushed when Toad split up and haven't been able to follow what's been happening with them.

    The IM I received not only pointed to a free unreleased Toad .mp3, but to Glen's site, and I didn't even know he had his own album out. I've since dl'ed some of those tracks to check them out, and might well be buying the album. Sure, just what they want me to do, but along the same lines, it's also what I want to do.

    I don't want to be overloaded with constant "ads" at any rate, and the idea of that bugs me. But if someone saw that I had pretty much every Tori Amos song in .mp3 format (and once again, on CD also), and wanted to let me know about her coming in concert, or a new album, then I'd be very very happy.
  • This still has the same problem. Hardware guys aren't going to negotiate rates with every single little label and individual artist out there -- they're going to negotiate blanket licenses with the umbrella firms : RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN. And that's it. And those firms will distribute the royalty portion of the license fees as they see fit: it goes to the most played material on the radio.

    That's not going to change until enough artists bitch about it. Robert Fripp and Courtney Love and Prince and a few rappers here and there aren't enough...especially not with Metallica being the spokespeople for the RIAA and ASCAP's position.

  • From Cringly's article.

    The cassette tape and VCR businesses faced this exact problem and eventually came up with invisible programs to pay the music, TV, and film industries a small royalty on each blank tape. The same thing should happen for CD-Rs and RWs INSTANTLY. Add a few cents to the cost of every blank disk, throw in a few dollars for every CD burner, and suddenly you have $1 billion or so to pay to artists, writers, and publishers in the exact proportions specified by the Napster servers. That $1 billion is approximately equal to the entire profits of the recording industry, and it is $1 billion they aren't getting now.

    The problem I have with this is that in all of my CD-Rs I have ever burned, only ONE (1) was used to burn music. And it was a collection of indy, non-signed artists. So, in essence, I would be paying a TAX to the MUSIC INDUSTRY (and not the artists) just because I'm using a file-storage mechanism that CAN record audio. That's fsck'ed up! I have burnt probably at least 150 CD-Rs and I don't feel the music industry should get a cent from me.

    Now the movie industry, on the other hand.... well let's just say I don't use all of my CD-Rs for data storage.... ;-)
  • less than 30 sorry.
  • And its also a problem with and any other service that negotiates to pay the RIAA or the publishing firms (ASCAP, etc...) for the right to exist:

    Not everybody is covered under those organizations. Many smaller artists who's material is traded by napster users will never see income from the RIAA license. they're only chance for income is that the listeners like the material and purchase a cd directly from them later on.

    ASCAP and BMI (and presumably, the RIAA would do the same for their cut) distribute income from site-licenses (such as public restaurants, bars, store p.a. systems, etc) based on one market value only: Radio Airplay. It doesn't matter that, e.g., can log exactly what was played, and to how many listeners. It doesn't matter that a local pub is an Irish pub that never plays pop music.

    Brittany Spears, her songwriters, and her producer will all get most of the money.

  • "The person who listens to Chopin is clearly more intelligent and cultured that the person who listens to Nirvana" - as much as I like the classics and listen to them often, I must say that what you've just said is "clearly" not polite (at least.) Only because you find Nirvana on one's harddrive does not mean that the person is not cultured and not intelligent as you are implying. I would have said more but the shorter it is the clearer it is.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @10:59AM (#443592) Homepage

    1) Recording your own music (that is if you're a musician) should not be subject to taxes. That's a tax on speech, which is blatantly unconstitutional.

    2) Musicians can copy music to which they hold the copyright an infinte number of times. A law mandating that they can't do so unless they pay a tax both infringes on their freedom of speech and copyright (if the tax goes to some entity other than the govt., which it does)

    3) Recording other people's music can, under some circumstances, be quite legal. The normal set of fair uses of course. Time shifting if it's coming off of broadcast. No copyright infringement occurs in either case, so there's no justification for a tax.

    4) Public domain recordings are legal to copy an infinite number of times, and preventing people from doing so again tramples on both the first amendment and on copyright (b/c copyrighted content has to become p.d. - effectively preventing that is unconstitutional)

    5) The reason that DAT never took off was that it was killed at birth by the RIAA. They didn't want anyone to use the damn thing. If it had become popular we'd probably have CD and DAT as standards, and some migration to DVDA by now (though if they were that flexible, you'd also see CDMP3 and DVDMP3 compilations in stores...)

    I also say to hell with taxes and restrictions on legal and protected speech and copying. The RIAA members have no more right whatsoever to make, sell and copy music than anyone else. There should be no special treatment.
  • Incidentally, if you've ever bought a blank tape you've subsidized the RIAA. What's so different about doing the same for CD-R(W)? Nothing.

    I was pissed about it the first time, and I'm not going to change my mind this time. I should not be forced to pay a tax to some organization unrelated to either myself or the maufacturer of the media.

    There's no reason to let the second violation of some rule go unnoticed because of previous violations.

    Where do I sign up?

    I would suggest France, Cuba, or China.

    All your dangifiknow [] are belong to us.

  • It is an outrage to suggest a tax on CD burners and media by extending the flawed blank-tape tax model. Blank tapes have many non-copyright-infringing uses, and blank CD's even more so. Millions of CD burners and CD-R/RW discs are used for data purposes. Why should I have to pay the greedy bastard record companies ANYTHING when I buy a disc to back up some programs, pictures, HTML data, or anything else? That's preposterous! F_ck corporations!
  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @09:12AM (#443602)
    How exactly do the record companies make money on PC sales? And how exactly do musicians make money on them?

    And what's this supposed to mean?

    So Napster, which cost almost nothing to create

    Let's see, 800,0000 simultaneous users. 1.7 billion downloads. I think there might be a penny or two spent on infrastructure there, and maybe a coupla nickels for bandwidth.

    People just don't seem to understand what kinda costs go into server architecture and bandwidth these days...
  • First of all, as others have pointed out, you've already subsidised the RIAA if you've bought blank audio tapes.

    Secondly, the government intervention on CD-R in Canada took a strange twist at the last moment. It's only in force on "CDR-Audio" blanks, which no one buys anyways.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972