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RIAA To Target CD-R 659

mike skoglund writes: "According to this 8/20 RIAA press release, the RIAA is concerned about CD burners. Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA, said: "Many in the music community are concerned about the continued use of CD-Rs . . . and we believe this issue deserves further analysis. A preliminary survey of tech savvy online music enthusiasts recently conducted for the RIAA showed that nearly one out of two consumers surveyed downloaded in the past month and nearly 70 percent burned the music they downloaded. All of this activity continues to show the passion of the consumer for music and the need for both legal protection and legitimate alternatives.'" I enjoy Rosen's claim that "consumer loyalty to the physical product still dominates and we are committed to providing the quality product listeners desire." I wonder if they'll eventually push through a Canadian-style tax on anything that can carry data.
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RIAA To Target CD-R

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  • by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @03:04PM (#2209606)
    The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced today that the number of units shipped domestically from record companies to retail outlets and special markets (music clubs and mail order) and their corresponding dollar value fell in the first six months of 2001.

    So -- did the flack who wrote this really expect anyone to conclude from this anything other than, "Yup, we're in a recession..."

  • Re:Tell me... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @03:08PM (#2209654)
    Sad but false. I for one. It is used for backups mostly and personal use.

    Then again I hardly listen to CD's anymore. I haven't bought one in over three years. When something new that you like comes out it gets killed by radio stations to the point that you start hating the song or even wondering why you ever liked it.

  • by eldurbarn ( 111734 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @03:13PM (#2209711)
    As a Canadian content producer, I can attest to one of the faults of the Canadian media tax:

    The money collected from it is supposed to be distributed to content producers to offset the business lost to copying, but the bar to entry as a producer is very high. As a small producer, not only do I have to pay the damned tax on the blank media I buy (and then pass that cost along to my customers), but I can't get my share of the gravy, either.

    If the US creates such a tax and sets the bar high enough, then only the "big guys" will be able to pass over it and everyone else has to pass along an extra cost to the consumer, to the great benefit of the big guys. Talk about predatory practices!

  • Canadian CDRs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mark4ST ( 249650 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @03:25PM (#2209838) Homepage
    I am what you would call an amateur music production enthusiast. I'm also a Canadian.

    The tax we have here (aside from various compound sales taxes) is only on the CDR media specifically for audio. (read: the kind that works with those near-useless standalone CD copying whizmos).

    I often make digital recordings of my friends' horrible bands, and my own decidedly mediocre tunage. These are burnt onto vanilla CDR's. People like to pass these recordings around. People need copies. I don't have the time to make all of these copies.

    If someone who owned a stand-alone CD copying device wanted to make a copy of his own CD (of his own band!), he would be paying a tax designed to protect musicians from illegal copying. The technical term for this sort of obtuseness is, I believe, "Bullshit."

    There is no tax on the vanilla CDRs because those have business uses. Don't stand in the way of progress.

  • by RobertAG ( 176761 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @03:28PM (#2209862)
    .... with cassette tapes during the late '70s and early '80s and with video tapes, too. In the end a small tax was levied, they collected their money and people still recorded music and video.

    Let's face it, people are going to do a small amount of copying for their own personal use. You do it, I do it - I'll bet even the children of the RIAA demons do it. The RIAA is sweating the small stuff.

    The greatest threat of piracy comes from people that will copy in huge volumns for sale on the black market. A lot of this will happen overseas, where RIAA has the least influence.

    If they want to sweat the small stuff, I say fine. It hasn't gotten them anywhere in the past - and it won't get them anywhere in the future.

    Phillips, Sony and others have invested far too much money in CD-R technology and make far too much off of it to roll over dead for the RIAA.

    I've said it once and I'll say it again. The business model where by music makes large amounts of money is dying. In it's place, artists (those backed by record companies) will make money from personal appearances and product endorsements, just like professional sports figures do. Sports figures may make a few million a year, but they pull in much more from product endorsements. That's where the money is and that's where the industry will finally go. The true value in a recording contract for an artist will lie not in the sale of music, but in the sale of his/her image.

  • Re:Tell me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0xA ( 71424 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @03:46PM (#2210009)

    Right. That's partly the reason why we Canadians pay a CD levy tax.

    Speaking as a Canadian I love the CD levy. Here's the thing, if money that I pay at purchase time goes to the recording industry then I have the right to use the media to copy music. The legislation is very clear, if I borrow a CD from you and make a copy of it on my "tax paid" CDR I am breaking no law.

    The only thing that is illegal in Canada is distributing copies. I can't make a copy and give it to you without breaking the law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2001 @04:09PM (#2210205)
    Speaking of Canada, I have no idea if the US has anything like this but, go browse the SOCAN "tariffs" page [] to see some of the most outrageous scams I, personally, have ever been witness to. Here are some particularily interesting examples:

    Background Music: 10.96 per square foot

    Marching Bands: $8.40 each band, minimum fee of $31.13 per day

    Receptions (ie: weddings): Without Dancing: $28.75. With Dancing: $57.55.

    Like, what fucking right do they have to charge me $30 more if I allow people to dance to music at my wedding? How can this extra fee be justified in relation to reimbursing artists who made the music? Are we supposed to pay different amounts depending on how much the people enjoy the music? This is an ethically repugnant scam of the highest degree and the vast majority of people just tow the line and pay it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2001 @04:23PM (#2210332)
    It wasn't the tax that killed the DAT in consumer land but rather the copy protection scheme. The DAT is still alive and well in the ProAudio world as the decks there don't have to employ the copy protection scheme.

    I beleive that the tax that is placed on DAT tapes and recorders also stretches to miniddisc and CD-R. It it collected at the wholesale/manufacturer level. And isn't much at all. I suspect that what the RIAA wants this time is something closer to DMCA style technology protection that now makes it ilegal for audio pros to modify DAT machines for non-copyprotected use something that was the industry standard practice becaseu the only difference othat than copy protection in consumer gear was the high price of pro.
  • by reverse flow reactor ( 316530 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @05:58PM (#2210867)

    [sarcasm] Cassette units shipped to U.S. markets decreased by 42.9 percent at mid-year 2001, representing a $176 million dollar value. This number is down 41.9 percent from mid-year 2000.

    I think this decrease is sales is due to all those pirates and swashbucklers out there, who would rather download the mp3 than buy the cassette. The only obvious solution to prop up cassette sales is to unilaterally ban the usage of CD-rs and networks. If these bans are allowed, we will expect fourth quarter cassette tape earnings to increase 25%.


    Maybe the real reason CD sales are down is due to the double whammy of recession and lack of quality music in the stores. And maybe CD sales would be down 42.9% if mp3's were displacing CD's like CDs are displacing cassettes as the "new" medium.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2001 @06:02PM (#2210884)
    The Fifth Amendment prohibits taking private property (your money) for public use (taxes and fees collected at the behest of the recording industry).

    Usually this is cited in Second Amendment cases and environmental cases (wetlands, etc.) where people are concerned that the government is demanding control of their privately-owned guns, land, whatever, without compensation for loss of use. IANAL but IMHO the same principles should be applicable in copyright-related cases.

  • by theancient1 ( 134434 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @06:36PM (#2211047) Homepage
    Naspter thrives, CD sales soar []. Napster dies, CD shipments drop []. The media's response? "I don't understand! How could this be?" Their response is no suprise given that the only person interviewed for the story was the RIAA's Hilary Rosen. Why isn't the other half of the story covered? Because the media doesn't know who to talk to in order to get a balanced view. I've seen a few stories on this on the CBC in Canada. They'll talk to a recording industry executive who spouts off some pretty legitimate-sounding "poor us" drivel, then they'll talk to some teenager in sitting in front of a computer in a darkened basement. Who do you think comes across better?

    Similarly, the MPAA's Jack Valenti says that demand for broadband services is low because of all the "hackers" [] distributing pirated movies.

    One you've made your billions, can't you just be happy with that and let someone else try something new? I'm tired of billion-dollar corporations whining like little babies whenever some twentysomething university student comes a long with a bold new idea that could threaten their business model. Aww, are you afraid? That's right, run to your mommy^H^H^H^H^Hgovernment.

    Earlier this year, the RIAA announced plans to mount an anti-Napster "education" effort [] targeted at national political and media figures. Translation: it plans to use its vast financial resources to buy new legislation and even public opinion. Facing that kind of marketing goliath, what can we do to keep up?
  • Re:Canadian Tax (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unitron ( 5733 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @07:06PM (#2211214) Homepage Journal
    So if I use CD-Rs to make illegal copies of software, that is, computer programs, instead of illegal copies of recordings of musical performances, the RIAA and, theoretically, the artists, get a piece of my money but the software companies don't?

    Tell me again who the pirate is here.

  • Re:at this rate... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by esper_child ( 515754 ) on Thursday August 23, 2001 @10:33PM (#2211855)
    don't give them ideas, they might try it. who knows what reason they could come up with. maybe the next step is to tax all time spent on networks (intra and inter) because you know the only reason to be connected is so that we can steal more music and videos from them in an monitored fashion
  • by pbryan ( 83482 ) <> on Thursday August 23, 2001 @10:34PM (#2211857) Homepage
    I have a problem with a levy tax because it presumes that I am currently or will break the law. Since I do not purchase much music, why the hell I should reimburse the RIAA for money they wouldn't have gotten from me anyway?

    Actually, it doesn't presume you're guilty. It presumes that a percentage of the population is going to break the law, and forces you to share in the RIAA's losses. Though this distinction may be slight, here's why the problem is significant.

    If a store loses money due to theft of merchandise, it passes it onto its own customers through rising prices. If someone steals from a credit card company, they charge higher interest.

    If companies lose lots of money because of product or security mismanagement, they won't be in business for long, because nobody will pay their high prices when their competitors charge less.

    The RIAA's strategy is to place this burden on someone else's customers, namely those who might engage in "theft" of their products.

    This is socialism, plain and simple. People pay for someone else's enjoyment of a product or service. If someone "steals" from the RIAA, they're stealing from everyone.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.