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Hilary Rosen Defeated at Oxford Union 377

yogi writes "Oxford University Students' Union had a debate last Thursday, titled This House believes that 'the free music mentality is a threat to the future of music.'. Ordinarily, not too exciting, but since it is the Oxford Union, they get Hilary Rosen to speak. She lost the debate, and had to have pictures like this taken. Read the writeup at NTK, or a more detailed one here. I especially like the bit where she asked all the file downloaders whether it made them buy more music."
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Hilary Rosen Defeated at Oxford Union

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  • by e40 ( 448424 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:15PM (#4538785) Journal
    subject sez it all.
  • Jack Valenti (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:16PM (#4538790)
    When is this freak going to suffer similar humiliation and defeat?
  • by wadetemp ( 217315 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:17PM (#4538796)
    Hilary Rosen asks "Put up your hand if you download and burn music" (most hands go up). She then asks "Keep you hand up if you buy more music because of it" (many stay up). She gets worried and immediately asks some different and confusing set of people to put their hands up, causing everyone to look miffed, and everyone putting their hand down)

    I call BS on this. What was the "different and confusing" set she asked for? I have a feeling it was the interesting part of this exchange... pop culture already tells us we should raise our hands for these first two questions.
  • by e40 ( 448424 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:18PM (#4538803) Journal
    I agree. It's getting to the point that EVERYONE has chosen sides and the resulting debate has a decidedly religious flavor (ie, no one will ever switch sides from this point on).
  • by AndersM ( 32304 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:19PM (#4538807) Homepage
    Now this is great. I wish I could've been there and seen it for myself!

    Now let's just hope Mrs. Rosen learned a bit from this, and, even better, passes it on to others. Chances are they'll just steam on as they go, and not mind their customers. They're just a source of money, and not of real importance, after all.
  • A good quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:21PM (#4538818) Journal
    I really feel that the music industry has, quite simply, realized that they're on the out-and-out, so to speak. With the advent of faster networking technologies over the past few years, and the number of kids attending 4-year colleges (all of whom have broadband connections), the industry truly feels that they lose $0.20 with every *.mp3, *.ogg, and *.wma file that's exchanged via TCP/IP.

    Here's some sage advice (from here [] originally): "If you really want a change, don't vote for either party -- vote Libertarian if you're on the right, Green Party if you're on the left, and independant otherwise. Both parties are in the pockets of big business, and that's bad both for those who advocate freedom from the government as well as those who despise deregulation.

    The more we have third party, the closer we get to fairer, European-style representation."
  • by liberteus ( 566864 ) <liberte AT free DOT fr> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:23PM (#4538830) Homepage
    to go to a university only to face a crowd of filesharing student can either be pictured as stupidity or courage, so let's at least give her that: she was coureagous. She ran into the wolves house!

    About the filesharing issue? Depends on wether you recognize intellectual property as a valid concept or not...
  • by mikedaisey ( 413058 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:31PM (#4538868) Homepage

    Maybe to us, but to normal folks, especially those who are from 40-70 (and who control most of our culture, even if we'd rather not remember that) it is not at all an open and shut case--I've had to explain and discuss these issues numerous times with parents, uncles, coworkers, etc.

    We may know how we feel, but mainstream culture still can be swayed, and the RIAA knows that.
  • Opposition Quote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Flamerule ( 467257 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:32PM (#4538873)
    Jay Berman probably being the best proposition speaker, and coming out with the insigtful "Each generation has had their own music. For your generation it's filesharing. And I think thats a pretty terrible thing"
    Hum... don't think that's so insightful.

    One, anyone knows what the fuck he means by calling filesharing a style of music? Two, what's so terrible about filesharing... that's more terrible than, say, swapping bootlegs? Seems like p2p has created a whole lot more interest in music since the late 90s... whatever.

  • by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:37PM (#4538893) Homepage
    my band and i firmly believe in free music. when hilary rosen says it threwatens the future of music, she means it threatens the future of the music industry as she and the major labels know it. and i can't imagine anything more worthy of fighting for.

    i wanna kill this antiquated centralized distribution model
    i don't wanna get fucked anymore by this status quo some coddle
    don't let fear keep us bound here.
    look across this threshold before it closes up forever
    see the hate and rage of chaos see the swarming hell hell hell
    fear is natural before the refining fires of change,
    you must be afraid but do it anyway
    i already fell fell fell
    don't let fear keep us bound here.
    own yourself, remember where the message comes from
    think again, once you have it figured out
    ask not, what this world owes you -- it owes you shit.
    what will you make of it?
    status quo's the real foe, this hell we call these tiny lives
    giving up our tiny souls to dead unliving corporations
    zombies defend rights of them to won us make us wear their name tags
    providing the machinery to keep us working intheir gulags
    don't let fear keep us bound here.
    time is split and this short fit of choice will quickly pass pass pass
    now's our only chance ot make a change that will last
    tectonic forces are already moving to intercept you
    if we make no move to fuck them, only we will lose lose lose
    i ask again: if not now, then when?

    -Power Shift by my band The Overprivileged []
  • by seen2much ( 576446 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:42PM (#4538917)
    You so sure about that?

    The real question about the recording industry is do they have calculators?

    A tape or lp at the time of the cd switch was far cheaper than an CD. But now that CD production is more efficient the cost should have come down some. But it hasn't. Cds are still in the 16-20 dollar range where as tapes at the same time were in think that cd's would have dropped?

    Why don't we buy CDs? Because the price is prohibitive. On top of that the RIAA has made no friends with fans with the crackdowns and wacky copyright protection schemes.

    Now the MPAA is doing the same thing with DVDs. And you know that the DVD won't drop either.

  • Off topic but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BigBir3d ( 454486 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:50PM (#4538947) Journal
    This all reminds me of my old boss; 70+ yr old Jewish man from NYC who used Napster to download old speeches (Winston Churchill was his favorite) and such other things that were hard to find anywhere locally (library etc). He never once used it for music.
  • by Joey7F ( 307495 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:53PM (#4538963) Homepage Journal
    I am not sure if it is quite the same with the MPAA. It seems that the RIAA price CDs equally. DVDs have different prices, frequently depending on the studio that releases them, which I think the end will be more beneficial to the consumer.

    It is too bad that the artists that already have made a fair amount of money (and that are fairly famous) don't start there own label that sells music online by the song (yes I know about rhapsody, but they require a monthly fee) or that sell the discs for $12 bucks instead of 20.

    In fact, wouldn't it be COOL if you could listen to the songs online at a low bitrate, then buy the cd, and while it is shipping to you, it lets you download the album in your format of choice.

  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:17PM (#4539060) Homepage
    I've had to explain and discuss these issues numerous times with parents, uncles, coworkers, etc.

    I wonder if your experience with this was anything like mine. Everyone I've had to explain it to didn't really see why it was illegal in the first place.

    "It's not like they've stolen the CD out of a record shop."

    Seems that "Intellectual Property" is a vague concept some people seem to have a hard time grasping... ...

    Just to clear things up -- I'm a firm believer in copyrights. I'm also a firm believer in free sharing of information. Somewhere in the middle between one side and the other is a realistic ground where things will sometimes be illegal and sometimes be legal and sometimes be hard to define. I both buy and download music, though... so...
  • Re:Jack Valenti (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:20PM (#4539067) Homepage Journal
    Probably never. Valenti is a better politician than Rosen and, if the truth be told, rather more evil. Valenti has the legislation he wants passed through, in the shape of the DMCA. The RIAA, and Hilary Rosen as its figurehead, aren't in that position. They actually have, for them, a hostile law from their point of view (the Home Recordings Act) in place, and will have to get legislation reversed 180 degrees to get the same kind of protection the movie industry currently enjoys.

    For all of these reasons, Valenti isn't going to need to make a case for the movie industry at any time in the near future. Rosen does. Rosen has to sway public opinion if the RIAA is to reduce what it sees as piracy and stolen sales. For the MPAA, there's already legal protections that can be easily invoked against any pirate, and whereas, for example, an author of audio ripping software can point to fair use defenses, DVD "ripping" software authors can, and have been, prosecuted under US criminal law.

    You know, while I think she's misguided on the subject of whether MP3 sales have the negative impact she seems to believe, I can't bring myself to think of her to the same degree of hatred as what appears to be the average Slashdotter's attitude. She, for example, has been a major force for protecting musicians against Congressional attempts at censorship or creating censorship systems, whereas Valenti himself oversees the major censorship body for the movie industry, and generally relies on the individual studios and directors and actors to make the case against mandated restrictions. On a surface level, the argument "Why would you buy something if you already have the MP3?" is a hard one to give a definite answer to - you can only, in the end, argue that the side effects - exposure to more music, a desire for higher quality, etc - are (probably) positive.

    To that extent, Rosen can't be criticised for not being wholly convinced.

  • 1 company, 2 camps (Score:3, Interesting)

    by painehope ( 580569 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:26PM (#4539085)
    does anyone other than me find it interesting that the chief exec of chrysalis is on one side ( Chris Wright ) and the co-founder ( Doug D'Arcy ) is on the other? I can just see the post-debate conversation :

    Chris : Doug, you know, the board has been thinking about your future here with the company...
    Doug : Yes, really?
    Chris : Well, with the beliefs that you have espoused, and your stance on some matters, we've been thinking that it might be time for you to move on to other projects...
    Doug : Remember those pictures of Hilary, you, and an inflatable sheep? Well, I still have the negatives...
    Chris : ...

    on a side note, is anyone really surprised by their defeat? they are wrong on most of these issues, and really have very little evidence other than FUD to back anything they say. no big surprise there.
  • by lizzybarham ( 588992 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:32PM (#4539112)

    I told the FBI about someone that is linked to credit card identity theft and presented the evidence. This person also told me he downloads mp3's of popular music, burns cd's, and sells them to friends, which I related to the FBI as well. Why has there not been an investigation?

    Popular music is a joke and its thieves are even more of one. If it is such a horrible crime, why doesn't the FBI and RIAA start making some arrests?

  • by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @09:10PM (#4539273) Homepage Journal
    You can always spot a poor debater when they ask a question they do not know the answer to. That is always the key: reduce the argument to only the points where you are unequivocally right and your opponent is not. Of course your opponent is trying to do the same thing.

    And the big "raise your hand" thing doesn't prove anything. It is like "proving" someone has no business talking about African economics if they have never been there. It is all opinion and subjective, like those CNN polls.

    In the end I just see this as broadening the rift. She now can be assured that most students out there are "pirating" music and thus beyond communication. Likewise everyone else here is treating this like it means anything. The RIAA will probably just go and get more federal signatures while we sit around feeling all good about this "victory". And its that sort of thinking that will probably mean we will never get the compromise we ask for.

    Demanding total victory is asking for total defeat.
  • Re:Jack Valenti (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @09:11PM (#4539280) Homepage Journal

    On a surface level, the argument "Why would you buy something if you already have the MP3?" is a hard one to give a definite answer to [ .. ]

    Only for greedy, shrill children who lack imagination. To wit:

    In the case of music:

    • So I can have the full-resolution "original" at hand on durable, read-only media that can't get accidentally erased by a Windows crash.
    • Having the original also lets me re-compress it when the Next Best CoDec comes out.

    In the case of movies:

    • Same reasons as music, basically.
    • It also gives me someone to bitch at if the disc turns out to have a real, physical defect (as opposed to an artificial defect, like copy protection).

    In the case of software:

    • So I can have the manual. Online help systems still suck rocks in most cases (although forward strides are being made in this area in, curiously enough, free (and Free) software).
    • So I can have original, trusted media from which to reinstall when Windows trashes the disk/trashes the registry/runs the latest virus/etc.
    • So I can have someone to bitch at if the software itself trashes my work.
    • Being a software engineer myself, to show my appreciation for work well done.


  • Re:Married? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rob-fu ( 564277 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @09:49PM (#4539386)
    Not that I am personally interested, she isn't my type. ;)

    Even if she was your type, I don't think she'd be interested in you. Look here. [] The person that she is married to, if she is in fact married, is missing something that most of us Slashdot readers have. (I won't go any further than that. I'm assuming most here are males and have not had some kind of freakish accidents).

  • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @10:06PM (#4539461) Homepage Journal
    Ya know, as much as I love to see Hillary Rosen gagging on her own foot, this isn't really news. She went up against an audience of students--people who typically have very little money and are hostile toward big, greedy corporations--and lost a debate by popular vote. Big deal. I'm sure that most of the people who showed up were there because they already felt strongly one way or the other.

    What I find strange is that she accepted this debate in the first place. Surely she must have known what she was getting into?
  • Re:Opposition Quote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @10:32PM (#4539570) Homepage Journal
    Granted this scheme changes a little with CDs, but you still have to have someone willing to let you copy your CD. Not that many people are willing.

    Given the recent proliferation of laptops with CDRW drives, this has become less of an issue. Not too many people will let you take their CD home with them, but most of them will let you borrow it for five or six minutes while you rip it. You don't even need CDRW for this part. Just rip to WAV (or AIFF I guess) and encode on your own time.

    If you can be in the same room with the CD, most people will let you put it in their drive.

    DATs don't cost so much BTW, but I've never seen a high-speed dubbing deck for DAT. I'm sure they exist but the fact that I've never seen one indicates to me that they are probably expensive.

  • Breaking the law (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sunnan ( 466558 ) <> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @11:01PM (#4539678) Homepage Journal
    "You do NOT have the right to violate copyright"

    I'm sorry, but I simply don't just see the law as right and prohibitions that I should take for granted. I have a mind of my own. If I want a law overturned the easiest way will be to show people how much better the world is without that law, i.e. breaking it.

    Especially if the law was passed over my head, against my will and the will of my peers. If the law contradict our ethics and morals. How can we be espected to abide by it?

    The geeks created the beauty of the p2p nets, decentralized infrastructures of information and art (and hot grits, but that's beside the point). Was it illegal? Possibly (the law is vague). Was it a Good Thing? Yes. It's beautiful. It's functional. It's practical.

    We've seen no decline in production of free software and of free, alternative music, free books and free documentation.

    Interesting times and I'm almost holding my breath with anticipation.
  • by aelvin ( 265451 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @11:32PM (#4539800)
    For more interesting debates like this, check out Radio EFF []. The Lessig (Standford Law, EFF) v. Valenti (MPAA) debate mp3 is here [].
  • Re:Jack Valenti (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Arnold_Crenshaw ( 602569 ) <xrfph001.sneakemail@com> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @11:51PM (#4539851) Journal
    There's just no economic incentive to pay the prices the recording companies are asking for.

    Yes, but nobody said that they were reasonable or honest prices to begin with. In most industries, prices will fall or the companies do. In the few which have such... influence, the consumers buy by the Leaders' terms or they'll be legislated into a box where there are no other terms at all.
  • by gasgesgos ( 603192 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @12:35AM (#4539965)
    I've got a video clip of a guy trying to TURN HIMSELF IN to all levels of government, he starts with local police, they refer him to the mayors office. the mayors office refers him to the attorny general, and they refer him to the maker of the program he claimed to have been pirating (microsoft)... well, in the end, no one would send a police officer down the street to arrest this guy on software piracy charges, or even file some kind of report! the worst thing they told him was to either delete or buy it, but not once did they offer to arrest or prosecute him. he was even begging to be arrested, and they declined. i know piracy is illegal, but if you dont make profits on it, there's a VERY low chance of anyone getting in trouble from police... almost every cd that i've purchased i've discovered/previewed with mp3 downloading. i attempt to be one of the semi-honest music downloaders... downloading/listening to lots of stuff, but buying the good cd's. the RIAA is just scared that people wont buy CD's for 1 song anymore.. i sure as hell wont, i'll listen to almost 1/2 of an album before i'll buy it. same thing with many people that I know. I dont think I've met many people who have 400 CD-R collections of full pirated albums. also, couldn't mp3 recordings be considered "time-shifting"? time-shifting is the same principle that keeps Tivo's legal. you can either listen to crappy radio (or crappy tv/commercials) and wait for the good stuff, or you can just (record it with tivo) download it and listen to it repeatedly, or at your leisure. effectivly, both with tv and music, the conecpt is to record/obtain a recording of a show/song and view/listen to it anytime? just a few thoughts...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 27, 2002 @06:30AM (#4540768)
    I was there, I wrote about it [] and for me the real point of interest wasn't Hilary Rosen. Well, thats not quite true, she was *really* agressive challenging facts, leaping up to make points and generally looking like the record industry's personal attack dog, you get the feeling Ronnie Gurr might have worried for his personal safety at times had the despatch desk been narrower.

    Anyway, daydreams of celebrity deathmatch aside Rosen wasn't that interesting. Jay Berman was interesting, he's President of the Federation of Phonographic Industries who among other things lobby for new copyright laws. He was the one who came out with

    "Each generation has had their own music. For your generation it's filesharing. And I think thats a pretty terrible thing"

    Now if its the case that the record industry suddenly doesn't like its audience anymore thats interesting. Its damn difficult to sell things to people who you don't like. It may also mean that even the industry don't think they're being strictly 'rational' about this anymore, if folks like Berman and Rosen belive that they have some kind of moral obligation to kill filesharing for the good of mankind this one could run and run

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