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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.
  • by tunah ( 530328 ) <> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:16PM (#4538788) Homepage
    Gee, from the title it looked like it was a military defeat, but I guess this will do ;-)
  • by traskjd ( 580657 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:16PM (#4538789) Homepage
    Does anyone else start getting sick of this? The debate is getting so old and the only people saying free music is damaging is some of the artists and the RIAA. I guess it will end up being like open source vs. closed source - and I bet the artists who embrace allowing online downloads will be more sucessful in the end (of course when I make that comparison I also mean that the artist is signed up with a label because they need some form of money - but yet some artists still support downloading their music for free because they have read the research). Hope that all makes sense. What do you think?
    • 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 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.
        • 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...
          • 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?
      • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:35PM (#4538886) 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).

        Interesting analogy. I have to agree with you: there is so much conflicting data that everyone seems to have made up their minds on the basis of their gut feeling. I imagine there isn't any way of resolving this.

        However, I would think that we (the pro-filesharing crowd) could use this ambiguity to our advantage. The **AA wants to limit a powerful technology and impose some dubious laws. And they don't have any iron-clad statistics to back them up. It seems that the burden of proof should be on the **AA to show that filesharing definitely hurts sales. If they cannot show this -- and I don't think they can -- then all their technology-limiting plans should be rejected by the lawmakers. I'm not so naive that I believe this is going to happen, I'm just stating that in a perfect world this non-provable postulate that filesharing hurts sales should be a victory to us. There will always be people who have a "gut feeling" that this is responsible for the financial woes of the music and movie industries, but that shouldn't be enough to enact laws!


      • by Pike65 ( 454932 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:37PM (#4538892) Homepage
        When you say "everyone" you mean the online community. My grandparents wouldn't have a clue what the hell peer-to-peer was, but they still buy and listen to music and that makes their opinion as valid as anyone elses, as far as I'm concerned.
    • Yeah, I'm sick of the debate, and maybe it is getting a bit old. However, until the naysayers realize that they are wrong, articles like this one will continue to be newsworthy and will continue to aggitate the majority of the audience here at /. The fact that people do things because of a misinformed view will always get people riled up, espeically when the actors are integral parts in an industry.
    • 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 Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:03PM (#4538997) Homepage Journal

        It was somewhat amusing to see that you not only offer your own music for free download, but also music from several other bands. Something tells me, however, that the Dead Milkmen haven't given you permission to do this.

        Now, I can understand wanting to share your own music, but I don't understand why you feel you should be free to share someone else's copyrighted material.

  • 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?
    • 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.

      • Re:Jack Valenti (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ewhac ( 5844 )

        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.


  • "corrupt compact disc, inferiour audio"

    So where can I get that?! I want it!

  • 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 GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:38PM (#4538898) Journal

      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...

      Yeah, I agree. I, too, would be very interested in seeing what Rosen's follow-up questions were. Can anyone point us to an unbiased, accurate record of what happened? Maybe even a transcript? It's clear that the articles that were submitted to slashdot aren't trying to evenly present what happened that night.


    • by zaffir ( 546764 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:38PM (#4538899)
      I'd also say that this was a stacked audience. Let's see, you have a bunch of college students that use p2p on a regular basis, many of whom were spreading anti-RIAA propaganda (not that that is bad). And you have the head of the RIAA that is trying to keep them from doing the things they want... come on. The proposition has NO CHANCE when polling an audience like that. I'm actually surprised Rosen asked that question.
      • Well, since these are the people that Rosen and the RIAA are concerned with persuading, it makes sense that these are the people that she would want to be speaking to. Do you think they should have had some soccer moms and middle managers thrown in for good measure or something?

      • by Aguazul ( 620868 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @07:51AM (#4540866) Homepage

        I'd also say that this was a stacked audience. Let's see, you have a bunch of college students that use p2p on a regular basis, many of whom were spreading anti-RIAA propaganda

        I followed the discussions and preparations in the CDR [], although I didn't go myself. I have to say that we were not at all sure that the debate could be won. Oxford is a very strange place, and Oxford Union is stranger -- a private members-only debating society which perhaps could be described as a little bit elitist.

        As to why Hilary Rosen chose to go to an debate with students -- it is because of the prestige of debating in one of the oldest debating societies in the world. You have to dress up (black tie for men), you go to a special dinner with weird and ancient customs (if you've never been to an Oxford college, you have no idea!), and so on and so on. Take a look around the Oxford Union site.

        Also, with a place like Oxford Union, this isn't some shallow debate. Rather it prides itself on getting to the bottom of the issue, with lots of intelligent minds on the job. If the RIAA's case stood on logical grounds, she would likely have won the debate. That is why this is a significant result! The truth of the matter is that even with all the conservatism of Oxford, Hilary and friends couldn't make their arguments stick.

    • by scoove ( 71173 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @11:38PM (#4539825)
      Keep you hand up if you buy more music because of it"

      Hmmm... heard Funker Vogt on shoutcast [] a few weeks ago.

      Enjoyed it. Downloaded a few tracks via gnutella. Yup, this definitely is a group I like.

      Went to Best Buy. WTF? No Funker Vogt. Went to CD Warehouse. Nope. Never even heard of them, let alone my fav Apoptygma Bezerk, VNV Nation, Front Line Assembly, etc. "Sure we have industrial..." as the salescritter points at the rap section (ugh... where do they hire these people from?).

      So Ms. Rosen, how am I supposed to be a complying RIAA citizen when you won't even sell me the music?

      As usual, it was off to, buy one of everything Funker Vogt, and wait for the UPS guy.


      1. I'm waiving money in your face but you won't sell product to me.
      2. You can't seem to figure out how to distribute music worth a damn.
      3. You keep signing a few worthless artists and pumping their music (while we still don't buy it), rather than understanding the market changed on you.
      4. You and the radio broadcasters sign deals trying to limit airplay to the same crap you signed, but now the radio broadcasters can't find listeners and had to destroy Internet broadcasting before it destroyed them.

      So, maybe there's another problem [] that explains why your sales numbers suck?


  • 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."
    • Re:A good quote (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:32PM (#4538869) Homepage Journal
      The more we have third party, the closer we get to fairer, European-style representation.

      Do we really want that and is it indeed fairer?
      • Re:A good quote (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Baki ( 72515 )
        Yes, it is fairer. Is it fair that (in a district system such as the U.S. has) one person gets to represent all people in his area, even if only 60% voted for him? No, if 60% voted, about 60% of influence should go to him, 40% to other(s). The last presedential election (a few votes making the difference between one person or the other) shows this clearly. In 'european style', like in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands etc. such things are irrelevant, since no person with much power is directly elected, only the individual members of parliament (chosen in proportion). These members proportially representing the people then see what combination of parties can cooperate and thus form a majority goverment.

        Thus, a representative system is better. The parliament reflects the division of political forces/thoughts in society. Because of this you get less concentration of power at a single or at two parties (b.t.w. the UK does not have a 'european' system either).

        Another practical advantage is that you do never get one party governments, but usually 2-4 parties make up the government (Switzerland, for example, has had the same 4 parties in the government for 50 years). These must find compromises amoungst them, which leads to less 'fast' but to more stable lawmaking and government.

        In 'extreme' systems such as the U.S. chances are that the next government reverses the policies of the former. Instead of gradual evolution you get large changes that nullify what happened before. This is inefficient and shortsighted.

        Note: France and the U.K. don't have a representative/proportional system either, this because of a coarse district system which always shifts balance of power to one party. Also in France, the president is directly elected, and he (like in the U.S.) is a person with real power.

        In contrast, the german president is only a ceremonial figure who is elected by parlaiment. The dutch king/queen is not elected either and also is only ceremonial. In such system, no single person holding very much power exists, and such persons are never directly elected.

  • Now only if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sterno ( 16320 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:21PM (#4538820) Homepage
    It'd be nice if we could have this sort of debate and result happen someplace it really matters like Congress :)
    • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @09:30PM (#4539332) Homepage

      Oh yeah, can you imagine how that debate would go? I can.. let's listen in..

      Rosen: (to herself: heh, this one works every time.. well except at Oxford Union.) So, who here downloads and burns music?

      Congress: (silence. they look at each other and shrug.)

      R: (to herself: oh yeah, they don't know the hip lingo like I do) Uh, who here uses their computer to get digital music from the internet and then to put the music on recordable CDs, you know, like homemade CDs?

      C: (silence. one congressman checks his watch.)

      R: (getting frustrated) Okay, does anyone here use a computer?

      C: (shaking of heads. one congressman quietly hides a piece of paper with pending legislation on regulation of the personal computer industry.)

      R: (gets an idea) Hey never mind about that. Here's another one: who here likes money?

      C: (faces light up.. the room becomes animated) ME!! ME!! ME!! ME!!! OVER HERE!! MONEY!!

      R: (to herself: looks like my side won this debate after all)

  • 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...
    • I would say good on her. Not often the corporates even turn up to things like this even when they say they will. Doesn't mean I like what they are doing but I have a little more respect.
    • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:52PM (#4538960) Journal

      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!

      Disclaimer: because of the poor write-ups posted, I don't have a good idea of what actually happened at this debate and how fair it was. With that in mind, consider the following theory: Hillary figures she can 'win' no matter how the debate turns out. She has a chance to talk to the crowd that are the biggest filesharers. This is her chance to hopefully convince them that what they're doing is wrong. With a little luck, she'll be able to convince someone in the audience who happens to be in a position of power regarding the computer facilities of the school. She figures if the debate is 'fair' that she's got a reasonable chance to getting her message across. She won't be able to convince those whose minds are already made up, but perhaps she can bring a few students back from the Dark Side.

      Now consider the case of an 'unfair' debate. If the debate is 'not fair', perhaps some students will realize that and sympathize with her. But even if she isn't able to convince anyone in the crowd that her position is right and the whole debate ends up being a crazy show, she can then take a videotape or transcript of the 'unfair' debate with her to other people (like politicians) and use that to convince swing-voters that the pro-filesharing crowd is just a bunch of hooligans. She willingly goes into the lions' den to gain sympathy from others when she shows them her 'scars'. "I tried to explain my position and look how they treated me? They're animals!"

      This is just a theory. But to characterize her action as either courage or stupidity leaves out another very real possibility: calculating.


    • by Flower ( 31351 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @10:29PM (#4539557) Homepage
      More like, that's what she's paid to do. Wha'? You think the Mouth of Sauron wanted to make a speech to Gandalf? A job is a job.

      Hey, at least Hilary gets health benefits.

    • by maw ( 25860 )
      Depends on wether you recognize intellectual property as a valid concept or not...

      Balderdash! "Intellectual property" is a very vague term designed to conflate lots mostly unrelated ideas. It can refer to trademarks, patents, copyright, trade secrets, etc. All of them are valid, although all of them can be and often are taken to unnecessary or harmful extremes.

      "Intellectual property" is a propaganda term designed to confuse thinking. Not entirelly dissimilar to the "either you're with us or you're with the terrorists" bifurcation []we've been treated to.

  • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:23PM (#4538832) Homepage
    ...why the debate is framed as free music v. the music industry. We can decide to dislike both sides, and still get free music -- by encouraging musicians to self-publish either samples or entire albums as freeware or shareware. For those without internet connections and CD burners, music stores could offer a write-your-own-CD services (and I think I've seen this in prototype?).

    Up to now the recording studios have been like the cartoon syndicates -- a necessary evil because they control the production, distribution, and promotion of music, with staggering overhead. Why does a 25 CD cost $18, anyway, about what it cost when invented 20 years ago? How many non-geek consumers know about this profit margin, and how loudly would they complain if they did?
    • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:43PM (#4538924)
      "...why the debate is framed as free music v. the music industry."

      I never really thought it was about music being 'free' anyway. My MP3 searches were about finding new music, not about getting it for free. I saw it as a way of finding stuff I thought I'd like. Paying for it is not an issue. I mean think about it: Buy a CD, open it, and it's yours. You can't take it back if it's not satisfactory.

      So yeah, I'm gonna download songs from the album first before I buy the CD because I'm not paying $15 for 1 (one) song I liked from the radio. How many of you have been burned by that?

      • by yerricde ( 125198 )

        So yeah, I'm gonna download songs from the album first before I buy the CD because I'm not paying $15 for 1 (one) song I liked from the radio.

        Provided you know which track you want to keep, then download the song on Rhapsody ($1/track) or eMusic ($15/mo), which are legitimate sites that have licensed labels' catalogs.

        • "Provided you know which track you want to keep, then download the song on Rhapsody ($1/track) or eMusic ($15/mo), which are legitimate sites that have licensed labels' catalogs."

          Are these sites RIAA supported? Im not asking so I can shout "No way, I'm boycotting!", but rather because so far the RIAA has done nothing but badmouth music in non-album-form. I'm concerned that if it's not endorsed by the RIAA, that one day that service will disappear.

          I dunno... what do you think? I'm just being cautious. I don't want the RIAA taking a list of customers and saying "these people are all thieves". Yeah, I'm a little paranoid.
    • Whine whine whine...

      This "it still costs $18 20 years later" is getting pretty old. You're missing two important parts.

      First off is this little thing called inflation. All the kickbacks the record studios charge costs a lot of money. If records are sold anything like books, they get sold by RIAA members for 50% (so if a CD sells in the store for $18, the RIAA member sells it for $9). Things cost money. When they first started, CDs were barely more than a copy of the record with the liner notes. Now you have interactive CDs with video or flash animation, more liner notes, etc. To be honest, I'm suprised they haven't gone UP in cost over the past 20 years.

      The other thing is....well...CDs don't really sell for $18 anymore. I bought a stack of new releases and none was over $17. Most were $16 (well, $15.99, but you know..). That little thing of the RIAA forcing record stores to sell for the same minimum cost seems to taken care of that item.

      Don't get me wrong. The "why pay $16 if I only like one song?" still works, as does "if it only costs $.25 to make, why are artists being shafted?". But this argument just isn't as valid as you think.
    • Why does a 25 CD cost $18, anyway, about what it cost when invented 20 years ago?

      Actually, $18 in AD2002 dollars is much cheaper than $18 in AD1983 dollars. Though the cost of mechanically replicating the product has gone down over the years, the cost of production (writing the songs, performing them, mixing, mastering, designing the cover, writing the manual, storing them in warehouses, shipping them to retailers, and selling them to the end user) is largely bound to the cost of labor, which (when measured in current dollars) has gone up with inflation.

  • by hsenag ( 56002 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:25PM (#4538844) Homepage
    It should be pointed out that the Oxford Union []
    (which is where the debate was) isn't the same thing as the Oxford University Student Union []. Probably only really of importance to people in Oxford, who know this anyway, though :-)
    • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:49PM (#4538944) Homepage
      It should be pointed out that the Oxford Union [] (which is where the debate was) isn't the same thing as the Oxford University Student Union []. Probably only really of importance to people in Oxford, who know this anyway, though :-)

      Err why, most Oxford students have zero contact with OUSU. There is not much point to a student union with no facilities to administer.

      Hitler credited the Oxford Union with starting World War II.

      Incidentally, King and Country has only been passed once since the original debate. Anyone care to guess what the subject matter was?

  • by slipgun ( 316092 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:26PM (#4538848)
    Hilary Rosen is a woman.
    • 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.

      • 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.

        • Look at the price of a videotape versus DVD. I can understand that right now DVD do cost more to produce but in 5-10 years the opposite will be true. But do you think DVDs will drop in price to the same level as videotape. I seriously doubt that. And the extra features added do not add that much to a DVD experience, much as I like them. I forsee the greed of the MPAA by keeping the price as high as it is.
        • Greed (Score:2, Insightful)

          by nr ( 27070 )
          Why wont prices on CDs and DVDs go down?

          Well the answer to that question is spelled greed, for record industry its never enough, they always want more. The same goes for some of the artists, why earn only $1 milion for a album then you can earn $10 milions. So theres no reson to cut CD prices from $20 to $5 even if they easily could do. They will continue to rip off the consumers as the only thing they do care about is the money flow and increasing profits. At a certain point the consumer will stop and say ENOUGH!. Greed will kill RIAA and the big record companies, P2P and CD burning is the sword that will cut the head of the beast.
      • and the figures look fairly equal, which makes sense when you consider that the cost of the media represents a small fraction of the total cost of getting an album to market.
    • Hillary Rosen's womanhood was never seriously in question.

      I do have serious doubts about Janet Reno, though...
    • Hilary Rosen was a woman.

  • 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 Methuseus ( 468642 ) <> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:08PM (#4539024)
      His point is that there's no one specific type of music. The reason for this (in his eyes and I think he's right) is the p2p filesharing programs let you listen to more different music without the price being prohibitive. He's not actually saying filesharing is a style of music.

      Also, on the subject of bootlegs, it's a hell of a lot harder to find someone that bought such and such a tape, then copy it at *full quality* and then share it again (since each copy of a tape is worse than the last) than to just fire up Napster and download the latest songs. Now you could use the special tapes that the people who share live recordings do (DAT tapes I think?) but those are quite expensive and are almost as much as buying the tape itself. 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.

      Berman still thinks that p2p sharing is hurting his industry. There's nothing wrong with him being disillusioned, but it's pretty insightful for him to notice what the current trend truly is, that it's all types of music. I don't agree with his "And I think it's a pretty terrible thing" quote, but he's entitled to his opinion. He makes a better argument in one sentence than any other proponent of the music industry has in whole debates.
      • Re:Opposition Quote (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
        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.

    • he's saying that filesharing is this generation's means of "protest" through music. instead of rock or rap, we are pissing off our elders with filesharing.

      intersting idea, i don't really buy it, but an interesting way to look at it (and a way that means the RIAA would be better off embracing it than fighting it, since I can't remember any adults successfully fighting off their children's obnoxious new music for more than a little while.)
  • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:46PM (#4538936) Journal
  • by tyrann98 ( 161653 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:49PM (#4538943)
    Reassuringly, the motion that "This House believes that the free music mentality is a threat to the future of music" was resoundingly defeated by a hefty 256 "Noes" to 72 "Ayes"

    This is more of a popularity contest than a true debate. The RIAA's position is never going to be popular with an illegal file-swapping crowd filled with university students.

    Regardless, The RIAA has every right to pursue its goals (i.e., profit) using legitimate business practices.

    The RIAA is perfectly allowed to sell music using any method they want. It does not matter if downloaders purchase more CDs due to free advertising. If you believe that start a new record company with free music from your site. Nobody has a right to force a new distribution method on someone else. I prefer the BSD license, but I don't go out and illegally change GPL software to BSD. People have the right to use any license they choose. Similiarly, artists have the right to release free music if they want. They are not forced to sign a contract with anyone. Plus, the distribution method of choice - the Internet - is perfected suited for free music.
    • I have one problem with your comments. It sounds like you are saying that we don't have the right to try to convince the RIAA that they are harming the industry rather than helping it. And saying "illegal file-swapping crowd filled with university students" is wrong because pretty much everyone that was there said they buy more music because of the file sharing. Talk to some RIAA execs for a bit about the subject. Not one of the ones that has been coached; a real one that is deeply entrenched in the Association and shares their values. You'll get the impression that they don't care about the artists unless they make mega-billions. And even then they only care about the money from the artist. I've gone a bit long on this. I'm not sure exactly what you meant by your comments, but implying that someone can't tell a draconic, corrupt corporation to kiss their ass will really piss lots of people off.
    • by FauxPasIII ( 75900 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @09:20PM (#4539307)
      >> Regardless, The RIAA has every right to pursue its goals (i.e., profit) using legitimate business practices

      Bribing Congressmen to pass a rampantly unpopular law that criminalizes fair use copying rights does not fall under the heading of "legitimate business practices". Neither does deploying technological measures to make it impossible to exercise said rights.

      I'm disgusted by how many so-called libertarians are so quick to jump to the defense of the RIAA when it's obvious they have no interest whatsoever in playing by the rules of the fair market. The market has sent a pretty unequivocal message that they want the middle man out of the loop, so the middle man tries alternately to make it either illegal or impossible not to play by their rules. Bleh.
      • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @10:52PM (#4539641) Journal
        As another Libertarian, I agree wholeheartedly with you.

        In fact, I often find myself at odds with other Libertarian-leaning individuals on the whole copyright/piracy debate.

        Certainly, Thomas Jefferson himself was not a fan of the ideas of patenting ideas or extending terms of copyright out to great lengths of time.

        "It has been pretended by some, (and in England especially,) that inventors have a natural and exclusive right to their inventions, and not merely for their own lives, but inheritable to their heirs. But while it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from nature at all, it would be singular to admit a natural and even an hereditary right to inventors." - Jefferson

        "He who receives an idea from me, receives instructions himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me." - Jefferson on Copyright
    • Similiarly, artists have the right to release free music if they want. They are not forced to sign a contract with anyone.

      We all know that this is literally true. No one is forcing these people to sign contracts. I wish some of them would have been forced not to sign contracts, in fact. I'd have held the gun on Don Henley. If I'd have been alive then.

      I'd have held two guns on Rod Stewart.

      But on the other hand, if you want to be a music superstar, you have to sign a contract with a major label. Otherwise you don't get put on MTV/VH1, you don't get put on Clearchannel, you don't get put in the major record chains across the country who are penalized (by withholding of ad material and certain albums, or pushed-back release dates) for stocking music which doesn't come from a member of the RIAA.

      So sure, no one is forced to, but you cannot "win" the game (assuming you are measuring success monetarily... at least it's a numeric metric) without signing with a major label.

  • by daniel2000 ( 247766 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:49PM (#4538946)
    If you go into a competition and everyone expects you to loose, but you don't loose as badly as expected then people will notice that and take more notice of you the next time.

    Hilary may well have thought that they wouldn't out and out win a debate in such an environment but thought that it was still worth the effort. A strategic defeat perhaps.

  • 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.
  • Asking whether she won or lost is like sending a republican to debate at a democratic convention and having the democrats vote on who won. Give me a break. Although she's bringing up the practical aspects of what p2p does to their business, this isn't even the issue. The issue is whether it is legal for people to share copyrighted without the permission of the copyright holder. The answer is no. It's very simple. Even Janis Ian agrees that you need the permission of the copyright holder. The RIAA has the right to do business anyway they choose. Your only right is to refuse to do business with them if you don't like what they offer. You do NOT have the right to violate copyright just because you don't like the way they do business. It's as unethical as stealing cable, photocopying books, etc.
    • Breaking the law (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sunnan ( 466558 )
      "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 Elias Israel ( 182882 ) <> on Saturday October 26, 2002 @07:55PM (#4538974)

    This summer, I had the opportunity to help officate at a debate held at the Oxford University Student Union. This was for an XML course that was developed by a consulting firm that was presented at the University. During the summer, Oxford hosts a significant number of for-profit and non-profit organizations holding conferences, seminars, and the like.

    The city of Oxford and the University are stunning. If you've never seen them, you're missing out.

    The debating hall is laid out similarly to the House of Commons, which us 'mericans sometimes get a glimpse of on TV.

    At the head of the room is the debate chairman, who presides over the debate and makes sure that the rules are followed. To his left and right are the Union treasurer and librarian. Since this wasn't an "official" Oxford Union debate, all three of those roles were held by participants in the XML summer course. I sat to the left of the chairman, and helped decide matters of debate procedure and scope. (Don't laugh; there actually was one matter to review. :)

    On the main floor of the debate chamber is the Secretary's desk. The Secretary likewise assures debate procedure is followed and assists the chairman in doing so.

    On either side of the Secretary's table are the proposer of the motion, and the opposer. Each of them leads a particular side of the debate.

    Around all of them are the seats for the participants, arranged on both the main floor and a balcony surrounding everything.

    Perhaps the most interesting feature of the debate hall are the doors. On the way in, they look like simple double doors. Only when you are inside can you see that over the right door reads a sign saying "Yeses", and over the left door "Noes." At the end of the debate all participants file out through those doors, their numbers counted by the Secretary as they pass. Then everyone files back in to hear the results read.

    The Oxford Union is one of the oldest free speech organizations in the world, and certainly deserving of respect on that basis. The debating hall is a monument to civil society and free speech. The Union is also a completely private institution: a true union of, by, and for Oxford students.

    Now, having said all of that, the fact remains that a debate at the Oxford Union is just a debate. It's not a UN Security Council resolution or a Supreme Court judgment. It's just the opinion of a bunch of people who happened to be in the hall at the time as to whether the proposer or the opposer made a better case for their side.

    It's all good fun, and much needed at that. But let's not get all worked up about it.

  • commercialism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:05PM (#4539007)
    This House believes that 'the free music mentality is a threat to the future of music

    Well, "this house" believes that it is rampant commercialism that is actually a threat to the future of music.
  • of course she lost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 26, 2002 @08:05PM (#4539011)
    She was in a room full of people who buy and listen to music.

    This is definitely NOT the place for an RIAA exec to be. They should be with other executives and the occasional politician. That way they can avoid the whole issue of customers and business models, and focus on what's really important: new legislation.
  • 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?

    • why doesn't the FBI and RIAA start making some arrests?

      Because the FBI has better things to do then chase down some kid with an ipod and the RIAA is not a law enforcement agency. I don't mean to be a cruel but that is a very stupid question you just asked.

      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.

      Well maybe it might have to do with the fact that the FBI thinks you're a joke?

      If you have evidence that someone is commiting identity theft by all means shine a light on it. However a phone call to the local FBI branch that So-n-So is stealing credit card numbers and swapping music with just your word to back up your claim isn't going to get you anywhere..

    • by Anonymous Coward
      your case is a good example of how filesharing is a "gateway crime". they start out with filesharing, but then they turn to identity theft, shoplifting, and eventually murder and terrorism.
  • 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.
  • Irrelevancy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quantax ( 12175 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @10:23PM (#4539527) Homepage
    It is good that these types of debates go on, but at this point how does this even matter? We all know Rosen is not going to be like, "Oh, I was wrong after all, music should be free for all." And nor is the opposite party going to say, "Damn, we are horrible people for stealing those poor people's livelyhoods from them."

    No one is going to change their position. On top of that, this nice little debate is more or less useless. None of those students are congress people, and Berman is has shown his resolve. Nothing has changed in that exchange; we are still hurtling towards an unknown conclusion which this debate does nothing to address or even pretends to address. In the end, the students went and drank some beers and the 'big-wigs' went back home to their legal documents. This is an intellectual excersize and shows zero results other than some transcriptions and a couple webpages. We would be better off sending mailings to our representatives than listening to some nice, feel-good debate that made Rosen look foolish for a couple minutes.
  • by jimlintott ( 317783 ) on Saturday October 26, 2002 @10:58PM (#4539665) Homepage

    I'm an RIAA detective and my partner and I noticed that you were singing. May I please scan your universal id card. Enter your secret password, please and I remind you that refusing to supply your passcode is an offence.

    It says that you are not licensed for singing. You haven't submitted the proper fees. Your cable bill is also overdue. I suggest that you take this summons and pay the fine and get these matters in order.

    (There was music before the music industry and there will be music after.)

  • 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 [].
  • 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 primenerd ( 100899 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @01:45AM (#4540124)
    This may sound a little odd, but I feel sorry for Miss Rosen. She is, after all, merely trying to do her job of defending the recording industry and its business model. I think it would be fascinating to sit down with her over lunch and listen to her side of the debate without so much of the hype that seems to accompany this topic. I do not think she would convince me to see the world her way, but it would be an interesting way to spend my lunch hour. Who knows, she might just be a very nice person outside of the Internet music nastiness we are all familiar with.

  • by GospelHead821 ( 466923 ) on Sunday October 27, 2002 @05:00AM (#4540604)
    They need to understand that modern consumers, many of whom are now college students, are less and less frequently buying music by artist or genre. It is becoming far more common for consumers to acquire merely the songs that they like. Since the music industry refuses to accept this mentality, filesharing is the most effective way for consumers to acquire only the music they want. Until the music industry realizes that there is a lot of profit to be had in giving consumers exactly what they want, they're going to continue to suffer whatever losses they suffer now. Music distributors must have the authority and means to give consumers exactly the songs they want. If consumers can cheaply rip-mix-burn, there is nothing preventing music producers from doing so even more cheaply. If they do not make these changes now, when the university students become adult consumers, the music industry is really going to feel the pain they've been complaining about all this time. There's no reason why they should not take steps to prevent such discomfort, especially since doing so would probably increase their profit margin, since it would draw in people who currently avoid commercial music, for the inability to avoid the 6 bad songs that come with the 3 you like.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault