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Lessig And RIAA Answer NewsHour Questions 888

Zeta writes "The answers are finally in! Stanford's Lawrence Lessig and the RIAA's Matt Oppenheim have responded to all the tough questions on copyrighted music, many from Slashdot readers, for the online part of the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Take a look - some of the responses may surprise you." We ran the original call for questions a few weeks back.
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Lessig And RIAA Answer NewsHour Questions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:27PM (#6177878)
    "just because a car is sitting idling and unlocked does not mean that you can get in it and drive it away for your own use"

    The Riaa Guy

    I'd let anyone make a perfect copy of my car and drive away with it if they'd like, I still have my car.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:29PM (#6177894)
      "I'd let anyone make a perfect copy of my car and drive away with it if they'd like, I still have my car."

      Who'd want a copy of a Yugo?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:33PM (#6177930)
        That sort of brings up issues about if an auto manufacterer could stay in buisness if everyone did that doesn't it?
        • It's a sad fact, but when an industry becomes obsolete, people stop making money.

          People shouldn't feel hung up on the rights of the recording industry or any other one concerning their right to make money. What should matter, since it is the public that should decide, is the overwhelming public good. Why should we reward people who attempt to sell us something that can be produced and distributed for practically nothing. It makes no sense. It is an entirely useless allocation of capital that could be
    • by Libor Vanek ( 248963 ) <libor,vanek&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:03PM (#6178114) Homepage
      You are missing the point - the point is if everybody will be copying cars for free, who'll spen lots of $$ for producing them?
    • He obviously drank the Kool-Aid(tm).

      Yeah, I can't stand listening to him. All these RIAA-defenders sound like a broken record, repeating the same tired arguments over and over again. Like "intellectual property should be treated like any other property."
      • legal parrots (Score:5, Interesting)

        by poptones ( 653660 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:46PM (#6178361) Journal
        That's it exactly. Even Jack Valente - ever notice how when anyone asks a question about ethics or hitorical precedent they avoid the issue entirely, simply saying "it's the law and this is our position?" Well duh - that's because you bought the fucking laws. Apparently they don't realize that, while they claim to be "trying to reach the young people" they don't realize that they basically sound exactly like any parent saying "you can't do that because I say so and I'm the parent." Yes, we all know how well that psychology works with people in every other walk of life. Very sharp cookies, these folks.

        It's not even a fun show anymore... they've become complete bores; the tribe has spoken by the millions: it's time for the men in the sharkskin suits to leave the island.

    • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:12PM (#6178167)
      With people walking up and driving away with perfect copies, suddenly your car has no value.

      If you are a car dealer, you're done for.
      • With people walking up and driving away with perfect copies, suddenly your car has no value.

        If you are a car dealer, you're done for

        Exactly, yet if you are an original car maker, then you are still in business.


      • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:50AM (#6178663) Homepage Journal
        If you are a car dealer, you're done for.
        It would probably be better to say, "If you're a car designer, you're done for."

        Under such a scenario, the dealers would be screwed, but they wouldn't be wanted or desired or missed, either. But the designers, who put R & D effort into squeezing a few more HP or MPH out of that engine, would not only be screwed, but would be missed.

    • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:14PM (#6178178) Journal
      like lessig said in the session

      The RIAA is the Recording Industry Association of America. It is not the Recording Industry and Artists Association of America. It says its concern is artists. That's true, in just the sense that a cattle rancher is concerned about its cattle.

      sums it up nicely

    • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:40PM (#6178321) Homepage Journal
      The question was whether owning a copy of John Denver's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 on 8-track was a license for personal use or just a physical copy. So the retarded marketroid says:

      "Everything you described sounds fine to me. You should enjoy your John Denver 8 Track, and feel free to copy it to other media. The only issue would be if you decided you wanted to download somebody else's copy of John Denver's Greatest Hits (which was likely from a CD, and a much higher audio quality). "

      Dumbass! The John Denver fan asked him if it was a "license" or just a physical copy, he indicated it was a license and then proceeded to contradict himself! He proved that the RIAA wants to have their cake and eat it too; i.e. the product is only a license, until your copy breaks or wears out in which case you'll just have to buy a new one at full price.

      The guy also says, "Networks like Kazaa, Gnutella, iMesh, Grokster and Morpheus, among others, are encouraging and helping individuals to distribute perfect digital copies of music to millions of strangers simultaneously." This is of course wrong, since MP3s use lossy compression and are in that manner comparable to consumer analog formats.

      • He went on to say this -
        Just as you would not go into a video store and steal a DVD copy of Star Wars and claim that you should be permitted to do that because you own the VHS version
        So, is it legal to steal things of lower quality?
      • by danila ( 69889 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @03:45AM (#6179473) Homepage
        He is not a retarded marketdroid. He is a very skilled and experienced demagogic marketdroid. Any clear answer would be bad for RIAA. Saying that the guy owned phisical record would mean that anyone who owns CD owns it as a phisical object and can do anything with it. Saying that the guy owned the licence to the music would mean that he can get this music forever for free in any form from any source.

        The RIAA guy understood it perfectly and did what was the best for RIAA, he gave a vague answer that reinforced RIAA position that you can do only what RIAA legally allows you to do.
    • More (Score:5, Funny)

      by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:10AM (#6178485) Homepage Journal
      Someone asked if he already owned a copy of a song, could he download it from P2P. The brilliant RIAA lackey replied:
      Just as you would not go into a video store and steal a DVD copy of Star Wars and claim that you should be permitted to do that because you own the VHS version, you cannot download somebody else's copy of a recording.
      As if "download[ing] someone else's copy" removed their copy! I challenge Mr. Lackey to find ONE store that would mind if I walked in, picked up a copy of Star Wars, ran my hands over it and put it back on the shelf, unharmed. Oh wait, I used my Evil P2P Gloves (Pat. Pend.) to make a "perfect digital copy" and store it on the harddrive attached to my belt...

      Okay, here's another one:

      In legislation enacted [in 1992], [Congress] said that infringement actions cannot be filed against consumers who engage in copying using analog devices ~.
      So, here's what you do: take the digital stream and translate the binary data to tones (hi, low) and convert those tones to analog, make your copy using only analog, band pass out the gibbs artefacts, convert the tones back to digital, run through a decoder with a touch o' error correction. Done.
    • by packeteer ( 566398 ) <packeteer@subdimensio n . c om> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:20AM (#6178522)
      Matt Oppenheim (RIAA):
      "Unless you buy it, you should not copy it for your own use."

      This is such crap. What if i make it? What if its free. Millions of exceptions can be found. What if i see artwork and try to copy it at home? Is the fact that digital copies are perfect and other artwork wont copy as well really the deciding factor if its legal? Also what about public-domain works? Unless i buy them it's unethical to copy them?

      Matt Oppenheim (RIAA):
      "The DMCA Anti-Circumvention provision is not intended to stifle technological innovation. Indeed, it is intended to spur it on by creating and protecting business markets for new technologies."

      So the intent of a law or technology is what decides if its moral/legal? What about the intent of P2P? I have yet to hear one P2P creator publicize their network for "breaking laws" or "copyright infringements".

      I think that Matt Oppenheim is making really bad arguement points. Almost every point he makes can be broken down as untrue or not based on reality.
    • by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @02:25AM (#6179127)
      Much of the arguments positd by the RIAA are based on the fundamental assumption that, as the "RIAA Guy" says, intellectual property is no different than physical property.

      Obviously, when you pirate, you deprive the artist of due profit. No one seriously disputes that, to paraphrase Lessig. However, there's been no real discussion of how or why intellectual property is the same or should be treated as the same as physical property.

      This position appears to be the position by default; the RIAA-types argue that this is clearly property, how is it different? In reality, from a philosophical, practical, and legal standpoint, IP is simply not the same as physical property and, unless a very good argument to the contrary is presented, should not be treated as the same.

      This is perhaps the most irksome lapse in the RIAA's argument, to me. The similarities are there, but there are differences, too.

      There is a very good reason for copy protection, as outlined in the Constitution. You'd let anyone make a perfect copy of your car if you weren't trying to sell it; if you were, it'd benefit your business to limit the number of copies floating around so people have to buy it from you. Had you designed the car, you'd want credit for it.

      The point that the RIAA misses, though, (or tries to paper over with rhetoric) is that intellctual property is not physical property; the effects and implications of IP theft are quite different and quite complex. To merely say, "Well, it's theft" is to completely miss any real, valuable discussion of the situation and its implications.

  • by SystematicPsycho ( 456042 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:27PM (#6177879)
    Better yet, dl the the show off kazaa and watch it anytime!
  • by Maeryk ( 87865 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:30PM (#6177902) Journal
    "B. The record industry has been hit very hard in the last few years as a result of illegal downloading and piracy.

    In 2002, unit sales were down about 11 percent.
    In 2001, unit sales were down about 10 percent.
    In 2000, unit sales were down seven percent. "

    No, you jackass! Your sales are down for other reasons.. not illegal downloading.

    1) Only so many bands can look and sound identical, before people need only buy ONE album and pretend it is five different bands.

    2) Music sucks.

    3) CD's are overpriced for what you get.. when Rush used to put out albums, five or six songs were GOOD and the rest were OKAY.. now your pablum barfing force fed musicians are wont to put out one hit, on a record that Im payign 16 dollars for.

    4) see #2


    Thank you.


    • by CanSpice ( 300894 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:36PM (#6177943) Homepage
      Also in that answer was a complete non-answer. You'll note how he didn't say that the artists would get any of their money back, only that it depends on their contract. So much for the RIAA fighting for the artist, eh?
      • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:26AM (#6178556)
        Most of the RIAA rep's answers floated somewhere between overspecific responses tailored specifically for the RIAA when the question was about a broader issue, and the party line of the RIAA which stood in stark contrast to the independent thought which Lessig put forward.

        I realize that the RIAA rep is getting paid to represent his employers, but we ended up with non-responsive answers like this:

        As a technical matter, it is illegal to download a recording from another that is not yours. As a practical matter, there is no reason to do it. It is easier these days to rip a recording from a CD than to download it. And, when you rip the CD, you do not open up your computer to all of the spyware and other viruses that are part and parcel of most illegal P2P services.

        I'm glad that Oppenheim is so concerned about the tremendous amount of spyware out there (which is, strangely enough, not present in some p2p software []. I'm so glad that he's making sure we don't waste time downloading tracks that we could just rip ourselves, notwithstanding that the CD is out in the car, or that our CD-ROM just exploded, or that the CD is rife with copy protection measures that someone else was able to bypass while not under the thumb of the DMCA.

        He didn't provide any references or explanation as to why his answer - that you can't download a track for which you already own the license on the same physical source medium - was purportedly factual. In fact, I'd speculate that he's flat-out wrong.

        • medium isn't an issue either, he strongly IMPLIED that the quality of the copy you purchased was an issue. But this is certainly not copyright law. Actually, you are getting a license to the copyrighted material... cd and cassette with the same content are covered under the same copyright, therefore the same license. I purchase a song, I have the rights to that song for my private personal use.
      • You probbably also noticed that tiny distinction that Lessig made:

        • The RIAA is the Recording Industry Association of America. It is not the Recording Industry and Artists Association of America.

        But that's probably obvious... (It was so blatantly obvious, lieing directly under my nose, that I for once couldn't think of it :)

    • by Bame Flait ( 672982 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:42PM (#6177983)
      You're right on the money with #2 and #4.

      I personally could care less if "big music" goes belly up. Would that mean people would stop making music? Clearly, the answer is no.

      God forbid the music industry's demise lead to Americans thinking for themselves, and actually having to discriminate in determining which music they like, instead of being force-fed by these soulless plutocrats.
      • Belushi (the later) and Ackroyd are on Carson Daily right now and Danny boy just said "we want folks to share this, burn it, download it - have fun. We're a small label now - if I was still on Universal I'd get in real trouble for sayin' that..."
    • by plierhead ( 570797 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:17PM (#6178192) Journal

      No, you jackass! Your sales are down for other reasons.. not illegal downloading

      This (and the other responses to your post) is typical slashdottery double standards. Normally intelligent people bristle (rightly) with rage when their rights are taken away. And then (wrongly) go on to make very unintelligent statements that appear to be sheer propaganda to defend their position.

      Even if all you say is true for you (quite possibly it is, what do I know), do you really believe that no-one else in the world is spending less on CDs? Do you really think that some cash-strapped 12 year old, who now has access to $1 ripped copies of the music he wants, is going to keep on begging his parents for $15 to buy a legit copy ? Of course not. Of course he will be contributing to reduced sales.

      It is an absolute no-brainer that illegal piracy and downloading is cutting into the industry's sales. No matter how unpalatable that truth is to us.

      Before I am modded into oblivion, I am not arguing with any of the following:

      1. CDs are way over-priced
      2. It sucks that the artist gets so little on every sale
      3. The RIAA are pricks and deserve everything coming to them (heh, that should make me safe !)
      4. Downloading free music rocks !
      My only point is that is irrational to claim that illegal downloading does not impact on sales. It is blindingly obvious that some people will buy less music if they can get the same thing free or very cheap. And for sure there is not a counter-balancing volume of people out there who are buying more because of illegal copying.

      So lets not use untruths to make the industry change their position - it won't work. It plays into their hands.

      Use hard facts instead. Unless music becomes cheaper, illegal copying will go on, and will get worse. Citizens will start to see it as their duty to put up illegal P2P nodes. Even now, we are revolting ! So wake the fuck up, RIAA !

      • by aronc ( 258501 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:49PM (#6178378)
        It is blindingly obvious that some people will buy less music if they can get the same thing free or very cheap.

        True enough. However it is not the only factor involved in the sales decline. It isn't even the largest of many factors in all likelyhood. Yet the industry continually fights tooth and nail to make it look like the only possible reason under the sun this could be happening, despite the entire economy being in the shitter.

        for sure there is not a counter-balancing volume of people out there who are buying more because of illegal copying.

        Seemingly intelligent, huh? This is a downright false statement. Every study done to date that wasn't sponsored by the music industry showed that in areas with high internet penetration (say, college campuses) music sales were markedly higher after the influx of music sharing than before and far healthier than elsewhere. I would probably grant you that more individual people don't buy since they have the mp3s than do buy, but there is a rift in the types that creates a very lopsidded equation. The types of 'fans' who are satisfied with mp3s and a burned copy are much less likely to buy any given album in the first place, and less likely to spend as much on music across the board. I.E. They have 50 bucks to spend this month, w/o p2p they were gonna spend 20 on cds bust since they downloaded some of the stuff they only spend 10. The other end is people like me (or how I used to be). I was gonna spend 50 bucks that month. Before p2p 30 of it was going to be music. But since I discovered 3 new bands I liked over p2p I went and spent 60 bucks and all on music.

        That's the way it usually shakes down in my personally experience. Yeah, less people use it to sample and find new stuff than just rip whatever they heard on the radio and keep it. But those that do sample tend to be very into music. I was dream customer for the RIAA before all this crap hit the fan. Between myself and my wife we have well over 1200 store bought CDs (and no illegal mp3s, thank you very much). My half of this was amassed in less than a decade. That's more than a cd a week. Since this debacle started I've both steered away from RIAA affiliated music in general and p2p as a whole. I've bought 3 CDs in the past 8 months. Right or wrong legally, can you really say the RIAA is winning this battle or fighting the good fight?
      • I think the issue (and I'm sorry I missed the original call for questions, otherwise I would have submitted it) is this:

        The RIAA has continually asserted that there is observed correlation between the rise of P2P and a drop in CD sales, and concluded that there is a causal relationship. However, the same years have also seen a drop in the economy, plus a huge rise in sales of newer kinds of media (e.g. DVDs (especially music DVDs) and broadband internet). My question would have been: Is there any hard ev

      • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @02:06AM (#6179045) Journal
        I would counter that illegal copying is not reducing sales any more than it ever has since the invention of the cassette recorder. Remember, the ability to record on tape came before cd. Yes it's easy to find millions of songs on filesharing networks, in the same token it was never hard to get copies of all the music you wanted on tape... someone buys x tape, they make copies for all their friends who generally listen to much the same music.

        There are also the group who would have never bought the music in the first place... this group is now downloading music... umm no loss here.

        Then there is the group who loves music and will buy cd's, this group is going to support the artists they love, they are going to find more artists they love because of filesharing and will purchase more music.

        There there is another group (that I'm part of) that takes the second group a step further. Who never used to listen to much music at all and certainly never purchased cd's... but who because of filesharing has discovered some great music and has now purchased several cd's in response.

        Between all these groups of people (and other's I haven't thought of in 30 seconds or less) yes I absolutely think it's reasonable to think P2P is a scapegoat and not the real reason the recording industry is losing money.

        The REAL problem is that the recording industry hasn't really embraced technology. They view it only as a means of increasing profits and protecting their interests. What about using technology to provide more and better content to consumers and increase their sales as a side effect? Currently content is damn near infinite, why not release dvd's full of music in brick and morter stores for what their charging for cd's right now? The price difference for me to do this is about 60 cents. I suspect the price difference for them is less, not more. I'd be much more likely to pay $20 if ALL the artists previous releases were included.

        As for online music, give it to me cheap, you want a pay per download scerio, great, how about a nickel a song? They've said it themselves, online distribution allows the making of infinite perfect digitial copies... so I want the reduced costs passed directly to me and I want the PERFECT digital copies.

        And artists... how about making getting "signed" a web-form that gives the artist 20% of sales, the artist can upload his music, he gets 20%, he gets carried on a major label's site, he gets his music out there, and if he gets popular THEN they support him by bringing him in for expensive recording and such.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:47PM (#6178365)

      What's this "economy" thing and what is so important about it?


      George W. Bush, President of the U.S.
  • by cethiesus ( 164785 ) <<cethiesus> <at> <>> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:31PM (#6177910) Homepage Journal
    Haven't read it all so far, but this is just blaring...

    Nobody is really "sharing" as we traditionally think of the term. Sharing involves lending something to somebody, and while it is on loan, the owner no longer has it. "Sharing" in the P2P context has become a euphemism for "copying." That copying is neither legal nor ethical.

    So...why do they say copying music files is "stealing"? Nobody loses any physical property, nothing of monetary value, but yet "copying" is equal to "stealing" in their minds...

    From an ethical perspective, when individuals engage in illegal copying, they are taking money out of the pockets of all of the people who have put their hard work into making the music

    Yeah, and from an ethical perspective suing a student for creating a search engine and letting him go for merely all he's worth is just dandy.
    • by inKubus ( 199753 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:43PM (#6177993) Homepage Journal
      Of course we all know they mean that we are stealing from a vapor of revenue they "could have" made if the person:

      A. hadn't copied the file
      B. still wanted it enough to pay $16

      I don't have a problem paying for music, but the RIAA is making a big mistake if they think they can legislate out of existence economic law.

      Supply vs. Demand. They should view P2P as COMPETITION, not as theft. Then, they would realize what it is: An inferior method of getting inferior versions of a product for a low low low price.

      Back to the sharing!=copying!=stealing, I think that the original intent of copyright was to safeguard initial profits of a trademark or intellectual property, but then eventually safeguard the data so everyone can be enriched by it. I mean, that's what humanity is about--sharing and loving stuff, right? When did money become more important than happiness?! The RIAA wants to control everything, and they are seeing their empire collapse from under them as new, open sources of information take over where they couldn't go. Information wants to be free.

      Anyway, maybe if the RIAA LOWERED THE PRICES ON THEIR MUSIC, more people would buy it. $16 isn't reasonable. That is 3 meals. Why do we as a society accept rockstars that make a lot of money anyway? They don't deserve it. They just waste it on clothes and drugs and cars. Personally, I am happy to support good and hardworking stars that come to my city on tours. But I will never buy a CD from the big5 again. Sigh, I digress.

  • Fair Use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orinthe ( 680210 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:35PM (#6177939) Homepage
    "Many copy-protection technologies include on a CD a second copy of the album in compressed form ready for transfer to an owner's computer, but not capable of being distributed on programs such as Kazaa. These technologies are still, in many respects, in their infancy, and they will become more and more flexible over the next few years."

    So, this guy's saying that we should let everything stand for a few years, and then all of a sudden companies are going to make things _less_ restrictive? No offense, but I'm not holding my breath. I wouldn't trust the major labels to do that for a second, much less years. If we let it go until then, the DMCA/UCITA-type laws will be firmly entrenched and fair use will have disappeared entirely in digital media. Anyone else want to wait for that to happen?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:37PM (#6177951)
    One industry you don't hear complaining about P2P sharing is the porn industry. Needless to say, you can get more videos and pics on file sharing networks, etc, than you can shake a stick at (not to mention posting on newsgroups). What's their stand on file sharing? It seems like they really could care less.
    • Ever heard of ALS? Not the disease - the porn company. It started out as a shady amateur outfit populating the newsgroups with pics of barely (well, most likely not even barely) legal girls in (and out of) cheerleader outfits. They setup a website and are most likely the pioneers in one form of "gonzo" porn (in the niche involving speculums, large object insertions, gaping holes.. you get the idea).

      their work became so popular (and a few pretty well known starlets got their start with these people) it spa

  • The RIAA is desperate because bands that used to make good records can't make any more. Why? Well, because:
    1) they may not have been that talented in the first place, and/or
    2) it's hard to be that inspired when you got 5 million bucks in your pocket.
    Ever seen 5 million bucks? Most people, one they get that kinda money, go one of 2 ways:
    1) they get super-greedy, and try to just make super-popular records, which flops hard at some point.
    2) they just say "ok, i'm done" and that's it. The RIAA needs to realize that people are gonna listen to the music one way or another if 1) you can't hear it on the radio, and 2) the band's new stuff blows, or 3) if they want to hear something to see if the band's new record blows, which it most likely does. STILL, did Eminem go platinum? Yes. RECORDS ARE STILL SELLING IF THE MATERIAL IS ALL THAT GOOD/POPULAR! People really don't want the hassle of the internet, unless the material is hard to find elsewhere, i.e. at stores, or if they are unsure of the quality of the material, etc. DUH.
    • by Entropy_ah ( 19070 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:44PM (#6178351) Homepage Journal
      Congradulations, I would like to present you with the award for most unorganized ordered list.
    • by xant ( 99438 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:16AM (#6178779) Homepage
      I've suggested this before. I think that one factor contributing to the suck of music is record label contracts. They have gotten progressively more onerous as time goes on. Bands have to keep making music with each other, album after contracted album, until the contract plays out. Anyone who's done any serious creative work knows that you can't keep doing the same shit over and over.

      People keep saying "all the bands suck" but this is clearly not true, because all these bands have hits that you've heard and liked at some point. They just can't sustain that creative energy.. they hit a configuration of art and artists that work for one song, or maybe one album, and based on that they are enslaved into a contract and forced to churn out crap for the rest of their lives.

      Bands, like any creative labor, need to try different material to keep the quality of work high. They can even go back to their original stuff after a while, but to keep that engine turning they need to prime it with other sources of creative energy.
  • And it continues... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cethiesus ( 164785 ) <<cethiesus> <at> <>> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:39PM (#6177970) Homepage Journal
    Record companies don't want to lock music up -- after all, why would people buy it if they could not listen to it in the way that they wanted?

    DOES THIS GUY LISTEN TO HIMSELF? If the RIAA wants us to listen to music the way we want, why don't they let us GIVE THEM MONEY for things like music downloads or at least some sort of "approved" form of media other than $25 CDs that we can listen to however and wherever we wish?
    • 8-year-old syndrome (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phorm ( 591458 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:13AM (#6178767) Journal
      Ever stuck to an arguement even when you knew you were wrong, because it looked like you might be able to at least prevent people from finding the truth (image).

      Ever seen the 8-year-old that told an unbelievable lie, only to compound it with more wild claims in attempts at justification... it's like digging your way out of a hole but piling the dirt on your own head.

      The RIAA hasn't grown up. They're still in big-lie syndrome... and as long as some people believe that filesharing is the cause of their woes, they get some form of retribution/compensation/etc despite the shittiness of their own business model.
  • 'Amen'? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Devil's BSD ( 562630 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:39PM (#6177971) Homepage
    Matt Oppenheim from the Recording Industry Association of America responds:


    Was he saying 'Amen' to the answer from the other person,

    That would be hard for me to explain because I don't know anyone serious who doubts that under current law, individuals engage in copyright infringement when they make large quantities of copyrighted material available for others to copy without the permission of the copyright owner. But I also don't think that's the issue with P2P technologies.
    P2P technologies can be used for totally legal purposes, even if they are also used for illegal purposes. Indeed, as they develop, the vast majority of uses of P2P technology will be legal. As the Supreme Court has rightly held, a technology is not illegal if it is capable of "substantial noninfringing uses." Every P2P technology that I have seen satisfies this test.

    Or the question,

    To Mr. Lessig: please explain how anyone can claim that distributing copies of copyrighted music to a total stranger without authorization of the artist or song owner is not copyright infringement? No one thinks that making a large number of Xerox copies of a book and handing them out on the street is legal, so why is P2P [peer-to-peer] different?

    ? ;)

  • by bloosqr ( 33593 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:48PM (#6178021) Homepage
    Yes radio sucks, yes many riaa bands suck but there are definitely work arounds. I've bought more music in the last few months than I have in a really long time (mostly stuff from metropolis/different drum/emperor norton/spv and some european equivalents). Shoutcast has been a godsend for those of me , I buy records but the kids who run the radio stations on shoutcast provide a great way of discovering new music. Need decent non-riaa music for your car, leave a few shoutcast streams on overnight and rip to cd/rw while you shower and play it on your mp3 cd car player. Use opennap/gnutella/shoutcast whatever to find your new music but if you LIKE the ARTISTS and BUY THE MUSIC! Most of the smaller labels need you to do this to survive. I honestly don't think the smaller bands care if you've discovered them by browsing some kids opennap file share becase some friend of yours told you about some new ebm band called "brudershaft" and you want to know what the hype is all about. But listen to it, if you think damn this rocks, this shit should be on the radio, buy it, it wakes the radio stations up, it gets the peoples making all the cool new music the recognition they actually deserve and it'll make the radio stations not suck so hard.

  • by DevNull Ogre ( 256715 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:49PM (#6178027)
    It was kind of boring reading responses from Lessig and then from Oppenheim. I was hoping for more than just hearing them rehash the same old lines.

    I would have much preferred hearing them debate. Now that would have been interesting. I'd like to see how each would respond to the other's various arguments. (Okay, so mostly I'd like to see Lessig rhetorically clobber the RIAA guy. But I don't think that invalidates my point about a debate being more interesting.)
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:50PM (#6178035) Journal
    I was loathe to read the RIAA response since its a given that the RIAA representative will lie like a spammer. But I was drawn to it anyway.

    Every time the DMCA was brought up the RIAA guy said it was just fine because it promotes innovation, rental models, blah blah blah. And that there's that copyright office exemption thing that comes up every few years.

    Of course, what he didn't mention is

    1) The exemption doesn't do a damn thing for devices. Sure, you can break the copy protection mechanism... just don't build a device to do it.

    2) The RIAA will lobby $trenuously against any proposed exemption which affects them.

    Anyone else notice that when you surf the net for music files, you're messing with their intellectual property -- but when THEY surf the net looking for music files (and finding stuff which doesn't belong to them) it's not about property?
  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:50PM (#6178038) Journal

    Matt Oppenheim (from the RIAA): Intellectual property should not be treated any differently than other property. Unless you buy it, you should not copy it for your own use.

    Umm, the whole point of intellectual property is that it is treated differently than other property. If you buy something, absent copyright or patent law, you can copy it.

    If intellectual property shouldn't be treated any differently from other property, why can't I take it apart and examine it without violating the DMCA? If they are to be treated the same, why can't I charge an admission fee to show it to my friends? After all, I could do that with my brand new Porshe, right?

    • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:17PM (#6178194) Homepage Journal
      <ANTIPROPAGANDA STRENGTH="100%" COHERENCY="50%" ALT="I'm tired so it's not completely coherent">


      The propaganda term "Intellectual Property" is a creative fiction designed to confuse two separate types of limited control granted by government.

      1. Patents - A limited monopoly over the commercial implementation and distribution of a novel concept IN A PRODUCT. Patents represent a trade-off to encourage open distribution of the concept after the limited term of the patent. Note that a patent doesn't prevent someone from using a concept for their own use.

      2. Copyright - A time limited monopoly over the commercial distribution of an authored work. The term is limited and this is traded by the government to encourage the creation of a large public domain. Note that this is intended to prevent PUBLISHERS from making money off of other publishers works.

      Note that in both cases the primary motivation is creation of goods for the public.

      The fiction is that it isn't property at all... it's a time limited grant of monopoly, and it's meant to expire. Property is a durable item, not a lease.


  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:50PM (#6178040) Homepage Journal

    The RIAA rep shot their entire propoganda campaign in the foot with this gem:

    The idea of a virtual community that "shares" music is a great idea. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening on P2P [peer-to-peer] networks these days. Networks like Kazaa, Gnutella, iMesh, Grokster and Morpheus, among others, are encouraging and helping individuals to distribute perfect digital copies of music to millions of strangers simultaneously. Nobody is really "sharing" as we traditionally think of the term. Sharing involves lending something to somebody, and while it is on loan, the owner no longer has it. "Sharing" in the P2P context has become a euphemism for "copying." [ ... ]

    So, according to this guy, "sharing" only takes place when the lender doesn't have the shared book/CD/whatever available for their use. If the lender retains a copy, or the original, then it's not, "sharing," but, "copying."

    However, the RIAA -- and, to be fair, just about every other intellectual "property" advocate -- often refer to unsanctioned copying as, "stealing."

    Except... Wait a minute. Isn't stealing where you take a thing from someone such that, as the RIAA guys said, "the owner no longer has it?" Indeed, isn't the primary distinction between lending and stealing the consent of the owner?

    So if, because the owner retains a copy, it's therefore not sharing, then how can they possibly make the argument in the same breath that's it is stealing?

    Answer: They can't. They're trying to have it both ways. It's not stealing, it's copying, a distinct activity.

    That copying is neither legal nor ethical.

    There's little question that it's illegal -- the lobbying dollars of the RIAA and like organizations have ensured this. Whether or not it's ethical is a question that is still being discussed, and is by no means a closed subject.


  • by Shinzaburo ( 416221 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @10:51PM (#6178049) Homepage
    I am sick and tired of people comparing the sharing of music and movies as the same shoplifting or stealing a car. This is a ridiculous analogy on many levels, but my main gripe is with one level in particular: if you steal a shirt from a store, that store has suffered an actual financial loss. When someone downloads a music album from somebody else, the record company doesn't suffer direct financial loss to the same degree as if the product were physical merchandise that couldn't be digitally replicated. The record companies may suffer an "opportunity loss," if indeed that person would have purchased that album anyway (lots of people download music that they would never have spent $15/disc for), but that's not the same thing as losing the production cost and the opportunity cost.

    The marginal cost of production for music, movies, software, and other intangible property is almost zero, and it's about time people took this into account before coming up with absurdly misleading analogies.
    • I am sick and tired of people comparing the sharing of music and movies as the same shoplifting or stealing a car.

      You're right, it's much more like trespassing. If I come sleep in your bed while you're at work, as long as I make the bed and clean the sheets before I leave, you haven't suffered any actual financial loss. You've only suffered an opportunity loss, if indeed someone would have been willing to rent that room from you.

      • Trespass is probably the best meatspace analogy. Trespass law and copyright law are both about legally enforcing control.

        Laws about trespass are a balancing act, just like laws about copyright. Fair use is just like the UK laws that require rural property owners to let hikers walk through their land.

        A DVD factory in Hong Kong is like building an apartment house on someone else's property. Napster was like inviting a million of your friends to walk across someone's farm. The DMCA is like outlawing a book a
  • by umrgregg ( 192838 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:00PM (#6178095) Homepage
    Did anyone else besides me stop reading what Matt Oppenheim had written in response to these questions?

    He should have just said:

    "While lobbying for insane copyright extensions, suing kids, and whining about not milking that extra billion from teenagers over the last three years is generally not in the best interests of the public at large, it sure is helping us flog the last few drops out of a dying cow for benefit of the interested .05% of copyright holders!"

    And left me some time to read Lessig's well
    thought out, poignant, and meaningful answers.
  • by rzbx ( 236929 ) <<slashdot> <at> <>> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:05PM (#6178128) Homepage
    "Given the increased cost to produce and distribute copyrighted works..."
    This is obviously b#lls##t! Technology (internet, P2P, computers, software, electronics) have made it easier and less costly to produce and distribute ideas/music/etc. There are other things that I have found wrong in the arguments, but I don't want to spend all night typing them all out. Read carefully and question everything they say.
    • by tchdab1 ( 164848 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:34AM (#6178866) Homepage
      Example: my neighbor is a doctor who rotates responsibility for the hosiptal's medical library. Several years ago the documents (journals, etc.) began arriving there on CD. The anticipation was that they would be cheaper for the hospital to buy (lower production and shipping costs than for all that paper) and it would be easier to share with clinics and other doctors electronically (the library had to mail away the documents and have them mailed back).

      The reality is that the CD compilations now cost more than the paper documents did before, and they arrive with license restrictions stating that *they cannot be shared at all*. Multiple copies are now purchased at even greater cost.

      Better living through technology, eh?
  • by The_Spide ( 571686 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:05PM (#6178130)
    My favorite quote:
    Lawrence Lessig from Stanford Law School: The RIAA is the Recording Industry Association of America. It is not the Recording Industry and Artists Association of America. It says its concern is artists. That's true, in just the sense that a cattle rancher is concerned about its cattle.
    /me hums the tune to Dyan Lyons - Cows with guns []...
  • They wish... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:06PM (#6178140) Homepage Journal

    From Matt Oppenheim's comments:

    On the Internet however, it is extremely easy to download and the audio quality is near CD. Millions of people now mistakenly believe it is legal. The RIAA, among others, has been trying to educate people that downloading recordings from unauthorized services on the Internet is, in fact, illegal.

    Millions mistakenly believe it's legal? Do they really believe this, or is it just a good line? The truth is that pretty much everybody knows that downloading copyrighted music is illegal, and pretty much everybody figures it falls into somewhat the same category as driving five miles per hour over the posted speed limit, except that maybe speeding is a little worse, since it can actually hurt someone.

    The RIAA isn't trying to convince people it's illegal; they're trying to scare people that they're going to go to jail or be hit with fines that are completely out of proportion to the offense.

  • Appropriate. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:10PM (#6178156)
    Matt Oppenheim:

    Your claim that artists are being cheated out of their revenue is more of a popular myth than anything else. The vast majority of musicians are dying to get contracts with record companies.

    Appropriate term. At least their own unique expression of art is slowly dying while they wait to have the chance for an audience. Not that this is the RIAA's fault totally - as any good conglomeration of companies, they merely react to perceptions about public interest, and perceptions about expectation of income. They have no place for promoting art in general, or offering a forum for untested or less-than-totally-popular art.

    It's just sad that this indirectly puts them as such odds against any art that is not generating income for them.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by Poeir ( 637508 ) <poeir DOT geo AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:12PM (#6178164) Journal
    The main difference between these two:
    Lawrence Lessig:
    "The DMCA is an embarrassment to copyright law. Copyright law has always been about balance -- about the balance between restrictions and access.

    The Constitution expresses that balance: it requires that copyrights be for "limited Times;" the First Amendment requires that copyright yields to "fair use." "

    Matt Oppenheim:
    "If you are attempting to distribute recordings that you own the rights to and the RIAA is in any way preventing you from doing so, you should contact us immediately."

    Note how Lawrence Lessig focuses on balance, while Matt Oppenheim focuses on saying what consumers are allowed to do. (Lessig does not explicitly refer to people at "citizens," but Oppenheim does at least once refer to individuals as "consumers.") This shows their respective trains of thinking quite well.
  • by bethanie ( 675210 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:18PM (#6178198) Journal
    I know this is going to be a VERY unpopular opinion, but I definitely see the point that is being made by the RIAA. They are selling material that is copyrighted. That means that copying (and all permutations thereof) of that material is restricted. End of story.

    What I am reading in these reponses is a whole rash of rationalizations:
    • They screw the artists
    • They are evil corporations
    • They charge too much for CDs
    • The music sucks/everything sounds the same
    • And on and on and on...

    Let's face it: We like the music and we want to use the technology that enables us to copy and share it over the Internet for free. We want the product, but we don't want to pay.

    You can put forth all kinds of hypothetical situations where illegal and unethical intentions are not involved, but let's be grown-up enough to admit that getting something for nothing is 99% of what this is all about.

    You know what I think ought to be done about it? I think that the RIAA ought to start putting their product out there so cheaply that people won't object so vociferously to paying for it. If we could pay 5 or 10 or 25 cents for a copy of a song (I can already see pricing them on a sliding scale -- with the most popular stuff being priced highest, according to laws of supply and demand, kinda), I think that most of us would do that -- for a multitude of reasons:
    • For most of us, it's a paltry sum
    • It gives us MUCH greater choice when we get to pay for *just* the songs we want, rather than 1 or 2 good songs along with 10 tracks of filler crap
    • It helps support the artists that we like putting out the kind of music that we want
    • It's the honest thing to do (and I'm one of those people who believes that most of the time most of the people will do their best to do what's right, as long as you make it easy for them).

    So maybe I'm too naive about this stuff. But it seems pretty clear cut to me. Making copies of CDs for anything other than your own use is illegal. Does that mean that everyone who does it should go to jail? Probably not. I DO think it means that the RIAA had better wake up and realize that they have a MAJOR problem on their hands, and revolutionize the way they do business, if they want to stay in business.

    • by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:41PM (#6178326) Homepage
      It's tricky. Oppenheim's nuts if he thinks everyone believes copying IP is legal. Few make that mistake. But it has gotten to the point where the law is as obsolete as the technology it's protecting. The publishers' entire business model is based on the difficulties in moving high-quality bits around. Which, as you pointed out, is no longer something you need an RIAA for.

      Now, copyright infringment is illegal. Fine. But in 5 short years P2P services have gone from brand new to being used by double-digit percentages of the entire population of this country. A hundred million people may not be right, but you can't simply tell them they're wrong and throw the lot of them in prison. If a law is being ignored by nearly everyone, it says more about the law than the people breaking it.

  • Don't they get it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pez ( 54 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:22PM (#6178216) Journal
    Sales are down over the last two years not due
    to lost opportunities as a result of file sharing,
    they are down due to the fact that CD TECHNOLOGY
    HAS BEEN SURPASSED by magnetic media.

    News flash: LP sales are down every year since
    1990. You know why? Because CDs replaced them.
    Well guess what? CDs are now yesterday's
    technology... I can't fathom spending money to
    buy a physical medium that's more difficult to
    transport, less durable, skips, can't record,
    etc. etc. etc. The combination of computer
    digital media management plus affordable
    portable digital music players have made CDs

    Jeesh. Wake up RIAA.

  • by Remik ( 412425 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:27PM (#6178252)
    There is one difference that echoes throughout the responses that both give to each and every question. At every turn, Professor Lessig gives deference to the needs and rights of the Artists and the Recording Industry in an attempt to find middle ground. At the same time, Mr. Oppenheim only recognizes the rights of the companies he represents, completely forgetting the concept of fair-use rights and the necessity of the public domain.

  • by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:40PM (#6178319) Homepage
    ...and am not merely licensing it!

    The only issue would be if you decided you wanted to download somebody else's copy of John Denver's Greatest Hits (which was likely from a CD, and a much higher audio quality).

    Just as you would not go into a video store and steal a DVD copy of Star Wars and claim that you should be permitted to do that because you own the VHS version, you cannot download somebody else's copy of a recording.

    If they were licensing the song/or whatever to me, they shouldn't care where I got it, as long as I have a license. This says to me that they are selling me the copy, to do with as I see fit.
  • by dh003i ( 203189 ) <> on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:45PM (#6178356) Homepage Journal
    Let's examine several of Oppenheim's outright lies or dodges:

    Sharing involves lending something to somebody, and while it is on loan, the owner no longer has it.

    The question is, would he then support a virtual library of music, which purchases music/etc at bulk price and so many copies of it, and if it has 3 copies of song X, it allows 3 people to listen to song X from it's server at a time? The answer, I think, will be no, which would make him a fucking hypocrite.

    when individuals engage in illegal copying, they are taking money out of the pockets of all of the people who have put their hard work into making the music

    Nope, wrong. There's nothign that says the individual who downloaded a song for free would have blown away several bucks to get that song on a CD. So his statement is incorrect.

    AMEN!!, [in response to Lessig's statement that although the sharing of copyrighted files is illegal under current law, technology can not be made illegal if it has substantial noninfringing uses]

    I must admit, I was at first pleased upon reading this response from Oppenheim. However, if Oppenheim -- who is representing the RIAA -- really believed that, then the RIAA wouldn't be trying to stop P2P developers and shut down P2P networks, or destroy these networks by flooding them with crap.

    There are quite a few ways that these technologies can incorporate safeguards to prevent copyright infringement.

    What Oppenheim conveniently leaves out is that it is almost inherent that any technology that filter's out infringing use will also filter out non-infringing use. Computer's cannot determine whether or not something is infringing copyright. Sometimes judges can't even determine that. Any technology which very efficiently prevents copyright violations on P2P networks will very severely eliminate legitimate uses.

    The DMCA Anti-Circumvention provision is not intended to stifle technological innovation.

    Intent is irrelevant. It already has stiffled innovation and free speech.

    All that aside, the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provision has specific provisions built into it that exempts true scientific research.

    Which obviously weren't good enough. See Felton.

    every three years, the United States Copyright Office reviews whether specific exemptions need to be added to the DMCA to address this issue.

    In case Oppenheimer doesn't know, the scientific community doesn't operate on a 3-year basis. There is extremely rapid turnover in the scientific community. Current knowledge today will be old knowledge a week from now. 3 years is a long time to slow down science.

    The goal of copy protection in CDs is not to prevent individuals from making copies that they want to make for personal use, but rather to prevent individuals from distributing the recordings or making copies they don't have a right to make...Many copy-protection technologies include on a CD a second copy of the album in compressed form ready for transfer to an owner's computer

    Never-the-less, the DMCA allows copyright holders to effectively circumvent fair use. It allows them to prevent something from ever being public domain (in addition to their bribery of Congress to retroactively extend copyright laws...fucking crooks). Simply allowing such an atrocity is inexecuseable.

    irresponsible copyright holder makes a mistake, the DMCA has a process built into it for counter-notifications to be made in which an individual can dispute a take down notice.

    This is Oppenheimer's response to the cease&desist questions. For the most part, I found his response here reasonable, but this is a half-truthed statement.

    The DMCA may have such a process in it, but that's irrelevant. ISP's will automatically take down the sites of anyone accused of infringement, and they have to counter-claim etc to revoke that (because ISP's aren't liable if they do such). This is a bad
  • by Bootsy Collins ( 549938 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2003 @11:46PM (#6178359)

    OK, this will probably cost me karma, but I gotta say it: I can't help but wonder if the last question, asked by someone who wished to remain anonymous, was posed anonymously to avoid admitting publicly to owning (and choosing to listen to) John Denver's Greatest Hits.

    P.S. Volume 2???

  • Copying CDs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePyro ( 645161 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:05AM (#6178464)

    When you buy a CD, you should feel free to copy it for your own use.
    - Matt Oppenheim, RIAA

    I'd love to, except that some nefarious individual seems to have "copy protected" some of my CDs.

  • by tfoss ( 203340 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:36AM (#6178601)
    In the first answer to a question about libraries, Oppenheim says:

    Sharing involves lending something to somebody, and while it is on loan, the owner no longer has it. "Sharing" in the P2P context has become a euphemism for "copying." That copying is neither legal nor ethical
    and then From an ethical perspective, when individuals engage in illegal copying, they are taking money out of the pockets of all of the people who have put their hard work into making the music...

    Yet using the same logic, reading a book checked out from the library would be just as unethical since you are "taking money out of the pockets..."

    Those companies (including Pressplay, Rhapsody, Listen, etc.) are delivering to consumers high quality music online in a format and form that consumers have demanded.

    Actually, a quick look at the subscription numbers of those services shows quite well how that is simply not true. Consumers have not demanded a crippled product that disallows most of the abilities they want.

    The goal of copy protection in CDs is not to prevent individuals from making copies that they want to make for personal use, but rather to prevent individuals from distributing the recordings or making copies they don't have a right to make.

    Yet it seems they have not discovered the magic way of discerning between those two, so will happily prevent both.

    The record industry has been hit very hard in the last few years as a result of illegal downloading and piracy.
    In 2002, unit sales were down about 11 percent.
    In 2001, unit sales were down about 10 percent.
    In 2000, unit sales were down seven percent.
    During that same period, illegal Internet downloading has skyrocketed. On the FastTrack network alone, there are about 900 million files being distributed at any given moment. The majority of those files are music files. Polls confirm that those individuals who are downloading illegally online are buying less. That illegal downloading is decreasing sales is probably not a surprise to anyone.

    Such a common, simple, wrong assumption at work here. A decrease in sales and an increase in music downloading have *not* been shown to be related. The economy as a whole has been hit very hard in the last few years. In fact, studies [] have suggested this effect can explain nearly all of the riaa members' decreased sales. It is handy to have a scape-goat, but as usual, the scape-goat is likely not the problem at all.

    In any event, are you suggesting that a royalty dispute between an artist and a label is justification for stealing from both of them? Would you feel free to shoplift a CD from a record store based on that logic?

    Hm, I wonder, is it ok to steal from a thief. You could just as easily frame it as 'how dare you steal my stolen goods!'

    Given the increased cost to produce and distribute copyrighted works, Congress has tried to keep pace with what it has believed is necessary to continue to incentivize creators and publishers

    Increased cost? That seems to be backwards, progress has decreased the barrier not increased it. As for the second clause, bullshit. Congress has bowed to corporate lobbying. You can't honestly say with a straight face that any person needs life+70years' worth of fiduciary recovery as incentive.

    Just as you would not go into a video store and steal a DVD copy of Star Wars and claim that you should be permitted to do that because you own the VHS version, you cannot download somebody else's copy of a recording

    Again, apples and oranges. Stealing a DVD is depriving ownership of an object, Copying a song is depriving no one of ownership.


  • by Onan The Librarian ( 126666 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @12:42AM (#6178627)
    Mr. Oppenheim remarks: "If art of any form is going to survive and flourish in our culture, we need to support it and protect it."

    This is a cynical and ingenuous statement. Perhaps Matt believes that is the goal of his organization, but its aims appear now to have more to do with lining its executives' pockets than with the promotion of the arts. The music industry wants us to believe that without them there would be no more music, no more arts. What crap. People would still write, play, and even record & distribute music. People did plenty of that before there was a music industry. The only difference would be... no music industry ! Which of course means no more fat cats, no more industry control of popular culture, no more middlemen whose main purpose in all of this is to keep their jobs.

    And yes, Matt, some of us have considered that whole infrastructure from Sheryl Crow to the clerk at the local CD store and everyone in between. The Internet indeed threatens the existence of that infrastructure, and it is in the way of such things that your industry would rather fight than switch. I find it still ludicrous that iMusic and similar services are being touted so loudly, when the total amount spent on a CD's number of songs still comes to what you'd pay for a CD in the store. Yes, we get to choose the tunes, but we actually get less (no packaging, no Easter eggs, no value added) for the same money. Which means your industry can charge essentially the same amount of money for the product while eliminating the infrastructure you yourself want us to care so much about. Hmm...

    Here's a real idea, Matt: Why doesn't your industry get it together to place kiosks in my local CD store, kiosks that are basically high-speed connections to a content delivery service. These stands would let me select or even design the CD cover material, then I could download and burn the content to disc right then & there, I get the jewel case and all. Hey, if I spend enough maybe you guys could throw in a little extra value, kinda like all the bonus material you get from a DVD. You think a store with maybe twenty of those kiosks would do a bumpin' business ?

    So there's an idea, Matt. I haven't copyrighted or patented it yet, so I'll let you have it for free. Go ahead, share it with your friends. I'm releasing it on the Internet under the GPL anyway...
  • by tchdab1 ( 164848 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:01AM (#6178707) Homepage
    RIAA: "Intellectual property should not be treated any differently than other property." Yeah, but it *is* different than other property. Duh. Why are we having these discussions over and over? If they keep telling us this they hope we will finally believe it. Those claiming ownership of that which cannot be contained run to the regulatory agencies in hope of enforcing their position. They will win only if we give in to them. Let's back legislation that allows for *reasonable* profits and open access. Who decides what that means? We all do. I'm done.
  • What about theft? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TomatoMan ( 93630 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:08AM (#6178743) Homepage Journal
    Who owns stolen property? The original owner, or the thief? If "fair use" privilege travels with ownership of the original media, then the RIAA loses either way.

    You buy a CD, and rip it to mp3. This is legal, right? You own the CD.

    I then steal your CD.

    So: who owns it now? Who has the "fair use" privilege?

    If I own it because I stole it (more precisely: you NO LONGER own it because you don't have it anymore), then I can rip it to mp3 legally even though I got the CD through illegal means. What you and I would do in this case is rob each other. You steal all my CDs and rip them, and I'll steal all your CDs and rip them, and aside from the crime of theft (and neither of us press charges, and "accidentally" leave our crates of stolen CDs at each other's houses next time we visit), no laws have been broken.

    If you still own it even though I stole it, then you still have all your fair use rights, including making a new CD to replace the one I stole.

    We can still rob each other.

    How would the RIAA answer that?

    My hunch is the only way out for them would be to claim that there is no "fair use" rights on stolen property, and that everybody loses their rights and has to buy new copies. (Which of course works out wonderfully for them.) I guess at that point your recourse is to consider my theft of your CD a "loan" so you can burn a new CD, claiming to still own it. So the theft victim's claiming ownership of the stolen property is the only way to retain their "fair use" rights.

    Isn't this astonishingly stupid?
  • by SnakeStu ( 60546 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:11AM (#6178756) Homepage

    The music industry loves to draw the analogy between stealing tangible products (shoplifting a CD, etc.) and making copies of intangible products that leave the original untouched, and of course they use the term "theft" to describe making those copies. For those who would mindlessly nod their heads and mumble about how correct this analogy must be, a simple definition [] of "theft" puts the lie to it:

    ...The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same...

    (emphasis mine)

    I'm not saying that making copies is not a violation of our woefully-imbalanced copyright laws, because in many cases it is a violation of the law (i.e., when no permission from the copyright owner exists, whether on an individual or advance license basis). But the "shoplifting" analogy should immediately result in derisive laughter until the person presenting it is silenced and never brings it up again.

    Just my humble opinion, of course. :-)

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:20AM (#6178799) Journal
    Homeless person A: "Anyone mind if I set myself up under this next bridge here"
    Homeless person B: "Wouldn't recommend it. That's been the new headquarters for all the RIAA execs who hung on until the end"
    Homeless person A: "Oh, well I don't want to associate with them. How about in this dumpster instead"
    Homeless person B: Well, I think somebody from SCO was using it a short while back, but it might be free now.
  • I guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) < minus bsd> on Thursday June 12, 2003 @01:58AM (#6179000)
    "The DMCA Anti-Circumvention provision is not intended to stifle technological innovation"

    Just like the Gatling Gun was meant to end wars quicker, not make the murder of huge numbers of people fast and efficient.

    So what with intentions; It sure as hell IS stifling innovation, no matter what you say (See kid who wrote search tool, lost life's savings to RIAA). That it (supposedly) isn't meant to stifle innovation, but can, doesn't matter to large corporations that are so consumed by moneylust that they will do anything to turn a profit.
  • by dpille ( 547949 ) on Thursday June 12, 2003 @02:00AM (#6179014)
    before I get so angry I've got to post.

    RIAA guy re: cease-and-desist letters:
    We are not accessing anybody's "property," and we are certainly not violating anybody's personal rights.

    Really, you mean my copyrighted content on my website is not my property? Interesting, grasshopper, perhaps you should consider whether your own organization owns any "property" as you say.

    In defending extended copyright terms, RIAA guy:
    Given the increased cost to produce and distribute copyrighted works...

    Right, I forgot how much more expensive it is to post a single mp3 file than to press a million CD's. That certainly explains why my paper industry stocks are doing so well: it's just so much cheaper to print copies than put them online.

    I know I'm nitpicking, but for the love of god, doesn't this guy have the RIAA-mandated filter between his rational mind and his keyboard/voice? I'm usually a lot more even-keeled, but this stuff is straight from left field.

When a Banker jumps out of a window, jump after him--that's where the money is. -- Robespierre