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EFF Ad Campaign On File Swapping 501

miladus writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation is launching an ad campaign to counter the RIAA's lawsuits about file swapping. There are more details available at the File Sharing: It's Music To Our Ears subsite." The press release kicking off this campaign says that "EFF's Let the Music Play campaign provides alternatives to the RIAA's litigation barrage, details EFF's efforts to defend peer-to-peer file sharing, and makes it easy for individuals to write members of Congress."
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EFF Ad Campaign On File Swapping

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  • Shouldn't that be... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Victor Liu ( 645343 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:53PM (#6334346) Homepage
    the Electronic Frontier Foundation?
  • by netolder ( 655766 ) * on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:55PM (#6334358)
    The RIAA/MPAA know how to manage our lawmakers - through their lobbying and campaign contributions. EFF's attempt to mobilize the voters is really the only chance we have against that kind of influence.
  • That's because... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rusty spoon ( 564695 )
    "Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush,"

    So millions of people doing the wrong thing somehow makes it right. I don't think so.

    • In a democracy... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Atario ( 673917 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:57PM (#6334375) Homepage does.
      • *HINT* (Score:2, Insightful)

        The US is not a true democracy. It is a representative republic.

    • So millions of people doing the wrong thing somehow makes it right. I don't think so.

      In fact, that's how our representative republic works. At least, millions of people doing activity X tends to make it legal.

      Morality is your own business. I couldn't care less what your attitude on that is - you don't have to live my life.

      • Re:That's because... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:02PM (#6334417) Homepage
        In fact, that's how our representative republic works. At least, millions of people doing activity X tends to make it legal.

        As an example may I suggest prohibition - drinking was illegal, but that was soon changed when overwhelming public opinion became pro-drinking.
        • Who the hell woudl have voted for Prohibition anyways? I just can't imagine anybody wanting to do that.

          • 2/3 of the voters in 2/3 of the states. That's what's required for an Amendment IIRC.
          • Who the hell woudl have voted for Prohibition anyways? I just can't imagine anybody wanting to do that.

            Ask you neigbor, Mrs Jane Shmane, age 64, what is her opinion on legalization of cannabis. This should give you a general picture.
      • Re:That's because... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:11PM (#6334485) Journal
        In fact, that's how our representative republic works. At least, millions of people doing activity X tends to make it legal.

        Hasn't worked for the millions of pot smokers being persecuted in the name of the children.
        • Re:That's because... (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BagOBones ( 574735 )
          Well eccept in Canada where it is still illegal to traffic and possess large amounts.
          But small amounts will now only land you a fine not a criminal record.
        • Which shows what our current gov thinks about public opinion, neh?

      • by deadsaijinx* ( 637410 ) <> on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:14PM (#6334519) Homepage
        Unfortunately, a lot of powers at be have tried to enforce Morality. Take prohibition for an example, it's a law that NEVER should have passed because it was religious zealots trying to enforce their morals. And when you really think about it, many laws are based on morals, loosely or strictly. Patent law is an example. It wouldn't be right to let people steal my work, so I use the law to protect it. How about the ammendments? It wouldn't be right for us to force our beleifs on other people, so we have freedom of religion. (Did you know G. W. Bush actually had a Jesus day when he was a player in Texas? scary stuff).

        Thomas Thoreau beleived as you did, in an expedient Gov't. However, the gov't we have today tries to enforce it's own morals onto other people.
    • "Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush,"
      So millions of people doing the wrong thing somehow makes it right. I don't think so.

      A leap of logic there. It is not about right or wrong of "piracy" that is being discussed here. It is the number of people that would potentially be affected by the aggressive lobbying of RIAA/MPAA.

      • Re:That's because... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Master Bait ( 115103 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#6334710) Homepage Journal
        Sad to say, this EFF ad campaign is weak in comparison to what potential they COULD have. What's worked for right-wing groups such as the Christian Coalition and the NRA is to target a marginally-held Congressional seat of one of their opposers. They pour money and 'grass-roots' footwork and work to defeat their opponent.

        EFF should be putting in efforts to target one of the RIAA's lapdogs which is running against someone who supports the EFF's efforts. Just one Congress-critter being defeated with the efforts of the EFF would cause many, many more members of Congress to do more of the EFF's bidding. And that's what we want.

        Letter writing campaigns like the EFF proposes right now is wasted baggage. Congress critters don't c are about letters, they care about getting reelected.

    • Well, I would tend to agree with you. Nothing can make GWB's election right, regardless of how many people... Oh, wait a minute... -- MG
    • umm actually, its only 'wrong' because of artificial limits placed by copyright. its only 'wrong' because a lot of people once thought it was. alot of people right now must not feel that way. we as a people arent here to support someones business models.

      im all for art. im not for mass produced art.

      how bout...we go back to the time where your money was made from performing and not from milking something you churned out once.

      the whole issue is file sharing is here. NOTHING will stop it. Its like the "war"
  • by default luser ( 529332 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:55PM (#6334362) Journal
    Honestly, the point of groups like the EFF is to proactively seek to change things NOW.

    But does anyone honestly believe we will see MAJOR change in the entertainment industry in even 20 years? It takes times for behemoths to fall.
  • Ho yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:56PM (#6334365) Homepage
    Our work newsgroups went into a panic when the RIAA announced that they were going to be sueing people.

    Amusingly it took them about 30 seconds to get around to Freenet and how it might be worth investigating it.

    Evil contains the seeds of it's own destruction as they say - being over zelous with a bunch of basically honest people who like to share some music yet still buy lots has foced them onto a more efficient, totally untraceable (or rather plausibly deniable) network. It's certainly not pushed them towards legal services.
  • Complications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Pollo Loco ( 562236 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:57PM (#6334373)
    I like the Ad [] .
    It's simple, and to the point. However the site with more information [] is waaaaay too complicated for most people. I've been trying in recent times to explain to people why I stopped buying cd's. Why the RIAA suing for 98 billion dollars is recockulus. But people in general don't understand. And this site is too complicated. People will read it, say wtf is "compulsory licensing" and go back to downloading porn. What we need is a good site with the whole idea explained simply. That would be excellent.
    • Re:Complications (Score:3, Interesting)

      by donutz ( 195717 )
      I like the Ad.
      It's simple, and to the point.

      It is. I can't seem to find a banner ad graphic anywhere on that I could put into rotation on my website. I mean, I don't have a lot of dollars to spare to join or anything right now, but I can certainly donate some space on my web page to help raise awareness of the EFF and what they're doing...and that could help bring in some more people who do have money now, and who are interested in the issues EFF is advocating.

      Has anyone put together a good banne
  • Proper Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:58PM (#6334381) Homepage
    It's good to see that the EFF is focusing on getting them to create a way to pay people, rather then the usual P2P chant of making the theft legal.

    Apple has it right, people will pay if there is a way to do so, otherwise they WILL just steal stuff.
    • by Thinkit3 ( 671998 ) * on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:01PM (#6334408)
      Copyright violation!=stealing. Damn some people are dense. Is it nice not needing hammers around?
    • Re:Proper Focus (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jc42 ( 318812 )
      It should be noted that the RIAA is not trying to make sure that people get paid for their music. They represent the recording industry, and we've had very thorough documentation of the fact that in this industry, the musicians mostly don't get paid at all. And Apple doesn't seem to be fixing this. They are mostly supplying the same recordings that were made under contracts that give all the profits to the corporations, and nothing to the musicians.

      If the EFF really wants to get musicians on their side,
  • Congress needs to spend less time listening to record industry lobbyists [...]

    ...but the lobbyists are the ones taking our senators out for $250 steaks & donating millions of dollars to their respective party. With our current government, we need to convince congress that it is worth their while to listen to us 60 million americans. (FYI, 60M downloads != 60M users)

    maybe we could start one of those pyramid schemes where you add your name to the bottom of the list & send $5 to everyone on the

    • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:26PM (#6334620)
      ...but the lobbyists are the ones taking our senators out for $250 steaks & donating millions of dollars to their respective party. With our current government, we need to convince congress that it is worth their while to listen to us 60 million americans.

      If you can get those 60 million Americans to vote and make their voices heard to the politicians then no amount of steak dinners and golf outings are going to change their mind. Without votes they are powerless. The only reason they cozy up to the lobbyists is because they are the ones promising that they have control of the public opinion in whatever segment of the population they represent. If politicians start to doubt that then they'll tell them to go to hell in an effort to pander to their constituents.

  • Names? (Score:3, Funny)

    by r84x ( 650348 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <x48r>> on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:58PM (#6334386) Homepage Journal
    Did anyone else notice that the EFF Executive Director, the person who is trying to encourage file sharing, is named Shari Steele? I cannot think of a a better name for a person defending sharing, Except Mr. P. Too Pee, that is.
    • Re:Names? (Score:5, Funny)

      by sisukapalli1 ( 471175 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:09PM (#6334473)
      Did anyone else notice that the EFF Executive Director, the person who is trying to encourage file sharing, is named Shari Steele? I cannot think of a a better name for a person defending sharing, Except Mr. P. Too Pee, that is.

      Unfortunately, there is also a Steele attached to the name, providing enough ammunition to the *AA. S

  • get it on tv... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @05:59PM (#6334394) Homepage Journal
    from the looks of this - it appears EFF is going to be running newspaper and magazine ads. wrong place. these need to be made into 30 second television commercials, where a much wider audience can be reached.
  • Bzzt...Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:00PM (#6334399)
    "The problem is that there is no adequate system in place that allows music lovers access to their favorite music while compensating artists and copyright holders."

    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say this is flat our wrong. There are SEVERAL music services that allow one to download music, burn it to CD, carry it on portable players, and the like. I use two, emusic and iTunes (which appearantly is going to be available for Windows this year).

    I get the feeling, that music "sharing" people are only interested in a service if it costs NOTHING. If that is the case there will NEVER be a way to pay artists, since noone wants to pay. Get of your ass, quit downloading music you didn't pay for, and quit bitching.

    • by geekwench ( 644364 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:23PM (#6334592)
      Both services are fairly new, and neither offer much if anything (at least that I've been able to find) in the way of the indie / alternative stuff that comprises a good 75% of my music library. Now if you want the latest BritTinaKira clone, FillInTheBlank Boys band, or long established musician / group with huge fan base and equal clout, you're good to go. For the up-and-coming, however, there's not much that will allow you to hear before you buy, unless they get tapped to provide a song for a car commercial. (One big exception being Of course, you'll have to wade through a lot of chaff to find the wheat, but you always do.)

      My point is that file-sharing and file-swapping serve a legitimate purpose. The RIAA would serve the interest of its affiliated artists far better by finding a way to legitimize file-swapping as a form of promotion, instead of trying to nail Kazaa users for offering a years out of press Bowie live club track for download. The genie is out of the bottle, and there's no getting him back in. But he can be harnessed and put to work in a positive way. The RIAA needs to rethink its business dynamic in a big way. Online music libraries for legal download can only help matters in the long run.

    • Re:Bzzt...Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:42PM (#6334731) Homepage Journal
      I use two, emusic and iTunes (which appearantly is going to be available for Windows this year).

      And when did these services go on-line? You have heard the president of Sony music saying the success of iTunes woke [] the industry up, making them realise they could make money this way?

      The problem has been, and always has been, the record labels refusing to give the customer what they wanted: diversity, choice and fair pricing. If you want to hear the songs of a new artist not on the Top 40 or Clear Channel's Can-Play list, or just listen to the back catalog of a New Wave 80s group, you basically had no option other than piracy and P2P. Internet Radio stations were few and far between, and their diversity was limited (for reasons we all know and love). The demand was there, but the RIAA just didn't want to give their customers what they wanted.

      That, my good sir, is why P2P exists. It stepped up to fill a void by music buyers to try and discover before they buy. The idea that "sharing" people won't buy has been debunked so many times, it's not even worth my time to look up the links for you. You are defend ing the RIAA's stupidity and avarice. Their arguments don't hold water anymore, and it's time to find a new whine other than "theives and freeloaders!"

  • Making an arcade machine give you free games. After all, you didn't take anything tangible away from the owners.
    • by default luser ( 529332 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:13PM (#6334510) Journal
      Bad reference. Copyright violation ( in truth ) would be playing a ROM you do not own using MAME.

      Your reference is flawed because the arcade machine is OWNED by somebody, and if an arcade machine is on free play that's their problem.

      Either they're being very generous, or they realize what you're doing and kick your ass out on the street.

      In truth, electronic music/movie distribution HAS NO COLLARY because it is a system that has no personal enforcement, and thus encourages people to take advantage of the system.

      You cannot easily go into a record store and walk out with an album, it's very likely you will be caught by the owner. But you can go online and download the album and burn it, with little likelyhood of prosecution.

      Direct supervision keeps theives in check, and keeps honest folks honest. Indirect supervision is a field-day for theives, and tempts honest people.

      WHY IS EVERYONE SO SURPRISED AT THIS? Just look at the percentages of people who violate speed limits whn nobody's looking versus the number of people who violate speed limits WHEN COPS ARE SPEED TRAPPING, and you'll see similar numbers.

      I thought it was well understood by companies, after 20 years of trying to MAKE COPY PROTECTION WORK. If there's a link in the chain you cannot supervise personally, somebody is going to break it.
  • by Traa ( 158207 ) * on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:00PM (#6334403) Homepage Journal
    For those of you who do not feel the need to RTFA, and might easily take the slashdot story the wrong way, here is the important part of what the EFF is after (Paragraph 2 on the the EFF site):

    The problem is that there is no adequate system in place that allows music lovers access to their favorite music while compensating artists and copyright holders.

    This is quite different from the 'illegal-file-sharing-rules!! the RIAA-sucks!!' idea I got from the slashdot story. I very much agree and support the EFF in this effort. Give the artists what they deserve, give me what I want and stop artificially inflating the music prices.
    • The weird thing is, with services like Rhapsody and the iTunes store going strong, why is there any controversy about this anymore? Why aren't all the labels rushing to hop onto the gravy train?

      I've been using Rhapsody for many months and haven't downloaded an illegal track since getting the service. But there are big gaps in their catalog (generated by uncooperative labels) that are tempting me back onto the path of eeeeeevil. Wouldn't they be better off throwing their whole catalogs onto Rhapsody (or
      • The business downside (to online music stores) can probably be found in the difference in margin between the sales of CD's and sales of tracks through online services. Recently someone broke down where the $0.99 went that is paid for a track through Apple's online music store. The breakdown showed that something like $0.12 went to the artist. Doesn't look like that is very much, but it happened to be a lot more then the amount that they get for each dollar made through regular CD sales.

        In other words, the
      • CD/Jewel Cases are the easy part. Selling those in stores is the hard part. You need a distributor and a lot of publicity before record stores will put the album on the shelves. The RIAA has worked really hard to make the situation in brick-and-mortar record stores like this and they won't adopt any online replacement until the barriers for entry by smaller record labels are as high or higher than those currently in place at record stores.

        It's about control of the distribution channel. They'd rather co
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Coyright reform will never happen. Our bill of rights is "tolerated" by the elite, but cheangeable
    at thier whim. When it comes to intellectual property the elite class will put its foot down and
    not budge an inch. To reform copyright and patent law will take away control from the elite class, and
    they will not allow any such reform to happen.
  • by Peterus7 ( 607982 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:04PM (#6334428) Homepage Journal
    Kidnapping maidens (Hilary Rosen), plundering,(Well, stealing songs off CDs), killing,(Well, hacking the RIAA's website), sailing,(the net) and getting drunk.

    It's about time Pirates started acting like them.

  • Hmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zigg ( 64962 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:09PM (#6334470)

    Yes, copyright is way out of whack today. (Personally, I'm for 20 years, and 5 for software with mandatory source code escrow.)

    Yes, the content producers want to take away fair-use rights. (Meaning format-shifting, not what's commonly referred to as "file sharing" -- which is just unauthorized copying.)

    Yes, it is true that spreading music files around can help lead to sales. (This is only right to do when the copyright holder authorizes it.)

    Does that somehow make sharing copyright-protected material right? Most definitely not. I hope the EFF doesn't send the wrong message here.

    Countering the suits against the infringers is exactly what should not be done. The copyright holders are finally doing the right thing by going after the actual infringers, instead of the service providers.

  • by SolidGold ( 86023 )
    The music labels do add value. The thing that makes a song popular is not that it is good, it is because it is promoted. Of course not every promoted song becomes popular, but as a general rule, a song must be both promoted and decent in order to become popular. Being a good song only gets a very small minority of songs popular.

    If we got rid of marketing, then it would perhaps be a good thing, but it would drastically change the face of music. Everybody would be looking for different songs, or would not kn
  • You know, have the ISP provide you with a file sharing service that networks with all the other ISP's file sharing service for an extra 10 bucks a month (if cable/DSL) and free if you use 56k (because the chances of you successfully downloading anything are... Well, not as good as with the higher bandwidth.)

    Then this money would go to the RIAA or whatnot. Maybe if they pursued some sort of campaign like this, they might make more money, because a lot of the people who are supposively 'hurting' the RIAA by

  • by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:11PM (#6334492) Homepage
    Current P2P systems are being hampered by deliberately corrupted files, as well as music companies joining the network to get evidence against users.


    1) create new protocol for P2P sharing
    2) patent that protocol (in as many countries as possible, or at least all those that the xxAA operates in), ideally giving the patent rights to somebody like EFF
    3) release code/client with a patent license that prohibits the behavior above

    If the RIAA/MPAA/xxAA violate the patent, charge them with DMCA or patent violations.

    Just a thought... the DMCA can work both ways, you know.

  • by WC as Kato ( 675505 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:11PM (#6334496)

    Rather than trying to sue people into submission...

    Suing is the American way! Hey, you don't like it? Sue me.

  • So basically we've decided to /. Congress. Groovy, but before we do, someone get me a video camera and point out Orrin Hatch. This should be good >=)

  • "...EFF will also place advertisements about the Right to Share campaign in magazines such as Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World, and PC Gamer. . ."

    First of all, the EFF is not going to convince anyone by placing ads in those magazines. It's like preaching to the choir.

    Second, we have no "right to share" if sharing infringes on someone's copyright.

    I say if the RIIA wants to sue people who are breaking the law by infringing on their copyrights then let them. These people knew, or should have known, th
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:15PM (#6334528) Homepage
    In a democracy the public should have a right to determine what is publicly acceptable and legal and what is not. Certainly where somewhat in excess of 50% of internet users are trading copyright files (and yes, I do know that it's an unrepresentative sample of the population) and no person has a qualm about swapping some CDs with friends (Can I borrow that CD? no, it's copyrighted. Ha, as if.) the law is probably outdated and should be reconsidered.

    If the EFF can mobilise popular support to legalise file sharing, at least on a limited level (so keep it illegal, say, for commercial pirates or profit making entities to copy music), then I would be all for it. You opinion might be different, which is why I hope that more voters agree with me ;o)
    • In a democracy the public should have a right to determine what is publicly acceptable and legal and what is not.

      You are correct. Actually, that would make a reasonable definition of a democracy. But this is a story about US copyright issues. The US is not and never has been a democracy. It was formed as a representative republic and has degraded into a corporate republic. The public has little input into the political process.

      Unless the voters that agree with you can outspend the RIAA in the polit

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:20PM (#6334565) Journal
    First p2p is legal and this is not what the RIAA is going after. They are going after individual mp3 pirates in their most recent legal rampage. Yes they tried to go after the p2p networks but failed. They are now going after the users.

    Swapping mp3's is illegal and unethical. Not to be flamed but the RIAA did offer an alternative via itunes. At .99c a song their is no execuse.

    The RIAA is still bad of course but they are reforming. I agree that they have the right to go after big time pirates who make up %85 of piracy. Its that or go after the p2p networks which I oppose.

    I can not wait for the new itunes store for Windows. I want the RIAA to know that this is acceptable and the only way to do that is with my dollars. I withheld purchasing cd's for 3 years now and also voted with my dollars. The RIAA just cares about the money. Nothing else.

  • The reality is that we (the techno elite) should be responsible for building a workable solution that would allow artists a way to make a living (not make a million). The old guard (RIAA et al) was terminally flawed and we engineered a consumer revolution. I think that is great - yay us! Our government failed to protect the consumer from evil corporations (as they always will until we find a way to take money out of politics) and we stood up for ourselves (and even joe/josephine sixpack) and showed that we
  • why dont they tax a bunch of shit like they did with blank audio cassettes to offset piracy. like 10% of cdr's and 1% of hds or something silly. maybe 10% of broadband service or something.

    then we can listen to the arguments about how the cd music production costs are just as high as they were the day they came out. and how there isnt any room for lowering their costs.
  • by whig ( 6869 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:23PM (#6334601) Homepage Journal
    The network will become fully sentient soon.

    All the indications are clear. Within 10 years time, the consciousness of the people comprising the communications of the planet are combining into a common intelligence.

    It is not only predictable, it is now inevitable. Just as Moore's Law predicts the doubling of circuit density every 18 months, the doubling of communications links proceeds at a geometric rate.

    Copyright will fall to the network. The intelligence of the network is directly proportionate to the number of unique voices to which any individual may hear at any time. Copyright imposes a cost to hear each voice, as this cost reduces to zero, the entirety of the connected human population will hear one another, at will.

    When this happens, a new Renaissance will flourish. Art will be promoted on quality, not on its profitability to the distributors. For if distribution costs nothing, there is no incentive to promote the latest Britney Spears album to the masses of people who do not know any better.

    When you can hear anything, you will want to hear the best music you can find. Friends will recommend to you what they enjoy, and you will be able to listen at once and form your own opinions.

    Artists will prosper under the new system. People will gladly pay people to produce quality, to perform, to entertain and enlighten them. And without the middleman distributors, 100% of the money going to such things will enrich the artist.

    This is the new world, it will be here soon.
  • Insanely Stupid: Discredit a premier electronic freedom organization by (apparently) sanctioning copyright violations, bringing on further anti-freedom legislation and negative press.

    Deviously Brilliant: Use a subject of intense interest to draw publicity and possible membership and funding to a premier electronic freedom organization.

  • by lurid980 ( 679436 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:32PM (#6334663)
    This is the age of information, the age of technology. Anyone can get a computer, and a nice one too, on a months salary or less. It is very common to find multiple machines in a single household. With broadband you're seeing even more online and online often. The computer has now been put right up there with the television as an entertainment device. As more and more people adopt this mindset, more and more people are going to be using this so-called 'entertainment device' for, wait for it.. wait for it.. Ah! Entertainment! Music is one of the most basic forms of entertainment there is. And if people are looking towards computers to provide that, the RIAA needs to adapt to that demand of the market. Thus far, no one has responded well except Apple, but I'll get to them in a minute.

    When I was sent my first MP3 on IRC back in '96 I thought it was pretty cool. No longer did I need 10 meg .wav files for a few seconds of audio. Granted MP3s were several megs for a full song, but this was much better than 50 megs for the same .wav file. I knew then, when I found myself 'collecting', that this was going to be a problem.

    In any case, the word about MP3 spread like wildfire amoungst people 'in the know' and FTPs were set up all across the 'net housing files. This was a some what underground thing until Napster showed up. Once again, proving that the more you yell about somethig, the more popular it gets, Metallica single handedly made MP3 a household name.

    By now, the idea of getting music online was so entrenched in everyones minds, the thought of not being able to play music on your computer became an almost alien concept. In my opinion this is where the RIAA, if they were sensitive to consumer opinion, could have stepped in and made a killing. As of now, they're only alieniating potential customers. As was said on Slashdot:

    "I don't get it! I've threatened them, sued them, and they still won't buy my products!"

    Apple has the right idea. They're selling single songs. Not only have they made a few million so far from this, but its proving that people _will_ buy music online. Why? Because the computer is now an entertainment device. There has been some opposition to this by people like Linken Park (do people really listen to this crap?) and Jewel (who openly admitted to downloading music a few years ago). Basically they say that their work is art and should be taken as a whole. But lets look at that.

    You make a CD that kicks ass in every way possible, every track has you giving 100%, every second is thought out and wonderful (like say, Tool ). And then say you're some corperate crap band that makes _one_ good song. You'll both make the same money on CD sales because the prices are all the same. I think this is bad. If you put your blood, sweat and tears into a full 10 tracks, people will download them all, paying you for every ouce of effort you put forth. If you make _one_ good song, you make money off that one good song and thats _it_. This model that Apple has created is the best system of 'natural selection' amoungst artists I've come across. Personally I'm all for it.

    The RIAA needs to wake up. While, yes, its technically illegal to have music you didn't pay for, p2p by way of IRC and FTPs have been around since the early 90s. This isn't going to stop, even if every p2p network is shutdown perminatly. The _reason_ its not going to stop is because people have changed what they use computers for. As I said, they are now as much of an _entertainment_ device as a television. If the RIAA had responded at the time, or even takes Apples current model, people would not be downloading illegal music. I feel that as long as the RIAA uses these strongarm tactics against the very people that provide them with a living, people are going to pirate music.
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:35PM (#6334685)
    I'm not going to pay "leives" or taxes or any other form of "presumed guilty" tax.

    If they stick a P2P theft tax on my cable modem bill, I won't pay it.
    If they stick a tax on blank media, I'll just order it from overseas.

    I don't download music, movies or software illegally (or at all), as SCO, RIAA and MPAA would have you believe and I will not pay for the actions of others in a collective punishment manner such as they propose.

    That's just as wrong as saying that because a *few* bad people used guns to kill someone that everyone that owns a gun is a bad person and a killer..

    Wrong answer, collective punishment is wrong.

    • Worse, I think, is that almost all of the RIAA's and MPAA's proposed solutions amount to bills of attainder, which is forbidden outright in the Constitution (Article I, section 10). American citizens should be sure to point this out to their Senators and Congressman, as many times as it takes to get the point across.
  • by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:40PM (#6334719)
    I admit that I use P2P apps a lot, to download music without paying. But at the same time I own quite a lot of CDs. And you know what? A lot of the time those CDs have been bought as a direct result of downloading music!

    For me, P2P is a great way for me to listen to new bands that I discover. If I like them, I buy the CD because frankly I feel guilty not paying for the music, and also the mp3s people share tend to have been ripped from a gouged CD, using some 3rd-rate software to encode it at 128kb/s CBR.

    It is the same for most of my friends. Many of them seem to agree P2P is only necessary because the current distribution methods seem to be an anachronism. I would rather pay for a service whereby maybe I can stream a couple of songs from an album to see if I like them, then pay to download them. Yes, I know there are services like iTunes and emusic, but these services have their own problems, like regional issues (I live in the UK, so this causes problems with different labels having distribution rights and such) and hardware (I believe iTunes is still only available for Mac, although perhaps I read about PC support in the future perhaps? I forget).

    So, basically I am in support of this campaign and I truly hope that they expedite the implementation of a more modern and more useful system for acquiring music. However, I have my doubts- sometimes I think that the large record companies feel such a great need to control peoples musical tastes that they might fear that the greater freedom that an electronic system could provide would cause them to lose control of being able to force certain bands down peoples throats as "the next big thing"... ...but I hope not :)
  • by shr3k ( 451065 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:40PM (#6334720) Homepage
    RIAA: Now that millions upon millions of people have been exposed to the pleasures of filetrading... STOP IT!!!

    [holds gun to own head]

    RIAA: Don't make me pull the trigger now... Put down the MP3's or I swear I'll do something that I will regret...
  • by gillrock ( 517577 ) <> on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:50PM (#6334800)
    We're talking about industries like the RIAA and the MPAA which operate under a specific business model. This business model has been in place for at least the past 50 years. Along comes a concept of the Internet and file swapping which is forcing these industries to rethink their business model.

    The problem is...they won't change their model. People are very frightened of change, and the Entertainment industry has evolved from lots of smaller labels and movie makers that were interested in putting out good product to these HUGE MEDIA JUGGERNAUTS that are only interested in the almighty dollar/franc/pound/etc...

    If you can get them to change the business model and prove it works (Gee, didn't Apple just do that?), they'll come along for the ride. Until then, they'll continue to think we're all crooks.

    Music and movies are no longer art and entertainment, it's part of Corporate big business now.

    Nuff said.

  • by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @06:54PM (#6334826) Journal
    ...or is it just common sense?

    Consider: while the RIAA and MPAA have been stealing our elected political representatives from us, while we saw the media companies' propaganda universally echoed from every mainstream news outlet, our response to date has amounted to little more than wailing, rending our hair and gnashing our teeth.

    We could not conceive of any effective way to combat their mindshare amongst the apathetic population-at-large, and without which we could never get sufficient leverage to move the politicians.

    At the same time the EFF struggled valiantly on our behalf but their voice is relatively tiny, representing (as it appeared to be) only the tiny fraction of the population that is geekdom.

    The answer was staring us in the face the whole time.

    1. * The EFF adopts the same media tactics as our enemies.
    2. * They effectively rebrand themselves as representing the much larger number of people who mainly use the internet to download music etc.

      * The EFF becomes a truly popular movement with mass appeal - fingers crossed - and the pro-digital-rights community in general gets a significant mindshare at last.

      * The EFF gets a big funding boost from new subscriptions - fingers crossed again - and at last, at last, the battle will be fought on a much more level playing field.

    Go EFF! Why the fsck didn't anybody think of this before ?! (smacks head repeatedly on desk)
  • by Penguinshit ( 591885 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @07:05PM (#6334917) Homepage Journal
    The MPAA/RIAA had a chance years ago to work *with* this wonderful new decentralized distribution system which obviously had consumer appeal. The rewards would have been enormous for corporation and consumer alike.

    However, threatened by a new distribution method which would (necessarily) erode their absolute control over unit pricing, artist contracts, and royalty payments, they chose the ignorant and paranoid method of attempting to hold water in their fists merely by gripping tighter.

    Instead of meekly returning to their easily-predictable demographic marketing boxes as demanded by the Media Masters, many consumers chose instead to exercise this new-found freedom. An economic downturn decimated the disposable income of hundreds of millions who could no longer afford to gamble on whether the contents of a CD matched the quality of the lone song pushed in heavy rotation by related radio stations across the country.

    In a further effort to reign in the unmanaged masses, the RIAA/MPAA turned to ridiculous claims of speculative "loss of potential income" and outrageous lawsuits which only served to alienate higher numbers of consumers. Some who were merely curious grew bolder and some who like to sample prior to purchase became dedicated pirates. Too late, some industry entities released anemic and over-priced "services" that were mere shadows of the technology embraced and demanded by the consumers.

    So now we have artists denied the ability to manage their own work (ie when Sony denied The Offspring the right to release their upcoming album via MP3), multi-million dollar lawsuits against private individuals, and blatantly illegal activities (release of virii into the wild, attempts to hack into suspected "offenders'" systems). The hypocrisy and greed of the corporations becomes more evident with every action and every press release.

    The RIAA/MPAA made this a problem. They have only themselves to blame.
  • by no_choice ( 558243 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @07:08PM (#6334943)
    Every time the file sharing issue comes up, some people bring out this old saw. Reality: under the current system, with the exception of a miniscule percentage of "stars," e.g. Britany Spears, musicians get nothing, or virtually nothing, from CD sales. The onerous contracts that the monopolistic recording industry imposes on artists ensures this.

    Humans were making music long before the concept of "intelectual property" existed... and we will be making music long after the concept of "copyright" is a distant memory.

    Artists have always found a way to make enough money to survive and to create, struggle though they may. The current system of granting special monopoly rights to the copyright "owners" benefits only RIAA excecutives, politicians, and a few mostly mediocre "stars." It harms the rest of us by forcing us to give up our freedoms to shore up a system that benefits only the few and is doomed to soon collapse.

    • In proper, sociable societies, musicians make music for fun, and get free drinks / food for their efforts.

      To paraphrase Harry Enfield, though -

      If that Robbie Williams turned up at my wedding, and started to croon, I'd say Oy, Williams - what do you think you're doing? Crooning like Sinatra's all well and good, but you're shit - go back to Stoke and die.

      But that's just me.

  • by kaltkalt ( 620110 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:00PM (#6335767)
    i give the EFF a 50% chance of the RIAA police (ya know, the cops and politicians they pay for) indicting every member of the EFF (yep, even me for donating money to 'em) under RICO for being a criminal organization as they are soliciting crime (sharing).
  • by TyrranzzX ( 617713 ) on Monday June 30, 2003 @09:42PM (#6335988) Journal
    What filesharers are doing isn't wrong, what the riaa is doing is wrong. Infact, before the printing press books were copied manually and when greed kicks in, the first copyright laws kicked in a well and publishers wanted to copyright the artists' works for themselves perpetually and forever. The sonny bono act came into being saying copyright should be for 14 years and all was good. There was no copyright before that and the incentive to write books came from boardem, if you were a farmer and you knew how to write you'd make a book and make a few copies for your friends.

    What people need to undestand is that copyright law wasn't meant to be abused like this. First, copyright as it stands right now is forever, or rather, forever minus a day as congress has extended it 11 times thanks to disney. Copyright, patents, etc ensures artists have incentive in our society to get money and hence to be rewarded and make more art, they never had nor never should have the control the riaa says they should have. The fantisy that you make a cd and earn fabulous prizes, millions of dollers, women chasing after you etc is an outright lie and in addition stupid and it's something that damages our society as greed tears it apart.

    At some point your art becomes public domain for others to build onto and to use. Why? Because capitalism is a system where you are rewarded at your level of ability and it needs to be understood that if eminem makes 30 million, he'd probably goto the bank and live out the rest of his life fat n' lazy and never make another piece of art. If enimen got payed nothing, he wouldn't make the music and if he got payed too much he wouldn't make it, so there's a point where copyright law should protect but not too much. Music and art are our culture, it barrows from past ideas and adds to future ideas and if we let companies pick apart everything to the finest detail nothing will be left and we'll stop advancing as a culture becuase as soon as you take 3-4 inventions, stick them together with other inventions you'll have large corperations on your ass within seconds asking for money.

    Corperations want you to think making a profit and maximizing profit are good things, and a lot of people think they are but in reality the people who made copyright and pantent law never intended for things like microsoft to come into being. They never intended buisness to get so huge and for our school system to teach dependance to the point that almost everyone is dependant for a job on large companies and hence, subject to that companies abuse. What if the fortune 500 companies decided chipping their employees was manditory and if you didn't get a rice-shaped chip implanted into the back of your skull you were fired? That's a lot of influence these companies have to do very terrible things and copyright and pantent lawmakers never intended for that to happen and our goverment isn't handling these things very well, infact the fda approved chipping. Tells you what side they are on.

    Copyright law hasn't answered how much money should someone be allowed to make, and the people have rather nicely. P2P is here to stay unless congress puts forth some serious cash to regulate the internet into hell. AS the OSS community has taught us they can do anything, and if someone want's their mp3's free bad enough they'll sit down and make some code that exploite some bug in the system that can't fix.

    Now, back on subject, I think the EFF is doing an awesome thing here. Going on the p2p apps and spamming "hey, file sharing is legal have fun!" is a great way to ease some of the fud the RIAA has been spreading and they can do it cheaply. Writing letters isn't going to do much without a lot of punch at the voting booth so spread the word around college campuses. $20 worth of paper and ink now means you aren't in manditory slave labor later on becuase the riaa decided you downloading music not lisenced by them is a bad thing. Don't believe me? Listen to the tales of the afternow.
    • The sonny bono act came into being saying copyright should be for 14 years and all was good. There was no copyright before that

      Unless I misunderstand what you're saying, the above is quite untrue. Copyright existed long before the Sony Bono act, which I think occurred in the late 1990s, and the act increased copyright far beyond 14 years; something like "death of copyright holder plus 50 years".

  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug@ge e k a z o> on Monday June 30, 2003 @10:23PM (#6336204) Homepage
    The intent to compensate artists and copyright holders may be a good one, but like almost every argument over the music sharing issue it assumes that the 20th century profit model established by the music copy making industry should be perpetuated. This isn't necessarily true.

    Before recording technology, musicians made money only by performing. Recording technology could have changed that but it didn't. Because record companies were in a position to dictate how the system would work, they set it up to give themselves all the profits. Standard ecording contracts are written such that all the expenses of producing and distributing a record are paid out of the musician's percentage, usually leaving zero. What musicians get out of a recording contract is exposure, which leads to them getting more and more lucrative gigs. They make a living by performing, just like in the days before records were invented. And that's the ones who have recording contracts. The vast majority of working musicians don't.

    File sharing gives musicians exposure just like record sales do, and they make the same amount of money from it. The people who might stand to lose something from file sharing are the copymakers, whose role in the system is becoming obsolete. It's not at all clear to me why an obsolete industry should be kept on life support, or why the replacement system should try to implement the mythical concept of musicians being compensated when copies of their work are distributed. It didn't use to work that way and it doesn't work that way now. Why should it suddenly be a priority?

    Let musicians benefit from the exposure afforded by file-sharing, the same way they have always benefited by the exposure from record sales, and they will continue to make money from live performances. Why can't we leave it at that???
  • by crashnbur ( 127738 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:25AM (#6336862)
    I will stop downloading music when you provide for a convenient presentation of the sound of an album so that I may sample it before I blindly (or deafly?) purchase a product which, for all I know, could otherwise be total crap.

    Also, I think it's important to share that, while I have probably downloaded thousands of songs in my day, I delete the ones that I don't like, and I'll buy an album if there are enough decent songs on the album to buy it. Also, most of the MP3s I download lead me to (a) delete them because they suck or (b) buy the album -- thanks for letting me sample the sound! The few that do neither are either an isolated good song on a crappy album, or they are live performances, remixes, or otherwise rare tracks that can not be acquired on any album.

    If I had to choose a side, I would choose the RIAA's side. I buy enough CDs and I have enough friends in the music business that I can see clearly why there is a problem with downloading as much music as some people do. At the same time, there is something clearly wrong with the way music is presented to society. It seems that only the artists that the industry chooses will sell records, and anyone they don't like get to suffer. Sorry, that isn't how it's supposed to work.

    When you come up with a way to allow all music to be heard for what it is so the consumers get to decide what is good and what is not -- so good music is sold and bad music is not -- then I won't have to download music to figure out what's good or not.

    p.s.-- Thank the powers that be that I was able to download a copy of Metallica's St. Anger before I rushed out to buy it. Ironic, isn't it, that their newest album is probably the best example of why we should be allowed to hear the music before purchasing it! I would have hated it if I had spent money buying that crap before knowing what it sounded like...