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RIAA Bits 319

HardYakka writes "The New York Times writes that record industry executives who are adamant that file sharing is stealing are not above stealing themselves." The NYT also has two other stories on file-sharing today: one with emphasis on musicians, and an opinion piece about the internet. Also floating around: this humor piece and an EFF petition.
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  • Stealing by the RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:07AM (#6956212)
    The news these days is filled with stories of stealing by the RIAA.

    What else can you call people being forced to give money to the RIAA through the use of threats?
  • Birds of a feather (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vyce ( 697152 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:14AM (#6956225)
    And the other: Takes one to know one. I mean, come on, these people would sell their own mothers (or at least it seems) to make themselves a dollar. They steal outright from musicians, in the form of low royalties or in the form of music copyrights. They steal outright from consumers, in the form of exorbitant prices for albums that are mediocre at best. (And this makes the thing above seem all the more curious.) They steal from the distributors, in the form of very low margin on CD sales. So...this whole thing isn't that surprising to me, or anyone I hope, it's just business as usual.
  • Hrmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by acehole ( 174372 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:15AM (#6956228) Homepage
    Congratulations RIAA keep up the good work, I hope you proceed to the next level which is taking the elderly out into the middle of a street for a public stoning from unsellable cds.

    Perhaps putting children to work in your cd factories might teach them that each song they steal is worth not the 1 cent it's pressed on, but thousands of dollars.

  • The Legal Process (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:26AM (#6956255)
    Here's a bit from a song "Pretty Boy Floyd" which says it all about abuse of the "legal process":

    "Now as through this world I've wandered
    I've seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    And some with a fountain pen."

  • by TrollBurger ( 575126 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:26AM (#6956257) Homepage Journal
    Hey, the humour piece on the RIAA detention centers was pretty funny, but its really not that far from the truth. For over a decade and a half now the US government has been setting up and maintaining fully operational detention centers all throughout america.

    There were estimates a few years ago that the capacity was over two million. Part of me doesn't want to know what their capacity is currently.

    The camps were set up as a part of operation Rex84 (search []) in the 80s, established on the reasoning that if a mass exodus of illegal aliens crossed the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA.

    Now that the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II move to establish anyone that breaks any law as a potential terrorist, it makes you wonder what they've got planned...

    There's a lot of info on the net about these and other operations. A lot of the websites play the 'paranoid' card a little too strongly (*cough* alex jones*cough*), but I highly recommended you check out available info!

    Some links: [] [] [] []

    I'm not trolling, this is some serious shit, America!

  • by Sphere1952 ( 231666 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:35AM (#6956274) Journal

    Just to be technical.

    Stealing is taking by stealth. Robbery is taking by force. Extortion is taking by threat (Illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage).
  • New pirate born (Score:3, Interesting)

    by computerlady ( 707043 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:37AM (#6956281) Journal

    I'd never, ever downloaded music nor accepted a copy of a CD from a friend until the RIAA started issuing the subpoenas.Two wrongs don't make a right, but sometimes the second wrong (the RIAA actions) piss off the honest folks so much that they side with the original lawbreakers.

    I wonder if anyone else, like me, has been driven to a life of crime - or at least a life of acts of civil disobedience - by the RIAA goons?

  • Re:Irony... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Echnin ( 607099 ) <[p3s46f102] [at] []> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:42AM (#6956298) Homepage
    I think this was the interesting bit:
    But the process still had some hurdles to get over, Mr. Bernoff admitted. Recently he was discussing his research with an executive at a media organization that has been very aggressive about trying to discourage file-sharing. When Mr. Bernoff asked the executive how he had gotten the report, which Forrester [the organization at which Bernoff works,] sells for $895, the man hesitated.
  • Author's rights. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sphere1952 ( 231666 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:50AM (#6956313) Journal
    In general, the conversation about P2P misses the constitutional point entirely. Forget about the filesharer's rights and think only in terms of the author's rights. This is purely a conflict between author's rights.

    There is music out there which the author wants shared. There is music out there which the author doesn't care if it's shared. There is some music out there which the author wants protected by copyright. The problem is that it is impossible to tell which music is which.

    The filesharer is simply a hapless bystander who is caught-up in a legal quagmire. If the filesharers assume the work is protected by copyright then they are infringing the author's right to speak and be heard by willing listeners. If they assume the work is an act of free speech then they might be infringing the author's limited commercial copyright.

    The question, then, is this: Ought the filesharer assume the work is a constitutionally protected act of free speech, or ought the filesharer assume the work is protected by an obscure federal statute giving limited commercial protection from copying?

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:54AM (#6956326) Journal
    Really? Ancient business models failing? You mean the one where I produce something for a certain cost and then I sell it for cost + profit? I could swear most of us take part in that model at least once a week. Well at least those I presume are capable of typing. It is called shopping.

    Of course this ancient and still going strong model is based on a certain principle. Namely that is a substantial part of the cost of the item being sold is the production of the item itself. So that producing X times the number of items will incur X times the cost or at least close to that. Although cost per unit tends to go down as the number of units goes up this is not a steep curve nor for that matter an infinite one no matter how the charts look. If it was then at a certain number of units the cost of production would fall to zero. Perhaps even go negative :)

    What is outdated is the idea that this model applies to all things being sold. The technologies that made the internet possible have allowed some of the basics behind the cost of producing items to be changed. If it costs me X to produce a digital product then it doesn't cost me X*number of items. The cost of material and production capacity that ensures the rather smooth curve in the normal world is gone. Really the only thing keep the cost from being zero is the cost of distribution wich are low for digitals products.

    Producing a billion or a thousand digital items makes no difference. This is new. Also new is that distribution costs are pretty much equel no matter the distence. I now have a truly worldwide audience. Compare this to the rather limited distance a product like say milk goes.

    So for digital products a number of changes have occured.

    • Cost of production of a single item is pretty close to production of an infinite number of items. This is because we can make an excact copie of it without loss at neglible costs.
    • Cost of storage has plummted. Where in the normal world I have to store every item made a digital product needs to store only 1 item, the original. holds only 1 copy of a kernel at a time. Not one for everyone who uses linux.
    • Related to the above, no cost for unsold copies. Every copy made is "sold".
    • Neglible transportation cost. Try sending a letter to the other side of the world. It will cost easily as much as the material itself. Now send an email. Further more the costs don't increase with distance (well not so you notice, again try sending an email)

    there are lots of other differences but I think these alone make for the fact that we now can have a different business model. And that is the problem. Not that the old model is obsolete. It still works fine for products that are produced in the old way, no negative meaning being applied to old btw. What the record companies and for that matter most content suppliers have failed to realize that theyre products can use a new business method.

    The silly thing is that music sharing is profitable for quite a number of companies. These are called ISP's and the telecoms. They make a bundle out of programs like napster. Or do you really need DSL/t3 to send email?

    I for one am still waiting for the following. Every "record" store gets a computer with a couple of outlet points (cd burners firewire connections and such), some terminals, a big HD array say 1 terrabyte (very cheap if you use IDE, it doesn't have to be fast) and a connection to a central network (doesn't have to be the internet for security).

    Then all that is needed is for every music owner to catalog their music and make it available on the central network.

    I then browse the catalog in the shop and make my selections. Popular songs are already locally available while others are taking from the network, perhaps stored in a cache, and my selection is then burned or put on an mp3 player etc. I then pay the shopkeeper the fee.

    Seems a simple enough solution. The shop has every piece of music ever sold on a wide va

  • by iconnor ( 131903 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:57AM (#6956336)
    If they are happy to download the music to see if it belongs to them, consider the mistake if it did not.
    If someone has a name similar to that of their artist (or not), records some copyright material to mp3 and then puts it on the network. The condition is it is free for anyone to download, except the major record labels, their employees, agents, contractors or affiliates. By virtue of their copyright laws, they are not allowed to download it (aka steal it) and are subject to $1500 or $150,000 fine if they do.

    All we need to do then is monitor the downloads of this mp3, and then sue the RIAA when they download it. If there is more than 216 of us doing this, then we can easily outweigh their laws and settle this similar to how the large companies settle patent lawsuits, you lower your weapons and we lower ours.
  • by linkjunkie ( 671174 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:47AM (#6956515)
    And fullfill the authors desires. I found an interesting one at Sourceforge [] called iRate.
    It downloads independent songs and you rate them.
    There's more to it, and I recomend anyone who's tired of the RIAA to at least take a look.
    Some of the downloads are a little slow, and it's an early version but I've already found some indie stuff I like.

    This may be the direction we need to go.
    Artists could get feedback and people are exposed to new music (minus the $20 per DECENT song tax;-)
  • Re:Very dim person (Score:2, Interesting)

    by anomic_event ( 518226 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:52AM (#6956536) Homepage
    From the musicians article in NYT:
    "Musicians tend to make more money from sales of concert tickets and merchandise than from CD sales."

    If we are concerned about whether file-sharing is robbing actual music creators of $ then Read the Musicians article! It speaks of how the musicians themselve rarely recieve any royalties from CD sales.

    Time for a change in laws...... I.html?pagewanted=2&hp
  • Re: RIAA Bits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:54AM (#6956809)
    the fact that a media exec "pirated" a Forrester report doesn't surprise me in the least. several years ago i was temping at one of the major record labels [something i swear i'll never do again]. quite literally about 2/3 of the people there had file sharing enabled on their machines giving anyone access to all the mp3s they had. of course, most of these people will probably claim that because they're on the other side of the fence that they have every right to share files to their coworkers in the name of "promotion".
  • by geekmetal ( 682313 ) <[vkeerthy] [at] []> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:59AM (#6956834) Journal
    Of more than 18,000 students surveyed, 38 percent said they had lifted material from the Internet for use in papers in the last year.

    While this is generally seen in the negative, how about the fact these students help in highlighting the good work published out there on the internet? All we have teach them is to give credit and not lift an idea word to word. Sadly the university evaluation system gives no encouragement or credit for having recognized a good idea. Thus the power of the internet is highlighted in the negative light

  • Cut out the fat (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KrazzeeKooter ( 593834 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:02AM (#6956846)
    Will somone just do a nationwide media campaign.
    Cut out the fat!
    The point being the music industry has turned into such a rich, self indulgent and all to powerful middle man. Let's just cut them out! Artist meet audience, audience meet artist. Screw the overindulgent and ungracious middleman! It's quite clear their lawsuits don't represent the artists at all, they're just trying to protect their big fat lucartive middle man position.
  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:44AM (#6957091) Homepage Journal
    Do artists have much choice? The RIAA has the market so locked up that there is little room for competition. It is pretty close to being extortion. Do it our way or you'll be flipping burgers forever. On the other hand the Internet is giving artists a choice and I hope more of them are realizing that they don't need to sign with a major label to make a living doing what they love. They may not get rich as independents but if they're good they can make a decent living.

    I don't mind cd prices being high but again that is because the Internet gives me an alternative. I'll continue to download music instead of buying it until they lower cd prices. They can make threats until they go blue in the face and it won't change the fact that as long as they overcharge they'll be lossing out on sales. I don't need to feel guilty about the artists because I can support them by going to concerts and buying tshirts and posters and such. This whole thing is essentially consumers refusing to be ripped off.

    I'll also disagree that people can live without music. That is a dumb concept that I hear often. Music, movies, tv, artwork, etc may not be needed to stay alive but it is needed to keep our culture alive. Without expossure to such things people will go off on their own tangents and not unify in the building of our society. Shared artwork is part of shared experience and binds us together. It also seeds new ideas in other minds so that we can keep producing. So, in general, it's a bad idea to try to limit who can be exposed to our shared culture.

    You're exactly right that the RIAA is doing exactly what businesses do. I don't know if I'd call what they're doing stealing but it is greed and shortsighted. That is what pure capitalism is. Which is part of why we have anti-trust laws. Unfortunately those laws are not really functioning so there is little balance to huge corporations that would suck the rest of the world dry. I think of the economy as an ecosystem. It's good for the ecosystem to have strong species that thrive. It becomes very bad though for one species to thrive to such a point that it's killing off many other species. Monopolies are the economic equivilant of human beings burning down rain forests.
  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:52AM (#6957144) Homepage Journal
    Is it plagiarism if the original author gave you permission to do so? Somehow it seems perfectly okay if the original author doesn't care.

    If anybody should care, other than the original author, it should be the students doing it. Are they learning as much from copying as writing? Maybe they are, if they are actually reading to find what is best to copy, and if so what is the problem?

    Of course I still think schools should not be allowed to grade their own students or issue them degrees. I'd rather see a sepperation between teaching and certification. Such that when you'd finished school you'd have to take a battery of tests from a third party to verify you'd learned everything required to get your degree. In such a case it really wouldn't matter if the student copied on their papers or not as long as they had learned everything required.
  • Re:Hrmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by argoff ( 142580 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @12:19PM (#6957283)
    Yeah! And I even know of a 12 yr old girl and welfare mom who would be good starter candidates :)

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @12:24PM (#6957303)
    You did a good job of describing the basics for the economics of plenty vs the economics of scarcity. But your idea of a brick & mortar record shop with infinite inventory will never happen, for two reasons:

    1) The RIAA and Co exist because they hold a monopoly and are able to abuse that monopoly position to suck big dollars out of the system through what looks like inefficiencies. Your proposed system is way too efficient, there isn't enough cover for the RIAA to hide their cash extraction activities. So, it means death to the RIAA just as much as unchecked napster.

    2) If you can provide infinite inventory to a brick & mortar store via the internet, you can do it to people's homes too. Digital music isn't tied to the physical CD medium anymore (as you yourself already explained), mp3 players are smaller, lighter and play longer than cd players and that trend will only continue. So you don't even need a cd burner to effectively "buy" music.
  • by ReelOddeeo ( 115880 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @01:23PM (#6957657)
    No double standard, it's called "covering A$$es". These are what you call "contingency plans." Sony is trying to do everything they can to be in a good position, no matter how the matter with the RIAA turns out.

    Talk about doublespeak! I found this post just downright amazing. I was flabbergasted!

    It is a double standard. What you describe is exactly a double standard. When someone is supposedly so against something, at least in front of their peers, but then they support those who do it, or at least condone it, this is the very definition of a double standard.
  • by littlerubberfeet ( 453565 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @04:03PM (#6958376)
    As a recording engineer, I can tell you how much it set the label back. $1.50. That includes duplication, distribution, and liner notes/cases.

    The sad thing is that musicians usually have to foot the bill for recording sessions, which can run upwards of several thousand an hour. Not cheap. The artists are getting gouged, without much choice. I have never and will never produce a CD that gets distro'd by an RIAA member label.
  • by sudog ( 101964 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @06:02PM (#6959060) Homepage
    To steal is to run away with the complete object. "I stole the bag." You rob someone if you take something from them: "I robbed the bank," or "I robbed the mailman," or "I robbed the safety deposit box."

    You usually don't steal the mailman, or rob the money.

    So the RIAA could legitimately be stealing money, because it's very simple to "steal the bag" right in front of its owner, even though you're "robbing" that owner of his bag.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 14, 2003 @07:12PM (#6959581)
    Only a matter of time IMHO.
    As morals continue to decline we are getting close to an irreversible collapse in freedom. Notice how we are becoming more of a police state every day?
    Freedom cannot work without responsibility. Responsibility requires honesty. Honesty requires morality.
    I'm not a 'right-wing' nut just a little right of center, and I do not like Ashcroft either. But I do enjoy freedom and do understand how it works.

    I use a simple analogy when I explain freedom to children, sometimes adults too.
    Freedom is like the penny tray at the corner convince store. Everyone is allowed to use it, but if too many people take the pennies there will be none left for anyone else. Even though you are not required to 'contribute' it will help keep freedom alive for others if you do. If people stop putting pennies back, the tray will be taken away.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.