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NYT Promotes File Sharing 247

aisaac writes "An article in today's NYT comments intelligently on filesharing. Key points: downloading music is not illegal, peer-to-peer enables this useful and legal activity, and a list of good places to find good music online (including the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress. The Induce Act is briefly mentioned without analysis, but the article does not mention that some of the Act's sponsors and cosponsors have expressed a willingness to consider ammendments to restrict the application of the Act. (This according to a letter I received from Senator Sarbanes.) Let's keep the pressure on!" A Congress call-in day is being organized.
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NYT Promotes File Sharing

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:09PM (#10214023)
    Within Epitonic's huge roster is at least a song or two from some major-label acts, among them the New York band Secret Machines, the Texas band Sparta and the English bands Radiohead and Spiritualized. But independent bands like Bright Eyes or Godspeed You Black Emperor are every bit as good.

    Whenever I see the word "intelligent" included in the summary of an article linked from Slashdot I cringe. This time I was absolutely shocked to see that the article was not only intelligent but insightful and informative. I hadn't been directed to Epitonic before but I am sure I will poke around there some more. I have become a big fan of "alternative" bands that have been making it to the radio scene as of late (Secret Machines, Velvet Revolver, and Modest Mouse to name a few). Modest Mouse allows the taping and distribution of their live performances and it's apparent that the Secret Machines don't have much of a problem with getting their sound out there. Nothing gets me more interested in purchasing tickets to see a show than when the bands distribute their music for free.

    The article mentions my all time favorite, FurthurNET, as a viable alternative to other P2P networks which harbor many files that probably shouldn't be there. FurthurNET is great when you are looking for something more "headsy" like DSO, Phish, or the Dead. You might have better luck looking for other stuff on torrent sites out there (like the now seemingly defunct sharingthegroove.org).

    Support the bands that support the free distribution of their music. It's already working!
    • I have become a big fan of "alternative" bands that have been making it to the radio scene as of late (Secret Machines, Velvet Revolver, and Modest Mouse to name a few). Modest Mouse allows the taping and distribution of their live performances and it's apparent that the Secret Machines don't have much of a problem with getting their sound out there. Nothing gets me more interested in purchasing tickets to see a show than when the bands distribute their music for free.

      Better make sure the bands you cite share your ideals. What about Velvet Revolver's copy-protected CD [slashdot.org]?

    • by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:29PM (#10214231) Homepage
      Actually, this article doesn't promote filesharing at all, but rather legal sources of authorized downloads and/or streams.

      If authorized downloads were all that was file-shared, file-sharing would be a non-issue.

      The issue revolves around unauthorized sharing, and this article isn't about that.

      • Yeah it does promote it as they do recommend FurthurNET.org (which is a Java P2P application).
      • by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:38PM (#10214323)
        "Actually, this article doesn't promote filesharing at all, but rather legal sources of authorized downloads and/or streams."

        So, those aren't...um...files? And people aren't, well, sharing them? Could you possibly explain what is different between sharing files and filesharing?
        • Could you possibly explain what is different between sharing files and filesharing?

          Simple. For the past years since Napster, filesharing has been used in a sense that refers to sharing copyrighted files without having the copyright holder's permission. When people talked about filesharing, they talked about Napster, Kazaa et al., simply because nobody gives (or gave) a damn about legal filesharing, the RIAA doesn't because it doesn't really concern them yet and the consumers don't because the music doesn'
          • by hesiod ( 111176 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:08PM (#10215979)
            Wow, you are so completely wrong that I'm amazed you can feed yourself. Well, maybe you don't...

            > For the past years since Napster, filesharing has been used in a sense that refers to sharing copyrighted files without having the copyright holder's permission.

            It has been used BY YOU to mean that. Just because you push a word into narrow terms, not everyone does. When I say filesharing, it has nothing to do with copyright, legal, or illegal. It means SHARING FILES, regardless of content. I use KaZaA to download legal, free software when the distribution site is down, slow, etc.

            > When people talked about filesharing, they talked about Napster, Kazaa et al.,

            Because those are the programs that do the sharing. What the hell else do you expect them to be called?

            > nobody gives (or gave) a damn about legal filesharing,

            Again, just because YOU view the world so narrowly, don't assume everyone else does as well.

            > No doubt this is just one meaning of the word

            Which goes contrary to your previous statement that "filesharing" means only "distributing copyrighted material illegally."
          • This is stupid. File sharing means file sharing. If you want to talk about "illegal file sharing" or "sharing copyrighted files," fine, but file sharing is about sharing files.
    • Like magnatune.com in particular. I've bought a few things off that that I really liked (one was a gift actually, and the recipiant really likes it).

      It's very cool you can pay what you think the album is worth, from $5 to more and as an added bonus get full quality wavs of the music when you buy the album (as opposed to just the mp3s you can download and try for free).
  • by jim_nanney ( 757896 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:11PM (#10214049)
    I don't believe it. Especially if it promotes music swapping on P2P. RIAA personel are on the way to the NYT offices now armed with Cease and Desist orders and an order of retraction.
    • by i_r_sensitive ( 697893 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:54PM (#10214477)
      RTFA!

      The sites they hightlight are places where you can get music unhindered by RIAA and it's policies. They advocate things like trying the artists site, they point out sources of un-RIAA-tainted music.

      The one thing the article is not justifying (and clearly seperates itself from) is unlawfully distributing property for which RIAA has exclusive distribution rights. In point of fact, the article points out that RIAA does actually have the legal rights, technology may have complicated the enforcement of them, but that does not change the fact that they have those rights...

      What the NYT *is* pointing out is that there are many places to get music without violating RIAA rights, and validating their position that file-sharing is destructive to their industry.

      As I've preached repeatedly over the last year or so, there are options, and you should be exercising them. Which action sends a clearer message to RIAA, forswearing music for which member organizations have the exclusive distribution rights, or participating in the unlawful distribution of said materials... Considering that the second does nothing but convince RIAA that they have a valuable product (which many deny, but continue to validate RIAA with their actions...) and that their rights as regard that product are being violated. The first gives them no legal leg to stand on, and sends a clear message, you won't support RIAA, it's member agencies or the artists they retain. That is a clear and succinct message.

      Kudos to the NYT for mainstreaming the *only* reasonable way to send a functional message to RIAA.

  • by rd_syringe ( 793064 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:12PM (#10214065) Journal
    ...but downloading copyrighted materials you don't have permission for that belong to someone else is. Let's not forget that a lot of the anti-copyright sentiment around here magically disappears whenever we have a GPL violation article.
    • Downloading copyrighted material is not illegal. Downloading copyrighted material and sharing it is illegal. "Illegal downloads" are a fantasy perpetuated by the RIAA/MPAA to garnish support for their cause in the media. There is just no such thing.
    • How true. But nobody comes to slashdot for an objective opinion.
    • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:22PM (#10214167)
      Lots of people have weird notions about what is and isn't allowed. A while ago, I got a phone call about alleged copyright infringement from my ISP, and I thought that their claim of what's allowed and what's not was interesting: they said (as near as I can remember) "Downloading copyrighted material isn't illegal, but making it available is."

      Of course, both parts of that statement are, at best, half-true. Downloading copyrighted material may or may not be legal, depending on the will of the copyright holder. Same with making such material available on the internet. And generally, if sharing it is illegal, so is downloading it, which makes their statement wrong no matter how you look at it. Perhaps everyone should have to be educated on what you can and can't do within copyright law before they're allowed to touch a computer.

      • "Downloading copyrighted material isn't illegal, but making it available is."

        Of course, both parts of that statement are, at best, half-true.


        The second is completely true with a standard copyright (presuming they are referring to resharing downloaded material that you didn't have any rights to). The first is almost completely true as well. No one has *ever* been charged with downloading. Not one. Why? Because it is a gray area that the RIAA/MPAA doesn't want defined. It may or may not be illegal
        • The first is almost completely true as well. No one has *ever* been charged with downloading. That's because it's hard to discover what somebody downloads from somebody else, not because it's legal. Title 17, Sec. 106:

          "the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

          (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;"

          That is, if I rip my CD collection and share out the directory on Kazaa, then I've broken no current law or copyrig

          • "Sharing" of someone else's copyrighted material can almost certainly be classified as distribution.

            I do not have the cases handy. Before the MPAA/RIAA started spending millions to influence people, the questions were asked and answered for libraries. Making available a book and a copier is not making a copy. This is well established; witness that every library I've ever seen has a copier in it. I have seen more than one decision that refers back to libraries and the availability of tools to violate c
    • I don't think that's true in the Netherlands.

      AFAIK, IMNADL, the person who shares is guilty of illegal distribution, but the downloader isn't.

      You can also legally copy library CD"s in the Netherlands, but copy protection is also legal.

      "/Dread"
    • but downloading copyrighted materials you don't have permission for that belong to someone else is.

      No one was claiming otherwise. The point of the article was that the RIAA would like you to believe that downloading music, at all, is illegal.

      Let's not forget that a lot of the anti-copyright sentiment around here magically disappears whenever we have a GPL violation article.

      Slashdot is not a single entity. It is a community of people who each have their own opinions.

      It is also entirely possible to s
      • Well since RIAA doesn't want you to believe that downloading music, at all, is illegal, it follows that either your reading comprehension of the article's point is wrong, or the article is lying.

        Or did RIAA just start telling people not to buy music from iTunes, et al, because they suddenly decided that they don't want the profits they're getting from downloaded music?

        • Well since RIAA doesn't want you to believe that downloading music, at all, is illegal, it follows that either your reading comprehension of the article's point is wrong, or the article is lying.

          I misspoke. I meant to use the term "file-sharing" rather than "downloading" although the article, and many other people, use the two interchangeably.

          Or did RIAA just start telling people not to buy music from iTunes, et al, because they suddenly decided that they don't want the profits they're getting from dow
        • both of you are suffering from a severe lack of reading comprehension. I will now exercise my fair use rights to quote from the article:

          The first paragraph says:

          DOWNLOADING music from the Internet is not illegal. Plenty of music available online is not just free but also easily available, legal and -- most important -- worth hearing.

          The article goes on to say:

          But the fine print of those lawsuits makes clear that fans are being sued not for downloading but for unauthorized distribution: leaving music

    • by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:36PM (#10214301)
      "Let's not forget that a lot of the anti-copyright sentiment around here magically disappears whenever we have a GPL violation article."

      If you look closely, you'll see that most of the 'anti-copyright' sentiment around here is closer to '28 years only' copyright sentiment, dislike for RIAA tactics and their debatable legality, and dislike for the way that the United States tries to strongarm every nation in the world into abiding by the laws pushed through by American corporations.

      Funny how none of those issues even relates to GPL violations.
      • Wait, so the sentiment around here, as you see it, is that sharing copyrighted materials is only ok if they're older than 28 years old, and I can develop a closed-source version of GNU emacs in 2012?
        • Wait, so the sentiment around here, as you see it, is that sharing copyrighted materials is only ok if they're older than 28 years old, and I can develop a closed-source version of GNU emacs in 2012?

          Sure, why not? Code that old doesn't matter. When Caldera released the ancient Unix code, nobody started building new OSes based on it. Sure, you could create a closed-source version of GNU emacs starting from a version that doesn't support X or Windows or any sort of internationalization or most of the other
        • Wait, so the sentiment around here, as you see it, is that sharing copyrighted materials is only ok if they're older than 28 years old, and I can develop a closed-source version of GNU emacs in 2012?

          I took what he said to mean "Yes", in answer to your question. I would support what he said, as well.

          You see, copyright is evil, in its most basic form. Its evil because it grants a Creator huge rights over the public, by giving the Creator a monopoly. This act of evilness is considered acceptable because

    • That may be true for your countrys legilisation, but here in Norway it is perfectly legal to download any copyrighted material from any location, as long as it's done in a private (not corporate) manner. This is covered by fair use in our laws. This does however not cover executable programs, so games etc is illegal.
    • It's true people here have very different views on GPL infringement to illegal music sharing, but this is not necesarily hypocritical, the two situations are very different.

      For example, p2p music/movie sharing is non-comercial copyright infringment, whereas GPL infringement is almost always for profit (I know of once case that wasn't, a version of the original Quake built on the GPLed source, the guy didn't release the code till it was out of beta). Commercial and non-commercial infringment are different i
    • I know that /. is US-centric, but I'd like to take the ocassion to state that this [downloading of copyrighted material] is legal is some countries.

      Ok, it's redundant, but to summarize other replies, it is absolutely legal in CA, NO, NL, BE, FR, CH, LU and probably many other european countries.

    • Let's not forget that a lot of the anti-copyright sentiment around here magically disappears whenever we have a GPL violation article.

      I don't know that it's exactly the same sort of copyright discussion, though. Yes, I will grant you that there are some zealots on either side either screaming "copyrights aRe teh suck! everything got to be free!" or "obey the RIAA or die", but the more reasonable arguments I've heard against the current state of copyrights are made by people who don't like the fact that t
  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:12PM (#10214066)
    It's nice to finally see a journalist who is at least moderately informed on this issue. More coverage like this will be needed though to bring greater understanding to the majority public. The Hatch'esque philosophy of absolute IP supremacy over legitimate use of technology will do great harm to innovation if it's adopted by the masses. The xxAA orgs would like nothing better than this, but ultimately the consumer would lose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:13PM (#10214079)
    They figure if they appease the slashdot crowd they can get us to register to view the articles.
  • by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:17PM (#10214120) Journal
    We really need to see more of these type of articles, currently the RIAA/MPAA have managed to drown out the voices of those touting the legal uses of P2P applications. The more people who know about the legit uses, the more of an outcry there'll be. Right now the RIAA has pushed right up against the wall of public apathy, many who don't even fully understand the situation were not happy seeing 12yo girls and Grandparents sued over sharing music. Perhaps an article like this will be the proverbial "last straw" to push the public past their apathy and into full blown "the must change NOW" mode. It'll take that to stop the *AA's lobbying efforts for ridiculous laws like the Induce act.

    The RIAA also has been quite effective in making it sound like the Internet and P2P will end music. The reality is it may put an end to the current music industry where profits are reaped at the artists' expense but those who are musically talented will continue to create new music. The most likely end result is an entirely new music distribution mechanism, one that pays the artists fairly. More and more bands are starting to offer Mp3s online, both for free and for small payments. The more people who know about this and start taking advantage of it, the quicker the current crooked practices of the music industry will fail. It might even lead to more good music being out there. :)

    • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ecirpdrahcir)> on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:38PM (#10214312)
      The reason the RIAA has managed to drown out the voices touting legal uses is possibly because illegal use of p2p has also drowned out legal use. When I log onto kazaa with a certain track in mind, if that tracks RIAA owned, then Im liable to find 100+ users sharing it, but if its a freely distributable track then Im lucky if i find 1 or 2 people sharing it.

      Really the only p2p network that can truely tout a large legal userbase is Bittorrent, as its caught on with Linux Distributers and other such companies, but in the most part the vast experience you get is usage for illegal goods. Legal usage of P2P networks is much like a straight guy in a gay bar. Hes there for the drink and the music, but damn if he isnt in the minority.
    • by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:39PM (#10214330)
      The RIAA also has been quite effective in making it sound like the Internet and P2P will end music. The reality is it may put an end to the current music industry where profits are reaped at the artists' expense but those who are musically talented will continue to create new music.

      That is the crux of the matter. Ever since Napster the RIAA has doused the public with hundreds of stories, press releases, and all out rants that internet piracy is so out of control it will ultimately destroy their right to collect profit on the IP they hold.

      The reality is that the threat to them is much broader than piracy, but they don't want to focus on that. There have been several university studies (I can't remember them specifically right now) that have indicated that P2P sharing has not had a huge impact on music sales. It seems that while some people do download things and never pay for them, others actually buy more music because of it. The reason for this is the broad distribution mechanism the internet offers artists outside of RIAA sanctioned radio.

      Behind the scenes, I'm quite sure the RIAA isn't doing it all because they feel that Kazaa will ultimately cause them to go bankrupt. What they are really afraid of is permitting artists to see the potential of online music distribution. If that happens and the artists realize they can do just as well by going online and connecting directly to their fans and listening audience, then they will see a better alternative to the perennial shafting they inevitable receive from the RIAA. Once that occurs, the RIAA will become irrelevant and that's what they are deathly afraid of.

      They're trying to turn back the clock by painting everything related to online music with the same brush. Let's hope it doesn't work.
        • Behind the scenes, I'm quite sure the RIAA isn't doing it all because they feel that Kazaa will ultimately cause them to go bankrupt. What they are really afraid of is permitting artists to see the potential of online music distribution. If that happens and the artists realize they can do just as well by going online and connecting directly to their fans and listening audience, then they will see a better alternative to the perennial shafting they inevitable receive from the RIAA. Once that occurs, the RI
  • Induce (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:19PM (#10214147)
    arrrrrrgh, Im being induced...as we speak...NOOOO
    must ... not ... infringe!

    Wheres my Induce Act so I can sue these bastards for printing such an inducing article?
  • look out (Score:3, Funny)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson.gmail@com> on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:19PM (#10214149)
    Hate to see the registration NYT would propose for it, though. :)
  • Following the logic. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erick99 ( 743982 ) <homerun@gmail.com> on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:23PM (#10214175)
    I get genuinely confused about what is legal and illegal in terms of downloading copyrighted music. The NYT in this article starts out with what appears to be an overly broad statement:

    DOWNLOADING music from the Internet is not illegal.

    But that at least seems to be based on what is involved in the lawsuits and not purely on the law or so this next quote seems to say:

    But the fine print of those lawsuits makes clear that fans are being sued not for downloading but for unauthorized distribution: leaving music in a shared folder for other peer-to-peer users to take.

    I understand that the lawsuits have focused on people who have uploaded music and the conventional wisdom is that if you only download you won't get sued.

    So, I am still confused and the article only confused me further

    Cheers,

    Erick

    • IANAL so somebody correct me if I'm off-base here, but the way I understand it, you can download all you want. However the second you make your collection accessible to other P2P users, you are in viloation.
      • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @02:15PM (#10214730) Homepage
        Copyright infringement is when you infringe on the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. So, the unauthorized distributer/public displayer, etc. of a copyrighted work is infringing on the copyright holder's exlusive right to distribute their work as they see fit.

        So, no it's not illegal to download copyrighted material from an unauthorized distributer. However, the distributer is infringing on someone else's copyrights, and there is definitely a moral dilemna in that you are helping to create a demand for the infringer's actions.

        I don't think it will happen any time soon; however, there is always the possibility that Congress will change the law to include "contributing to infringement" as an offense as well, which could be construed as to include receiving nonauthorized distributions of materials.
    • I get genuinely confused about what is legal and illegal in terms of downloading copyrighted music.

      This is the way I understand it (and I won't proclaim to be 100% correct, but if you follow my reasoning I think you'll agree with me here):
      1: It is illegal to download copyrighted material (in the US) if you don't have a license to that material. In other words, if you already own that Weird Al CD, it's not illegal to download the songs off of that CD, but if you don't own the CD, it is illegal. The R
      • VINCENT
        Yeah, it's legal, but is ain't a
        hundred percent legal. I mean you
        can't walk into a restaurant, roll
        a joint, and start puffin' away.
        You're only supposed to smoke in
        your home or certain designated
        places.

        JULES
        Those are hash bars?

        VINCENT
        Yeah, it breaks down like this:
        it's legal to buy it, it's legal to
        own it and, if you're the
        proprietor of a hash bar, it's
        legal to sell it. It's legal to
        carry it, which doesn't really
        matter 'cause -- get a load of this
        -- if the cops stop you, it's
        illegal for this to se
    • It is simple, the only people sued are people that share what they do not have any rights to.

      If you download and do not share, they will not sue you. They will most likely lose, so they don't want to try.

      If you upload music you do have rights to, they will not sue. That is, if you rip your DVD collection and CD collection and put them in a shared folder, you are not breaking any copyright laws. You've made no illegal copies. If just making something available for copying was illegal, all libraries wou
  • by AcademicRobot ( 748499 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:29PM (#10214238)
    The debate over filesharing networks a close analogy to the gun-control debate. In other words, here they are saying that the means (e.g., guns or file-sharing) are not at fault, it's the motivation (e.g., for violent crime or stealing music). The opposite side of the debate is, of course, if we remove the means, then we disable the criminal.

    I bring this up only to point out how Congress reacts to these types of questions. That is, the means can be held accountable (i.e., gun registration, bans on some firearms). We could see uncontrolled filesharing networks banned based only on how the RIAA is framing the debate.
    • "Computers don't steal music, people do."

      Which is probably closer to the truth.

      They'll take my computer from my cold dead... uh... lap
    • The opposite side of the debate is, of course, if we remove the means, then we disable the criminal.Right, which is why I support mandatory castration of all males to cut down on rape!
    • Yes, that will be the end result of all this, as they really wont succeed in getting the concept of P2P outright banned, since it has too many legal uses.

      But if they can monitor and control all media content on the wire ( or at least they believe they will ) then it will just push the 'criminals' top other means..

      We all know banning something that has a criminal use does not reduce crime.. it only shifts crimes to other areas and methods. and restricts law abiding citizens from the 'something'...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:36PM (#10214293)
    No Fears: Laptop D.J.'s Have a Feast
    By JON PARELES

    OWNLOADING music from the Internet is not illegal. Plenty of music available online is not just free but also easily available, legal and ? most important ? worth hearing.

    That fact may come as a surprise after highly publicized lawsuits by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing major labels, against fans using peer-to-peer programs like Grokster and EDonkey to collect music on the Web. But the fine print of those lawsuits makes clear that fans are being sued not for downloading but for unauthorized distribution: leaving music in a shared folder for other peer-to-peer users to take. As copyright holders, the labels have the exclusive legal right to distribute the music recorded for them, even if technology now makes that right nearly impossible to enforce.

    Recording companies have tried and failed to shut down decentralized file-sharing networks the way they closed the original Napster. (That name is now being used for a paid-download service.)

    Courts have ruled that the services can continue because they are also used to exchange material that does not infringe on recording-company copyrights. At the same time, a bill before Congress, the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004, seeks to restrict the way file-sharing programs are constructed.

    While the recording business litigates and lobbies over music being given away online, countless musicians are taking advantage of the Internet to get their music heard. They are betting that if they give away a song or two, they will build audiences, promote live shows and sell more recordings.

    As with the rest of the free content on the Internet, there's no guaranteed quality control. Lucas Gonze, whose webjay.org lets music fans post playlists that connect to free music and video, describes free Internet music as "a flea market the size of Valhalla."

    The first place to look for free music online is at musicians' own sites. Many performers, from Bob Dylan (www.bobdylan.com) to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (www.yeahyeahyeahs.com), post hard-to-find songs for listening: some as free downloads, some as streaming audio (which can be recorded with a free program like StepVoice at www.stepvoice.com). A next place to look is the labels, particularly independent rock and electronic labels like Matador (www.matadorrecords .com/music/mp3s.html), Vagrant (www.vagrant .com/vagrant/audio/audio.jsp), Barsuk (www.barsuk .com), Saddle Creek (www.saddle-creek.com) or Tigerbeat6 (www.tigerbeat6.com/html/catalogue.htm).

    Many public radio stations also maintain music archives for streaming or downloading. Among them are the classical-music station WNYC (www .wnyc.org) and eclectic stations like WFMU in Jersey City (www.wfmu.org) and KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif. (www.kcrw.org), all of which have troves of live performances. MTV (at www.mtv.com) presents an entire album each week as an audio stream.

    Following is a selection of sites offering free music online. Most of them are best used with a either a broadband connection or nearly infinite patience. While major-label recordings are largely (but not entirely) off limits, there's more than enough available music to satisfy every listener.

    Epitonic

    The first and best place to look for any band with an independent recording is www.epitonic.com, a superbly organized site that is likely to have music from nearly everyone heard on college radio. It includes not only downloadable songs but also biographical information and links for hundreds of acts, grouped under genres and subgenres. And it has an invaluable "Similar Artists" feature that can direct fans of one band to dozens of potential new favorites. Within Epitonic's huge roster is at least a song or two from some major-label acts, among them the New York band Secret Machines, the Texas band Sparta and the English bands Radiohead and Spiritualized. But independent bands
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You can back up a lot of stuff to your iPods [freeipods.com], then sneaker net it over to your buddys house.

    That alwasy seems to be the best method, and even thought the latency is bad, the bandwidth is unlimited :D

  • Try before you buy (Score:3, Informative)

    by El Volio ( 40489 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:58PM (#10214521) Homepage
    Epitonic is a great place to listen to some tracks from independent bands and even has links to promote buying CDs from the bands -- after all, if everyone's griping about the artist not getting the funds, then when you do find music you like, you should support the artist. RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] is a good way to check whether the label is a member of the RIAA or not; if not, go buy a CD! If so, just check the used record stores and the RIAA doesn't get your money. Buying the independent music is a better move overall, though. And a recent comment on my weblog pointed out some other places to get music [xwell.org]. (Gmail invites available there for additional suggestions, too.)
  • by kenf ( 75431 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @02:20PM (#10214790)
    So far only a few people have signed up for the Congress Call In Day. Come on Slashdotters, shouldn't you all be protecting your right to own a computer? Where is the Slashdot effect on this one?
  • by lucas_gonze ( 94721 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @02:22PM (#10214808) Homepage Journal
    The original poster got the point of the thing exactly wrong. This isn't about unauthorized music, it's about sticking to music which is both free and authorized.

    Filesharing networks are full of hit songs which are unauthorized. Out on the public/stable web there's a huge amount of unknown stuff which is authorized. The trick with Webjay and other sources mentioned in the article is finding the few great songs in the whole sea of crud. If you can do that, you can have good music which the rights holder doesn't mind you having, though you usually have to give up on name brand musicians.

    There's also some kind of Gnu-ish angle that I've never been able to articulate well... It's something like -- if you *choose* to listen to music that isn't from insane powermad label types, you get (more) liberty, and if you choose to listen to non-free music, you give up liberty. That's not quite right because almost none of this music is under a free or open license, though.

    FWIW I'm the author of Webjay.org and was quoted in the story.

    • That's not quite right because almost none of this music is under a free or open license, though.

      Hmm... what does "almost none" mean in this context? When I still had the OMR [openmusicregistry.org] up and running, each of the hundreds of songs listed in it was under a very open license (the artist's choice from the Open Audio License or one of three similar licenses).

  • An awful lot of people are heavily into music, but are completely detached from the free music and more importantly the Indie scene.

    Two Canadian websites you need to look at:

    - http://www.newmusiccanada.com/
    - http://www.cbcradio3.com/

    Look at broken social scene, or the Unicorns, neat stuff like that. Have fun.

    -chase
  • I agreed to call in to my representatives for the "Save Betamax" thing. I got a bit worried by getting this e-mail

    You are signed up to call the following Senators on September 14th at 10:40 AM.
    John Conyers, Jr.
    202-225-5126 Dingell John
    202-225-4071 Ernest Hollings
    202-224-6121

    #1 only one of these folks is my representive. #2 None of these folks are senators. #3 (and this is a nit) the formatting sucks.

    Debbie Stabinaw (spelling) is one of the senate cosponsors of the Induce act and is one of my senators,

  • I've been using Webjay almost since it went beta. What I find super-cool about WJ: the new music. I should say "new" music, because a lot of it's been out there awhile, it's only new to me. There's a guy who collects world music [webjay.org], another collects human beat-boxers [webjay.org], kids rock [webjay.org], adult videos [webjay.org], comedy of Bill Hicks [webjay.org]. Electronica [webjay.org]. Pr0nk [webjay.org].

    It's also become a bit of a bootleggers' haven [webjay.org]. There's plenty of weird stuff [webjay.org] for all to hear.
  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:30PM (#10218435)

    While the lawsuits have to date focused on uploaders (unauthorized distributors), every U.S. court that's looked at P2P systems has held downloading to also be an infringement of an exclusive right (reproduction). See, for example:

    "We agree that plaintiffs have shown that Napster users infringe at least two of the copyright holders' exclusive rights: the rights of reproduction, 106(1); and distribution, 106(3). Napster users who upload file names to the search index for others to copy violate plaintiffs' distribution rights. Napster users who download files containing copyrighted music violate plaintiffs' reproduction rights." A&M Records v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004, 1014 (9th Cir., 2001).

    "Just as in Napster, many of those who use Defendants' software do so to download copyrighted media files, including those owned by Plaintiffs, and thereby infringe Plaintiffs' rights of reproduction and distribution." MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 259 F. Supp. 2d 1029, 1035 (C.D. Cal. 2003).

    Did anyone ever stop to think about the different evidence problems in suing for downloading vs. suing for uploading? If you're uploading, I can come along and download from you, record the TCP/IP packets, and have enough to start the lawsuit process. But to go after you for downloading, I'd have to make the material available for you to download from me, which raises a bunch of hairy issues...

    This is novel ground being tread. These are (AFAIK) the first end user P2P suits to hit the courts. I imagine the attorneys are being as pragmatic as possible, going for the cleanest targets and the low-hanging fruit first. Once a few of these have gone to trial (and assuming success), emboldened, I think you'll see downloading cases sooner than later.

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