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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Scrub Pirated Music From My Collection? 758

An anonymous reader writes "I tried out Google Music, and I liked it. Google made me swear that I won't upload any 'illegal' tracks, and apparently people fear Apple's iCloud turning into a honeypot for the RIAA. My music collection comprises about 90% 'legal' tracks now — legal meaning tracks that I paid for — but I still have some old MP3s kicking around from the original Napster. Moreover, I have a lot of MP3s that I downloaded because I was too lazy to rip the CD version that I own. I wanted to find a tool to scan my music to identify files that may be flagged as having been pirated by these cloud services; I thought such a tool would be free and easy to find. After all, my intent is to search my own computer for pirated music and to delete it — something that the RIAA wants the government to force you to do. But endless re-phrasing on Google leads to nothing but instructions for how to obtain pirated music. Does such a tool exist or does the RIAA seriously expect me to sift through 60 GB of music, remember which are pirated, and delete them by hand?"
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Scrub Pirated Music From My Collection?

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  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:10AM (#36528684)

    Rerip all your CDs, this time to FLAC, since disk is now cheap as hell.
    Get rid of all the old mp3s.

  • Quality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morth ( 322218 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:11AM (#36528712)

    From napster? A search for 128 kbit MP3 might be enough. Your legal ones are probably of higher quality.

  • Ripped music (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:12AM (#36528726) Homepage Journal

    Moreover, I have a lot of MP3s that I downloaded because I was too lazy to rip the CD version that I own

    How can they tell the difference between an MP3 that you ripped from a CD that you own, and an MP3 that somebody else ripped from another copy of a CD that you own?

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:16AM (#36528810) Journal

    I assume the only purpose of this article is to make RIAA look dumb by trying to suggest that there is such a thing as an illegal sequence of 0s and 1s, especially when it may be exactly the same in meaning as a legal sequence.

    Couldn't agree more.

  • One file may be legal for one person, and illegal for another. For example, if you rip your CD yourself, the resulting MP3 is legal. Copy the same MP3 onto a friend's computer, and it's illegal. I don't think such a software is even possible to write. Every pirated / illegal MP3 file would have to be already watermarked as such in order for the software to function. What if the "common" version of the file floating around on Napster was just a basic 128Kbps rip with a common MP3 encoder, and you used the same encoder to rip the same song from the original CD yourself? In theory, it is very possible that the resulting MP3 is bit-for-bit the same as the one millions of other people pirated from Napster, even though you own the original CD and ripped the file yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:17AM (#36528860)

    He didn't "blame" anybody else - he accepts that there are some illegal files and he wants to clean them out without the hassle of creating his library all over again. Even if you aren't worried about the hours spent ripping your old CD's, maybe some of those CD's are scratched or have been lost, and there are legal downloaded files mixed in too - and playlists and ratings or whatever.... The question is very valid.

  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:20AM (#36528938)

    Does such a tool exist or does the RIAA seriously expect me to sift through 60 GB of music, remember which are pirated, and delete them by hand?"

    No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.

    I'm sure the RIAA would prefer you to simply delete everything and buy it again. Just to be sure. Remember... these are the folks who swore it was illegal to rip your own CDs and firmly believed you should have an individually purchased copy of media for each individual player you used.

  • Doesn't Matter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by locallyunscene ( 1000523 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:24AM (#36529002)
    Seriously, it doesn't matter. The crazy lawsuits are for distributing music and only that, which you're not doing. The whole idea of these being "honeypots" is ridiculous. There's nothing you can actually be charged for even if the RIAA could influence Apple or Google or Amazon. Which is doubtful because they each make far more money than the RIAA and would have to destroy their reputations to go along with such a "trap".

    If you have some ethical issue then just buy a legal copy of the music for anything you're unsure of. Having multiple copies for personal use IS still fair use.
  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:27AM (#36529060)

    Because kiddie porn is the gold standard. If you have even a file in you recycle bin on your computer, that you deleted, it can be forensically undeleted and you could be slammed for possession of child pornography. They use md5s to search for child pornography.

    Most people cannot determine whether 100% of their porn and jpgs,gifs, are legal, how can anyone actually know whether 100% of their bits are legal? It's not humanly possible and the question is stupid because the burden shouldn't be on the user in the first place.

  • by AVee ( 557523 ) <> on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:30AM (#36529142) Homepage
    You probably don't need to rerip everything. When it was ripped the first time the files probably followed some sort of pattern, look for naming conventions, and stuff like bitrate, encoder, genre etc in the ID3 tags. Figure out what the stuff you ripped yourself looks like and write a shell script to delete everything else. That will probably get it right 99% of the time, and for what's left you got plausible deniability because the have the exact same properties as the ones you ripped yourself.
  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:30AM (#36529158)

    The legality of the file is not a property of the file itself, and cannot be determined from the file's content. If I buy an MP3 on Amazon, I can legally use it. If I put it on bittorrent and you download it, you have the same file as I do, but the RIAA says you're not allowed to use it.

    This idea is explored in more details in the following blog post What Colour are your bits? []

    That doesn't mean it makes any sense from a technical or scientific point of view. The only reason that is the law is because special interests have decided to go with delusional impossible ideas to protect their profit engine.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:33AM (#36529202)

    Bigtime. And while we're about it, take a moment to savour the full flavour, implications and meaning of "illegal music".

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yarnosh ( 2055818 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:34AM (#36529212)
    Don't worry about it. You're being paranoid. Even if they could detect that you have some illegal music, they really don't care unless you're actively trading it. Look at how companies handle pirated software, for example. Microsoft can tell if your WIndows isn't "genuine" and yet the worst thing they do is cripple your copy and give you a rather polite message about making it genuine. That's the worst I would ever expect from a "honeypot." At worst they're going to say "Hey, we think this song is not genuine, would you like to buy a fresh copy to ensure you're legit?" They're not going to call the FBI on your ass for having an illegal copy of Twisted Sister on your hard drive. It just isn't going to happen.
  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:34AM (#36529220)

    Almost all of my original media (CDs and LPs) for about 60% of my collection were lost in a fire several years ago.

    Re-ripping isn't an option. RIAA says if I download a new copy, it is illegal and I have to buy new media, which RIAA claims is only a license to have one copy, which I already bought. Sort of like if I lost the title to my car I couldn't get a new title without buying a new car.

    So fuck them. Just upload the music you have. If you bought more than 30% of it you're probably better than most.

  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:45AM (#36529414)
    At least with kiddie porn the law says that any match, whether you paid for it or not, constitutes a violation. That's not the case with music--how are they supposed to know what files are legally downloaded copies and what are illegally downloaded copies? The only way is to keep a database of invoices for everything you have ever paid for, ready for when they come to audit you. But when are they going to search your files? At border crossings? Airports? Now you have to carry this bunch of invoices around with you all the time. It's akin to the proverbial "papers" you need to travel in a repressive regime. You see where i"m going with this.
  • by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:52AM (#36529556)

    I've heard FLAC loses the DC component of the audio wave, as well as is ambiguous with relation to phase (0deg/180deg)
    Also, they don't work well with higher precision than 24-bit floating point, it loses precision.

    (trolling the audiophiles - a sport)

  • It doesn't matter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @12:13PM (#36529980)

    It really doesn't matter. The only damages the RIAA can reasonably claim for you having pirated music is around $1/song. It's UPLOADING that music that they care about, because then they can pretend that your upload is providing that song illegally to 20,000 people and therefore claim that that single song is worth $20,000 in damages.

    They RIAA has NEVER sued ANYONE for merely possessing pirated music. I don't think they've ever sued anyone for downloading music either. It's all about what you upload. If you aren't uploading anything, you should be fine.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.