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Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads

By MichaelCrawford in Op-Ed
Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 02:36:31 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

You don't need to worry about getting sued by the Recording Industry Assocation of America or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music. Many independent and unsigned musicians offer downloads of their music in hopes of attracting more fans. Here's some music from my friends The Divine Maggees, Oliver Brown and Rick Walker's Loop.pooL.

If everyone started downloading legal music instead of violating copyright with the file sharing programs, we would make short work of the RIAA, because people would start buying CDs directly from the artists and seeing their shows instead of enriching the major labels by buying CDs from the bands the labels have chosen for us to listen to. The RIAA would also have no cause to complain - these music downloads do not infringe copyright because the artists give you permission to download them.


Why You Should Download Legal Music Instead

I decided to write this article after a friend told me in all sincerity that the money she paid to purchase Kazaa went to compensate the artists whose music she downloaded. She had no idea she was violating anyone's copyright.

I figure that most peer-to-peer file traders, while probably aware they are violating copyrights, aren't much more clued in than my friend. While I have your attention I feel I should also explain some of the legal and historical issues around copyright, and suggest steps you can take to make file sharing legal.

If you don't think that violating copyright by downloading music with filesharing programs like Kazaa, Grokster, Morpheus, Madster, eDonkey, Direct Connect, OpenNap, iMesh, or Gnutella could get you in serious trouble, then you need to read RIAA Obtains Subpoenas Against File Swappers and House Bill to Make File-Sharing an Automatic Felony.

The RIAA is using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to force internet service providers to turn over the names of file traders. They can determine your internet protocol address by connecting with your peer-to-peer client over the Internet. Using your IP address and the time you were connected, the ISP can determine your name. If the RIAA finds you this way, they will sue you.

When you are the defendant in a civil lawsuit, you don't have the protection against self-incrimination that the U.S. Constitution grants criminal defendants. You will be required to give a deposition, in which the party suing you will be able to ask you anything they want, while you will be required to give truthful answers under oath. In addition, your friends may be subpoenaed and compelled to testify as witnesses against you.

In civil lawsuits, there is a process called "discovery" that allows the party suing you to use the force of law to require you to turn over any evidence they ask for. In particular, they can seize your computer and forensically examine your hard drive (so that they might even recover files you've deleted), read any logs of email you've saved, obtain your telephone records from your phone company and obtain the log files from your ISP as well as the log files from any Web sites you've ever visited.

The RIAA has had limited success at suing the publishers of file sharing software. Some systems, like Gnutella, are so decentralized that there is little hope of finding anyone to sue. So now they are coming after the individual file traders - meaning you. The article above says the RIAA has already obtained subpoenas against 871 file traders, and will likely have obtained many more by the time you read this. They are asking for $150,000 in damages from each file trader for each song whose copyright they have violated. What will they use the money for? Suing more file traders, of course.

If you lose one of these lawsuits, the only recourse you will have will be to declare bankruptcy. If you're a juvenile, your parents will have to declare bankruptcy.

While simple copyright infringement is a civil offense where the copyright holder's only recourse is to sue you, especially egregious offenses are already criminal violations for which the law enforcement authorities will arrest, prosecute and imprison you. Remember the FBI warning you always see at the beginning of movie videos? It is common for large-scale software pirates to be arrested. File traders are next in line.

You can avoid all of these problems by enjoying music from the tens of thousands of talented musicians who offer legal downloads of their music. And you can tell the RIAA to kiss your ass.

A Sampler of Artists

Here are links to a few more individual artists:

How Will Artists Earn Money?

You may ask how musicians are able to earn money if they offer free music downloads. The simple answer is that they will make money as they always have, by selling recordings, playing live concerts, and selling such merchandise as T-shirts.

While one might be satisfied by listening to downloaded music, many people report that they often purchase a band's CD after hearing their downloads. I can easily tell that compact disc recordings sound better than most MP3 files, and it's nice to have a labeled CD, package and liner notes.

There are some who advocate that all music ought to be freely available and sharable, and suggest that musicians be supported through tips. Only a small fraction of those who download a given song need to contribute for most artists to make a comfortable living. The Street Performer Protocol is one method proposed for paying for many kinds of works, not just music. The non-profit organization musiclink collects tips from fans and distributes it to musicians with very little overhead.

The Problem of Finding the Best Music

It's difficult to find music that's actually worth listening to. Although many bands offer music on their websites, there's no real way to tell if it's any good without actually downloading it. The labels do serve the (somewhat) legitimate purpose of picking out the good from the bad. But we can do that ourselves with legal downloads by using collaborative filtering, for example by downloading our music with iRATE radio, which you'll find at http://irate.sourceforge.net/:

iRATE radio is a collaborative filtering client/server mp3 player/downloader. The iRATE server has a large database of music. You rate the tracks and it uses your ratings and other peoples to guess what you'll like. The tracks are downloaded from Web sites which allow free downloads of their music.

As of July 2003, the iRATE server has 46,000 tracks registered.

Here are some screenshots.

The way iRATE works is that it downloads a few tracks at random at first. It downloads them directly from the artists' Web sites after finding them in its database. (The author of iRATE is careful to register only legal downloads.) After you listen to and rate the tracks, your ratings are sent back to the server where it uses statistical analysis to correllate your ratings with the ratings given by other users. If you like the same kind of music I do, then iRATE will send you all the same music I like. Conversely, if you hate my music, iRATE won't send you the music I like.

One nice thing about iRATE is that you can set it to download continuously while playing, so you always have fresh music without having to go hunt for it. You just have to click a button from time to time to rate new songs.

iRATE radio is a cross-platform program, with natively compiled clients presently available for Windows and Linux. There is a Java WebStart client that works on Mac OS X and likely on other platforms that support Java.

The music iRATE downloads to your hard drive will sound better and better the longer you use it. iRATE's statistical analysis is more effective when more people use it, so be sure to tell all your friends.

iRATE radio is a young project which welcomes contributions from java developers. Anyone at all can help out significantly by testing the development snapshots and reporting bugs. Graphically talented people may enjoy entering iRATE's icon competition.

Web Sites for Legal Downloads

There are a number of music hosting services that allow one to find many free downloads all in one place. Be aware though that the fact that a website provides a file for download doesn't imply the file is licensed for sharing.

Probably the best known site for downloading MP3s is MP3.com. See especially their genre index. Click the link. You will be quite astounded at how many genres there are.

Unfortunately MP3.com's website usability is atrocious, and their streaming audio seems to be buggy - I can't get it to work in either Explorer or Mozilla. To get an MP3 file to download to your hard drive, you have to register, which I'm sure will result in unwanted email. May I suggest registering with a throwaway email address from spamgourmet?

The Open Directory Project has Bands and Artists and Styles indices. Not all the artists offer downloads, but the site says they list 48,000 artists and I imagine many of them offer downloads.

The Narcopop Independent Musicians Directory lists the websites for many artists and provides preview samples for many of them.

There are better sites for hosting MP3s than MP3.com. Some of them allow you to buy the band's CD from the same page as the MP3 download. Among them are:

If you prefer the higher quality, quicker to download and patent-free Ogg Vorbis files you can find several download sites here. From the Ogg Vorbis General FAQ:

Ogg Vorbis is a new audio compression format. It is roughly comparable to other formats used to store and play digital music, such as MP3, VQF, AAC, and other digital audio formats. It is different from these other formats because it is completely free, open, and unpatented.

(The Ogg Vorbis format was created because the owners of the MP3 patent forbid the free creation and distribution of Open Source MP3 encoders.)

Ogg Vorbis players are available for many platforms - WinAmp will play them on Windows. VLC Media Player is a cross-platform player that works on Windows, Linux, BeOS, BSD, QNX, Solaris and Mac OS X. iTunes on Mac OS X supports Ogg now. There are open source Linux ogg players and encoders, even an open source fixed-point decoder called Tremor for embedded applications. Also for embedded applications, there is also an electronic design for a low power Ogg Vorbis decoder chip, so that we are sure to soon have inexpensive portable Ogg Vorbis players.

There are also peer-to-peer applications for distributing legal music. In some cases they use digital signatures to ensure the legitimacy of the files. See Furthur Network and konspire[2b]. Monotonik provides BitTorrents: zip files containing 60 to 100 MP3s apiece, available here. You will need to install the BitTorrent client to download them.

Unfortunately, musicians are often not very good Web site designers, so poor usability is a significant obstacle to getting music directly from artists' Web sites. If you're a musician, and you'd like to know how you can improve your site design so more people will download your music, please read my article If Indie Musicians Wanted Their Music Heard....

Paid Subscription Services

At first I was reluctant to even mention paid music subscription services, not so much because I object to paying for music, but because of the problem of digital rights management, or copy protection. I consider DRM a nuisance best to be avoided, and didn't want to contribute to the problem by urging anyone to take advantage of the services that use DRM.

However, there are paid subscription services that don't use DRM, and there are those for which the DRM is not onerous. The advantage of these services is that one can obtain music from artists who don't offer it for free, so you're likely to find music from more well-known bands than by taking advantage of the completely free downloads.

A reader named Hal C. F. Astell who reviewed my drafts urged me to mention EMusic. The files EMusic provides are standard MP3 files, free of any copy protection. You can copy them to any computer or MP3 player, burn them to any CD and back them up without fear of losing any kind of authorization key.

EMusic also has a very active message board. I understand it is a nice community to be part of.

If you use a subscription service that employs digital rights management, you should choose one that offers you these capabilities at a minimum:

  • The ability to play your downloads on your home CD player and in your car
  • The ability to back up your downloads and authorization key to secure secondary storage
  • The ability to play your downloads on a portable player that takes compressed files
  • The ability to play your music on a computer running any operating system you want
  • Continued access to your music in the event the subscription service goes out of business or the vendor decides to stop supporting it

One should have all of these capabilities simultanously; many digital rights management systems transfer the authorization key as one moves the music files from one device to another. For example, one could not play one's music on one's computer and portable player simultaneously.

The only DRM-based subscription service I know of that satisfies a significant number of these criteria is Apple's iTunes Music Store.

While it is presently available only for U.S. residents who use Macintosh computers, it is expected that eventually it will be offerred more widely, and may be available for Windows as well.

The digital rights management that iTunes uses is sometimes referred to as "soft DRM" to indicate that most users don't find it objectionable. One can play the music on up to three computers as well as an Apple iPod portable player, and burn standard audio CDs.

The iTunes Music Store has done well so far. Users praise it, and a large number of downloads have been purchased in the short time since it went online. The AAC audio file format used by iTunes is more compact and sounds better than MP3. The iTunes Music Store is likely to be a long term success.

However, iTunes doesn't solve the problem that artists receive very little of the money from the sale of their music.

Competing services that rely on much stricter copy protection have not been so successful. The launch of BuyMusic was a disaster largely due to the way the DRM prevented anyone from actually being able to listen to their music unimpeded.

While the major record labels have been criticized for failing to take advantage of the potent marketing opportunity presented by the Internet and the MP3 audio format, it is now taking small steps towards selling the music downloads that fans want. The labels should be applauded for doing so.

While the labels are rightly criticized for requiring copy protection of their content, we should take heart from the history of the early personal computer software industry.

At one time the copy protection for many PC programs was quite severe, employing such strategies as floppy disks pierced with laser holes or applications that could only be run from boot disks provided by the publisher. But eventually software copy protection subsided in importance because software purchasers simply purchased competing, non-protected products rather than deal with copy protection. The compromise for many products has been to just require a simple serial number.

The soft DRM employed by the iTunes Music Store is a similar compromise. We can expect the labels to experiment with subscription services that employ a variety of copy protection techniques until one is found that is profitable to the recording industry while being unobjectionable to the purchaser.

Change the Law

Sixty million Americans use peer-to-peer applications to trade files. That's more people than voted for George Bush. If we work together, we can shake up the government so profoundly that sharing music - anyone's music - is no longer illegal.

Many, many millions more people share music around the world - if your country is democratic, you can change your laws too. If your country is not democratic, I can certainly appreciate the difficulty you're in. But if you have courage, political change is still possible, although more costly, but worthwhile for reasons a lot more significant than making it legal to swap music.

If you don't think this can happen, consider Slashdot user Quizo69's comment Illegal becomes legal if YOU change it, in which he points out that that although it was once illegal to be homosexual throughout the United States, the gay community worked together to fight sodomy laws. Through their efforts, state after state repealed their laws until the Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled the last sodomy laws unconstitutional.

If the gay community can fight millenia of hatred until they can live without fear of criminal prosecution, you can overturn the copyright laws. If you don't think you have the political power, consider that there aren't as many homosexual people in the U.S. as there are file traders.

In the United States, copyright is not a Constitutional right, like freedom of speech. The Constitution grants Congress the power to create copyright, but doesn't require it to do so. From Article I, Section 8 of The Constitution of the United States of America:

The Congress shall have power to... promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

No form of "intellectual property", also including patents, trade secrets and trademarks are a "natural right". The concept of intellectual property has not existed for very long in history at all. (While trade secrets have existed throughout history, it is only recently that they have enjoyed any sort of legal protection.)

Our founding fathers didn't grant Congress permission to make copyright legal because they felt is was any sort of natural right. They did it because they thought it would be a useful thing to do to stimulate the economy of a young nation: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts". Copyright and patents encourage authors, artists or inventors to openly publish their works by giving them a temporary monopoly. In return for this grant of monopoly, the work is supposed to eventually go into the public domain, so all may benefit from copying it. Let me make it explicit:

The purpose of both copyright and patents is to make it worthwhile for authors and inventors to release their writing, music and inventions to the public domain, rather than keeping them secret.

But that's not the situation today. Because the copyright on Mickey Mouse was due to expire in 2004, Walt Disney lobbied Congress (with the aid of prodigous campaign "donations") to pass the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, extending the copyright term to ninety-five years, not just for new works, but for works that were copyrighted before the act was passed. The law applied even to work about to pass into the public domain, so Congress rode to Disney's rescue to keep Steamboat Willie safe.

(If any of Mickey Mouse's cartoons ever entered the public domain, it would not have diluted Disney's trademark on the character, but it would have made it possible for others to use Mickey Mouse in ways that did not dilute the trademark.)

With the current ninety-five year copyright term, you cannot expect that you will live to see a copyrighted work created today ever go into the public domain. The creators of copyrighted works are not keeping up their end of the bargain that the framers of the Constitution offerred them. Because the copyright term was extended even for works whose copyrights were about to expire, no reasonable person can consider that the requirement that copyright be granted for "limited times" has been obeyed by Congress.

A brilliant young law professor named Lawrence Lessig, who has an understanding of technology issues quite unusual for an attorney, led a lawsuit to overturn the Sonny Bono Act. The closely watched Eldred v. Ashcroft case quickly reached the Supreme Court. Yet in an astonishing rejection of Constitutional principles, the Court ruled against Lessig. Read the Court's opinion. (Supreme Court opinions are often surprisingly readable for legal documents - it's worth your while to take a look.)

Sucks, don't it? What can you do about it? Well, let me tell you:

Speak Out

The pen is mightier than the sword. -- Edward Bulwer-Lytton

If there's something going on that you don't think is right, you ought to say something about it. Say it to anyone who will listen, and wherever anyone will let you speak or write. Do your very best to say it as well and as convincingly as you can. It helps to speak your mind repeatedly, honing your message with each try.

Practice, practice, practice: The ancient Greek statesman Demosthenes had a speech impediment so he was not able to speak convincingly. To overcome this, he went down to the beach, put stones in his mouth and shouted his speeches at the roaring waves until he could make himself understood.

Do you think I wrote this article well? You don't think I just sat down and wrote it, do you? No, I put time and effort into it. At first my message evolved from a series of Slashdot and weblog comments, and after the idea began to gel in my mind, I sat down to write the first draft, posted it on my website, then asked for help. After revising it, I asked for help again. It took time, a lot of work, and many revisions to write this article as well as I have. That's what you need to do if you want to speak or write convincingly.

You may find helpful discussion points among the winners of the WIPOUT intellectual property counter-essay contest, which was held in response to a World Intellectual Property Organization student essay contest which asked the question "What does intellectual Property mean to you in your daily life?" The WIPOUT winners page states:

the competitive aspect of our contest was always secondary to the purpose of giving a platform to the voices who disagree with the constant expansion of Intellectual Property protection: these voices are very rarely given the opportunity to speak.

Check out Robert Nagle's piece on why music can be shared. It comes with some tips on how to share music.

There may be times you find that your speech is unwelcome, that you are ashamed of what you have to say, or you face unpleasant consequences for saying it. To give you courage, I ask you to read these words to live by: John J. Chapman's speech Make a Bonfire of Your Reputations. His words ring out as powerfully today as they did one hundred three years ago.


If you are so convinced that your vote doesn't count that you don't even vote, then you have already lost. The only way your vote doesn't count is if you don't cast it. You should be aware that a strategy candidates frequently use it to convince their opponent's supporters that their votes are pointless, so that they don't bother to go to the polls at all. Keeping voters at home is one of the objectives of negative campaign ads.

If I'm not able to convince you to vote, you might ask Al Gore why he thinks your vote counts.

Of course you must be of legal age to vote. However, anyone can do the other things in this list.

Write to Your Elected Representatives

Your legislators do pay attention to the letters they receive. I'm sure if all sixty million American file traders wrote a letter to each of their Senators, their House Representative and the President, and pointed out that their vote hinged on the action they took regarding file sharing and copyright, substantial action would be taken.

Don't bother emailing them. They all get so much spam they have long since stopped paying attention to email. If you don't want to write them, you can call them on the telephone or send a fax, but because of the investment in time it takes a constituent to write a letter, politicians pay more attention to snail mail.

U.S. residents can find the addresses of their representatives at Congress.org.

During election seasons, also write to each of the candidates who are running to represent you to explain to them how they can win your vote.

Donate Money to Political Campaigns

Politicians who are opposed to entrenched corporate interests have a hard time raising money to pay for the advertising and travel expenses required to tell voters their message. While you may not have the money to give that, say, Disney does, there are far more of you than there are big corporations. If all sixty million American file traders each donated the price of a compact disc to a politician, and included a cover letter explaining why you were donating the money, Congress might become considerably less responsive to the corporations.

Support Campaign Finance Reform

After you're done writing your letters to your congresscritters about file sharing, write another letter urging them to support campaign finance reform.

The reason Congress is in the pockets of those entrenched corporate interests I mentioned above is because the big corporations bribe the politicians. Let me be blunt - there is no other word for what they do but bribery, and don't let your representatives claim they're not on the take if they accept corporate campaign donations. As evidence of this, consider that many corporations donate comparable amounts of money to both the Republican and Democratic parties. Businesses don't do that to affect the outcome of elections. They do that to ensure that both parties, regardless of who wins any elections, represent the interests of the business.

Personally, I find it unfathomable that corporations are allowed to make campaign donations at all. No one but an individual, natural person ought to be allowed to do that.

The root of this problem lies in some established legal precedent which makes a corporation the legal equivalent of a person, so that corporations, and not just the people who work for or invest in them, are now granted the same Constitutional rights as living human beings. I think that the threat corporations pose to our fragile democracy could be eliminated by adding an amendment something like the following to our Constitution:

A corporation is not a person. No one but a natural person may donate money to a political candidate, political party or elected official.

The solutions to many of the difficult problems our country faces would be solved by eliminating the political influence of corporations. If the power of corporations is allowed to continue to grow unchecked, the threat to our nation will one day be as great as it was in the days of the Civil War.

Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation

The EFF is the nation's premier technology law civil rights organization. They have been at the forefront of legal battles to declare the Digital Millenium Copyright Act unconstitutional, to have computer program source code declared constitutionally protected free speech, and to preserve the right to be anonymous. They were instrumental in the legalization of export of cryptographic software to other countries from the U.S.A.

They are also working to defend both the publishers and users of peer-to-peer filesharing software from the RIAA lawsuits, as you can see from their Let the Music Play campaign. For example, they successfully defended Streamcast from the RIAA's lawsuit against them for publishing Morpheus.

If you do nothing else, join the EFF. It costs a lot of money to fight a lawsuit. They need your support to do it.

I assert that it's worth your while to join EFF even if you don't live in the United States, for the simple reason that it will help to stop the United States from pressuring other countries to adopt ill-advised laws like extensions of copyright terms, software patents or adoption of their own versions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Practice Civil Disobedience

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King said:

one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

King practiced civil disobedience to give such civil rights as the right to vote to black Americans. Mahatma Gandhi practiced civil disobedience to free his country from British colonial rule and found the modern nation of India.

Civil disobedience means the nonviolent refusal to obey the law. While both King and Gandhi succeeded in fomenting revolution, they did it without firing a shot. King said, "Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation."

Civil disobedience serves several purposes:

Because any protests are nonviolent, the ferocity of the backlash of the state and the corporations against the peaceful protesters will eventually shame the oppressors into giving in to the protesters demands. Thus it is important for protestors to have unquestionably upright moral standing.

Civil disobedience is especially important in the United States (and countries with similar legal systems) because the Supreme Court does not give advisory opinions. That is, you cannot simply ask the Court to strike down an unjust law. Instead, you must actually violate the law, get arrested or sued for your crime, then defend yourself in court until your appeals reach the Supreme Court. If you can convince the Court that the law is unconstitutional, the law will be struck down.

It's a risky strategy - you might lose, and spend years in jail. You will unquestionably spend years fighting expensive and exhausting legal battles. But the payoff is quite valuable - neither Congress nor the President can overrule the Supreme Court. The Court can reverse itself, but this is very rare.

Another purpose civil disobedience serves is to make society so ungovernable that the authorities must give in to restore order. That was the case with the Vietnam War, where such acts of civil disobedience as burning draft cards and massive street protests so galvanized public opposition to the war that the United States Government was finally forced to withdraw.

I'm not saying that if you think the law sucks, you should use p2p so you can get yourself some free tunes. I'm saying that if you feel the law is so unjust that you're willing to risk your freedom to change it, then share files and be prepared to carry on your fight by facing the consequences. Invite the RIAA to your door.

Individual acts of civil disobedience don't have to be violations of the law that spend years winding their way through the courts. Simple street protests will do. For example, you could email ten thousand of your closest friends and ask them to meet you at the headquarters of a major record label. Or you could ask a million of your buddies to march on Washington with you, or the capital of another country.

When the police arrest you for blocking traffic, or gathering without a permit, don't fight back - that would be violent. Instead, resist nonviolently, by letting your body go limp, so they have to drag you off like a sack of potatoes. Ten thousand limp protestors being dragged away by the police are sure to get attention to their cause, or at least make their city ungovernable for the day.

Particularly helpful would be to install an unsecured 802.11 Wireless Access Point on your network so anyone in your neighborhood can share files with complete anonymity.

Some have suggested that it's inappropriate of me to invoke Martin Luther King's memory in defense of peer to peer file sharing. They make the reasonable argument that one cannot compare a life-and-death struggle for basic human rights to an effort to get music without having to pay for it.

My purpose is not simply to enable people to listen for free, but to enlist the aid of a group of people who have so far been inactive politically, yet who are potentially very powerful because of their considerable numbers. I feel that politically empowering the file traders will solve other, more significant problems as well.

As I said previously, I feel that the awesome political power possessed by the large corporations is the greatest challenge my nation faces. I think it is fair to say the United States is no longer a democracy, at least not effectively so. The ability of the corporations and the fabulously wealthy to purchase the favors of the politicians, and the politicians' abilities to mold public opinion with advertisements paid for by those donations concentrates my nation's political power in the hands of a very few people - a very few unelected, mostly obscure people.

In addition, the news media in the United States is owned primarily by a few large corporations who have so far demonstrated little pretense of unbiased reporting. Reports of any events are cast in a light that is favorable to the corporations, while news that doesn't support the corporate interest is not reported at all.

Reforming or even eliminating copyright is an effective first step to take towards returning power to the hands of the average voter. How much political power would AOL Time Warner or Disney have if there were no longer any legal foundation for intellectual property?

In Renegade Networks - The Grapevine Manifesto, Stephen Blackheath makes the case that the power of today's corporations stems not from their ability to manufacture useful products but from their intellectual property:

When you boil it all down, what they basically own is a large pile of intellectual property, and stack of cash up to the ceiling to defend it with. Cash + ownership of brand name + ownership of technology = Power.

The fact that people aren't already dying in the streets in the struggle against the corporations and their intellectual property is not because the struggle is not one worth dying for, but because most people have not yet awakened to the problem.

To practice civil disobedience is not a choice to be made lightly. It carries tremendous risks. Tremendous rewards too: it's the sort of thing that gets you into history books. But while King and Gandhi will forever be revered as champions of peace and justice, they both met the same awful fate: assassination.

Should Copyright Even Exist?

There are many people, notably the Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman, who feel that the chief benefit of computers is that they enable digital information to be copied completely faithfully and without significant cost. They feel that such copying, which was not possible before computers were invented, is of such great potential benefit to society that it outweighs any benefit that might arise from our founding father's legalization of copyright to "promote the useful arts and sciences".

Stallman (or RMS as he prefers to be called) is a masterful computer programmer, and began his effort to eliminate copyright by turning copyright on its head with the creation of "copyleft" - software licenses that not only allow copying, but require it. The most well-known such copyleft license is the GNU General Public License. The GPL is the license used for the Linux operating system kernel and many of the programs that run on it.

Stallman calls copylefted computer software Free Software. "Free" is meant as in "freedom", not "without monetary charge". An unfortunate problem with the English language is that we use the word "free" to represent two distinctly different concepts. Spanish doesn't have this problem, where "Free Software" is translated as "Software Libre" rather than "software gratis".

There are "Free Documentation" licenses for writing as well, for example, the GNU Free Documentation License.

Stallman was a lone voice crying in the wilderness when he published The GNU Manifesto in 1985. The Free Software movement has grown to the point that there are now over fifteen thousand programs that are licensed with the GNU GPL listed at Freshmeat. Microsoft, the world's largest software company, and whose Windows operating system runs on 90% of the world's desktop computers, has named Linux as its number two risk (second only to the ailing economy).

To understand why Stallman's philosophy is relevant to this discussion, apply his software ideas to digital music. It is easy to argue that the primary value of digital music is that it can be copied completely faithfully, and without cost, by computers. One could even say that the benefit to society of the computer's ability to copy music this way far outweighs any benefit to society of giving creators the temporary benefit of copyright.

There are, in fact, "Free Music" licenses, such as the EFF Open Audio License. You can find music licensed under the OAL at the Open Music Registry. The Creative Commons licenses can also be used for music. You can find some at Creative Commons' Get Content page.

Lest you think that musicians would stop creating without copyright, consider that making and hearing music is a basic human need. Many musicians could no more give up playing or singing than they could breathing. Music has existed in human culture for tens of thousands of years, as long as we've been able to sing or play primitive drums. Nearly all of the great classical composers devoted their lifetimes to their art without benefit of copyright. I see no reason to believe that any less music would be played if copyright were repealed entirely.

I discuss this in more detail in my article Modern Technology and the Death of Copyright.

While copyright in its current form has outlived its usefulness to society, I don't think it ought to be eliminated entirely. I think the copyright term of fourteen years provided by the United States' first Copyright Act is about right. That would allow artists and writers to profit from their work, while the shorter term would allow you to legally share music from your favorite bands of your younger days while you are still able to enjoy them.

What You Can Do To Help

If you feel as I do that what I have to say here is important for others to understand, then I ask you to please help get the word out. You can do that by linking to this article from your weblog or website, posting the URL to online community message boards, and emailing the URL to anyone else who you feel might benefit from reading it.

Even better would be to copy this entire article to your own website or weblog, or to a message board, under the terms of the legal notice below. The version of this article at http://www.goingware.com/tips/legal-downloads.html is almost entirely self-contained and uses only simple markup to enable easier copying. It may be updated from time to time.

If you are fluent in a language other than English, please consider translating this article. That would help out your countrymen who don't read English. I feel that my discussion of U.S. history and law are relevant even to people in other countries because of the global reach of the RIAA as well as the pressure that the United States puts on other countries to harmonize their laws with misguided U.S. ones.

I have already received an offer to translate this article to Polish.

The Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license I have chosen for this work doesn't permit derivative works. Unfortunately a translation is a derivative work. I chose the NoDerivs option because so much of this article is an expression of my deeply held personal opinions. However, if you contact me at legal-downloads@goingware.com I can grant you a separate license to do a translation.


You are probably able to tell that, while I recommend against sharing copyrighted music, I have no love for the Recording Industry Association of America. I feel that way not just because of their legal harrassment of those who publish and use file sharing software, but because the major record labels who make up the RIAA rip off the musicians who are signed with them. They're ripping you off too, every time you buy a CD.

When compact discs first appeared, they were much more expensive than vinyl LPs because there were only a couple of factories in the world that could manufacture them. The equipment to make CDs was very expensive, and the factories' production was very limited, so the cost was justified. But years later, although the cost of pressing a "glass master" compact disc has dropped to a few cents, the retail price of CDs has not dropped at all.

The RIAA sheds crocodile tears over the way the file traders rip off the musicians, but you should pay no heed to this. The musicians don't get as much money from compact disc sales as the RIAA would have you believe. In no case does the musician make significant money this way - on the average, musicians make 41 cents per CD, but do not get to keep even that until they have paid back their advance, as well as the marketing and promotion of their album. Someone just starting out may make nothing at all. The record stores only earn a couple dollars per CD. Instead, the record labels reap enormous profits.

The chief benefit of signing with a label is that the resulting publicity enables attracting more fans to live performances. Even big-name bands aren't able to just sit back and collect royalties from compact disc sales. They make their living the same way garage bands do, by living on the road - a hard, lonely life - and playing live concerts. That's why a number of top artists have announced their support for file sharing. Offerring music downloads is at least as effective at attracting fans to concerts as compact disc sales, quite possibly more so. Many top artists would love to make legal downloads of their music available on their Web sites. The reason they don't is that their record labels won't allow them to.

Allowing musicians to sell their music directly to fans, via direct sales of compact discs that the bands pay to have manufactured themselves, as well as live performances advertised through file downloads, is the greatest threat to the record labels' continued existence. They don't fear the loss of revenue that results from people downloading MP3s instead of buying compact discs. They fear the loss of their control. They fear being cut out of the picture entirely. And personally, I think we would all be better off if the major record labels were eliminated.

If we all downloaded legal music, we would no longer have to deal with the menace of the RIAA and the tedium of ClearChannel. There would be greater hope for the legions of unsigned musicians, many of whom are hardworking, talented people who live on the fringe economically, sometimes desperately so, so they can devote themselves to their music.

Our lives would also be richer for it.

Legal Notice

Yes, really.

Copyright (C) 2003 Michael D. Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/1.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
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What do you think of current copyright laws?
o Copyright is fine as it is 5%
o Copyright should have a shorter term 32%
o Copyright should have a very short term 49%
o Copyright should be eliminated 13%

Votes: 99
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Freshmeat
o Recording Industry Assocation of America
o The Divine Maggees
o Oliver Brown
o Rick Walker's Loop.pooL
o Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads
o Why You Should Download Legal Music Instead
o A Sampler of Artists
o How Will Artists Earn Money?
o The Problem of Finding the Best Music
o Web Sites for Legal Downloads
o Paid Subscription Services
o Change the Law
o Speak Out
o Vote
o Write to Your Elected Representatives
o Donate Money to Political Campaigns
o Support Campaign Finance Reform
o Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation
o Practice Civil Disobedience
o Should Copyright Even Exist?
o What You Can Do To Help
o Conclusion
o Legal Notice
o top
o Kazaa
o Grokster
o Morpheus
o Madster
o eDonkey
o Direct Connect
o OpenNap
o iMesh
o Gnutella
o RIAA Obtains Subpoenas Against File Swappers
o House Bill to Make File-Sharing an Automatic Felony
o Digital Millenium Copyright Act
o deposition
o "discovery "
o the law enforcement authorities will arrest, prosecute and imprison you.
o tell the RIAA to kiss your ass
o Mark Beihoffer
o Downomight
o My Life Is On The Line
o Michael David Crawford
o Moto
o Dave Dean
o And So Forth
o milo fungus
o the bittersweet way
o Machinae Supremacy
o Mister Orange
o Danger Collie Music
o UnKindness Of Ravens
o Zoë Blade
o Shelby Jenkins
o The Syntax Error Project
o The Street Performer Protocol
o musiclink
o http://irate.sourceforge.net/
o screenshot s
o icon competition
o MP3.com
o genre index
o website usability
o spamgourme t
o Bands and Artists
o Styles
o Narcopop Independent Musicians Directory
o Fair for Share
o MP3 4U
o MP3 Jackpot
o DMusic.com
o The Internet Underground Music Archives
o CDBaby
o Epitonic.c om
o Lulu
o SoundClick
o Matador Records
o insound
o monotonik
o The Live Music Archive
o Scene.org
o the file browser
o 8 bit recording company
o Kikapu
o octagone.n et
o The Free Music Archive
o Ogg Vorbis
o here
o Ogg Vorbis General FAQ
o the owners of the MP3 patent
o VLC Media Player
o Tremor
o a low power Ogg Vorbis decoder chip
o Furthur Network
o konspire[2 b]
o BitTorrents
o here
o If Indie Musicians Wanted Their Music Heard...
o Hal C. F. Astell
o EMusic
o message board
o iTunes Music Store
o artists receive very little of the money from the sale of their music.
o BuyMusic
o a disaster
o if you have courage
o Quizo69's
o Illegal becomes legal if YOU change it
o Article I, Section 8
o The Constitution of the United States of America
o (with the aid of prodigous campaign "donations")
o Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act
o Lawrence Lessig
o Eldred v. Ashcroft
o the Court ruled against Lessig.
o the Court's opinion
o Demosthene s
o series
o of
o Slashdot [2]
o weblog
o posted it on my website
o asked for help
o I asked for help again
o the winners of the WIPOUT intellectual property counter-essay contest
o World Intellectual Property Organization
o Robert Nagle's piece on why music can be shared
o Make a Bonfire of Your Reputations
o Congress.o rg
o Electronic Frontier Foundation
o Let the Music Play
o they successfully defended Streamcast
o software patents
o Civil Disobedience
o Letter from Birmingham Jail
o Martin Luther King
o Mahatma Gandhi
o Invite the RIAA to your door.
o anyone in your neighborhood can share files with complete anonymity
o Renegade Networks - The Grapevine Manifesto
o Free Software Foundation's
o Richard Stallman
o GNU General Public License
o Free Software
o the GNU Free Documentation License
o The GNU Manifesto
o programs that are licensed with the GNU GPL
o Freshmeat [2]
o has named Linux as its number two risk
o EFF Open Audio License
o Open Music Registry
o Creative Commons
o Get Content
o Modern Technology and the Death of Copyright
o fourteen years
o legal notice
o http://www.goingware.com/tips/legal-downloads.html
o legal-down loads@goingware.com
o musicians make 41 cents per CD
o ClearChann el
o http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/1.0/
o Also by MichaelCrawford

Display: Sort:
Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads | 202 comments (183 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1 FP (3.62 / 8) (#4)
by A Proud American on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 01:11:22 AM EST

But shouldn't you get a job or something?

The weak are killed and eaten...

The problem with writing (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:08:28 AM EST

I enjoy writing. I really do. Writing costs nothing but my time, and is one of the few real pleasures that I've been able to indulge in regularly during the economic downturn. I especially enjoy to put the time and effort into an article to do a really good job.

But the problem with writing is that to write a significant new piece takes a lot of time that I cannot spend working billable hours for my clients. And in fact the time I spent on this piece would have been very helpful to have spent on my paying work.

It's just that I felt it was an important topic to discuss, and really couldn't rest until I wrote it. When I get a bug up my ass to write about something new, the impulse is irresistible.

Heaven help me if I ever come up with a good topic for a book.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

Mr. Pot, (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by mcgrew on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:56:39 PM EST

Meet Mr. Kettle

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I don't have time to weed through crappy bands (4.58 / 12) (#7)
by BadDoggie on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 02:00:53 AM EST

What I hated most about mp3.com -- and this applies to all the other warehouses out there, including iRate -- is having to listen to 199 crappy songs to find one half decent tune, and most of the time, it would be the only thing that person or group got right, with everything else of theirs sucking as well. From the lack of talent and poor quality of the home taping to the non-existent engineer and producer, it's crap.

The record companies are there and make money because they provide a service: good music. Your definition and mine will certainly vary, and they do their best to homogonise it all and copycat each other, but they provide the service. You have to sort through a lot less chaff to get a few kernels of wheat.

I'm not about to defend the RIAA and certainly not their tactics. They have become a juggernaut and what's coming from their members is a load of homogenous, overproduced, poppy crap, but they have good bands, too.

Imagine sorting through this 7,600-word article to find the word "crocodile", except that you don't have a "find" command, it takes a few minutes to get each word on your computer and you have to listen to 10-30 seconds of each word. That's what it was like finding the Ataris or sum41 on mp3.com. Except they'd misspelled crocodile.

I agree with the sentiment of the article, but for the same reasons I don't take the time to learn auto mechanics and instead pay someone to fix my car, I'll keep buying music from label artists. That doesn't I don't change my own oil and air filters or even replace the brake pads if I have some time...


"Non videri sed esse." — Tycho Brahe "Not to be seen but to be."

just like crappy music from the RIAA (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by adpowers on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 02:38:22 AM EST

I have been using iRATE for over a month and have found some really great tunes with it. Since it does all the downloading automatically, it doesn't waste much of your time. If you don't like the song within 20 seconds, you just rate it "Yawn" or "This Sux." That isn't much work.

I find that my good music hit ratio for iRATE is probably about the same as all the RIAA provided, ClearChannel approved stuff that we are fed. There are songs that suck with both iRATE and 'popular' radio music. I could be listening to the radio and hear five crappy songs before I heard one I like. However, the advantage iRATE has over radio is that it will tailor to what you like. It will find users that have similar interests and give you the music they rated highly. It seems to work fairly well, considering that it is currently at a disadvantage. By disadvantage, I refer to the fact that not all tracks are rated, some are only rated a few times, and that there aren't many users yet. However, as the system matures, it will tailor itself to you. This is something radio/the RIAA can never do.

[ Parent ]

colliding randomly into new mp3's brings pleasure (none / 1) (#46)
by rjnagle on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:35:24 PM EST

Actually, I will say that a good 75% of the music I heard through IRATE are crappy. Half of which are just not recorded well (it's not a matter of taste). So what? All you do is rate it as "This sux" and the song will disappear from your hard drive for good. Sometimes I do it within 15 seconds of listening to the song. The algorithm is supposed to get better at guessing your preferences as time goes by, although to be fair, it still gives you a lot of crap. That's the nature of art, I guess. I feel frustrations with IRATE's usability. For example, it repeats a lot of songs in a way I don't think it really random. Also, I wish it were possible to say for it to "play only 10's" or "play only things I haven't rated." Still, give it a chance. It's still just out of the gate. The problem with mp3.com (aside from the popups and registration) is that it's a pain in the butt to download from a web browser. BTW, I have a weblog which recommends and reviews free groups that offer free mp3's .

[ Parent ]
A Weblog. Why doidn't you say? (4.00 / 2) (#91)
by BadDoggie on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 05:11:32 AM EST

Let's try this again. I don't care if 25% of iRate is good. Not even 50% is sufficient. I don't have the time to switch back and forth between machines, not windows, to kill not a single shitty tune, but one every 15 seconds.

You see, I'm not an angry-at-the-world 17-year-old. I have a real job. It includes working on half a dozen servers (DL3x0s, CL380s, RS/600s, Sun Enterprises) at a time and controlling/adminning/rebuilding/reimaging another four dozen. In addition, I work as Tech Support for the company. I want to turn on the music and let it run: Kiss. King's X. Die Ärzte. Sass Jordan. B. B. King. Mustard Plug. Spiderbait. Squeeze. Apocalyptica. All of them are on labels. All are good, IMO.

I also don't have time -- and this isn't meant as a personal attack -- to read your shitty weblog for doses of your imagined insight and knowledge of what constitutes "good" music, nor anyone else's.

OK, maybe I've checked out a couple tunes Neil Gaiman mentioned. But I pay to read Gaiman, so reading him free is something I can make a little time for.


"Non videri sed esse." — Tycho Brahe "Not to be seen but to be."
[ Parent ]

That's what iRate is for (none / 1) (#50)
by dennis on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:19:15 PM EST

[ Parent ]
nonsense (none / 1) (#61)
by snitch on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:51:38 PM EST

absolute nonsense, you don't need big corps to sift through potential music for you. there's loads of good music mags (both online and off-) to find points of reference, and i'm sure you've got some friends who actually care about good music who could give someone like you some pointers. and - maybe - there's even some GOOD radio out there to help you along.

you don't need suits to make the decision for you. aim a little higher and stop being a good little target-market-drone. you're missing out.

"Against his heart was a thesaurus bound in PVC. He smiled at the entrance guard." - Steve Aylett
[ Parent ]

Down with the man! (none / 0) (#90)
by BadDoggie on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 05:00:04 AM EST

Oh wise master, pray tell, do not the "evil suits" also print the magazines? And if I haven't the time to listen to iRate and slog through the crap, from whence shall I find the time to read these mags, written by a bunch of lowlifes who have poorer taste than I. I have worked for such publications already.

Yes, I get recommendations from people. Along with local bands and music from strange places, many recommendations are for bands on labels, like Blink 182. King's X. Johnny Winter. I am indeed a "target market droid".

You are a fool. Keep those home fires burning, dude.


"Non videri sed esse." — Tycho Brahe "Not to be seen but to be."
[ Parent ]

down with me? dude! ;D (none / 0) (#119)
by snitch on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 06:52:30 PM EST

you do seem to have time to post your cute little verbal curiosa at k5. so, you sir, are a lazy bastard, that's all.

those "evil suits" mainly print the drossy art-mags you jerk off to. once again, try to have some measure of independent thought when buying media, be it music or mags. concentrate: boobs --> jerking off, ok? now try again.

also, since you claim to have been one of the "lowlifes" compared to whom you've superior taste, i can only conclude that you've become one of the guiding lights in musical appreciation.

and that kinda jives with the fact you sound like a moron, doesn't it?


"Against his heart was a thesaurus bound in PVC. He smiled at the entrance guard." - Steve Aylett
[ Parent ]

199 crappy songs (none / 1) (#62)
by mcgrew on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:54:46 PM EST

So, how is that any different from kkklear Channel?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

The difference (none / 0) (#89)
by BadDoggie on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:44:58 AM EST

I don't listen to Clear Channel, either. I don't have to. I'm in Europe.

Don't go on about Jacor/CC's huge conspiracy/incluence/control here; it was a submission some months back already, and I was in Cincinnati when they started the massive control grab.


"Non videri sed esse." — Tycho Brahe "Not to be seen but to be."
[ Parent ]

cross reference (none / 1) (#180)
by Rodeo Jones on Thu Sep 11, 2003 at 09:56:40 AM EST

I don't think enough good things can be said about EMusic. I used to buy 3+ CD's a month (and that was on a light month). I'd never been much into any of the bands put out by the big six record lables, with a few exceptions of course. If you heard something cool on your local college radio station, saw a blurb about some up and coming band in some form of press, heard someone talking about this great band that no one really knows about at a party, etc... chances are good that EMusic has at least one of their CD's. I haven't bought a CD since I signed up for EMusic months ago. At $10/mo I'm getting, legally, about a dozen new CD's per month. Compare that to what I'd be spending for 3 purchased at a store. If you're don't want to wade through all the crap, cross reference EMusic w/ www.allmusic.com (another _spectacular_ site). Find a couple CD's that get good reviews, download them, if you like them check out the "roots and influences", "similar artists", or "followers" of the band. allmusic does a damn good job w/ their reviews, but always remember that it's your taste and your time so to hell with bad reviews if you like it. By all means though, take advantage of the the database! Those two sites in combination ought to let you find enough great music you'd've never heard otherwise that almost anybody's faith in music as an form of art and expression can be restored (even in these absimal times).
phew, for a minute there i lost myself
[ Parent ]
Life (none / 1) (#183)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:23:59 PM EST

Remember Sturgeon's Law, dude: 'ninety percent of everything is crud.'

You talk of 'weeding through crappy bands'. I'd humbly suggest that 'weeding through crap' is a synonym for life itself.

What distinguishes us as human beings is how we choose to do this. Ninety percent of the internet is crud, but many of us value Google as a viable means of navigating it. If we're interested at all in music, then we need to find a Google for that too to help us past that ninety percent.

You seem to have nominated the RIAA as your Music Google, which is your choice of course, but one which most would deem limiting and dangerous. Many people use the radio as their Music Google, which is working less and less as ClearChannel extends its monopoly. It seems clear that as music is dragged, mostly kicking and screaming, into the digital age, we need to find a new Music Google.

In this article, Michael Crawford is offering us other choices to experiment with as our music Google. Whichever one we choose, I feel that his help in opening our collective eyes is valuable.

[ Parent ]

No such thing as a free meal. (1.21 / 14) (#12)
by Nigga on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:51:13 AM EST

I'd rather listen to one of my bitches on the rag yell at me over some stupid shit about how I'm selfish and never give her attention blah blah blah blah blah then listen to this legal "music."... look ok - simply put there's a REASON these artists aren't signed and making millions - THEY SUCK! Just look at how much Britney Spears sucks, and she got signed! I can only imagine what unsigned shit sounds like. Yuck. No thank you.

The fuck happened to Nigga?

Yeah whatever (4.33 / 3) (#42)
by dragonfly_blue on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:40:00 PM EST

I know you're trolling but I put a hell of a lot of time into learning the craft of songwriting. The reason I'm not "signed" is that 1. the concept fills me with disgust, 2. I've chosen another career, even though my music is still critically important to me, and 3. I don't have to get signed to make my music available to thousands of people.

I know other bands and composers that are way better than me, that aren't signed because they have seen how the recording industry chews people up and spits them out. They work their day jobs to support their music, but that doesn't speak any less of their abilities.

I think crazy must be contagious.
[ Parent ]

what about underground labels though? (none / 1) (#71)
by Nigga on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 08:09:05 PM EST

The fuck happened to Nigga?
[ Parent ]

What (none / 0) (#80)
by dragonfly_blue on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 11:45:17 PM EST

You mean like Dragonfly-7.com?

Why screw around with contracts and getting "signed" when there's a much more direct way of publishing your work these days?

I think crazy must be contagious.
[ Parent ]

Access to musicologists (none / 0) (#111)
by pin0cchio on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 03:17:02 PM EST

As I understand it, record labels and their affiliated music publishers provide songwriters with a useful service: access to musicologists to determine if the songs they have written are in fact original.

[ Parent ]
How would that be useful to me? (none / 0) (#133)
by dragonfly_blue on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 01:52:54 PM EST

I *know* my songs are original. Hell, I wrote 'em myself.

And since there are studies to indicate that the number of possible melodies/chord progressions are finite, I'm sure that most of them have already been copyrighted. In fact I'd be surprised if some clever nimbus hadn't written a Perl script to automatically do this and file the copyright.

The only things we have left as songwriters that distinguishes our work from one another are subject matter, lyrical flavor, and the texture of our arrangements. I don't see how having a "musicologist" review my work would help me with any of these.

I think crazy must be contagious.
[ Parent ]

Bright Tunes v. Harrisongs (none / 0) (#162)
by pin0cchio on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 11:40:50 PM EST

The only things we have left as songwriters that distinguishes our work from one another are subject matter, lyrical flavor, and the texture of our arrangements.

Try telling that to (the estate of) George Harrison. Though the "subject matter, lyrical flavor, and texture" of Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" are completely different from that of Ronald Mack's "He's So Fine", it's melody that counts in a court of law, and the judge in Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music found that the melody of "My Sweet Lord" was substantially similar to that of "He's So Fine".

Most judges are not musicians.

[ Parent ]
nasty r&b 'nigga' (none / 1) (#64)
by snitch on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:58:01 PM EST

there's a reason morons like you talk crap on k5: nobody in real life gives a fuck about any of the crap coming out of your mouth. i'm sure you haven't been near a 'bitch' in your lifetime, although you tried to lure them into your pad with those AWESOME keith sweat albums you jerk off on every day

i love talking crap on k5!

"Against his heart was a thesaurus bound in PVC. He smiled at the entrance guard." - Steve Aylett
[ Parent ]

Look, I'll admit I'm not within the top 90% of (none / 1) (#70)
by Nigga on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 08:07:46 PM EST

human beings - but it's us gutter niggaz that get all the pussy... I mean you basicly seem to be stating an oxymoron - the biggest playaz are the worse human beings and the best human beings have a hard time gettin pussy. So what am I a playa or a fuckin idiot - take your pick. I can't be both.

The fuck happened to Nigga?
[ Parent ]

both, surely (none / 1) (#118)
by snitch on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 06:35:25 PM EST

more like playin'at being an idiot :) you did bring a smile to my face.

"Against his heart was a thesaurus bound in PVC. He smiled at the entrance guard." - Steve Aylett
[ Parent ]

irrate at iRate (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by QuantumG on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:59:17 AM EST

Where the hell does iRate store the login/pass/server information that it asks you for at startup? I need to change it. I uninstalled the damn thing and reinstalled it and it still wont give me that box back.. and of course there is no setting menu item that let's you change this stuff.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
~/irate/trackdatabase.xml (none / 0) (#16)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:03:37 AM EST

Please understand that iRATE is a work in progress.

There is a folder named "irate" in your home directory. On Windows, your home directory is usually considered to be your boot partition, most likely your C: drive, although it is possible for the Windows administrator to configure it to some other folder.

In the iRATE folder is a file called "trackdatabase.xml". The info you need to fix is in there. You can edit it with any plain text editor. There are XML editors available that can make editing much easier.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

are you a developer? (none / 0) (#17)
by QuantumG on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:06:19 AM EST

I'm interested in contributing (should I find some time). I'm an experienced Java programmer.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
I'm just a helper. New developers are welcome. (none / 0) (#19)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:14:46 AM EST

I would like to help out with iRATE development, but haven't had the time to so far. There are a number of free software projects I would like to contribute to, but my consulting work has always been just crazy, so I never seem to be able to do that much in the way of coding.

Most of my contribution to iRATE so far has been testing and filing bug reports. In general, my main contribution to free software has been my writing, which I find a relaxing escape from work.

You would be very welcome to contribute to iRATE I'm sure. Visit iRATE's sourceforge project page, sign up on the mailing list, get the source from CVS, and have fun.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

If you sign up (none / 0) (#137)
by wurp on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 04:57:43 PM EST

please make the damn thing put newlines at the end of each xml element, at least.  Structured xml would be great, but newlines would be sufficient.
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
how can I not vote this up (1.75 / 4) (#26)
by auraslip on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:13:56 AM EST

it has my name in it for christ sake
tip (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by Wah on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:14:14 PM EST

put an http:// in your profile for your homepage.  In front of the www.shelbyjenkins.com part.  k5 doesn't like it the other way.

Just mentioning this because I've tried it before, and quit looking for it after the error.  And now someone else points it out and makes we want to visit.
[ Parent ]

I've been wondering (4.00 / 3) (#28)
by Verbophobe on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:57:58 AM EST

Are people in foreign countries affected by this move in any reasonable way?  By "foreign countries", I mean Canada.

They are the Recording Industry Association of America, but you never know.

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration

Consider the author of DeCSS (4.25 / 4) (#29)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 08:11:24 AM EST

The author of DeCSS was arrested in Norway after the Motion Picture Association of America complained that he had violated U.S. law.

While the arrest was outrageous, and he was ultimately acquitted, the authorities seized his computer and cell phone. I don't think the MPAA had to work too hard to get him arrested.

Also, U.S. copyrights are respected in other countries, and vice-versa, because of treaty obligations.

So if you share files in Canada, I would expect that the RIAA will eventually get around to suing you. If you share a lot of them, I would expect they can convince the Canadian authorities to arrest you.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

Yes, but (4.25 / 4) (#30)
by bhearsum on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 08:14:49 AM EST

We pay tariffs on blank cds, to componsate the artists supposably. I think there's a tariff on CD burners as well.

[ Parent ]
No, not really. (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by Dr Caleb on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:31:38 PM EST

They are the Recording Industry Association of America, but you never know.

In Canada, they are called the CIRA, or Canadian Industry of Recoding Artists.

The are not actively persuing Canadian Downloaders. We pay a tariff on anything that can hold digital music - blank CD's, hard discs, memory sticks, iPods etc, as well as blank videocassettes, blank tapes, blank High-8 tapes. Everything. The money is supposed to go to the artists. To date, not a cent has gone to an artist.

It's perfectly legal for me to copy a CD I've bought and keep it as a backup. I can even GIVE that copy to a friend to listen to (I cannot sell it). It's kind of a grey area, but following that logic, I should be able to download a song from another Canadian who ripped it from a CD they bought, and burn it on a blank CD for my use.

In fact, I got an email from my ISP (Shaw) stating my traffic was a little high last month, and I should re-configure my file sharing utilities to take less bandwidth. They would be happy to help me do this and "did not want to discourage use of such utilities, only to help you comply with our terms of service".

Since we don't have the DMCA, my ISP can tell the CIRA to go #sand at any requests to them requesting my identity.

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Tariff Allocation (none / 1) (#130)
by freestylefiend on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 11:51:38 AM EST

We pay a tariff on anything that can hold digital music - blank CD's, hard discs, memory sticks, iPods etc, as well as blank videocassettes, blank tapes, blank High-8 tapes. Everything. The money is supposed to go to the artists. To date, not a cent has gone to an artist.

How is the tariff money allocated? If record labels have to sign more artists or sell more records to get more money, then artists are probably able to demand a cut of the money (or an equivalent rise in the signing fee or the percentage of record sales). Otherwise, or if some labels are inelligible, the scheme is a racket.

[ Parent ]

You nailed it. (none / 0) (#201)
by partykidd on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 10:02:32 PM EST

"the scheme is a racket" It's just another tax.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

[ Parent ]

That's a very interesting definition... (none / 1) (#77)
by Vesperto on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:39:29 PM EST

...of "foreign countries".

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
im australian and this is my story (none / 1) (#147)
by Liet on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 07:44:39 AM EST

recently i started to use kazaa to download motion pictures. i was maybe one the 3rd one when it didnt work and i couldnt figure out how to get it to work. a few people uploaded it off me and then a little while later we got a call from someone (i didnt answer the phone) saying they know we had the file and if we didnt delete it and stop using kazaa they would take us to court. our isp had given them our info and still about a month later i still havent used kazaa again.

needless to say i am not a happy camper

[ Parent ]

My god, is this complete. (3.37 / 8) (#32)
by megid on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 11:43:31 AM EST

Alone for the link list, this is worth keeping.

"think first, write second, speak third."
Damn Straight (none / 1) (#85)
by camelys on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 02:01:55 AM EST

I agree. Definitely some good resources in here.

[ Parent ]
It's an Overview (none / 1) (#184)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:30:28 PM EST

It's far from complete but that's by definition not because of bad writing.

This is a highly evolving issue and each new day means that an accurate overview becomes less and less viable.

I believe that Michael Crawford has done a superb job in giving us an overview of what is happening at the moment and where the future may take us. I hope that he continues to maintain his website version as the future changes.

[ Parent ]

How could you (4.16 / 6) (#33)
by Zara2 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 11:55:08 AM EST

You have a great article here and I really appreciate it but how could you wirte this entire thing and not mentions phish-phriendly bands. These are bands tat allow taping and fully support the trading of thier music.

This all really got started with the dead doing music trading years before the internet was developed and has blossomed into a wild live music trading community. For those interested please go to etree.org or phishhook.org to get started.

Sorry bout the abstaining but I had to since you left out this thriving community of free artist and band supported music. Not to mention the wide array of gray-legality bootlegs that are out there.

My apologies. I did ask for links. (none / 1) (#67)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:38:59 PM EST

I'm very sorry. I will add that to my copy of the article soon. I expect most copies will be made from my copy, so the word will get around.

I've had my copy posted on my website since July 20. A note at the top of the page explicitly asked for help. If you check my diary, you'll see I asked for help here several times.

If someone mentioned it and I neglected to add it, well then it's all my fault, for which I apologize.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

My apologies (none / 1) (#75)
by Zara2 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 09:32:59 PM EST

My fault then. I should have read more of the source material. I just saw the post on the page. If you are interested in legal/live music in anyway I really do reccomend e-tree. My personal list is around 1000 hours right now and growing.

[ Parent ]
spearhead (none / 0) (#82)
by parsec on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 12:49:56 AM EST

A great example of a 'phish-friendly band' (never heard that term before) is Spearhead. The site loveisdashit.com has a massive archive of live shows by them in mp3 and shn format. A friend got me into spearhead, and I kind of liked their albums, but I when I saw their live show I was blown away. They're kind of a hip-hop jam band, I guess is how I would put it. They have a kick-ass beatbox guy named radioactive, and the main rapper is Michael Franti of Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy fame.
Pretty political, generally positive messages which is somewhat rare in rap these days.
There's a lot there, one decent show is this one.

Anyway, your post just reminded me and I thought I'd pass the word on about this band.

[ Parent ]

Thanx (none / 0) (#101)
by Zara2 on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:40:07 AM EST

Thank-you. I have been a fan of "disposable heroes.." for a while. This spearhead is sounding just great. Reccomended for anyone who likes music.

[ Parent ]
This could be the start of something big (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by antichrist stormtrooper on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 11:59:07 AM EST

Who knows? Perhaps Open Music licensing and free mp3/ogg downloading will do for music what Open Source and Free Software have done for computers and...


"I hate cats almost as much as I hate Italians" -Albert Einstein
+1 FP (3.16 / 6) (#35)
by Gornauth on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:02:56 PM EST

Now i only want to see a MLP with this insane amount of links...

as has been mentioned... (3.75 / 4) (#36)
by boelder on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:08:34 PM EST

etree.org is a great resource for finding full digital recordings of many, many taper-friendly bands (not just jambands like GD and Phish).

Those artists recognize that getting their tunes out there is a lot more important than getting paid for every tune that is out there.  They get paid back when those who download their music show up in their audience.  

Music is more than putting a CD in the player: it is an experience to be shared with others and should be appreciated live at every opportunity.

This article, additionally, was excellent!  Well done!


Can't afford it... (none / 1) (#45)
by BeNude on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:18:52 PM EST

Those artists recognize that getting their tunes out there is a lot more important than getting paid for every tune that is out there. They get paid back when those who download their music show up in their audience.
I agree that music should be experienced live and I also feel that people appreciate their art so much more after seeing a live performance.


WHY, oh WHY are the concert ticket prices so totally insane??

[ Parent ]

One Word: Ticketmaster (none / 1) (#53)
by muppetspanker on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:51:51 PM EST

Ticketmaster, as the big monopoly of the music ticket industry regulates almost all prices.  They are the ones reaping huge money out of ticket prices.  For more information on the subject, search for Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster (Pearl Jam for a while refused to go through ticketmaster, and when they lost enough money, they went back).

As for smaller gigs that don't involve ticketmaster, the bands and the venues need the money.  Trust me, I've organized a couple.  The music industry isnt a industry with huge profits (that doesnt mean that people don't get hugely wealthy), other than Ticketmaster's monopoly.

[ Parent ]

Monopoly breaker? (none / 1) (#170)
by BeNude on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 05:15:20 PM EST

Perhaps we should encourage Clear Channel to get into the ticket business too... since they seem to own a significant fraction of the major venues to begin with. Maybe then some competition will ensue...

[ Parent ]
Because they CAN be. (none / 1) (#60)
by mcgrew on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:50:48 PM EST

I paid five bucks (plus beer) to see Nazareth. I paid twenty bucks (plus beer) to see the Fabulous Thunderbirds and George Thorogood. I normally pay three bucks for a local band, often there is no cover at all.

Most of the CDs I've acquired this year cost $5 or less, often free.

support your local musicians. Fuck Lars and Britney, may they both die of AIDS.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

May they both die of AIDS? (none / 1) (#138)
by wurp on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 05:29:30 PM EST

I think you should cut back on the vitriol and think about what you're saying.

I don't like big music either, but I don't wish anyone to die of AIDS, unless they're out there seriously hurting other people - maybe GWB, several African dictators, and Sadam Hussein qualify.
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

There's a mental image I didn't need... (none / 1) (#144)
by rpresser on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 11:21:49 PM EST

GWB, several African dictators, and Saddam acquiring AIDS from each other...
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
Sounds right to me... (none / 1) (#152)
by wurp on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 11:46:43 AM EST

the evil world dictators are all busy cluster-fucking each other.  Too bad they have time left over to work on the rest of us, too.
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
but...... (none / 1) (#196)
by /dev/trash on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 10:42:10 PM EST

What if you are from the town Britney and lars are from?  Do I still support them because they are local?

Updated NEW 10/15/2003!!
Summer Tour!
[ Parent ]
Why not? (none / 1) (#197)
by mcgrew on Sun Nov 09, 2003 at 02:53:38 PM EST

And are they really "local?" Were the Beatles from Liverpool, or Hamburg? (IBIT)

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Easy... (none / 1) (#78)
by Vesperto on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:46:08 PM EST

The ticket-price must cover the transport, setting, tuning up, etc of hardware, the people needed to set it all up, the people needed to keep it running, the people needed to pack it up. Then the fee to pay the band's whims and give them money. Am i missing anything?

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Maybe I just don't get it... (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by misfit13b on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:57:30 PM EST

but if a band wants to release some or all of their MP3s publicly as the ones you have mentioned do, they should be allowed to, just as those who don't should be able to do as well.

If Disney wants to protect "Mickey Mouse", they should have the option of those protections. I don't believe that it's as much of an all or nothing thing, which was the feeling that I got from your article.

If the major record labels want the RIAA to track down people that are violating their property (a term which I won't go in to), they should be allowed to. That doesn't mean that we need to repeal laws, we can vote with our wallets.

While there are file sharers out there that are sharing legal files, I'm sure that the majority are high school/college aged kids getting albums (sometimes before) release just for the fact that they don't wanna pay for em.

If they don't wanna buy a CD because "there are only 3 good songs an album" either listen to a better fucking band, or move on. MP3 file sharing has been abused so the harsh backlash was only to be expected. In time things will level out and legal methods to music distribution will get their time. This is just the beginning.

+1 FP

Disney's protections (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by QuantumG on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:08:42 PM EST

If Disney wants to protect "Mickey Mouse", they should have the option of those protections.

No, you see, they want us to protect Mickey Mouse, and we're only willing to do that if, in exchange they eventually put Mickey Mouse in the public domain. That was the deal, and they're breaking it.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]

How do we do that? (none / 0) (#48)
by misfit13b on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:43:36 PM EST

How are we protecting Mickey Mouse (actively or passively)? What do we stand to gain when Mickey Mouse falls into the public domain?

Serious questions, I claim ignorance but would appreciate knowing. :^)

[ Parent ]
Copyright answers (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by muppetspanker on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:57:01 PM EST

The basic idea behind copyright is that to encourage a creator's creativity, the government promises the creator to have a monopoly on the distribution of their creation, for a limited amount of time.

Disney creates Mickey Mouse -> US Government prosecutes anyone that infringes on the copyright of Mickey Mouse

In return for the effort put forth by the government, when the product's lifetime runs out, the product (or idea) falls into the public domain, and which point all can profit from the use of it.

The current argument surrounding copyright, is that large content-creation lobbyist groups (MPAA, RIAA) have persuaded to extend the length of copyright from 10 years to 75 years, against the interest of the people paying for the copyright protection (American citizens).

[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#76)
by puppet10 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:38:27 PM EST

The way you put that (i was aware of all the info before) made me think of something, maybe the copyright reformers should reframe the argument as an anti-tax argument -- ie. the extension of the monopoly of copyright is a hidden cost and thus tax on the citizens of the United States.

Only because it seems to be so easy to get people to agree to an anti-tax message.

heh, just a thought.

[ Parent ]

Thank you, that helps. n/t (none / 0) (#98)
by misfit13b on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 08:44:00 AM EST

[ Parent ]
it's more than 75 years (none / 0) (#129)
by pde on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 06:11:33 AM EST

In the US, since the Sonny Bonno/Mickey Mouse Copyright Term Extension Act, "works of corporate authorship" are covered by a 95 year copyright monopoly.

Works by individual authors now of course get life + 70 years.

Visit Computerbank, a GNU/Linux based charity
[ Parent ]

How can I (1.00 / 1) (#58)
by mcgrew on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:46:48 PM EST

explain something to someone who obviously doesn't WANT to understand? If you can't understand the concept of the word "limited" how can I explain it?

-0, wanton trolling/crapflooding/SHILLING

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

We're protecting him.. (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by QuantumG on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 12:06:35 AM EST

by honouring Disney's copyrights. If Disney takes me to court for copying their character the court will award them damages. That is us honouring their copyrights, even though they expired last year.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
This is Why! (none / 0) (#185)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:52:06 PM EST

We're protecting Mickey Mouse by allowing laws to be passed to perpetually extend copyright so that the mouse never becomes public domain.

As to why public domain is fundamentally important... the entire world's culture is based upon what the copyright lawyers call 'theft'. Most classical pieces are experiments in composition that use and re-use themes or melodies from other recordings. It's expected and it's benefitted the world by providing us with a massive body of music. In a more modern timeframe, the jazz and blues genres do exactly the same thing.

When pop music tried to do this with samples or homages, the artists got sued out of existence. We've reached the point where The Rolling Stones who spent their formative years recycling blues riffs to create their own sound, are now quite happy to sue other artists who use them in the same way. When The Verve used a string arrangement from 'The Last Time' by the Stones in their song 'Bittersweet Symphony' they had to sign all royalties from and publishing rights to their own song over to the Stones, who then happily sold it to Nike to be used in an advert.

Writers of cultural relevance do the same thing. They use and re-use cultural icons to cement their work in time. If they do this with characters that are copyrighted, then they open themselves up to legal action if the use to which they put these characters is objectionable to the copyright holder.

Nobody is suggesting that we should all be able to make our own Mickey Mouse cartoons and pass them off as Disney product. However we should all be able to reinvent cultural icons and retell stories without restriction, as we've been doing throughout history.

John Gardner rewrote 'Grendel' from the monster's perspective. Sigourney Weaver and Sam Neill reinvented Snow White in film as 'A Tale of Terror'. Spike Milligan rewrote many works as diverse as The Bible, 'Black Beauty' or 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' in his own inimitable style. The Simpsons lampoon many cultural icons every episode. Everyone and his dog has reinvented Shakespeare.

If Disney owned the copyrights to these stories or characters, then none of these works would be legally allowed and Disney would aggressively sue to have them destroyed. What I find most abhorrent is that most of the works that made Disney famous are public domain stories (often fairy tales) and they are consistently attempting to remove them from the public domain by applying for their own trademarks and copyrights over them.

[ Parent ]

€20 --> €5 (none / 0) (#65)
by snitch on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:04:39 PM EST

i don't buy albums anymore (i've got over 400 cds and about the same number of 12"s) because of the hysterical pricing. sharing and downloading mp3's IS voting with my wallet: the more people download music from me, the more these bastions of shareholder greed suffer. and rightly so. they can either accept a reasonable sum for an album (i'd say about €5), or die greedy. i'd prefer the nice shiny box, but not to the sum of €20.

"Against his heart was a thesaurus bound in PVC. He smiled at the entrance guard." - Steve Aylett
[ Parent ]

I have over 400 CDs too (none / 0) (#99)
by misfit13b on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 08:46:18 AM EST

but have really stopped buying them, not for any idealogical or economic reasons, but just because I have plenty to listen to. Every once in a while something new comes out that I want to hear, but for the most part, if I wasn't listening to it in college, I'm not listening to it now.

[ Parent ]
Clueless. (4.50 / 2) (#40)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:26:11 PM EST

Bell Express Vu and Starchoice (Shaw) in Canada are busy lobbying to make DirecTV hacking illegal there. DirecTV has no license to operate there, and certainly it costs BEV nothing if a canadian hacks DTV.

Then again, if they're partaking of the free (even legal) stuff, they aren't buying the for-money stuff.

Even if you succeed in what I admit is a noble goal, it will only cause more pain. Wish I could figure out how to help.

Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

Just like to add... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by Dr Caleb on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:44:25 PM EST

DirecTV has no license to operate there, and certainly it costs BEV nothing if a canadian hacks DTV.

DirecTV cannot sell their product in Canada, according to US export laws on encryption. Canadian Courts have ruled that since DirecTV cannot sell their product, but their product is still available in Canada, interception and decoding of the signals is not theft.

DirecTV tries their best to keep unsubscribed people out, but hackers will hack just for the challenge! I do get a kick out of the Shaw commercials though! "Theft is theft. Stealing Satellite signals is no different..." hahahaha, if you can't buy something no it's not! It's like taking those free papers out of the post office - it's flipping FREE!

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

As long as they compare radio waves to property (5.00 / 3) (#52)
by jjbelsky on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:29:09 PM EST

Trespassing is trespassing. Satellite signals trespassing onto my property is no different...

[ Parent ]
iRATE (3.50 / 2) (#47)
by altair on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:37:13 PM EST

I've been using/testing iRATE for about 2 months now. In the last week, I've gotten an amazing amount of good music--music that really stands out as quality. My "other" mp3s aren't getting any airtime.

So this is just my vote for iRATE... the more people who use it, the better it is :)

Not entirely true ... (3.33 / 3) (#49)
by dougmc on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:56:07 PM EST

You don't need to worry about getting sued by the Recording Industry Assocation of America or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music.
In this case, the RIAA threatened a professor at Penn State because they found a .mp3 file with the name `Usher' in it.

Just because what you've got is 100% legal, that doesn't mean that the RIAA won't try to push you around. They may not sue, but you'll still worry about it somewhat when you get that letter ...

Yes, in that case the RIAA quickly backtracked and apologized, but I'll bet they wouldn't be so quick if they were to find a song called `Madonna' by a group called `Beautiful Dreamer' being shared by you -- even if this song had nothing to do with Britney's smoochin' buddy.

I hope they do sue me. (none / 1) (#57)
by mcgrew on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:42:45 PM EST

I'm legal. I'm broke. They're theieves with deep pockets, and you can bet your ass (and elephant) that I'll countersue!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I doubt it. (none / 1) (#86)
by camelys on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 02:07:59 AM EST

It would be quite easy to prove that the questionable track wasn't what it appeared to be.

[ Parent ]
EMusic: I'll Second That Motion (4.50 / 4) (#51)
by Lagged2Death on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:21:11 PM EST

I have been an EMusic subscriber for about a month; I've downloaded about 25 albums worth of material, about 20 of which I've committed to CD, and about 5 of which I'd say I really like a lot, and would have been happy to pay full price for.

These results from just one month of light browsing and downloading have made the $45/3 month subscription worth every penny.

There are few big-name acts available on Emusic, but the message boards are a useful way to discover new music, and to find gentle introductions to whole new genres. I very much recommend it.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
I second that motion again! (none / 1) (#128)
by latestringtones2003 on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 06:06:44 AM EST

I just wanted to say that... Ok, I'm going...

[ Parent ]
Emusic: the best buy I ever did (none / 1) (#165)
by Alexey on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 06:22:22 AM EST

I'm happy subscriber of emusic. I think there are two things which should be mentioned: (1) You have free try, which is 50 mp3s. As you go over 50, you have to pay and (2) No, after you start to pay you will not get any additional areas to download from. Be sure to check what emusic can offer before subscribing. If you like jazz or classic music, you probably find yourself in paradise there. If you need Britney Spears and such -- that's not for you.

[ Parent ]
indie rock and blues too (none / 0) (#181)
by Rodeo Jones on Thu Sep 11, 2003 at 10:00:59 AM EST

EMusic is an indie rock and blues fan's wet dream too. It's easily the best $10/mo that I've ever spent.
phew, for a minute there i lost myself
[ Parent ]
EMusic Message Boards (none / 1) (#186)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:57:58 PM EST

As the draft reader who suggested to Michael Crawford that he should include EMusic in this article, even though it is a commercial service, I'm pleased that people are backing up my suggestion.

I would like to highlight what Lagged2Death points out though. The message boards are a fascinating place full of helpful and knowledgeable people who are sharing their voyages through music. Throw out your current favourites and people will provide you with background and suggested further listening lists.

The EMusic message boards are one of the most important places I've found on the web, as far as music goes.

[ Parent ]

excellent! now the next step (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by circletimessquare on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:24:05 PM EST

now what we need is a gateway to find this stuff

currently riaa has the power because everyone lusts after justin timberlake because the current gateways: radio, mtv, etc. are conduits for riaa-controlled music

the next step is a gateway site, a web site that lists riaa-free music like this... whose obvious future popularity and then $ earned (advertising, kickbacks, etc.) from it becomes it's reason for existence... not my stupid approval, or any other riaa-hater's approval ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

+1 (more), FP (4.50 / 4) (#56)
by mcgrew on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:38:49 PM EST

I've been harping at people for quite some time- Kazaa is not for downloading Mad "WTF" Donna or Britney. If you want Madonna or Britney, turn on the damned radio! If you want a copy of the song, you can sample one from your FM radio for free and legal. Kazaa is for the indies!

And the RIAA wants to kill it for just that reason. My share list is about 200 tunes long (not counting freeware, shareware, etc). Those tunes are from folks who have either asked me personally or publically to share them. The artists on my share list realize they are in much greater danger of obscurity than copyright infringement.

If you don't think that violating copyright by downloading music with filesharing programs... then you are right. In the US, you can legally download up to $1000.00 in a six month period. If it were not for the "No Electronic Thieft Act" you would be completely within your rights to download as much as you want (as you are in most countries).

Where you will get in trouble is uploading. They have deemed this "broadcasting," which does, in fact, break copyright law.

As to "House Bill to Make File-Sharing an Automatic Felony," I must point out that they haven't passed that law yet, and you should write your congresscritter and senaturd, and do any other Don Quixote windmill tilting possible (as the RIAA can purchase a senaturd for as little as $4000, the price they paid my senaturd Dick Durbin),

Here are MORE indie artists, favorites of mine. All of whom want you to share their stuff. Use Google, they're there:

The Pietasters (ska)
The Fuzz (funk rock)
The Station (can't pidgeonhole)
The Cramps (punk)
Dance Hall Crashers (ska)
Gunga Dins (punk)
Jungle Dogs (ska)
Mr. Opporknockety (pop, band members disagree if they want it shared, so don't)
The Offspring (rock, unfortunately their label does NOT want their stuff shared even though the band does, and the label owns the copyright. Don't share it.)
Pound for Pound (hardcore)
The Queers (punk)
Reel Big Fish (ska- they're now signed, so you can no longer share despite what the band wants)
Rufus and the Flycats (jazz rock)
The Station (friends of mine so I listed them twice =P)
Transient Frank (country rock)
The Oohs (also disagree among themselves about sharing)

As I am (as are thousands of others) boycotting RIAA labels and bands, I can't agree with paid downloads. I also can't agree that downloaded music is worth any money at all! Of course, I am occasionallyguilty of feeding a bar's jukebox.

Also, any file type that is DRM enabled is, by necessity, "active" content. It is not and cannot be pure data, and you are in danger of viruses and trojans and other malware. If you insist on using WMA or other active "data" files, be sure to NOT keep sensitive information on your computer and be damned sure your HD is backed up!

Campaign Finance Reform- I would go even farther, and make it illegal for anyone or anything to donate to a candidate he, she, or it cannot vote for. I should not be able to send a bribe to Arnold in California, and Bill Gates' minor children should certainly not have a greater say in Illinois politics than I do!

Again, great article, Michael. Kudos to you!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Bid on EBAY (none / 1) (#73)
by data64 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 09:16:07 PM EST

>(as the RIAA can purchase a senaturd for as little >as $4000, the price they paid my senaturd Dick Durbin), I wonder when we will be able to start bidding on EBay for the sentaurds

[ Parent ]
they're now signed, so you can no longer share des (3.50 / 2) (#74)
by scatbubba on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 09:22:47 PM EST

it's not that "they're now signed, so you can no longer share despite what the band wants". What really happened is the band sold the rights to their music, and it is no longer theirs to share. Don't make it sound like the studio signed them at gun point.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but given the music industry is a cartel... (none / 1) (#88)
by squigly on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:32:29 AM EST

They were given a choice - Get their music out to millions and lose all control over it, or spend the rest of eternity unknown and unheard of.

[ Parent ]
silly (none / 1) (#126)
by scatbubba on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 01:11:20 AM EST

They were given a choice: sell thier music rights to people who wanted to buy it, or not sell it.

[ Parent ]
Monopolies are bad (3.50 / 2) (#134)
by squigly on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 02:45:40 PM EST

Not much of a choice though is it.

If there was actually a free market then they would be competing to try and offer the best bands the best deals.  Take it or leave it is not really a choice.

[ Parent ]

Nonsense.... (4.00 / 2) (#148)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 10:05:48 AM EST

...the music industry is *not* dominated by a monopoly. I challenge you to prove otherwise. The music industry operates on a jackpot model because that's what artists *really* want. Ask almost any aspiring young musician what they're working toward: they'll tell you "money and fame". Sure, there are exceptions, but the majority rules. The record business dangles the carrot on a stick and artists just keep signing up for a chance to bite. There is nothing that rises to the level of the kind of commercial coercion that you suggest.

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Great piece! I couldn't agree more. (2.50 / 2) (#59)
by tantlerur on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 06:48:02 PM EST

I really enjoyed reading this article and I very much agree with the author's sentiments regarding the current corporate/political environment. Also, I hadn't fully considered how the body of "file traders" could indeed wield significant political clout, if focused on the principle of copyright. You and those who helped you are to be commended for producing such a thought provoking article.

Machinae Supremacy is great. (none / 0) (#66)
by eddy on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:22:40 PM EST

(I'm the keeper of the unofficial Machinae Supremacy Advocacy FAQ)

My problem with finding new music is that it really takes a lot of effort, and the quality is sooo diverse.

Not to mention most bands only distribute mp3s, and poorly encoded ones at that. Seldom do the band say anything about the quality (what encoder, what bitrate(s)). I'm treating mp3s as I am GIFs; barely tolerable. It might sound petty, but I'm allergic to bad mp3 encodes -- the ringing and other artifacts drives me mad.

Fortunately, Machinae Supremacy support Vorbis -- with mp3s available for those who haven't seen the light.

If someone could recommend me a group who are distributing their music in a similar way to MaSu but are closer in music style to In Flames and/or Dark Tranquillity -- that is to say, melodic metal -- I'd appreciate it.

PS. "The Offspring" an indie band? Surely you jest?

"Kings of the Scene" is nice. (none / 0) (#72)
by acceleriter on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 08:59:28 PM EST

I'll listen to more--thanks for the pointer!

[ Parent ]
Spreading Karma (none / 0) (#187)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:02:34 PM EST

Eddy, I'll certainly check out your FAQ.

I read a draft of this article at Michael Crawford's site. It pointed me to the available downloads page at the official Ogg Vorbis site. That page pointed me to Machinae Supremacy.

I enjoyed them so much that I'm frequently linking to them on message boards, and I highlighted them to Michael who was kind enough to include them in the links on the submitted version of this article.

Spreading karma can work sometimes!

[ Parent ]

Ogg Vorbis for Windows (5.00 / 2) (#68)
by ewhac on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:51:15 PM EST

Go here to download an Ogg Vorbis codec that will work within Micros~1's DirectShow framework. That means you can play back Vorbis files in Windows Media Player, or any other media player leveraging DirectShow.

Freeware, works great.

Editor, A1-AAA AmeriCaptions. Priest, Internet Oracle.

sometimes we're all a little shameless. (3.66 / 3) (#69)
by tuj on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 08:03:39 PM EST

all tracks available as 192kbps mp3's.

Just a quick one. (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by Vesperto on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:54:00 PM EST

I generaly agree with the idea expressed in your text. commenting everything i saw worthy of comment would be a huge task and i'm both tired and not in the mood for writing (although i also like it). It surprised me how few comments (78) this text sprung, i guess the average K5er thinks a good tezt is a short one. This is bad. However i am curious about something:
When the police arrest you for blocking traffic, or gathering without a permit - does this mean you need a permit to protest about something? You'll need a permit to demonstrate? Is this along the lines of those amusing "No loitering" signs under bridges?

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
yep (4.00 / 3) (#81)
by z84976 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 11:53:00 PM EST

Perhaps the average k5'er actually DOES get overwhelmed by long articles. Honestly, though a good article, its size did make it a tough one. Anyway, your question reminded me of this news story I saw today about protesters being arrested if they fail to protest within an isolated "protest zone." That kind of behavior by the government (practiced by most recent administrations, according to the article) really scares me. Don't like it one bit, no sir.

Ahh, and as for the music stuff, Furthurnet really really really is great. I'm proud to say I'm a prolific internet music swapper--- and it's all very very legal. Give it a shot sometime.

[ Parent ]

nod to furthurnet (none / 1) (#83)
by psxndc on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 01:02:10 AM EST

Furthurnet is a great app. I know there are a ton of bands on there, but I wish there were more. For those not in the know: Furthurnet is a p2p app that allows people to share concerts from bands that allow taping. If a band doesn't allow taping, e.g. tool (to my dismay), then they aren't searchable. But for bands that do allow taping, e.g. primus, the grateful dead, phish, etc, it is a great way to enjoy tons of shows legally.


It's a java app fyi.


[ Parent ]

The United States is NOT a democracy. (3.40 / 5) (#84)
by nstenz on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 01:13:36 AM EST

We are a representative republic (or something to that effect).

Perhaps you should correct that in the article.

Agree to disagree (3.00 / 3) (#87)
by Roman on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 02:49:08 AM EST

I completely agree with you calling the people not to illegaly infringe on others' copyrights and to share music of those artists, who are willing to share.

I completely disagree on your stand on the copyright itself. Nothing in this world is a natural right at all. There is no natural right of life, food, shelter, freedom or anything else. If you were born nothing will be able to guarantee anything for you, and that is precisely why I believe that it is good to have some artifficial rights, which are not natural at all, but the kind of rights that provide a basis for normal human interactions. Copyright maybe one of these rights. RMS does not believe that there should be ANY non-free (as in not GPLd) software in the world, and I disagree with him on this. I believe that an author should have a right to make a choice not to release his work under GPL. GPL is great for those of us who are willing to make use of it in order to protect free material from losing its freedome. However, those of us who are not willing to release their work under GPL should have a right not to do so. The same with music - there is no natural right for free music. Those of us who choose to copyright their works should be free to do so. Those of us who are willing to make their work free (as in libre) should also be free to do so. I even would go further and would say that copyright should be applicable as long as the author is alive. Once the author is gone from this world, at that point he/she has no meaningful way of upholding his/her copyright and the works should become public.

Why isn't this acceptible by so many is a mystery to me.

You are saying that we, humans, cannot live without music, maybe so (I also disagree on this one) but this does not have to be copyrighted music, and if it is copyrighted, you can honour the copyholder wishes concerning distribution of the works you have legally obtained (purchased or otherwise.)

I really don't have a problem with someone having a life-long copyright on Mickey Mouse cartoon, but once the original creator is dead, then this work must become public domain. This is where Disney is truly wrong.

Otherwise it is a well written article.

you seem to mix up some things... (4.00 / 2) (#95)
by spacebrain on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 07:35:33 AM EST

Nothing in this world is a natural right at all. There is no natural right of life, food, shelter, freedom or anything else.

I fully agree with this. But you seem not to make the right conclusions IMHO. As you write yourself, the point is to create rights that provide a basis for normal human interactions.

In your proposal of just another model of copyright law, you fully focus on rights of the individual again (which as we agree are not and cannot be natural in any way) and completely leave out society, which provides those rights in the first place!
Therefore, I always ask myself what is more effective in the global picture, since this effect is what I am paying for my taxes (it grants my own individual rights).

Hence, although I fully agree with you that everyone should be as free as possible in his/her actions and decisions, I ask myself, what the most effective way to maximize freedom actually is. Is it really more effective for society when the government uses our money for paying the enforcement of copyright laws (i.e. the artificial "right" of someone to take away other artificial "rights" from others) than it would be to leave this up to the market? I guess it was more effective in the past, but is it still today?

[ Parent ]
A good example (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by Roman on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:43:38 AM EST

against your point would be such a simple thing as murder. The laws (artifficial rights) agree that noone should be just killed without any due process for the hell of it as long as they shall live. Even if it is not that great for society in some cases (never mind Texas.) The basis for normal human interaction should consist of rights and laws that help people to communicate in normal ways. If an author of some material cannot have his/her copyright, he/she may become quite irritated with the fact that the work he/she is doing that is so accepted by others that they want to use it, cannot be controlled by the author. I would say that those of us who are capable of producing such materials stand to lose more from not having copyright laws than those who are incapable of producing such products. I would even say that most of the people cannot or/and do not produce such materials, but they still will be able to use these materials if they respect the wishes of the copyright holder (author or otherwise) or if these materials become public domain at some point (once the copyright holder releases them, or he/she is dead.)

Society actually consists of individuals so to deprive an individual from his/her ability to control their own work will also go against society. Now, copyrighted materials must become public domain at some point (for example 10 or 20 or 30 or whatever number of years or the authors death, whichever comes first,) and at this point society gets the materials that are now free (libre). What is the problem with this, I don't know? Why is everyone in such a rush, I don't know?

We know that everyone dies at some point, and that is the law of nature, so thius guarantees that nothing will stay proprietary for eternity, only for an average human life. Is it really a problem for society (who in itself will live an infinetly long life than any seperate individual)? I don't think so. So this is for me the best way to make sure the individuals within a society are happy and society always progresses (probably at a slower pace than it would if there were no copyrights before, but maybe, just maybe, the such copyrights would encourage more people to do more work that can be at the end so valuable to society that it will want it to become public domain to use it freely.)

At the end we all die, don't we?

[ Parent ]
No. (4.66 / 3) (#115)
by DGolden on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:49:39 PM EST

Copyright is not control over your own work - it's control over other people's copies of your work, by definition. You retain control over your own copy of your own work even in the absence of copyright.

It's like the difference between "my cat" and "all cats".  

Copyright is control over "all cats", not "my cat", and is therefore at odds with physical property rights, and that's why it requires draconian state intervention to enforce, whereas basic physical property rights are somewhat enforceable even in the absence of a central state, by "I own whatever I can defend". Contrary to that, copyright enforcement in the absence of a state would require active attack on others rather than defence, as you'd have to interfere with another's physical holdings.

Also, even if you happen to agree with copyrights, your "life" point is invalid because, particularly in america, effectively immortal corporations are legally people too!  So a "work for hire", in which the copyright belongs to a corporation, might never expire under that interpretation of the law.  We're already seeing the effects of that - the record and movie companies now have a bank of old material that's longer than a human life, so we begin to see "re-releases", "remakes" and "tributes" ad nauseum, as they resell the old crap rather than making new stuff.
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Um. (none / 0) (#157)
by PylonHead on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 05:58:07 PM EST

It's like the difference between "my cat" and "all cats".

No, it's not.  Even if you have a copy of my work, it's still my work.  Is it suddenly "your" work now that it's in your hands?  I still did the work, even if you're the one playing it in your mp3 player.

Copywrite control is over "all my work" not "all work".  You're welcome to actually do some work of your own, and share it with the world.

Oh, wait.. you don't want to do work, do you?

[ Parent ]

Sigh (none / 0) (#160)
by DGolden on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 09:19:08 PM EST

Troll, but I'll bite:

First off, I make tens of thousands of euros a year, most years. I assure you, I do work. I don't particularly want to work on projects other than my own - but that's not unusual, and I do anyway.

Is it suddenly my "work" now that's it's in my hands? If you take "work" to mean "did I produce your copy", no. If you take "work" to mean an item, as in "a work", then yes, my copy is mine. The COPY of the INFORMATION is MY COPY. Did I "steal" it? No, you still have your copy (BTW the law of most countries is very clear on this - copyright infringement is not theft, and is not legally defined as such).

Also, any talk of work is kinda irrelevant - just because you expended significant work doing something does not mean that is what it is worth on the free market (copyright is a government-introduced distortion of the free market).

Cost of production is simply not sales price, at least in the society I live in (A socialist*-capitalist northern european country called "Ireland"). I'm pretty sure it's not in America, either.

If I spend months of time and thousands of euros (euros are a bit like dollars, only brightly colored and european) of living expenses laboriously digging a garden with a spoon, that does not mean it's worth more to do that rather than just hire a mechanical digger for the day - in fact, it's worth rather less, if you count time costs.

You may feel you "deserve" something for your work. Tough. Such a notion ignores a century or so of capitalist economic theory and makes you some sort of (american usage) "damn commie". Information does not have existence independent from the substrate upon which it is impressed.. The substrate is mine. I grant you NO DOMINION over MY substrates, and will defend TO THE DEATH (and slightly beyond, if my automated systems continue successfully) my property rights over my substrates.

A guy who makes chairs makes a chair, sells it, THEN MAKES ANOTHER ONE. A guy who makes a music (or more usually, the record company he's been dumb enough to sign up to) is entitled under the current system to sit on their ASS doing JACK SHIT rather than making another song. Or, to be more closely analogous with chairs, performing his song again - the "song" is akin to the design for a chair, the chair itself is the expression of the design and therefore akin to a performance or recording of the song. Instead, he's got a magic entitlement called "copyright", that allows him to collect from OTHER CHAIRMAKERS.

Screw that. The record/production companies could even still turn a tidy profit in the complete absence of copyright since they'd still have their economies of scale, and artists would continue to be able to charge for live performances, which is where most artists make most of their money anyway.

* socialist != communist. Socialist-capitalist just means Ireland has things like health and unemployment benefits, subsidised education and so on, and accordingly high tax rates, within a largely capitalist economic system.
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Ok, it was a little trolling at the end there. (none / 0) (#161)
by PylonHead on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 10:23:06 PM EST

You say that the work has no value, and yet you want it.  How does that figure?  If it has no value, then you're free not to purchase it.  That is capitalism.  I set the price, you decide if it's worth it.  

What do you do for a living?  If someone told you that they wanted you to continue working for them, but that they wanted to stop paying you, what would you say?

You want to continue downloading music (meaning that someone has to write it, record it, do the work), but you don't want to pay them.  What do you expect them to say?

As for your substrate.  Please, enjoy it.  I make no claim to your substrate, superstrate, sideways strate or otherwise.  Just don't copy my work onto it without my permission.  It's illegal.  Sure, it's not stealing.  For that matter, it's not arson either, or j-walking, or speeding.  It's still illegal.

You say that information has no existence independent from the substrate upon which it is impressed.  What does that mean?  I've shown that it has value (people want it).  If I give you the choice of two disks, one blank, the other with the passwords to a swiss bank account, clearly you're going to be making your choice based on something other than the substrate.

The chairmaker has long since created a chairmaking factory and he pumps them out assembly line style at 100 an hour.

The guy making music doesn't have that option. He has to write each song seperately, building each one from scratch.

Regarding the argument that artists can make a living off live performances, how well does this translate into the software world?  Let me tell you, I've never gotten anyone to pay to watch me program.

It still seems to me that all your arguments boil down to you wanting something for nothing.  Hence the mildly insulting conclusion to my last post.

[ Parent ]

siigh (none / 0) (#166)
by DGolden on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 09:23:32 AM EST

You say the work has no value

No I didn't, not exactly (though I would hold that very few things, if any, have intrinsic value). I said (roughly) the sales price was decoupled from the cost of production, and that just because you spent x producing didn't mean anyone was going to be willing to spend x for it (what the thing is "worth" to others). Knocking down an argument I didn't make, eh?

Yes, I am free not to purchase it. But I'm also free, in the absence of copyright, to make my own physical item that just happens to contain the same information as yours. If that comes around because you've been silly enough to broadcast your work somehow, and I recorded that broadcast, then so be it - you essentially gave away the substrate of the broadcast copy of the information, a substrate of physical photons or electrons or sound waves.

If I stand on a street corner and shout, people might choose to pay me, but they certainly shouldn't be obliged to just because they heard me.

If I give you the choice of two disks, one blank, the other with the passwords to a swiss bank account, clearly you're going to be making your choice based on something other than the substrate.

The disk (i'm assuming you meant a magnetic floppy diskette) with the passwords is not identical - the (physical) magnetic domains on it are in a different configuration. Clearly, the substrates are different. If they weren't sufficiently different in magnetic configuration, the disks would be judged to hold the same information (except for things like position and momentum, seeing as there's still two disks...). And I know it's not the point, but I'm not sure what I'd want with the passwords to someone else's swiss bank account anyway.

The chairmaker has long since created a chairmaking factory and he pumps them out assembly line style at 100 an hour. The guy making music doesn't have that option. He has to write each song seperately, building each one from scratch.

I see you missed my point about each chair being more closely analogous to a performance or recording. Admittedly my use of parentheses to make it was probably grammatically incorrect. Hey, look over there, a factory pumping out thousands of CDs an hour! They could sell them for cents and still make a profit (at least, a profit more in line with the margins of other industries). And a rock star, on tour, singing the same songs over and over again at different venues, and making money for each performance!

Composition of a song is more closely akin to designing a new chair. Think about it - the song is the pattern for the performance of the song, a production of sound waves, the chair design is the pattern for the production of a chair. (BTW, I disagree with patents too, so that is not meant to endorse the idea of protection for said design in the absence of copyright (which applies to expressions)).

It's still illegal.

Like many Irish, I NEVER confuse legality with morality - too much history of laws being passed to legitimise arbitrary attack of my people by English law makers. Something being illegal is NEVER the actual primary reason I don't do something, funny enough. You can't really do anything much (even quite normal activities) without breaking a few laws. Laws exist mainly to give a rubberstamp of validity to the use of force against others, and to preemptively control those who DO simplisitcally confuse legality and morality. There seems to be a terrible tendency in some people to want to be ruled, perhaps to somehow absolve themselves of responsibility for their own decisions, but who knows? If someone told you that they wanted you to continue working for them, but that they wanted to stop paying you, what would you say? Probably "bugger off then", but see digression in next paragraph. I've no difficulty with an artist stopping producing music if he feels "cheated" by people copying his songs. It was their choice to publish. If I was selling bottled air, and someone was breathing ordinary air, I shouldn't have a right to stop them breathing, not even if I opened my bottles and let my air mix with the rest. It was my own stupid fault for opening the bottles.

If I download some music, the artist has not worked further to create the copy anyway. The (near negligible) energy cost has been taken up by the telephone system, mostly. Being paid in perpetuity for work done in the past is not a "right" I support. Nor does one have a god-given right to recoup one's initial investment, though current neofascist (to paraphrase Mussolini: "fascism is the cooperation of state and business") governments do their best to create such rights for their corporate masters.

Digression: working without pay depends on the situation. If I believed in what I was doing, then yes, I would work for free, or for non-monetary payment. Money isn't everything, you know. Actually, monetary systems are a little absurd today, and are also based on some very shaky foundations, buoyed up again by artificial scarcities, the idea that people can be assumed to be notionally repaying loans with interest, even if they never actually do, or even realistically could, and by faith bordering on religious (the "worshippers of Mammon" as it were). Go read about things like "fractional reserve" if you don't believe me. I'm not about to dismantle the Wests' monetary system, but it really is just a game, and much less absolute than people seem to believe. It's not much more robust than IP law, in fact, it's more closely connected than you might think- euro notes are simply "copyright european central bank", for example. Though the "money" itself is generally sorta taken to be numbers in a bank's computer these days, the expression of that money in paper is "protected" by copyright among other things.

What do you do for a living

People pay me to program for them and advise them on IT. Program new stuff, or, more usually, configure or modify existing stuff for them. If I want more money, I go do it again. That's how most in-house software development and most open source stuff works - the only exception is the (economically actually relatively small) fraction of "boxed product" proprietary software, the producers of which currently nonetheless hold disproportionate sway over policy. If you, or microsoft, can't compete, I really don't care beyond the fact that microsoft is paying for favorable laws to be written. I don't even "wish microsoft dead" or whatever - just that they stop pushing for the government-imposed free-market distortions of copyrights and patents.

It still seems to me that all your arguments boil down to you wanting something for nothing. Hence the mildly insulting conclusion to my last post.

Well, you misrepresent my arguments, as far as I'm concerned. The only reason I'm responding to you is to refine my own arguments, I hold no illusion that I'm likely to change your mind in particular. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with wanting something for nothing (or more accurately, near nothing - photons are small, but not quite nothing), if that becomes technologically possible. You'd probably complain bitterly (for a couple of minutes or so) if I removed your free air that you're getting for (gasp) nothing. The dawn of the internet is only the beginning - just wait for the uproar when/if nanotech or some such thing means I can download a car design off the net and print one for myself (or if bioengineering means I can plant a "car seed" and grow one with soil, water and sunlight). Would you really begrudge someone a copy of your car if magic car-duplication rays existed? I know I wouldn't.
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Ok.. (none / 0) (#167)
by PylonHead on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 02:21:32 PM EST

Knocking down an argument I didn't make, eh?

Well, you went off on a tangent about "cost of production" not being equal to "sales cost".  Which is pretty obvious, but completely irrelevant to our discussion.  I'm not saying you should pay me because I did work.  I'm saying you should pay me because you want to use my work.  

But I'm also free, in the absence of copyright,

Well, this is really what we're arguing about, right?  Should copyright exist?

If I stand on a street corner and shout, people might choose to pay me, but they certainly shouldn't be obliged to just because they heard me.

You'll be glad to know that you're safe under current laws. :D

Clearly, the substrates are different.

(bank account, may be bad example) But they are different in that one encodes valuable data, the other contains random bits.  It is exactly the data that gives it value, the physical form is comparably worthless.

Hey, look over there, a factory pumping out thousands of CDs an hour!

And without copywrite law, he'd sell roughly 1 CD!
How is he going to make up for his costs with volume?  

Even if you consider that people want to buy CDs, the second he releases one, another company that doesn't have the artist and recording costs will grab it and mass produce it, undercutting the creator.

Like many Irish, I NEVER confuse legality with morality

This is a strong argument, in general.  In this case, I think copywrite law serves a purpose, and makes the world more equitable.  It compensates people for their work and innovation.

I've no difficulty with an artist stopping producing music if he feels "cheated" by people copying his songs.

What if all the artists in your music collection stopped, leaving angry folk singers and local talent shows as our only source of music?
Oh never mind.

Nor does one have a god-given right to recoup one's initial investment

Back to this straw man.  It's not about remaking inital investment.  It's about creating something of value, then selling that thing for what the market will bear.  Capitalism.

We differ in what the market looks like... my market enforces copywrite, yours doesn't.  I like my market because it rewards people for innovation.  

People pay me to program for them and advise them on IT.

This is what I'm doing these days too.  And it works really well on a small scale.  But I've also worked on packaged software products on a grander scale, and these projects are clearly important.

A program like Microsoft Excel came about after years of work by a massive team of programmers.    
There is no way they can recoup their investment by selling excel to a single entity, and then having that entity hand it out to the rest of the world.

Certainly, open source software offers an alternate path to getting applications like this, but the open source excel alternatives are just getting up to snuff a decade after excel itself first appeared on the scene.  It should be noted that many of the popular open source programs are replacements for commercial products that paved the way (gave them the innovative template to follow)... linux, most of gnu, gimp, open office, etc.

The only reason I'm responding to you is to refine my own arguments, I hold no illusion that I'm likely to change your mind in particular.

This is true of pretty much all bbs discussions.  But I think I've got a better grasp of where you're coming from than I did earlier.

We really disagree on two things:

(1) I think enforcing copywrite law produces a fairer market than not enforcing it.  You do not.  I know life's not fair, but I think we should push it in that direction when possible.

(2) I think the world benefits from short copywrite periods.  I would drop copywrite down to 10 years, then toss stuff into the public domain.  This gives people incentive to innovate and create new music, software, and ideas.  You don't think people need copywrite protection to incentivise them.

[ Parent ]

One more time. (none / 0) (#172)
by DGolden on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 05:57:12 PM EST

I'm not saying you should pay me because I did work. I'm saying you should pay me because you want to use my work.

But I don't want to use your work!!! I (hypothetically) want to use a copy of your work, without depriving you of the original. I'm sorry, but a thing is not its copies, no more than the name of a thing is the thing (also a common and annoying mistake, but not particularly relevant).

the physical form is comparably worthless.

But the physical form is all there is - you cannot separate information from its physical form. At no point can you show me information without form (though at the microscopic scale things get...tricky...). If the disk has temporal value to me because of the information encoded in it, that's all well and good, so long as you withhold that information from publication. If I had another copy of the disk with impressed passwords because you published them, your disk would not have any value to me. You've "let the cat out of the bag" already.

Anyway, that example illustrates that if you insist on ascribing value to the information, it must be transient and subjective. You certainly can't ascribe a constant or intrinsic value to information, or yesterday's news today would have the same value as tomorrow's news today.

copyright devalues information, since it reduces the ability to reuse it as you see fit.

It should be noted that many of the popular open source programs are replacements for commercial products that paved the way (gave them the innovative template to follow)...

ALL software paved the way for later software. Would unix have come into being without multics? Would MSDOS have come into being without QDOS just sitting there for Bill Gates to pick up, tweak a little, and call MSDOS?

BTW, I am wary of any use of the word "innovation", jaded by MS propoganda.

MS Excel was a blatant ripoff of Lotus 1-2-3 when introduced. Microsoft is a particularly bad example of proprietary vendor "innovation". They almost never "innovate" with their boxed products, in the economic sense that they are almost never the first entrants to create a new market with a new product class, nor in the colloquial sense that they are almost never the first to come up with something. That's probably why they claim over and over again to be innovators - Big Lie, Propaganda 101. MS are, however, "good marketers" - I've had people tell me with a straight face that microsoft invented the GUI, for example.

Also, I can point to several much more interesting Open Source projects, like GNOME Storage , EROS. Other projects that were quite innovative in their time include Postgresql (MVCC and O-RDBMS pioneers), bsd sockets TCP communication.

BTW, Linux incorporates bits and pieces from many OSes, and a few wacky wierdnesses of its own. Almost all GNU tools have many more command line options than the old unix semi-equivalent. Consider the fact that gnu tar can automatically uncompress before untar without having to pipe through a seperate utility like you had to on unix of old. Now there's innovation :-)

That's the thing about software. It is maths (whether a programmer knows it or not (many people employed as programmers have surprisingly poor maths skills, which is probably one of the reasons so many programs you encounter suck so much)), and progress is incremental. ALL software "rips off" other software, in the same way I "rip off" single-digit multiplication to do long multiplication. As such, it is "discovered" more than "written".

It should be noted that most actual, ground-breaking computing science research (a.k.a. "applied discrete mathematics") is also open-source. It has to be, really, for science to work properly.

What code will be around and recognisable in 200 years? The secret sources of proprietary products? I doubt it. Maybe the first 50 pages if they registered the sources at the US copyright office, and if the US copyright office still exists...

Re (1):
I agree that life is unfair and we should try to make it a bit fairer, but I think enforcing copyright is less fair. (I think patents are even less fair, since they screw someone even if they independently develop the same stuff.)

Re (2):
I think I'd be much less bothered by a 10 year copyright period, and probably wouldn't fight it so militantly, but the current situation is absurd and has already begun to break.

You don't think people need copywrite protection to incentivise them.

No, I know they don't. A given individual person might need (or, more precisely, want) copyright privilege, but the set "people" includes members who don't. I'm pretty sure I'm a person, last I checked. People were writing very good music for a very long time without copyright, and the early software production was done in the spirit of scientific research with no copyrights (it was the fall of that era that prompted RMS to found the FSF to use copyright law against itself) - no really significant new principles in computing science appeared since that time until quantum computing, again a product of open scientific research. Academic computing leads, business computing follows, sometimes 10 or 20 years behind.

Anyway, creator's pride is probably enough to keep different music being produced, and the same seems to be true of software in which clever use of copyright is only a tool to keep it openly available in a hostile environment including copyright (KDE vs GNOME vs GNUStep vs ROX, emacs vs vi vs pico vs joe vs cooledit...)
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Ok, we're not adding anything new here (none / 0) (#173)
by PylonHead on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 07:13:48 PM EST

Sticking point:

But I don't want to use your work!!! I (hypothetically) want to use a copy of your work

I disagree.  You want to use my work.  Clearly we're not going to agree on this issue.

[discussion about innovative open source software snipped]

I'm no microsoft apologist.  They're ripped off ideas from everyone.  I'm not even a fan of most of their software.  Excel is a nice piece of work, though, so I used that as an example.  At one time it was copy of 123 (which was an innovative, commercial product, though it itself was at one point a copy of visicalc, another commercial product), but clearly they blew 123 away.   And we have a better spreadsheet to use because of it.

You seem to be tossing a lot of funded university research (postgresql, berkley sockets) in with your innovative open source projects.  It's all well an good to be giving things away for free when you're getting paid out of research grants. In fact, I would argue that any research paid for by taxpayers be released under a free licence.  If we pay for it, we should get it.

and progress is incremental. ALL software "rips off" other software,

I see this as a good argument against software patents.  We agree on that subject.  I would like to see them eliminated.  Mostly because so many of them are taking things developed over generations and pasting on a few new spangles on them, then telling everyone else.. you can't do the obvious thing I've just one without paying me.

I don't think it's a very good argument for eliminating copywrite law.  Copywrite law doesn't tell you that you can't repeat the same work I've done, it just says that you have to do the work yourself, or pay me for doing it for you.

What code will be around and recognisable in 200 years?

Oh, we'll probably be running all the old cobol code. :D  They'll be employing our descendants to fix the year 2200 bug.

A given individual person might need (or, more precisely, want) copyright privilege, but the set "people" includes members who don't. I'm pretty sure I'm a person, last I checked.

You are free to release all your work under the GPL or whatever licence tickles your fancy.  I have contributed to open source projects and submitted patches to LGPL'd libraries.  

Academic computing leads, business computing follows, sometimes 10 or 20 years behind.

Except that most programming is not very sexy.  People like doing research into new ideas.  People don't like the work that it takes to massage the innovative idea into a real world product.  Unfortunately there is a lot more work that needs to be done in the latter than the former.

If you look at the software on most people's desks, you're not going find very much coming from a .edu domain.  Sure, the original research.. but not the product.

[ Parent ]

thanks gnu! (none / 0) (#176)
by DGolden on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 10:52:08 AM EST

You are free to release all your work under the GPL or whatever licence tickles your fancy.

Indeed, in fact, thanks largely to the GPL (and BSD...), these days I can work on essentially any topic in computing I'm interested in, and release stuff without violating anyone's copyright. Means that for all my talk of disagreeing with the very idea of copyright, I very,very seldom actually violate it significantly*. Thanks, GNU !

*( As it happens, I also download mainly explicitly free music, which although of wildly variable quality, tends to be a lot more interesting anyway.)

People don't like the work that it takes to massage the innovative idea into a real world product. Unfortunately there is a lot more work that needs to be done in the latter than the former.

Indeed. But I don't think those doing that work should have any right to shut down those doing the work for free, should they exist, to save their profit margins. Yes, that is an argument stronger against software patents rather than copyrights, for the most part, but the problem of software is that it is very close to human thought itself and thus copyrights are also problematic. For example, as Paul Graham (famous Lisp hacker) pointed out, the reason why software specifications are always woolly is because a sufficiently detailed specification would essentially be the program. (particularly relevant for Lisp, because it's such a high-level language that your programs tend to look even more like specifications than other languages.)
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Quite annoying (none / 0) (#174)
by Roman on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 12:59:20 AM EST

I'm not saying you should pay me because I did work. I'm saying you should pay me because you want to use my work.

But I don't want to use your work!!! I (hypothetically) want to use a copy of your work, without depriving you of the original. I'm sorry, but a thing is not its copies, no more than the name of a thing is the thing (also a common and annoying mistake, but not particularly relevant).

It is a very annoying attitude surprisingly comming from a software programmer familiar with Free Software Foundation work (GPL). You are (I am talking to the Irish fellow) saying that by using a copy of someone's copyrighted work you are not actually using their original work. This is pure bullshit. By your argument no copyright or copyleft for that matter can ever apply to any work, be it work of art or any other information producing work. Fortunately the law says otherwise. If it did not, GPL could never have being a possibility. GPL is a licence that the user must only agree to when redistributing work licenced under it, and it sets very strict limits to how a person or a corporation is allowed to distribute their copy or a modified copy of some software.

Apparently you have being arguing semantics of what work that produces data actually constitutes. To the law and to morals of great many open source programmers and to many others the issue is clear. If some work is not licenced under GPL, or if this work is not in public domain it cannot be propagated into Free Software and for a good reason. Noone should be able to take away that freedome from that particular work (the way SCO is trying to do with GPL/Linux lately, specifically with Linux kernel 2.4 actually.)

My morals tell me that creator of the original content has rights (which I admit are not natural, I set them in my mind) to ask the rest of us to abide by the rules that the author is granting his/her users. This is what I would expect from my users to do, this is what I would do for the others. Fortunately the law agrees with me on this. Copy of my work onto any other media still represents my work minus the cost of the media. If you buy my work you are welcome to use it as implied by fair use clause (you can make back up copy for yourself.) However you are not to distribute my work, you are not the original author or a copyright holder. If you do, you are not only breaking the law, in my view you are immoral.

[ Parent ]
yep. (none / 0) (#175)
by DGolden on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 09:50:22 AM EST

By your argument no copyright or copyleft for that matter can ever apply to any work, be it work of art or any other information producing work.

Er. Yeah, that would be my point. I think it is wrong to restrict information (I'm against privacy/secrecy laws too. I think people might have an expectation of privacy in certain situations, but should never have a right to it).

No, the GPL wouldn't work in the absence of copyright law. But we (Free Software developers) wouldn't need it.

Note that the GPL was created as a reaction to an imposition of copyright law on software. Software copyright wasn't even legally defined at all in the USA until the 1976 copyright act, and only "usefully" defined in 1980 by some amendments. A land-grab by businessmen followed. It took only three years for the situation to become annoying and cause the foundation of GNU in 1983.

The GPL is designed to use copyright law against itself - in the absence of copyright, the GPL would be unnecessary. SCO couldn't "take away" freedom, because _they_ wouldn't have copyright law either. (well, actually, the situation has lately become more complex because of software patents, of course.)

This touches on core philisophical differences between the Free Software and Open Source movements. . There's a load of Open Source people, alright. Fewer are committed to Free Software. Now you may understand why RMS stresses he's a Free Software advocate, as distinct from Open Source.

It's not by accident people chose the term "copyleft" to refer to the GPL.

Fortunately the law agrees with me on this.

Yes, fortunately for you the law was changed to favour the information fascists. I've already stated that I don't think that's any reason for me to modify my opinion. In my country's history, people have died fighting against copyright law (see other comment by me about Saint Columba attached to this article).

in my view you are immoral.

You're entitled to your opinion, I promise not to lose too much sleep over it.
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Natural rights? Interesting choice... (none / 1) (#127)
by pla on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 01:42:46 AM EST

Nothing in this world is a natural right at all

Although I agree with that statement in reference to the parent article, I would like to point out two "facts"...

One, we all have a natural "right" to die. Human arrogance can try to delay that as long as possible, but it will eventually occur. Only the even greater arrogance of the leaders of our supposedly comforting "religious" leaders challenge that, and at least in the context of this world, they still fail. But we all die, sooner or later, no one can take that away from us.

Two, if no natural rights exist (with which I tend to agree, aside from death as mentioned above), then the entire idea of a "right" to profit from one's own creations does not actually exist. An artist may attempt to withhold those creations, or simply not create (as a programmer, which I consider an art rather than a science, I say, "good luck" to that particular option), but can't really do much (without the artifice of "law") once they've made their work known to the public.

You are saying that we, humans, cannot live without music, maybe so (I also disagree on this one)

We can "live" through quite a lot. That doesn't make such living meanginful.

Why isn't this acceptible by so many is a mystery to me.

Because, something I noticed a while back, you make the same mistake most humans make with regard to copyright, and "Corporate America" in general... You think in terms of individual humans, finite lifetimes, meaningful deaths, punishment as painful, and shared weaknesses.

None of those apply to, say, Disney, or Enron, or Dow, however. Disney can profit from the work of people dead a few thousand years (such as their abomination of a cartoon about "Hercules"). Enron may have problems, but the members of its "brain", while sacrificing the body, have made out quite well. Methyl Isocyanate would kill both you and I, and make the former city of Bhopal all but uninhabitable, but it has no effect on DOW (wholely owning the former Union Carbide), beyond negative PR.

Current IP laws (and I do phrase that in the general, rather than specifically referring to copyright, as an increasingly larger portion of ALL IP belongs to companies rather than humans) do not take what I say above into consideration. We don't "just" need to get rid of the RIAA, who simply acts in the most viable and rational manner a trade organization can exhibit; we need a complete overhaul of the atrocity we call the "corporation". We need liberal use of the corporate "death penalty", revocation of the corporate charter. We need serious hard prison time for executives of companies that commit unacceptible behavior. We need true billion-dollar settlements that make needless deaths HURT companies like Firestone, rather than just another trivial red entry on the books.

Mostly, we need to move beyond the idea of "individual" justice as applying to collective organizations. If you kill, torture, maim, poison, insult, taunt, fling feces at, a single ant, the colony doesn't even notice.

[ Parent ]
Hallelujah! (none / 1) (#188)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:13:20 PM EST

Well said, Pla!

I agree that we have no natural rights. To die isn't a right, as that would suggest that we have a choice to do otherwise, which we fundamentally don't.

We invent rights to support our concept of civilisation. If we are to live together in any way other than anarchy, we have to formulate rules. The fewer, the better, in my opinion, but there's no getting away from the need for some.

Roman suggests that creators could have a lifelong copyright. This may be viable now, but it's hardly consistent. Some people die before their works are released, while others live for 120 years.

More importantly, 99% of all created works is owned by corporations, and indeed an increasing proportion is created by corporations. Extending copyright means that most of these works never reach the public domain and horrific numbers are simply lost. 90% of all books written between 1910 and 1950 are out of print and unavailable yet are restricted from being released because of copyright. Most will be lost to culture because of this.

I fundamentally back Pla's suggestions with regards to the RIAA and to corporate ownership in general.

[ Parent ]

The ones with cars, lions, and... Smaller robots? (none / 1) (#191)
by pla on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:37:44 PM EST

Well said, Pla!

Why, thank-you. (Humbly blushing). ;-)

To die isn't a right, as that would suggest that we have a choice to do otherwise

I agree in that sense, but think you might have mistook my meaning - More that, no matter how bad things get, we will eventually die, ending "the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes". Not necessarily something to look forward to, nor something we can avoid, but no one can *deny* us our death (at least not yet).

90% of all books written between 1910 and 1950 are out of print and unavailable yet are restricted from being released because of copyright. Most will be lost to culture because of this.

Aspects of far more modern culture than you mention have already vanished, and the few traces remaining fall into a very dark-grey category, legally. If you don't already know about it, do a Google search for "abandonware" - If you fall between the ages of 20 and 35, most likely some beloved game from your childhood has ceased to exist. And just try finding a copy of an obscure cartoon you used to watch... An entire generation's culture has already started (and made significant progress at) vanishing into the mists of time while that generation hasn't even reached middle-age, all thanks to overly restrictive IP laws that make it difficult and legally dangerous to attempt to preserve that culture.

Sorry, I can tell by your tone that I preach to the choir here... This subject just upsets me quite a bit. To think that one poor decision by a single CEO could strip away another memory from my youth in an instant, with no notice, or even awareness of the loss until 15 years from now I try looking it up somewhere - Infuriating, yet depressing at the same time.

[ Parent ]
Corporate Copyright (none / 1) (#192)
by dawtrina on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:27:49 PM EST

Yes, you're preaching to the choir, but you're no less interesting for that. I intend to do some serious research in this field for a piece or two because I do feel that it is a massive problem that is growing larger as time goes by.

The obvious solution would be to make corporate ownership of cultural creations illegal.

In science, discoveries are often made by large groups of researchers working together, and it makes sense that the corporate entity that funds them should benefit from this.

I don't think this applies at all to music or to writing, where copyright should stay by law with the songwriters or the writers. However the thinking gets a little muddy when we talk about film.

[ Parent ]

and now k5 gets sued (none / 0) (#92)
by dimaq on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 06:11:08 AM EST

for reprinting this 'work' under some license k5 'owners' never read, or did they?


Read the license first (none / 0) (#153)
by mcherm on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 02:11:06 PM EST

The liscense he used specifically PERMITS republication (like on K5) so long as the author is credited and the content is not modified.

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]
Another One to Check Out (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by osm on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 06:16:18 AM EST



Direct from the Artist .. a notch above. (none / 1) (#94)
by hebertrich on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 06:45:24 AM EST

Several years ago at the beginnings of the internet an old friend whom i have helped for years with his studio was telling about how little he was getting for his work from each cd. We were with our feet up eating egg rolls sipping apple juice when i told him this " Imagine you dont need a distributor but use the internet to distribute.You have a web site and people swipe their cards in a reader , give you 2 $ download the cd burn them at home. " The laughs i got ... He told me that's 4 times what i get .. Laughed .. I wonder if Robert is laughing still.But i aint.That's the model id like to see.Get the artists to use this.Unfortunately.That does nothing to get them airplay, Does nothing to have them a bit more broadly known. I hate to see artists being exploited by the recording industry. They are like lemons, they get squeezed and thrown away. I wonder how to make em known but by a major shift in radio. The way normal FM radio works and satellite stations work. Perhaps internet radio can step in heavily but then again here in the US .. even if they dont play stuff that's copyrighted at the RIAA they have to pay them afair .. Major changes ahead anyways :) Thanks for the in depth review.Nicely done

Record labels deserve it. (2.50 / 2) (#96)
by toastedDonkey on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 07:41:36 AM EST

I detest what major record labels have done to music, and I think that until the price of CDs drops to accurately reflect the price of production, the record labels deserve everything they get. I'd also very much like to see musicians get a fair proportion of the profits from CD sales.

That said; after reading this article, I'm more glad than ever that I live outside the US, where the DMCA does not apply.

Heard this one before (3.50 / 2) (#97)
by notcarlos on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 08:35:47 AM EST

If everyone started downloading legal music instead of violating copyright with the file sharing programs, we would make short work of the RIAA.

A wiser man than me once said, 'And then the suits will die off, and Pepperland will be free again!' (Doonesbury, 30 January 2003)

He will destroy you like an academic ninja.
-- Rating on Rate My Professors.com
iRate (5.00 / 2) (#100)
by bugmaster on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:11:19 AM EST

I checked out iRate, and it was actually pretty poor. Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea, but the execution really sucks. The UI is incomprehensible (at least initially); it doesn't automatically download music for you; and you can't use an external player (such as XMMS or WinAmp). I think iRate would work much better as a XMMS/WinAmp plugin -- as a standalone application, it's not usable, which is a shame.
Have to agree. (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by eddy on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:48:11 AM EST

I tried the 0.2 win32 version. Not only was the interface highly unstandard functionally, I also found a rather large bug where the application would forever spawn and close two console windows when a track that had not been downloaded was selected (bug report filed).

Interface-wise.. well, where to start? First, single-click is supposed to be "select/highlight", not "play". Right-clicking a track does not present a context-menu (where you'd expect to find such things as "info" with URL/path to the file, rating, download, delete, etc -- instead it acts like a left-click! Double-fault!

There's no indication of the track length, neither in time nor size.

I also found the downloading behaviour odd. I was expecting it to (at least if I wanted it to) continiously download tracks, instead I had to tell it to do it manually most of the time.

Also, what tracks are kept on disk -- what's the policy there?

Maybe some of these things are fixed in unstable.

[ Parent ]
Kind of like... (none / 0) (#117)
by J T MacLeod on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 06:10:04 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Combine the two (none / 0) (#136)
by wurp on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 04:50:09 PM EST

From what I read, AudioScrobbler doesn't include support for downloading (automatically or otherwise) free music.

What I want is iRate, as a plugin for xmms/winamp/itunes, with a decent matching and download algorithm.  Right now I can't tell that it's doing any profiling at all to figure out what music to send me.  It does do automatic downloading, but in a retarded way.  What I really want is to say "always keep X songs that I haven't heard yet".  What it does is download a song every X times I listen to a song, which is way too seldom when I started it and way too often now that I have a bunch of music (since I get repeats much less often now, and the new music gets fed to me much slower).

All that said, iRate is still the primary way I listen to music.
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

Here's what you do (none / 0) (#158)
by PylonHead on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 06:36:00 PM EST

Use the unstable version.

Under Action, check the continuous download checkbox.

If you hate the song it plays for you, rate it: "This sux".  It will immediately remove it from your playlist.  

[ Parent ]

Irate (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by thejeff on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 07:26:11 PM EST

I managed to figure out interface and actually use it for a few days last time it got mentioned here. The problem I had was that it never actually downloaded anything I liked. A lot that I really didn't like, and some that I could tolerate. Maybe I just didn't listen long enough, but how long is one supposed to listen before getting something good.

This doesn't necessarily mean that all the free music is bad. I have the same reaction to most random selections of music, which is why I play my CDs and don't listen to the radio much.

Part of the problem was probably that I was teaching the algorithm what I didn't like, but not what I liked. An application like iRate, that would let you feed it with ratings on mainstream songs so it could get a feel for what type of free music you liked, has more potential.

[ Parent ]

Yet another problem (none / 0) (#179)
by Belgand on Thu Sep 11, 2003 at 01:06:19 AM EST

One of the things I really dislike about it aside from the bad UI, lack of professionalism  (I DON'T want to rate something "this sux" or at least have it spelled properly), and numerous other problems is that it won't let me say "I sorta like this, but never want to hear it again". I got a nice Mozart piece today and while I often enjoy classical music, I don't want it to play every so often. At the same time I don't want to build up a profile of someone who things that classical "sux".

I think this linked to the way it functions. I want a tool to discover new music, not one that discovers and plays music. Right now it's only useful if you want to listen to the music in it. Good idea, terrible execution.

[ Parent ]

On civil disobedience (3.50 / 2) (#104)
by MickLinux on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 11:12:11 AM EST

The way civil disobedience was mentioned here, at least it is a consistent display of civil disobedience, and not a case of civil disorder.

I would like to note that I disagree with the concept of civil disobedience (even though I like Thoreau's writings).  Rather, what I'd encourage is obedience to the highest law.  

That is, if you are a Christian, then obey the law in everything except when the law tells you to disobey your religion.  Your God's law is higher -- so then obey your religion.  

If feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience, and you're looking right at me.

and what does "Your God" say about (none / 1) (#107)
by semaphore on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 01:05:17 PM EST

copyright? no, i'm not trolling, this is a serious question.

"you want enlightenment? stare into the sun."

[ Parent ]

He says... (none / 1) (#112)
by MickLinux on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:21:09 PM EST

Okay, my God says to obey the authorities, except when they tell you to disobey Me (God), and do not set yourself against them.  

I personally have trouble with that.  It's difficult for me to see our government doing things that I consider wrong or foolish, and to think "yes, even that is in God's hands."  But in Job 12, Job points out that (1) he hasn't sinned, but is afflicted, while sinners skate (2) all nature will testify that his affliction comes from God, for God controls all (3) God also can make kings blind, or make them see.

So tough though it is, the answer is "don't fight it.  This law does not tell us to disobey God, so go ahead and do as they say."  

That said, I am against IP.  If the government were to ask me, "should we have any forms of IP", I would say "no."  But I do obey the law, and I do not support people disobeying it.  

If feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience, and you're looking right at me.
[ Parent ]

Who is one's neighbor? (none / 1) (#114)
by pin0cchio on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:41:13 PM EST

But above all else, the Lord says to love one's neighbor second only to loving the Lord Himself. Whether the music-publishing[1] money-changers are more "one's neighbor" than one's social acquaintances is something for religious leaders (IANARL) to interpret.

[ Parent ]
But what is loving your neighbor? (none / 1) (#116)
by MickLinux on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 05:10:28 PM EST

In order to respond to that, I have to ask, which shows a greater love to your neighbor?  To provide to him something that is nice, but violates God's law for whatever reason,

or to model God's law, and (if you really think it necessary) give him your music outright, and thus demonstrate the way to live according to God's law?

If God is God, then He is the ultimate reality, and His law is what ultimately matters.  So you give him far more by living according to God's laws, and showing him how to do it, too.

So it does not conflict with the second commandment, either.

If feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience, and you're looking right at me.
[ Parent ]

Excuse me.... (2.00 / 2) (#150)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 10:11:51 AM EST

...but I think you should know that I trademarked the use of 'God' with a capital-G in the year 2000. You are hereby ordered to cease and desist from further use of the terms: 'God', 'Jesus', 'Him' or 'Holy Ghost'.

Your God

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Christianity and copyright (4.33 / 3) (#113)
by DGolden on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:25:25 PM EST

Well, I don't know about the bible, but a christian priest in Ireland was probably the first person in recorded history to be found "guilty" of a copyright violation, way back in the 500s (yes, that is quite a long time ago). His name was Columcille, a.k.a. Saint Columba. He copied a manuscript while visiting a monastery. The head of the monastery demanded the copy, and took his case to the King. The High King Diarmuid handed down the judgement "to every cow her calf, to every book its copy".

Columcille objected strongly to the idea that his duplication of knowledge was wrong. The High King had already severely pissed off Columcille and the copyright judgement was the final straw - Columcille and his family (think tribe/clan) started a war against the High King, a war which the anti-copyright forces decisively won.

Notice that Columcille, possibly history's first recorded "media pirate", merited a sainthood from the Christian church, and shaped christian european history for centuries by founding monastaries devoted to scholarship and the preservation of knowledge and learning after the fall of the western roman empire by copying of writings.
Don't eat yellow snow
[ Parent ]

Yes... (none / 1) (#149)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 10:08:29 AM EST

...sort of like how the preacher got the mob to hang that guy even though the Sheriff told them not to in that Russ Meyers western.

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Association of Black Users compensation (4.00 / 2) (#105)
by chanio on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 12:13:02 PM EST

People could create an Association that would help others caught by RIAA with lawyers, assessment, technical info, etc. so that the 'punnishment' would never be as expected.

Ask Dutch people about this, they have a lot of experience in these sort of organizations!

It would become more powerful than RIAA if everyone accepts to pay some money for getting ensured that RIAA is going to dissapear in a short time. (not to be protected by the organization, just to make RIAA and similar ones, dissapear in a short time :)
Farenheit Binman:
This worlds culture is throwing away-burning thousands of useful concepts because they don't fit in their commercial frame.
My chance of becoming intelligent!

Instant Compensation (3.00 / 2) (#189)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:18:09 PM EST

In many ways this is happening already.

This article is entitled 'Being Sued by the RIAA Turns Profitable'.

It really does make us reevaluate the impact that the RIAA's court cases are having.

[ Parent ]

Your forgot garageband.com (3.50 / 2) (#106)
by sudog on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 12:24:22 PM EST

Good site, great ratings system, and some pretty good music. :-)

Change the law to what? (none / 1) (#108)
by daishan on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 01:09:17 PM EST

In Canada trading/recording/sharing is legal. We pay a surtax on media because it is assumed we will be copying copyrighted material.

This deal works out pretty nicely for everyone except the artist; the consumer doesn't get sued, and the recording industry makes a tidy profit on selling blank CD's.

I can't help see how any change in copyright law will end up rewarding the artist, and not the decreasingly significant recording industry.

missed someone (2.66 / 3) (#120)
by dboyles on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 07:07:34 PM EST

We pay a surtax on media because it is assumed we will be copying copyrighted material.

This deal works out pretty nicely for everyone except the artist...

I don't think it works out very well for the consumer who doesn't violate copyright law.  It seems to me that this is like periodically sending all licensed drivers a speeding ticket because they're probably speeding sometimes when they drive.  Sure, taxes are levied on drivers (tags, registration, etc.), but imagine the public backlash if the above rationale was used.

"Complacency is a far more dangerous attitude than outrage." -Naomi Littlebear
[ Parent ]

What the hell... (none / 1) (#109)
by guinsu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 01:39:24 PM EST

My band's web site:

red number 40

Free music downloads, of course.

hey (none / 1) (#122)
by jolt rush soon on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 08:20:23 PM EST

why not put it in your sig?
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
You make little mention of the songwriting problem (4.00 / 2) (#110)
by pin0cchio on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 03:11:47 PM EST

If a person writes a song, records it, and distributes the recording publicly across the Internet, how can he be sure that he didn't violate some other songwriter's copyright?

hmm (none / 1) (#123)
by jonboy on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 09:51:02 PM EST

Interesting link, though I only perused the content.

I stopped when I saw the assumption that a stacatto note is the same as a non-stacatto note. Having a few years experience playing in wind bands, I'd wager the author isn't much of a musician...
The above post is overrated.
[ Parent ]

Judges aren't musicians either (none / 1) (#163)
by pin0cchio on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 11:43:18 PM EST

I'd wager the author isn't much of a musician

Actually, I know yerricde, and he told me that until he learned of Bright Tunes v. Harrisongs, which construed "access to the original work" to include having heard the work years ago on the radio, he was quite a composer. Remember, the judge assigned to your case will probably not be a musician either and may regard staccato as an aspect of performance that does not materially change the underlying musical work.

[ Parent ]
OggVorbis (1.00 / 2) (#121)
by Xiol on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 07:43:15 PM EST

Was gonna get pissy with you for not mentioning Ogg Vorbis, but you did, so +1 Respect.

Ogg Vorbis is the future, switch now before it's too late.
-- The Quote Machine

for those who like (2.00 / 2) (#124)
by minerboy on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:28:54 PM EST

Petitions about copyright laws, check this out

What's wrong with music on the internet today.. (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by mikael_j on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 12:18:21 PM EST

IMHO It's that in software like Kazaa I can't just sort by rating for most things since if I try finding some new reggae bands then a search general enough to find me some new bands will also find me hundreds of songs by Bob Marley and Eek-a-mouse and I can't just rate all of those results as "irrelevant" and have that matter.

I suppose what I'd like to see is some sort of "intelligent" rating system that takes into consideration if a certain artist is extremely popular with many users and not just users that are sharing files in the same genre then its rating will be affected negatively by this since this is most likely a sign of this being another "mainstream" artist who isn't very popular within his/her genre but is immensly popular with the general public.

We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty

iRATE Red Hat 9 RPMs available now (3.00 / 4) (#132)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 12:45:32 PM EST

If you use Red Hat 9, RPMs of iRATE radio just became available yesterday. Get them at iRATE's download page.

One way to contribute to iRATE is if you run a system that uses packages iRATE doesn't already provide. You can help with packaging. You don't have to know much about programming to do that. For example, Mandrake uses RPM too, but it's really best to use packages built native for your system, and we don't have a Mandrake developer yet.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

file sharing done saved mah soul (none / 1) (#135)
by Cermo on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 04:17:11 PM EST

With a single exception that I can think of, literally 100% of the music I've purchased in the past two years have been as a direct result of file sharing.

Bands I would have never otherwise been exposed to...whole genres of music I would have never otherwise been exposed to...have come into my life via Kazaa, and Audiogalaxy and Napster before that.

When I like what I hear, I drive to the local mom'n'pop used record store and have them order me the CD....and I've bought a LOT of CDs. Because, yeah, I want that nice shiny jewel case with the nice shiny cover art and shiny lyric booklet and shiny photos. When a group is worth my attention, I want the whole experience. I support the bands I like. I buy their music, and their bumper stickers, and their concert tickets.

I know there are plenty of p2p users who would rather download and burn entire albums than pay even $5 for the experience, much less $15-20. Before Napster, know what these same people were doing? They were BORROWING THE CD FROM THEIR BUDDY AND COPYING IT TO A CASSETTE. And that's just the average tightwad everyman...the really ballsy ones just shoplift.

I, for one, refuse to feel guilty about my "illegal copyrighted music downloads ...because if something I download is worth listening to, it's going to end up lining the pockets of the recording industry anyway. I won't feel guilty, and I really REALLY resent the suggestion that I'm some kind of criminal because of it.

The real crime is all the poor bastards out there who think that the only music worth listening to is the same ten bands they play over and over on the local "alternative" station.


My brain is built of paths and slides and ladders and lasers and I have invited all of you to enter it's pavilion. My brain, as you enter, will smell of tangerines and brand-new running shoes.

and even though you resent it (none / 1) (#139)
by QuantumG on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 07:20:59 PM EST

You will do absolutely nothing to change those stupid criminal laws.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
no..not really... (none / 1) (#140)
by Cermo on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 09:27:39 PM EST

...aside from the fact that the vast majority of the music I buy is from Metropolis Records, still a devoted NON-member of the RIAA.  Not that I choose my music based on record label politics, but I'd much rather be supporting Metropolis than Warner or RCA.

Not exactly actively boycotting, but hey.  I'd probably be a rabid activist is I ever got an ounce of self-esteem.  As it is, I can't supress my natural cynicism enough to believe that I or any other individual can actually make any kind of difference.  I enjoy online petition-signing, but I consider it to be more akin to organized mass grumbling than activism.

No, for the most part this whole p2p/copyright infringement crapfest is just fueling my already burning desire to become Canadian.


My brain is built of paths and slides and ladders and lasers and I have invited all of you to enter it's pavilion. My brain, as you enter, will smell of tangerines and brand-new running shoes.
[ Parent ]

Why don't you run for congress? (none / 1) (#142)
by QuantumG on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 09:48:15 PM EST

Many members of congress run unopposed at every election. All you need do is register to vote in their district and collect 200 signatures, then you're on the ballot. Get some air time or hand out some fliers and you're guarenteed to get yourself elected. Once there you can put forward a bill to reduce the term of copyright (or whatever else you would like) and have the time of your life exposing all the members of congress who take bribes from the RIAA. If the pot is stirred hard enough, you might even win some sort of concession.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
I'll meet the min. age req. in about 4 months. (none / 1) (#151)
by Cermo on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 10:58:05 AM EST

I'd better hold onto my job cleaning up dogshit and cat vomit until then...gotta pay for that airtime.  I've got a couple seasons of Stargate SG-1 on DVD and a box of The Soprano's "Tony's Macaroni" I can sell too.

Will I have to color my hair back to brown for this?

Cermo For Illinois State Senator in 2004: He's Keepin' it Real, Y'all.

My brain is built of paths and slides and ladders and lasers and I have invited all of you to enter it's pavilion. My brain, as you enter, will smell of tangerines and brand-new running shoes.
[ Parent ]

seriously (none / 1) (#164)
by QuantumG on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 12:56:06 AM EST

You should run as you are. If you make good arguments why the elected official you are running against is a scumbag (and there are always good arguments) you'll win.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Alice Cooper (none / 1) (#190)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:21:06 PM EST

Alice Cooper has done this in Arizona a few times. The incumbent was corrupt, or the lead candidate was corrupt, so Alice stood in opposition.

His entire point was to highlight this corruption rather than be elected. He was even likely to win a couple of times and had to quickly withdraw because he didn't want to win!

[ Parent ]

#12 in the blogdex top 50 (2.00 / 4) (#141)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 09:38:24 PM EST

This article is tied with several other pages for twelfth place in the Blogdex top fifty.

From About Blogdex:

Blogdex is a research project of the MIT Media Laboratory tracking the diffusion of information through the weblog community. Ideas can have very similar properties to a disease, spreading through the population like wildfire. The goal of Blogdex is to explore what it is about information, people, and their relationships that allows for this contagious media.

Blogdex uses the links made by webloggers as a proxy to the things they are talking about. Webloggers typically contextualize their writing with hypertext links which act as markers for the subjects they are discussing. These markers are like tags placed on wild animals, allowing Blogdex to track a piece of conversation as it moves from weblog to weblog.

Blogdex crawls all of the weblogs in its database every time they are updated and collects the links that have been made since the last time it was updated. The system then looks across all weblogs and generates a list of fastest spreading ideas. This is the list shown on the front page. For each of these links, further detail is provided as to where the link was found, and at what time.

Also, Anthony Jones, the creator of iRATE radio, tells me that a thousand new users have registered since this article appeared friday.

I'm really very pleased with the response to my article.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

can you share this content? (3.50 / 2) (#143)
by abe ferlman on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 10:46:16 PM EST

There's a problem here, you can't legally share most of the content you post to. You could give someone else the link,but you could be liable for copryight infringement if you posted this stuff on sharing services. The open music registry (openmusicregistry.org, linked from the copyright/RMS section in the original story) lists music that is free to share and use in whatever way you like so long as you preserve attribution; if there is another directory of such music I'll be pleased to learn of it.

Sites I should have mentioned (none / 1) (#145)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 11:52:20 PM EST

There are two MP3 review sites I should have mentioned and just plain forgot, Gods of Music and The Houston Chronicle.

I was unaware of Garageband until after this article posted here, nor was I aware of etree.org.

I will add them to my copy of the article some time in the next couple days.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

Open Letter to Mr. Crawford (3.37 / 8) (#146)
by Peahippo on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 03:14:28 AM EST

You really asked for it, Ace.

I must say, your article is particularly well-thought out. It's a damned shame, therefore, that you couldn't avoid dressing up your case from the beginning with unwarranted fear tactics that only seem to live in the mind of the scared American yuppie.

You'd have to be some sort of moron to let your ISP know who you are. A true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool idiot. I bet you generated quite a wind when you whipped out your fucking credit card to sign up for your ISP. So convenient! And so compromising! Credit Card = Identity Card. Pay your ISP in cash, or money order. Those are untraceable; hence, you are untraceable. Needless to say here, don't use AOL or any other such cretin-infested service. Only losers use AOL (more to the point: their billing system).

Assuming you let slip who you were, perhaps linking to where you live, then a process server will come to your door. Hey, here's a fucking idea: don't open the door to people you don't know. Install a peephole; wise people do. The more work you create for the server, the greater chances you have to avoid the entire affair. Corporations try to whittle you down with the same stalling tactics; use the same stalling tactics against them.

Let's say then that by some method you are successfully served for your so-called civil case. (Maybe for civil cases -- and depending on your state -- you may be considered "served" by a newspaper announcement, etc.) Gee, you show up aaaaand ... "Gee, judge, I don't know what the RIAA's attorney over there has been smoking, but the guy they want isn't me. Their records must be wrong; I don't download music." Let them chew on that for a while.

Let's say they then try to "discover" your computer. Well, by now, you'd have to be a complete twit to deliver your P2P- and MP3-infested computer to them. You didn't tote your computer to court, did you? Of course not. So go to the library and read up on the laws governing discovery, and try to twist your way out of anything they ask for (just like the corporations do to us folk). Once suitably armored, you can then address the computer. I'd investigate either wiping the MP3s and associated software from the computer, or building it anew and claming it crashed on you and you had to wipe it. Hey, you can't be blamed for running the most virulent computer virus ever created (i.e. Microsoft Windows); it crashes, man ... everybody knows that. We all have plenty of friends who've had to reload their Windows.

In fact ... with the RIAA going on a legal rampage, I'd now be reloading and using another computer ... better yet, a 2nd hard disk on my own computer with another copy of my OS to hold all those "incriminating files" (snort, snarfle, chuckle). When the computer is "discovered", I'd just remove the 2nd hard disk and normalize the BIOS and then the bootloader on the 1st hard disk. Problem solved; the computer looks absolutely normal (i.e. clean).

And in case you are thinking that "but the judge'll hold me in contempt" for all your claims of ignorance, then it's time for you to grow up. Stop doing your opponent's work for him. Stop being so goddamn afraid. All you need to do is combine Bold+Smart+Sneaky. Step right up and calmly assert your innocence. Don't sweat or stammer. Look a bit confused, and concerned that you really aren't satisfying the judge. Judges are generally elitist assholes; they enjoy people grovelling before them, and apparently enjoy dressing up and sitting on a goddamn throne. It's up to you to be smarter than they are (which isn't hard since these fops compare quite well with the average potted plant). Here's an important clue for you: just meet the judge's expectations of "scared and confused Mr. Joe Average" and he'll concede that you probably are indeed a case of mistaken Internet/computer magic number conjuration.

Plan your lies carefully, then lie your head off. After all ... the judge is just working together with the prosecutor, to make sure the corporation behind this all can squash you like a bug. You don't owe those motherfucking mercenaries any honesty at all. None whatsoever. Remember all along that they can't really prove anything ... it's not like they have your DNA all over the murder weapon.

I swear, you American yuppies roll over on your backs to expose your bellies at the first sign of trouble. Your attitude is pathetic. Fight, you idiot ... fight! You'll find that there really isn't all that much space between the tip of your boot and the backsides of their asses. Your own "little guy" status is a strength in battles like this, and it's high time that you discovered how to fight from a position of strength.

Frank Edwards
... and if you think that's my real name, you really need some medication.

I doubt they can (none / 1) (#169)
by Pac on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 03:18:34 PM EST

These people are told about how corporations and governments and judges are just a small step bellow God, from early childhood. I don't think they can fight much more than my Golden Retriever can fight. Just raise your voice 10 or 20 dbs and she will bow and lie down and look miserable and basically do anything in her reach to make you happy with her again. So will them.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
"Pay in cash" is no longer an answer (none / 1) (#182)
by Tzaquiel on Fri Sep 12, 2003 at 03:51:13 PM EST

Pay your ISP in cash, or money order. Those are untraceable; hence, you are untraceable.

Bzzzzt, wrong. First off, most broadband providers will come to your house to begin with during the setup, even if your home is already wired. If they don't, they will almost certainly demand a home address (as has been the case with the 2 DSL and 1 cable providers I've used). So, say you have to slog it out in the 56k ghetto (sorry, fellas) : there will still be little electronic breadcrumbs that go IP address -> ISP -> phone number. Extracting a billing address from the phone company is a simple thing. Not many utilities will accept a PO Box as a billing address, but guess what ? Even if they did, the post office requires some sort of real address from you. See ? No way out.

Granted, corporate entities will have a much harder time collecting this information than, say, the FBI, but even those walls are coming down under tons of lobbyist cash - we are less than a decade away from corporations having access to your personal information similar in scope and burden-of-proof requirements to the government. And as any reasonably intelligent high school student could tell you, the government's walls weren't too high to begin with.

The answer is moving towards less of a physical 'pay in cash' thing, and more towards a digital 'use open/encrypted networks'. We're still feeling the growing pains right now, but it'll be here before you know it.

"Ouch ! What do you do ?"

[ Parent ]

Or (none / 1) (#194)
by Easyas123 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:54:16 AM EST

how about you conduct your business like a regular person and just find all of the completely legal and honest ways to download music. if a suit is wronly filed against you, you have no worries.
You could support your local mucic scene! Losts of those bands are great and nearly give their CD's away. Although the RIAA is really creepy, artists still need to get paid and so do all the "behind the scenes people." use your intelligence for something other than what most people consider a crime. Vote with your wallet in a legal way and it will have a faster effect than other methods.

As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

What does the recording company charge for? (none / 1) (#154)
by darthaya on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 02:25:33 PM EST

I know they spend money on marketting. What else do they charge that much money for? (The cost for CDs are negligible, they are so dirt cheap)

Paying their executives! [NT] (1.00 / 2) (#178)
by craigd on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 06:33:07 PM EST

A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
Everyone else (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by Easyas123 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:44:02 AM EST

I am not going to defend the RIAA's tactics in some of these instances but the money from CD sales goes to: the artist, the recording studio, technicians of sound, instrument, equipments and physical, cover art guys, all the other folks you see in the liner notes, and promotions.

Just as an aside, promotions are not aimed at the consumer, that is what radio is for. Promotions is aimed at getting the artist ON the radio, (what? you thought that your local station just had good taste in music?). With limited airtime for musical content, (remember radio stations sell ad time, the music is just a lure to get you to listen to sales pitches), radio stations must be sold on the idea that artist x is going to have people listening to that station. The weekly top 40::radio ststions as Neilson ratings :: T.V. The point of them is so that advertisers and stations will have an idea of what is selling.

I will not have the stones to say that the pricing structure is not in need of correction, but I beleive the answer lies somewher in-between free and overpriced.

As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

Sometimes, gnutella is legal (none / 1) (#155)
by statusbar on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 03:53:58 PM EST

My friend CB Shaw has a number of songs on his website, and in order to reduce bandwith, he specifically requests that people download them and Please share these mixes using Kazaa, WinMX, and P2P Gnutella programs like Bear Share, Lime Wire, and Acquisition.

Problem is, when someone downloads cbshaw's music from GnuTella, your ISP who may be monitoring you at the request of the RIAA will be thinking that you are downloading the music illegal, even though the copyright owner gave the listeners explicit permission to share his music.


This is not a problem (none / 1) (#156)
by PylonHead on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 05:35:02 PM EST

They are going after people sharing files, and they know exactly which files you are sharing.

They will not bother you unless they can make a case against you.  Since the vast majority of people are illegally sharing music, they will have plenty of guilty people to pursue.

[ Parent ]

Check this site out (2.50 / 2) (#168)
by gyan on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 03:15:29 PM EST

  I came across allofmp3, a site operating in Russia, which is an online music download service. Their tariff is $1/100MB!!. Their legal info(link near top-right) claims that they're legal (atleast in Russia). They've been operational for 3 years! Among other features, one has the ability of online encoding. Which means, you select codec, bitrate..etc and the site encodes on the fly and sends you the endfile. There is a downloadcap of 33.3KB/s, but you can have 5 pipes at once.

Does anyone know more about this site? I hope this is legal.


Wow (3.50 / 2) (#171)
by Obiwan Kenobi on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 05:30:58 PM EST

I am so flattered to be mentioned on this list. My site, misterorange.com, has been my online home for years and my music has been online, in various places, for even longer.

I've gotten some notice for my slash install guide, but it's very nice to have a link on a well-traveled site such as kuro5hin for my musical abilities.

I saw right away that my one "polished" song was downloaded about 10x what it had been in the course of 8 hours, and this just encourages me to make more music and work harder at it.

For those interested in hearing some of my stuff but don't want to pick and choose amongst the 19 "Rough Cuts", here's a quick playlist:

  • Trixter (from the "Polished Music" section)
  • The Angel's Cry
  • Hangman
  • Sweet Cheeks
  • Daybreak
  • Jessica
Of course I dig all of it, but for those looking for some choice cuts, there ya go.

Very cool, I'm geekin out over here :)

misterorange.com - The 3 R's: Reading, Writing, and Rock & Roll...

RIAA : How do you sleep at night ? (none / 1) (#177)
by hebertrich on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 12:03:14 PM EST

News is out that the RIAA has sued a 12 year old girl which lives in subsidised New York housing.. http://www.theregister.com/content/6/32740.html Really.. Tons of other links about this are on most news sites. Now i got nothing about busting people that make forged cd's and are reselling them for a profit. Nor do i have sympathy for software pirates but they have gone over the edge. This is enough to tip anyone's opinion about that grand institution that protects the "poor" artists.Unbeleivable.If it wasn't out there in all the papers i'd say this was a hoax. With dangerous criminals like a 12 year old girl out there.. the world is a scary place .. and such a threat to the noble RIAA .. Im getting sarcastic.. ill let the RIAA speak for itself.They know darn well how to look bad without me having to step in and add to it.

Actually... (none / 1) (#195)
by failrate on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 03:14:17 AM EST

Our founding fathers didn't grant copyright.  The British did it, and the pops all thought it would hinder development of science and intellectual development.  Our "rulers" put copyright in much later.

Read this for some of the beef...

In the mid 1800's, young Americans were some of the best educated and most free individuals on the planet -- and America had no formal education system (being largely derived from the guild -- apprentice -- system of learning that embraced "learning through doing"). Schools were locally organized and had no rigid structure such as state testing, national textbooks, or even a defined curriculum. Children learned to read young, and because the US had rejected European copyright law, academic books and literature were readily available and consumed by the lower classes. The end result was an exceptionally well educated population that truly embodied "the American dream".

The problem was that the liberty that these people embraced -- and the spoils they demanded to earn (this was long before the concept of the welfare state) -- ran contrary to the growing corporate power in the West, as well as the political corruption that sought to conglomerate control in increasingly expansive and wealthy federal hands. In 1888, the Senate Committee on Education wrote:

"We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes."

-quoted from http://www.bme.freeq.com/news/pubring/20030730.html
Voodoo Girl is da bomb!

Romanian translation now available (none / 1) (#198)
by MichaelCrawford on Sat Jan 10, 2004 at 02:15:29 PM EST

A romanian translation of this article is now available, prepared by the incredibly helpful Ciprian Miheţ:

If you're fluent in a language other than English, you can be a big help by translating my article. Contact me at crawford@goingware.com to discuss it.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

google (none / 0) (#199)
by 18google on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 02:12:37 AM EST

google "r-Ľ

Well Spoken... (none / 1) (#200)
by chazzbro on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:02:25 AM EST

I agree with the bulk of the content in the article. I am a believer in free. Not a believer in stealing. All the arguments supporting music piracy ring very hollow. My bottom line is "find music you like, and support it via whatever channel you found it. If you hate the RIAA too much to do that, then don't steal it...live without it!"

Anyway, I decided some time back to put my money where my mouth is. I got a bunch of artists together and created quite a few generic-specific sites for the sole purpose of providing truly free and legal music downloads. All the artists are indie. I think you'll be impressed with their quality. In order to keep the quality high as the sites became more popular, I've had to turn some artists away.

The music genres represented may or may not interest you...that's cool. There are plenty of us out here who do like them. And I'm sure you'll find other stuff out there if you're looking for it.

My sites: Free Solo Piano, Free Solo Guitar, Feels Like Christmas, Christian MP Free, Free Kids Music, Free Childrens Music and Healing Piano.

I've also recently put up a gateway page to all of them: Free Music Group

And I've started a new directory offering a free listing to any artist who has at least one free full-length, standard-quality (128kbps, stereo) MP3 download available on their site. That site is The Free Music Directory.

I hope you enjoy the sites. It's been a lot of work and a lot of fun putting them together. And if you like them and agree that they provide value, please tell a friend and link to them from your blog or web site.

RE (none / 0) (#202)
by lixiangcn on Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 09:39:58 AM EST

I really enjoyed reading this article and I very much agree with the author's sentiments regarding the current corporate/political environment. Also, I hadn't fully considered how the body of "file traders" could indeed wield significant political clout, if focused on the principle of copyright. You and those who helped you are to be commended for producing such a thought provoking article. Flash geci mobile shouji info info caixin ling.

Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads | 202 comments (183 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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