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File sharing debate


bc_dup1

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In light of that, it is unclear to me how Napster ever lost the lawsuit brought against it. How is a computer not (at least partially) a digital audio recording device?

 

I don't do much file sharing, and that which I have done I feel a little guilty about, but stuff like this makes me feel less guilty about the whole thing.

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Cool article.

 

I was downloading thru kazaa lite, but when I heard about RIAA going on the attack, I stopped and uninstalled the program.

 

Unfortunately, I can see both sides of the argument, but to my favor, I don't mind downloading a song for a dollar or under, either.

 

I've looked at the pay sites, but their amount of selections aren't too big, yet.

 

The only reason I even downloaded was for me to do cover tunes. I'd pick the smallest (probably shittiest) version of the song to download just so I could give it a re-listen if a band said, "Hey, let's do this song". Very convenient.

 

I guess I'm just waiting for the fallout from this RIAA stuff and see where the cards fall. Until then, paying for a song, as long as it's under a dollar (some sites are down to 79 cents) is cool with me.

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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I'm with Fig, I don't mind paying $1 for a song. Seems fair.

 

However, what isn't fair is the fact that if I want a song, I need to buy an album priced at $15. Garbage. Then, on top of that, I have to bring the album home and rip and encode the songs into MP3 so I can get them on my iPod. GARBAGE!

 

Albums for under $10 with MP3's on the disk, ready to copy? Yeah, I'd be down with that.

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I would think that there would be some way to set up some kind of "subscription" service that gives a subscriber unlimited download access to a particular pool of recorded music for a monthly fee, or a monthly fee combined w/ some kind of charge for certain volumes of downloads (x minutes is one fee, x+y minutes is that fee plus a surcharge, x+y+z minutes is that fee and a greater surcharge, etc.).

 

I haven't really thought this thru and I have no idea what the costs would be for the subscriber, the subscription service, or the record companies. I'm not sure how royalties would be handled, etc. Nonetheless, the optimist in me thinks that there would be a viable business solution along these lines, or something similar.

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Of course the recording industry basically priced singles out of existence to force people to buy albums.

 

As a kid, I loved buying 45's. I've got thousands of them. It cost under a dollar for one song.

 

Much better than paying $3 or $4 for an album that had the one song and a bunch of filler.

 

Of course I'm talking 60's prices here.

 

But the stupid moves by the recording industry which has been stealing from musicians since its inception, do not justify stealing from musicians.

 

Yeah, that's it, let's eliminate the middle man and steal the music directly from the musicians.

 

By the way, sob, sob, sob, I have cds for sale on my website and no one ever buys one. People download the mp3s or listen to the realaudio and that's the end of it. I would like to make another cd but can't justify the expense.

 

Maybe if I made a video and danced in a thong I could sell more cds. Nah, no one would want to see that.

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

Maybe if I made a video and danced in a thong I could sell more cds. Nah, no one would want to see that.

:D Unfortunately, I can see it now...

 

BASSISTS GONE WILD!

 

I'll fire up Adobe Premier. Who has a digital camcorder we can use?

 

On topic...

 

I like Willie's idea. I subscribe to Netflix, and it's sort of the same idea, except there is a mailbox involved. I would pay $20 a month for access to a large selection that included classic jazz and pop.

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Originally posted by fig:

I was downloading thru kazaa lite, but when I heard about RIAA going on the attack, I stopped and uninstalled the program.

I don't think they can catch and prosecute you unless you have File Sharing ON (meaning people can access your files). Its kinda like a firewall...
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If you bought a recording from someone and then made copies for your I-pod, your walkman, and your car cd player it would be fair use.

 

If you made free copies for all your friends and especially for a large group of anonymous internet friends, I don't see how anyone could call that fair use.

 

If you sold the copies, it would be piracy.

 

If you posted the latest Harry Potter book online, you probably would be prosecuted almost immediately.

 

Everyone always says, "how much money does Metallica need anyway?" but they don't ask "how much money does Joe Schmoe, independent musician need anyway?"

 

At least enough to recoup the cost of recording, IMHO.

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Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

I would think that there would be some way to set up some kind of "subscription" service that gives a subscriber unlimited download access to a particular pool of recorded music for a monthly fee, or a monthly fee combined w/ some kind of charge for certain volumes of downloads (x minutes is one fee, x+y minutes is that fee plus a surcharge, x+y+z minutes is that fee and a greater surcharge, etc.).

There are already places that do this, more or less. Yahoo has their LAUNCHcast streaming radio service which has a free and a subscription-based version. Subscription has a few perks and higher audio quality, etc. Unfortunately, it's a streaming service, so until connectivity becomes omnipresent and their server reliability hits "five-nines" as we say in the computer industry, or 99.999% reliable, I don't know how well it will take off.

 

What they do have going for them is a pretty impressive collection of songs in the catalogue. I can only assume that they have an agreement much like a radio station. It might be a little different in that, from the record company's/artist's perspective, a 'net-based service is nice because they can print up a bio on the artist, link to all of their albums and link to Buy It buttons from Yahoo Shopping. Much more convenient than catching a song on the radio in your car and hoping that the DJ bothers to tell you who it was, then hoping that you remember that info until the next time you hit the music store, and then hoping that they have the item in stock or even know who it is.

 

I think that the advent of personal audio devices such as the iPod and pocket mp3 players could make online distribution a much more attractive venue for both providers (artists and record companies) and consumers.

 

The real problem is that a lot of people want on-demand availability of specific songs, some of them want it for free, some want it either at a price-per-song rate or a flat subscription fee, and so forth. However, the media currently available for distributing the songs can no longer guarantee to the producer (copyright owner) that they are the sole provider of the goods. Technology, with computer replication of audio and before that with home recording on tapes and CD burners, etc., has long since bypassed our antiquated intellectual property laws.

 

So we definitely need three things:

 

1) Updated laws, possibly even reevaluating but definitely restating our fundamental ideas of intellectual property in light of modern technology.

 

THEN

 

2) Close the holes in the system that make it criminally simple to violate the aforementioned laws. This requires both a technology solution and also prosecution of the offenders.

 

WHILE ALSO

 

3) Developing a new distribution mechanism that allows the consumer to get what he is willing to pay for, and keep him from getting that which he is not willing to pay for. Other industries are always trying to figure out how to sell the consumer what he wants, why isn't the recording industry?

 

I feel that the problems we are facing right now stem from the fact that we are trying to do #2 before we have done #1 because everyone keeps hoping that someone will figure out how to do #3 and then the problem will just solve itself automatically. :/

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(Directed at Jeremy's last post, someone else snuck in between us.)

 

Point taken, but...

 

The law itself doesn't distinguish between how you get your friends, e.g. your real friends vs. a large group of anonymous internet friends that you don't know.

 

The only thing the law has done is that a judge interpreted the law to mean that a computer is not a digital recording device--which I find to be suspect. The law itself doesn't provide this clarification, only a legal precedent.

 

My argument for why I file-shared in the past (really, I didn't share, mostly just downloaded) had nothing to do with how much money I thought the bands deserved, by the way. I am not anti-rich, as many people seem to be. And in file-downloading I'm not trying to get over on anyone.

 

I guess my point is, ironically, "fair use" is a legal term and has (at this point in history) little to do with actual fairness, and a more general idea of fairness is what it seems your argument is based on.

 

I have a friend who is totally against intellectual property of all types, because he thinks that the idea that anyone can own a word or idea or series of musical notes is ridiculous. I do not share his position fully, but I am beginning to see his point. So to me file-sharing seems like a borderline case of how far intellectual property should extend if you believe it exists at all. I therefore think, given that you can make free copies for your friends, file-sharing should be legal and the legal precedent otherwise is a misinterpretation of the original law. If we want a new law, then fine, but judges shouldn't be the ones who make the laws.

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Originally posted by ClarkW:

So we definitely need three things:

 

1) Updated laws, possibly even reevaluating but definitely restating our fundamental ideas of intellectual property in light of modern technology.

 

THEN

 

2) Close the holes in the system that make it criminally simple to violate the aforementioned laws. This requires both a technology solution and also prosecution of the offenders.

 

WHILE ALSO

 

3) Developing a new distribution mechanism that allows the consumer to get what he is willing to pay for, and keep him from getting that which he is not willing to pay for. Other industries are always trying to figure out how to sell the consumer what he wants, why isn't the recording industry?

I agree with this up until point #3. Just because I'm not willing to pay for it doesn't mean I shouldn't get it. What matters is whether or not it belongs to someone else, and that brings us back to the whole intellectual property debate. If intellectual property is fully defined per your first point, and we understand that we're only talking about things "owned" by other people in point #3, then I can agree with it.

 

I guess my ultimate point on this post is that the definition of intellectual property, fair use, etc. is really the issue in this debate. The issue is not resolved by simply saying "that's stealing" or saying "that band doesn't deserve the money", but rather the question is if it's something that can be logically stolen in the first place. Possession is 9/10ths of the law and all that. Whatever you believe the intellectual property laws SHOULD be, the fact is they are currently very vague and confusing, and that's where most of the problem on this whole issue comes from.

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I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV. Thank God.

 

I have a lot of relatives and friends who are lawyers, in general they are not very happy and are jealous of my musical career.

 

We'll figure out this whole thing eventually.

 

Meanwhile, of course I have been paying taxes on DAT tape which of course I only use to record my own music.

 

Yuck.

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Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

I would think that there would be some way to set up some kind of "subscription" service that gives a subscriber unlimited download access to a particular pool of recorded music for a monthly fee

 

I haven't really thought this thru and I have no idea what the costs would be for the subscriber, the subscription service, or the record companies. I'm not sure how royalties would be handled, etc. Nonetheless, the optimist in me thinks that there would be a viable business solution along these lines, or something similar.

 

Peace.

Already happening:

 

www.pressplay.com (soon to be renamed Napster)

www.listen.com (aka Rhapsody)

www.musicnet.com (available to AOL customers)

www.emusic.com

www.fullaudio.com

Plus the Yahoo thing somebody already mentioned.

 

I am a former employee of one of these companies. I have heard that negotiating contracts with labels for licensing music is HELL. Not something I personally dealt with, but it is extremely complex because almost every album/song/artist must be dealt with differently due to their varying relationships with the labels. Everybody has to agree on the royalty amount, all of the publishing has to be cleared with the publishers and songwriters. It's a clusterf*ck from what I hear, and always in a state of renegotiation as labels and artists loosen their grip on allowing digital downloads.

 

Prices for subscriptions range from from $5 to $20 or more per month. Great for grabbing popular songs for learning covers, and you could probably write it off if you're a full time pro musician. Also great for grabbing a bunch of party music or just to check things out before buying the CD. Personally, I prefer to own the CD if it's something I like. But there are those old songs from way back that I'd love to hear again just once.

 

These services are really cool if all you want is to grab a bunch of songs and be happy you did it legally. But depending on what you want to do with them after that, the drawbacks are numerous. If your account is in good standing, you always have access to everything - I think usually you can keep the files on your hard drive so you don't have to be connected online to listen to what you've already downloaded. But if you unsubscribe, it all goes away. CD burning is limited (unless you figure out a way to do it real-time through hardware or virtual cables), the files are not MP3 format (labels are still too scared of 'em), and you have to use the provided software to play the files. Or in some cases, if allowed, you can purchase tracks one by one, then you're free to burn or transfer to a portable device. When there is a restriction on a particular song or album, like you can only stream it or it's not available at all, it's usually because the artist wouldn't give permission for their music to be burned or downloaded.

 

Er, maybe that's more than you wanted to know. :D

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LizzyD and ClarkW -- thanks for the most excellent information. I will check some of those sites out and see what I can learn. Nonetheless, LizzyD, you've definitely made it clear that the system could still stand a couple or six thousand improvements.

 

We're pretty much all musicians here, and our take on why downloadable music is important is different than that of the average consumer or label. We're interested in learning tunes, sharing our work, and enhancing the scope of our musical knowledge and experience, as well as just having some good music to put on when we chill. We also have some financial interest (JeremyC has made that clear!) in maintaining some control over our own music -- even if just to cover the costs of production.

 

If I dig an artist, I'll buy the CD -- I like owning the CD (e.g., I posted a little bit ago about my purchase of the remastered Yes CD Close to the Edge). If I need to learn two Britney Spears' songs for a subbing gig in a cover band, I just want to download them, learn them, and then delete them.

 

However, as of now, I don't have any history of downloading music from the web. I borrow friends' CDs to learn tunes, or buy the CDs if I'm into the music.

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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