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43 Million Americans Use P2P Software

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the for-shame dept.

The Internet 537

robl writes "If the NYTimes article is correct then somewhere around 1 in 6 Americans apparently are unindicted felons. In the eyes of the public file swapping is as morally wrong as speeding on the NJ Turnpike. The rest of the article talks about the RIAA's carrot/stick/education approach and how they may find themselves entering into negotiations for some forms of file sharing. Also the EFF will be running ads in Rolling Stone next month asking if enthusiasts are tired of being treated like criminals."

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Linux Mandrake - A racist OS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148200)

The Open Source movement such as Linux Mandrake has been a topic of
considerable debate on the Internet's most controversial site. The
majority of this debate has centered around the technical merits of
the software, with the esteemed editors argueing against adopting
Linux by employing the full depth of their considerable intellects,
and the other side hurling death threats and similar invective. This
has allowed many who would not otherwise receive quality information
about Open Source software to be made aware of many of its
ramifications, but one issue has been left alone: The overt racism
that is deeply embedded in the movement.

Allow me to explain.

Alan Cox; Richard Stallman; Bruce Perens; Wichert Akkerman; Miguel
DeIcaza.

What do you see in this list of names? Are there any African-Americans
on it? Absolutely not, none of those names sound like one a
self-respecting black person would have! No Maurice, no Luther, no
Lil' Kim. There are many other lists such as this, you can see one
here. Flip through each page, do you see anything other than white
faces? Of course you don't, because Open Source and its adherents are
ardent racists and they absolutely forbid access to the sacred
'kernel' by any person of color.

Lets look at the list of the companies using Linux. Are there any
black owned companies on that list? Nooooooo. How about these
companies? They all have something to do with Open Source software,
any of them owned by an African-American? No again.

More racist overtones can be found by examining the language of Open
Source. They often refer to 'white hat' hackers. These 'white hats'
scurry about the Internet doing good, but illegal, acts for their
fellow man. In stark contrast we find the 'black hat' hackers. They
destroy the good works of others by breaking into systems, stealing
data, and generally causing havoc. These two terms reflect the mindset
of most Linux developers. White means good, black means bad. Anywhere
there is black, there is uncontrollable destruction and lawlessness.
Looking further we see black lists that inform other users of 'bad'
hardware, Samba, an obvious play on the much hated Little Black Sambo
book, Mandrake, which I won't explain except to say that the French
are notorious racists. This type is linguistic discrimination is
widespread throughout the Open Source culture, lampooned by many of
its more popular sites.

It is also a fact that all Unix 'distros' contain a plethora of racist
commands with not so hidden symbolism.

It can hardly be coincidence that the prime operating system of choice
of the 'open source supremacists' - Linux, features commands which are
poorly disguised racist acronyms. For example: 'awk' (All White Klan)
, 'sed' (shoot nEgroes dead), 'ln' (lynch negroes), 'rpm' (raical
purity mandatory), 'bash' (bring a slave home), 'ps' (persecute
sambo), 'mount' (murder or unseat nubians today), 'fsck' (favored
supreme Christian klan). I could go on and on about the latent racist
symbolism in Linux, but I fear it would take weeks to enumerate every
incidence.

Is there a single unix command out there that does not have some
hidden racist connotation ? Suffice it to say that the racism pervades
Linux like a particularly bad smell. Can you imagine the effect of
running such a racist operating system on the impressionable mind ? I
don't have to remind you that transmitting subliminal messages is
banned in the USA, and yet here we have an operating system that
appears to be one enormous submliminal ad for the Klan!

One of the few selling points of Open Source software is that it is
available in many different languages. Browsing through the list I see
that absolutely none are offered in Swahili, nor Ebonics. Obviously
this is done to prevent black people from having access to the kernel.
If it weren't for the fact that racism is so blatantly evil I would be
impressed by the efforts these Open Sourcers have invested in keeping
their little hobby lilly white. It even appears that they hate the
Japanese, as some of these self proclaimed hackers defaced a web site
with anti- Japanese slogans. Hell, these people even go all the way to
Africa (South Africa mind you, better known as White Africa) and the
pictures prove that they don't even get close to a black person.

Of course, presenting overwhelming evidence such as this is a bit
unfair without some attempt to determine why these Open Sourcers are
so racist. Much of the evidence I have collected indicates that their
views are so deeply held that they are seldom questioned by the new
recruits. This, coupled with the robot-like groupthink that dominates
the culture allows the racist mindset to continue to permeate the
ranks. Indeed, the Open Source version of a Klan rally, OSDN (known to
the world as Open Source Developer's Network, known to insiders as
Open Source Denies Negroes) nearly stands up and shouts its racist
views on its demographics page. It doesn't mention the black man one
single time. Obviously, anyone involved with Open Source doesn't need
to be told that the demographic is entirely white, it is a given.

I have a sneaking suspicion as to why their beliefs are so closely
held: they are all terrible athletes.

Really. Much like the tragedy at Columbine High School, where two
geeks went on a rampage to get back at 'jocks', these adult geeks
still bear the emotional scars inflicted upon them due to their lack
of athletic ability during their teen years. As African-Americans are
well known for their athletic skills, they are an obvious target for
the Open Source geeks. As we all know, sports builds character, thus
it follows that the lack of sports destroys character. These geeks,
locked away in their rooms, munching on stale pizza and Fritos, engage
in no character building activities. Further, they interact only with
computers and never develop the level of social skill that allows
normal people to handle relationships with persons of color.

Contrasted with the closed source, non-geeky software house Microsoft,
Open Source has a long, long way to go.

Join me in my next article. Thank You
Dr. Ray Peterson
Chief Information Unit
IT Department

you missed the obvious joke (5, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148231)

It's named Mandrake, yet you went for the "racist" angle?

Good time to be an RIAA lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148202)

42 million lawsuits sounds like a blast!

Re:Good time to be an RIAA lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148213)

Maybe they can send them the cease-and-desist letters over kazaa. RIAA: Saving trees!

1 in 6? (5, Funny)

vfwlkr (668341) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148203)

1 in 6 americans know how to use their computer?

Re:1 in 6? (2, Insightful)

blanks (108019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148214)

You would be suprised as to how many people know how to use napster/kaaza then know how to check their email.

My roommate hires many Latinos for construction work and shows them how to use the internet. The first thing he does, is shows them how to download porn off of kaaza.

Re:1 in 6? (-1, Troll)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148251)

You would be suprised as to how many people don't know how to distinguish between 'then' and 'than.'

Re:1 in 6? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148319)

The post is full of glaring errors, and that's the only one you chose to bitch about?

I fear for the future of Slashdot.

Re:1 in 6? (0, Flamebait)

Narcissus (310552) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148368)

You would be suprised as to how many people don't know how to distinguish between 'then' and 'than.'

And you would be surprised as to how to spell 'surprised'. Seriously, what's the use of even pointing out someone's mistake like that?

Are you so useless that you can't work out what they were trying to say? Of course not, because otherwise you could not have corrected the error.

So what, then, is the real reason for all these people correcting everyone else's little mistakes, besides just maybe wanting to stir people up?

Re:1 in 6? (4, Informative)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148217)

1 in 4 Americans are under the age of 18; so yes, (more than) 1 in 6 Americans know how to use a computer.

Re:1 in 6? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148244)

IANAA but I know plenty of people who can use P2P software but haven't got the first clue about computers.

Typical conversation:
"I downloaded this file but I can't play it.."
"Just install these codecs"
"Are they a virus?"
"No..they'll let you play your file"
"Where should I install it? My dad will kill me if it's a virus."
"..."

Re:1 in 6? (5, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148245)

5 of 6 Americans know about viruses and anti-virus software for Windows.

5 of 6 Americans think Windows IS the computer.

5 of 6 Americans think Microsoft is a microscopic kind hearted firm, like the MSN flutterby.

5 of 6 Americans know about spam, RIAA, MPAA etc.

Only 1 of 6 actually know how to use their computer. The rest are used by their computer.

Re:1 in 6? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148295)

5 of 6 humans wish elitist shit-fuckers like you would fuck off and die.

Re:1 in 6? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148309)

And all 6 out of 6 cowards ike you will always remain anonymous! Thankfully.

Re:1 in 6? (0, Offtopic)

switched4OSX (668686) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148346)

And all 6 out of 6 cowards ike you will always remain anonymous! Thankfully
Pot calling the kettle black?

Re:1 in 6? (5, Funny)

Fulkkari (603331) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148246)

1 in 6 americans know how to use their computer?

No. I think that is the number of people, helped by the geek next door. The true number is even worse I believe.

Re:1 in 6? (4, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148366)

"When I was young and naive I believed that all human actions are directly or indirectly motivated by the twin goals of money and sex. Now I know better; there are three drivers - money, sex, and the fear of computers." -- me

I wanted to make it my sig. Too bad /. allows only 120 chars :(

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148205)

yaa

but what's better? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148210)

(a) P2P software

OR

(b) sex with a mare?

The GPL: Open Source or Intellectual Theft? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148211)

As a consultant for several large companies, I'd always done my work on
Windows. Recently however, a top online investment firm asked us to do
some work using Linux. The concept of having access to source code was
very appealing to us, as we'd be able to modify the kernel to meet our
exacting standards which we're unable to do with Microsoft's products.

Although we met several technical challenges along the way
(specifically, Linux's lack of Token Ring support and the fact that we
were unable to defrag its ext2 file system), all in all the process
went smoothly. Everyone was very pleased with Linux, and we were
considering using it for a great deal of future internal projects.

So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a lawyer that
we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It
was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something
called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license
states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available.
Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money
we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would
now be available at no cost to our competitors.

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any
products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to
its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.

Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever
use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult
position. We could either give away our hard work, or come up with
another solution. Although it was tought to do, there really was no
option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000.

I think the biggest thing keeping Linux from being truly competitive
with Microsoft is this GPL. Its draconian requirements virtually
guarentee that no business will ever be able to use it. After my
experience with Linux, I won't be recommending it to any of my
associates. I may reconsider if Linux switches its license to
something a little more fair, such as Microsoft's "Shared Source".
Until then its attempts to socialize the software market will insure
it remains only a bit player.

Thank you for your time.

Re:The GPL: Open Source or Intellectual Theft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148259)

Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would now be available at no cost to our competitors.

lol "no cost"??? sure thing bud.

porn (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148212)

the other 5 of 6 just look at porn sites

Gah, felons? (5, Funny)

bad_fx (493443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148218)

You know, believe it or not, P2P software has some legitimate uses...

Like backing up all my stuff on random stranger's computers. :)

article (0, Redundant)

CowBovNeal (672450) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148269)

Industry Offers a Carrot in Online Music Fight
By AMY HARMON

Like a lot of music fans roaming the Internet these days, David Bishop registers one basic sentiment when he thinks about the record industry. "They're a bunch of greedheads," he says. "They've been really fat on what I think of as huge profits and now they're trying to maintain the status quo."

Mr. Bishop is not your typical college-dormitory Internet pirate. A 49-year-old illustrator in San Rafael, Calif., he has steered scrupulously clear of file-sharing software like Napster and KaZaA. But he recently discovered how to play the music provided by other online fans without copying it, and has no compunction about flouting recent efforts to stamp out the practice.

"I'm not doing anything wrong," he insists.

Until recently, music executives have largely failed to acknowledge the millions of individuals, from teenage Eminem fans to Elvis-obsessed baby boomers, who have joined in what amounts to an online rebellion against the industry by some of its most important customers. Hoping to end Internet music piracy by ridding the world of the technologies that make it possible, they have so far focused on legal battles against KaZaA and its many brethren.

But for the first time in the Internet file-sharing wars, record industry executives have in recent weeks started to address music fans directly, both offering carrots and wielding sticks to persuade people to buy their product again. How well they succeed is likely to determine the way music is produced and consumed for years to come.

"The technology has destabilized us, it has hurt us," said Doug Morris, the chief executive of the Universal Music Group, a unit of Vivendi Universal and the largest of the five major record companies. "But now it's going to take us to new heights."

The industry is pursuing lawsuits against music pirates but is also offering new ways to legally listen to and buy music online through deals like a recent alliance with Apple Computer.

That prospect may be difficult to achieve. Forty-three million Americans â" half of those who connected to the Internet â" used file-sharing software last month that allows people to copy music without paying for it, according to a survey by the NPD Group, a market research firm. The file-sharing program KaZaA, which rose in popularity after the record industry won its lawsuit against Napster, has been downloaded more than 270 million times, more than any other free program available on CNet's Download.com site.

The migration of music from shiny disks to the online arena has personalized debates about intellectual property rights once reserved for lawyers, turning passive consumers into political activists in increasingly large numbers. Having discovered the virtues of the new online form, many people are demanding the freedom to sample, trade and make available music in ways that were never before possible.

Some of those ways, like making unauthorized copies of hundreds of copyrighted songs without paying for them, are clearly not legal. Others may be the subject of a negotiation that the music industry is beginning to accept it may have to enter into.

"I have rights to listen to my music the way I want to," said William Raleigh, 33, a marketing manager in Los Angeles who says he never buys music produced by the major record labels, preferring to reserve his acquisitions for independent bands that sell CD's through the Web site CD Baby. "I'm not a criminal if I want to share it with some friends, and I'm opposed to the technology that tries to restrict my rights as a consumer."

Paul Vidich, an executive vice president with the Warner Music Group, a unit of AOL Time Warner, said that the degree to which people could share their music was a key point in the company's negotiations with Apple. They explored what the equivalent of playing music in a living room full of friends would be in the online world. Would it be O.K. for students in a dormitory room to share music with the room next door? With the whole dormitory?

They settled for now, Mr. Vidich said, on agreeing to allow the ability to share with people under one roof, or a radius of about 150 feet.

"What is personal use, where does it stop, where does pirated use begin?" Mr. Vidich said. "That is one of the questions that this whole Internet phenomenon has opened up and we all need to address it."

In response to a prolonged sales slump and a federal court decision in April that found the companies that distribute the file-sharing programs Morpheus and Grokster were not violating copyright law, record executives now say they are girding themselves for a new era.

They say they are responding more actively to legitimate consumer demands and are willing to brave the backlash that may come from pursuing legal action against individuals for making unauthorized copies of music in their homes.

They are also hoping that relinquishing some control over their product may also ultimately boost their profits. After all, Hollywood movie studios once battled the VCR as a threat to theater attendance â" only to see that technology spawn the hugely successful home video business.

"We've turned the corner," said Andrew Lack, the chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment. "When there weren't legal, good places to go buy music online the activity was cool, but once we get these services up, it's going to change people's behavior."

With the unveiling of the Apple music service in April, the major record firms have overcome much of their fear of cannibalizing compact disc sales with cheaper, easily copied digital downloads. They licensed their catalogs to Apple on more liberal terms than they had in the past, letting the new Apple music service sell songs for 99 cents. In just over a month, the service has sold more than 3 million tracks, far exceeding the record industry's expectations.

Bill Collage, a Sag Harbor, N.Y.-based screenwriter who has regularly used file-swapping software, said he has spent $60 at the Apple store since it opened on April 28.

"It's solved all my problems," Mr. Collage said. "It's so fast, and there's no guilt, no recriminations."

Last month, Sony and Universal sold their jointly owned online music subscription service, Pressplay, to Roxio, the company that purchased Napster's name and assets after it filed for bankruptcy. The Pressplay service, in which the two record labels retain a stake, is expected to be reintroduced soon bearing the Napster name â" an acknowledgment by Sony and Universal that the service would be easier to sell to consumers under the brand that most epitomizes file-sharing.

And RealNetworks announced last month that its subsidiary Listen.com was dropping the price it charges subscribers to its Rhapsody online service to buy songs online to 79 cents.

These efforts to make purchasing music online more consumer friendly are being deployed even as the industry takes more aggressive legal action against online piracy.

After settling lawsuits against four college students accused of running "mini-Napsters" on their college campuses last month, the record industry's trade association is preparing to file lawsuits solely against individuals who have used software programs to let others copy music files from their personal computers.

"We have the right to control the property we own the way we want to," said David Munns, the chief executive of EMI Music North America. "To be successful I have to listen to what the consumer is telling me, but if that means me going broke that's not the answer. You've got to do what you've got to do."

The industry's position was bolstered by a ruling last week by a federal appeals court that forced Verizon Communications, a major Internet service provider, to hand over the names of four individuals whom the record industry suspects of illegally trading music using KaZaA.

The first lawsuits are likely to be filed this summer. "We're going to continue to address this with harsher and harsher means," said Mr. Morris of Universal. "If people are criminals I'm not concerned about alienating them."

As the file-sharing era has unfolded, Mr. Morris and other top record executives have largely remained silent, letting the leaders of its trade association, the Recording Industry of Association of America, speak out against piracy and field the fury of many music fans. (The association's Web site has become a favorite target of computer hackers).

Several executives said they have been spurred to take a more public role now because of persistent misperceptions about the costs of their business. Consumers think CD's are too expensive, they say, only because they don't realize how much the labels spend developing and promoting new artists, the vast majority of whom never sell enough to make back the investment.

Those costs have grown as radio stations have consolidated and stores like Wal-Mart, with less shelf space for CD's, are replacing stand-alone record stores as the main retail outlet for music, record executives say. Part of the industry's new strategy is to create a consumer education campaign on music industry economics.

Meanwhile, the industry's critics are calling for a more radical restructuring of the way music is distributed online. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group, is organizing a campaign to rally students to push Congress to create alternative approaches that would legalize some forms of file-sharing.

One would require record companies to license their entire catalogs to anyone who wants them for a fee set by the government. Another approach would levy a tax on Internet service providers and, perhaps, other related businesses to create a fund that would be used to compensate copyright holders based on a measure of how frequently individual songs are downloaded. For consumers, the tax would be less noticeable than directly charging for the music.

"Right now copyright law is broken and the music industry is bullying everybody into being scared," said Shari Steele, the foundation's executive director. "There are new ways of distributing music that don't require the record companies to be a part of it."

For its campaign, the group has paid for an advertisement, to be published in Rolling Stone and other publications next month, showing five people standing in a lineup with headphones on. "Tired of being treated like a criminal for sharing music online?" it reads. "Filesharing is music to our ears."

Roger Ames, the chief executive of Warner Music Group, said any plan that handed control of the industry's licensing to the government would simply shrink its revenues and prevent it from financing artist careers. As for the taxation idea: "It sounds like communism," Mr. Ames added.

However unlikely Congress may be to order the music industry to act differently, some analysts and many music fans argue that the record labels need to do more to wean people away from file-sharing services. For better or worse, the Internet file-trading bonanza of recent years has given lovers of popular music a taste of what it means to have near-instant access to almost anything created by their favorite performers for free, to use their personal computers as listening stations, to burn their own music mixes on CD's and e-mail songs to their friends.

"There's a lifestyle issue about how people want to use music that has been missed," said Russ Crupnick, vice president of the music division of NPD. "The industry needs to reconnect with consumers and understand what they are seeing here besides the free part."

Re:Gah, felons? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148330)

You know, believe it or not, P2P software has some legitimate uses...

Yeah, like pr0n! Outside of usenet, p2p is the best way to umm... do anatomical research.

Re:Gah, felons? (5, Funny)

bad_fx (493443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148371)

Yeah, That's the spirit! You're not a sick pervert, just an amateur anatomical researcher.

Doubt it, but... (4, Funny)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148222)

If anyone is guilty in here, raise your hand...

Re:Doubt it, but... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148290)

*raises his hand, moreso than most*

And if you think for a second I'd admit it publicly, you're a fool :)

Way I look at it is, I spend a LOT of money on DVD's and so my downloading of telesyncs and DVD'rips is more than covered. I don't listen to much music, so the 3-4 MP3's I download a month really isn't eating into the industry's pockets cause I wouldn't have paid a dime for them anyhow. I didn't buy CD's before, and I won't later.

To summerize: The RIAA and MPAA shouldn't see my 'piracy' as lost revenue, cause a) they're getting as much of my money as I can spare, or b) they wouldn't have gotten a dry penny from me regardless.

In either case, there's no point in whineing or threatening me.

Re:Doubt it, but... (4, Insightful)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148325)

*raises his hand, moreso than most*
And if you think for a second I'd admit it publicly, you're a fool :)


You're the "fool". Slashdot does track the IP address on posts, even when anonymous. The good old DMCA says they can subpoena that information without a judge's order.

Whoever dreamed up the idea of bypassing the judge when getting a court ordered subpoena should should have all his constitutional rights revoked. And I don't exactly have much sympathy for the idiots who passed this law either.

-

Don't worry about it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148370)

You're the "fool". Slashdot does track the IP address on posts, even when anonymous. The good old DMCA says they can subpoena that information without a judge's order.

Don't worry about it. The government can't prosecute you unless they can identify the infringed works and prove that they have been registered with the copyright office. The same goes for the RIAA and MPAA.

Re:Doubt it, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148357)

I remember hearing about a study which said that ~90% of Americans have, knowingly or not, committed felonies worthy of jail time.

I'm guilty... AND HERE IS WHY! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148375)

First off, I have nothing against the RIAA really. They are a business. A corrupt and monopolistic business to be sure, but they are out to make money and survive. I can't blame them any more than I can blame ebola for trying to do the same... except about the money part.

I have a shiney new dvd writer. It has a nice button on the front. A tray that goes in and out. Oh, and it writes dvd's. Aside from archiving the family footage, and making great backups I like to do some authoring with dvd's.

Although I believe my flash animation skills are beyond question, others don't seem to think 2 hours of my artistic creations are worth the dvd they are burned to.

What I love to do is snag music videos off various newsgroups and p2p programs, and put them together on my own mtvdvd. I make custom menues, do different transitions, cut the crappy intro screenes for #lamevideos on pir8net, put the whole thing together, and everyone I know loves them! Every single person I've showed them to has begged me for a copy.

You know what else is interesting.. there is NO legal way for me to obtain the videos. Heck, the ??AA would make a killing selling these things. I know that I have seriously considered getting one of those in-dash dvd players just for this purpose (don't worry, I'm not a stupid driver).

There is obviously consumer demand for this stuff. So much demand in fact that consumers have resorted to less than legal means to obtain them. Its a shame that so much revenue is wasted.

Undetectable file sharing (4, Insightful)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148223)

The figures won't include groups of friends making their MP3s available via private FTP servers, which I know goes on and is pretty much undetectable by anyone wanting to stop file sharing. Waste [com.com] is the latest craze among my Net friends - the download may have been pulled, but the genie is out of the bottle.

File sharing is the only "killer application" for broadband, and most people with BB use file-sharing at least some of the time.

Re:Undetectable file sharing (5, Insightful)

Troed (102527) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148252)

Why I use WASTE [troed.se] (and some info about the name, links to the novel etc).

True, filesharing will probably be a popular use of WASTE, but secure chatting with your friends is equally attractive.

Re:Undetectable file sharing (3, Funny)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148261)

which I know goes on and is pretty much undetectable by anyone wanting to stop file sharing. Waste is the latest craze among my Net friends - the download may have been pulled, but the genie is out of the bottle.

You know, how much longer is AOL going to put up with this Frankel guy at Nullsoft? He and his "cohorts" released Gnutella which has got to be one of the biggest thorn in big media's side, he released some program to turn AOL's banners into something else in AIM, and now he goes and releases Waste which is basically similar to Gnutella but for much smaller groups. Why has he not been fired along with any co-conspirators? Does Nullsoft have that much artistic license or self-sufficiency that they won't get in trouble for this stuff or is AOL just too big to really handle internal affairs like this properly short of forcing them to pull it from being downloadable? As you said, the cat is already out of the bag. I can't believe Nullsoft doesn't get taken to task for not getting approval from corporate's lawyers before any software release!

Re:Undetectable file sharing (2, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148271)

He's already announced that he's quitting Nullsoft, so it's a bit of a moot point.

Re:Undetectable file sharing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148302)

Perhaps he released Gnutella and Waste with 'someone' at AOLs blessing, to secretly bring down the financial power of RIAA and reduce the influence of Warner record execs in the corporation at large and to boost the potential future value of AOL internet stock.

Maybe more than 43 million (1)

kevinatilusa (620125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148224)

From the article: "Forty-three million Americans â" half of those who connected to the Internet â" used file-sharing software last month that allows people to copy music without paying for it." It is possible to allow P2P software for legal purposes only (though not very many people do so), and it is possible to use it only for movie trading, etc. The actual number may thus be somewhat higher.

Dear /. (3, Insightful)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148228)

Dear /.
Please stop linking to NYT articles. You know why, Thank you.

Re:Dear /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148254)

In the time you took to post that you could have registered (for free).

Re:Dear /. (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148293)

Please, before we come down too hard on these posters... the reason a lot of us *hate* to "register" for these sites is that they require our email addresses, then make sure the address is valid by sending the logon credentials to it.

We are getting way too much spam already!

About the last thing I want to do is spread my email addy all over the net, especially to someone I flat do not trust to sell it to every marketer which will give 'em a buck.

And trying to constantly scrounge up throwaway email addys is a pain in the arse... or at least it is to me...

Please, moderators, go light on these guys for the comments they made.. and take it in the light of why the "registration required" sites are considered to be a pain in the arse.

Re:Dear /. (1)

inaeldi (623679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148310)

Why don't you just make an email for registering for stuff like this?

Re:Dear /. (1)

cmason32 (636063) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148322)

This may be offtopic - but it's not that hard to have 2 email addresses (or more). I have one that I use solely for whenever I have to register for something. I only have to go in once a month and delete everything.

If people are that adamant about giving out their email address, why not try this?

Re:Dear /. (4, Interesting)

visualight (468005) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148323)

I think that the NYT gets more than a few page views from /. - page views that affect how much they can charge for ads.

If slashdot stopped accepting submissions that included a NYT link would the NYT stop requiring registration? Or maybe allow slashdot to link directly to the article?

just wondering if a slashdotting is actually a measurable benefit to a big site like that.

Logon with this (2, Informative)

justin_speers (631757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148372)

Thanks to Portal of Evil News [poe-news.com]

L: poenews
P: poenews

Still, /. submitters should stop giving them hits.

Quit whining. (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148379)

nopass
nopass

Enthusiasts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148229)

"Also the EFF will be running ads in Rolling Stone next month asking if enthusiasts are tired of being treated like criminals."

I didn't realize that any music enthusiasts read Rolling Stone. Maybe they're talking about phone-sex line enthusiasts.

Re:Enthusiasts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148257)

So that's where my donation is being wasted?

To buy overpriced ads in a yuppie magazine?

Well I know one group that I won't be donating to again...

Celebrate Freedom! July is"Turn Yourself In"month! (5, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148232)

I would love to see the justice system bog down and stop because 43 million Americans turned themseves in for DMCA violations, Copyright infringement, IP theft, and running Bonzi Buddy.

So much for a representational government - I wonder how many Senators have kids with a pile of 'illicit' mp3s/warez/mp4s.

Ah...they're probably all out drinkin' and pukin' with Jenna.

Cool, so (0, Flamebait)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148272)

43 million people lose the right to vote? Dubya will be a shoo-in for the next election!

Re:Cool, so (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148324)

"43 million people lose the right to vote?"

OTOH, if the cards are played right, you're assured of 43 million votes! Too good to resist.

Dear American... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148342)

The English language has many wonderful and descriptive words. Most of them are just fine as they are, and don't need ugly sylables tacked on to the end of them.

To wit, the following are not real words:

representational
memorialized
fantastical

etc, etc.

Now, excuse me while I hide from the incoming wrath.

Re:Celebrate Freedom! July is"Turn Yourself In"mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148347)

See this [slashdot.org] post. It is doubtful 43 million people are committing crimes. And what makes you think people use p2p networks just to break the law?

Re:Celebrate Freedom! July is"Turn Yourself In"mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148376)

I wonder how many Senators have kids with a pile of 'illicit' mp3s/warez/mp4s.

Well if you figure on one to two illegitimate kids for every nightly drunken indiscretion with subject's mistress(es)(first random hooker he finds not missing all her teeth). Divide by 1 to 10 depending on how drunk subject really is. Then multiply that by the days he has served in office.

Re:Celebrate Freedom! July is"Turn Yourself In"mon (2, Insightful)

psavo (162634) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148377)

Seeing as USA has 2mil imprisoned, this is not that far off.

43 Million Felons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148233)

The article says that 43 million people use p2p networks, but that doesn't mean that everyone is doing it for illegal purposes. People forget that there are legal uses for p2p.

I'm sure somewhere, someone is using a p2p for only legal uses. So maybe it's only 42,999,986 million felons.

Re:43 Million Felons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148242)

42,999,986 million? That's 42,999,986,000,000. If that is the case the RIAA has more trouble than they initially thought.

P2P2$ (5, Insightful)

djtripp (468558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148234)

I do wonder how much if the sharing leads to actual buying. I know there are a lot of people who would rather "Try it out" then actually buy the game to take full advantage of it, like online playing. Many don't have the know how on hacking the programs, they just want to get a taste.

Perhaps a test to see if their system will handle it, becasue you really don't want to drive out to CompUSA, find it, wait in line, buy it, wait in traffic, install it, trouble shoot it, trouble shoot it, re configure, pull out some hair, get back in traffic, and arrive at the store right when they close before a holiday...

Call it optimisim on my part, but people aren't that inherently evil... so they tell me...

Re:P2P2$ (4, Insightful)

sllim (95682) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148298)

I have bought more games this year then I think I have ever before.
And every year I buy less and less music.

And there is nothing strange about it.

The RIAA has gotten me to the point where I feel like a schmuck every time I buy music.

But the game industry on the other hand.
You know it is kind of strange. Cause I don't think that PC games are any less buggy this year then any other.
But this year I am treating them differntly. I download them off Usenet and give them a try. If I can't get the game to run or the control is just god awful (like the Matrix, what a crime that is) then I count myself lucky I downloaded the game and I don't worry about it.
If on the other hand the game runs fine and I play it a couple of times, I buy a legit copy.

Sometimes if the game is buggy but has potential (like Need For Speed 2 6 months ago) I put it aside and try to patch it. If the patch solves the problem I buy it.

Granted my plan is skirting the law. But the honest truth is that 2 years ago I was so fed up with the general bugginess of PC games that I had given up playing them at all. It is a crime when they advertise a game will work and it doesn't.

I think I have a pretty good system.

Re:P2P2$ (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148304)

Actually...

A few years back around when Half-Life was first released I was very into downloading warez. So I hear about Half-Life and people tell me it's pretty damned good (and my computer sucks at the time so like it's hard to find anything that runs.) So I download a beta, install it, play it, love it. It ran pretty well on my computer (think it was a 233 AMD K6-2 with like 32 megs of RAM and some 2MB generic video card.) I spread it to all my friends and a few days later I reserved a copy at EB, I got a hat and a copy of the game the day it came out and my friends also bought a copy a few days later.

Since then I've spent most of my money on computer upgrades so I can run newer and better games (which I usually buy, unless it's not worth it.) All of my friends have done the same as well, I don't think I would have spent 1/10th the money I did on my computer if it wasn't for games, neither would my friends. We always want the highest frame rates in games at the highest resolutions our monitors are capable of. Most of my warez trading was on IRC and not P2P, which kind of helped (you can talk to people about your specific download easier when there's an entire channel based around similar downloads to talk to). Another thing, getting cable was because I wanted lower ping in all my online games (I didn't start playing those till I purchased half-life and I really got into them.)

Also, most of the records I download I can't find at local music stores half the time (when I do find them, I usually buy them). I wouldn't have bought them online either, so there isn't any lost sales. And most of the bands I listen to support giving their music away for free, which they do at shows most of the time. One of them even has instructions for stealing the album printed on the cover art.

Big Deal (5, Interesting)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148236)

According to NORML's website, 80 million Americans have smoked pot, that horrible life-ruining plant. Additionally, Marijuana laws are enforeced much more than those that pertain to P2P programs.

Re:Big Deal (1)

davesag (140186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148264)

It's all part of the great leap forward - when workers in developing coutries won't work for beans anymore there will be gaols full of techies to code and handle tech support for free. see my other /. comment on this topic [slashdot.org] . It's all about selective enforcement of laws that lots of people break.

Re:Big Deal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148277)

You know, I tried pot once. I took a hit from one of those marijuana cigarettes once (a joint?) but I didn't feel anything so I've never tried it since then. Now I'm really paranoid though anytime I ever get asked if I've ever "used" drugs. Does taking a hit off a marijuana cigarette constitute "using" drugs? I don't believe so, but in the eyes of the law I'm probably just as guilty as heroin addicts. This makes me sad. God damn college to hell! All I wanted was to go to a nice party and have a good time with my friends and I ended up ruining my life and any future career path I choose that insists employees remain drug-free. Why did they have to use the evil-weed? I can only hope that President Clinton's experimentation with marijuana can cover my one-time usage. I don't even think I did it right because I didn't inhale the smoke. I just sucked it into my mouth and then blew it out. It was the most unsatisfying thing I've ever done in my life. Drugs suck and ruin your life.

Re:Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148296)

Your IP address has been logged and tracked Mr. Coward. Expect a knock on the door from a DEA representative you degenerate junkie.

if we all are felons (2, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148300)


Why keep it illegal? I dont understand what the point of this is, we cannot lock 100 million people up in prison, so why waste our money filling prisons up with people who share files and smoke pot, its ridiculous.

It makes me wonder if this actually is some kinda police state, I mean what happened to democracy? IF we dont think its morally wrong, and only a few rich CEOs who happen to own the information think its wrong to share it, why should the ones who have money rule over the ones who dont? Thats not democracy anymore, thats plutocracy and if this is what the USA is about then I'm leaving.

Why yes, yes I am (4, Insightful)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148237)

I am sick and tired of being treated like a criminal both by the RIAA/MPAA as well as the computer software industry. In these organizations efforts to combat piracy they've gone completely off the deep end and made their products difficult for even their own paying customers to use. That, in my opinion, is utterly unacceptable.

Copy protected CD-like discs, encrypted DVDs that are not legally playable under open source operating systems, and games that require you to keep the god damn CD in while playing even though you install the entire thing to the hard drive all drive me insane. These people are forgetting the number one rule in business: the customer is always right. ALWAYS! If you forget that or start to justify arguing this point then you might as well not be selling stuff to consumers.

Forget democracy, $1 = 1 vote. (3, Insightful)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148329)

If you dont like the laws, buy new ones, it works for Disney.

The constitution is fake, no one ever follows it, freedom of speech? You dont have it, profit comes first.

Its funny how 1% of the population who owns the information can force their rules on the 100 million or so file sharing people who dont own any intellectual property and who dont think its morally wrong to share it.

Since when did capitalism decide the concept of right and wrong? I guess some peoples religion is capitalism, and I suppose this government is run by capitalism and not democracy.

If this is the case why should normal working class people stay in the USA? Its slavery if you cannot even get to vote on an issue such as this, no you are automatically a felon.

You get labeled some wicked name like a "pirate" when sharing has absolutely nothing to do with being a pirate, because sharing sounds so morally right they make up new words and terms to put a negative spin on it, now you are a pirate, a cyber terrorism, and every chance they get they try to compare sharing information with robbing a bank, or running into a CD store and stealing CDs at gunpoint. No you arent stealing the CD you are copying the CD, stealing means someone is missing something, either a physical object or a profit.

You can steal a profit by selling someone elses Cd, you take eminems CD, burn it and sell it, this is stealing a profit, this should be a crime.

However, if you just copy it and give it away, theres no stealing and theres no way you can convince any sane person that its morally wrong to share when it benefits society to share.

SHARE, but dont STEAL, if someone wants to pay for Eminems CD, Eminem made the music and should get to profit from his work, however if someone refuses to pay for it and just wants to hear it, why not let them?

Moral Speeding (2, Funny)

Devil Ducky (48672) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148240)

I can honestly say that I have never, nor do I plan to in the forseeable future, sped on the New Jersey Turnpike. Now the Pennsylvania turnpike is another question, but how can they honestly expect me to do 55 around Pittsburgh?

And just for the record I always obey all speed limits while using P2P software, because frankly my cable connection sucks. Because of the limitations of Adelphia, I can also say I don't download illegal music, movies, or software; I find it much easier to have someone hand me a CD for such things.

Re:Moral Speeding (2, Interesting)

sllim (95682) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148313)

Moral Speeding?
I dare you to drive 55 on the PA turnpike around Pittsburg.

Email me if you survive the experience.

Dude that is more like speeding to stay alive.

The first time I drove on that stretch of the turnpike I came through an area where there pretty much was no shoulder. Every 1/2 mile or so they had carved a space out where a truck or a couple of cars could pull over in case of a problem. Aside from those spots you were in deep trouble if you had engine problems.
Well traffic was, wow. I think I was too young to be driving on that road. I remember driving like 10 or 15 miles over the speed limit, something like 75 or 80 and being scared to death to go any faster.
Problem was I was holding up traffic something fierce. People were crawling up my ass and pushing me to go faster.

In one of those holes there was a cop sitting. As God as my witness (and co-pilot if I remember correctly) that cop was just simply sitting there taking his time. Everyone was speeding. He would sit there and occasionally and randomly put on his lights and pull someone over.

It was a real mess.

So uhhhh..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148241)

How many of us here have smoked pot?

Hindsight is 20/20 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148247)

I'd like to see the RIAA step up to the plate on those statistics.
The shame of it all, for the RIAA, is that they probably could have been *very* successful with an online campaign, had they embraced mp3 and sharing technologies instead of dissmissing them and taking action against their users.
I don't even think that it's just greed that made them act the way they did -- they probably just didn't have enough in-house expertise to properly advise them on a proper strategy to deal with all the new technology. ...And now they're in too deep to change.

-Tom West

43 Million is alot... (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148249)

but I think that number is going to spike dramatically once p2p applications are used for more than swapping media files. How about p2p medical services, dating services, whatever. I think this kind of ultra-decentralised computing will be the next wave.

P2P really has endless possibilities.

Re:43 Million is alot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148337)

Peer to peer dating services? COUNT ME IN

Way to go America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148253)

There are almost as many P2P users as there are people with no healthcare coverage in that fine land of America!

The world is really impressed!

I suppose it's too much to hope... (2, Interesting)

mactov (131709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148255)

that there's some resolution to all this down the pike that is fair to all concerned?

Major record companies deserve this mess; they've done it to themselves by overpricing CD's. However, they and the "stars" aren't the only ones affected by P2P copying -- studio musicians depend on royalties to live, and they are Not multimillionaires. I hear (anecdotally, but from reliably, from a friend who works for the musician's union), that those men and women are really hurting -- royalties are drying up.

Most people who make a living making music make a pretty bare living as it is. I wish there were some middle ground where people get paid a reasonable amount for real work that they have done, without it turning into a greedfest on anyone's side.

Re:I suppose it's too much to hope... (2, Interesting)

ctve (635102) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148306)

I'm sorry for those musicians.

Sorry that they maybe recorded with artists who are on the for instance the BMG label who are now selling Corrupt Audio Discs.

I was going to buy a CD by Spiritualized, but after I found out that it was a CAD, and unable to be digitally extracted to my PC, I'm not going to bother. I'm not going to rip it, either, though.

But, if record companies continue to flog CADs which don't play properly on PCs or sometimes car audio system, and people can instead get hacked MP3s off a P2P service (using various techniques), is it any surprise they aren't buying?

43 million users? (1)

switched4OSX (668686) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148258)

No wonder the record industry is in trouble.

Pseudo-argumentation (0, Troll)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148278)

Crime remains crime even if any people are doing it.
There are worldwide much more than 42 million people involved in war and criminal activities. But this doesn't mean that you can go out to rob your neighbour, smash his car and kill his dog.
And many people on the world do much worse things.

This "Look ma, but Jim does it, too !" "argument" is pretty infantile and irrelevant.
Copyright holders have rights on their creation. Would it come into your mind that you can just take your neighbours car just because it should belong to everyone and this guy is a fat, ugly badass ?

The problem with P2P is that it corrupts people views of right and wrong because committing a crime is so easy and seem negligible.
And do you really think that the providers of the P2P networks just want enable people with free data access ?
No these people are common theifs: all P2P system are created to steal the distribution rights from their original owners. Napster was no underdog, it was backed by greedy investors with the morales of leech.
And for KaZaa and co.: Why have these "nice" people ridden the P2P with spyware ?
This is not exactly the behavior of selfless, Gandhi-like saints. In fact this a rather the behavior of greasy, amoralic criminals.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you really think that you'll get stuff for free by P2P then you ignore the fact that you are paying and paying with the most valueable things you have: morality and integrity.
Form bad things NEVER comes something good.

Re:Pseudo-argumentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148332)

"Mensa Member"

WAIS - III: 167; Let's dance.

Re:Pseudo-argumentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148349)

Mensa member, beware of the high IQ

1. That should be colon, not a comma.
2. You have no period.

Who decides what is crime and what isnt? (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148358)


I smell class warfare. I dont think you, I, or the common man has anything to do with deciding the laws.

SO at any time our government can say "You all are criminals!" and lock us all in prison.

Look, Laws should apply only when people vote or have some say in their creation, otherwise the government could tomorrow outlaw white socks and suddenly everyone commited a crime.

Re:Pseudo-argumentation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148367)

Ummm. No.
It's more like, you sell me an excellent copy of your prized Picasso (think DVD), I take a reasonable quality compressed digital picture of it (think divx movie file) and give copies of the digital picture to my friends. You still have your original painting. What you have lost is the potential income of selling additional excellent copies to my friends because they are satisified with the version they received. On the other hand, they might not be satisfied with the reasonable copy and, instead, purchase the excellent version. So it is arguable that anything is actually lost. As much as the **AA would like us to believe p2p file trading is theft, it isn't any more than exceeding the speed limit or jaywalking is immoral.

Re:Pseudo-argumentation (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148380)

Nobody is saying it's not a crime because a lot of people are doing it. They're saying that it shouldn't be a crime because lots of people are doing it.

While that's not a perfect argument, it is still legitimate. The whole idea of a representational democracy is to give "the people" a say in the way their country is run. If a majority of people (43 million isn't a majority of Americans, but, as an earlier post pointed out, it's half of those with internet access, including those with dialup for whom file trading is less attractive) disobey that law, it would seem that at the very least the law should be examined.

If everyone speeds along the NY Turnpike, the speed limits should be examined to see if they really are realistic. If 80 million Americans smoke pot, the anti-pot laws should be re-examined. If half the people who have the opportunity to break copyright in this particular way (for personal use) break it, the copyright laws should be examined. More importantly, they should be examined with an eye to the well being of citizens before the well being of the corporations.

Of course, none of this makes those 43 million criminals less criminal. It just makes them the victim of a hypocritic government. Welcome to America, the worlds first Corpocracy.

Surprised by Wealth (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148283)

Everyone at this point has heard and seen about VA Linux Systems succesful IPO. Lesser known is the fact that ESR[?] is on the Board of VA. Yesterday seems to have been a time of personal reflection on the his new situation. Click below to read ERSR's musings on sudden wealth.

A few hours ago, I learned that I am now (at least in theory) absurdly rich.

I was at my machine, hacking, when I got email congratulating me on the success of the VA Linux Systems IPO. I was working on my latest small project -- a compiler for a special-purpose language I've designed called Scriptable Network Graphics, or SNG. SNG is an editable representation of the chunk data in a PNG. What I'm writing is a compiler/decompiler pair, so you can dump PNGs in SNG, edit the SNG, then recompile to a PNG image.

"Congratulations? That's interesting," said I to myself. "I didn't think we were going out till tomorrow." And I oughtta know; I'm on VA's Board of Directors, recruited by Larry Augustin himself to be VA's official corporate conscience, and it's a matter of public record that I hold a substantial share in the company. I tooled on over to Linux Today, chased a link -- and discovered that Larry Augustin had taken the fast option we discussed during the last Board conference call. VA had indeed gone out on NASDAQ -- and I had become worth approximately forty-one million dollars while I wasn't looking.

Well, that didn't last long. In the next two hours, VA dropped from $274 a share to close at $239, leaving me with a stake of only thirty-six million dollars. Which is still a preposterously large amount of money.

You may wonder why I am talking about this in public. The first piece of advice your friends and family will give you, if it looks like you're about to become really wealthy, is: keep it quiet. It's nobody else's business -- you don't want to look like you're gloating, and you don't want to be deluged with an endless succession of charity appeals, business propositions, long-lost best friends, and plain bald-faced mooching.

Trouble with the "keep it quiet" theory is that I've made my bucks in a very public way. When you're already a media figure, and your name is on the S-1 of a hot IPO, and email from friends and journalists starts coming in like crazy as the stock breaks first-day-gainplaying it coy swiftly ceases to look like a viable option.

Besides, it wouldn't be fair to dissemble. I serve a community. I'm wealthy today because my efforts to spread the idea of open source on behalf of that community helped galvanize the business world, and earned the respect and the trust of a lot of hackers. Larry thought that respect was an asset worth shelling out 150,000 shares of VA for. Fairness to the hackers who made me bankable demands that I publicly acknowledge this result -- and publicly face the question of how it's going to affect my life and what I'll do with the money.

This is a question that a lot of us will be facing as open source sweeps the technology landscape. Money follows where value leads, and the mainstream business and finance world is seeing increasing value in our tribe of scruffy hackers. Red Hat and VA have created a precedent now, with their directed-shares programs designed to reward as many individual contributors as they can identify; future players aiming for community backing and a seat at the high table will have to follow suit. In this and other ways (including, for example, task markets) the wealth is going to be shared.

So while there aren't likely to be a lot more multimillion-dollar bonanzas like mine, lots of hackers are going to have to evolve answers to this question for smaller amounts that will nevertheless make a big difference to individuals; tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, enough to change your life -- or wreck it.

(Gee. Remember when the big question was "How do we make money at this?")

The first part of my answer is "I'll do nothing, until next June". Because I'm a VA board member, under SEC regulations there's a six-month lockout on the shares (a regulation designed to keep people from floating bogus offerings, cashing out, and skipping to Argentina before the share price crashes). So it's not strictly true that I'm wealthy right now. I will be wealthy in six months, unless VA or the U.S. economy craters before then. I'll bet on VA; I'm not so sure about the U.S. economy :-).

Assuming the economy does not in fact crater, how is wealth going to affect my life in six months? Honestly, I think the answer is "not much". I haven't spent the last fifteen years doing the open-sourcefor the money. I'm already living pretty much exactly the way I want to, doing the work that matters to me. The biggest difference the money will make to me personally is that now I should be able to keep doing what I love for the rest of my life without worrying about money ever again.

So I expect I'll just keep on as I've been doing. Hacking code. Thinking and spreading subversive thoughts. Traveling and giving talks. Writing papers. Poking various evil empires a good one in the eye whenever I get a chance. Working for freedom.

I expect most other hackers confronted with sudden wealth will make similar choices. Reporters often ask me these days if I think the open-source community will be corrupted by the influx of big money. I tell them what I believe, which is this: commercial demand for programmers has been so intense for so long that anyone who can be seriously distracted by money is already gone. Our community has been self-selected for caring about other things -- accomplishment, pride, artistic passion, and each other.

OK, so maybe I'll break down and finally get a cell phone. And cable broadband so I can surf at smokin' speed. And a new flute. And maybe a nice hotrodded match-grade .45 semi for tactical shooting. But really, I don't want or need a lot of stuff. I'm kind of Buddhist that way; I like to minimize my material attachments. (My family gripes that this makes me hell to buy Christmas presents for.)

I'm not going to minimize my attachments by giving it all away, though, so you evangelists for a zillion worthy causes can just calm down out there and forget about hitting me up for megabucks. I am *not* going to be a soft touch, and will rudely refuse all importunities.

I'm not copping this harsh attitude to protect my money, but rather to protect the far more precious asset of my time. Because I don't want to have to become a full-time specialist in deciding whose urgent pitch to buy, I'm going to turn everybody down flat in advance. Anyone who bugs me for a handout, no matter how noble the cause and how much I agree with it, will go on my permanent shit list. If I want to give or lend or invest money, *I'll* call *you*. (Sigh...)And yes, there are causes I'll give money to. Worthy hacker projects. Free-speech activism. Firearms-rights campaigns. Tibet, maybe. I might buy a hunk of rainforest for conservation somewhere. Megabucks are power, and with power comes an obligation to use it wisely. I'll give carefully, and in my own time, and only after doing my homework -- too much charity often kills what it means to nurture. And enough about that.

Ironically enough, one result of my getting rich is that I will probably start charging for speaking appearances, now that nobody can plausibly accuse me of doing it for the money. I won't charge open-source user groups or schools, but I will cheerfully extract a per diem from all the business conferences that keep wanting me to to boost their box office. Charging a price for my time will separate the expensive conferences that attract powerful people from the marginal events where the hacker community would get less leverage from my presence.

For the same reason, I'm still going to insist that anybody who wants me to give a talk has to cover my expenses and eliminate hassles. But I also expect I'll still carry my own luggage. And I'll never get too proud to crash on somebody's daybed when the local user group is too broke to cover a hotel.

But enough trivialities; I'm going to get back to work. I've got the SNG compiler stage almost done. Next up, I need to refactor the pngcheck code so I can give it a report-format option that generates SNG syntax. Then, I need to think about supporting MNG...
--
Eric S. Raymond

Give me an option to pay (2, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148285)

I would be delighted to pay, say 5 Euros/Dollars for a movie download in DivX and/or a comparable format. Knowing that the movie would't be a fake would be great too...

P2P software will continue to be used until someone gives us a viable commercial option. DVD's are 20 to 30 Euros here in Finland, and I'm not counting the rare imported stuff... There's no way I'm paying that much for a movie, especially when it probably has broken even in the theaters prior to the DVD being released.

Re:Give me an option to pay (1)

CptCook (635438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148355)

Me too. I'd rather pay a few pounds and download a decent copy of a film that I wasn't really fussed about going to see in the cinema, and would never buy on DVD. If I had the option to get a download for a small fee, I probably would.

Snake Plissken downloaded files (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148288)

Seriously, there has got to be no easier way for someone to become a criminal without them giving it much thought. If you walked into a record store and tried to walk out with loads of shoplifted CDs under each arm, you'd get busted. And if you tried any of the following rationales:

1. But I'm too broke to afford music
2. This music should be free
3. Yes but the RIAA isn't paying the artists for these CDs that I just stole
4. Corporations are evil
5. But officer EVERYBODY does this!
6. This falls under fair use
7. I'm not going to fence them, I'm going to "share" them

They'd laugh and it'd be off to the pokey for you. Yet, introduce P2P technology into the equation, and miraculously these kind of arguments suddenly seem like they're holding water. And people think there's nothing wrong with downloading entire albums without paying for it, or ripping albums and distributing them to thousands of people who will download them without paying for them.

Sometimes, the paranoid tinfoil-hat part of my brain takes over and I wonder if the government doesn't somehow want it this way. After all, get enough people downloading files, convict the whole nation of one big felony, and just throw a big wall full of armed guards around the entire country. Then if you want to download that Kid Rock mp3 you will have to "Escape from New York."

Re:Snake Plissken downloaded files (4, Informative)

pen (7191) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148364)

Obvious troll, but I'll bite anyway.

When you steal CDs from a store, the store loses those CDs. When you copy music, the original remains.

It might be a copyright violation, but it's certainly not "theft".

FreeBSD 5.1-RELEASE Bittorrent (3, Informative)

LogicX (8327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148292)

As a perfect example of P2P: Lets show some legit usage.
You can get 5.1-RELEASE i386 ISOs right now -- before they're publicly available on the FreeBSD FTP mirror at
glow.rh.rit.edu [rit.edu]

Thats spin. (4, Insightful)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148294)


Its debateable if file swapping if morally wrong at all. Some of us believe its a personal freedom, like freedom of speech, and that its not morally wrong but morally right.

The only few who think its morally wrong are a few guys who happen to own copyrights, the average American does not own any intellectual property is cares more about defending their freedom to share files than defending some unknown CEOs freedom to own them.

An observation... (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148297)

When one person owes you {money,stuff,etc}, it's bad for them. When you feel that millions of people owe you {money,stuff,etc} it's bad for you.

So, the RIAA, and the MPAA to a lesser extent are in the second category. While I don't like the MPAA's practices with DeCSS, at least thy have taken to pricing their products in a range that I as a consumer don't feel bad about paying. I'll gladly buy DVDs from the bargain bin for $6.00.

The RIAA on the other hand isn't playing so nice. When a CD is $17.00, the musician might see a few pennies, and discounts on the products aren't forthcoming, it's understandable why people copy music and don't feel bad about it. The soundtrack for many movies on CD costs more than the movie on DVD itself. There is something very wrong with the world when this is the case.

The MPAA has been lucky, since movies are large enough that copying them isn't nearly as big a no-brainer as CDs/mp3s are, but at the same time, if they keep movies cheap, we'll be more inclined to buy them instead of copying them. The RIAA's problem has been around much longer, is much deeper entrenched, and does not appear stoppable by legislation, threats, civil suits, or any other means that they have come up with. If they don't significantly change their business model it'll only get worse, to a point where artists find new labels that don't play by the RIAA's rules, and the RIAA as an organization will cease to be. If they aren't willing to change, they'll get what they deserve.

Hilary Clinton vs Hilary Rosen (3, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148301)

If an election were to be held for the president today, and Ms.Clinton sided with the P2P sentiments, she's assured of atleast 43 million American votes! Maybe much more, if the article is accurate enough.

Re:Hilary Clinton vs Hilary Rosen (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148331)

Ummm that's a rather silly statement. What happens if half of those 43 million americans hate her? Or if they're not of the legal age to vote (which is very likely)? Besides the average voter doesn't known much about P2P or even care.

Two ideas for p2p (2, Interesting)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148314)

They should embrace kazaa or some other p2p and start a legit pyramid selling scheme of mp3's. For example I could connect to sonys mp3 server and download mindless pop for some cost. In turn I share this pop on my server, and get credit for all downloads, from which a small comission is paid to the originator of the material. If my site is up and has lots of intresting material I might even make a small profit as a distributor so it is in my intrest to stay in the system. Transactions could be handled by a third party (not US government though). Those who aren't able to share would still be intrested because of the huge quantities of material available.

other idea is that if people are being prosecuted for p2p and want to continue someone will make a p2p network where the originator of files is hidden. This would be easy. Just make the transfer go through nodes just like the searches do at the moment. You'd never be able to tell who the "offender" is since you don't know if the file is coming from the node you are connected or nodes behind it. In the era of broadband and litigation this scheme is also feasible.

Current intellectual property protection approaches level, which instead of fanning, stiffles innovation. Maybe above schemes are already patented so beware if you try to implement them.

Criminal penalties (4, Interesting)

smiff (578693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148315)

IANAL

Under US copyright law [cornell.edu] , it is only a crime to download copyrighted works if you reproduce more than $1,000 in goods within 180 days. Or if you infringe copyright for financial gain.

It would appear that it is only a felony if you reproduce or distribute [cornell.edu] 10 or more copies with a total value of at least $2,500.

More statistics (4, Funny)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148317)

5 in 6 slashdotters are amazed that 1 in 6 americans can operate a computer AND use it to go online. The other 1 in 6 slashdotters didn't read the story yet.

When filesharing is outlawed... (4, Insightful)

Ravn0s (212743) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148336)

only outlaws will use filesharing.

I have a hard time believing that pay per download will solve anything. I still RARELY am able to find the CDs I want when looking through my local music store.

Admittedly, I rarely listen to or buy music from major record labels. But try going into a music store and finding a CD by Juno Reactor. Or VNV Nation. No luck? How about DreamTrybe, or Thirteen of Everything. Or Kenna. STILL can't find it? Six Mile Bridge maybe? Probably not. So, I either have to hunt down those CDs on ebay or some obscure indie site (and no, not all those bands are indie) OR - I simply have to enter the band into KazAA and badaboom! I have the music I want.

Is it stealing? Probably - although I always end up buying the CD when I can find it. Is it illegal? Well, according to the RIAA - yes. Do I share my MP3s? YOU BET I DO! Who am I to be able to tell if that person downloading my file is trying to get another copy of that CD that was stolen out of his car, or if they just want to get it for free?

" The No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act"? (4, Insightful)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148348)



Why not call it by its true name.

"The No Electronic Information Sharing (NEIS)Act"

Why? Because thats what it is.

Define theft,, heres theft

a : the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it b : an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

You cannot STEAL information because information by design is not physical and cannot be contained.

This is like me getting mad at someone for stealing my thoughts! Should I be able to copyright facial expressions and then sue anyone who makes that expression? Well?

If you use it you are STEALING my face right?

Thats what I thought. But believe it or not, intellectual property exists simply to protect stupid abilities and rights such as these which dont even matter while removing our personal freedom.

So we lose personal freedom in exchange for someone to have the right to "own" facial expressions, let me ask you all something, how much intellectual property do each of you own? Unless every American owns tons of intellectual property, why do we give up our personal freedom which we all currently own in exchange for something of absolultely no value to us? Sure it matters to a rich CEO, if you are one of these guys then yes you care but to me and to the average person, it only reduces our creativity and freedom.

In the end (2, Insightful)

barcodez (580516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148378)

When a business ceases to add value naturally to society they will try and find artifical means of doing so such as copyright. What value is the record industry currently adding? Not a lot, more cookie cut bands to fill a focus group identified niche that the record industry probably created though branding in the first place. Screw that, the record industry needs to add value by supporting new and interesting bands. Failing that it needs to make it easier for me to access my music whereever I am. Hey, this is what they used to do, distribution and discovery.
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