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Choruss Pitching Bait and Switch On P2P Music Tax

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the google-rent-seeking-in-quotes dept.

The Almighty Buck 119

An anonymous reader writes "A few months back, Warner Music Group started pitching universities on the idea of a new program where they would pay a chunk of money to an organization named Choruss to provide 'covenants not to sue' those students for file sharing, leading many in the press to claim that the record labels are looking to license ISPs to let users file share. Even the EFF has called it a 'promising new approach.' However, the details are quite troubling and suggest that the plan is really a bait-and-switch idea." (More below.)"The industry still plans to demand three strikes and try to shut down file sharing networks, and it's already giving up on lawsuits. So... it's basically going to keep doing everything the same as before, but force your ISP or your university (who in turn will raise your rates) to just hand over a bunch of money. Oh yeah, also, since the 'covenant not to sue' isn't a license and only covers the rights of the record labels, it means that you can still get sued by the publishers or songwriters whose rights aren't covered by the deal at all. Unfortunately, the press is just repeating the claim that this is a 'file sharing license' when the details show it's anything but that. It's just a way to get people and companies to hand over large chunks of money to the record labels."

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Greedy industry bastards (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27246821)

lick muh anus!

Protection money? (5, Insightful)

arakon (97351) | more than 5 years ago | (#27246875)

Sounds to me like a classic mafia protection scheme. /Insert seedy Italian accent/ "You might find your finances in trouble without some.... protection. Pay us and we'll provide that... Else our boss might see to it that you do have an accident."

Re:Protection money? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27246909)

I was totally thinking the same sort of thing. Smells badly of blackmail/extortion to me. "Pay us off or we'll sue."

Re:Protection money? (5, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247135)

"Pay us off and we'll sue anyway."

Fixed that for ya.

And they wonder why we hate them for scams like this...

Re:Protection money? (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247419)

And they wonder why we hate them for scams like this...

Chorusss. Even the name sounds like some sssslithery sssnake trying to weasel a deal out of you even though he dosen't have any handsss for a handssshake.

Re:Protection money? (2, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247515)

Chorusss. Even the name sounds like some sssslithery sssnake trying to weasel a deal out of you even though he dosen't have any handsss for a handssshake.

You had such a great snake metaphor going ... and then you stuck a 'weasel' in it.
Why equate chorus to a snake if you are just going to immediately equate the snake to a weasel?
Substitute "weasel" for something like "squeeze" amd the sentence will flow much better. ;)

Re:Protection money? (4, Interesting)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248003)

You had such a great snake metaphor going ... and then you stuck a 'weasel' in it.

That's because Jimmy the Snake and Frankie the Weasel are the senior liaison officers for Choruss.

Actually, the name of the group reminded me of a typical show chorus: It's always there making the same annoying background noise, distracting you from what you're trying to listen to.

Obligatory obscure quote...

Oh, we're the boys in the chorus,
We hope you like our show,
We know you're rooting for us,
But now we have to go!

Re:Protection money? (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249199)

It's not about protection money. The big labels would love to apply a blanket cost to ISPs to legitimise file sharing of copyrighted materials.

Firstly, administration of the divvying up of funds between artists would be very lucrative for whichever body won such a task, providing plenty of opportunity to charge overhead for staff and resources. This body would almost certainly be the BPI in the UK or the RIAA & MPAA in the USA or made at least made up of the same people and friends of people who are employed in these organisations. Secondly, the selection of which artists earn from the compulsory charges is open to very financially awarding abuse. You can be certain that big labels would be carving off large chunks of the revenue for their star artists and less-publicised artists or independent artists would be getting far less or nothing at all. This power encourages artists to sign with the big labels, rather than act independently. With modern technology and communication, there is far less reason for artists to sign exclusive deals with the big labels so a new way to pressure them to do so is much wanted by groups like the BPI and RIAA. As if the above was not sufficient temptation to the big labels there are further very strong reasons. This enables profit to be made from people who would never buy the music the big labels put out. Musical tastes change as people age and the general rule is that individuals become much choosier in their music purchasing as well as less immersed in mainstream media, thus less subject to buying heavily promoted tracks / albums. A blanket music tax allows the big labels to profit from such people despite changing or lessening purchasing habits. How earnings would be distributed amongst artists is an open question, but as self-proclaimed experts, you would likely see the BPI / RIAA / MPAA having a hand in defining the system and it would probably be based around popular charts despite that not accurately reflecting total purchasing habits. Furthermore (as if we need more reasons), this allows charging for music that has gone out of copyright - a body of work that is, logically, ever increasing.

More than all of this however, is that such an approach eliminates the free market. The proposal prevents artists from exercising their normal legal rights to sue those distributing their work against their wishes (and the proposal does not make sense if it does not do this). In doing so, it forces the BPI and RIAA / MPAA's business model on everyone. There are thus none of the normal controls of the free market on the pricing of recordings or on artists' ability to negotiate with the big labels for better terms.

In short, compulsory charging of ISPs for file-sharing is Christmas for the big lables if this ever goes through. A permanent entitlement to our money regardless of what they produce or if we want it. Indeed, they get paid for what other people do.

What is the phrase I'm looking for, oh yes... "It's a trap!"

H.

Re:Protection money? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27249363)

Furthermore (as if we need more reasons), this allows charging for music that has gone out of copyright - a body of work that is, logically, ever increasing.

You mean never increasing. Works don't fall into the public domain in the United States. You can bet that there will be a copyright term extension in front of Congress long before a single copyright term will be even close to expiring. Given that only a very small minority of US citizens actually care about this issue, don't bet on the bill failing.

Re:Protection money? (0, Flamebait)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 5 years ago | (#27251203)

> Chorusss

It's actually just a double-S at the end. The double-S is totally cute. And a great reminder of how great life was under the Shutzstaffel [wikipedia.org] 's watchful eye.

Re:Protection money? (1)

jperl (1453911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27246949)

Now it all makes some sense. The record labels might use their gangster rappers as bill pushers.

Re:Protection money? (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248099)

The record labels might use their gangster rappers as bill pushers.

Pay us or we'll force you to listen to gangsta rap?

Re:Protection money? (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247009)

That was the first thing I thought of, as soon as I read the part about "a covenant not to sue." At this point, I'm finding it hard to understand why the various music companies aren't already up on RICO charges, because they're acting exactly like the type of racketeer that RICO is designed to put away.

Re:Protection money? (1)

Kuciwalker (891651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252611)

Because they're not in any sort of legal violation. Threatening to sue [based on legimitate grounds] if you don't pay money isn't any different from threatening to evict if you don't pay rent.

Re: RICO, it only applies if you are committing a bunch of acts that are already illegal. Again, threatening to sue because someone doesn't pay you money is obviously legal (another example would be 'I'll sue if you don't pay for the iPods I delivered to your store').

Re:Protection money? (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247041)

Sounds to me like a classic mafia protection scheme.

Except the mafia has a lot more to offer you than RIAA. Sure they take your money, but they can also hook you up with gambling, girls, drugs, loan sharking and protection. RIAA doesn't hook you up with anything other than lawyers and shitty music, at least as far as I can tell.

And at least you always know where you stand with Tony Soprano. Can you say that about RIAA? ;)

Re:Protection money? (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247211)

I agree, money up front for nothing. If student A does no file sharing at all, they are still licensed. Each student/user will be licensed to share files? WTF is that? I don't need a license to share Linux ISO files over P2P networks. How in blue blazes will they determine what connections should be licensed and which should not? This is too cracked of an idea to fathom. Protection money for doing legal activities?

It's time that the RIAA et al simply died.

Re:Protection money? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247863)

Darn. When you put it that way, it sounds really sleazy.

Re:Protection money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27249343)

If Tony Soprano had enough money to control the government he would behave exactly the same way. He's was just a small-time punk.

Re:Protection money? (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27251997)

And at least you always know where you stand with Tony Soprano. Can you say that about RIAA? ;)

And would you trust Hesh without Tony keeping him in check?

Re:Protection money? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248845)

That's a nice house you got there, sir. It'd be a shame if a judge had to take it away just 'cause your kid couldn't keep his files to himself.

Make a rod for your own back (5, Insightful)

Keith_Beef (166050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27246907)

From the article:

[the proposal is] so bad that it can be described accurately as a bait-and-switch program designed to make people (1) pay lots of money (2) believing they're now free to file share and then find out that (3) file sharing systems will still be sued out of existence and (4) the users themselves, despite paying, will still be liable for massive lawsuits. It's basically a plan to give the record labels tons of money, handed over by universities (so users have no chance to opt-out) without actually changing anything.

In fact, this would be the universities giving up-front financing for future legal action against file sharers.

K.

Re:Make a rod for your own back (2, Insightful)

molecular (311632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248717)

In fact, this would be the universities giving up-front financing for future legal action against file sharers.

jup, just like the USA did with the taliban: give them weapons and money first to later be fucked by them.

it's like karate: use your enemy's strength against himself.

how lame to fall for that, dear universities ;)

Where does the money go? (5, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27246915)

Let me guess: the artists don't get a dime.

Re:Where does the money go? (5, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27246955)

Let me guess: the artists don't get a dime.

And why should they? It's the MAFIAA doing all this hard and expensive work. You think running a nationwide/worldwide mob is cheap?

Re:Where does the money go? (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248199)

Bah! These people give organised crime a bad name.

Re:Where does the money go? (4, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248283)

It's the MAFIAA doing all this hard and expensive work. You think running a nationwide/worldwide mob is cheap?

I know you're being sarcastic, but the real problem is that law enforcement is doing all this hard and expensive work. Tying up the courts and sending the police to your door, all to keep a failed business model afloat. Now the RIAA is so confident in their enforcement connections that they're trying to set up an extortion model to get more money. This is a classic example of taxpayer money distributed upward to the deep pockets.

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252845)

all to keep a failed business model afloat.

You do realise, it doesn't matter how much you keep repeating it, its still not true - the music business is far from a failed one, it just isn't kowtowing to all of the incessant demands...

When the vast majority of popular music is no longer represented by the RIAA and other mainstream associations, *then* they have a failed business model. But right now? Its perfectly sound, even if you disagree with it.

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249139)

Let me guess: the artists don't get a dime.

And why should they? It's the MAFIAA doing all this hard and expensive work. You think running a nationwide/worldwide mob is cheap?

/sarcasm on

I love it when lawyers litigate to find purpose and pay in life. Yay for lawyers! Yay for america's fucked up legal system that allows such litigious bullshittery!

When I trip on a curb for my own careless action, I could think 'damn, I should watch my step', but being a well trained American, it is kinda hard to resist the temptation to blame and sue the city. How could any respectable lawyer *NOT* protect my dear ankles from the foolish engineering of the city! Oh dear, the toils of life truly demand lawyers to intervene and rape profit! /sarcasm off

Someone burn this shit down, I'm ready to build a better world.

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

phulegart (997083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249667)

Not that I'm recruitin for the New American Revolution... but I did have to bring it up since you seem kinda ripe for the idea...

It worked once... right?

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27250487)

Not that I'm recruitin for the New American Revolution... but I did have to bring it up since you seem kinda ripe for the idea...

It worked once... right?

I think the major flaw was that the constitution, though quite explicit, did not actually self-define to be explicit, and thus has allowed for such enormous expansion and 'interpretation'.

Re:Where does the money go? (4, Insightful)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252195)

That is not a flaw in the Constitution. It is a law of nature. Culture and language change. If one defines a set of ideas at a given point in time, the cultural environment, language and society will change over time changing the context entirely. In addition, you will have wicked people, like the RIAA, trying constantly to find ways to circumvent those ideas for their personal gain.

For an example, look at how effective this "intellectual property" campaign has been. In 1776, if one used the term "intellectual property", the individual would have been laughed out of the English speaking world. These days, however, I have had people claim that they still "own" a copy of a book that I have purchased. I really do not care who the author is. The book is obviously mine, including all the words contained within it.

The results of this assault on the original meaning of the Constitution are obvious. In 1776, if a person published a book and copyrighted it, that person would have no way to restrict access to that book. The author would have no control over access at all whatsoever. In fact, the mere suggestion that the author could restrict access to the book would be considered as ludicrous as charging people to breathe.

Today, however, it is considered totally correct to use copyright restrict people's access to works. It is accepted that "downloading" a book is a violation of copyright by most people. Not only that, but many people believe that this monopoly privilege is a Natural Right, like the Right to Free Speech. In 1776, no one would have thought of restricting access to a work. In fact, copyright only really regulated reproduction and distribution. So, in reality, downloading should never have been a violation of copyright, and if it were not for an obscure computer software lawsuit (Mai v. Peak), it never would have been. Is that when we went from restricting distribution to restricting access to knowledge?

Therefore, the cultural context has changed, and even the Oracle at Delphi could not have predicted these events with sufficient clarity to allow the Founding Fathers to draft a document that would withstand the wicked cunning of generations of lawyers and the unfathomable stupidity of the general public. Oh, and do not forget to add the inability of the French to understand the Freedom that the US introduced into the Western cultural sphere. That misunderstanding led to the creation of the Berne Convention -- the biggest train wreck in the history of Intellectual Freedom.

So, instead of criticising the Constitution, you might consider trying to understand what the Founding Fathers were thinking back then and helping your friends understand. Certain contextual issues cannot be reversed (the fact that copying is now a necessary part of all non-face-to-face communication comes to mind). But understanding that ideas like "intellectual property", "sharing == theft", "downloading == stealing", etcetera, are completely wrong is a step in the right direction.

In short, we are wrong for allowing ourselves to be manipulated into being unable to understand our own Freedom by crooked entities like the RIAA.

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247299)

Of course not, that's not the way they do business [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247605)

Of course not. The artists aren't the ones paying those expensive MediaSentry lawyers to get their lawful, hard-earned money back from . . . oh.

Re:Where does the money go? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27248333)

If you're truly worried about the artist getting any money at all, then stop stealing their fucking music.

Re:Where does the money go? (1)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 5 years ago | (#27250093)

Because we all know that not copying music puts $$$ in artists' pockets.

That's the beauty of this scheme! (1)

becker (190314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249301)

The RIAA gathers license fees, and distributes them among the record companies and artists.. after taking out an administrative fee (100% in some cases).

The payments for "covenants not to sue" are not license fees.

No doubt some small fraction will be treated as a license fee, just to put a veneer of legitimacy on the scheme. But I've no doubt that the RIAA will use the extra layers of administration to make reduce the amount and skew the payout distribution to record companies that play the game.

I don't trust this... (3, Insightful)

XaviorPenguin (789745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27246921)

...as far as I can throw a CD and I can throw one pretty far. I just got to remember where I put mine at, I seemed to have "misplaced" them...WAIT, they are on my computer.

Back to topic. I don't trust this at all. Sure, the EFF is a great group but sometimes they get their ideals all in a mess much like this one. I just hope they aren't getting any monetary value from supporting this claim that it is a "promising new approach."

Either way, it sounds like people will still be sued, just by different individuals.

Re:I don't trust this... (2, Interesting)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248613)

Maybe they're trying to shore it up because once it's in place, the RIAA will get slammed for extortion?

Re:I don't trust this... (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248787)

I think the saying is "as far as I can throw a baby grand piano".

Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247023)

You know, it's too bad that both political parties in the U.S. are in these scumbags' back pockets (Democrats because they need that Hollywood cash, Republicans because they need that big corporation cash). It would be nice to have at least ONE politician I could vote for who would tell these legalized extortionists where to shove it.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247087)

(Democrats because they need that Hollywood cash, Republicans because they need that big corporation cash)

Ummm... isn't Hollywood just a bunch of big corporations?

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247421)

Hollywood is run by jews, nuff said.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248413)

Yes, but it's different because they aren't Micro$oft, Metallica, or that slightly wrinkly woman (although you would, admit it) who wrote Harry Potter.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247429)

Yeah, I feel the same way about Big Corn and their fucking syrup they put in everything to make it taste like shit. The problem is that these guys are so entrenched in our political economy that any politician that opposes them will find himself the subject of baby-eating allegations on TV.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247517)

You really have to love the current crop of high fructose corn syrups ads on TV. "It's OK in moderation." Good luck with that when it's in freaking everything.

Hopefully some Stevia based pop will make it to the mainstream sooner than later. In the meantime I'll have to keep pestering the local co-ops to carry some.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248141)

Yeah, some friends and I have a student run store at our college, and we import a lot of food from Mexico to avoid corn syrup. Aside from the higher caloric content per sweetness, I don't know of conclusive evidence it's worse for you (aside from mercury contamination), but boy does it taste worse.

Ironic isn't it? Paying more to buy Mexican products because they're higher quality.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248733)

It's a little silly to hear the woman in the commercial say "It's ok in moderation"...then pour themselves a big honking cup of syrupy artificial fruit punch. That cup alone is already as much (or more) sugar than a person should be taking in for one day.

Damn, if someone is going to suck down that much sugar, might as well get it from a worthwhile treat rather than colored sugar water.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248947)

It is in almost everything, then we wonder why everyone is taking Metformin to control their diabetes.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249291)

And of course, the drug companies make big profits off that.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27250613)

It is in almost everything, then we wonder why everyone is taking Metformin to control their diabetes

And that, dear peebles, is seriously not a joke. Enough corn syrup in the foods you buy will make you insulin-resistant. It's an industry-mandated drug addiction and it's slowly killing people.

Fix it, guys.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249283)

There's no HFCS in my potatos, or my ground beef, or my sack of flour, or my beer, or cheese. Yes, it's in a lot of processed foods, but you should be eating processed foods in moderation anyway.

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247481)

It would be nice to have at least ONE politician I could vote for who would tell these legalized extortionists where to shove it.

In their money holes?

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247955)

You mean a non dead one? Good luck!

Re:Studios acting like scumbags?!?!? (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248521)

It would be nice to have at least ONE politician I could vote for who would tell these legalized extortionists where to shove it.

Let me get this straight: You want to address an appeal against legalized extortion to politicians -- the most blatant practitioners of legalized extortion around? Seriously?

The EFF is wrong on this one (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247031)

Last I checked, the EFF were in strong favor of collective licensing schemes. In my opinion, that approach is completely misguided - either it will require a big-brother like system in order to track usage so as to fairly apportion the proceeds to the artists, or it will lead to even more stagnation as the little innovative guys, the ones who are ultimately responsible for significant changes in culture many years down the road, will never see a penny and cultural development will become glacial.

Ultimately the entire business model needs to be scrapped. We need something akin to the street-performer protocol or some combination of multiple business models that channel people's natural inclination to share stuff they think is cool rather than attempt to fight against it as the current system does.

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247309)

Collective licensing sets up an organization that can be pressured. Take for instance the pressure on the NEA to only fund inoffensive art.

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

flattop100 (624647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247415)

Isn't the model effectively scrapped already? Sure, CDs are still sold - I would bet that physical media will still be around for quite a while. However, with Amazon and iTunes providing legal channels for purchasing music, and torrents for alternative sourcing...well, it's not like there's only one place to buy music anymore. It used to be records or nothing. That brings me to another point - RIAA's founding purpose was to be an organization that set technical standards (an equalization curve for records to prevent low frequencies from bouncing the needle off the vinyl). Now that the EQ curve is established, and that audio technology effectively dead...isn't it time for RIAA to close up shop? HINT HINT.

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248629)

Yeah, well, America's founding purpose was to be the land of the free. Founding purposes come and go...

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247885)

or it will lead to even more stagnation as the little innovative guys, the ones who are ultimately responsible for significant changes in culture many years down the road, will never see a penny and cultural development will become glacial.

So cultural development before copyright was glacial?

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249737)

a big-brother like system in order to track usage so as to fairly apportion the proceeds to the artists

For what it's worth, I think that could be done without becoming a big-brother problem.

One possible arrangement: Artists can submit their files to the government to be hashed, the government randomly selected people offering some modest payment to be sampled, people who agree to be sampled have their files scanned and the hashes anonymously aggregated. Then you use that to apportion payments. That way even artists who've already released stuff under Creative Commons could get paid.

-

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27249829)

Pretty shocking approach taken by EFF. Guess it too has fallen prey to the incorrect assumption that the RIAA represents the totality of music when in fact they represent a small number of deep pockets in the business.

Such tactics used against universities and ISPs are blackmail plain and simple. What is most bizarre is that some have actually been suckered in despite the fact that ISPs (universities falling under this category) are plainly and clearly are not held liable under US law. They have absolutely no reason to fear legal action.

Naturally the RIAA attempts to extort money out of the biggest sources it can find in the hopes that some will be gullible enough to believe the threats.

In all likelyhood those few artists the RIAA represents wouldn't see a dime of such money. That doesn't even touch on the whole assumed entitlement issue with no evidence of real sales lost.

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (2, Insightful)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252263)

Pretty shocking approach taken by EFF. Guess it too has fallen prey to the incorrect assumption that the RIAA represents the totality of music when in fact they represent a small number of deep pockets in the business.

I think it is more like the EFF just cannot go so far as to say that the record industry is just an anti-Constitutional cabal of criminals hell bent on stealing from society, and that "illegitimate" file sharing is actually Constitutionally protected Free Speech. They see the law on the books and try to apply it as it is written. The fact is that Title 17 has been violating the Constitution since 1978 (when the 1976 Copyright Act took effect), and it is difficult for lawyers to take such a bold step and call a spade a spade. Even Lessig believes that access to works should be restricted for the purpose of artists profits.

The Constitution never said anything about securing profits for artists. "Exclusive Right" was supposed to mean the artists were the only ones to profit from their work, not that they deserved to profit from their work, nor that they could stop people from sharing their work. If artists could restrict sharing of works based on copyright, why is it that we have libraries today?

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252219)

Ultimately the entire business model needs to be scrapped. We need something akin to the street-performer protocol or some combination of multiple business models that channel people's natural inclination to share stuff they think is cool rather than attempt to fight against it as the current system does.

Or we could just continue to the use the current system where artists get paid at Starbuck's or McDonald's, and just stop paying the RIAA and its backers entirely. The artists, themselves -- with the exception of already rich ones like Madonna -- probably would not see a difference in their wages, but many more families could keep their life savings.

Re:The EFF is wrong on this one (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252667)

Yeah, that's not going to fly for any creative project requiring a significant investment in materials or equipment.

When Will It Stop? (3, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247115)

Am I naive in thinking that this insanity has to stop at some point? I don't think the **AA can stem the tide of people discovering and using file sharing, so when will they decide to give up, or better yet, focus its efforts on promoting a new business model? It seems like the spend an awful amount of effort trying to subvert the subversives with little or no net gain. I'm not sure that anything they have done thus far as been remotely effective in combating piracy, so assuming we live in a logical world, wouldn't it behoove them to stop pestering people and try something different???

Why don't they try something different like product bundling. Why not pair it with something everyone enjoys like water. Make some deals to include iTunes codes for a 49 cent download of choice when you buy a bottle of Dasani? Or get an album for free when you buy a 24 pack of Pepsi. The subsidy you get from these other product bundlings would surely generate more revenue than some kid downloading it off the net. There are many ways you can give your stuff away for 'free' and still make some hard cash...

Re:When Will It Stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247477)

'assuming we live in a logical world'

There's your flaw - the world (and particularly the business world) is far from logical - rather, it is driven by emotion and enlightened self-interest (we can argue all day about the 'enlightened' part ;-). In that world, logic has only a very small, subsidiary role...

Re:When Will It Stop? (2, Funny)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247523)

More likely it will play out like this:

Chicago could rake in at a mere $200 million a year, and wipe out the entire projected deficit for 2009, by using its vast network of redlight and surveillance cameras to hunt down uninsured motorists, aldermen were told today.

Not content to rake in 200 million a year, the city of Chicago will partner with the RIAA and MPAA to tie its massive surveillance system in with the log system of all ISPs, so that it can cross reference all travelers to their downloads, and violators can be swiftly picked up as soon as they venture outside their homes.

The city hopes this partnership will bring in half a billion dollars.

In other news, new legislative items introduced in Chicago include a new bonus system for its lawmakers and a proposal to convert all ISPs to state ownership...with the latter item being criticized because of rumors that the state will appoint former RIAA/MPAA executives to manage the ISPs.

Transporter_ii

Re:When Will It Stop? (2, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247619)

with the latter item being criticized because of rumors that the state will appoint former RIAA/MPAA executives to manage the ISPs.

too late. The federal government beat them to it.

Re:When Will It Stop? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247527)

Different business model? What? iTunes doesn't really make money, for anyone except maybe the credit card companies, so that is pointless. Giving stuff away with unrelated products is just the same - giving stuff away. Music is already free so how does that change anything?

No, Pepsi isn't going to allow music to be bundled with their products unless they got something for it. I suppose the music industry could pay Pepsi for the privilege and free advertising they would get, but this doesn't get them any revenue. Pepsi, or anybody else, isn't going to co-market music without getting something in return. So there isn't a subsidy there to be had.

That's the main problem with it. There just isn't a "bsiness model" that involves giving stuff away for free unless it benefits someone. And since recorded music has pretty much zero value to anyone capable of downloading it (excluding clueless 30-something iPod buyers), you can't convince anyone that music is somehow valuable and will add value to their web site, consumer product, or really anything else.

Re:When Will It Stop? (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 5 years ago | (#27253199)

iTunes doesn't really make money, for anyone except maybe the credit card companies, so that is pointless.

Ok, I see this said a lot and I don't get it. Do you have any references for that because my back-of-the-envelope calculations say Apple is making tons of money. So I'm calling bullshit unless you can show me a mistake here:

Apple sells 2.5 billion songs yearly at roughly $1 a piece. Last I heard their cut is ~30%. That makes $750 million in revenue for Apple. Running itunes is probably not cheap, but I doubt their expenses are that big.

So, why the fuck is that not a business model?

Re:When Will It Stop? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27249563)

Am I naive in thinking that this insanity has to stop at some point? I don't think the **AA can stem the tide of people discovering and using file sharing, so when will they decide to give up, or better yet, focus its efforts on promoting a new business model? It seems like the spend an awful amount of effort trying to subvert the subversives with little or no net gain. I'm not sure that anything they have done thus far as been remotely effective in combating piracy, so assuming we live in a logical world, wouldn't it behoove them to stop pestering people and try something different???

Why don't they try something different like product bundling. Why not pair it with something everyone enjoys like water. Make some deals to include iTunes codes for a 49 cent download of choice when you buy a bottle of Dasani? Or get an album for free when you buy a 24 pack of Pepsi. The subsidy you get from these other product bundlings would surely generate more revenue than some kid downloading it off the net. There are many ways you can give your stuff away for 'free' and still make some hard cash...

"so when will they decide to give up"

3 years from now...

the economy's been in the shitter, cd sales worldwide are down 50% and the labels are for sale for 25 cents on the dollar. whoever has the money will then...

"focus its efforts on promoting a new business model"

well, probably not so much as promoting but rather catching up with the rest of the world.

Re:When Will It Stop? (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252273)

Filesharing != piracy.

Piracy is commercial distribution of copyrighted works without the permission of the authors.

Making deals with RIAA... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247253)

The RIAA's bag of dirty tricks has been well-documented. Dealing with them is like negotiating a price for an HIV-positive hooker. There is no price that makes it worth it, not even free. Just tell them where they can go f*ck themselves because you're not going to bother with it. As the fees are likely going to be astronomical one way or the other, I know where I would have wanted my tuition to go -- towards a legal defense fund and not to the RIAA.

DICKWADS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247551)

You dopes still whining about originators/creators/owners of content wanting to be compensated?

      Dont worry you will get what you wish and when its you originating and wondering how to keep the lights on, too late, you got your wish fulfilled.

      In case you already have partook in the wonders of "free", then your just digging your own hole.

Dopes

Re:DICKWADS (1)

GeorgeS (11440) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247857)

Shut up Lars! we heard ya already

From wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27247645)

A cartel is a formal (explicit) agreement among firms. It is a formal organization of producers that agree to coordinate prices and production. [1] Cartels usually occur in an oligopolistic industry, where there is a small number of sellers and usually involve homogeneous products. Cartel members may agree on such matters as price fixing, total industry output, market shares, allocation of customers, allocation of territories, bid rigging, establishment of common sales agencies, and the division of profits or combination of these. The aim of such collusion is to increase individual member's profits by reducing competition. Competition laws forbid cartels. Identifying and breaking up cartels is an important part of the competition policy in most countries, although proving the existence of a cartel is rarely easy, as firms are usually not so careless as to put agreements to collude on paper.[2][3]

This is one of the few crimes a corporation can commit. Do i need to say more?

Microsoft? (-1, Troll)

EvilIntelligence (1339913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27247655)

Who's running that Choru$$ company? Is it Steve Ballmer?

Nothing to See Here,Just Move Along... (3, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248007)

Yet another death rattle from an obsolete industry.
Not really even news unless you actually believe the music industry will be a viable entity a couple years from now.
          No one wants to pay a middleman anymore.No news there. Obsolete business practices and outright lies don't qualify the industry as a "pay here" cash box anymore.
          Music is free. Get over it,get a haircut and get a REAL job. The industries mewling is just like all the Buggywhip manufacturers that cried unfair when the automobile came.
        Don't pay for music unless it's live in front of you and the artist gets the money(less any overhead). To the artists rooted into the industry, get out now while you still can. To every artist not in the industry, stay away it's a con game you can never win complete with extortion, swindling and theft.
          Lets hear it for the powerful new future of music now that the industry lies bleeding!

Re:Nothing to See Here,Just Move Along... (1)

Son of Byrne (1458629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27251027)

I hate to piggy back on such great ideas, but it's what people need to hear.

After stewing over this problem, I realized that to solve the music industry's woes is a fool's errand. We all know (one of those universal truths) that music is not a scarce commodity. When something can be copied at a cost of ***0*** dollars per copy and distributed for next to nothing (Itunes), or even precisely nothing (via P2P), it makes perfect sense that the price should be...wait for it...nothing.

I don't hate musicians. I think they're a necessary part of our culture and I really wish there were more of them performing *in person* so I could pay them back for their contributions.

If I were a musician, I'd already be cleaning up because I'd be selling my albums on my website according to the allofmp3 pricing model (pay for the bandwidth and a little extra to cover expenses) and performing live every week wherever I lived. Oh, and I wouldn't have signed any deals with any devils. If you did, then it's a shame, but you've got to figure out how to dump those devils and start playing music.

Canadian CD Media Tax (2)

smist08 (1059006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248173)

Seems somewhat like the blank CD media tax we have in Canada. Supposedly this tax on blank CDs (which is about equal to the price of the blank CD), goes to musicians to compensate them for piracy. The RIAA still considers piracy illegal, but once something is taxed it essentially becomes legal since the government has recognized it as such.

Re:Media Tax in Spain (1)

ruanoj (707654) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249923)

The SGAE (Spanish RIAA) has gone further. Since last year the IP law establishes a tax on any electronic device or medium able to store material protected by IP, no matter what their actual use is - for instance, you may store content produced by you or simply data on CDs, hard disks, etc. but you still have to pay the tax when you buy them. Fortunately the proposal to tax broadband connections was not passed.

Re:Media Tax in Spain (1)

smist08 (1059006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27250897)

Definitely sucks. Specially if you just want to back up all your digital photos. At least technology stays ahead. They passed the law on CDs and haven't got around to extending it to blank DVDs fortunately. Now we have a minority government so hopefully things will stay deadlocked.

An idea i had... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27248249)

Was just to track those who download a song, and add a bit of money on to their bill.

Why not create official clients and make deals with ISPs that way?
I'd sure prefer this way rather than having to have accounts and card details be entered into a site.
This is also many times more secure too.

How great it would be to have all internet payments just done through the ISP, it would save companies around the world billions.

But all you privacy nuts ruined that idea!
Screw all of you.

Bait and switch? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248343)

Bait and switch is where you advertise product A for low low dollar, then when the customer arrives you tell him it's out of stock, and try to get them to buy B at more more dollar.

Selling an empty box - which is much closer to what TFA describes - is not the same thing.

Here's a random idea (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248505)

Stop sharing music over P2P networks. If you engage in piracy, you're part of the problem and you're giving organizations like the RIAA justification to do what they do. If you people could simply resist the urge to download music that you haven't paid for, all of the "problems" would go away. If the record labels really suck so much, then stop demanding their products. If you want their products, then pay what they want you to pay. Otherwise, suck it up and deal with the consiquences for not doing so. The "opt out" solution is the best solution. They can't prosecute you if you aren't consuming their content.

Re:Here's a random idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27248781)

Man, you are naive. Piracy isn't the problem. Big money usurping the power of the citizenry (who have cast their silent vote in favor of piracy) is.

Re:Here's a random idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27249237)

Yeah, that's great, except that you have the whole thing completely fucked up. First of all, the obsolete business model isn't the selling of music. Music is going to sell one way or the other. The problem is the RIAA as gatekeeper. In the age of the internet with iTMS, Amazon, and artists' websites, there is no room for the traditional middle man, i.e. the RIAA. These kinds of antics they are pulling are merely the last gasps of a dying business model. More specifically, their dying business model.

Re:Here's a random idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27249849)

Except the RIAA already has a reputation for NOT stopping their lawsuits when they find they have the wrong person.

So for many the thinking goes:

I may or may not get sued. Whether I will is completely random, given that I know many others who d/l w/o problems and know of people who didn't who did get sued.

If there's nothing I can do to prevent getting sued and extorted, I may as well download.

You'll find MANY people have a "if I'm going to be accused I'm at least going to have had the pleasure of doing X" attitude.

Re:Here's a random idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27250439)

That sort of sentiment really just ignores one simple fact: that if you engage in piracy you are very unlikely to suffer any consequences for it. That's why the RIAA is attacking this with such broad strokes: it can't actually identify those who are committing piracy.

When something is illegal but nearly impossible to enforce, it may as well be legal. From there economics dictate that since piracy provides an equal or better product for no cost to the end user, that that will be the product the consumers choose. The RIAA is simply attempting to litigate its business model away from becoming non-profitable. It will eventually fail because that business model simply doesn't work anymore.

Re:Here's a random idea (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252325)

That sort of sentiment really just ignores one simple fact: that if you engage in piracy you are very unlikely to suffer any consequences for it. That's why the RIAA is attacking this with such broad strokes: it can't actually identify those who are committing piracy.

On the contrary, the pirates should be rather easy to catch: they are the ones selling the works for money. File sharers are not pirates. So, piracy obviously is not the problem.

Re:Here's a random idea (1)

johnos (109351) | more than 5 years ago | (#27251129)

They can't prosecute you if you aren't consuming their content.

Well the point of the article is that even if they can't prosecute you for not using their content, they've found a way to charge you for not using their content.

Re:Here's a random idea (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252335)

And they cannot "prosecute" anyone since these are all civil lawsuits -- "persecute", however, is a different issue. But the RIAA has managed to sue dead people. How can dead people be "consuming content"?

Re:Here's a random idea (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252303)

Filesharing != piracy.

Piracy is commercial.

Short summary (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248523)

Warner is asking universities to give money to prevent students being sued.
This only protects against being sued by Warner.

Why would anybody have thought any differently?

No private organisation could EVER promise full protection against being sued since there is no legal obligation for copyright holders to be a member of such an organisation. Such an organisation can only promise protection against it's own members.

Re:Short summary (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 5 years ago | (#27250697)

Warner is asking universities to give money to prevent students being sued.
This only protects against being sued by Warner.
Why would anybody have thought any differently?

Well, if it were an actual license from Warner - then students couldn't be sued for distributing Warner material - they would be covered against the bands & writers by Warner's license. As a covenant not to sue, well, it's really just extortion.

Choruss? - excellent name (1)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27248587)

Chorus helps hide the fact that a singer is of key. Seems very appropriate.

Step 3: Profit! (1)

Annatar22 (1429333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27249009)

This is the perfect scenario for the Record Labels. Not only do they make money by not doing anything, they don't have to pay out a dime to any of the artists whose songs are being downloaded since no one is actually 'licensing' these songs. Its an instant money tree with absolutely no cost for Warner. They'll never have to pay their artists a dime, just soak up all the money from Choruss.

This Is Disgusting (1)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27251943)

So, let me get this straight. Students who do not buy record industry music because they believe that the record industry is evil and should not be supported cannot do so because their universities will charge them in place of the record industry. Even if such a fee covered all music downloads, individuals could still not choose not to pay, not to contribute to an organized cartel that takes people's life savings for keeping a CD or two on their hard drive. And remember folks, the RIAA has never sued a single person for downloading (even though that is what they claim to the press). It appears that these students are being forced to pay for something they would not even be sued for in the first place and forced to support an anti-social organisation profiting at the expense of the public and of Freedom.

It is nice to hear that college students get so much for their tuition these days!

Ch..ch..changes, or: the new equilibrium (1)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27252645)

The RIAA and others seem unable to realize that when something is technologically possible, and becomes known and embraced, it is de facto the new reality and no amount of scheming or prohibitions will bring back the old.

I do remember vinyl LPs, and how the advent of CDs shut down my favorite record stores on Melrose in short order. Nowadays we have P2Ps and other filesharing methods. Nowadays a talented musician can easily obtain equipment and create music away from studios, right there in her living room.

No amount of lawsuits or tricks such as the one under discussion can ever turn the clock back, and I sure hope the distribution companies decide to bow to the inevitable. It is not clear what the new equilibrium is going to be, but I believe they will have at best a small part in it while the artists a much bigger one. Oh, and cost and prices will go down... down... down. The days of huge profits are gone forever.

The sooner they come to terms with reality, the better.

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