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

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the forgive-me-father-for-i-have-sinned dept.

Cloud 758

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

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That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528644)

And my response is, build it yourself.

Or if you want me to build it for you, pay up. But don't expect the open source community or free software community to build it for free.

(I don't know for a fact that Anonymous reader works for the RIAA but this seems to be just the kind of software they'd want to have.)

That being said, just to show how easy the software would be to design. All you'd have to do is use a sort algorithm. Then simply divide and conquer.
Each mp3 file can be represented by md5. The software could create an internal md5 database. This md5 database could be sorted via a stamping or digital signature algorithm which will create a while or for loop which checks each file for it's status of being (legal) or (illegal). Starting with the files which are legal, these files should be identified first by the algorithm because these files would be easiest to identify. Then when the status is unclear, these files should be sorted by user defined criteria and checked either automatically via comparing with some sort of official database of legal md5s, or manually listened to by the user in which case they should all become one big playlist from which the user can listen and decide whether to wipe it or not.

If you want me to build the software, reply with the price you are willing to pay for its development.

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528746)

Re-encode breaks the MD5 idea. What you really need is a way to find whatever audio watermarks the RIAA will be looking for. Odds are there are not any though, and your MD5 idea is fine.

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (5, Insightful)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528842)

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

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (2)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528956)

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

So just digitally sign everything you personally rip. I don't see how that could be so difficult. The computer you use to rip it could do it automagically.

Now of course if most stuff ripped isnt signed on purpose thats a different story. Maybe those Mp3s aren't legal?

True the md5 idea alone wouldn't solve everything but the guy asked if it could be possible to sort his files, and thats easy. Judging legality isn't easy even with lawyers and courtrooms.

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529036)

The audio data and subcode (track timing) data are split into two separate streams in the CD drive. The CD standard allows sync between audio and subcode to drift by (as I understand it) up to one sector, or 588 samples. This phenomenon is called "rip jitter". CD-ripping tools will overlap reads within a single rip by a sector or two to correct for changes in this drift, but there are still hundreds of offsets where the whole rip can start. Thus there are hundreds of distinct "basic 128Kbps rip[s] with a common MP3 encoder", each with a different starting rip jitter because the CD drive signaled a "start of track" in a different place within the sector.

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528868)

It's not the code, silly. That's easy. It's having some sort of official database of legal music that is the problem... which the poster was apparently hoping existed. I doubt any such thing does exist.

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528870)

For the naptster stuff, just check for anything that has a godawful bitrate. For the downloaded stuff, the file names will probably be very different to whatever he uses when ripping himself.. so he just needs to find a media player that can sort by bitrate, and list filenames (it will be fairly easy to just scan quickly down the list and check for any block of files that stands out, assuming he downloads albums at a time and not just lots of individual tracks..).

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528906)

First off, where's this big database of "legal" MD5s going to live? How are you going to compensate for people that transcode their music to different formats? You're going to have hashes for EVERY bitrate/encoding? Didn't think so. The simplest way for a normal person to code this, would be ID3 match, bitrate check, then a song length check with Gracenote. Chances are, if that matches the most common official MP3s, even if it was pirated, it would be fairly difficult to tell.

It's not perfect, but it's more feasible than hashing every song.

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528934)

Absurd. How would any algorithm be able to tell from an md5 if it is a legal rip or an illegal one? Two rips of the same CD should give the same bits, regardless of whether I own it or someone gives it to me.

The only way to tell is to compare to a db of your legal music:
    - you ripped a CD and still have it (not legal once you sell or give away the CD, gray area if you lose it and don't have a receipt)
    - you bought the bits and they are licensed to run on the device that you have them on
    - the music is free or public domain (heh!)

Don't forget that under US law, the performance and the author are separate copyrights, so even if they guy who plays it gives it to you, it may still be illegal.

Legal status is not a property the file itself (2)

kiwix (1810960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528984)

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

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

Re:That Anonymous reader works for the RIAA? (-1, Troll)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529014)

I'd pay 14 protein shots to your esophagus for such software. Do you have large flexible ears to help me help you?

Also, if you have a goatee, that would provide quality cushioning for my 'boys.

Blaming others for your mess (0, Flamebait)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528654)

You do illegal act and then try to blame others when you have to clean up your own mess? Delete all the files, re-rip what you own and the problem is solved. But stop blaming others when you have broken the law in the first place.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (0)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528706)

I think others should be blamed. Others are the ones who made it illegal. It was presumably not his choice to make that law in the first place.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528718)

yea that will happen, if someone wants to impose new law onto the people then they also need to take the necessary measures to enforce it and not just hope it happens on good will

Are all criminals bad guys? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528738)

And are all laws just?

If you don't think so, then you shouldn't be concerned with whether or not it's illegal or not and should be more concerned with how users can protect themselves from corporate political aggression.

Which side are you on?

Re:Are all criminals bad guys? (2)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528878)

how users can protect themselves from corporate political aggression.

Guns. Lots of 'em.

Re:Are all criminals bad guys? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528922)

I've done exactly the same things as the submitter, but if I wanted to use these services, I'd just upload it all and let google tell me if anything infringes. I'd say 99% of my music is stuff I have the CD for, and there are a few albums where I just downloaded because I couldn't be arsed ripping, or waiting for delivery after buying the CD.

Re:Are all criminals bad guys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529008)

Dura lex, sed lex.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528774)

But if he owns the CD, what difference is it who ripped it? I recall a ripping service for people who wanted to put their collection of 1000+ CDs on to an ipod for £x amount. If it is a licence and not a copy as they want us to think. Then he's bought the licence.

I say fuck'em. Send it all back and ask for a refund as you don't agree with the terms. Stuff like that.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (2)

daedae (1089329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529018)

I don't think that idea has actually been tested. It's not entirely clear what constitutes an "unauthorized copy." We can throw away the ridiculous old RIAA argument that ripping from your own CD is unauthorized and not fair use. But is it an authorized copy to copy somebody else's fair-use rip because it's easier than making your own rip? And can you prove that you owned the CD before you made that copy? I think at that point you get into the highly-paid lawyer version of "he said, she said."

Re:Blaming others for your mess (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528788)

The illegality of downloading track of a CD you own has yet to be proven.

UMG Recordings v. MP3.com (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529058)

The illegality of downloading track of a CD you own has yet to be proven.

In which jurisdiction? In the United States, see UMG Recordings v. MP3.com.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529122)

And as such, there's a moderately decent chance that an innocent person will be found innocent. But it still costs a hell of a lot to be innocent in a court of law.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528814)

You're an idiot.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528818)

Wow, nowhere in the article did the author mention blaming anyone, yet you immediately jumped to that conclusion. Defensive much? And talk about one of the most unhelpful, least constructive responses possible.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528822)

I fail to see "blaming" in the post. Maybe frustration. He/she is simply looking for an efficient way to clean up their own mess and come into compliance. Isn't that what we all want our computers to do? Make a difficult or boring job simple?

Re:Blaming others for your mess (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528848)

I'm sure you blame the poor for having to steal food as well.

Face it - to a significant number of people, piracy isn't an ethical problem or a "real" crime. It's like speeding - sure, it's technically illegal, but last I checked pretty much everyone drove 5-10 mph above the posted limit.

Re:Blaming others for your mess (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528860)

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

Re:Blaming others for your mess (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528928)

Think about it, the RIAA sues for millions and millions, but won't spend 40k to get a slashdotter to write the app to find and remove illegal music.

They don't want you to delete it. They want to sue the shit out of you.

and eventually, they will.

Don't blame the people trying to get out of the way of the legal onslaught.

Lamest question I've ever seen on Slashdot. (0, Flamebait)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528676)

Title says it all.

Re:Lamest question I've ever seen on Slashdot. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528828)

Smartest question I've seen on /.

If you yourself can't determine the legality of the (music) files you possess, how can the RIAA? a court?

It doesn't work for kiddieporn so it wont work (1, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529060)

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

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

Re:Lamest question I've ever seen on Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529068)

Lamest comment, too ;-)

rerip your CD collection (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528684)

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

Re:rerip your CD collection (2)

BrokenBeta (1007449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528778)

Yes, that's certainly a productive use of someone's day. Taking all your CDs that have been ripped... and doing it again!

Re:rerip your CD collection (5, Funny)

Whalou (721698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528942)

I'm an audiophile, I re-rip my collection to FLAC every week to make sure I keep everything pristine.

Re:rerip your CD collection (2, Funny)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529048)

I don't waste a lot of time during my life.

But when I do I re-rip my collection to FLAC.

Re:rerip your CD collection (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529034)

It's something you can have running in the background while you do something else. Not like you have to do it all at once. Oh and don't rip to FLAC, I don't think Google Music supports it.

Re:rerip your CD collection (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529000)

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

What part of "legal meaning tracks that I paid for" did you fail to understand? Or, pray, tell us how he can legally re-rip as FLAC the mp3 tracks he bought online

Don't do anything (0)

misophist (465263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528688)

Just don't worry about it. Only a dumbass would worry about legality of his music. If you're listening to it, it's yours.

duhhhhhhhhhh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528698)

herp derp, i'm a faggot!

How To Scrub Your Music? (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528702)

Scrap what you have and buy it all brand new. I'm sure that'll make everyone at the RIAA happy ;-)

Quality (4, Insightful)

Morth (322218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528712)

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

No software can do that. (2)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528716)

A software could identify files which were downloaded. But it can never detect legally whether you have the right to listen to that file. Unless of course oly drmd files are considered to be legally ok.

Sure it can (1, Funny)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528764)

Through an Md5 database hosted on the RIAA website or funded by the RIAA. Every legal file could be known. And then every illegal file would be among those not in the official database.

Re:Sure it can (1)

TamCaP (900777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528954)

Database of "legal" MP3s owned and administered by RIAA sounds like a great idea. And a free program that will scan your hard drive and conveniently delete any MP3s from your hard drive that are not in the database... BEST IDEA EVER!
...

Re:Sure it can (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529020)

Then all you have to do is rip in an unusual bit-rate or file format and you get around the MD5 checks.

Re:Sure it can (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529054)

How would they manage to detect the mp3s I've ripped myself as legal?

Re:Sure it can (2)

daedae (1089329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529112)

Through an Md5 database hosted on the RIAA website or funded by the RIAA. Every legal file could be known. And then every illegal file would be among those not in the official database.

Won't work. From an article about whether iCloud's match could be used as a honeypot, that I thought was posted on /. a few days ago:

Then there will be MP3s that individuals created themselves from, for example, ârippingâ(TM) their CD collections. While these are not watermarked to the individual, they appear to be unique for each âripâ(TM). To confirm this, I ran a test with fresh installations of the exact same CD ripping software on two different computers. I then had them rip the same track from the exact same CD using the unchanged system default settings on both computers. The MD5 hashes did not match.

( http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/06/is-apples-icloud-music-match-a-possible-honeypot/ [betweenthenumbers.net] )

Re:No software can do that. (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529078)

A software could identify files which were downloaded. But it can never detect legally whether you have the right to listen to that file. Unless of course oly drmd files are considered to be legally ok.

I was confused about this as well. From the post it makes it sound that if you buy a CD, then download the track for it, that track is somehow now "illegal". THIS IS NOT THE CASE, and FUCK YOU to the RIAA for making people think it is.

It's probably just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528724)

But I flagged each legal MP3 with LEGAL and its source as I got it or ripped it off of my CD. Nonflagged ones are either pirated or have a questionable source, so I can replace them if I choose to.

It wasn't that hard to do over the last decade, and now I don't have to solve this problem.

Ripped music (3, Insightful)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528726)

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

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

Top secret digital watermarks. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528798)

Why do you think they spend millions on DRM but can't spend that kind of money to secure gamers personal informarion?

Re:Ripped music (1)

barlevg (2111272) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528844)

The only thing I can think is that they compare it to a database of known illegal files using MD5 hashes or somesuch. But this is actually a valid question: if two people rip different copies of the same CD with, say, LAME, will the resulting files be identical?

Re:Ripped music (2)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528974)

No. There's no way there can be a database of every song ever recorded, to cover multiple bitrates, multiple formats, differences between coding the same format with different programs... differences with the same program (VBR limits, and doesn't LAME have quality options?) It's impossible to even conceive of this working.

Re:Ripped music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529028)

No. CDDA, even when read digitally in a CDROM drive, does not produce the exact same bitstream every time.

Re:Ripped music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529032)

Eh, just update the ID3 tags while organizing your music and their MD5 hash on the file won't match. And yes, assuming they used the same encoding settings in LAME, the files should be identical.

Re:Ripped music (1)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529064)

Yes, they will be the same. There is actually a service called AccurateRip which compares the hash of your ripped copy with a database of user submitted copies. If it matches several other ripped versions you can be pretty sure it was ripped correctly.

Jitter (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529132)

if two people rip different copies of the same CD with, say, LAME, will the resulting files be identical?

Not necessarily. See a comment about jitter [slashdot.org] .

Re:Ripped music (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528872)

The only way to tell would be if someone tossed a watermark on the file, which is unlikely.

Re:Ripped music (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528876)

I think its an issue of covering your legal backside. When they go after you for having X,Y,Z songs you can prove, yes, I've owned this CD for years.

Re:Ripped music (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528900)

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

Easy. The MP3 that someone else ripped will have the Evil Bit set, since it acquired it during transport.

Re:Ripped music (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528908)

He's asking for a tool that will identify downloaded files, which means he only has to sift through those instead of all of them.

Going by my own collection (~20gb, ~7000 files), OP probably has around 20,000 songs. Even if a tool only shows half of them as definitely clean, that's 10,000 songs he doesn't have to check.

Re:Ripped music (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528918)

Look at the ID3v1 and ID3v2 data.
Many ripping programs add a signature there, and some even a fingerprint. And many pirates put text messages there like "RIPPED BY ZOOOMG".

And even though you own a CD and have the right to rip it, you don't have the right to copy a rip someone else made. That's when copyrights kick in. So if two MP3s were ripped by a program that adds a unique fingerprint, you can assume that one of them is illegal, and that the other person either is the victim of a crime where someone stole his files, or allowed the copy to be made.

Re:Ripped music (2)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528948)

The method they *could* use to tell would be to take a hash of the file. When you rip the cd, you will get a different hash each time. With file sharing services most likely there are only 3 or 4 rips that are shared among thousands of people. Consequently, if you see someone with a copy of a particular song that has a hash of one of these commonly shared files, chances are miniscule that it isn't a pirated copy.

Re:Ripped music (1)

zeet (70981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529056)

When you rip the cd, you will get a different hash each time.

If you get a different hash each time you rip a file, your CD reader or encoder are broken.

Re:Ripped music (1)

gottabeme (590848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529088)

"When you rip the cd, you will get a different hash each time."

Why?

Re:Ripped music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528958)

Do you realize how much cellulite is at risk of getting up from your arse, getting the jewelcase up from your shelf, opening the case,inserting the CD (or more effort - replacing a cd in the drive already) then running something like cdex?

To some, even downloading some bin/cue then deamontoolsing it and cdex'ing it from there is 'easier' than doing this physical effort.

Re:Ripped music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529052)

The ID3 tag most likely contains the ripper's signature. I'd start by cleaning that.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528742)

I believe your referring to the "format" command.

Come on, wake up you freaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528754)

He's not asking if such a tool exists.

He's asking Slashdot if someone could get off their lazy backside and make one.

If RIAA wants one, let RIAA pay us. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528838)

It would be much easier if the RIAA just created a goddamn bounty rather than pose as an Anonymous Reader and try to coax us into developing it for free.

Don't use cloud services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528770)

Or simply don't use cloud services and go to concerts of artists you like instead of paying a bunch of lawyers a tax for something they will probably find a way to take away from you some day anyway. Or better yet buy Vinyl. Personally I pirate the world and buy a lot of Vinyl. Used to buy a lot of cds before napster was shut down. Now I wont buy a single mp3 or CD on protest. However Vinyl is worth something. CD's rot. Stop supporting business models that consumers don't want and that simply don't work.

this is an embarrasing question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528772)

are you trying to become a Soviet model citizen??

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528794)

You already done the deed and will go to hell for it. May as well reap what you hath sowed if your going to fry for enternity.

iTunes Match Legalizes Your Tracks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528800)

I think that if you pay for the iTunes Match that Apple will offer later this fall, then it will legalize any track you have that it can match. So even if you got it via Napster back in the day, as long as it is currently available in the iTunes store, then you will be able to "upgrade" your track to a legal version.

What happens with tracks they don't match? You can still upload them - but then who knows? Will they really scan them all and then hand you over to the RIAA? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Only a matter of time before Facebook (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528882)

It's only a matter of time before Facebook offers a music service which requires you to allow them to scan your harddrive and share it with your Facebook "friends".

OP is trolling RIAA (1, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528810)

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

Couldn't agree more.

Don't Use MP3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528854)

Easy. Don't use MP3 for your legal tracks. If you rip, use FLAC. If you use iTunes, it will come in AAC. I mean, who uses MP3 anymore, this isn't 1999.

Sure, lazyness, let's call it that. (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528858)

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

Afraid of being found? Hey, let's all call the lulz hackerz and lullify your ip!
Bah...

How is 'legal' determined? (1)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528866)

What's a 'legal' MP3?

If you rip it from your own CD, how does that get flagged as 'legal'? I was always under the assumption that songs offered in Napster or IRC were just songs that someone else ripped from their CD (originally.) Would that song look any different if I ripped it myself versus someone else ripping it?

I would think the only MP3's that are flagged as 'legal' are those purchased from an online store such as iTunes or Amazon. Then they'd have a way to 'mark' that the song is legal for that person. Perhaps if you rip a CD with iTunes or another 'purchase enabled media player' they could mark the tracks at that point as well. I'm pretty sure WinAmp has no way of flagging something as 'legal' or not.

A previous commenter said, 'check these MD5's against and official database of 'legal' MD5's' I don't even know what they were expecting to exist. If your rip is in a database somewhere of 'legal', then it would be legal for anybody I happened to share it with as well.

You may not find a tool, but... (1)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528874)

...if you're looking to make things appear legit, I imagine that proper tagging and song length will go a long way. If anything, that'd be what they're checking for (recording quality as well, but I imagine you've mostly MP3's so that's somewhat moot). Is there an easy way to do that? Use iTunes or WMP and sort through them manually. Beyond that? nothing I know of. There are plenty of music directories, and you can probably check the songs against their legit counterparts in various music vendors.

However, if you sort by artist, album, singers, title, etc it'll show the songs which are lacking that information, and should make the 'illegal' ones somewhat easier to identify. While not all professional recordings have this information tagged, the majority do and it'll help you sort them out.

No, they don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528892)

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

They expect you to delete all your music and then re-buy it. Because "... and then re-buy it" is pretty much the sum total of the RIAA's business plan.

Why even take the chance? (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528894)

If you successfully purge all pirated MP3s, even the accusation that a remaining file isn't legit will cost a lot of money. Would you rather pay your attorney $20k to defend the lawsuit or settle out of court for $10k? Or just continue carrying music around on a thumb drive? This service does not seem worth the hassle.

used cd's (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528898)

what you don't have in cd format, buy in cd format (amazon often has used cd's at ok prices. shipping is never reasonable but its their profit margin 'tax').

advantage of used cds: 'the man' does not get paid. no riaa income on used cd's. its just the buyer and seller (and some middleman, perhaps). disadvantage: no money goes to the band (but they made their money the first time on that 'first sale').

if you are worried (I would not be, I think you are paranoid) then make sure you have cds for every file. and like I said, used cd's deprive the riaa of any income, so that's probably your best route.

personally, I think your first and only problem is even considering these 'cloud' services. copy enough songs to your portable to last a day (or run a random mix uploader) and what's so hard? today's portables are even big enough to hold what used to be our whole collection. many people could fit their entire collection on portables. the cloud is about 5 years too late, to be serious.

Delete it all (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528914)

All your music is pirated. The copyright holders did not give you permission to rip it from CD, or store it online.

In the UK copyright law does not even allow recording TV shows to watch later, it is merely tolerated. You might be able to argue fair use in the US, except that now you don't buy music or CDs, you buy a license to listen which does not include uses such as this.

What ARE the rules? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528924)

So he has the CDs for some of his downloaded music. Does that mean it's legal to listen to ripped versions? Wasn't it the dream of the RIAA at one point for there to be one device, one music license? Is that not the case any more? Can I buy a piece of music on CD, then play it on any of my devices? And if I have the cassette tapes, can I download for free the music and still be legal?

And if I'm asking these questions, should I really care? The RIAA should become the MAA (no, not Missing in Action Association...but Marketing Association of America) -- recording after the first time is trivial with digital technology. Put your money into marketing the musicians in various venues. Marketing the MUSICIANS not the music. I like to hear covers of popular songs and it's refreshing to also hear the original sung in concert by the original singer. Sure everyone will make less money (unless you spread your marketing talent out beyond the usually junk pop you focus on), but not everyone needs to be a millionaire musician either.

What they really want is your money (1)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528930)

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

That's funny, but neither. They expect you to pay $2000 per illegal track in your possession.

Legality (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528932)

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

Is that really a problem?

Do you expect me to talk? (3, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528938)

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

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

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

Statute of Limitations? (3, Interesting)

Plastic Pencil (1258364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528950)

I posted a similar comment in thread from yesterday, but I'll ask here again, hoping someone will see it.

Basically, is the statute of limitations applicable to downloaded music? In my limited legal knowledge, it's not a felony to download music, afik, so misdemeanors typically fall under a 7-year statute of limitation, and so if you downloaded stuff from Napster's heyday, more than 10 years ago, could those mp3s even be used to legally prosecute you?

Of course I know we're talking about the RIAA here, and they act as if the law doesn't apply to them in their dealing. But I'm curious.

You're approaching the problem backwards (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528962)

It would be easier to scan your MP3 collection for what you know is legitimate. That giant stash of CDs sat in your attic gathering dust and your memory is the best way for you to determine what you own, rather than have a program scan for what might be ripped using what, bitrates and dodgy tags as a guide?

Just look at the "pirated" metadata flag (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528980)

...just kidding. Sorry, but there is *no way* to automagically determine what the license status of a file is. The only way is for you to make a list of every song you actually own and compare it against the library. But track names, file sizes, etc could all be different so an automated diff won't cut it. And don't forget that even if you own the CD it's illegal to download a copy of the songs on it, so even if it's on your list you still could be "illegal". The only way to be sure is to start from scratch and rip all your CDs again, saving maybe the few songs that you can find Amazon or iTunes download invoices for.

Of course, the fact that such a task is IMPOSSIBLE to automate is precisely why the RIAA is advocating it and why it will never go anywhere (or will be a massive flop when it does). Copyright CANNOT be enforced in an automated fashion--any system will inevitably revert to "all copies are bad", which is a VIOLATION of fair-use copyright law, among other things. This is why all attempts to automate copyright violation enforcement must be killed without mercy.

(I am not disputing that "detection" can be automated. It is perfectly reasonable to make a system to look for likely cases of infringement. It is completely wrong, however, to take the output of such a system at face value and sanction the material en masse without human review, which is what a lot of companies seem to be doing these days.)

Are you from RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36528982)

aren't you some smartie pants from RIAA trying to find a way to scan ppl's mp3 on Google Music?

I have the RIAA approved answer... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528986)

"Delete the ENTIRE library and re purchase all of them to be sure. It's cheaper than our lawyers raping you..."

IF you call a RIAA office the above will be their answer. if you call any lawyer the above will be their answer. if you cant PROVE you bought it, it's pirated by default.

Doesn't Matter (3, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529002)

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

If you have some ethical issue then just buy a legal copy of the music for anything you're unsure of. Having multiple copies for personal use IS still fair use.

There is no way for anyone to know which are legal (1, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529016)

There is no way for anyone else to identify which of your music files are legal. All that is possible is to identify that certain music files are illegal (because they contain certain "watermarks" that indicate they come from a source that you could not have legal access to). And even there there is room for argument. For example, it is not clear how the courts would rule on a case where you downloaded a copy of a file that you owned on CD rather than ripping it from the CD. There is some question as to whether possessing music files that were illegally copied is actually illegal.

What if you own the music on a record album? (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529042)

One of my pals has regularly shopped the thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) looking for albums of the music he has downloaded. His theory is that as long as he has the album with the music - regardless of the format - he's covered.

I think he's probably right, actually. Although it might cost hims some legal fees to get RIAA off his ass if they choose to land on him.

Nonsensical Nonsense (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529082)

I'll agree that this is just a dumb, time wasting effort on your part. If you are so worried about the collection, don't bother with "clouds", but set up your own streaming server. You only want to listen to your own stuff...right? I use subsonic to access and listen to mine and I love it.

Regarding old mp3's and napster...I was around when napster came on the scene. Even before then I would "share" songs I liked with friends in the same manner I did with cassettes, burn a playlist and let them enjoy new sounds. They did the same with me and what it did was encourage me to buy albums of artists I would have not normally listened too. I do not condone piracy, but the pricing issue by the music industry made "sharing" more viable then buying a CD for one song or buying an artist only to find out the CD was mostly crap. Even today there are some albums from the late 70's early 80s that still cost upwards of 10 dollars....really? with not even a CD to justify cost? The pirates are RIAA and they pillage very well.

I have old napster files and don't worry a damn about them. I still buy mp3s, but do so from places where I feel I am getting the correct value for my purchase. Some from Amazon, some from other mp3 sites, but NEVER from itunes. Trusting them is like trusting Darth Vader to release the Princess and the Wookie to stay in the cloud city (Pray I don't alter the plans further). Use these services or don't, but please don't waste time cleaning a collection of files that can be altered to wav and back.

Again with the "honeypot"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529108)

Two articles in two days attempting to suggest that iCloud is an RIAA-sponsored "honeypot". Google starting to sweat a bit?

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