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Greene's Grammy Speech Debunked

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the behind-the-music dept.

Music 408

jonerik writes: "Today's New York Times has this article which debunks at least part of NARAS president Michael Greene's much-publicized speech at last week's Grammy Awards ceremony in which Greene claimed that he had hired three students to download a whopping 6,000 songs "from easily accessible Web sites" over two days. Leaving aside for a moment Greene's bizarre admission on national TV that he'd hired three students (at least one of whom, Numair Faraz, is a minor) to break the law (the No Electronic Theft Act), Faraz has been interviewed by the Times, saying that they spent more like three days on the project and that the other two students (both unnamed, though both are apparently attending U.C.L.A.) barely used P2P file-sharing programs at all. Instead, they used AOL's popular Instant Messenger to receive song files from friends."

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Wow... (2, Insightful)

punkball (240859) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127253)

The lengths some people will go. Why don't I just hire some people to shot some other people to show guns are bad? Oh, because it's illegal..

Quote (0, Offtopic)

inerte (452992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127336)

Because, and I quote [] :

James Hetfield

Re:Wow... (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127401)

not unusual - j0n katz and the slash janitors hire young kids for alot worse things than that.

If all you damn commie linux fags would quit stealing this would not be an issue.

What do you expect (4, Insightful)

[AraGorn] (178502) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127254)

They have to lie to make their points because the facts show that Napster, et all seem to have a positive effect for the most part on sales...

Correllation != Causation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127352)

Then: Napster use was up and music sales were up.
Now: Napster's gone and music sales are down.

This does not mean that napster's demise was the cause of music sales being lower. There could be some other reason for the correllation. For example, music could have been better a couple of years ago. That would explain both music sales and napster usage. Or maybe interest in the music scene was just higher back then. Currerntly there are plenty of other programs that filled the void left by napster (e.g. gnutella) we don't see the amount of music sales as we had in napster's prime.

first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127255)

first post bitches

Uh oh.... (0, Offtopic)

The1lorax (454853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127256)

What do you MEAN it might be illeagal?

accuracy with normal connection (1)

cliche (562037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127260)

im guessing that they were using some very high speed connection and that those numbers don't fairly represent how much music can really be downloaded.

Re:accuracy with normal connection (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127284)

Well it's possible they got most of them from other UCLA students, which of course could be on the Universities LAN. But, to be fair... for them it IS a normal connection. Maybe not for you, but your not everyone.

Yeah, let's do the math here (3, Funny)

jcsehak (559709) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127340)

Let's say it takes 1.5 minutes to download a song. Let's say each kid has a seperate computer with a dedicated connection.

45 songs/hour * 48 hrs * 3 kids = 6,480 songs.

That's IF they spent no time searching and downloaded for 2 days straight. Aren't minors required by law to work something less than 24 hrs a day, anyway?

Call the FBI. (5, Insightful) (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127264)

He broke the law by hiring people to break the law. The law apply to all, including him.

Easy to prove, he made an admission that was recorded and video taped.

Doesn't he want all music pirates convicted?

Re:Call the FBI. (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127309)

Nail him for "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor"!!!!!

Re:Call the FBI. (5, Funny)

Zach Garner (74342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127365)

Give 'em the Hemlock!!

Re:Call the FBI. (1)

joe90 (48497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127388)

If some of that stuff crosses state lines, e.g. downloading from hosts not based in the state that the alleged crime was committed, under US law, doesn't that become somewhat more serious?

I could be wrong, but if multiple people are involved, could conspiracy charge(s) also be brought against the alleged perps?

Re:Call the FBI. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127337)

Not if he can show that he owns all the copyrights or had permission from the copyright holders.

I am sure that all the copyright holders (RIAA) will say that he was granted license before embarking on this mission.

Re:Call the FBI. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127426)

If I were the copyright holder on a single song that was downloaded I would sue this guy as publically as possible.

I'm sure the kids involved weren't given a list of the only songs they are allowed to download....

timecube says (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127265)

evil stupid educators listen mp3
one corner napster
one corner
god is lie to children
riaa is lie to god
4 x 4 = 16 corner
i have put sphere in cube

Re:timecube says (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127278)

What you say?

Re:timecube says (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127419)

Cool. Are you really the time cube guy?

May God bless you for bringing us His great gift of the timecube.

Free Reg Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127268)

You to register at the new york time before they will even let you look at their web site.

6000 WOW (4, Interesting)

DCram (459805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127271)

That is alot of pipe for 2 days worth of downloads. 6000 x ~3.5megs per song = ~21000megs of download. I don't think that this was accomplished on a 56k modem.

I believe it is in bad taist to plug your agenda at an event like this.

I think I will go home tonight and "Hire" 3 friends of mine to download a hack of starcraft and play all night.

Re:6000 WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127297)

rtfa. Many of the files downloaded were incomplete and useless.

Re:6000 WOW (2)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127304)

Bah, if you have an account on a nice privet FTP, 300KBp/s per download 2 downloads at once. . . .

VERY doable. I am surprised that three people were required. :)

Re:6000 WOW (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127327)

You could just ask them for the crack or go look yourself instead of hiring them. Of course I don't know what kind of friends you have.

Re:6000 WOW (1)

Isca (550291) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127417)

How many of those downloads were the same Britney Spears song though?

AIM isn't P2P? (3, Insightful)

JayAndSilentBob (517888) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127272)

Is not AIM P2P when two users are "directly connected" as when they are transfering files, pictures, or just typing to each other? If not then what are they directly connected to? I was under the impression that if I was directly connected to someone and the AOL servers ceased to exist, I could continue my conversation with them until one of us severed the link.

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (1)

chaidawg (170956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127296)

Thats not the point. The point is that AIM utilizes a buddy list that the user must put together. By deffinition your buddy list is a list of friends, whether is is or not. Therefore, trading over AIM could still fall under the fair use clause because it is not opening up the files to millions of people you do not know.

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127359)

Only if they already owned the very music you are sharing.

And if so, why don't they just rip it. If they have a computer already, then just rip it.

MP3's are fair use. Napster was not, Morpheous and Kazaa are not.

(Sure you might actually download some garage bands single, but I am sure that most was copyrighted)

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127408)

I don't see how sharing MP3s with your friends is any more legit than sharing them with the world, at least in the eyes of the law. There's no fair use exception for "but he's my best buddy, officer", is there?

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (1)

CounterZer0 (199086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127305)

No, it's all done thru the servers - everything, that's why people have such trouble with the 'alternative' clients.

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (2)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127346)

the direct connection is not done through the servers. because of this, you are still able to communicate, transfer files, or whatever to the person you are connected to even after you disconnect from the AIM service.

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127318)

It's not p2p (misnomer in this use ANYHOW, but what the hell) because you are not searching for content based on content. You are hooking up with someone who can offer you something *only after you connect with them*.

p2p, in popular use terms, is more of a 'file search and retrieve' platform rather than a 'find your friends and then share the files you have with them'. Can you use AIM to search for files?

Re:AIM isn't P2P? (1)

Eppie (553278) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127320)

You're connected to a central AOL server. Your IM goes from your box to AOL to your messaging partner. His or her messages come back by the reverse route. If AOL goes down, so does your conversation. This is why AOL could (given lots of resources) read AIM traffic, something it claims not to do (I actually believe them on this one).

AIM is P2P (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127350)

Yes, you can do that. You can even logoff from the aim service with a direct connection already established and continue to chat with them. I've done it.

On the Next Episode of 90210 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127277)

When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

news? (5, Funny)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127279)

3 college students download songs off the internet... call CNN, make sure /. is notified!!

Dumb Kids (0)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127282)

6,000 songs is nothing. Come to my school and download 50,000 via my search engine.

Re:Dumb Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127380)

That one named napster?

Nice (2, Interesting)

DutchSter (150891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127286)

Nice to know, not only did he hire people to break the law he hired minors to do so. Excellent, courts sometimes overlook the piddly petty-theft stuff but "Corruption of a minor" is hardly looked upon lightly almost anywhere. Or are we going to be told that he had been licensed by the individual copyright holders to do the downloads?

What's the number on all the Microsoft CD's? 1-800-IS-Legit? I wonder if RIAA has one too :P

Re:Nice (1)

DevNull Ogre (256715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127396)

Excellent, courts sometimes overlook the piddly petty-theft stuff but "Corruption of a minor" is hardly looked upon lightly almost anywhere.

Get the hemlock! ;-)

life and death issue?? (5, Insightful)

hex1848 (182881) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127287)

Did anyone listen to the speech [] ?

This problem won't be solved in short order. It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and true diligence to help our fans - that would be you - to embrace this life and death issue and support our artistic community by only downloading your music from legal Web sites

How can anyone compare death to music piracy with a straight face? Needless to say I turned the channel and stopped watching the shortly there after. The little respect that I had for the Grammies was lost that night. I think it pissed me off more that no one booed him off stage.

Re:life and death issue?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127330)

If you pirate music then you don't buy cds, right? (Everyone knows its true, uh huh). If nobody buys cds then record sales slump. If record sales slump then the musicians get depressed. If the musicians get depressed then they will overdose on sleeping pills and DIE! There's your life and death!

This is not to be confused with high record sales which allow the musicians to buy cocaine which they overdose on after a sell-out concert.

Re:life and death issue?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127351)

How can anyone compare death to music piracy with a straight face?

The same way you can compare copyright infringement to piracy. Piracy does cause death, but copyright infringement is not piracy.

Re:life and death issue?? (3, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127353)

"How can anyone compare death to music piracy with a straight face? "

Of course it's life or death! Don't you remember when Kid Rock starved to death because of MP3s? []

Re:life and death issue?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127371)

not only that, but is he really part of the artistic community?

Re:life and death issue?? (1, Redundant)

alwayslurking (555708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127376)

brings to mind this story Kid Rock Starves to Death []

Recording Artists Coalition (5, Informative)

eracerblue (473104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127383)

This is why many artists are taking a stand:

Recording Artists Coalition []

(take a look, you'll be suprized who's there)

ps. I think I did hear one person boo... I'm sure he/she got to enjoy the remainder of the grammays outside. :/

Re:life and death issue?? (3, Informative)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127415)

Greene isn't exactly on everybody's top friend list. He's clashed with a variety of people and been sued a couple of times. Here's a CNN article about this troubles []

ack!! (0)

slakdrgn (531347) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127288)

OHNO!! people are using AIM and the web to pirate Mp3s!! WE MUST SHUT THEM DOWN!! CALL THE RIAA, this "messanger" and "web" thing must be elimated!

couldn't help it ;)

I must be slacking... (4, Funny)

magic (19621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127289)

I don't have nearly 6,000 MP3's.

Maybe I have the wrong IM friends. Hey... I wonder if those UCLA students are still for hire!


6000 is probably not accurate (0)

bananaape (542919) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127291)

6000 songs is probably inaccurate. 3 people downloading over 3 days would have many duplicates between each other.

Also, each person probably downloaded many copies of one thing. I've done it myself. Incomplete files should not count either.

They probably just added up the number of files on all three computers.

Whatever... the RIAA just wants to make up big numbers to impress people.

AOL! (1)

version5 (540999) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127293)

Apparently the same people that provide the Grammy's with webspace [] are also purveyors of fine peer-to-peer file sharing applications!

What was the point of this? (1)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127294)

Publicity stunt? Propaganda? It's almost embarassing the lengths people will go to prove what isn't anything more than a 'point of view'. I think the comments from the poster, which I'll paraphrase as 'paying minor to download songs, illegal!' is rather silly, and could have been left out. Overall, who gives a rat's ass, really? Some industry bigwig says in a speech he got some people to download lots of songs...Yes, we all do it, you're not the first, you won't be the last...Just because it's easy to do doesn't automatically place it in the 'BAD THING (TM)' category..

Is it technically considered theft... (2, Interesting)

BigJimSlade (139096) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127298)

...if you own the rights to what is being "stolen"? And does the RIAA own the rights to the songs, or do they just look out for the "best interests" of the recording industry?

Re:Is it technically considered theft... (2)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127393)

The RIAA owns nothing, save for office space, furniture, office supplies, and such. It merely looks out for the best interests of it's constituents, the recording industry.

6000 songs? (1)

Jonny Balls (543700) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127299)

they aint got nothing It doesn't take more than one person and a hig-speed connection to get 6000 songs in 2 days gimme a T1 line... 24 hours... and some caffeine... i'll get you anything you need

Re:6000 songs? (2)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127362)

But... through instant messages?

Good god. Unless those are highly automatable (e.g. select a BUNCH of files to send via AIM with a shift-click or similar mechanism; I've never used AIM, so I wouldn't know how their file transfer system works), the sheer *pain* of doing that -- eek.

You'd think that if Greene 'specially asked for *web* downloads, that they'd write some script to use the search engines and grab anything that looked like an .mp3 or .ogg (if that's the typical extension for Ogg Vorbis) URL.

Re:6000 songs? (3, Insightful)

thesolo (131008) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127427)

Unless those are highly automatable (e.g. select a BUNCH of files to send via AIM with a shift-click or similar mechanism; I've never used AIM, so I wouldn't know how their file transfer system works), the sheer *pain* of doing that -- eek.

FYI, using the OSCAR version of AIM (not TOC, which doesn't support file transfer), you can select entire directories to send to someone. Say you have all your MP3s on a Windows machine at c:\music. If you type in c:\music\ into the AIM file transfer window, it will send c:\music\*.* recursively to the other person. Sending 4000 files this way would be VERY, VERY easy, especially on a LAN.

Also, there is a Get List function, which grabs a list of all the files a person has available to share. (By default installed to c:\filelib) Provided the person allows lists to be grabbed from them, once you have the list, you can download anything off of it.

Lastly, yes, .ogg is the extension for Ogg Vorbis files.

FUD (5, Insightful)

mini me (132455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127301)

I found that speech rather humourous.

First off he said that downloading music is a bad thing. Then in the next breath he incuraged everyone to download music from RIAA approved web sites.

Second. Who uses the www to download music anyway? It's all FTP or the various P2P services. The only exceptions that I've seen is music that has already be approved for download. is an example of that.

Third. My guess is that would have 6000 MP3s avaliable. All you would need is wget and a small shell script to download all the songs automatically. Keep in mind that there is legally nothing wrong with downloading music from there.

I find it pretty sad that they had to go to all of the trouble of writing that speech just to try and sway the public away from downloading online audio. Was downloading the 6000 songs trying to prove a point? It just sounds to me like they were breaking their own laws. If it is okay for them to do it why can't I? The RIAA knows their current role is coming to an end and they fear this. The truth is, is that they will not become obsolete, their role will only change.

So it's whose fault? (1)

Len (89493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127303)

"...barely used P2P file-sharing programs at all. Instead, they used AOL's popular Instant Messenger to receive song files from friends."

So the record companies should sue AOL Time Warner! [] Um...

What did you expect? (2)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127307)

Mr. Greene doesn't want anyone sharing music with their friends either. Or putting them on their hard drives, or uploading them to their MP3 players, or burning them onto blank CDs... All of these actions kill potential revenue, and no matter how it inconveniences the average listener, he'll push for anything that'll protect the bottom line.

Re:What did you expect? (1)

NavySpy (39494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127325)

What do I expect? I expect that people will obey the law and respect intellectual property rights, that's what _I_ expect.

so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127310)

the fact that this guy lied doesn't justify your theft.

Oh god, not again... (-1, Troll)

selderrr (523988) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127313)


I fail to see the relevance for nerds here. Definitely not stuff that matters. Okay, perhaps he's saying that is the naked thruth or lies covered in horsedunk, all it all it just doesn't change squat. We all now P2P mp3 exchange is here to stay, and that's about it. That's NOT nerd news.

Since taco got engaged, we're not seeing much interesting news anymore. How about trying for one day to post stuff that is NOT related to DMCA or other lawyer crap, but rather technology bound ?

I find slashdot more and more drifting away from it's purpose. If this goes on, they'll sure as hell loose a lot of nerd subscribers, and keep only lawyers : Slashdunk : news for lawyers, stuff that splatters

Re:Oh god, not again... (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127385)

"I fail to see the relevance for nerds here. Definitely not stuff that matters. Okay, perhaps he's saying that is the naked thruth or lies covered in horsedunk, all it all it just doesn't change squat. We all now P2P mp3 exchange is here to stay, and that's about it. That's NOT nerd news. "

Ugh, last two paragraphs make it obvious this is a troll but. . . .


This IS stuff that matters because when some idiot brings up this little 'experiment' as proof of how bad p2p programs are we(Nerds) can bring forth the evidence to debunk this experiment.

Had we(nerds) not bee alerted this this debunking then some droid might have gotten a point against us in a debate.

Re:Oh god, not again... (2)

talks_to_birds (2488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127387)

And don't forget, soon you -- Yes You! -- may have the opportunity to pay for this.

What do I bet you won't be signing up for a subscription?

Posted from Lynx.

Graphics? What graphics?


Odd connections in the mind (3, Insightful)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127314)

In a way, this reminds me of the "airline safety" brouhaha after 9/11. No, no, I'm serious. Think about it:

Greene claims that P2P programs are bad, and that thievery is easy, backed up by the 6,000 songs they got. Then it comes out that they weren't really using P2P programs at all, but doing something covered (legally) by fair use.

Post 9/11, there was a need for more airline security and an outcry over the pisspoor airline security that was in place at the time...and then it comes out that the hijackers used boxcutters, which were legal to take onto airplanes at the time.

Re:Odd connections in the mind (3, Interesting)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127356)

ok... continue this train of thought out now...

because the box cutters were determined to be weapons, now i can't bring a razor, toe nail clippers or a myriad of other items on planes...

apply this to his train of though, and the "easily accessible" web sites need to be stopped... so we are forced to shut down the internet. totally irrational thinking.

back to planes... i flew 2 weeks ago and had a mach 3 razor in my backpack and they acted like i just raped nun... later i the plane i notice the lady in front of me is knitting. to those of you who don't have grandmas, knitting needs are about a foot long huge needles. back to the music industry, WHATEVER they do to try to stop music distribution, an old lady with knitting needles will always get through.

Re:Odd connections in the mind (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127395)

To carry along the analogy, we've now prohibited nail clippers on aircraft, even though you couldn't (especially nowadays) take over an airplane with them.

And some misguided souls are considering prohibiting general-purpose computers to stop music sharing - again throwing the baby, the sink, and the nanny out with the bath water.

Useless stat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127315)

...when half of that 6000 files included remixes of "Who Let The Dogs Out"...

He doesn't get it (1)

billmaly (212308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127316)

Simply shows that most execs simply don't get it....when they try to explain what they've done, they screw it up, and look stupid. They read somewhere that product X is bad, and jump on the bandwagon to protect "share holder interests", and forget the details in the dust. Man I hate suits.

Criminal law and copyright... (1)

roybadami (515249) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127317)

Interesting that in the US copyright infringement can now be a criminal offense (rather than a civil matter) even when it's not for commercial gain. How recent is the No Electronic Theft Act? -- I don't recall having seen any coverage of it on the web, but maybe I missed it...

Anyone know whether similar things are happening (have happened?) in the UK/EU ?

This article (0)

Teh Grammar Patroll (564578) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127319)

The fact that you can embed a link to the article within your own text, does not absolve you from using correct grammar.

Instead of saying "The New York Times has this article...", you should say "The New York Times has an article..." You can still embed your link in the phrase "an article." Your way of stating it makes you sound like a 5 year old child who has just learned to form complete sentences, but who just hasn't quite got the hang of it yet.

In addition, you shouldn't say "...that he'd hired" (which is really saying, "...that he had hired"). Instead you should say "...that he hired..."

Finally, the sentence beginning with "Leaving aside..." is a run on sentence. It is very difficult to understand, due both to its run-on nature, and excessive use of parentheses.

Michael Eisner is not the DEVIL (0)

hugecyberpenis (552363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127323)

Michael E. would never claim that music privacy is a bad thing. Music privacy is what makes the USA the best country in the world: everyone who makes music should make money and that's why we have muci privacy. Bill Gates will eat you.

I say, let him go. (1)

Daunting*Alligheri (215036) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127324)

Let Greene whine,bitch and moan all he wants. Let him admit he's breaking the law. Especially on television. The more vocal these folks become, the more likely we can use their words against them.

If Mr. Eisner, and Mr. Greene are hellbent on alienating their consumer base, let them have at it. Its still relatively isolated on the net as it stands, but soon, they're going to get cocky (I'd argue they already are) and start frothing at the mouth on public TV. Give audiences (and artists) enough of this, and the ensuing hatemail/flames and public outcry, and I think we'll see a marked change in the view that consumer=evil pirate.

Until then, Mr. Greene provides a vast ammount of entertainment, and I can just avoid watching his programs, and contributing to his cash flow.

Greene RIPs Fair Use (0)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127329)

From Greene's Speech:
This illegal file-sharing and ripping of music files is pervasive, out of control and oh so criminal.
He is implying that ripping music is illegal is he not? Someone should teach him of what he speeks before he goes world wide with a speech that makes him look computer illiterate.
- Mike

More Hype (1)

beens (96257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127332)

This looks like another attempt at hyping the public from a long list of people for whom it's financially helpful to do so. The RIAA is constantly throwing about ridiculous numbers about how the internet is driving them out of business. But the past year brought them more box office sales than any other year in history!

Media Executives need to wake up and realize that stirring up controversy where none should be had is simply going to come back and bite them later. Why not show us the real story from the get go?

He said the same thing on Politically Incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127334)

This guy was on Politically Incorrect a couple days before the Grammy's and tried to give the same spiel ("we had a couple kids download 6000 songs in 2 days!"). He contributed NOTHING to the other topics on the show.

Breakin' tha Law? hardly.... (1)

tomdarch (225937) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127335)

When you paid for the law, you get to say when it should be enforced. Thus the RIAA can hire minors to 'steal' music and declare that the law won't apply.

You think that's bad?! (5, Funny)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127338)

You think that's bad? Just the other day, my wife downloaded 5 gigs of songs [] in under a half hour! Talk about thinking you know someone!

This year's Grammys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127344)

had the second lowest ratings since Nielson started tracking. After this lovely speech, next year's will easily have the lowest ratings of all time.

NYT Article without the registration (3, Informative)

thesolo (131008) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127348)

Go here: [] To view the article without registration.

I'm not karma-whoring, I've already hit the cap.

Re:NYT Article without the registration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127389)

Heck, how often do these guys manage to change the direct url ?

I looked on the web, and came up with, needless to say, this was defunct. Anyway, i used for a while.

Now, its ?!?!

Anyone know whats up with these guys?

Just post the whole article (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127428)

Every year Michael Greene, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, stands onstage during the show he runs, the Grammy Awards, and delivers a speech about an issue that pertains to the music world. On the broadcast last week, however, he chose a strange way to make his point.

The issue he addressed was the unauthorized trading of songs on the Internet. During the awards show he showed clips of what he said were three students downloading "as many music files as possible from easily accessible Web sites." He added that in two days the three students downloaded nearly 6,000 songs.

"Now multiply that by millions of students and other computer users, and the problem comes into sharp focus," he said. As he made his point, the cameras zeroed in on the three students, all looking very sheepish.

His speech, as anticipated, ignited much discussion and controversy among music fans and those in the industry. But in addition, it seems strange that he would admit on national television that he hired three people to break the law (the Electronic Theft Act) and then show them in the process of doing this, especially since one is a minor.

And now one of these downloaders for hire (at about $12 an hour), Numair Faraz, has stepped forward to say that Mr. Greene's claim that three students downloaded 6,000 files from easily accessible Web sites isn't even true. For starters, Mr. Faraz, 17, isn't a student: he left school to start his own technology business. But more to the point, he says that the group didn't spend two days downloading music; they spent three. And most revealing, he says that most of the music wasn't even downloaded from publicly accessible Web sites.

Speaking about Mr. Greene, Mr. Faraz said, "He said it took two days to do all the stuff, and we did it for three days from 9 to 6 and left the computers on all night long, except we'd come back and the computers would be frozen."

"I was the only one who used Bearshare and Kazaa extensively," he continued, referring to two popular file-exchanging programs. "And half of my files never completed: they were halfway downloaded or not downloaded at all."

As for the two others, both students at the University of California at Los Angeles, he said they hardly even used file-sharing sites. Instead, he said, they used AOL Instant Messenger, a chat program, to receive songs, which friends sent them from their hard drives. This not only means that the songs weren't on public Web sites, but also that there is no guarantee that they were ever illegally downloaded, since some could have been from CD's purchased by students and ripped into their hard drives.

Mr. Faraz estimated that 4,000 of the songs were sent as private messages using Instant Messenger, and a few songs were legitimate authorized downloads from the Web site

Barb Dehgan, a spokeswoman for the recording academy, said, "The kids were asked to download as many songs as possible off the World Wide Web, specifically, publicly accessible Web sites." She added that they worked two half-days and one full day. She did not comment about the legality of the project.

While some in the music business applauded Mr. Greene's speech, others criticized it and wondered what point he was trying to make.

"Burning, ripping and sharing is not killing music," Ken Waagner, a digital-media consultant in Chicago who was part of the recording academy's board of governors for four years, wrote in a letter to Mr. Greene. While admitting users of popular file sharing software were "cheap and greedy thieves," he said they are not a real threat to the music industry. "Greed, stupidity and ignorance on the part of the policy wonks and further alienating the listener is the real threat to the business, and ultimately the artist's ability to be heard."

So why, then, when Mr. Faraz knew that the whole project was ridiculous did he go along with it? "I got free hotel in the Biltmore," he said. "That's one reason to stick with it."


Audiogalaxy, a free music-sharing software and Internet site where MP3 files of songs are exchanged, was once the center of a small subculture of music fans who traded zip files of entire albums as well. These files packaged every song on a CD, plus images from the artwork, into a single convenient, easy-to-download file. Because Audiogalaxy was created only for the transfer of MP3 songs, these elaborate zip files were disguised by users to look like MP3 files to computers.

But after this column on Feb. 25 detailed this practice, Audiogalaxy disabled the word "zip" from its search engine. Where previously searching for files with the word zip in them turned up thousands of full albums, now the search turns up nothing, not even song titles with the actual word zip in them.

What happened? Michael Merhej, a spokesman for Audiogalaxy, said that there was such a large amount of traffic on the site and so many different things happening in the company that executives had been unaware of zip trading. Once company employees tried it for themselves, "we did block the word zip," he said.

"The purpose of Audiogalaxy is not to download complete albums that you can go buy," he added. "The system is not made to handle this, but people contrive things to make it work."

Though the word zip is now blocked in the Audiogalaxy search engine, those zip files of entire albums still exist. One just has to find a different word to use to search for them or try the Usenet, where a whole news group is dedicated to full album downloads.

Is it any wonder? (4, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127357)

How surprising is it that Greene was easily debunked? When we all know that mp3 trading is the best thing to happen to the music industry, this snivelling little weasel has the nerve to get all prosecutorial in a five minute rant during the Grammy award show. He may call it theft, I'd call it sampling. There are many CD's in my collection that if it hadn't been for the fact that I found mp3's to listen to, they wouldn't be in my collection. It's because of those mp3's and the ability to sample the music first that caused me to head for the store and purchase the album. The RIAA should be glad that we're swapping songs.

Now, here's a question I'd like to ask: If I have purchased all of Sarah McLachlan's albums (for examples sake) and if she were to release a "Best of" compilation, and I already own the CD's on which the songs that are part of that compiliation originally appeared, then go to USENET and download that "Best of" CD in mp3's, am I a thief? I've already paid for the rights to listen to the songs on the original albums. Hell, for all they know, I got the track list and created it myself based on burns from my original CD's.

The RIAA can go fuck itself, in my estimation, hopefully using a large, blunt instrument, such as a baseball bat or rubber pitchfork. I've never seen an industry try so hard to alienate it's customers.

not p2p anyway.. (2)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127360)

Faraz has been interviewed by the Times, saying that they spent more like three days on the project and that the other two students (both unnamed, though both are apparently attending U.C.L.A.) barely used P2P file-sharing programs at all. Instead, they used AOL's popular Instant Messenger to receive song files from friends."

The speech specifically said easily accessible websites, it didn't even mention p2p or im clients. Either way, they should arrest this guy and the kids he hired to do is dirty work.

Re:not p2p anyway.. (3)

HardCase (14757) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127405)

The speech specifically said easily accessible websites

I'm sure that Mr. Greene is probably one of the unwashed masses that assumes that everything on the Internet is the "web".

I remember when being a hacker was not only cool, but legal too!


Life and DEATH?!? (4, Insightful)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127367)

It's going to require education, leadership from Washington and true diligence to help our fans - that would be you - to embrace this life and death [my own empahsis here] issue and support our artistic community by only downloading your music from legal Web sites

Geez, can't the music folks go back to "raising awareness" about other life and death issues like HIV and Breast Cancer? Seriously, life and death? Has this guy been reading too much of The Onion [] ? A statement like this completely undermines all of the actual life and death situations in the world, ones which Greene mentioned at the beginning of his speech.

The only thing seriously in jeopardy is Mr. Greene's ability to continue payments on his Porsche as he watches his 1950's-era business model crumble under the weight of 80's-era technology that's finally come of age.

How much does this article really matter? (2, Insightful)

ari{Dal} (68669) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127373)

I mean seriously. This guy already made his (admittedly sensationalistic and unrealistic) point live, on tv, in front of all the corporate big wigs and 'important' people he wanted to.

Do you really think anyone's going to notice an article refuting those claims, even if it is on the NY Times site, refuting his claims?

These people (The RIAA types) aren't after verifiable truths and hard facts. They're after media-friendly catchphrases and meaningless FUD they can sow to get their way.

Anything said in this article is going to be about as meaningful and have as much impact as those tiny size 8 retractions printed on the inside back of a tabloid after they've splashed the latest unsubstantiated rumour over the front cover in size 40 bold print.

FTP Server anyone? (1)

5arah (308173) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127378)

So he hired three people to create some FTP servers with a fat pipeline and transferred files? They informed each other what the FTP server ip was via AIM and they downloaded at leisure? What constitutes a "College Student"? I would love to know some facts about his "fact finding" mission.

Unfortunately the public won't see this as Mr. Greene's pathetic attempt to manipulate public opinion. Oh yes, and he is breaking the laws that his company helped push through, I hope someone takes him to court :)

Hoist by his own Petard... (2)

cqnn (137172) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127379)

It seems that a common theme for Content Control stories coming out this
year has been (will be) how efforts by people like this to show
the "evils" of technology will backfire due to their own basic lack
of understanding of how the technology works and where it comes from.

(Not to mention that his speech also served to make more people aware of
how easy it could be for them to get online and share music)

I know that is a little redundant, as it has been going on thru most
of the "Information Age". But its coming to the point where
this may be used more as a tool in and of itself - all we do is point
out the interconnections in the business relationships between
producers and providers, and then watch as people like Greene trip
over thier own conflict of interest.

Credibility... (4, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127390)

Music industry heads have long relied on the fact that money can buy credibility, especially from the two classes of people they're most concerened with... government regulators and performing artists. Before the music-sharing era, these were the only ones they *had* to be credible for.

What RIAA heads like this guy and Hillary Rosen are demonstrating, however, is their complete and total lack of intelligence, wisdom, and understanding of the technology they're dealing with. MPAA's going through the same thing. DeCSS was supposed to be uncrackable, and I beleive in my heart that Jack Valenti and his buddies bought that hook line and sinker. When Jon J. cracked it, it was not just a kick in the movie industry's legal nuts, but a phenominal blow to their credibility. Record industry is going through the same thing right now with CD copy protection. Nothing they can do will prvent the ripping and encoding of CD's, even if MP3 traders have to revert to using non-digital capture methods. (Headphone to Audio-in port, anyone?) Despite this *obvious* problem with audio copy-protection, the music studios are trudging forward with poorly thought out, poorly tested, unworkable, and uneeded copy protection controls. This makes them look like idiots to the public.

Articles like this are both promoting and refelcting the popular opinion that not only is the RIAA a bunch of idiotic cartoon bad guys, but that they *deserve* to be taken advantage of.

The RIAA's worst enemy is not P2P, MP3, or even the people who trade audio files. The RIAA's worst enemy is itself.

Shut Down AOL IM (0)

aroundsomewhere (244353) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127402)

Next the RIAA will try and shutdown AOL IM for allowing users to share files.

Yay (2, Informative)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127403)

I did the math in my head after that wanker gave his speach, the numbers just didnt add up. I did something like,
6000 mp3's/2 days = 3000 a day
3000 a day / 3 peeps = 1000 a day per person
1000 a day / 8 hours = 125 mp3's an hour
which means about 2 mp3's a minute (on average) for 8 hours! I'm guessing they were on a bit more than the average speed of a DSL or Cable line. Anyways, glad to see it got out in the public.

flawed figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3127404)

ok my question is who really gives a shit. His figures are VERY flawed. if he hired 3 students to download music and then came up with 6000 songs and x billion per month he must think everyone is dumb. If those students were hired they probably were working on it all day, i don't know anyone who does nothing but download music all day nor do i hope to. He also assumes that EVERYONE downloads all day. which is another stupid point. some of us have lives. then he goes further to assume that even if we were going to download all day why would we WANT 6000 songs? right now i have 15 songs on my computer. I download the songs i really like. thats it

RICO violation? (1, Interesting)

lent (164114) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127406)

Could Greene's actions of hiring these students
to violate the law be prosecuted under the RICO statutes [] ? Certainly this "Don" is hiring out the "dirty work" :-)

It seems to be covered. But perhaps this crime will go unpunished :-(




section 2318 (relating to trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works),
section 2319 (relating to criminal infringement of a copyright),
section 2319A (relating to unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances),

Your Point (2)

milo_Gwalthny (203233) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127412)

So what's your point? That he exaggerated to prove a point? Or that he was out and out lying and you couldn't download 6000 songs for free off the Internet?

I think what he was trying to show was that there is a huge amount of pirated music available on the Internet and anybody can get it. Of course, that's not really news.

No Electronic Theft Act? (2)

zangdesign (462534) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127420)

That's a new one to me (I don't keep up with every law that goes through), but if it's on the books, can we press to have him prosecuted?

He admits paying students to commit illegal acts, which falls under the RICO acts, and since one of them was a minor, there's probably several other laws he can be nailed under.

I wonder if the Maryland AG's office has heard about this.

What about the students (3, Funny)

rewdpost (187537) | more than 12 years ago | (#3127421)

Can you imagine how much people are going to hate them when they show back up on campus? I mean the look of fear on their faces when they were put on camera was priceless. "Hi kids, these are your peers and they're working for us to stop you from trading music, please don't hurt them" (now get a nice clear shot of all of their faces)

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