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Making and Detecting Illegal Music

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the sampling-is-bad-mmmkay dept.

Music 246

Demona writes "Long-time music aficionado Dave Marsh has an article in the latest edition of Counterpunch entitled Sampler's Delight. Giving rave reviews to "Nothing to Fear", the latest in a long line of so-called illegal music, he also describes a "'major label waveform CD database,' which is capable of recognizing materials allegedly owned by the record label cartel." This database is allegedly why a UK pressing plant rejected the initial attempt at publishing "Nothing To Fear", which is comprised almost entirely of sampled material."

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The RIAA will enjoy sampling my (-1, Offtopic)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261497)

first post!

The first sample of the first post (-1, Offtopic)

Fantanicity (583135) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261510)

'st p'

Re:The RIAA will enjoy sampling my (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261655)

Two downmods in the same second. Thanks, Taco!

fp maybe? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261502)

I hope so, but probably not.

A great way of detecting illegal music: (2, Funny)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261504)



cd mp3; ls *

Cheers,

Re:A great way of detecting illegal music: (1, Funny)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261516)

This is Slashdot. Don't you mean:

cd ogg; ls *

;-)

Re:A great way of detecting illegal music: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261534)

ls -R ogg

would be a more efficient way to do it.

Re:A great way of detecting illegal music: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261538)

Hmmm... I remember something about copyright law and music: you are legally allowed to use 4 measures or 10? seconds of audio from any song, given its not the main chorus/melody. I think I'll start making compilations of hundreds of songs that'll piss off that detection program, but still be perfectly legal.

Maybe I need to read the article in more detail-- but how will this prevent third-party pier-to-pier networks from sharing music files? I didn't think so.

Anyone have any foibles in pattern recognition? Fast Fourier transforms anyone?

Re:A great way of detecting illegal music: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261541)

I always thought that it was 30 seconds...

Four notes == infringement (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261571)

I remember something about copyright law and music: you are legally allowed to use 4 measures or 10?

You're allowed to use three notes, as long as they aren't a sample. For more information, read my other comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:A great way of detecting illegal music: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261568)

No...
This is Slashdot. Don't you mean:

That's lame, people should be able to sample, copy, steal, do whatever they want because music wants to be free...that's why cd's cost money and artists sign with huge labels and expect tons of money...then speak out against the labels when they try to uphold the copyrights and get the money so they can pay the artists...you stupid morons don't even make a shred of sense these days...'cartel'...i love that...

you talk about how in a perfect world we could totally eliminate the middlemen...that sounds so great in theory, but who's going to fund the albums? who's going to take the hit when the album doesn't do so well? the artists? i think not...you fools...you stupid ignorant fools...

Re:A great way of detecting illegal music: (2)

packeteer (566398) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261607)

Actually not really. Most of the time when people have a .ogg file it is something they ripped from their own cd. MP3's are more often swapped files that they never ripped themselves.

Difference between MP3z and "Illegal Music" (2)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261557)

Most MP3 files downloaded via a P2P service are illegal no matter what. However, possession of a copy of one of these recordings is illegal even if you have purchased a CD because they're "derivative works" of 1. a musical work and 2. a sound recording. Copyright owners have won infringement lawsuits over four notes from a musical work [everything2.com] and over one note from a sound recording [music-law.com] . (The latter link will tell you that the four-note rule does not apply, but the four-note rule applies to musical works, which are independent of any recording of such works.)

When there are fewer than 50,000 possible melodies, how can anybody write new music? "Apparently, they just do" does not answer the question.

Re:Difference between MP3z and "Illegal Music" (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261621)

A clarification: while there was a lawsuit over four notes, that does not mean there is a "four note rule." As the second article you link to states, the test is for the tune being "substantially similar." It can be one, four, or whatever.
The "four note rule" is in many ways equivalent to the "24 hour rule" and "after X years it's abandonware rule" for pirated software - an urban legend that can prove dangerous to people who put faith in it.

Four notes is an approx of "substantially similar" (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261644)

As the second article you link to states, the test is for the tune being "substantially similar."

However, even though I know that "substantial similarity" is strictly not a statistical measure, four notes is the best statistical approximation of "substantially similar" that I have ever found. Do you have a better one? And how does a songwriter determine whether or not a work that he or she created is "substantially similar" to at least one of the million or so musical works still under copyright?

Re:Four notes is an approx of "substantially simil (4, Insightful)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261834)

Goddammit, I used the notes C, D, E, and F again! Those `Happy Birthday' ladies (as well as everyone else) will probably sue me.

As a songwriter, I often wonder: How the F*** am I supposed to compare my songs to the other one-million songs out there to see if they are `substantially similar?' Hell, any three-chord song sounds `substantially similar' to any other three-chord song.

I hereby renounce my title as a creator. Everything I could ever make (as music, as art, as writing, as code) has already been done and been copyrighted and/or patented. I will now slave away in a factory. Thank you for your time.

No, this is not a troll. This is simply a scared U.S. citizen. :-( *

*=Registered trademark of despair.com

Re:Difference between MP3z and "Illegal Music" (2)

packeteer (566398) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261645)

The thing that worries me the most about this topic is the mention of "waveform tetectors" its all fine if someone can say "hey thats my music" but if now they have patents on simple waveforms its going to be VERY hard to write your own music and i DONT think its because we have founbd all the melodies

Poor media companies (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261505)

Purchasing laws deosn't work. Technology doesn't work either. Freedom is a bitch, isn't it Valenti and Rosen?

Let me offer my help to all of you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261506)

Free your mind from christ! Reject the false messiah of lies!

WOW! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261507)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!

Yah sure (0, Flamebait)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261514)

Does anybody really expect that Resampling crappy music is really going to result in anything other then just more crappy music?

Why don't these people put their time to some constructive use and learn how to write actual music on their own, heck, the world could use some actual song writters now days. . . .

Re:Yah sure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261539)

So,

I should write my code in assembler and never use anyone elses code or libraries.

Yeh we need some more people doing that, I only have libjpeg but i want a statically compiled propritory image format in each application.

"We can see as far as we can today, because we stand of the shoulders of giants."

Re:Yah sure (2)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261801)

So,

I should write my code in assembler and never use anyone elses code or libraries.

Yeh we need some more people doing that, I only have libjpeg but i want a statically compiled propritory image format in each application.

"We can see as far as we can today, because we stand of the shoulders of giants."


You are comparing apples to peanut brittle.

No, wait, make that apples to a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.

While both kick ass, I would not try to use the same preparation instructions for both of them.

See, music DOES borrow from others, heck many techniques and methodologies have been passed down from one great Grand Master to the next. Does that mean they are stolen? Heck no, it just means that an ideology was employed/i> in both songs, originated in one, and used once again in the second.

Code is the same way.

A timer function may be used in Application A to count down how much time the player has left until their simulated city goes down the toilet from a nuclear meltdown, and then used again in Application B to set off an alarm at a scheduled time of day every day and shows the User how much time they have left until that particular alarm is triggered.

Though I am just using a Timer as an example, obviously a highly simplified example of a function, though a library to save JPEGs or such is the same way. Be it saving screen shots from a game with hard coded settings plugged in there automatically, or all the variables left open to the user to play around with when saving files from their image editing application.

Same library, two completely separate programs.

But now to jump back to the first example, if somebody just DIRECTLY ripped off the timer + font and used the same alarm sound as the game had and popped up a "Your city is now a slag heap" message, well;

I would not call that a very useful Alarm program, though I would call it one hell of a rip off.

Re:Yah sure (1, Flamebait)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261554)

Does anybody really expect that Resampling crappy music is really going to result in anything other then just more crappy music?

What do you mean "expect"? Hasn't Puff Daddy (or whatever the fuck he's calling himself until his next court appearance) proven your assertion already?

If anything should be prevented, it should be God-awful remixes and covers... Britney Spears should never have been able to cover a Rolling Stones song, and whoever put forth the abominable 'club remix' cover of Bryan Adams' "Heaven" should be lowered slowly into a wood chipper, feet first.

~Philly

You have it backwards (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261623)

Hasn't Puff Daddy ... proven your assertion already?

Except... (Skip the obvious troll to get to my point)

Puffy took *good* music and turned it into complete crap.

However, you raise a good point.

Why can *he* steal 90% of a song, unmodified, and sell it as "his" work, while these other "illegal" artists take small clips and heavily modify them, yet the result counts as a copyright violation?

The answer?

Puffy sells.

These other groups do not.

At the "Negativland" link, it mentions that the fee, $70k, exceeds their *total* sales in 14 years. That does not make the labels money.

I think that about sums up anything we can discuss on this topic. Copyright violations only matter if no one makes money off it (interestingly, the exact *opposite* of what the law says, where penalties come in direct proportion to how much someone profits from the use of stolen material). Make the RIAA money, regardless of how, or prepare to face legal battles the likes of which even Puffy couldn't weather. Fortunately for Puffy, and Wierd Al, and every other SUCCESSFUL artist that makes "derivative" works, the RIAA can make enough off the music to keep them at bay.

Re:Yah sure (0, Flamebait)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261560)

Because that would require learning music, writing and composing songs, playing an instrument, and maybe even developing a talent. Not a very efficient process, time-wise...

Re:Yah sure (2)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261767)

Because that would require learning music, writing and composing songs, playing an instrument, and maybe even developing a talent. Not a very efficient process, time-wise...


Can I get an Amen out here? Come on now, you all know this is true, most modern musicians can't sing, can't write lyrics, and if you go to rappers, cannot even play an instrument. (at all, not that a rocker pounding on a guitar plugged into an insanely overpowered amp is anything resembling playing)

There is a reason that traditionally the entire composing VS playing this is separate.

Oh yah, and, to boot, I might add that real musicians STUDY for a longer period of TIME then many of the pop so called "artists" have even been ALIVE.

That right there should tell people something about the quality of the "music" that they are getting. . . .

Re:Yah sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261582)

Well J.Lo [autopr0n.com] sure produces quality works.

Is that even possible? (2, Insightful)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261587)

Why don't these people put their time to some constructive use and learn how to write actual music on their own

Could it perhaps be because songwriters either are close to running out [baen.com] of unique melodies or already have run out of unique melodies? (There exist fewer than 50,000 possible melodies; read this article [everything2.com] to see why.)

50,000 possible melodies (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261681)

Hmm...
There may only be 50,000 possible melodies but,

I play the guitar, and I can bend or tremmilo a note, vary the attack and tambra, have non standard note durations. etc....

So there are 50000 melodies and thousads of ways of playing them

Similarity is the key (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261759)

So there are 50000 melodies and thousads of ways of playing them

The courts aren't looking for "identical". They'll easily overlook the "thousads[sic] of ways of playing them" when applying the legal standard of "substantial similarity." My figure of 50,000 melodies was a statistical attempt to capture what it takes for two melodies to be "substantially similar."

Re:Similarity is the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261773)

I believe music should be free [guitartabs.cc] .
It's odd how the RIAA are stamping down on P2P but not on TAB and sheet music.

NMPA != RIAA (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261800)

It's odd how the RIAA are stamping down on P2P but not on TAB and sheet music.

Published non-recorded copies of musical works are the NMPA's domain [nmpa.org] (national music publishers association), not the RIAA's (recording industry association of America). And yes, the NMPA does tag along [zdnet.co.uk] when the RIAA sues P2P service operators.

misleading (3, Insightful)

RatFink100 (189508) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261693)

Your post is misleading.

There are less than 50,000 4-note melodies. 4 notes being all it took in one particular court case.

However that only means that there are 50,000 unique melodies in a legal sense.

In an artistic sense there are millions.

Topical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261774)

that only means that there are 50,000 unique melodies in a legal sense. In an artistic sense there are millions.

In a legal sense, yerricde was on-topic: "Making and Detecting Illegal Music"

Re:Is that even possible? (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261755)

Key phrase here;

Now, 36 to the third power equals 46,656 distinct melodies. No other melodies are possible in the Western musical scale.

Welcome to the world of Digital, why the hell are you still obeying such arbitrary and out dated dogma?

I predict that the next big phase shift will be artists just manipulating SIN waves directly, many real time alternative performances already do this, the only real limiting factor is that a genius great enough has yet to come along. Imagine thinking of a song and just typing it in to the computer directly, no notes, just pure mathematical harmony.

Yah sure the brain power required would be enormous, but it would only take one great musician doing such to take the world by storm and pretty much force other musicians up to that level.

Re:Yah sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261794)

heck, the world could use some actual song writters now days. . . .

And some actual poets, judging by the greeting card crap under the link in your sig. How the hell can you bitch about sampling crappy music when your "poetry" sounds like warmed over Hallmark crap?

How can you MAKE illegal music (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261515)

Yet another stupid article.

Yawn...

Re:How can you MAKE illegal music (-1, Offtopic)

Fantanicity (583135) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261551)

How can MAKE illegal drugs?

Re:How can you MAKE illegal music (3, Informative)

Niadh (468443) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261566)

Make a song detailing how to decrypt dvds.

Re:How can you MAKE illegal music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261669)

Yeah; like. When you the MP3 of the song in a few filters, it gives the DeCSS source code.

Let Aphex Twin show you how (2, Informative)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261720)

When you the MP3 of the song in a few filters, it gives the DeCSS source code.

I have done this. Along the lines of what Aphex Twin used to hide his face [wired.com] , I wrote a program that converted a .bmp of the efdtt source code (efdtt is a small DeCSS program, available at the Gallery of CSS Descramblers [cmu.edu] ) into a waveform (using an inverse fourier transform of sorts) and mixed it on top of some song.

Re:How can you MAKE illegal music (2, Funny)

Niadh (468443) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261724)

Actual I was thinking more of Britney Spears singing:

"s''$/=\2048;
while(){G=29;
R=142;
if((@a=unq T="C*",_)[20]&48){D=89;
_=unqb24,qT,@b=map{ordqB8 ,unqb8,qT,_^$a[--D]}@INC;
s/...$/1$&/;
Q=unqV,qb25,_;
H=73;
O=$b[4]>8^( P=(E=255)&(Q>>12^Q>>4^Q/8^Q))>8^(E&(F=( S=O>>14&7^O)^S*8^S>=8)+=P+(~F&E))for@a[128..$#a]}p rint+qT,@a}';
s/[D-HO-U_]/\$$&/g;
s/q/pack+/g;
eval"

catchy beat eh?

Re:How can you MAKE illegal music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261742)

It doesn't rhyme.

hmm seems familar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261518)

probaly a thousand "fp" seen on a notorious site..sorry we cant make your cd.

Illegal? (2, Funny)

nastro (32421) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261530)

Pac-Man Fever should have been illegal. They dropped the ball on that 15 years ago, however.

doesn't seem factual (3, Insightful)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261555)

quote from the article:

Seems there now exists a technology called the "major label waveform CD database," which is capable of recognizing materials allegedly owned by the record label cartel. I thought this was a hoax, just something added to spice up the story, until I read a story in J@pan Inc Magazine (June 26) about a company called Gracenote, which specializes in "music recognition service," the software that lets your CD player tell you which artist and track are currently playing. It's pretty easy to see how the RIAA and its international counterpart, IFPI, could use the same technology to track "bootleggers" [...]


As a lot of readers probably know gracenote uses simple metrics about the length of the songs and their position on the cd to check a database to find likely matches. Gracenote maintains nothing of the sort of a waveform database.

While i believe there is/was at least one startup that was working to match music using a beats & tone analysis method that could match to songs that had been shifted or obscured in some way, i'm not sure this technology has ever been in real use.

The idea that there is some huge waveform database that cd pressing plants now use is pretty suspicious. I think working in the industry i would have heard about it, even if it was kept secret the storage capacity and processing needs would be astronomical. 11,000 albums heavily compressed to 160kbps still takes approximately 600gb, I understand that the amount of in print US albums is somewhere between 200,000 - 300,000 and more like 600,000 for world releases (in print only). Searching through a collection like that would easily take days or weeks depending on how small a segment you were trying to match

Re:doesn't seem factual (2, Informative)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261572)

I should note that it would be easy to use such a database to detect pure pirates... ie people pressing exact duplicates of commercial albums. But the article is about a recycled beats record, something made presumably by tens of thousands of samples put together. Certainly not going to match in gracenote, unless it was a random false match which does happen.

The company was Relatable (3, Informative)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261612)

While i believe there is/was at least one startup that was working to match music using a beats & tone analysis method that could match to songs that had been shifted or obscured in some way

That was Relatable [relatable.com] .

i'm not sure this technology has ever been in real use.

Napster 10.x used it. MusicBrainz uses it [musicbrainz.org] .

11,000 albums heavily compressed to 160kbps still takes approximately 600gb

Relatable claims that its tech can identify songs down to 16 kbps.

I thought satire was protected. (5, Interesting)

_aa_ (63092) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261558)

What more blatent example of satire can there be than an artist scrambling and re-arranging the works of other artists for the sake of mockery. I myself enjoy warping and "Mashing" otherwise lame recordings. If someone can take one creation, and turn it into another, it should be respected as a seperate work of art. Besides, I haven't seen an original concept in popular music for years. Most modern music is just recycled chords, lyrics, and beats.

Re:I thought satire was protected. (2)

singularity (2031) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261728)

Did you read the article? The artist in question was not trying to mock or satirize the music he sampled. Rather, he created a CD by mixing hundreds, and probably thousands of samples.

Like it or not, if someone takes something that an artist created (and copywrites) and turns around to use that to make money, I think there is a valid complaint to make.

This is entirely separate than the argument against music sharing. If I download a song by Pearl Jam, not only is it marked as being done by the original artist, but, more importantly, no one makes or loses money on the deal.

Suppose I take a bunch of downloaded music, burn it to disk, and give it to a friend. While the artist might lose money that he/she is otherwise entitled to, no one actively makes money on the deal.

On the other hand, if I take a bunch of downloaded music, burn it to disk, and then sell it, then the artist is missing out on his/her valid right to his or her share.

I am not saying that what the artist in the article did was not deserving of money, and definitely required artistic talent, but I do think that some of any money he makes off the music should go back to the original artists.

As far as the waveform library goes, I think it much more likely that someone at the pressing factory simply listed to the music and realized that the CD contains.

Re:I thought satire was protected. (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261771)

I wonder what the deal is with the record being available for purchase? I just paid $12 for it at the record store that was linked to for the cd info. So can you sell this stuff or not? or is the record store in question essentially selling a bootleg? They are even signed by the guy who made it, i dunno.

Re:I thought satire was protected. (2, Insightful)

yusing (216625) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261849)

Most modern music is just recycled chords, lyrics, and beats.

Most of *all* music is just recycled chords and beats. Drummers have always recycled each other. Beethoven and Mozart recycled Haydn, Stravinsky recycled Tchaikovsky. The middle ages troubadors recycled each other. Gregorian chants recycled elements of other Gregorian chants. Jazz players float improvisations on familiar phrases from other tunes.

All of this was once *fluid and free*. Sometimes major ideas got recycled. Sometimes that was subconscious, sometimes not. The point is, it was *accepted practice*. How many famous classical pieces are titled "Variations on a theme by...".

*A degree of familiarity is an essential element of the music most people like.* That familiarity comes from the recycling of musical elements created by other musicians.

The corporations fighting sampling are trying to control artistic expression to maximize profits. This attempt is seen by many as a direct attack on the musical tradition. The idea of "fair use" was supposed to protect such creativity bottlenecks.

Write your own damn music. (0, Troll)

Pay The Fuck Up! (563397) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261561)

Jay-zus, people, can't you see that sampling without permission, and then selling the copies, is illegal for a reason? Imagine if they did that with your music and then didn't just put it on kazaa but actually sold it. You'd be pissed, no?

Fortunately there's an easy solution. Write and sell music of your own, and then the problem goes away. Hard to believe, I know.

Re:Write your own damn music. (5, Insightful)

dietz (553239) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261614)

can't you see that sampling without permission, and then selling the copies, is illegal for a reason?

I absolutely can not see that. This is our culture we're sampling. I agree that it wouldn't be fair to copy your entire album and sell it, but if I just sample 5 or 10 or 30 seconds of it, how is that impacting the sales of your album?

No one is going to say "Oh, I'm not going to buy that old Beach Boys album because artist Xyzzy used a 12 second sample of it, and those were the only 12 seconds I wanted anyway!" No one chose to buy Plunderphonics because they couldn't afford the original version of the Beatles' "A Day In The Life", so they decided a chopped-up unrecognizable version of the ending would be close enough.

Copyright is there to give the artist incentive to create. Sampling laws don't do that. No one says "I'm going to create a great song so that it can be sampled a lot and I can collect royalties." That's just a happy side benefit to selling albums.

But sampling laws DO encourage people not to create by giving them a limited pallete to work with.

Re:Write your own damn music. (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261654)

Exactly.
Sampling is the art of collage on a sonic level. Incorporating parts of popular culture into a work can be a very effective commentary, as well as a way to call up people's conscious and subconscious associations with the sampled source.
Skinny Puppy is an excellent example of how sampling can be used in the right hands. I don't think anyone would argue that their use of - say - brief samples of a Bugs Bunny cartoon would detract from the value of the original work, which is all the should really matter as far as copyright law is concerned.

Can't even write your own damn music (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261624)

Fortunately there's an easy solution. Write and sell music of your own

Do you guarantee that the solution you mention is even possible to perform? See my other comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:Write your own damn music. (3, Insightful)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261650)

Except that they are writing their own music. If an artist makes a collage,made out of stuff he got out of newspapers, does it make him any less of an artist?

Sampling fees are another issue. I do not know what record companies charge for sampling fees, but if they are anything like the prices that they rip us off with CD's with, then I don't blame them. Artists need to be paid, but the amount of this that goes to the record companies is just ridiculous.

A significant part of rap music is exactly this. (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261792)

(Not to say that what I'm about to describe is what the referenced "illegal music" songs actually are. But this got me thinking.)

Jay-zus, people, can't you see that sampling without permission, and then selling the copies, is illegal for a reason?

Hmm... Resampling bits of another record and playing them at another speed. Using them as notes on a synthesizer keyboard, short riffs, or wildly off-speed as percussion elements.

How is that different from what rap music does? Sliding somebody else's record around on the turntable, playing sampled notes on a drum box, ...

Don't the major labels record rap music and sell it at a profit without giving a cent to the group that recorded the disk that's "weep-weep"ing in the foreground?

How many notes do you have to copy before it stops being fair use and starts being plagarism?

Is it more if the notes are warped beyond human recognition?

Is it more - or less - if your song is a parody of the form of which the original is a member?

Is it plagarism if the individual notes of your composition are sampled from some other song rather than played anew in a studio?

Is a song a "copy" if a stock riff common to many songs of the form happens to be sampled from a commercial recording rather than played anew in a studio - and this can be identified by computer processing but NOT by a human ear (even a well-trained one)?

These are not rhetorical questions. Some of them have already been litigated.

"Intellectual Property" - whether patents, copyrights, or trademarks - is a creation of The State. When combined with a right to free expression it creates a multitude of slippery slopes.

Cross-licensing (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261840)

Don't the major labels record rap music and sell it at a profit

Yes.

without giving a cent

Cross-licensing agreements exist among the major record labels. These are analogous to what happens in other industries, where the big players pool their patents to keep newcomers out.

How many notes do you have to copy before it stops being fair use and starts being plagarism?

In legal theory, you infringe copyright when you copy enough to create a "substantial similarity." In practice, that's about four notes [everything2.com] .

Is it plagarism if the individual notes of your composition are sampled from some other song rather than played anew in a studio?

They are "played anew" on a digital audio workstation, and they still infringe the songwriter's copyright.

Is a song a "copy" if a stock riff common to many songs of the form happens to be sampled from a commercial recording rather than played anew in a studio - and this can be identified by computer processing but NOT by a human ear (even a well-trained one)?

That's why the developers of the first PC clone BIOS made sure to employ and document clean room methods when writing a binary-compatible replacement for the IBM PC BIOS.

These are not rhetorical questions. Some of them have already been litigated.

Links would have been useful.

Why do you keep supporting them? (5, Insightful)

Vic (6867) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261569)

If major labels are bothering you all so much, why do you keep supporting them by talking about their bands, trading their music, grudgingly BUYING THEIR CDs??

Sometimes I just don't get the Slashdot crowd... Many of us use Linux and have given up on using Microsoft stuff, but when it comes to the latest crappy mainstream music, we whine that we can't pirate it? Come on.... If you really feel that major labels are screwing you, give them up. Support inedepent musicians and labels.

There's a whole world of music out there that is cheaper, more interesting, more cutting-edge, etc..etc... You just have to look a little harder to find it, just like you had to try a bit harder to get Linux installed and your closed-source applications replaced by Free Software.

Sorry for the rant...you might mod me down, but really....If some big companies are doing something you don't like, forget about them and move on to something better.

Cheers,
Vic

Re:Why do you keep supporting them? (2)

Beautyon (214567) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261676)

Come on.... If you really feel that major labels are screwing you, give them up. Support inedepent musicians and labels.

Peoples tastes in music, no matter if they post on Slashdot or not are very deeply entrenched in conventional, monopoly music.

Music is so much a part of a persons life that you are basically asking people to stop being who they are overnight, for a cause. Choosing to listen to non cartel music is not like switching between Windows and OSX, or choosing to use Open Source software exclusively. Can you imagine a Led Zep fan choosing to give up Led Zep because they are on Atlantic? Impossible. Thats what you are asking people to do.

Because The Monopoly has control of essentially the entire spectrum of music culture, for the majority of people, even people on Slashdot, dropping Monopoly music means cutting yourself off from that mainstream music culture, which is unthinkable to all but the truest of believers.

Of course, people who have already made this decision, for whatever reason, do not miss Mainstream Monopoly Mush at all, but its impossible to convince people that they would be "better off", because, like learning a new OS, it takes some work to reap the huge benefits.

Re:Why do you keep supporting them? (2)

xenoweeno (246136) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261853)

Can you imagine a Led Zep fan choosing to give up Led Zep because they are on Atlantic? Impossible. Thats what you are asking people to do.

This is a non-sequitir. Music this old can easily be had cheaper [ebay.com] than [ebay.com] retail [ebay.com] . The second-hand market is way underexplored.

Giving up something that a person has been listening to for decades is difficult, I grant you, but I simply can't imagine that it's that difficult to make a conscious decision to not buy the latest top-40 dreck--or to at least wait a few weeks for it turn up on the second-hand market.

I don't. (0, Redundant)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261678)

I don't support the RIAA. I haven't bought a CD in years. I do as much as I can to spread awareness about why RIAA is evil. I think you would find many other slashdotters do the same.

Re:Why do you keep supporting them? (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261706)

problem is, for the most part, independants are not w/a major label b/c they play music that is not good for the ears of most.

I listen to plenty of bands that are independents and I know (from the complaints of my gf, roommate, and friends) that the music sucks to them (mainstreamers, shessh).

Linux was something that the community could improve on. Music is more individual, we can't help the artists to get that much better (yeah, monetarily, but nothing else).

real close but .... (1)

CresentCityRon (2570) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261820)

The sounds you talk about (and people not liking) are because the listeners were TAUGHT to become familar with something else. So they are expecting a certain sound.

It is similar to world music. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to understand what is going on to enjoy.

Re:Why do you keep supporting them? (1)

Arcaeris (311424) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261751)

Feel free to rant. Lemme say, though, that I disagree.

I'm sure all of the Slashdot readers who use Linux do it because they find it to be better. For them, it's what they'd like to have instead of Windows, and even then there's competition between distros. They've chosen it because it's what they like.

As for music, I continue to buy CDs or justy pirate mainstream music. I'm sure many others do as well. I think it follows the same idea, though: It's better. I can appreciate that some independent bands are making great music that is just waiting to be heard. However, others are just pouring shit in my ears.

There's more to music than "cutting-edge" or "cheaper" or even "more interesting" - there's quality. I want quality music that I like. So far, for me, it seems to mostly come out of the major record labels. By buying CDs, I know I'm kicking myself in the foot. However, by pirating music, I'm getting both the music I like AND sticking it to the recording industry.

If the RIAA came out with a different, fair business model tomorrow, I'd go wholeheartedly with them. They do bring to the forefront lots of great music. By only seeking independnt music, you really lose out on a lot.

Re:Why do you keep supporting them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261816)

I just wanted to note that what you wrote is so common that I just skimmed it to know that is was no different that thousands of others. bla bla bla bla.

actually.. (2, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261810)

..if it was impossible to trade mp3's(or .ogg or such), i'd be listening to .mods, .xm's , sids, and maybe midi's. i listened mostly to those (+radio) before mp3's.. great amounts of music available and cost was only downloading from some bbs, and those included some really good songs too.

streaming nectarine now..

Gracenote (1)

fenix down (206580) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261577)

Doesn't Gracenote work by track lengths on the CD? I always thought that was why Windows Media Player said my Rogue Spear CD was Hell Freezes Over by The Eagles.

No it works by DSP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261684)

Digital signal processing, it matches the signal from the music at certain points and then checks based on track length, cd length and other such pieces of information.

Depends on the "it" (1, Redundant)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261697)

it matches the signal from the music at certain points

Clarification: Gracenote's CDDB 2 may do this. CDDB 1 (used by FreeDB [freedb.org] ) was based solely on track lengths.

Re:Gracenote (2)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261705)

From what I remember, Gradenote (or CDDB.com) looks at the catalog track. It takes the number of tracks and the checksum of the catalog to determine an ID for the disk. It then takes this ID and looks it up in its database. I have had some CDs present me with a list of 8+ possible matches, asking me to resolve the conflict.

Maybe Queen Will Own Ice Ice Baby Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261586)

Too bad this didn't come along earlier.

Maybe Queen/David Bowie could split the rights to Ice Ice Baby. The bassline is exactly the same, and he sampled without acknowledgement or permission. It would be just like when the Stones won ownership of Bittersweet Symphony.

This is the music equivalent of flamebait... (2, Funny)

AndersM (32304) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261588)

Such releases are quite similar to flamebait on slashdot, except that the flaming that follows is written in legalese, and, well, karma isn't what they should be afraid of losing... =)

kazaa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261602)

So why can't I find this on kazaa?

Re:kazaa? (2)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261872)

Um, Kazaa sucks?

If nothing else though, the spyware should let lot's of spammers and con artists find you, if that's any consolation.

laws of parody? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261615)

I'm not sure exactly how it works, but is there not a certain degree of freedown allowable in reference parodies? Negativland may have gone a bit far in this case by using clips from the songs, but I've seen lots of other parodies that seemed to go father...

Re:laws of parody? (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261664)

Have any of those other bands released an album with the name of the band they copied music from in big bold letters on the cover, and their own name in fine print at the bottom?

Parody is only parody when... (4, Informative)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261688)

but is there not a certain degree of freedown allowable in reference parodies?

Under United States copyright law as interpreted by the courts, parody is only parody when the parody ridicules the original work itself. That's why The Wind Done Gone [findlaw.com] is legal but The Cat Not in the Hat [virtualrecordings.com] isn't.

Re:Parody is only parody when... (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261721)

Just to clarify, since I'm Canadian and not 100% up on US law. The "Wind Done Gone" is parody because it closely follows the concept of the original item, but with an alternative point/plot? The second one isn't parody because it only uses slight references to the original material but an entirely alternate point (attention grabbing)?

Seems alright to me, sometimes I wonder how Weird Al and others get away with some of their works, unless they have contracts/agreements with the original artists?

Somebody may have tried to parody slashdot with "news for jocks", but too many of them couldn't read - phorm

Weird Al signs contracts (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261739)

sometimes I wonder how Weird Al and others get away with some of their works, unless they have contracts/agreements with the original artists?

Al Yankovic makes a point of signing such contracts with the original songwriters. He doesn't have to pay the original performers because he typically doesn't sample; he covers (re-performs) the songs. For example, that's why the guitar at the beginning of "She Drives Like Crazy" sounds so much different from the one at the beginning of "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals.

It's about time. (2, Interesting)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261646)

I was hoping to hear from these guys. In the early 90's Hip-hop was very much on its way to becoming the next big thing.(Yes I'm a white boy, but I liked it OK?)

There was a big arm-wresting match over sampling rights. In the end the record companies won by suing and threatening artists who used samples in thier music. The practice was further erased by requiring artists to "clear" thier samples ahead of time with the recording studios, many of which required the artist to pay royalties on each sample used.

This was a very real and demonstrable case where RIAA-like tactics destroyed a promising art form. I think it's another reason why digitally traded music should be allowed to flourish...simply because it re-creates an environment where this type of music can start again where it left off.

Re:It's about time. (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261719)

I have to at least think of the artist on this one. How would you feel if someone took your hard work and used it for something that you may not even like, without so much as a "how do you do"? Of course I don't know how it happened, perhaps the second artist asked, or at least credited the first. And of course your point doesn't relate to the artist at all, which is exactly how the studios and cartel want it.

Re:It's about time. (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261734)

How would you feel if someone took your hard work and used it for something that you may not even like, without so much as a "how do you do"?

You are talking to a bunch of GPL and BSD supporters. I don't think that's a very strong argument here.

Re:It's about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261784)

In the early 90's Hip-hop was very much on its way to becoming the next big thing.

And yet, this [rollingstone.com] is the result.

Destroyed a promising artform? (2)

ciole (211179) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261860)

If you think a lawsuit destroyed hiphop, you're more than white, you're missing the point.

Crappy rips (1)

DBordello (596751) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261660)

I think that most of the rips on p2p networks are sooo shitty that no software could detect anything. Ever try getting a song off kazaa? You are lucky if there isn't at least 10 flwas. I have trouble figuring out what I am listening through the static, let alone some software.

Did anyone consider this? (2, Funny)

moertle (140345) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261663)

From the Plunderphonic site:
Note: It costs us quite a bit of money to afford the bandwidth so that we can offer these files to you. Please consider a donation [detritus.net] . Thanx for your support!
I'm sure a good slashdotting will really hit their pockets hard.

hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261699)

you suck

Re:hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261726)

you suck!

Re:hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261748)

you suck!!

Re:hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261781)

you suck!!!

Re:hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261797)

you suck!!!!

Too Bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261715)

Those are all in Real Audio streaming format; the worst of the worst.

Not Gracenote... (2)

SmittyTheBold (14066) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261745)

If you read the article it says Marsh didn't believe the database possible ..."until I read a story in J@pan Inc Magazine (June 26) about a company called Gracenote, which specializes in "music recognition service," the software that lets your CD player tell you which artist and track are currently playing."

As many of you know, Gracenote offers the CDDB service. It does not do any fancy music waveform checking. It checks song lengths and a few other points of data off a CD. It is only useful for CDs. CDDB, though it is handy for getting CD info, contains user-entered data, and often has duplicate entries. Using it for such a system as the author described would be a bad idea. At this point, the chances of a certain CD "matching" another in CDDB's eyes is higher than you might think. Sometimes, I'll put in a disc and have three or four separate albums come up.

Good uses for a 'waveform database' (5, Informative)

beebware (149208) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261815)

I know in the UK there is a service called Shazam [shazam.com] which you call up with your mobile phone, point your phone at a 'music source' for around 15 seconds and then you get a text message/SMS back around 30 seconds later showing a) the artist name (handy for 'cover versions) and b) the track name. It also has the facility (if you register) to 'store' your requests on its website and give appropriate links to online music stores.
It seems to work quite alright as well, I tested it by playing 2 tracks at once out my speakers - it correctly identified one of them (I thought it'll fail complete), I've tried it via the radio on a bus - again success, admiteddly it failed in a very crowded and noisy nightclub - but it's still damn good (and resonable cheap) for identifying music.
The claim that they can recognise 1.5million [shazam.com] different tracks from just a 15 second second sample - I don't know how they do it though, but I know *I'm* impressed by the technology!

Seems to me - a 15 second sample of a song is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261818)

copying your favourite colour red off of a famous Van Gough painting..

I am sorry, we must confiscate all of your paintings. That particular colour of red has been used before.

amused befuddlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4261831)

I'm always amused when I read the Slashdot take on music and DRM. The /.ers bitch and moan about the RIAA (yeah they're evil) and MPAA (more evil) but not for the right reasons. They bitch because they want to steal from them. These guys own this music and as such should have a right to sell (at $10000 a CD if they choose), not sell, restrict use of, or do what ever with their songs. Yes I "said" their songs...they do own them even if they aren't the creators. It may be a corrupt system but the artists sold their stuff to these talentless thieves so it is their right to control their property.

That said the solution is simple. For consumers, don't buy their crap and don't listen to their hype and look for alternatives to cd purchases. Find bands and indie labels who distribute their music more cheaply or with ethics more in line with your own. Refuse to feed these thugs and eventually the system will change.

For artists, don't sell your soul to these bastards. Yeah, I know it means you make 1/100th of what you make now (optimistically) and the first guy to do it will probably be out of music forever but until large numbers boycott the system it will continue, and should. You can't complain about a system you support. Quit letting these worthless looters have all the gains of the producers. If you are creative and proactive and competent don't let them have your creations. Go on strike when your contracts are up refuse to feed those overgrown worthless parasites. Take away their food, after all you're the producer. Let them starve for talent and compete with them and eventually the system will change.

In the meantime, don't steal from them and don't rant about how art should be free, it's up to the owner what to make available and how. Learn what freedom means for a change instead of just using the word hollowly. Freedom is not having someone tell you what to do with your art, speach, code, whatever. Afford these Nazi bastards the same courtesy...even if they only own it because someone sold out to them (freely I might add). Create some art, instead of bitching (and no sampling is not creation, it's a bastardized hybrid of creation and imitation) and make your art free if you think it should be but don't make a mockery of freedom because you want free music.

BTW, my sister rant to this is against the RIAA & MPAA for outlawing legit tools becuase they might be misused so I'm not on the looter's side I just think both sides ought learn about the right to ownership before they raise their voices. This climate of going after people for producing (art, tools, software whatever) on both sides is sickening and stinks of Communism.

Fundamental dishonesty! (2, Insightful)

jocks (56885) | more than 12 years ago | (#4261851)

I'm sorry guys, but anyone who thinks that the solution to the scourge of intellectual property is to simply steal it, is either an idealist at best or simply a fool at worst.

The solution to the problem is to stop buying the product in the first place, if the album is good you will buy it, if it is bad you will not. Get rid of your illegal MP3s and OGGs and simply have music that you own. Wanna listen to some new music? Pay for it, or learn to play it.

Stealing it weakens the argument for cheaper music and enforces the perception that p2p networks simply share music for which people have no license. Rather than providing people with a useful way to share files on a heterogenus network.

I don't like MS products and licensing so I don't use them. I hate when people tell me that they think MS Office is much better than StarOffice, when the copy they have is stolen. If it's that good pay for it. The same is true for all intellectual property, we all think it is theft, we all would like to live in a state of pure anarchy, but none of you seem to be able to get to that enlightened level because of your greed. Free your mind and free your wallet, don't pay, don't listen.
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