Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Universal Wants a Slice of Apple's iPod Pie

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the pay-to-play dept.

Music 555

vought writes "According to a Reuters report, Universal is now taking the precendent set by Microsoft's Zune and moving to force Apple to include a royalty payment with each iPod. In the words of Universal Music's Doug Morris, 'These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it's time to get paid for it.' Does Microsoft's precedent mean the start of a slippery slope that will add a 'pirate tax' to every piece of hardware that touches digital music?"

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

To Doug Morris... (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042564)

Doug Morris,

In the regretful, embarrassing, yet immortal words of Dick Cheney...... " Go F$@% yourself ".

I personally take offense at the allegation that there is *any* stolen music on my iPod or any of my computers. All of my music has been purchased on CD or the iTunes Music store as it is on most of the peoples iPods and computers that I know of. Your allegation suggests that you actually do not know about your potential customers, their desires, technology or most disturbingly, the music industry itself. Apparently, you also don't seem to be able to understand that you need to out-compete the piracy industry by offering a quality product at a reasonable price and in a manner that is easy for people to pay for. Marketing 101 tells us that the way to make money is to create a product people want and then remove any barriers that will prevent people from *willingly* giving their money to you in exchange for those goods or services. The iTMS has shown you how it is done, yet you get in bed with Microsoft who apparently cannot design a device that will compete in the same arena with the iPod, then you force people to buy points that they can then exchange for music *and* you want a slice of the hardware market. If you want into that market, why not create your own hardware? To do anything else is leveraging your monopoly to extort money from another industry and the last time I checked, that behavior is illegal.

So, quit whining about all the pirates and do something constructive that adds to your product or services rather than placing restrictions on your product that makes it less appealing to the end user or customer. Oh, and while you are at it, you might want to put more energy on finding good musical talent for the music industry. Its out there, but you need to stop focusing on engineered pretty boy and girl acts and put more effort into finding and promoting real talent.

Re:To Doug Morris... (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042754)

There isn't a single unlicensed track anywhere on my iPod. Not even one unauthorized sample. If the music cartels start charging me for music that I haven't downloaded, ripped, or otherwise pirated, then I'm going to have to stop spending money at iTMS and my local funky CD shop, and treat that "royalty charge" as a blanket license to their entire library. I've never waded into the content-piracy cesspool so far, but I sure as heck can't afford to pay for music twice, so that may be where I have to go.

Fuckin' A Right! (5, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042856)

They have this shit up in Canada for recordable media...but the Canadians seemed to have kept the cost and scope reasonable.

I have too easy a time imagining this 'fee' increasing every year, every time you buy a new music-related device.

So yeah...they pull this off and I will have ZERO ethical issues about copying every bit of music I can find. Greedy fucks.

Re:Fuckin' A Right! (4, Insightful)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042986)

Offtopic: anything more than $0 (even Canadian dollars) is too much to be 'reasonable' for a 'pirate tax'. You are right though, if they start charging for the pirated songs, we all better go out and get some pirated songs, else the RIAA is simply stealing our money.

Re:Fuckin' A Right! (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043126)

Might this not be a good thing in disguise?
They charge a piracy tax, so we pirate.
They sue, we move to dismiss: "We've already paid for the licence to do this your honour"


Re:Fuckin' A Right! (5, Interesting)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043044)

Yes, we do, and thanks to it the courts told the CRIA (RIAA of Canada) to screw off when they tried to start the same litigation idiocy that is going on in the states right now. It's funny, the industry lobbied really hard to get the levy passed in the 1990's when no one had yet realised how the internet would change things. Now they are lobbying as hard as they can to get it removed so they can start suing people. Not having any luck so far from what I can tell.

Re:Fuckin' A Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17043122)

so you guys can leagally pirate all the music you want?

Re:To Doug Morris... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042778)

Don't forget to pay your $27 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers!

Re:To Doug Morris... (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042896)

Sounds like a great basis for a class action law suit. Calling all users of portable music players thieves sounds like a court case in the making.

Re:To Doug Morris... (1)

rahuja (751005) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042918)

What's your Slashdot comment licensed under? I'd actually like to print it out and send it as a letter to this Mr. Morris. It's not everyday you get to say such words to a C*fucking*EO, and I'd hate to lose the opportunity.

Re:To Doug Morris... (5, Interesting)

AcidArrow (912947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042920)

Actually I have no problem with paying a small extra "tax" with the purchase of an ipod. BUT only if that means I can then fill my ipod 100% with pirated music...

If I'm paying the "pirate tax" to help them recover the "losses" they have from piracy, there's no problem then, right? If they are still going to sue my guts if I have pirated mp3s on my ipod, then why I am paying extra money with the purchase of an ipod? I'm paying them protection money and they still come after me? If they are going to act like the mob, they should at least do it properly...

Re:To Doug Morris... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042988)

All of my music has been purchased on CD or the iTunes Music store

You do know that RIAA considers ripping your CDs to be a copyright violation and forbidden by the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992? The argument is along the lines of: if you buy a paperback copy of a book, you are not entitled to a hardback version, an e-version, a large-type version, an audio version, a spanish version, etc. You bought a CD album. You are not, as a result of that purchase, entitled to an mp3/aac/flac version of that music as well.

So let's just say your "legal" library of ipod music is anything but...

Re:To Doug Morris... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043114)

Funny they would use books as an example, as I was under the impression it was covered under fair use to scan in your book, increase the font, print it in a hardback format, read it outloud and record my voice and then listen to that after creating an e-book version of what I scanned in.

Re:To Doug Morris... (1)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043086)

Let's be realistic. How many are like you and purchase every single song that they have? How many burned cds do I see on the bus and subway is an evergrowing huge number that would be impossible to count, and that's just in public transportation, and don't tell me all of them burned discs from their originals to not lose their music, that's bullshit when you see these very same people who don't care about computer backups.

Of course there are some hardcore fans out there who fully support their artists, despite the fact that most of the money actually goes to the producers and not artists but a shitload of people download. It's not a minority of people who download music. It may not be half of the music listeners but I bet you a large portion of them are these people.

Yes, the music and movie companies are greedy as fuck and I hate them, but don't make it sound as if most people are "nice" and buy everything. A lot of people download music without owning a single original disc.

To Steve Jobs (1)

Dormous (638736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043106)

Re: Doug Morris

Steve Jobs:

Please ignore the ravings of this raving, avaricious lunatic. You currently have one of the best models of on-line music store available, and as they say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" As you know, the Zune is a piece of crap and not even a viable competitor to iPod so you need not worry about the ravings of Doug Morris who obviously does not understand any shred of modern technology. In fact, should Universal threaten to pull any of their music, simply show them the door and tell them not to let the door knob hit them on the way out. Giving in to Universal's demand for a "piracy tax" on all iPods is like asking Seagate to put a "piracy tax" on all their hard drives (I hope he doesn't read this and get any ideas). Please don't give in to this stupidity.

Pirate Tax (4, Interesting)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042570)

God, I hope they do this. Because if I have to pay a Pirate Tax, then doesn't that mean I can pirate all the Universal Stuff I want... since I've already paid the tax?

Seriously (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042756)

God, I hope they do this. Because if I have to pay a Pirate Tax, then doesn't that mean I can pirate all the Universal Stuff I want... since I've already paid the tax?

Seriously, if we're paying a surcharge because "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,. So it's time to get paid for it.", then using their own logic, it almost seems like a pre-paid license to pirate. I don't know how these vultures can't see it that way. (That is, assuming they have a concept of logic).

Oh, and anyone who refers to copyright infringement as "stealing" is either an idiot, or has an agenda. In this rare instance, we see someone who happens to be both.

Re:Seriously (5, Funny)

AcidArrow (912947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043090)

If they are going to legalize piracy, I can see them putting "pirate taxes" to a lot more things...

"ADSL modems! They all know they are being used to download illegal mp3s (well, and porn)"
"Monitors! Everybody knows people use them to find songs to download illegally"
"Mice! Everyone knows that they are mainly used to download songs illegally"
"And don't even get me started on chairs, food and houses. They are only being used to maintain themselves so they can download more music!"

Let's not be so quick. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042948)

Imagine if they expect that tax to eventually maintain their current revenues, it's going to be a HUGE tax.

Copyright is what holds offer and demand in balance. Otherwise there is NO WAY to know what amount the tax should be. For example, would the tax be the same whether new music in a given year is good or crap? This is a path to hell.

In the proud tradition of /. analogies (3, Insightful)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043012)

This is like requiring shoppers at Walmart to pay a fee for stolen merchandise. That's only going to encourage further theft (gee, I already paid for's not like I'm getting a five finger discount), and it's ridiculous from the start.

Wow, I had no idea that Microsoft cut that shady deal. Now the Universal seems to have quite literally declared they should have a right to both have their cake and eat it, too. They want you to both pay for the music and pay for not paying for it.

I don't own a media player, but now I know that if I ever get one, it won't be a Zune.

Re:In the proud tradition of /. analogies (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043110)

I don't own a media player, but now I know that if I ever get one, it won't be a Zune.

I finally got one (a media player) recently, and it's great. It's an iriver H320, and since it's out of production, I got it on ebay for about $60 used. It needs a new battery, which is available cheaply from Newer Technology, and I'll probably upgrade to a better hard drive later on (these are pretty cheap too), but it's a great little player. 20GB, easy to use, supports Oggs, and you can also run Rockbox on it. I don't see why I'd want to get a different player any time soon since this holds my whole library and does everything I need it to do.

Don't waste your money on crappy Zunes or overpriced iPods; get a good used media player on Ebay from someone who decided to "upgrade" to a new ipod.

Re:Pirate Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17043084)

It's like Catholic teaching. Thinking of sin is as bad as commiting, so if you thought of it, might as well do it.

It may be a legal argument worth testing against RIAA - MS Zune price already incorporates the RIAA tax, right?

Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (5, Interesting)

raitchison (734047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042584)

IIRC Canada has a system like this, where part of the purchase price of blank media goes to royalties for stuff that is assumed to be copied to it.

If they charged a fee for each device and let us have free, legal file sharing (since we paid for the content with our device fee) it sounds semi reasonable.

Of course that's not what they are talking about so...

Re:Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (4, Interesting)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042704)

What happened in Canada is exactly what could happen here.
They started charging a pirate tax on media, so some clever people figured out that as long as they were paying the tax and being branded a pirate, that gave them a legal right to download. The courts apparently agreed.
Amazing that the idiot proposing this doesn't know it.

Re:Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (1)

rhombic (140326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042824)

Our courts and congresscritters are much better paid, and know who owns them. Don't expect the courts to agree w/ the rational folks (i.e. Canada) on this one.

Re:Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (4, Interesting)

wass (72082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042716)

Where do you draw the line? Does Apple have to pay every existing recording studio for potential thefts, including little Jimmy running a studio in his parent's basement?

The iPod is a media player, so look at how it relates to other media players. When you buy a TV, does part of the purchase price go to Paramount just in case someone watches a pirated version of Indiana Jones on it? Does every movie theater built in the USA have to pay construction fees to movie companies (I'm not talking proceeds of ticket sales, I'm talking about a fee just to build the damn theater) because it's possible a future owner might show a pirated film there?

If this Universal casehas any merit, it should extend to everything just to point out how ridiculous it is. Eg, every hammer sold should include a fee to De Beers because that hammer can be used to break a window and steal one of their diamonds. Likewise every diamond purchased should include a fee to Home Depot, because that diamond can be ground to make diamond dust, which can be used to saw through locking gates and bars and to steal hammers. Rinse lather repeat.

not in Canada...but in Finland (2, Informative)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042760)

According to Wiki, as of Dec 2004, it no longer applies to mp3 devices and such (ref: a [] ).

However, there's one in Finland....of all things, based on the "per min" capacity with a max of 15euros per device. (ref: nd [] ).

Re:Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042788)

IMO, when they tax my ipods (i have two), that to me gives me the right to pirate music covered by the RIAA.

Re:Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042818)

So does the US. You didn't think "Music CD-R Discs" were more expensive because they were physically different from data discs, did you?

Re:Sounds good if you legalize file sharing (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043096)

I figured it was just a scam - calling it something "special" so stupid people would pay more for them. Is there actually a tax associated with the Music CDRs? Or is it just a marketing gimick?

just say no (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042588)

I hope Apple tells them where they can take their Zune and stick it where the sun won't shine. This is just one more reason not to buy a piece of crap Zune. I certainly won't be trading in my iPod for a Zune EVER.

Re:just say no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042794)

They won't need to. Everyone remembers the pre-Zune launch survey don't they? "Most iPod owner are willing to abandon ship." Just look at the sales numbers, you'll see... oh - wait.

Re:just say no (1)

AgentFade2Black (968245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043002)

That could very well mean in your basement...

But either way.

I am getting a Zune!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17043008)

WOW! This means if I get a Zune, I can download all the music I wantfor free. Way to go Micrsoft! I am on my way to the store right now.

yay for free music (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042590)

So I guess now once you buy an ipod, you can download as much pirated Universal music you want, right?

Re:yay for free music (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042780)

No, you're still a piece of shit whose only duty is to buy more Universal Music.
The only thing you will get out of this is a higher price tag for your next ipod.

Well ... (2, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042596)

Does Microsoft's precedent mean the start of a slippery slope that will add a "pirate tax" to every piece of hardware that touches digital music?"

That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as I get to download as many songs as I want in exchange for said tax. If you're forcing me to pay you money to legitimize my iPod, then it should also legitimize any illegal music I might have on there.

Also, I resent the implication that my iPod has stolen music on it. It doesn't.

Wait, so... (1)

Null537 (772236) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042614)

...songs bought through the Itunes Store are stolen?

The popularity of the iPod just shows.. (0)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042616)

how litle respect society has for the ban on copyright that we're living under. The fact that it is so unenforced doesn't help either.

Universal Music, Here is My Reply (5, Insightful)

KaiserSoze (154044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042620)

Fuck you. I've spent hundreds of dollars at the iTunes Store, and thousands buying CDs at retail over the past 15 years. Again, fuck you.

YES! This makes PERFECT sense! (4, Interesting)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042626)

"These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,. So it's time to get paid for it."

Riiiight. So umm... despite the fact that there's absolutely zero proof, a general assumption is being made... which spreads to ALL digital-music listeners... and say that they want money.

So... going by this theory, cable companies should charge everyone who watches TV because they all steal satellite signals?

YES! Everyone on earth is a digital thief, so let's make a profit off of it!

Re:YES! This makes PERFECT sense! (2, Funny)

inKubus (199753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043128)

I should get a royalty for every wasted tax dollar, every minute I've wasted listening to the same damn song over and over, every wasted hour I've spent watching Hollywood shite. My life has been STOLEN from me and now it's time to get paid. For every SECOND of crappy music played anywhere in the world, I propose I get a royalty of .0001 cents. I need that every month in the form of gold bullion. All I need is a few dozen senators to take my bribes and pass a law and there's nothing they can do. They have to pay me.

If they do add a "pirate tax"... (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042628)

Does that mean that they won't be able to sue you for copyright infringement if you do? I mean - fair's fair you know.

Plus, I think that's how the law might interpret it. "I'm not infringing - I paid. See my receipt?"

Tools = Cause of Crime? (2, Funny)

oVeRmInD911 (664312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042630)

What's next, are we going to convict KitchenAid for assault with a deadly weapon?

Re:Tools = Cause of Crime? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042842)

If you think that aggressively prosecuting KitchenAid is a bad idea, then you haven't sampled my wife's baking.

So nay container that can hold illegal goods ..... (3, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042632)

A car can hold stolen merchandise, so can a handbag. A gun can be used in a hold up. You're telling me we all have to pay, they'll have to up the price of iPods, because some one might abuse them? I'm a firm defender of copyrights but this is just nuts. Making everyone pay is no answer. DRM away but don't make me pay because of what some one else might do. That crosses a massive line and makes me want to boycott Universal products. Not that they have anything I want in the first place which makes it doubly insulting.

Having it both ways (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042634)

The insanity of taxing a piece of hardware for what a small portion of its users could possibly use it for aside
(Has this guy even heard of iTunes? People are paying for this stuff), if he wants a tax on the ipod to cover stolen music which it could be used to play, then I think implicit in that is the allowance that, after paying this tax, you can use an ipod to play all the stolen music you want, legally. I belive the recordable digital media tax in Canada works something like this. But what you can't do is tax someone for something, and then sue them for doing the same thing that tax covered.

Bite me (2, Interesting)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042638)

I really haven't had enough interest in an iPod to buy one. But if this goes through, I may buy one just to join in the classs action suit. I'd love to own a small piece of Universal, and especially a small piece of this jackass's skin. It would make a great bullseye on my dartboard.

Universal - Great Idea (1)

satherto (513840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042642)

If I pay the "Pirate Tax" that means that the producers have been paid, and I never have to pay for another Universal song on my iPod. What a great idea no! No more RIAA suing, as everyone already has their cut for any pirated music. ... Oh, you want a royalty, but still want me to pay for every song, and you still want to sue me if I have a song I can't prove I paid for? So what exactly is the royalty for?

teach them a lesson (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042658)

If I was Apple, I'd purposely stop selling music recorded on the universal label for a month just as a show of "F@#$ with us and get slapped". The artists on that label would rip Doug Morris to shreds as soon as they lost their itunes sales...

direct quote from wikipedia - "As of September 2006, the Store has sold more than 1.5 billion songs"...

Re:teach them a lesson (1)

shawnce (146129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042738)

direct quote from wikipedia - "As of September 2006, the Store has sold more than 1.5 billion songs"...
Which translates into about 975 million dollars feed to the music industry since the iTMS opened.

Here's the problem... (2, Insightful)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042660)

I really don't pirate music -- honestly. I've downloaded a few mp3s and if I like them, I buy the album. Now if they add a pirate tax to my mp3 player, that's a green light for me to turn pirate. I've paid my tax.

Re:Here's the problem... (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042908)

I don't do either. I can't be bothered buying it or downloading it. I listen to the radio... soon enough some asshole will put in radio tax!! argghhhh

Braindamage? (3, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042668)

What kind of logic is this???
Either you fight the pirates and try to sell your music via the iTMS or you get a royalty payment and let your music be available for free.
I'm fed up with the *AAs trying to tell me that I owe them money. I don't. I go see the GOOD movies in theater (there's one coming out every eon or so, maybe you need to check that?) and when I want to watch something, well I have Blockbuster and NetFlix.
Music-wise? Most of the bands they produce suck, and I'd much rather go to a concert, and find the occasional song playing on a radio station than buy a CD or DRM files, because they just want a constant money stream. My wallet says no, and I live just fine without music. Ever walk outside without an iPod plugged into your ears? Sometimes a good hike without music does you good.
The *AAs are beyond a pain in the ass, they're thieving not just people, but businesses as well, and I sure hope that Apple takes them to court for diffamation on that one.

Re:Braindamage? (5, Funny)

wass (72082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042808)

The *AAs are beyond a pain in the ass, they're thieving not just people, but businesses as well,

Hey, what did the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics [] ever do to you? (ducks)

Ears..... (1)

RavensDark (321683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042678)

You listen with them, we have to charge you for the privilege.
we know you have to use them for listening to illegal music.

Certainly - as soon as you give me a license (0, Redundant)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042690)

I'll gladly pay a royalty/tax on my iPod in exchange for a license allowing me to legally put Universal Music Group music on my iPod - however obtained.

If you just want more money from me without giving me anything in return then I'm sorry, I think you are SOL.

Have a nice life.

Doug Morris, Flamebait (4, Funny)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042696)

I think Mr. Morris should be modded down for his obviously riotous and hateful flamebait of a statement.

This might be a good idea (1)

skware (78429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042730)

Let's face it, there is a large amount of pirated music available on the various p2p networks. Regardless of whether the copyright owner would have sold a copy of the track to the consumer had it not been for p2p, the fact remains that by downloading the track and listening to it the owner has provided the consumer entertainment that the owner offered for a cost elsewhere. If the levy could be offered and hooks to the p2p networks added such that it could track which produces should get what proportion of the pie, wouldn't that make more sense than constant RIAA court cases. I'd love to see a defense against one of these suits someday along the lines of I've paid my license fee and that covers the download that I'm being sued for. For this sort of thing to really work though, the cost would have to be much less than the 99c per track (iTunes model) due to the fact that most people will download songs never to listen to them, broken downloads, quality issues of p2p downloaded tracks etc.

To the grammar Nazis, the above was stream of consciousness, don't bitch too much.

ah the french (0, Flamebait)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042732)

leave it to a french owned company to do something stupid.

Re:ah the french (1)

VanillaBabies (829417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043000)

GE owns 80% of NBC Universal, while Vivendi owns less than 20%. Not sure this is the French doing something stupid(alone atleast).

My Mistake (1)

VanillaBabies (829417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043022)

I thought UMG was included in the 2004 deal, but according to Wikipedia its wholly owned by Vivendi still. Damn French.

I don't steal music (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042746)

I don't steal music and I don't steal movies. I still buy CDs, but immediately place them in my computer and never touch them again. I also buy from the iTunes store. ALL of the music in my library was purchased by me and me alone. I don't have receipts for all of it, but I own it.

The idea that I should be taxed because someone MIGHT steal products with a device is offensive. In that case, why not tax electrical sockets? Everyone knows that everyone that uses electricity steals movies and music. And what else would someone need a computer at home for? That should be taxed too.

I hope these companies are punished. They do not represent the interest of the artists, consumers, or society at large. They are thugs.

Re:I don't steal music (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042964)

My brother-in-law runs a light bulb off of his telephone line current. Maybe the phone company should charge all of us because we might do the same.

Re:I don't steal music (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043064)

In that case, why not tax electrical sockets? Everyone knows that everyone that uses electricity steals movies and music. And what else would someone need a computer at home for? That should be taxed too.

How dare you republish our business plan without our express written consent! What, stealing music isn't good enough for you any more? Rest assured we're coming for you, pal... that is, as soon as we're done with the local orphanage, the octogenarian scraping by on a state pension, and the guy who's been dead for the last 27 years.


**AA cartel legal thugs. At least get the title right, it took years of Law School to earn it!

Tag: Asinine (4, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042750)

Wow. Just... Wow.

What kind of environment do you have to be raised in that instills a sense of entitlement so absolute that it reduces onlookers to standing agape in stunned silence?

These people need to be kept away from sharp objects and heavy machinery until they grow up.


Fast forward to 2007 (5, Funny)

LaughingElk (139664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042766)

Doug Morris: Steve, I think we should get $1 for every iPod you sell.
Steve Jobs: No.
Doug Morris: We asked Microsoft for $1 for each Zune sold, and they said "Yes".
Steve Jobs: They were desperate. We're not. By the way, how has the Zune deal been working out for you?
Doug Morris: So far, we've gotten $52.

Re:Fast forward to 2007 (1)

TallGeek (31895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043028)

That's the funniest thing I've read on Slashdot in a while! Good one!

Re:Fast forward to 2007 (1)

SoulDrift (638565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043120)

And that was with a $50 downpayment.

Strategy (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042768)

Microsoft knew it won't make wonders with the first iteration of their product. Much like with their other attempts at entering a new market, they sell at loss, taking experiments just to see the outcome and trying to damage the competition as much as possible.

Hence the "precedent" with Universal. I personally don't see how the deal with Zune obligates or pressures Apple into signing a deal as well.

Especially since iTunes is already a loss leader for them, hence they won't just agree Universal eating even more of their hardware profit for something as vague and abstract as "stolen music" tax. Apple isn't selling stolen music on their iPods. End of story.

You can expect Apple making few announcements about banning Universal from their store or something like that and that'd be the end of the story, if it even goes that far.

Greedy Bastards (0, Offtopic)

JohnnyJWalker (1033616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042786)

Does the Universal company, as a whole, not have enough money already. We should start a shitty movie movie tax. Every time i sit down and waste a couple hours of my life watching some piss poor excuse for a movie, that universal worked ever so hard to present, i should get %10 of my hourly wage.

Apple had to know this was coming (1, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042804)

This is what happens when you dabble in both content and hardware. As they say, 'you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.' If Apple didn't have iTMS, they could more easily tell Universal to suck a fat dick.

In the end, this is just a negotiating ploy by Universal toward getting 1) a bigger cut of the pie, or 2) non-uniform pricing. This is the next logical step, and I'm sure they gave MS "friend" prices in exchange for being the first official hardware manufacturer to pay a pirate tax. Not much to see here...

Thought of the day... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042806)

I find it ironic and strangely fitting that the current thought of the day/moment at the bottom of the page as I read this is, "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. -- General Omar N. Bradley."

Apple's interest (0)

seriv (698799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042814)

Apple may end up paying these fees, but I imagine that it would only be out of their interest to help with the iTunes online store. If anything, this "tax" would be good, since it would help the smaller portable manufacturers who would not pay this. There is nothing legally binding about this "tax," so these measures are only out of company relations.

Give it to the artists.. (1)

jimmy_bish (978412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042816)

... and I just might pay it.

Likelyhood? None.

iTMS Sales (4, Insightful)

mandos (8379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042822)

So wasn't it in September that Steve Jobs got on a stage and pointed out that iTMS is now in the top five music sellers in the world? I.E. They were competing and gaining significantly on Walmart and such? And that they were the ONLY digital service that could claim this? I'm confused where these iPods with all this pirated music comes from if one of the top five music sellers in the world sells music that can only be listened to on iPods (and iTunes). Perhaps he would like to sue Apple and have to explain his logic to a judge?

Why not $1000 dollars per iPod? (4, Insightful)

VidEdit (703021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042828)

Doug Morris has said that he thinks all iPod owner's are thieves who owe him money but it isn't clear why he specifically thinks he's owed a dollar for every Zune--a dollar he'd make if he sold a little more than one song. He is not offering **anything** back to the end user--no indemnity, nothin'. Based on Doug Morris' guilty until proven innocent view of iPod owners, I don't see why he doesn't simply ask the police to arrest all iPod owners on sight or, at the very least, demand a list of all iPod owners from Apple so UMG can file lawsuits against all of them since they are all known thieves and that is the natural progression of Doug Morris' claims combined with the RIAA's sue anything that moves stance.

What seems likely is that Morris is demanding an approximation 3% tariff on the sales price like the 3% tariff the industry **already** receives from the sale of all recordable CDs marked "for music." As with Morris proposed "iPod" tax, the public receives nothing in return for music CD-R tax which was supposed to compensate the recording industry in return for not suing equipment manufacturers over Home Recording. As history shows, The Audio Home Recording Act did nothing to squelch the industries thirst for litigation, so there is no reason to think that giving in to an "iPod" tax will do anything along those lines.

If UMG wants to "tax" iPods, they need to give something up in return--like submitting to compulsory licensing for download as they have to for radio station playback and Jukeboxes.

This is Great (1)

chasisaac (893152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042838)

One this happens . . . no more RIAA or MPAA lawsuits. IF we are paying them . . . then download all you want.

Am I missing something. No more whining from the RIAA or others. []

According to a Reuters report, U and moving to (1)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042846)

force Apple to incl Music's Doug Morris, "These de So it's time to get paid for it." Do "pirate tax" to every piece of hard

Good job on the ads, guys. []

Defamation? (1)

OzUnsane (55826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042848)

I wonder whether a class action defamation lawsuit against the media companies would work. When they make blanket allegations that anyone seen carrying an iPod is guilty of committing a crime doesn't that impugne the integrity of anyone in the street with white headphones?

bah (1)

rolfyone (921944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042850)

it's interesting how because i own an ipod, all of a sudden i'm a thief. I'd love to see a suit against them for defamation - I for one dont have stolen music on my ipod, and i'm sure i'm not alone in this.

I say go for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042868)

I think all music players should have a pirate tax on it, much like CD-R's (and I assume DVD Recordables of any type) do. Heck, add the pirate tax to computers. Because in a weird sense, it'd shut down the RIAA. One could argue that he payed the tax asked for by the music companies, so they have a right to use their music, basically a 1-time all access subscription. Heck, apple should just tell Universal, "Fine, but we're no longer going to pay you royalties on our songs, any money we make on the music is ours because our ownership base has already paid for it.

am I alone? (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042870)

I've looked at various people's ipods and in every single case the contents were just their CD collection plus some stuff they bought from itunes. No copying.

Plus, ipods don't count as repositories of music--you can only download music to the ipod, you can't upload it back out so any unauthorized copy is a dead-end once it gets to the ipod. It's not in the same category as Kazaa or bittorrent.

Re:am I alone? (2, Informative)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043038)

" any unauthorized copy is a dead-end once it gets to the ipod"

Well not exactly. It is possible to sync the ipod to iTunes then rip a cid of any track, at which point you can do whatever you want with it. It is also possible to freely extract the songs off the iPod, or share them via browser with anyone.

Out of touch (0, Redundant)

HeadachesAbound (828103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042872)

As many have already said before...Does this mean that any and all stolen (as if) music that is found to be on my ipod (note, I don't have one yet) would then be considered legit?

Or is this just yet another example of some suit who doesn't understand the reality of the digital world?

Just this last week I went out and purchased a CD (My first in many, many, many years) which I inspected before I ever walked away from the rack with it to ensure that there was no DRM. Why? Because I know how I listen to music...XM or MP3. The first thing I did when I got home was to plop the CD into the drive on my linux box and rip it to mp3. The CD, I'm not even sure where it is at the moment. The mp3 files are on the external 250GB Hard Drive in my laptop bag and on the external 250GB Hard Drive attached to the desktop computer. I won't touch the CD ever unless I have a complete drive melt-down and need to rebuild my music collection.

The point being that I didn't steal them and everyone who I know that owns an ipod paid for the music that they have.

Steve Jobs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042886)

delights in being a dick.

He'll let Universal think that they're going to get a little piece of the action and then tell them to go pound salt.

Re:Steve Jobs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042950)

Yeah standing up the recording industry and refusing to give in to them would make him a real dick for sure.

It would be interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17042900) do some kind of formal study on exactly how much pirated music is out there on various media players. I'm not saying this guy is right, and he's certainly a jerk for saying it like that, but I can't help but wonder what the numbers really are.

Personally my gut feeling is that it's similar to the BitTorrent situation. Yeah, there are lots of legitimate uses for it, but you know that a large percentage of traffic is of questionable legality. I personally have about 50 pirated songs (mostly top 40 pop junk) and around 350 legit songs (ripped from my own cds).

Assumed Guilt (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042914)

Would never fly in the criminal system, so why is it common practice in the civil one?

This is garbage. At least i dont contribute to their wealth and power. Too bad many others still do. The 'industries' need to die.

Tax Free? (3, Interesting)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042916)

A lot of people are saying 'great a a tax, now I can download for free and not worry about being sued'

Not going to argue with that, but what I will say is I can't but think of the precident in the UK with the BBC. Theoretically I have already paid for all the content the BBC produces. Therefore I should own the copyright to it? Then why the hell are the BBC DVDs I buy copyright BBC Worldwide? Why don't I own the copyright to the BBC DVDs I bought? Is anyone aware of a case of the BBC suing someone for copyright infringement who has a TV license*?

Times like this I try to forget what the law says and ask what is fair. I also remember that the copyright holder has the right to do whatever they like with their product** - I have no need to use it if I am not happy with their terms. i.e. am I actually that worse of because Joe Blogs has released XYZ piece of music under terms that I feel are unacceptable, than I would be if Joe Blogs had never produced that piece of music at all?

Can we have the next slashdot poll as what encourages you to buy music - be it hearing a song on the radio, from an mp3 copied from a friend, from a CD borrowed from a collegue etc. I know I have never bought Music without listening to it via some free method first. To shut down all avenues of free music would stop me dead.

* Yes there were a few cases a while ago, but this was before the BBC had the whole lost Dr Who episode debacle.
** Your own definition of Fair rights of course must stand up in court.

Any lawyers around? (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042922)

I'm just wondering if there are any provisions in the DMCA or Patriot Act that would allow us to legally kick the stupid right out of Morris' stupid head. Or, failing that, is there any way I can give him cancer via e-mail?

Gee... nice assumption (1)

loquitus (675058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17042974)

I like how greedy (mostly US) companies and entities make assumptions about things in the world (as if US laws even apply outside of the US -- I am in Canada and I find it quite funny whenever a US lawmaker acts like the laws he is trying to pass will ever be enforced upon the 5.5 billion people on this planet who don't fall under US jurisdiction. Oh wait... Iraq is not part of the US and they are under US jurisdiction. How incorrect of me. But anyways, so what if some people with iPods are consuming pirated music? What about those that are not? Are they going to screw over all those who have legitimate music with this tax, or do they have some ingenious way to only punish the bad people? By putting a piracy tax, are they basically saying "Ok... since we can beat some of the pirates, we are just going to get paid anyways by charging for the hardware... then it is all ok."? If that's what they are saying, would they be inviting current non-pirates who eventually do get screwed with this piracy tax to just go ahead and pirate music then? Perhaps people will reason the tax makes piracy ok? It is amusing how industries screw over one group of consumers of a product due to the acts of another group. In Canada, there was (I am not sure if there still is) a HUGE tax imposed on every blank CD bought in this country. The tax was a fixed amount, and with the really low prices of cds, the tax was often more than the price of the CD! And why? Because it was believed these CD's were being used to pirate... stuff. Mostly music I presume. And what about all those people using CD's for data backups or for industrial use? Tough luck you say? Yeah... free country, my ass. How about the Internet connection pirates use to download pirated stuff off the Internet with. Should that be taxed as well for piracy? How about the computer you bought to copy your MP3's? Is that to be taxed? What about the freaking car you drove in down to the mall to buy that iPod? It is technically also an accessory to the "crime" of piracy. Fact is... this all sounds like lunacy. You can't punish all the users of a given technology just because a group of people (not all people) have found a way to use that technology illegally. I think most of you slashdotters will find at least one illegal way to use practically every product you ever consume on a daily basis.

mr jobs -- don't back down. (1)

MrBallistic (88770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043010)

honestly, i'd hope that apple would just tell them that they'd happily pull all universal content from the itms and call off their conversations until they took that idea off of the table.

then we'd lose the ability to purchase songs from such talents as ludacris, ciara, lloyd banks, the killers,dmx, elton john, and dashboard confessional. oh no. it's not like we can't get that stuff legally through other channels.

PSA (3, Interesting)

elmCitySlim (957476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043026)

This PSA is played on a local College Radio station in my area ( The ext was taken from the creator's website (

PSA #1: Hypocrites
(Approximately 80 seconds)

According to the major record labels, everyone who downloads a song off the internet is a thief. But there's a lot they aren't telling you.

For example:

Did you know that when you buy a major label CD virtually none of your money makes it to the musician? It's true: When you pay $15 for a CD, the artist royalty is about 75 cents.

But most major label artists don't even get that--musicians don't get any royalties until they pay back all the costs of recording and promotion. That means they don't get anything until they sell at least 500,000 or a million CDs! Here's another way to look at it: for most CDs at the record store, NONE of the money goes to the musician.

So when the major label CEOs tell you that sharing music is "stealing from musicians", they're

A) Lying through their teeth


B) Hypocrites

The real thieves are the corporate record labels, and giving them your money just perpetuates a system where musicians get screwed and independent music gets locked out of the mainstream.

The best part of all this is that--thanks to filesharing--the corporate record companies are dying off, while independent labels are thriving. Musicians, radio DJs, everybody. We finally have a chance to change the music business.

Don't buy major label CDs. Support independent musicians. Take back music.

And how would they make that happen exactly? (5, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043032)

Does Microsoft's precedent mean the start of a slippery slope that will add a "pirate tax" to every piece of hardware that touches digital music?

Supply and demand applies here:

85% of all MP3 players are iPods.

After briefly debuting as the 7th most popular MP3 player, the Zune dropped to 13th most popular.

Universal gets three choices here:

Put up (only sell music through the Zune store as that is, let's face it, the only influence they have) and deal with only having the 13th most popular MP3 player market to go after... Not going to happen.

Shut up... Also not likely to happen.

Neither... They'll whine loudly, whilst sensibly not daring to cut their noses off to spite their faces, and occasionally create hype inducing headlines.

The previous MP3 taxes on hardware got through five plus years ago when MP3s were something weird the kids do. Passing laws to fine people who don't get a vote is really easy. In the half decade since, huge numbers of middle Americans have bought iPods and they're a part of mainstream society. The ignorance and "aren't l33t pirates bad!" claim doesn't work so well when middle American voters realize it suddenly applies to them and they'd be voting to make their toys more expensive.

So, Zune is such an embarassing joke it can hardly be called a trend setter, Universal won't dare actually boycot iTunes in order to make a point and MP3 players are so popular that the laws that got snuck through in the past now get soccer moms outraged. They can't affect it through business models or laws... Game over.

In much the same way, I want endless women. However, I control such a small part of the dating market that even if I boycot women, I doubt it'll bother them half as much as it'll bother me. I can't get a law passed that forces women to like me because it'd be political suicide for politicians. So, much like universal, that leaves me whining loudly about how things should be and yet nothing actually changing.

Free Copyright Monopoly? Monopoly tax. (1)

openright (968536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043078)

With all of the talk of how much file sharing costs the media companies,
perhaps it would be good to look at the costs of the copyright monopoly on the public.

After all, the purpose of copyright law was supposed to be innovation to benefit the public.

What is the public cost/benefit of a 10 year copyright monopoly?
What is the public cost/benefit of a 20 year copyright monopoly?
What is the public cost/benefit of a 50 year copyright monopoly?
What is the public cost/benefit of a 95 year copyright monopoly? ...
What is the public cost/benefit of a 1000 year copyright monopoly?

A 95 year copyright is well beyond any point that is providing extra incentive to create new works. And actually, it prevents derivative works from being created, and only creats incentive to hoard and hide information.

Why does the government allow such monopolies at no cost to the big publishing/media companies?

If copyright is going to be this long, then there should be some cost associated with a government granted information monopoly. Any such cost should be exponential to encourage new innovation. Then the income from such a fee would compensate the public (by creating new public works) in exchange for the "rights" that the government gave to media companies to milk works of dead or non-person artists.

iTune... (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043100)

Since I buy all of my Music of iTunes, does that mean I'm entitled to a tax refund from Universal when they start charging a piracy tax?

Evolve or Die (4, Interesting)

zekt (252634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043124)

The record industry is interesting. It is so powerful, that it can make change and introduce new products and formats (like CD), yet ultimately it has a product that people can do without.

And they are 'doing without' in droves. People are buying Wiis and DVDs and getting cable TV and video off YouTube. They are loosing market share and blaming piracy. Blaming the unnameable is truly the last bastion of an industry that is dying. It means that, at AGMs, the directors will have an excuse for bad
profitability, when inaction is their only excuse. If you hold shares in a large music company, time to ask them what product they plan on releasing when they have become irrelevant due to their inaction.

Years ago, they could have made a cheap, effective, simple service. Instead - everyone copied music, found what they like and bought CDs because they felt like they should support the artist. Record sales went up. Then Napster got a sued, Audiogalaxy got shutdown, and the punters should no longer try before they buy.
RIAA continues to sue... people continue not to buy.

It's time to wake up record companies. It's not too difficult. iTunes will save your ass. If you leave it 2 more years - iTunes will own you ass. You will have to bend over and lick Apple's boots. Do you realise that you are 1 freakin step away from having someone like Apple set up a service to post produce 100000 punters Garage Band files and then release them? The only thing you have is radio stations who you collaborate with. The advertising revenues for these are not going too well. Do you feel you owe it to them to ensure they join you in a symbiotic slide into oblivion?

I have bought my last 2 years worth of music though iTunes. I don't need a CD. I don't need all
the wasted plastic and paper. I don't need to waste resources to have music. I don't need the stores,
the transport, the manufacturers. Sound only needs to be touched and felt in 1 way - through bass
pounding in your chest... not through yet another breaking CD container.

also, (1)

antiaktiv (848995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17043130)

Why stop there? Why not also charge a theft tax on all computers (i haven't seen any mp3 players that do the illegal copying by themselves), flash cards, hard drives, cell phones, headphones, headphone cord extensions, ipod accessories? All stereo equipment? Throw in every single music related website as well, since they're promoting music in general. MTV? Radio? Without those outlets people would have no idea what to download. After a while, Universal can stop releasing music altogether...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?