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Court Rules Playlist Customization Is Not Interactive

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the licensing-makes-so-much-sense dept.

Music 54

prostoalex writes "Is music played via customized playlist delivered interactively (i.e., via user participation) or non-interactive (i.e., decisions are made on the server side)? The question does seem metaphysical, but it took Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Yahoo! six years to figure it out via a protracted legal battle. User-driven playlists are bucketed with on-demand music services, while server-driven playlists are equaled to broadcasts, thereby causing different licensing mechanisms to take place. Yahoo! inherited the legal wrangle when it purchased a music startup Launch, which built a music recommendation feature. The court decision determined that recommendation algorithms that rely on usage data to build playlists server-side are still eligible for broadcast license, thereby substantially lowering the costs of operating a music recommendation site."

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So if I dont have a playlist (1, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925779)

Am I really listening to music?

Re:So if I dont have a playlist (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925905)

I suppose that's up to the 'Final Authority' on the matter ... the RIAA. Let's ask them, shall we? Gentlemen, care to chime in?

Re:So if I dont have a playlist (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926003)

Damn, and I though I was asking a profound metaphysical question which would provoke much contemplation, soul searching and head scratching. Who would have guessed the answer was so simple.

Re:So if I dont have a playlist (1)

impleri (982548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927237)

Music is an a priori object. It becomes a "playlist" through the transcendental unity of apperception whereby it it is passed through the 12 categories of intuition as well as space and time before being able to be experienced by the self. Music as an a priori object can never be experienced in itself; in other words, we can never really listen to Music-in-itself without already having interpreted it through the 12 categories. This is roughly similar to Heidegger's idea of "thrown-in-the-music-ness," which I will not discuss currently because, like really noisy music, it makes my head hurt.

Zen philosphy (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926033)

Am I really listening to music?

And what is the music of an MP3 alone with no playlist to sit in ?

and this is different, how? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925791)

And a radio station that accepts requests didn't have to go through the same legal wrangling to be labeled a "broadcaster". While I know these legal questions have to be ironed out sooner or later, It is interesting to see the distinction in how Sony BMG, et al. see internet radio vs ol' style music radio.

Re:and this is different, how? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925841)

And a radio station that accepts requests didn't have to go through the same legal wrangling to be labeled a "broadcaster".

Well those requests typically are broadcast. Hence the person doing the broadcasting is a "broadcaster". A list of songs delivered to one individual based on their preferences is clearly not broadcast and the person operating the service should not be called a "broadcaster". The selection method doesn't have anything to do with whether you're broadcasting.

Re:and this is different, how? (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925895)

Except that with a radio station when someone phones in a request, everyone listening to that broadcast has to hear it. Often with internet radio each user will be listening to their own version of the 'broadcast', so if you send in a request then only you hear that song.


Re:and this is different, how? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927445)

I am quite confident that I was the only listener of my college radio station at times :)

Re:and this is different, how? (2, Interesting)

naich (781425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926085)

I always assumed that stations had a playlist that wasn't deviated from. To get a "request", they just wait until someone rings up asking for the song they were going to play anyway. Or maybe I'm just too cynical for my own good?

Re:and this is different, how? (1)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926319)

Depends on the station, really. I'd say that's true for anything owned by ClearChannel, though (so like 90% of non-public-radio stations out there).

Re:and this is different, how? (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926415)

I'd bet most stations have at least one request hour . . . the one I listen to does it during the lunch hour and I think during the "drive home".

You're correct, sah (2, Interesting)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933101)

Opie and Anthony did a whole expose on this years ago.

Basically for any major metropolitan area, an "all request hour" will run about 15 songs. So the only way your request is honored is if you are one of those 15 songs. . . which is extremely rare.

However, they WILL record your request and play it back later as a "request"; happens rather frequently.

That said, I used to get requests regularly in East Lansing when I was a pizza delivery driver, but that's because I annoyed the shit out of them, calling all the time.

Also, they failed about a year after I started working at Alexander's. Which I'm sure had nothing to do with the music I requested, but thanks for implying that, jerks.

Re:and this is different, how? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18927085)

"While I know these legal questions have to be ironed out sooner or later"

I disagree. That's the antecedent that led to this collosal sqandering of time and money in the first place. Many here have long observed that the law and computing are irreconcilable. This is what you get when lawyers and politicians poke thir noses into matters they have no business in.
Lawyers are wannabe computer scientists who never had the technical grades. They aspire to the same degree of rigor. But what do the lawyers do? They spend six years of someones time and money pondering an intangible and etherial philosophical question that has virtually no bearing on any facet of reality other than the bottom line of a few rich corporations. A computer scientist would simply have observed at the start that it's undecidable given the semantic context, and moved onto something worthwhile.

Sorry I got confused. Was this a good outcome or a bad one? Should I be cheering or booing? Tell you what, I don't give a monkeys ringpiece, because
whatever the outcome it's a gargantuan bonfire of wealth and human life to be sitting in courtroom for six years stroking your beard. Frankly its rather sad. At least kids that spend six years in their mothers basement playing video games have some fun.

Everybody knows it. Legal systems have grown without reasonable contraint and now the law is now divorcing itself from humanistic relevance. Those of us who believe in the rule of law realise that this is a very dangerous thing. We need to save Law from the lawyers.

Wonder where this leaves Pandora (5, Interesting)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925897)

Pandora [] : there is some user interaction to shape the channel with seeds for artist and/or songs to play similar to or avoid.

Re:Wonder where this leaves Pandora (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925957)


Yo Grark

Re:Wonder where this leaves Pandora (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926007)

I'm going to email them. I hope it leaves them in the clear, but I doubt it. While they don't allow you to choose songs, they do allow you significant control over the factors that power the song selection algorithm.

Re:Wonder where this leaves Pandora (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926057)

That was my immediate thought as well. I hope it leaves them some breathing room, but with the increasing fees, I highly doubt it.

Those who want to save Pandora: call your Congressmen! Call your Senators! There is a small movement to permanently alter the royalty system.

Make sure you let them know you think the royalty "board" is ridiculous, too. Why should the RIAA have a government-mandated monopoly over an art form?

Re:Wonder where this leaves Pandora (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926133)

By the way I read it, it should leave Pandora in the clear.

I've been a paid Pandora subscriber for a while (my 9+ hrs/day, 5-7 days a week made me think that really it is worth the 3 bucks a month for their bandwidth). As a user, I can choose the direction of the music, but I cannot choose the song or artist that's "up next" (on demand). To me, that means decisions are being made on the server side as to the specific song that is going to be played next.

Really, I view Pandora as server-side activity... same premise as the original issue here.

Re:Wonder where this leaves Pandora (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926491) utilizes even greater user customization, basing its music on the user's entire music library. It is still server-side (even the stand-alone player, I believe) so I bet they will be pleased!

Re:Wonder where this leaves Pandora (1)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927555)

This is a repost of an e-mail I posted in a previous /. thread. I urge everyone to follow the link and get a hold of your local representative. You can read more on their blog, including the following message: []

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio: alertid=9631541 []

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

"Metaphysical?" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925937)

I don't think someone knows what that word means...

Re:"Metaphysical?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926921)

I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy.

Re:"Metaphysical?" (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927025)

"He's not dead, he's metaphysically challenged!"

Re:"Metaphysical?" (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927315)

He probably means "overtly difficult, obscure, and philosophical" in a mildly humorous way i.e he's trying to say it's not worth all the haggle. I have to agree: I find reading the summary to be a waste of time, imagine the people actually involved.

Re:"Metaphysical?" (2, Funny)

dosquatch (924618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18931447)

I don't think someone knows what that word means...

So I was sittn' in this bar - Toby Ornauh Toby's - with a full pint of beer in half a glass, thinkn' ter meself, if a hard drive thrashes in the server room, an' noone's there ta hear it, does it make a sound?

That's when she walked up. "What's the difference between an orange?" she says, an' I knew in an instant she'd have my one hand clappn'. Aye, lad, those legs ran all th' way from alpha to omega an' back again. Her skirt hiked up as she crost her legs, and I could see she was wearn' the cutest pair of transcendental pink pannies with just the slightest bit of angst trimmed around the edges.

All the same, though, I had just gottn' out of a seriously unhealthy codependant relationship with myself an' was in no mood for anything serious. I bought her a glass of time in a bottle, told her she was the lovliest flavor of blue I'd ever smelled, but I had an astral plane ter catch. With sadness in me soul, I redefined pi and slipped out the back of the front door.

A Wednesday, i'twas...

the best... (-1, Offtopic)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925971)

...thing, that could propably happen to the whole lawyer-world, was the internet. if i just could invent a time-machine, i'd be immensely rich, travling back in time, become a lawyer, specialize in internet and...err, wait. if i invented a time machine, i sure wouldn't have to spend my time with specializing in anything anymore. forget my post.

Re:the best... (2, Funny)

SilentSheep (705509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926213)

But... If you went back in time and became a lawyer specialising in internet law then you would not learn the skills to create the time machine in the first place, which means you couldn't go back in time to become a lawyer specialising in internet law... i think we may have encountered some sort of paradoxic issue with time travel here.

Law: 1 Riaa: 0, this time (2, Interesting)

catxk (1086945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925975)

Always nice to see the law actually functioning in the interest of the people as opposed to the interest of the money. Although, in cases involving RIAA and similar parties, it usually feels like a close escape when the ruling goes as it seems to have gone this time. Rather than that, I would like to be able to actually have full trust in the law in these cases, not feel like every battle is a close win, likely to be followed by another few losses for the people (f.ex. EU's IPRED2).

Re:Law: 1 Riaa: 0, this time (1)

KnyJG (710488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926525)

Sorry, but this has nothing to do with "the law" as such. It is a legal battle between companies who disagree on the specifics of the contract they have with each other.

Consumers are not protected in any way by this ruling, nor is it a sign that RIAA has a shaky legal foundation for its actions against consumers (although a lot of evidence from other cases seem to point in this direction).

Re:Law: 1 Riaa: 0, this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18932327)

You are wrong. This was not about contracts. It was whether LAUNCH/Yahoo! had to negotiate a contract with BMG to play their copyright music or if they could instead rely on the statutory license created by Congress, which allow webcasters that follow certain rules to broadcast any copyright material for a standard fee.

Re:Law: 1 Riaa: 0, this time (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927871)

Always nice to see the law actually functioning in the interest of the people as opposed to the interest of the money.
What I wouldn't give to be able to see the world in such simple terms.

I wonder... why the price difference? (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926127)

What's the difference between me choosing what music I listen to and a radio station doing the same? Both is music, both plays equally long (provided we pick music that covers the same amount of time), then why is "my" selection more expensive than one someone else put together?

Could it be that I can't be showered with current "hits" when I choose my music? Heaven forbid that people actually choose the music they want to hear!

Re:I wonder... why the price difference? (2, Insightful)

KnyJG (710488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926411)

Obviously music of your choosing is more worth to you than music other people choose (ignoring the time spent doing the choosing part). Basically if you can say you would rather have one over the other there is a difference in value to you. Of course this story is about using usage statistics to build playlists, which is something in between "no influence" standard radio and DIY total control music, which you would get for instance from iTunes if you paid for all the songs played.The record industry wants you to pay for this added value, which is not different from any other industry. For instance you are probably paying extra to have HD channels rather than normal channels, or other similar scenarios.

In my opinion this is not a story of an evil, greedy record industry (even though I definitely believe that other news tell this story very well), but rather a normal legal battle over some specific part of a contract between two companies. Yahoo! would rather not pay extra, the record industry would like Yahoo! to do so. The only problem is that the contract is not precise enough to determine who is right without a judge looking it over.

Why? One word: (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18928423)


Re:I wonder... why the price difference? (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934709)

What's the difference between me choosing what music I listen to and a radio station doing the same?

The reason is simple and logical, once you grasp the fundamental desperate need and delusion driving it.

There's a famous saying, it is hard to make someone understand something, if his salary depends upon him not understanding it. Music publishers' salary depends on the realities of old technology, and protecting that old reality. Their salary depends upon not accepting and understanding the internet, and to the extent they do understand it, they are at war to control prohibit and deny that new technological reality.

In particular their salary depends upon drawing a clear line between people who transmit music that simply gets listed to, and people who give other people permanent copies. Someone who sends music (say by radio) pays the RIAA a micro-fraction of a cent for each song they send to each listener. Someone who sends a permanent copy of a song (such as a store mailing a CD) pays the RIAA in the ballpark of half a dollar per song.

In attempting to deal with this new-fangled internet thingamabob, the music executives have hitched their wagons to a delusion. They are fixated on something that is simply false, factually false, and most importantly technologically false. They heard of this thing called "streaming", and they locked on to this idea that they love that someone receiving a stream does not keep a permanent copy of that stream. They have latched onto the notion that sending a stream is like a radio station and that they will charge those internet companies a micro-fraction of a cent for each song they send to each person, and that they will charge other internet companies around half a dollar for each song they permanently "download" to someone.

The entire business model, their entire paycheck, it depends on this exact notion of dividing internet companies into these two groups. Their paycheck depends on this notion of billing companies that send "streams" a tiny amount, and of billing companies that send "downloads" a huge amount. Their paycheck depends on them not understanding or accepting anything that interferes with that mental model of reality.

The problem is that they are defining the price based on what the sender is doing, but in fact there is in fact... there is in reality... there is technologically absolutely no difference between sending a stream or sending a download. The only difference between a stream and a download is whether the receiver happens to choose to steer the data to his harddrive. Their paycheck, their business model, their mindset, it all relies upon dividing senders into two groups and billing them differently for doing the each same thing... dividing and billing senders based upon a what is in reality an unjustified assumption about what the receiver of the data may or may not choose to do with it.

Tape recorders have long made it technologically possible for radio "listen once streams" to be kept by listeners as permanent copies, but it is largely impractical for people to build and maintain a music library that way. So the music publishers have been able to just ignore that technological fact, and continue to assume that each radio transmission is "listen once", and to bill all radio on that "listen once" assumption.

With the internet, those assumptions and that billing model become technologically invalid. A company sending a stream is technologically indistinguishable from a company sending a download. For all practical and technological purposes, an "interactive" internet music service is a STORE. If someone sitting in front of his computer says "I want to listen to Pink Floyd - The Wall", and an internet service sends it... that listener can trivially keep a copy. It is always technologically possible to find a way to direct the computer to dump that data to the harddrive, and even if games are played trying to make it difficult to do that, it is always trivially possible for that listener to take the audio out cable from that computer and plug it into an audio input for another device to record. The facts of reality and the facts of technology make their assumptions fall apart. They do not WANT to understand this... because it makes their billing model and their paychecks fall apart.

In struggling with this reality conflict, they have been trying to find ways for technology to deny and rewrite that reality, and they have been desperately demanding (and getting) bizarre random law trying to deny and rewrite that reality. First there was the concept of DRM... the idea that technology can remove realities and abilities that technology provides. The irrefutable technological fact is that absolutely any DRM scheme can be removed (although once again their paycheck insists that they NOT understand that fact), and the free market fact is that absolutely any DRM scheme of any market significance will create a significant market demand for some company to develop and offer a solution to the hassle-causing DRM scheme. The technological fact and free market fact is that some company can and will almost immediately develop and offer a way to remove that any notable DRM scheme. So they demanded (and got) a screwed up law to prohibit the free market. A law to prohibit companies from creating and offering useful legitimate products to solve the real and legitimate needs of consumers. A law to prohibit technology itself, a law that literally makes it criminal to communicate certain knowledge and instructions. This law has been able to deny the free market, has been able to keep companies under control to deny and rewrite technology, but it cannot deny or rewrite the fact that DRM is an impossibility. Cannot change the basic fact that DRM is the technological equivalent of piglatin. That law can keep companies from examining the silly DRM schemes, can keep companies from developing the knowledge on how to read the DRM data, can keep companies from telling other people the simple piglatin to be able to read their own DRMd files. However the law cannot deny or rewrite the facts of reality itself and the facts of technology. DRM is technologically impossible, and descrambling DRM piglatin is so easy that it doesn't take a company. Hardly a month goes by without yet another silly DRM being descrambled by some lone hobbyist. But this DRM cat and mouse game is just enough to keep the DRM illusion alive. For those who's paychecks depend on not understanding, it is just enough to keep alive the false idea that yesterday's DRM simply had some mistake, just enough to keep alive the illusion that it is possible to get DRM right if they just work at it harder.

But we were talking about internet radio, and the odd terms of law that apply. I actually read the law. The law has a bunch of arbitrary bizarre requirements. Or at least the law is arbitrary and bizarre from an technological or reasonable point of view. But the arbitrary and bizarre portions of the law make perfect sense from the RIAA "our paycheck depends on not accepting or understanding reality" mindset. It makes perfect sense when you realize that there is a conflict between reality and reality-as-they-are-willing-to-understand-it. The RIAA paycheck and RIAA understanding reality absolutely insists upon forcing reality to conform to the old technology and old business plan. That things must be forced to fit into the old model of radio and records. The model where companies either send "listen once" "streams" and get billed a micro-cent for each song to each listener, or where they get billed a lot for giving a copy to someone. The law has arbitrary and bizarre language trying to force this internet music to resemble old radio as much as possible, and that anything else be a good old store. The law prohibits "interactive" service, because then it is too easy for someone to request a song and save it... just like shopping at a store. The law also says that advance playlists cannot be published, again because it would be too easy from someone to use the advance playlists to seek out and save the music they want to collect. The law says (if I recall correctly) that no more than three songs from the same artist, or no more than two songs from the same album, can be played within a certain minimum time frame... I think an hour. Again, the reason for this is to try to interfere with anyone using the service to build a collection. I think there are a few other arbitrary and bizarre clauses in the law, clauses with no logic other than trying to constrain internet into a an old style radio with deliberate inconveniences against listeners or into a traditional store.

And let me drive home the point by plugging internet radio is a legitimate US company properly operating under US law, and they can and do play RIAA music and some interesting indy music. They have a fascinating and excellent system where you tell it what music you like, and they use that to find other music you will probably like. Last I checked they offered both a reasonably priced yearly subscription and an unobtrusive ad supported free service. But anyway, the reason I bring it up is because perfectly highlights this "stream-not-a-download" sillyness going on. If you use Pandora, go look in your system temporary folder. You will find a set of files with no file extension... if I recall correctly the file names were Access-1 Access-2 Access-3 etc. These files are standard 128kbps MP3 files of the songs you are hearing. You just need to rename the file, add the .MP3 extension, and drag the file into your normal music collection. According to US law, cannot tell you that, and cannot do anything helping you with that. The fact is that a "stream" is a download, a stream is simply a download that you happen to throw away. is sending you .MP3 music file downloads, and those downloads will eventually be auto deleted from your system temporary folder unless you go in there and move them. The situation shows just how silly and superficial this whole charade is. The RIAA needs to shoehorn the internet into an old radio-technology and store model of reality, the law requires to look like an old-technology-radio, and has to maintain this fiction that they are sending listen-once "streams" while playing deliberately dumb to the fact that the MP3 file is sitting there on your harddrive. cannot legally tell you that file is sitting there. Fortunately I have no connection to, so I can tell you.

By the way, the RIAA is hopping mad over the fact that internet radio can and does use MP3 or any other format they like. The RIAA are desperately trying to get the law changed.... yet again... to mandate that all internet radio be prohibited unless they make a show of using some silly DRM scheme. And again we're really back in the exact same situation as right now. The internet radio company again has to pretend that they are sending you a "stream". The internet radio company is again not allowed to tell you that you have a copy of the music, again not allowed to tell you where it is, again not allowed to tell you you can prevent it from being deleted, again not allowed to tell you how you can move that music into your permanent music collection. And again I or someone else can tell you what you have and tell you where it is and tell you how to transfer it into your regular music files.

It's an illusion. A game. A glorified game of don't-ask-don't-tell. Everyone will pretend that the internet works like old-tech-radio, and the law will force companies to keep their mouths shut that they are just pretending, and as long as everyone else goes along with the fiction, then the RIAA and friends can get along not understanding that-which-they-do-not-wish-to-understand and we can all live in the imaginary universe with the fictional facts that operates according to the imaginary facts of technology that they wish were real.

Unless of course someone like me comes along and points out that the Emperor has no clothes, or something else equally silly... like the fact that is serving up unlimited free .MP3 downloads right onto your harddrive. Unlimited free .MP3 downloads, all 100% kosher by US law. You just don't get to order up songs by name. But if you want a specific song, Pandora lets you make a custom station based on that song. That song will not... cannot... show up on that station for at least an hour... but it will show up sooner or later after that one hour legally imposed threshold. And in the meantime Pandora does a really neat job of finding often surprising other songs with unexpected similarities to that song, which you will probably like as well.


Re:I wonder... why the price difference? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18958373)

Great comment, wish I had mod points for you.

Same music experience, different licensing ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926157)

The first thing that popped into my mind is why those two should be payed for differently.

The customer gets to listen to exactly the same music. The only difference is that with a broadcast-system he does not get to choose when. But thats something that can be fixed by applying time-delaying equipment/software.

The same music? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926407)

You're telling me that people *request* Britney Spears?!?

This is good news for... (1)

Valtor (34080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926215)

This is good news for services like [] .

Location of the content files? (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926241)

Seems dumb to base this based only on the playlist which isn't music at all but a list of instructions for the order of playing songs.

If the music files are stored on the customer's local device, then there should be no licensing at all required no matter where the playlist originates.

Now, if the data files themselves are on the server, and the playlist controls the order in which those datafiles are transmitted, then I can see why some folks might want a distinction. In one case I'd say there is indeed a music-related broadcast, but in the other there is not.

(I'm explicitly ignoring the fact that many people, including myself, don't think a binary sequence of numbers is really 'music' in the first place. I think 'music' is the emotional response to particular sensed air and body vibrations, which is beyond instructions for playing an instrument or instructions for causing a speaker to vibrate.)

Request radio (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926259)

So, are request radio shows no longer "broadcast radio" and therefore have to licence their music differently? Or is it only if processing the requests is automated?

Re:Request radio (2, Funny)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926551)

I have heard of RTFA, but jesus RTFS... The courts ruled that it was all "broadcast radio" If they had ruled differently THEN your statement would apply but since the Judge in this case actually had a brain, we don't have to worry about that now.

What the stewardship of copyrights should mean (5, Insightful)

zuki (845560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926379)

When reading these types of thread about the record business special interest group finding ways to bend the law, I find something very depressing about the fact that those who are supposed to be in charge of the 'stewardship' of copyrights seem to be doing everything in their power to make sure that a lot of the music they own doesn't ever get exposed, and since nobody will ever know about it, that it'll never sell. But actually, there are a lot of music lovers out there donating their time to upload torrents of many obscure records which haven't been in print for a great many years, and most likely will never be made available commercially again... and in the same fashion there are also any who contribute to projects such as Pandora and

So against all odds, and no matter the Kafka-esque hurdles these people are trying to put up at every possible moment, it is still comforting to know that despite their best efforts to muzzle non-top 40 music, a lot of it will survive because there are many others out there who care about it quite deeply, not for money, but out of LOVE, and because it is part of our cultural heritage.

And in some way it is comforting to think that after putting out so much negative energy, bad vibes, and consistently having so few innovative ideas or vision on what is really needed in today's marketplace to make artists sell some records, (besides suing the pants out of everyone they can) the very people responsible for lobbying for all of this arguably short-sighted legislation are going to get what's coming to them, i.e.: the opportunity to re-tool and learn a new trade very soon.

It's kind of futile to argue against a tidal wave; it's what this particular situation reminds me of.

In the meantime, and until this takes place, there is no question that if I had a Net radio show or anything of that sort, I'd make sure that the servers streaming it are hosted somewhere which cannot be impacted by any such legislative measures.


Yuo fa1l It?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926535)

future. Even []

Question (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926765)

So legally speaking, where does this leave someone who signs into discussion websites and writes comments like "hey, have you folks heard the new Information Society [] disc yet?"

Why did we need 6 years of lawyer's fees? (2, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18927039)

The world is turning into something out of a low-budget SciFi episode, a planet overrun by procedural paper pushers defining the physical world by legal statute. Sadly, it's not fiction, and we have no heroes to save the day.

The vast majority of good legal decisions are either "obvious" to anyone moderately sane (eg. dealing with an observed killing), or else they're shrouded in complexity that makes no single outcome fully just.

The first type needs nothing more than recourse to a "Fair Witness" (Heinlein's term, but there's some of it in the Jedi concept too, minus fighting), a person whose reputation is based on objectivity and fairness and plain commonsense -- no need for technicalities and legal dickering to come into it at all, by the definition of "obvious". A societal judge without court and with only one Law, simple fairness.

And the second type is handled equally well by the roll of a die --- after all, no single outcome is just. And dice do have the benefit of statistical fairness, which is more than can be said for the legal process where alleged "fairness" depends on your ability to afford good legal representation.

There is something fundamentally flawed in a system where years of arguing are considered to somehow yield justice, as if the cost didn't matter and the time lost meant nothing. Even if all costs were met uniformly out of the public purse, this still would not address the sheer deep freeze that legal proceedings place on society. Time is our most precious commodity, yet as this example showed, this is totally unappreciated in law.

Be that as it may, the current situation is nothing short of appalling, and getting steadily worse. We need a sort of French Revolution to lop off the heads of this new legal aristocracy, but I don't see that happenning --- we're stuck with this mess for the forseeable future, or at least as long as we're tied to this planet. Woes.

Are you for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18931067)

You do realize that your very own civilization was started by these "paper pushers," as you put it. What is your concept of a hero -- a bad-ass-kicking tyrant who will oppress everyone's right at a whim, and disturb the majority's sense of order for some Hollywood sense of justice?

It seems like you are the one who is applying a cheesy low-budget SciFi movie to reality -- Judge Dredd, is it? I got news for you buddy, even Judge Dredd was fallible and had to obey laws made by "paper pushers."

Trace your history back and you will see that the only surviving entities throughout time are institutions -- institutions outlast your "heroes" as you like to call them. You can't pick and choose what parts of society you would like to exist; either learn to play the game, or, make yourself independent of the society -- become self-sufficient -- figure out how! (Or come to a realization that even by observing the society you are an integral part of it -- and that you can't break out of the system.)

I am not saying that frivolous litigation does not exist; however, your understanding of the legal system and legal issues is rudimentary at best. It is far too easy to reach the point of being overwhelmed by details in this world and decide that you would chalk it all up to "paper pushers and legal b/s." Seriously, learn to play the game..over-simplification is the devil.

Hi there, lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18940101)

Seriously, learn to play the game..over-simplification is the devil.

Easy to see where you're coming from. Lucrative, the legal business, isn't it.

The OP over-simplified ... but the current mind-boggling over-complexity serves only lawyers, nobody else. And fairness isn't even part of that "game" that you're advocating.

Re:Why did we need 6 years of lawyer's fees? (1)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18932821)

Constitution was written with "common sense" kind of law in mind, not the "loophole" kind of law it has turned into today. Bill of Rights was supposed to be left out for precisely this reason until states demanded it. Such rights were obvious and including them, as was argued in the Federalist Papers, would merely designate those rights as the only ones afforded to individuals. Hence the X Amendment(which has, sadly, also been shaped and perverted).

However such foresight is incredible, I can only think that we are failing to see that government is an arbitrator of contracts between people, not an absolute "decider" of what is right and what is wrong(tell that to the abortion loonies on both sides). Maybe I would also mention the "right to a speedy trial" but who am I kidding here...speedy as compared to geological formations maybe? Sure it's not perfect, but [somewhere] there are people running it that have common sense and that is really the important thing. 2006 election was a sort of French Revolution but a lot less bloody. Thank god for civility. The losers should feel much more lucky.

Stupid legal stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18927183)

IANAL, but know a bit about some of these restrictions. There's even more asinine differences, such as "you can't make a cached copy (or cached encrypted copy) of a song otherwise you're liable for more $$$", pandora's "pause / skip" limits ("you have skipped too much this hour, please try again later")... a significant portion of doing a "professional" music service is meeting contractual obligations, so please give a little shout-out to any legit service that is doing this. It would be nice to run with 100% open content, but then nobody would listen to it. It would also be nice to do "famous" music w/o contractual obligations, but then people would get sued in an instant.

AHA!!! Finger point... (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18928987)

Clearly the moguls want to generate sufficienty long afferdavits, writs and court summaries in terms of readable length so that only someone who can afford a vast team of highly trained hassidic lawyers can afford to trade in music / video media at all. Exclusion Of Incidental, Consequential And Certain Other Damages. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall Grindalf be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, damages for loss of profits or confidential or other information, for business interruption, for personal injury, for loss of privacy, for failure to meet any duty including of good faith or of reasonable care, for negligence, and for any other pecuniary or other loss whatsoever) arising out of or in any way related to the use of or inability to use this post, the provision of or failure to provide support services, or otherwise under or in connection with any provision of this exclusion, even in the event of the fault, tort (including negligence), strict liability, breach of contract or breach of warranty or any supplier, and even if Grindalf has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Jewish Curses Clause / Advisement The aforementioned party named above (by way of the "fingers crossed routine") hereby psychically indemnifies and protects his person, property, family and family estate against any jewish curses (hassidic or otherwise), no matter how the curses are delivered including but not limited to praying, writ or shouting in the street. This psychic indemnification and protection is invoked irrespective of which third party's assistance is sought including but not limited to rabbi (no matter how orthidox), deity or housecleaner. This also includes the use of third party religions and or deities. Limitation Of Liability And Remedies. Notwithstanding any damages that you might incur for any reason whatsoever (including without limitation, all damages referenced above and all direct or general damages), the entire liability of Grindalf under any provision of this limitation and your exclusive remedy for all of the foregoing (except for any remedy of repair or replacement elected by Grindalf with respect to any breach of the limited warranty shall be limited to the greater of the amount actually paid by you for this post or u.s.$1.00. The foregoing limitations, exclusions and disclaimers (including section above) shall apply to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, even if any remedy fails its essential purpose.

Court rules Gravity does not Exist too (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18933009)

Has the same basic effect.

Gravity continues to exist.

Interactive playlists continue to play.

lusers continue to go into law because they can't grok computers.
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