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Italian Parliament To Mistakenly Legalize MP3 P2P

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the need-a-do-over dept.

Government 223

plainwhitetoast recommends an article in La Repubblica.it — in Italian, Google translation here. According to Italian lawyer Andrea Monti, an expert on copyright and Internet law, the new Italian copyright law would authorize users to publish and freely share copyrighted music (p2p included). The new law, already approved by both legislative houses, indeed says that one is allowed to publish freely, through the Internet, free of charge, images and music at low resolution or "degraded," for scientific or educational use, and only when such use is not for profit. As Monti says in the interview, those who wrote it didn't realize that the word "degraded" is technical, with a very precise meaning, which includes MP3s, which are compressed with an algorithm that ensures a quality loss. The law will be effective after the appropriate decree of the ministry, and will probably have an impact on pending p2p judicial cases.

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223 comments

Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22261956)

Are you reading this?

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (2, Informative)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262240)

Er, wasn't oink's claim to fame that it served up non-degraded music, ie. the best quality possible?

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262336)

It was indeed...release a 320 bit rate MP3, and it still would technically be considered degraded...not to mention it would be more or less indistinguishable between it a loseless file...unless you are a stuck up audiophile that also believes a multi-thousand dollar cable makes a difference [pearcable.com])

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (4, Funny)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262420)

This is an announcement: A long offtopic flamewar about how vinyl is (or isn't) so much better than any form of digital reproduction will be along momentarily. We now return to your scheduled programming.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262580)

And I will start it!

I personally LOVE the sound of vinyl...provided you have a good turntable (I personally use an MK1200II) and a good cartridge/needle...Vinyl does have a very unique sound that no digital production can recreate.

That being said, I would still prefer digital over vinyl for a few reasons:

-Durability/longevity
-Ease of storage
-Cost
-Dynamic range
-Ease of backing up

Amongst other things, of course.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (3, Funny)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263082)

I've always wondered: Why dont they just play a record and record that on to a CD? :)
You then get the Vinyl sound from a CD.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (0, Offtopic)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263184)

Vinyl is truly continuous like when you wipe waterpaint across a page.
CD is like a 600dpi laser print of the same waterpainting from three feet away.

It looks identical to most but there are gaps and some people can see that the printout is not a real watercolor.

And even at full 25mb scale, the CD is still missing some information present in the vinyl. These come across as "warmth". The total harmonic picture if you will.

It might be possible to get closer to vinyl by recording at a higher data rate. And there may be a point where the lost data is truly below human hearing resolution.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262800)

No audiophile needed, nor any rediculously priced cables.

I've made mix CDs for my car. Some of the tunes are 320 bit rate MP3s my daughter got somewhere (don't ask, don't tell) and some are straight bit for bit copies from the CD. It's a good six speaker system, but far from audiophile. And at 55 years old I hardly have "golden ears". But I can hear the difference between the MP3s and the straight CD rips.

Now with your typical two little speakers and a "subwoofer" (we used to have bigger woofers, in fact my old non-audiophile JBLs have bigger woofers than what they now call "subs") you kids are using now, you may well not hear the difference.

If you have a good car stereo, try this: Take your best factory CD and rip every other song to wav and every other song to MP3. Then burn a copy from those rips. You'll hear what I mean, especially since your ears are probably a lot better than mine.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262886)

I know there is a difference (and, naturally, the better the sound system the more you can tell) but still...320 bit rate MP3s still sound great, especially if you have a CD player that can read MP3s directly from a disc.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262994)

To be far I've had some CDs with pretty crappy audio quality, in some cases so bad I was tempted to just throw away the CD in disgust. Without knowing the quality of the input audio those MP3s were ripped from you can't be a judge of them. A more valid experiment would be to take a CD, rip some of it's tracks to 320 bit MP3, and play the CD and ripped tracks through the same speaker system. It's important not to burn those MP3s back to CD because now you've done two conversions (CD->MP3->CD) and added more entropy to the data in so doing.

Re:Calling all OiNK ex-admins! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262348)

So invert one of the bits near the start or end and you'll have degraded the quality (un-noticeably, but measurably!)

In other news (5, Funny)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22261974)

Pirate Bay is rumored to move its operations to Italy.

Re:In other news (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262008)

No, they couldn't share software or FLAC

Re:In other news (3, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262168)

True enough, but this does raise some interesting possibilities--Italy may end up with a large number of folks deciding to pay to host their 'educational' mp3 collections (say, for their correspondence 'music appreciation' course) in Italy, thus providing employment, et al.

The key is to get the Mafia supporting this, so that they can view the RIAA as a threat to the business, and treat 'em accordingly. ;-p

mafIAA (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262246)

I thought the RIAA and MPAA were wholly-owned indirect-through-a-dozen-shell-compay subsidiaries of the Mafia. Or did I get that backwards?

Re:mafIAA (4, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262370)

Yes, but they are the American mafia, so they are direct competitors. And everone knows what the mafia does with competitors.

Re:mafIAA (1, Troll)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262548)

And everone knows what the mafia does with competitors.
No, I don't... I haven't seen any competitors to the mafia in ages... there used to be some. Where have they gone? Last time I heard something about fishes, but a fishing trip can't last that long, eh?

Re:mafIAA (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262466)

Oh, well, if that's the case, then the Mafia'd realize that they can get a lot more money from hosting companies than from frivolous lawsuits. Sure, they'll want "a little consideration to make sure your songs stay safe" but that'd be much less of a hassle in the end, wouldn't it?

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262308)

The key is to get the Mafia supporting this, so that they can view the RIAA as a threat to the business, and treat 'em accordingly. ;-p

The law says for free so they'd have problems making very much money from it.

Re:In other news (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262342)

They distribute album art in jpg, not tiff. I think there's still a loophole with FLAC!

Re:In other news (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262758)

Don't rate the parent funny, insightful is better:
A italian judge has recently dropped charges against 3 link share websites (Ranging from edonkeyitalia to Bittorrent.com) because linking to copyrighted material is not the same as distributing copyrighted matierial and does not infringe the law. The IFPI immediatly stated that this does not affect end users that are still accountable, and that's partly true: Here the law states that downloading for personal use and without profit is not a felony so you can get sued for doing so only in a civil court. But you also know that your data will not be divulged by the authorities/ISP until a judge orders it, which in turn is very unlikely to happen under these charges.

The greens last elections proposed legalization of P2P, while being part of a coalition that laking anything except absolute incoerence had one of his members (now in the PD- Partito Democratico) write and push the IPRED2 at the europarlament.

In conclusion: unlike Swedes we don't have a sense of pride, I think things are going to change for the worse once we will have again a government... (6-20 months)

Re:In other news (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262842)

Isn't the Music And Film Association of America originally from Italy? Wasn't it spun off from the Los Angeles Cinema Organization Screen Association / National Orginization Screening Reserve Association?

Mistakenly? (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262002)

Perhaps it wasn't a mistake and was intentional.

Re:Mistakenly? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262668)

Perhaps it wasn't a mistake and was intentional.
Your statement makes me wonder how much you know about:
A) Italy's government
B) The knowledge of 50+ yr old career politicians w/regards to technology

Meaning of words (3, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262004)

IANAL, but just because something has a technical definition doesn't mean it can't a completely different meaning when used in a legal context. Besides, you would still have to argue that listening to the latest Crappy McPop artist is educational or scientific in use.

Re:Meaning of words (4, Funny)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262040)

Oh that's easy. We're simply studying how the combination of 0s and 1s can result in the most horrid sounds known to humanity.

Re:Meaning of words (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262048)

Besides, you would still have to argue that listening to the latest Crappy McPop artist is educational or scientific in use.
I have a large variety of MP3 files to better understand the file format for possible future creation of my own codec... Does that work for ya?

Re:Meaning of words (2, Interesting)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262100)

Do you have any development documentation to prove that?
Is it up to date? Is it progressive VS any other codec out there? Do you need GBs of music to better understand the format, or only maybe one song at every different combinations of encoding?

Re:Meaning of words (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262424)

And I suppose the most important question to ask: can your needs be settled by the publicly and freely available technical writeups out there? Why reverse-engineer something that's open?

For an MP3 enhancement filter? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262826)

And I suppose the most important question to ask: can your needs be settled by the publicly and freely available technical writeups out there?
Not if one is developing a post-processor designed to restore fake detail to a badly compressed MP3 file. I'm not aware of any freely available technical writeups that describe the characteristics of the artifacts produced by specific encoders.

Re:Meaning of words (3, Informative)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262252)

I have a large variety of MP3 files to better understand the file format for possible future creation of my own codec... Does that work for ya?

Not when you can accomplish the same thing without violating copyrights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sound/list [wikipedia.org]
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000012.shtml [digitalpreservation.gov]
http://www.id3.org/mp3Frame [id3.org]
http://www.dv.co.yu/mpgscript/mpeghdr.htm [dv.co.yu]

Re:Meaning of words (4, Insightful)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263132)

> Not when you can accomplish the same thing without violating copyrights.

Taking into account the new Italian copyright law, you're actually not violating any copyrights anyway.

Re:Meaning of words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22263286)

So what you've done is point to a list of OGG files, some sparse mp3 specs and claim that that's sufficient to test a new codec with? Right...

Re:Meaning of words (4, Insightful)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262056)

The intentionally misinterpreted version of a definition is the only version that really matters.

Re:Meaning of words (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262104)

Copyright law has always begged the question of what constitutes a "copy". Such laws don't even have a well-formed definition of a "work".

Re:Meaning of words (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262312)

just because something has a technical definition doesn't mean it can't a completely different meaning when used in a legal context.

Sure, but if the word is being used with a different meaning to how it is commonly used, then the law has to define that meaning. Does this law do that?

Also, I don't speak Italian, but as far as English is concerned, it's not merely a "technical" definition, the common meaning of the word "degraded" applies to the MP3 encoding process. The mistake, if any, isn't that the word was used incorrectly, it's that they didn't define the level of degradation necessary.

reminds me of the English non smoking law. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263264)

Your not allowed anything that can be smoked and is lit.

by not defining smoked or lit this law bans things like cheese and fish in a shop that has lights since they can be smoked and are lit.

"Chaos" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262332)

You're about to experience chaos.

To some people this would imply pandemonium. To others it means you're about to get a fart in your face.

Definition (4, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262470)

IANAL, but just because something has a technical definition doesn't mean it can't a completely different meaning when used in a legal context.


That would have required that the law exactly defined the meaning "a bassa risoluzione o degradate" (it:low resolution or degraded). See for example how copyright law functions in most countries (except in country that killed their Fair Use like the US) : "fair use" allows you to ignore the interdiction to copy, and then the law usually explain with great details what constitutes faire use and what not (backup, format-shift, quotes/citations, etc...)

It's not the case with the Italian law, it just says "low res or degraded". So normally one would expect to reasonably interpret the law. Now most of the data you find on P2P networks are recompressed, using lossy algorithm. You can mathematically prove in an indisputable way that this step degrades the data by introducing artefacts and approximations (the strategy by which lossy algorithms actually manage to compress data). You can also show that a lot of movie may have a lower resolution (16:9 widescreen 720x576 to square pixel 640x360 is a common conversion, lower PDA- and handheld-console compatible resolution are also found).

Thus how the law will be interpreted is : "lossy MP3, OGG/Vorbis and X264 repacks non-for-profit are OK ; WAVs, FLACs, straigh-ripped 8GB ISO or for profit are NOT".

If the local antenna of MPAA is unhappy, this interpretation will have to be challenged in court and set a precedent. But as I said before, the degradation induced by repacking using lossy compression is mathematically provable and the corporation will have a hard time trying to prove that exchanging MP3 on a P2P network infringes on this law.

Corporation will probably settle for the more easy route exploiting "The Pirate Bay" hole, trying to prove that during the operation some profit was made and thus the sharer are infringing on the "not for profit" part of the law.

Or will push around to force distributors to use copyrighted media into already already converted into lossy format (selling DRMed lossy music files instead of CDs, or moving the DVB-T transmission to MPEG-4/H263 and AVC/H264 so people won't need to recompress from MPEG2), so that either the p2p user will exchange the same files as the copyrighted material (and break the law) or that the p2p users will have to further compress the files (introducing additional degradation and lowering the quality to the point that legally authorised p2p won't be interesting).

Re:Definition (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262824)

If the local antenna of MPAA is unhappy, this interpretation will have to be challenged in court and set a precedent.
And this is one of the things I hate about politicians.

They have, in their heads, an understanding of what they want the law to mean & how/where it should be applied.... then they generally write the broadest possible language and will actively refuse to narrow it down to whatever their original intentions are.[/pet peeve]

This is the legislative equivalent of "Bank Error In Your Favor", but more often than not, the error constricts the public's actions.

But it's not degraded... (4, Interesting)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263014)

You are thinking it's degraded from 44khz WAV files, and that's true. However since MP3s are actually being sold now through online music stores, you would have to argue that these are degraded compared to the actual product being sold. Look at your DVD analogy. You say you couldn't upload an 8gb ISO of a DVD, but isn't that 'degraded' from the original masters or even the HD-DVD version? Certainly if you bought a 256kbit MP3 from Amazon and shared it you wouldn't consider that 'degraded' since it is exactly what you purchased, right?

Re:Definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22263200)

FYI - Italian Courts do not use precedent. Like most of Europe, they use a derivative of the Napoleonic Code, which instead of resorting to the Anglo-American principle of stare decisis (let the decision stand - precedent) - each permutation of a situation is accounted for according to the specific law.

Re:Meaning of words (1)

plainwhitetoast (1230890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262498)

In general yes, a technical definition can have a completely different meaning when used in a legal context. But in this case it seems that those words, in the LEGAL CONTEXT of that law, of italian laws in general, and of italian constituition, will have the effects described in the article...

Re:Meaning of words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262908)

IANALE(ither), but usually a word's meaning is precise when used in a legal context; otherwise, the law can have interpretations that vary from judge to judge and from jury to jury. Because everyone is supposedly equal before the law, the wording must be strict and precise to remove any room for ambiguity, which is why it's hard for laypeople to simply read and understand the law.

When a court brings in a technical expert, it applies the same standard to the meaning of technical jargons. Any lossy compression results in a degraded quality from the original. There is no 'but' about it.

Re:Meaning of words (1)

contraba55 (1217056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263144)

Say you're hosting it for a music theory class. Anyone listening it can transcribe it (chords, lyrics, whatever). That should just about cover everything.

Legal actions (4, Insightful)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262018)

"for scientific or educational use, and only when such use is not for profit."

And what is educational use? I think there is somewhere a law what tells it is for education when it is used on schools or any other official educational usage. But not on personal usage, what would still be illegal.

Re:Legal actions (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262532)

Nice... and what if the scientific research requires the use of undegraded (i.e. lossless) source files?

--Rob

Educational / Scientific Use? (1)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262028)

If one was to download an mp3, would one need to prove that it is being used for Educational or Scientific use?

Re:Educational / Scientific Use? (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262130)

You know, not all .mp3 files contain copyrighted content, and, shockingly, it is possible to legally own copyrighted content.

Re:Educational / Scientific Use? (1)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262172)

I guess I thought it would be reasonable to assume we were talking about copyrighted content considering the context. Seems I was wrong...

Re:Educational / Scientific Use? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262268)

No, the prosecution would have to prove it's not for either, before you'd get in trouble.

Re:Educational / Scientific Use? (2, Interesting)

plainwhitetoast (1230890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262330)

According to the interviewed lawyer this law, written as it is, would for example permit to make a websites that publishes the entire discography of an author for review and comment purpose, or to make a p2p public network of public academies that bring music available to students for study purpose. And so on (use your imagination).
I hope he's right! :)

Re:Educational / Scientific Use? (1)

geeper (883542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262822)

You are planning on learning to play guitar, sax, piano, etc right?

This is wonderful (1, Funny)

Bluewraith (1226564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262072)

Force degrading the music beyond the mp3 compression issue! I've been waiting for the day I can listen to current-day music with pops and scratches just like my old vinyl collection! I just can't get audacity to bring out the "spilled coffee on my 7 inch" sound realistically enough. Metallica always sounds better with a little sugar and creamer.

Re:This is wonderful (3, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262284)

"spilled coffee on my 7 inch"

I hear you can sue McDonalds for a lot of $$$ if you do that!

Re:This is wonderful (4, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263072)

I already have CDs like that [kuro5hin.org]. And oddly (ok not that odd), the MP3s actually make the pops louder.

If you isten to the KISS vinyl album with the song "Mister Speed" on it (the album cover just says "kiss") you can hear bleedthrough on the master tape on one tune, and if you listen to the first Aerosmith album on vinyl you can hear tape hiss. Pink Floyd fired their first label for that kind of crap!

But if you make a CD of Led Zeppelin's "Presence" or Boston's first vinyl albums with a good enough turntable, your home made CD will have more dynamic range and better frequency response than the store-bought CD.

-mcgrew

Is music appreciation not educational??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262092)

It is a fair point...is it not?

Re:Is music appreciation not educational??? (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262200)

I would imagine it depends on what their definition of "educational" boils down to. Sure, there is something to be said about music appreciation, but is 100 gigs of the latest shit entirely necessary for it? What genres of music are covered under music appreciation? Is there a time limit on determining "appreciation" and just listening to the new release of some artist?

Re:Is music appreciation not educational??? (1)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262352)

At first, I disagreed with you. But on comparing this with another medium on the internet (Visual Art) I see an interesting correlation.

Art Gallery is to Radio
Actual Painting is to CD/Non-Degraded format
High Resolution Picture on the Net is to mp3s

If someone scans a painting and puts it on the internet in a viewable, but degraded, fashion is it legal? If so this law might actually make sense. The only issue I see is proving that listening to Soulja Boy is educational...

Who cares? (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262166)

As a pompous audiophile, this does me absolutely no good whatsoever. On the other hand, the crown icon has given me an excellent idea for enhancing the performance of my 24 karat gold speaker cables by encrusting them with gems.

Re:Who cares? (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262338)

this must be a joke because 24 karats is enough for mainstream radio-quality pop songs. However, try playing SACD jazz on that!

Makes sense: share MP3, but not WAV from CDs (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262178)

TFA suggests that the proponents didn't understand "degraded", but actually the lawmakers got it very right.

This will keep ordinary people happy in Italy and allow the community sharing that comes naturally, while ensuring that the *ACTUAL* music product of the labels (CDs of uncompressed WAV data) are excluded and therefore protected from sharing, or er ... "piracy".

Note that music fans will continue to buy the CDs of the favorite bands regardless of file sharing --- that's what fans do. The sharing is really just free promotion.

Of course, the labels will hate it, but then they hate anything other than open access to peoples' wallets.

Re:Makes sense: share MP3, but not WAV from CDs (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262428)

You've got to be kidding. Were you around in 1999-2001? People in college dorms would fire up Napster, download music as crappy 128kbps MP3s - you know, where high-frequency stuff like cymbals and hi-hats sound like hissing snakes - and blast the music at parties and in the common areas. No one bought a single CD.

Re:Makes sense: share MP3, but not WAV from CDs (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262868)

People in college dorms would fire up Napster, download music as crappy 128kbps MP3s - you know, where high-frequency stuff like cymbals and hi-hats sound like hissing snakes - and blast the music at parties and in the common areas. No one bought a single CD.

I can't speak for you, but most people I knew ended up buying a lot more CDs when Napster was around than they did after. Download a few songs, realize you like the band / album, then go out and buy it. The people who weren't buying more CDs were the people who wouldn't have bought any even without Napster.

Re:Makes sense: share MP3, but not WAV from CDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262904)

No one bought a single CD.

Remember that pop music is 99% crap, by everyone's judgment including chart fans. Only 1% of it is worth buying, if that. The 99% remainder is worth sharing, whistling to on the way to work, even dancing to it, but not buying. Why would anyone want to buy crap?

That's what the labels don't understand --- they think that the 99% crap should be purchased as well. The buying public disagrees.

Re:Makes sense: share MP3, but not WAV from CDs (0, Troll)

philicorda (544449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263268)

If it's crap, why are people downloading it, sharing it, whistling and dancing to it?

Your argument boils down to 'because I can get it illegally for free, it's not worth paying for'.

People can live perfectly well without pop music. You don't have a divine right to download as much music as you like just because you feel your tastes are superior to other people's, so refined that only the very very best deserves your unwilling patronage.

Re:Makes sense: share MP3, but not WAV from CDs (1)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262788)

Note that music fans will continue to buy the CDs of the favorite bands regardless of file sharing --- that's what fans do. The sharing is really just free promotion.

I'm certainly no defender of the music industry, but the reality of the matter is that a very significant slice of the population, who would otherwise buy CDs, is perfectly happy with downloaded MP3s. Sharing is not free promotion. It has an opportunity cost associated with the CDs that aren't sold. We all know that the particular dollar amount the RIAA claims is absurd, but there is a loss of potential revenue.

That all said, I would love to see any industry model in which creators, rather than marketers, win. If freely-distributed digital music accompanied by full-quality CDs for sale and extensive touring proves to be a sustainable model, then I'll be all for it. I don't think we know that for certain yet, but it shouldn't be too long before we find out.

Legal / Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262224)

Not like anyone would change their pirating habits if that law change happened here*.

*Here being where you live.

Science Project (4, Funny)

saxonw12 (1160467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262264)

If I were an Italian kid I know what my school science project would be. I'd be researching the effects of popularity on the speed of music downloads in certain p2p protocols...

Re:Science Project (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262600)

See... you can study that without retaining the data once it's downloaded... what you really need to study are the long-term effects on consumer electronics from the frequent downloading/listening to of music, and the economics of long-term storage of said data.

Lost in translation... (5, Informative)

EvilGrin5000 (951851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262316)

Reading the original article and then the translation, I noticed that the translation unfortunately could not comprehend some of the key terms that make the article more succulent to the reader.

The important caveat is that although the lawyer (Monti) says that this was a mistake, it will not pose too many problems while it gets fixed. He says that while in the mean time, the law be enforced in such a way that only websites that belong to scientific or academic institutions will be allowed to host these mp3s and it will not even cover websites from professors or scientists even if for scientific or teaching purposes. This was said despite the fact that the Italian law allows anyone to make a website that accomplishes the same things (teach or do research or whatever). Monti said that it will be easier to regulate it in this fashion while the bill gets changed.

The previous example cited was kind of butchered from the translation as well. It said that in 2000 another mistake in the use of technical jargon created a law that legalized all pirated satellite TV decoder cards. Although the law was eventually changed, all charges had to be dropped on current pirates of said cards in the mean time.

They expect the same to happen while they fix this new mishap.

Being Italian myself and seeing the current state of the government (what government) I'm not entirely sure that this didn't happen on purpose to allow current charges to be dropped and so on and so forth...Call me paranoid, but if you've lived in Italy as a citizen, then you'll know what I mean.

My two euros.

Why did they have to let the cat out of the bag? (1)

scubanator87 (1023313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262328)

The reporters could have waited just a little longer to make sure the law actually goes into effect that way it would take more effort to repeal it or something of the sort. Oh well.

Re:Why did they have to let the cat out of the bag (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262894)

I think it has been passed already and is just waiting to go into effect.

The new law, already approved by both legislative houses...

coc3k (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262378)

d ying' c8owd -

Higher authorities (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262394)

The law will be effective after the appropriate decree of the ministry, and will probably have an impact on pending p2p judicial cases.

...Which will shortly be reversed when higher courts at European level find that such a law in Italy is in conflict with the relevant European directives.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but this will last about as long as the shenanigans in France a few years ago.

Re:Higher authorities (3, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263170)

Sorry to rain on your parade, but this will last about as long as the shenanigans in France a few years ago.

I thought the Irish had a monopoly on shenanigans? Don't the French have their own silly word?

Hosting Services in Italy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262404)

Please reply with hosting services located in Italy. Sure would be nice to set up my new scientific and educational virtual server.

Right... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262456)

... so we'll just spread the word as far and wide as possible before it's done. Surely nobody in Italy reads Slashdot (or the news), so they'll never clue in and act to prevent this...

Wouldn't it be tricky... (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262556)

... to convince a judge that you put your mp3 collection up for educational or scientific purposes?

For some reason most people seem to be missing this little tidbit when reading even the summary.

Re:Wouldn't it be tricky... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22263018)

not really. The burden would be to prove you posted them with a non-educational or scientific purpose. What other reason would there be?

Mistakenly? (3, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262588)

In related news, last decade the US Congress mistakenly passed the DMCA.

In other related news, Springfield's paper is reporting [sj-r.com] (DOH!) that "Two men were caught Wednesday night with hundreds of DVDs and compact discs, packaged for illegal resale, inside their car... A police report indicated one of the men was arrested; however, a check of jail records showed he was not booked in."

Good thing those guys were just selling 500 bootleg DVDs and 500 bootleg CDs. If they'd ripped them to (degraded) MP3 and posted them for free on the internet, lets do the math here at $100,000.00 per track...

Waiting for ministry's decree... (1)

plainwhitetoast (1230890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262738)

The law wouldn't be effective until ministry's decree... the lawyer says that the only hope for politicians to correct the mistake would be to slow down the decree's process and meanwhile hurry up to amend the law (but italian parliament is currently in turmoil for government's crisis), FIMI guys (Federation of the Italian Music Industry) say they are unalarmed because the decree would limit "educational and scientific purpose" to those websites that deal officially with didactics, like those of academic institutions and universities.
But the lawyer says such a decree would be impossible to apply because the Italian Constitution authorizes every citizen to make educational and scientifical divulgation.

Who is right?
I hope (and I would bet) the lawyer is... Anyway if all politicians agree that a law must be changed they usually do that, sooner or later, but if they won't be able to correct their mistake in time for the law to become effective, it would be very funny to see the consequences... also if they'll last only until they change the law again... :)

Italy is a latin country (1)

protomala (551662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262864)

And as a latin country produces a *lot* of funny and wrong laws :)
Gladly in Brazil there is not this quality restriction, we are free to share (without any money involved) from user to user.
But people selling those can go to jail (even that I bet no one so far ever did).

Which /. editor approved of this? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262888)

Which /. editor approved of this article?

Did that editor realize he was giving some unwanted a hint?

Wise to share this info now? (3, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22262922)

Is it wise to share the information now? ASs the law is not in effect, it still can be stopped.

bi7ch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22262962)

SSucesses with the found out about the

Back in the day.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22263088)

Bootleg recording collectors will remember that Italy was the source of many "Recordings of Indeterminate Origin". IIRC the law was that the bootleg producer would open up a bank account and deposit a small royalty for each copy produced. The money was made available to the artist to claim (thus legitimizing the bootleg).

"when such use is not for profit" (1)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22263118)

use of the 'degraded' works aside, how do you define 'not for profit' when administrators of charity organizations drive around in cars worth more than my annual salary? You could say the pirate bay is not for profit, the money generated by adds is used to pay themselves for thier time, bandwidth, costs, etc, but so long as they don't go public, and are willing to do a little creative accounting...
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