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Some Fundamental Questions on Fair-Use-vs.-DRM Issues? 26

Posted by Cliff
from the crystalizing-your-stance-on-the-issue dept.
InspectorPraline asks: "I'm doing a paper on the 'cultural aspects' of both sides of the MP3/DMCA/CBDTPA/DeCSS/etc debate, and I'm trying to find out some of the possible reasoning behind why each side feels so strongly about the way it feels. (Yes, I do understand what I'm doing.) Specifically, since the Slashdot crowd is presumably on the opposing side to the RIAA/MPAA side, I have a few questions I'd like answered so that I can do a well-informed, balanced paper (note - this isn't an opinion paper, merely a statement-of-fact paper)."

"Feel free to answer (or not answer) any of the following questions:

  1. What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?
  2. We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?
  3. The DMCA is frequently seen as a flawed piece of legislation which is easily abused and so broadly worded that such abuse is unpreventable. Despite this, what positive or useful elements can be taken from the DMCA and used to formulate a new law that would do what the media companies want without infringing on consumers' rights?
  4. An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?
  5. With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase?
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated."
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Some Fundamental Questions on Fair-Use-vs.-DRM Issues?

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  • In a nutshell: (Score:2, Insightful)

    Producers want you to pay for everything.

    Consumers want as much as they can for free.
    • Re:In a nutshell: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GigsVT (208848)
      That's not really true. Almost all people would pay a reasonable price for something of value. Duplication services for bits and bytes are not value added services anymore. It's simple economics. The barrier to entry for CD and music duplication has already went to nearly zero, therefore the product value is near zero. The MPAA/RIAA want legislative barriers to entry to become stronger, since as far as free market economics go, they are obselete.
      • Are you trolling me? I didn't say that people want everything for free, I said that consumers want as much for free as possible.

        They want to listen to a CD they bought while they drive to work, while their wife listens to the same CD as she cleans the house, while their kids listen to the same CD on their way to school. Yes, any of them should be able to listen to the CD, but not simultaneously. To do that, they should each buy their own copy.

        The RIAA aren't simple "duplication services". They are incubators of talent, promoters, and much , much more. They deserve to be rewarded as such.

        The RIAA gave us the CD format, generously not building in copy protection. Now they find that consumers don't respect the laws, and so they have to do something about it.

        In my mind, making copy protected CDs is akin to a pub/bar/club having a sign saying "No drugs on the premesis" - They are helping us stay on the right side of the law.

        • Re:In a nutshell: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by yandros (38911)
          > In my mind, making copy protected CDs is akin to
          > a pub/bar/club having a sign saying "No drugs on
          > the premesis" - They are helping us stay on the
          > right side of the law.

          The problem with your analogy is this: while it's always illegal to use `drugs' (as you're implying) *anywhere*, copying CDs is NOT illegal.

          This is tricky, because most people have an instinctive, off-the-cuff belief that sellers can sell what they want, and people can go somewhere else if they don't like the wares. This is by and large correct (and important to our society), but there *are* a few regulations. Copy-protected CDs come very close to crossing that line (I and many others would say that they cross it).

          Another thing that many people either don't know or tend to forget is the ``piracy surcharge''. Basically, the companies now in the RIAA got together a while ago and complained to Congress that copying CDs would *sometimes* be used for piracy. Somehow (you'll be hard pressed to convince me that campaign contributions weren't influential), these companies convinced the US government to pre-apportion a fine for this piracy, spread out over *all* consumers (law-abiding or not), applied to blank audio CDs.

          This means that completely law-abiding artists who want to distribute CDs of their work (which they can do completely legally), are fined for the piracy ``in general''. This money is collected *by the government*, *for those companies*. This also means that if you want to make a `backup' copy of an audio CD (which you are explicitly allowed to do), you're paying that fine, collected by the government, and given to the media companies.

          This is just one of the many (IMHO silly/stupid) things the industry has been able to `convince' the government to do ``to create a marketplace where content companies are willing to put forth their wares'' -- i.e. market protectionism, but not against competing sellers, but against the citizen-consumers.

          Can you tell that I don't like this law? :]
  • Reccomended reading (Score:2, Informative)

    by 91degrees (207121)
    Have you read Copyright in a frictionless world [firstmonday.dk]?

    Could at least skirt some of your issues
  • Thoughts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by narrowhouse (1949)
    1) Appropriate uses of mp3 (or Ogg), Making compilations of your own CD's for your own use. The problem is that my use may include playing the songs in my friends car, at my girlfriends house or any other playback device that is handy. The copy-once formats mean I have to redo that compilation everytime I want to use a different format instead of copy it from a cd-r to a compact flash card.

    3) This doesn't really answer your question, but maybe it is helpful. The DMCA doesn't help. Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material was already illegal. The DMCA is more damaging because it limits thought and discussion about these issues, you can't make a device that works around a copy protection mechanism. (In the physical world this would be a law the makes bending a paper to open your desk drawer illegal) you can't publically TALK about defeating a copy protection mechanism.
    There is nothing about the DMCA that is redeemable that isn't already covered in some other law. The obsession with treating all things "digital" as if they are somehow not covered by the older copyright laws needs to end.
  • Please help (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hello, I have been assigned a paper to write for a class at school. Instead of spending some time doing research on my own and taking to time to think through and analyze the issues, I would like you to do that for me. Please answer all of the questions listed above to save me the trouble of doing it myself.

    When you're done, I have some reading assignments that I would like for you to read and summarize for me.

    Thanks!
  • I think the core issue with peoples dislike of the DMCA is that it 'paints with the same brush' people who copy data for backup as people who copy data for resale. People who backup thier precious and expensive data resent being lumped in with Warez sellers.

    As far as peer-to-peer networks go, they are just people sharing files. I was taught as a child that sharing was a good in itself. It's almost a reflex for me and a sign of a compassionate person.

    I see two ways that the DMCA and the attacks on P2P networks can change society.

    People might lose their reflex for sharing becasue of fears of doing something 'illegal'. This would lead to a cold, uncompassionate society where it's even more dog-eat-dog that it is now. Or people will slowly begin to see a rift between legal behavior and compassionate behavior and lose the respect of law.

    I dont like either one of these scenarios and therefore I don't like the DMCA as it now stands.

    This being said, I dont think people have any difficulty with copyright as long as the copyright holder must prove that they have been reasonably harmed by some persons use of their material. This entitles them to 'punish' the person by the seeking of damages. Right now they dont have to prove harm, since mere possesion of an anti-circumvention device is illegal, and that illegality 'punishes' me.

    I *need* to backup my data and harm noone in doing so. Making illegal the possesion of tools to do so makes it impossible for me to be both efficient and legal. One of those things is going to get broken...

    Doug Eleveld

  • Right to read (Score:3, Informative)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @10:03AM (#4606894) Journal
    If you haven't already, read Right to Read [gnu.org] It's by RMS, it is an almost eerie prediction that seems to be coming more and more true each day. This summarizes what most of us are seeing happen slowly.
  • One Two Three... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by e8johan (605347) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @10:14AM (#4606932) Homepage Journal
    This is MHO:

    1. Encode/decode sound, i.e. record and replay music.

    2. FreeNet is a P2P network guaranteeing the freedom of speech.

    3. Nothing.

    4. Allow people to watch movies and listen to music without region restrictions and also allow copying for private use. The reason that I encode MP3s (Oggs nowerdays) is to free up the CD player of my computer.

    5. Copy for private use, i.e. the right to change medium to a more suitable and the right to back-up. Also, the right to buy the media anywhere and play it anywhere (no regions).

  • 1. What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?

    Compression of audio data.

    2. We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?

    P2P = getting free stuff, whether legal or not. In a capitalist society, the corps want to make money, which is quite reasonable. People getting free stuff, even if legal, pisses them off. Even if the music/whatever is free, they'll still want to charge for it's distribution.

    4. An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?

    They are already doing so, haven't you seen the ads? Oh and a few fat cheques to congressmen so they don't have to label crippled media as such.

    5. With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase?

    The ones they had before, regarding backup copies, and copying for their own use. In other words: use it, its yours, just don't screw the companies/artists, however much you may hate them.

    That's all the homework I can be arsed with right now.

    Ali

  • And many of us use a computer as our primary, or only music player. Read more at www.dontbuycds.org [dontbuycds.org]
  • by haplo21112 (184264) <haplo@@@epithna...com> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @09:43AM (#4607057) Homepage
    I propose the (DFCA)Digital Freedom Continuence Act.

    "1. Congress Shall Pass no law restricting your ability to do anything digitally that you can do through handwritten, and or Analog means.

    2. Congress shall not allow the granting of a patent for any device that would knowingly impinge upon your ability to do anything digitally that you could do via handwritten or Analog means.

    3. It shall be unlawful to distribute technology which would knowingly violate the Free Speech and Fair use intentions of the Consitution of the United states of America.

    4. It shall hence forth be understood that once "content" is purchased, it is the purchaser's right to do what ever they choose with that content, and shall have the right to do as they have always been able to do via handwritten, or analog means.

    5. Congress Shall repeal the DMCA it does not serve the people of United States in any fair way shape or form. It abridges the freedoms that are set forth in the constitution.

    6. Congress shall pass no law which prevents fair use of media, nor shall it support any initive which would do the same.

    6a. it shall be illegal to develop technology or any other means which would prevent fair use of media.

    7. It shall be illegal to attempt by means of contracts take away the rights of the author of a work. That is, copyright can not be transferred, and the creative person or group thereof behind a work _always_ holds the copyright.

    8. There shall be established reasonable copyright limits on created works, that are equivalent to a period not to exceed the reasonable financial lifetime of the work. 8a. Each major version of software (ie. v1 v2, etc) shall have a copyright period not to exceed 6 years past the time that version is not longer available for sale. In this time the software publisher will have most likely published a newer version, ceased to exist(how can a company which doesn't exist reasonablely hold a copyright anyway), or abandoned that line of software.

    8b. Films and audio recordings shall hold a copyright for no more than 20 years from their original theater/video(for direct to video releases only) release date. New editions and releases of the film which change the content of the film through adding or deleting of material shall be covered by their own copyright period, and shall not extend the copyright period of the original work.

    9. If there does not exist a method of using media for a particular harware/software platform, and the publisher of said media does not make a reasonable effort to provide a viewing or conversion method then I shall be legal for a third pary to create a method, by whatever means required to do so, and distribute/profit by it.

    9a. In the case of new distrobution/storage/playback/viewing methods which become available in the market(hardware or software) the original publisher shall enjoy a 2 year grace period during which to make their works available via this medium."

  • Sneaky! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkVein (5418) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @09:59AM (#4607164) Journal
    1. What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?

    I think they should be whatever Fraufenhofer wants them to be. :P Ogg Vorbis is much better in every way that counts, and most that don't.

    I suppose you're asking more about the right to translate a work to another media.

    2. We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?

    The answer to this is rather painfully obvious, and one of the primary purposes of the technology: Distribution of bandwidth resources. P2P technology allows the [re]distribution of data to a large number of people at a minimal bandwidth cost to any single node. I wish to ignore the implimentation problems of metadata, focusing on the theoretical that the question pulls at.

    The most obvious example would be extremely low cost distribution of exposure material. This can't be "free samples" and advertising material disgustingly disguised as a high quality representation of the work of an artist. You can't spoon dogshit (not even federally mandated dogshit) at people who've been doing much better without your interference.

    The plus? P2P and its distance audio-centric cousin, webcasting, can provide wonderful exposure to EXACTLY the audience that desires it, without any marketing research and ad campaigns. The downside (for the RIAA)? A lot of new artists would be able to get enough exposure to make a living without the RIAA, changing the musician market into a seller's (artist's) market, instead of a buyer's (record company) market. For most of us on slashdot, I think we see this as an already inevitable shift, and the natural state that this market should be in.

    3. The DMCA is frequently seen as a flawed piece of legislation which is easily abused and so broadly worded that such abuse is unpreventable. Despite this, what positive or useful elements can be taken from the DMCA and used to formulate a new law that would do what the media companies want without infringing on consumers' rights?

    This and question #5 are flawed at the philosophical divide between art and publishers. See #5.

    4. An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?

    Not to be entirely venomous, but the RIAA and MPAA can fuck over and die horrible deaths. The members of the RIAA have demonstrated via lobbying that they can not survive in a symbiotic relationship with their own customers. The legitimacy of their existance is nullified by this. They serve no beneficial purpose for customers or for enriching or promoting the useful Arts. Their organizations at their mutal genesis did, and their current structure precludes reversion. A complete rewrite is required.

    5. With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase?

    This question is unintentionally barbed. The natural presumption of the concept of copyright is that science and art belong, first, foremost, and forever, to civilization. To encourage this creation, modern copyright law grants temporary restrictions to benefit the authors and inventors. This is "duh" stuff to anyone reading this, of course. The trouble with these extensions to copyright power is that they attempt to further steal from the intellectual commons and grant established companies the power to sell those rights BACK. Media corporations wish to be in the business of selling the commons to the common.

    Lines were drawn many times, and these corporations just kick sand over them and pretend they were a few inches back all along.

    Constructive comments? That would entail outlining a bill of rights. I'm not unbiased in this, and my language would undoubtably be defensive. These issues deal with copyright, but I cover several consumer-specific issues below.

    • Copyright should not outlive the natural life span of the author, but should allow heirs to benefit in the event of an untimely death, such as the case with General Lee Grant's memoires.
    • Copyright should not ever be transferable, except in the case of dispute and decided by a court: Rights should be grantable by the author, as this is obviously agreeable, but the right of granting rights should remain with the creator until expiration.
    • Consumers can do whatever the hell they want to do with a purchased work for private use. The only detrimental artifact possible is if Media Group Alpha wants to sell you several copies of the same fucking work. That's bullshit. If I buy a DVD of Lord of the Rings, I should (and do) have the right to translate it to any media I want for my own viewing purposes.
    • Non-profit redistribution of a parody, or derivative remix, edit, etc, should be permitted.
    • The larger intent of copyright is to prevent another from claiming your work as theirs. Unless non-profit redistribution of a substantially complete/unaltered version of a work is harmful to the creator's incentive to create more works, it should not be denied. This much requires that the proper credit be given to the content creator. This also requires the context of distribution to be considered. e.g., giving out Janis Ian's music pretty much anywhere can arrouse interest in her works, raising concert attendance and further record sales, providing financial incentive for Janis Ian to continue. Giving out hard copies Britney Spears' latest album in front of a store that's selling it clearly can harm sales of the album, and deter the artist from making future releases. (This is academic, however, since Britney Spears is endentured to make more albums whether she wants to or not, and doesn't have the rights to them anyway.) However, giving the same album out five years later could arouse interest in her new latest album. Context becomes important, again. So does reality, which never figures much into RIAA(/Enron) financial projections.
    • Broadcast television is probably (hopefully) on the way out, so this is probably a moot point, as well as being a rant. Timeshifting programming. I do it. I love it. I can't stand the stupid time slots and slot shifting networks do. I want to appreciate witty dialog, special effects art, or clever plot, not some marketer's clever insight into the 14-25 year old $25,000->$35,000 income bracket and coorolation with some time on a certain day of the week. Timeshifting invalidates the house of cards of tv advertising timeslot brackets. I say good riddance. I'd much rather if advertisers support GOOD shows, instead of shows on Fridays at 9pm.

    Well, you're writing the thesis. I'll cut my rambling right about here.

  • 1. What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?

    MP3 is an audio compression technology and, like JPEG, or MPEG, compression, is a valid way to make audio files smaller while sacrificing as little audio quality as possible.

    2. We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?

    I don't know that P2P can ever unsully its image. Napster's court case has forever altered that; a new name would help.

    3. The DMCA is frequently seen as a flawed piece of legislation which is easily abused and so broadly worded that such abuse is unpreventable. Despite this, what positive or useful elements can be taken from the DMCA and used to formulate a new law that would do what the media companies want without infringing on consumers' rights?

    Current copyright laws, prior to the DMCA, are still sufficient. The DMCA was an attempt by content providers to undo hundreds of years of case law in copyrights, which essentially spells out the reasons for which a consumer of copyrighted material is allowed to copy otherwise protected material. It was, and still is, a power grab, and is neither necessary, nor fixable.

    4. An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?

    By noting that, at least in the RIAA's case, their member organizations are making money hand over fist. Clearly, even if the majority of their consumers are, in fact, "thieves and pirates," there is more than enough money for them just in the pockets of the people who are paying full price, or "market price," for their content. It is capitalist, and free market, to desire to turn a profit. It is "Capitalist Pig" and very anti-free market to want to make all the profit in a given industry or market segment (see: Microsoft, US Oil, AT&T).

    5. With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase?

    Consumers buy copyrighted material for their own use. They should have the legal right (oh, wait, prior to the DMCA, they did have the legal right) to make copies of it, on whatever material they desire, for thier own peronal use, as long as they don't: claim it as their own, original work, use it commercially or publicly (this is not personal use), or make copies for another's personal use. Note that it should not be illegal to sell copyrighted materials that one has paid for, for a profit or at a loss, because you are not only selling the material, but the copyright as well. Frankly, for that, you could give it away, but only once, and you couldn't keep it or a copy after giving it away (you, again, transfer the copyright, and you no longer have a "right to copy").
    • They should have the legal right (oh, wait, prior to the DMCA, they did have the legal right) to make copies of it, on whatever material they desire, for thier own peronal use

      The DMCA, by the letter of its text, does *not* take away any of your legal fair-use rights. It was deliberately written this way.

      You, or anyone else, are allowed to take copyrighted digital media and modify it, timeshift it, convert it to other formats, and make a bazillion copies of it for personal use. No different than any other media, including video tape, books, artworks, etc.

      Media distribution companies are under no obligation to make copying their work an easy thing. They are implementing "technical measures" (some well-designed, others ludicrously easy to defeat) that attempt to prevent you from claiming your fair-use rights. You are free to use whatever means you wish (reverse engineering is still legal) to break these protections.

      What you are *not* allowed to do is tell anyone how you accomplished this!

      *This* is what is so evil about this law, and what 2600 tried to get across in its trial. It prevents freedom of expression of ideas. It lumps "circomvention devices" into the class of contraband like trafficking in drugs or weapons!

      Ultimately, I believe that this part (if not more) of the DMCA will eventually be found unconstitutional. But the way the court system works, it will be many years before judicial chess game (a case that both sides can't afford to lose) finally works its way to the Supreme Court.
  • By point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chilles (79797) on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @10:08AM (#4607240)

    What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?
    MP3 technology is technology to compress digital sound files to a size more easily manageable by current hardware (especially portable music players and) and current bandwith capacities (internet but also the USB bus often used for portable music players). As far as I know any use of MP3 technology is legal and appropriate. What can possibly be wrong with compressing a sound file? As far as I'm concerned MP3 technology (or any other technology solely used for audio or video compression has nothing to do with the other parts of the debate named (DMCA,CBDTPA,DeCSS,etc).

    We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?
    Well, I'm on slippery legal ground here, but one of the legal uses of the audio I buy (here in the Netherlands at least) is giving that audio (the original) to a friend either for a while (so he can listen to it for a few days) or forever (as a gift). In my Opinion it would (or maybe should) be perfectly legal to make MP3 versions of my audio, and share(through P2P) this mp3 version to the world. As long as I made sure only one person in the entire world was listening to that piece of music at any one time, including the original I bought then this would be a legal use. After all, having an MP3 file on your disc of material you don't own isn't illegal as long as you don't listen to it (again, under dutch law), so the P2P system would just be used to allow others to download music they might want to listen to in the future to their disc for storage (for example to make more efficient use of available bandwidth) until they have the opportunity to listen to that music (that is, it is their "turn" to listen to the song). Apart from that I think freenet [freenetproject.org] and locstworld [locustworld.co.uk] are good examples of legal use of P2P technology and these guys [mit.edu] are searching for more. Basically P2P is a way to make a network less dependent on specific nodes so there are tons of legal uses (darpa net is a good one too)

    The DMCA ...
    I'm not familiar enough with the exact contents of this law to react to this question.

    An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?
    The main interest of these bodies at this time seems to be to limit the value of their products to close to nothing. DVD's I cannot watch on my linux box (without "illegal" DeCSS) CD's that will not play on my PC (my only CD player currently) etc. The image of these bodies is directly related to the precieved value of the products they sell. So currently it appears customers (or at least this customer) and RIAA/MPAA see each other as thieves and pirates and both act as thieves and pirates would act towards thieves and pirates (a lack of mutual trust comes to mind....)

    With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase?
    Right to change the format of said media to suit the users needs. (portable MP3 players, (future) portable video players, even place the media on a (non public) internet server to be able to enjoy the media all over the world without having to lug several suitcases of media carriers and equipment around.)
    Right to enjoy the media in the company of family, friends, etc.
    Right to sell the media to whoever you please once you don't need or want it anymore.

  • You'll want to read this article, about the concept of The Commons: http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.3/bollier.html
  • My 2c (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Twylite (234238) <twylite.crypt@co@za> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @10:11AM (#4607262) Homepage
    1. Using MP3 as an alternative media for the purposes of using content which you have licensed is acceptable. So if you buy a CD (and thereby license the content) you should be able to back it up, copy it to your HDD / portable player / car MP3 player, etc. MP3 trading is, on the whole, NOT acceptable use: a CD (or any licensed content) should be treated like a book - it can only be used in one place at one time.
    2. P2P is a massively effective advertising/marketing mechanism. There are numerous studies showing that music trading increases music purchases. This is especially true for non-headline groups that don't make the Top 40 lists and whose record companies won't pay to have them on regular playlists. Wider exposure means more sales, and this benefits the artists and the record label. Of course, this doesn't make it legal. The question is: how do you draw the line? Perhaps we should have a DRM system that permits shareware-style evaluation?
    3. IANAL, and since the DMCA doesn't directly effect me, I am not overly familiar with it. On the whole, however, I have not seen many negative comments about the DMCA beyond the non-circumvention aspects (and I'm probably forgetting some other critical bits ;) ). The DMCA is a good example of modern day legislation: it is redundant, and attempts to legislate a new solution to insufficient policing of existing laws. Consumers and record companies are best protected by concentrating the force of the law on commercial (i.e. mass) piracy, which is where most losses accumulate.
    4. The RIAA and MPAA are by their very nature opposed to consumers. They exist to protect the interests of the middle man, not the consumer nor the artist. They do not stand to gain anything from a better consumer image.
    5. As for (1). You should be able to transfer the content into any media you choose. Providing you do not distribute/publish content, you can also alter it (for private use) any way you see fit. You can also broadcast privately (e.g. play a DVD for a group of friends) and lend the content on a private, non-commercial basis (e.g. to a friend, but you cannot trade as a video store) providing that you don't use another copy of the content while a copy is on loan. Remember that Copyright law (as originally contemplated) is concerned with publishing and distribution rights, and cannot be used to control how you use the content once you have licensed it.

    A clarification: yes, I do refer to licensing content rather than purchasing it. There is a distinction, and that is becoming more clear. When you purchase a CD you receive, in that purchase, the physical media containing the content, plus a license to use the content. Copyright law does not allow you to own the content unless you are the copyright holder - you can only use it according to a license granted to you by the copyright holder. With physical media we seldom distinguish between the purchase of the media and the purchase of the license, because the license is implicit.

  • My apologies for the annoying <TT> post; CmdrTaco's lameness filter
    decided my post had "'junk' characters". Email me at vsync@quadium.net
    and I can supply you with a clean HTML version.

    I fear that by setting forth answers to these sorts of questions, we may
    end up in a situation like that created by the Bill of Rights or (more
    recently) the Microsoft judgement; requirements previously set forth by
    law (de jure or de facto) are now viewed as concessions to us, and we can
    be granted a few, but not all, in order to appease us while the larger
    agenda continues.

    That said, I feel it is important to set forth the rights and
    responsibilities I feel have already been trampled on, so that it cannot
    be said that we never set forth our desires in this matter. Keep in mind,
    however, that by and large, these are not things I think would be "nice to
    have"; these are things previously established by either explicit
    legislation, common law, or extremely sensible court precedent. I believe
    that many of these laws were only changed due to widespread bribery in the
    form of "campaign contributions", FUD called "amicus curiæ" and
    "Congressional testimony by industry leaders", and a continuous refusal by
    the modern Mob to accept that the days of the horse and buggy are, in
    fact, over.

    1. When you speak of "MP3" technology, it seems you are committing the
    fallacy engaged in by a large portion of the populous. MP3 is only one
    of several lossy audio compression file formats. Others include Ogg
    Vorbis, RealAudio, and Windows Media.

    The problem with conflating "MP3" with "compressed audio file", and
    further with "free music", as both the RIAA and the media seem to love
    doing, is that this creates an environment where MP3 files themselves
    are seen as suspicious (leading to situations where small independent
    artists find their own music removed by their hosting provider,
    something I am not entirely convinced the RIAA does not approve of)
    and sites like MP3.com and EMusic are tarred with the same brush as
    Napster. Further, MP3 is a patented technology and therefore has legal
    issues associated with it that are outside the scope of this
    discussion.

    That said, some, but not all, of the noninfringing uses I support for
    lossy audio compression are:

    Time- and space-shifting.
    I have a CD collection that, while not as huge as those
    possessed by many on Slashdot, provides me with a
    resource I can turn to repeatedly for musical enjoyment.
    Every day or two, I copy various files from this
    collection onto a flash card which I then listen to with
    a portable player while driving, working, and exercising.
    This has a number of advantages:

    * This is more portable than taking the CDs with me,
    especially since I tend to mix-and-match artists and
    musical styles in a day's listening and therefore
    would need to take 5-10 CDs along with me each day.
    * CDs require moving parts, while flash memory does
    not. Therefore, converting my music into digital
    audio files requires me to charge up my player's
    batteries less often.
    * CDs are expensive to replace and easily damaged by
    scratches, sunlight, drops, cracks, and shattering.
    By leaving my original media at home, I have only
    the easy-to-replace flash card to worry about,
    rather than my collection of shiny plastic discs.
    * CDs can present an attractive target to those
    pondering a car break-in. A flash memory card
    currently does not, and it is far more easily
    concealed.

    Online digital music purchase.
    I subscribe to EMusic, which for $10/month provides me
    with unlimited access to completely standard and
    unencumbered 128kb/s MP3 files. Even over a modem, the
    compression used allows me to have several new albums in
    a night's downloading. The members of the RIAA,
    meanwhile, are against such innovation and only
    occasionally will they provide access to files which can
    only be played by a proprietary player I cannot run on my
    computer's operating system, cannot be transferred to a
    portable player, and often cannot be backed up. Meanwhile
    they continue to avoid providing incentives to purchase
    physical compilations, such as consistently attractive
    cover art and CD label design, interesting liner notes,
    alternative packaging (perhaps tin, wicker, bamboo,
    etc.), membership to fan clubs, and the like.

    Criticism, parody, et cetera.
    Compression technology provides a convenient and
    inexpensive way to include verbatim portions of a work
    necessary for the legally protected actions of criticism
    and parody. For example, if I am writing a report on
    common views of women in modern music, it is far simpler
    and more effective for me to simply include clips of the
    music being discussed than to include only the lyrics.
    This is a significant advantage of modern hypertext
    technologies, and it is important that new legislation
    not hamper existing rights simply because they may be
    exercised in a new and more effective medium.

    2. Once again, diverse entities find themselves tarred with the same
    brush. Peer-to-peer (P2P) simply means that entities communicate with
    each other without requiring significant interaction with a master
    entity to complete the transaction. While media-sharing systems like
    Napster, Gnutella, and the like are generally the only ones explicitly
    labelled as such in the news media, they are by no means the only
    places where peer-to-peer technology can be found.

    The Internet itself is largely peer-to-peer, for the very good reason
    that it is a more fault-tolerant approach than a strict client-server
    paradigm. Individual computers supplying resources to each other can
    still continue if one becomes unavailable, and "mirror sites" provide
    redundancy. In contrast, the continuous annexation of smaller
    corporations and their resources into larger ones creates situations
    where when one of the resulting megasites becomes unavailable, vast
    reaches of content drop off the net.

    This is a low blow, but perhaps our legislators, so concerned about
    terrorism to our electronic infrastructure, should be made aware of
    the efforts of the RIAA and MPAA to abolish an approach determined by
    U.S.-sponsored research to be best at weathering network disruption.

    3. I largely agree with your first assessment of the DMCA. Among the very
    few things I like, however, are the protections against liability for
    service providers (although I disagree somewhat with the approach
    taken to achieve this), the fact that requirements exist to get
    content removed, and the explicit protection of fair use.

    The requirement that specific conditions be met before demanding the
    removal of content makes it very easy to recognize corporate
    censorship and, while complying with the law, publicize such action in
    a way that likely would not have happened before such a formulaic
    system was set up. The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse has taken this
    idea and run with it.

    One of the main problems with the DMCA is that it criminalizes actions
    rather than technologies. Therefore one's fair use rights can be
    denied if copyright protection technology must be circumvented in
    order to get to the content and exercise one's legally protected
    rights. As the DVD and eBook situations show, it is not enough to
    allow only "significant" noninfringing uses. Rather, any noninfringing
    use should legitimize the tool in question, and legal action should be
    taken against those actually infringing copyright, in the same way our
    society does not prosecute locksmiths for possessing burglary tools,
    but prosecutes those who break into homes.

    4. Put simply, these organizations can cease their slanderous and
    libelous attacks on a law-abiding segment of the population, and for
    their sakes I hope they do so prior to a huge class-action lawsuit on
    behalf of those whose reputations have been thus tarnished. I do not
    use "warez" (illegally copied software); I do not keep music around
    when I don't own a license to it; I have not downloaded a single
    motion picture. I am careful to observe the law, and I will not stand
    for being treated as a criminal, nor will I accept punishment for
    actions I have not committed.

    5. I have already addressed many of these rights in my first point, but I
    will attempt to list a concise and non-exclusive list of important
    rights in relation to digital media: time-shifting, space-shifting,
    medium-shifting, criticism, parody, educational use, backup, the
    ability to store digital media in multiple and diverse locations
    simultaneously while only using them in one, and the ability to
    preview a work before purchasing it.

    This last (the right of preview) is not currently a legally
    established right, but I see no reason for it to be denied. It is a
    commonly-decried situation that while the one or two songs publicized
    may be of acceptable quality, the rest of an album is often filler and
    trash. Although retailers are required by law to prominently post
    refund restrictions, most retailers will not accept music or movies
    for refund, and post this fact not at all, in small print, or on the
    back of the receipt once the customer has already made his or her
    purchase. Finally, music and movies are expensive, as the major
    content-producing oligarchies have already been found guilty in
    various courts of price-fixing. In such a world, it is important that
    the customer have some recourse.

    I hold out little hope for legal fair use in this nation; as James Madison
    said in a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated October 17, 1788: "Monopolies
    are sacrifices of the many to the few. Where the power is in the few, it
    is natural for them to sacrifice the many to their own partialities and
    corruptions." He also suggested the reservation "in all cases a right to
    the public to abolish the privilege, at a price to be specified in the
    grant of it". Perhaps this time has come.
  • Answers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by haplo21112 (184264) <haplo@@@epithna...com> on Wednesday November 06, 2002 @12:00PM (#4608160) Homepage
    1.What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be? 2. We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?

    P2P has legitamate purposes in transfering ideas and information in a distrubuted fashion. Just becuase someone uses it for illegal purposes doesn't mean the whole thing is bad. I use these concepting in my companies information sharing systems through the web site I develop. If they truely believe that if something can be used for illegal purposes it should be taken away, then lets round up all the guns, cars, saws, hammers, screw drivers, knives, PDAs, locksmith tools, and many many other everydays tools, because they too, cna be used for illegal purposes...

    3. The DMCA is frequently seen as a flawed piece of legislation which is easily abused and so broadly worded that such abuse is unpreventable. Despite this, what positive or useful elements can be taken from the DMCA and used to formulate a new law that would do what the media companies want without infringing on consumers' rights?

    Short answer none, the tenents of the DMCA toward what media companies want and what consumers have rights too, under the Constitution of the United States are mutually incompatiable. The only way to provide for fair use by consumers so they can takes samples of media for fair use in research and comentary, to time shift programs for personal use, to copy media for personal use, is acceptance that this might lead to illegal activities. It has always been this way, users have always been able to make fair use of media through analouge means, the media companies have just decieded since there will soon be a complete shift over to digital that they should make an a ttept to stop it. However it is now an expected right that things should stay the way they have always been...the media companies are not going to loose anything they have no lost in the past in digital is these rights and freedoms continue. They have jut gotten greedy, this is no reason to begin imposing what they wish to impose.

    4. An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?

    Accept that their community of users do not want things to change, will not accept the change, and
    that they cannot do anything about it. Copy protection can and always will be over ridden, its immpossible to stop. Thats why they needed a law like the DMCA to make it illegal as a stop gap measure. What can they do to clean up thier image, stop thier shit come out on the side of the consumer(who pays their way through life), and discredit the framers of the DMCA and all similar laws...aka stop what they are doing shut up and go away and go back to what they used to do a decade ago before they got all mixed up in this. Alterantely they could just cease to exist, let the artists, and performers figure things out for themseleves, which would pretty much end up leaving the consumer incharge to dictate they way we want things to work. You make the content tkae you pay check, and then we do what we want with it. Which frankly would take they down a deserved notch or two...(1.3 million an episode to make "Friends" give me a break)...then wow what a thought maybe we would have TV, and movies and music worth purchasing, because they would cost less, and only the truly deserving stuff would make it through the survial of the fittest test, and not the studio's flavor of the week. Why are there 3 versions of "law and Order" becuase its a good show people like...
    Why did that crappy "American Idol"(that was the title right, it sucked so much i can't remeber) show last as long as it did, Marketing Dollars!

    5. With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase.

    See above answers for full discourse. However in summation. It IS(not should BE...IS) my right as a consumer to purchase CD's, Movies, DVD's and by being forced to watch commercals; Televison, and then do whatever I want with that content if I want to turn that information into an MP3 so I can load it on my PC with out carrying the CD around I can(not should be able too, CAN!)...if I want to turn my new copy of "Spiderman" in to a divix stream on my server harddrive, so I can stream it to, 3 PCs connected to TV's in my house and allow all of them to show the movie during a party and my guests can roam from room to room watching the movie I can! If I want to capture the lastest episode of "Buffy" so i can watch it later 100 times and skip all the commercials I can! If I missed that episoide and I want to download it from a Usenet News group so I can see it I can!
  • 1. What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?

    As others have pointed out, Fraufenhofer holds patents that cover MP3, so they are entitled to control what is done with that file format. Your real question is about the uses of audio compression technology.

    Audio compression technology makes it possible it possible to distribute music and other audio data very cheaply on the internet. Compared with the old method for distributing audio (pressing, transporting and selling plastic discs), it is faster, better and cheaper.

    A reason some people resent record companies, is that music is expensive, but the artist get very little of the retail price. In the past the record companies could reasonably argue that making, distributing and marketing CDs is expensive, and that the artist's cut is fair, after their costs have been taken into account.

    This argument evaporates with the introduction electronic distribution and marketing of music (MP3+Websites). The few (record company) proposals for the electronic distribution of music are just as expensive to the consumer, and pay no more royalties to the artist. It looks like the record companies are profiteering because they have reduced their costs without giving anything back.

    (A similar, criticism can also be levelled at movie studios over the move to DVD from VHS. They more expensive, but obviously cost less to make as they contain no moving parts.)

    Many in the slashdot crowd would argue that the business model used by record companies is outdated (like buggy whip manufacturers), and that they should be forced to adapt or die. They should not be entitled to buy legislation to protect their outdated business model.

    Instead many would suggest a system where music is brought directly from the Band's website, on a track by track basis. Each track would be much cheaper for the consumer because there is no middle man, but the band would still get the $0.10 or so per track that they got under the old system.

    I hope this helps.

  • My dad had a bunch of old records and tapes(which were given to me). Can I now legally downloads mp3 from Kazaa of these songs, burn them to a cd and listen in my car?
    I guess my question is do I have rights to the songs on a certain material or a song on any material? What if the record is destroyed but I still have the pieces and original cover?

    Lotsa questions I have

  • 1. What do you think the legal (or appropriate) uses of MP3 technology should be?
    ok this is gonna be long. EAsy distribution of music fcor promotional purposes. CUstom cd's with your favorite songs(from cd's you legally own). Hooking your computer into your stereo for parties(not ever having to change cd's is nice). I can provide some more example but I'm pretty sure the slashdot crowd can provide more examples.
    2. We all know the RIAA complains about the illegitimate uses of P2P technology. Since its most prevalent usage is (by the RIAA's definition) illegal use, what are some applications of the technology that the P2P crowd can use to swing the tide in its favor?
    distribution of opensource/opendomain works. combating the slasdhot effect with things like bittorrent [bitconjurer.org]
    3. The DMCA is frequently seen as a flawed piece of legislation which is easily abused and so broadly worded that such abuse is unpreventable. Despite this, what positive or useful elements can be taken from the DMCA and used to formulate a new law that would do what the media companies want without infringing on consumers' rights?
    THose two goals are mutually exclusive
    4. An argument frequently levied at the RIAA and MPAA is that they are more than content to label the large majority of consumers as thieves and pirates. What can the RIAA and MPAA do to change this? How can these organizations polish this image up?
    NOt treat legitimate customers like thieves and criminals(some may be but not all of them are)
    5. With laws such as the DMCA and possible future legislation such as the CBDTPA, many consumers feel that their freedoms to enjoy the entertainment they purchase are being slowly eroded away by content companies. What rights (other than the right to listen or view) do you feel that consumers should have with media they purchase?
    THe right to time shift. TO change between medias. TO play their media on the devices that they choose. THe ability to enjoy media that they purchase without being tracked by anyone. TO not be assumed to be criminal.

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