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Obtaining Legal MP3s Outside of the U.S.? 623

Posted by Cliff
from the there's-a-whole-music-lovin'-world-out-there dept.
frankkubiak asks: "I recently bought the new iPod with 40GB. I understand the arguments of the record industry, that I should buy the music I want to hear. Alright. So I don't want to get MP3 files by file-sharing. But here is my problem: I live outside the U.S., in Germany to be exact. iTunes only offers service to those inside the U.S. (see this related Slashdot article). I don't want a CD, vinyl record, tape or minidisc. I simply want to listen to the music. Even if I decide to buy a legacy audio CD, it is often copy-protected and won't load in my PC. So, strictly speaking, it is not even an audio-CD. Heise keeps a database of those un-CDs (German language. English speakers can use this fish-translated page). It sounds incredible, but even after hours of research on the web, I don't see a legal way to use this device with new songs. The only way I see to use this device is to buy a CD, and if I can't rip it, I'll have to [break the law and] download the MP3-file via file-sharing. I believe there are more people like me out there who want to listen to their music, without feeling guilty. Why is there no one meeting this demand? How does Slashdot feel about this?" Before you mention Napster, let's note that it has similar restrictions (see the "International Considerations" section). So where can non-U.S. internet users go to download the legal MP3s that they want?
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Obtaining Legal MP3s Outside of the U.S.?

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  • MP3 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    MP3 = Terrorism.
  • by commo1 (709770) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:32PM (#8526578)
    You could buy the CD, download an MP3 from a site and play it. You own a legal copy, you're not technically stealing.
    • by RexHowland (71795) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:34PM (#8526606)
      That is theoretically true in America, but IP and fair-use laws are different in Europe. It's a pretty bad situation to be in, but hopefully somebody here will know how to handle it.
      • I may be misinterepereting things, but my impression was that the problem was one of guilt rather than one of legality. The laws are different, but does that change the morality of the issue?
        • The laws are different, but does that change the morality of the issue?


          One of the very basic parts of morality is following the laws where you live to the best of your ability. So, yes, having different local laws can have a very big affect on morality.
          • One of the very basic parts of morality is following the laws where you live to the best of your ability.

            Give me a break! I offer you three cases, two factual, one fictional, that completely destroy your premise:

            1. 1930s-40s Germany. I don't think I really need to elaborate on this one, but here's a hint: Oscar Schindler was breaking the "law." Do you suggest that his behavior was immoral?

            3. Rosa Parks was "immoral" because she sat down in the front of the bus, instead of moving to the rear.

            2. Orwe
      • by wfberg (24378) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:01PM (#8526924)
        Actually, in the US it does make a difference what the source of the copy is, as mp3.com found out the hard way.

        Here in The Netherlands, anything you download as a private person is legal; how about that for fair use? (Putting stuff up to be downloaded is a different game; that's where the dues should be paid (and they make it hard enough))
        • by gfxguy (98788) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:13PM (#8527031)
          Just to clarify, while mp3.com required you to have a copy of the CD you were downloading mp3s for, and while you are allowed to make copies of your CD, the court ruled that YOU are allowed to make copies of YOUR CD, but are not entitled to copies from someone elses CD.

          This is why the law is so stupid.

          But believe me, I have downloaded many things I own in one format or another, and feel no guilt.
          • Ripping services... (Score:5, Informative)

            by turnstyle (588788) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:23PM (#8527623) Homepage
            Perhaps not a solution for the original post, but some reading this thread may be interested in RipDigital [ripdigital.com]. You mail them your collection of CDs and they mail back your CDs along with ripped MP3s on a data DVD they burn for you...
      • by niko9 (315647) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:35PM (#8527216)
        Would this also apply to vinyl? I have lot's of rock on the dead wax, but I don't have the CD.

        Would I be breaking any laws for downloading and MP3 of a song I have on vinyl?

        If you think about it, vinyl is superior to both the CD and the MP3, so downloading the lossy MP3 should not be a problem.

        Comments?

        --
      • by k98sven (324383) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:58PM (#8527426) Journal
        That is theoretically true in America, but IP and fair-use laws are different in Europe. It's a pretty bad situation to be in, but hopefully somebody here will know how to handle it.

        Please explain, how are they significantly different? All countries have signed the Berne treaty.
        In my (humble) experience, most european have broader definitions of 'fair-use' than the US.

        Can you name a European copyright legislation which is stricter? I certainly can't.

    • by Lucky Tony (608908) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:34PM (#8526608)
      In a place like Australia, is considered stealing even if you own a copy.
      • by HuguesT (84078) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:02PM (#8526926)
        Repeat after me: copyright infringement. Also I don't think the police will be going after you if you rip your own CDs, they have bigger fish to fry. Finally the minute the copyright holders try to go after this practice which is *very* widespread certainly in Australia, the minute the law will get changed.

        So you should rip your own stuff, and see if "they" care.
        • by Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:50PM (#8527365) Journal
          Although I'd agree ripping your own stuff is a very low-risk activity in australia, I doubt that laws will change for the interests of the individual any time soon around here.

          Currently with the Free Trade Agreement negotiated with (or forced on us by) the U.S., australia is set to introduce the "mickey mouse" clause [zdnet.com.au] into copyright and bring the whole place more in line with ill-considered U.S. laws. The Sharman networks raid caught me by surprise, but there has been very little said about it in official political circles. It's an election year here too and Australian political parties aren't really known for their tech-saviness at the best of times. It will be extremely difficult for the current government politically if the FTA isn't accepted.

          As far as copyright goes, there's a reason it was sacrificed on the altar of free trade: it's expend- extendable..

      • No copyright owner or agent for same has ever sued an individual in Australia for making any kind of copy for personal use. The legislation has never been tested in court. It may well fail against Common Law fair use rights.

        The fact that it has never been tested must give you some idea of the Australian music and film industries' level of confidence that it would be upheld. As long as they never test it, they can continue to claim that it is illegal to tape shows off the TV, rip CDs to MP3, etc, etc.

        Do
    • by nocomment (239368) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:45PM (#8526756) Homepage Journal
      Could you use an american proxy server to make your connection appear to come from here?

      http://www.atomintersoft.com/products/alive-prox y/proxy-list/
    • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:47PM (#8526776)
      You could buy the CD, download an MP3 from a site and play it. You own a legal copy, you're not technically stealing.

      No. Don't. I don't care if it is legal in your area, but don't do this. This has two effects: You give money to the record label, and you bump up their 'piracy' rate. Given their unlogic on the issue, that will just make them put DRM on more of their CDs.

      It sounds like your best bet is to check with that list before you buy the CD. (And sorry, you'll have to buy the CDs.) If there is a CD on the list that you want, sorry. Send the record label a copy of your question, and tell them it is why you didn't buy the CD.

      If this is too much work, or you just can't get enough music to be worth it, sell the iPod (or return it if you can...), and tell Apple why. At that point you are an unsatisfied customer, who will tell others, for something that is not their fault. They may have the influence to fix it, even if you don't.

      Just don't hurt yourself. Support those who support you; the labels and artists who let you do what you want. Tell the rest why you don't support them. Maybe they'll listen. After all, it is their profit you're talking about.

    • by zuzulo (136299) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:47PM (#8526788) Homepage
      Internationally rights to songs are an interesting issue. On the bright side, before the internet many US companies sold the rights to thier song libraries for international distribution quite cheaply, so now there are various organizations in other countries that have legal rights to thier back catalogs. One good example is

      www.allofmp3.com

      which is a russian site. high variable bit rate encoding of songs from quite a large catalog for about .90 US a CD. Read the FAQ to look at their legal position.
    • by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:48PM (#8526799)
      And if I burned 10,000 copies onto CDR media and started handing them out in Times Square, that wouldn't be stealing either.

      I can't believe the propensity of people here to equate "copyright infringement" with "stealing," considering they aren't even in the same class of crimes, carry significantly differently penalties, are prosecuted at different levels of the court system, etc...

  • by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:32PM (#8526581)
    the music is owned by its copyright holder. if they don't want to offer it to you, you can't get it legally.

    them's the ropes, and our just desserts for allowing the hegemony of major labels to monopolise music for so long.
    • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:37PM (#8526669) Homepage
      the music is owned by its copyright holder. if they don't want to offer it to you, you can't get it legally.

      This is exactly right. There's no "electronic" fair use in most nations. If you want to listen to this music electronically, return your iPod to the store and find a music player that's WMA compatible. Or, just buy a CD player.

      Alternatively, create a business where European consumers can purchase electronic music.

    • WWJD (Score:5, Funny)

      by slash-tard (689130) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:02PM (#8526935)
      In these situations I always ask myself What Would Jesus Do?

      I think he would buy the the cd, rip it with audio hijack, and then load them up onto his iPod.
      • Re:WWJD (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pavon (30274) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:10PM (#8527004)
        No, no, no.

        He would start his own touring band, and let anyone bootleg it. When the lawyers and businesmen cornered him and asked if people should pay for copywritten music, he would answer "Give unto the laywers what is the lawyers, but live your life for others, for it is not your own but God's". After that the RIAA left outraged because he had not fallen into their trap.

        hmm, that started out as a joke :)
      • Re:WWJD (Score:5, Funny)

        by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron@REDHAThotmail.com minus distro> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:03PM (#8527467) Homepage
        That's interesting. In these situations I have a pretty similar routine... I guess you could call it WWJD, but instead I ask myself
        WHAT WOULD JEHOVAH DO?
        And, of course, there is only one answer to that: SMITE THEE!

        Man, I should get a tshirt with that.
      • Re:WWJD (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:51PM (#8527868)
        Actually Jesus was crucified for copying a bunch of fish and bread. He really learned his lesson on copyright infringement.
    • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:03PM (#8526937)
      Absolutely.

      I have been pretty lukewarm about boycotting the RIAA, mainly because prior to the internet, there really wasn't a viable alternative, and there are a lot of good non-mainstream bands that managed to get contracts. Most of the music I listen to falls into this catagory, and I never felt like I should boycott a musician because he took the best opportunity he could get. That, and I don't want to stop listening to all my favorite bands :) So instead, I have just become more proactive in discovering what indepentant music is out there, and supporting them in addition to the musicians I already know.

      On the other hand, it has always boggled my mind how eager consumers are to adopt these online music services formats which are more restrictive, lower quality, and have a smaller selection than the existing standard. No thanks, I will stick to CD. I had no idea copy restriction on CD's was getting so bad in some places, but if the day ever comes that I cannot buy music from an artist in a non-drm'd format, then that will be the day I stop listening to them. That's my limit - if they don't want me to listen to their music then I won't.

  • Is it illegal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by patdabiker (710704) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:33PM (#8526583) Homepage
    Is it illegal to download [and not share] the mp3's of an album if you own that album?
  • by PktLoss (647983) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:33PM (#8526593) Homepage Journal
    I have the same issue living in Canada, Puretracks has a small selection, but I haven't found anything I want there yet, and my discman only plays MP3s not WMV.

    I gave up and resorted to buying CDs, ripping them, then burning them. Most CD ripping software seems to be capable of working around the 'copy protection' on the CDs I have had experiance with. Its horrible because I live in tiny student housing and generally end up leaving the jewel cases and discs at my parents to save space and clutter.

    The music industry's grim determination to stop me from listening to music I have paid for has yet to cease amazing me.
    • by SheldonYoung (25077) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:43PM (#8526738)
      If you live in Canada this is a non-issue for you as you can download freely from almost any source. This is due to the levy paid on blank media and the sanity of the Canadian Copyright Board.

      From http://neil.eton.ca/copylevy.shtml [neil.eton.ca]:
      However, unless the legislation is changed or the courts interpret matters differently, it appears that making a private copy for your own use of a musical work downloaded in any manner from the internet is not an infringement of copyright. In their decision, the Copyright Board states:

      The regime does not address the source of the material copied. There is no requirement in Part VIII that the source copy be a non-infringing copy. Hence, it is not relevant whether the source of the track is a pre-owned recording, a borrowed CD, or a track downloaded from the Internet.
      The more complex answer to the question posed above is you cannot post a song on the internet in any manner, but you can make a private copy of any songs you find on the net.

      • This is incorrect. The law states that you cannot download music. The law allows you to borrow a CD from a friend and make a copy. A friend cannot copy the music for you, you must do it yourself. That is what the law for Canada states.
        • Actually, you *can* download music (in Canada). The other party may, of course, be in violation, but *that* party has to suffer the consequences.

          Ratboy
          • Actually, you *can* download music (in Canada). The other party may, of course, be in violation, but *that* party has to suffer the consequences.

            No, you can't legally download mp3's. In Canada, you can ONLY make a copy of an original, not of a copy. mp3's are copies of the original and therefore its illegal to download them.

            Of course its very unlikely you'll get caught, however, it is still illegal.

            • In Canada, you can ONLY make a copy of an original, not of a copy.
              The regime does not address the source of the material copied. There is no requirement in Part VIII that the source copy be a non-infringing copy. Hence, it is not relevant whether the source of the track is a pre-owned recording, a borrowed CD, or a track downloaded from the Internet.
    • I gave up and resorted to buying CDs, ripping them, then burning them.

      Personally, I like having the disks around. If nothing else, they're useful as a zero-effort backup or if I want to switch audio formats. (If space is a consideration, you could invest in a vertical CD rack like I did or, alternately, put the disks and inserts into a binder and throw away the jewel cases.)

      I haven't run into many DRM'd CDs that I care about yet so I don't know how that will affect my life. However, CDDA-XTractor

  • by archevis (634851) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:33PM (#8526595)
    ... wonders why people are drawn to illegal file sharing...
    • by zurab (188064) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:01PM (#8526916)
      I don't think they wonder, they know. The submitter asks a valid question:

      Why is there no one meeting this demand?

      The answer is because RIAA and similar organizations within other countries/regions operate a cartel. This means that in order to more efficiently control the market, among other things, they divide it in regions among themselves, sign or enforce non-compete agreements, enforce trade restrictions, engage in price-fixing, deceptive accounting practices, acquire or eliminate any competition, and purchase favorable laws to gain even more control over their markets. The main objective is to minimize competition through the above means while having the ultimate control over revenues.

      Meeting customer demands, coming up with new types of products, delivery methods, competition, and these types of things are not very high on their list. Operating cartels is illegal in many European countries, but nobody cares about it. People only see black and white, just like the U.S. elections.
  • by caston (711568) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:34PM (#8526604)
    How does Slashdot feel about this?

    Slashdot has feelings? Next I am expected to give her flowers, say nice things and nibble her ear...

  • by Pidder (736678) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:34PM (#8526609)
    Situations like this is why you shouldn't feel guilty about downloading "illegal" music.
  • Can't? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Vo0k (760020)
    The only way I see to use this device is to buy a CD, and if I can't rip it

    Did they create a WORKING copy protection scheme yet? i.e. one you can't circumvent by shift key or just by using the CD under Linux???
  • 40GB (Score:2, Funny)

    by savagedome (742194)
    I recently bought the new iPod with 40GB

    40GB with no access to legal music. Not that's gotta hurt. iPod mini might have been a good start ;)
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:35PM (#8526627)
    Last I checked, recording songs that are played off the radio is still fair use. Just hook any headset radio to the Line-in port of your sound card...
  • Opsound (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:35PM (#8526633)
    You get them at http://opsound.org !

    Licenced under Creative Commons licence...
  • Legal Issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PktLoss (647983) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:36PM (#8526644) Homepage Journal
    To be honest, I would love to see a case where someone downloaded MP3s for CDs they owned end up in a non-american court (and hense free from the majority of direct RIAA lobying). Once you own the CD, fair use should give you the right to listening to it on your PC, discman, or other portable electronics, and as such you should be able to legally use whatever means are at your disposal.

    Hopefully the precedent setting case would come down on the side of the consumet.
    • Re:Legal Issues (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259)
      Fair use is a nice idea, but as a legal concept it doesn't necessarily exist.

      I agree wholeheartedly that I should be allowed to rip any CD, cassette, LP, etc that I have bought to whatever format I like, in order to be able to listen to it more conveniently. Eg, I should be legally allowed to convert my entire CD collection to oggs to play on my nice, shiny new iRiver HP-120.

      Unfortunately, I live in the UK, where doing so without explicit permission is copyright infringement. Oh sure, no-one is ever going
  • www.allofmp3.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by budmur (748602) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:36PM (#8526652)
    The fine folks over at Allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com] will sell you MP3s for a wide variety of artists. They don't seem to care what country your're in. As far as being legit, they say that they're registered with the Russian copyright authority and that they're authorized to sell what they're offering. I haven't heard about any independant verification of that, though.

    • Re:www.allofmp3.com (Score:3, Interesting)

      by infolib (618234)
      At this conference [cti.dtu.dk] I heard a lawyer call it "semi-legal". I suspect it's just cause no one paid him to give a firm opinion.

      As far as I'm concerned, I already downloaded Robbie Williams' "Escapology". Picked "256kbit .ogg" - works like a charm. I think Robbie should get more than the microcent or so he got of the 50 cent I paid - but then again I don't really feel sorry. I was in the record store, had the record in my hand - and then I saw the copy protection label. If I can't really own what I buy it's no
  • Good place (Score:3, Informative)

    by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04@highp o i n t . e du> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:37PM (#8526661)
    muzik.agnula.org All of it is Creative Commons licensed music.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:37PM (#8526663)
    I use mp3search.ru [mp3search.ru]. They have a deal with the Russian equivalent of the RIAA, so these downloads SHOULD be legal where ever you are. They tend to have the CDs we in the US pay more for because there "imports". Lots of B side selections and remixes. Downloads are around 10 cents a song.
  • by Rexz (724700) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:38PM (#8526679)
    Any answer there is to this question will be at the best unobvious and at the worst massively convoluted. If the average consumer wants to use their digital technology effectively, they have no choice but to break the law. The lack of insight that has brought about this situation is the primary reason that the music industry is seeing such a massive downturn: it's the financial results of a cultural backlash against narrow-minded profiteering.
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:38PM (#8526680) Journal
    I seriously wonder what they would say.

    You have a device and nothing to fill it with. You ask them for songs and they tell you...what? Encourage you to break the law?
  • Whats the problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:45PM (#8526764) Homepage
    "I believe there are more people like me out there who want to listen to their music, without feeling guilty. Why is there no one meeting this demand? "

    Ok....so nobody is meeting this demand. I have two suggestions. Either try to start such a service that DOES meet those demands, and hopefully profit off it while you get your music fix, or just go ahead and break some laws. How can you feel guilty if they offer you no legal option for getting your music this way? You really have no alternative, so there is no reason to feel guilty, especially after you have decided you want to do things legally, and they have failed to provide you with a way to do so.

    Before I get people giving me arguments about things like "well, I wanted them to give me a way to smoke pot legally, but they failed to provide me a way to do so", I would just like to state that this isn't an issue about whether you can use something or not, this is a format issue and a license issue, which is quite different.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:46PM (#8526767) Journal
    In certain american states the record companies had to pay fines for price fixing. Since the same prices apply in europe this means the same price fixing is going on overhere just that our legal system is as bought and sold as the american states that did not pursue this.

    I don't know about germany but in holland it is a legal right to make a copy. Copy protection denies that right so again it is the music industry that is acting against the law.

    So why should I feel guilty when I download music?

    Asnswer I don't. Poor musicians starving to death? Awh, best artists in history were poor. I am doing art a favor. I didn't see music artist protest when changing technology made miners unemployed or when thousands of factory workers lost their jobs to robots.

    For years people have been making suggestions of how the music industry could easily sell its entire catalog without the expense of keeping cd's in stock by burning on demand. They didn't want it. Voting with your wallet is the only thing that works. Any who buy copyrighted cd's and then jump through hoops to get it to work on their player are pawns. You are sending the message that the current business model is fine with you.

    Since in holland you pay a tax on dvd's and cassetes anyway that goes to the music industry I see that as my payment. No more wrong then them getting money for my linux install cd's.

  • by Flamingcheeze (737589) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:46PM (#8526775) Homepage Journal
    ... I've succesfully (and legally) avoided spending any money on music for months, while downloading hundreds of new artists and songs. I've just been scouring for free downloads from artists' websites, etc.

    One of my favorite sites is Epitonic.com [epitonic.com]. I've found so many great artists there...

  • allofmp3.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:47PM (#8526779)

    Simple - allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com] - they're located in Russia, where the royalty laws for downloading music work similarly to those for radio airplay in North America. Because of this, they are able to offer a HUGE selection of music without having to hammer out deals with the major labels.

    How much does all this cost? How about $0.01 US/megabyte downloaded? What if I told you that the vast majority of their catalogue was available in high quality formats, that you can encode to your file format of choice (including LAME with --alt-presets, or OGG)? Would that sweeten the deal?

    Frankly, I don't know why these guys havn't taken off in North America, aside from a lack of publicity. I suppose there is some fear of giving your credit card to a Russian company, but their processor is highly reputable, and they now also accept PayPal.

    Here's some reviews and FAQs about their setup and its legitimacy:

    http://www.techimo.com/newsapp/i9599.html [techimo.com]

    http://www.techimo.com/newsapp/i9599.html [techimo.com]

  • CD... Baby, ermm. (Score:5, Informative)

    by igrp (732252) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:47PM (#8526786)
    There's always CDBaby [cdbaby.com] which has a an awesome collection, at least, as far as I am concerned and does kick back a good percentage of its profits to the artists themselves (and not their labels). As far as I know, international users are just as free to purchase songs as domestic users.

    Looks like Apple's itunes won't be available in Europe anytime soon [macworld.co.uk] (apparently Napster seems to want to come back in Europe [macworld.com] though).

  • by clarkie.mg (216696) <mgofwd+Slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:57PM (#8526885) Homepage Journal
    European music and artists [vitaminic.com] : independent (mp3).

    ecompil [e-compil.fr] : universal (wma)

    a cool label [magnatune.com]

    epitonic [epitonic.com] : good independent site (mp3)

    This is just a selection from google [google.com]
  • Weblisten (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paugq (443696) <pgquilesNO@SPAMelpauer.org> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:59PM (#8526907) Homepage

    It's in Spain, it's legal and their site is both in English and in Spanish: Weblisten [weblisten.com].

  • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:09PM (#8526986)
    OD2 [ondemanddistribution.com] are the largest european online distributer, with at least some tracks from all the 'big 4' labels. They sell in germany [ondemanddistribution.com] through a number of resellers, or branded versions.

    They're primarily a WMP9 shop, but I believe at least some of the resellers use mp3's, which should work on your ipod.

    iTunes itself is coming to europe, in theory the first half of this year; but it's anyone's guess as to when they'll actually launch.

    Personally speaking, I prefer to still buy CD's, as I get to choose the rip quality (high quality ogg's for my PC, 128vbr mp3 for my flash mp3 player).

    I just refuse to buy the corrupt disks, and stick to the smaller labels, especially the indie's. If you do want to import (cheap) CD's, I can personally recommend CDBaby [cdbaby.com] for non-label music, and cd-wow [cd-wow.com] are insanely cheap for more well known artists.

  • Bleep! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Blic (672552) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:23PM (#8527104)
    Warp Records' Bleep [warprecords.com] has unencrypted MP3s and it's good music too! Well, at least to me it is... =)

    Studio K7 [k7.com] has some limited offerings in MP3 as well.

    I think both sell internationally - Warp is in the UK and K7 is in Germany.

  • by El Volio (40489) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:23PM (#8527105) Homepage
    Other than looking for non-RIAA music CDs [magnetbox.com], there are sites with legally downloadable music. It's not the pop hits of the day, but sites like Epitonic.com [epitonic.com] have great music that you can download in MP3 form legally. Google can help you find lots more sites if that's not to your liking; these are just the ones I have bookmarked.
  • by arrianus (740942) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:29PM (#8527157)
    There is a difference between ethics and legality. You cannot legally use MP3s in your country. You've been conditioned to think of copyright as "intellectual property," rather than a social contract between creator of content and the consumer, which associates concepts like stealing and piracy with what is, in the end, not theft but copyright violation. This brings with it the feeling of guilt. You've also been conditioned, probably by the German society, that laws were meant to be followed and that ethical people follow laws.

    The reality is quite different. Laws are, at best, an attempt to codify and enforce ethics by committee. The committee is usually right, but does, on occasion, make errors. In those cases, there is sometimes no compelling reason to follow the laws. Worse, as in the case of Eastern Europe under Communism, the committee maybe corrupt, in which case, the ethical thing to do is often civil disobedience, and intentionally breaking laws. To me, this feels like one of those cases.

    You should strive to follow ethics, not laws. I would argue that there is a compelling ethical argument not to give money to record companies, so they can better buy off governments to pass acts like the DMCA mandating DRM, and destroy your right to write free software capable of interacting with the mainstream world (you cannot, right now, write free legal DVD players, or players for DRMed CDs, even if they have zero uses for copying content). If this is allowed to continue, in short time, GNU/Linux computers will no longer be able to legally access music and video, followed by books and electronic texts, and eventually, mainstream documents. Once this happens, GNU/Linux and free software will have been effectively legally banned from any sort of desktop use (and quite possibly, eventually, server use).

    I would sidestep the issue of benefiting personally from illegal action by making sure you do not benefit. Donate the money you would have spent on CDs to either the artists, or organizations like the FSF, the EFF and similar. Make sure you donate at least as much as you have in illegal content. Then, gather the content illegally, and use it as you see fit. I believe this is the second most ethical course of action (the most ethical being that you only boycott all mainstream music, and listen only to independent labels uninvolved in the push for DRM).
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:31PM (#8527169) Homepage Journal
    You need to read my article Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads [goingware.com]. It has been the #1 hit at Google for the query legal music downloads [google.com] for several months.

    From the introduction:

    You don't need to worry about getting sued by the Recording Industry Assocation of America [riaa.org] or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music. Many independent and unsigned musicians offer downloads of their music in hopes of attracting more fans. Here's some music from my friends Oliver Brown [kingturtle.com] and Rick Walker's Loop.pooL [looppool.info].

    If everyone started downloading legal music instead of violating copyright with the file sharing programs, we would make short work of the RIAA, because people would start buying CDs directly from the artists and seeing their shows instead of enriching the major labels by buying CDs from the bands the labels have chosen for us to listen to. The RIAA would also have no cause to complain - these music downloads do not infringe copyright because the artists give you permission to download them.

    In particular, you should be listening to iRATE radio [sourceforge.net]. It downloads and plays those legal MP3s that the artists have on their websites, so you don't have to go hunting for them. If you've already tried out iRATE, note that version 0.3 was just released, so get the update if you don't already have it.

  • Just break the law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saint Stephen (19450) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:54PM (#8527402) Homepage Journal
    Like you, I once (recently) set out on this Quixotic quest to discover a set of self-consistent rules within society, whereby one can function adequately. My conclusion that, while "society" says one thing, in reality it conspires to produce "law-breakers". Societies do not care so much about producing law-abiding citizens, their primary purpose is to produce law-breakers, who they will then punish.

    Since "society" cannot realize this about itself, it often leaves most criminals unpunished. Therefore it is better to be a criminal.

    You'll go insane the other way.
  • by Tom7 (102298) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:23PM (#8527626) Homepage Journal
    Don't support copyright holders who want you to consume under restricted circumstances. There is plenty of free music out there.
  • magnatune & epitonic (Score:3, Informative)

    by lavaface (685630) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:16PM (#8528035) Homepage
    You may want to seriously consider alternatives like magnatune.com and epitonic.com. There is a great deal of quality, free music. In my opinion, anything with DRM is not worth owning anyway. Seriously.
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:25PM (#8528102) Homepage Journal
    The band Fitehouse [fitehouse.com] recently released an EP called The Bomb [fitehouse.com].

    Both tracks are available for free download. Furthermore, The Bomb's first track, Running Scared [fitehouse.com] is released under the new Fitehouse General Public Music License [fitehouse.com], which goes further than the Creative Commons or EFF Open Audio Licenses in that it requires the release of the studio master tracks from which a piece of music is composed: also on The Bomb's download piece are uncompressed WAV files with the raw, unmixed audio of each of the instrumental and vocal parts.

    So if you like, you could record yourself singing and mix it with the other tracks from Running Scared.

  • by Shiifty (704247) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:52PM (#8528266) Homepage
    In Canada, I can borrow a CD (from a friend or the library), copy it and return the CD, and keep the copy for myself. This is legal and is what we pay levy fees for. However, you cannot have someone else copy it for you, and you cannot copy a copy. You must make the copy yourself from an original.

    Other countries have a similar law in place, you should check it out.

  • Warp Records (Score:3, Informative)

    by Canis (9360) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @05:39PM (#8536558)
    ...they offer the Bleep Music Store [warprecords.com]. All files are high-quality (VBR with the settings cranked up) MP3s, unprotected -- they *gasp* treat you like a customer instead of a serf. Also you can preview tracks -- not just 30 seconds of a track, but all of it (albeit in 30 second chunks, so you can't just rip the whole track to a .wav file before buying). Also there's Magnatune [magnatune.com] (tagline: "We are not evil" ;-} ). Warp have the advantage of 'famous names' though, like Aphex Twin or LFO.

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