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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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March 25, 2005

Hammers and mercury

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Way back in the dark ages, when the Cartel decided to sue Napster into oblivion, I suggested that this was the effective equivalent of smashing a blob of mercury with a hammer. Nice noise, flashy splash but at the end you have just about exactly as much mercury as you did before. Except now it's scattered all over creation.

Continuing this winning tradition, the Cartel have hammered at KaZaa, BitTorrent, and other large P2P networks. As if smashing the networks would somehow answer consumer demand. Sigh.

Anyway, Paul Roberts has a brief piece in PC World reporting on a Pew Internet & American Life Project study of this. The study points out that file sharing is moving out from traditional P2P networks into email, IM, and even (*gasp*) IPods. Apparently this surprises researchers because the iPod isn't "designed" to support this behavior. May I point these esteemed individuals, once again, to Gibson's dictum?

I'm starting to sound too much like a broken record, even for my own tastes. Saying the same thing over and over for seven years is dull.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Kevin Heller on March 25, 2005 4:01 PM writes...

Check out podshanking:

http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000160036482/

Permalink to Comment

2. Scote on March 25, 2005 4:25 PM writes...

"Check out podshanking:"

While amusing, podshanking is a tediously slow way of making low quality analog copies by connecting the audio out of one iPod to the 8bit audio in on another. Using iPod linux can increase the recording bit rate, but although Podzilla does uncripple the recording feature on the iPod's chipset, the outboard circuitry in the iPod is not optimized for this.

As for p2p, the RIAA still doesn't think it is ok for you to make a tape of a CD for your car. I wonder if they even consider making a CD of a iTunes purchase (permitted under the iTMS TOS) for your car legal? Likewise, they probably still don't think I should be able to take sheet music I've purchased and copy it to a player piano roll for home use.

This is the industry that sued to stop RIO from making an mp3 player because it might be used to play copyrighted material (keep in mind that they still don't think ripping your CDs to your mp3 player is legal, even today).

If the content industry had its way years ago, we wouldn't even have printing presses since they could be used to pirate copyrighted material, yet the movable type printing press is one of the fundamental inventions that has advanced science, technology and society. The internet is today's printing press and p2p is an integral part of it. But the RIAA wants veto power over progress. We mustn't let them have it.

Permalink to Comment

3. Pinski on March 26, 2005 12:58 PM writes...

I find it funny that people still see the iPod as controlled by the DRM. If you have DRM-free music, then you can do whatever you want with your music. It is quite easy to deal with simply burn, and re-rip in a non-DRM format (like mp3). I wouldn't keep my music in any other format because quite simply the other formats are not that transferable.

Now the RIAA might think "it is [not] ok for you to make a tape of a CD for your car", but they sure do promote it as a selling point of CDs. Take a read from "Cost of a CD" from their website: "A typical music fan who buys a CD might use that CD at home, take that CD in the car, make a tape of that CD, – or using it as part of a compilation, play that CD with friends and for friends, and keep that CD for many years." This one of those classic misconceptions of the RIAA which floats around. Not that changes them from anything more than a greedy leech who suck the life out of musicians and the public.

Permalink to Comment

4. Scote on March 26, 2005 8:59 PM writes...

pinski on iPod DRM:
"It is quite easy to deal with simply burn, and re-rip in a non-DRM format (like mp3). I wouldn't keep my music in any other format because quite simply the other formats are not that transferable."

Yes, it is possible to burn a CD from your iTunes Music purchase, at the moment. Apple may change its mind at any time and revoke that right retroactively, preventing you from making any CDs of your Protected ACC music files bought from Apple. That is one of the big problems with Digital Rights Restriction schemes. You pay the price to purchase the song but the seller reserves the right to revoke your access or limit your usage of the song at anytime in the future. Good thing your car doesn't work that way, or your paycheck.

Your point was that you make mp3s that are no longer subject to Apple's Digital Rights Restriction. The problem is that you are transcoding from one lossy compression scheme to another, losing a significant amount of quality. This quality loss is why most people don't consider the tedious process of burning cds of their ACC files, then manually re-importing and manually re-entering all of the meta tags (the CD does not retain the meta data since it is a Redbook CD). I'd say that making sure there is a quality loss on transcoding is a deliberate effort by Apple, and one of the reasons they only sell 128 kb/s songs.

Permalink to Comment

5. Finishing.Law.School on March 27, 2005 4:04 AM writes...

I hate anything Apple but weren't you able to simply plug in original iPods and transfer files - something akin to a thumb drive?

Permalink to Comment

6. Pinski on March 27, 2005 12:01 PM writes...

Every CD that I have burned on iTunes (except for on CD-RW) has always kept its information on that computer.
And if you can truly tell the difference between an mp3 made from a CD made from AAC files and a mp3 made from a bought CD, then you are pretty impressive. The amount of loss is pretty darn small.
The reason they use 128 is because they have made a decision for the consumer (not one I agree with), that this is a good size and the sound loss is quite small. I would prefer a non-DRMed mp3 at about 192, but I am not going to get it.
And somehow Apple's 4¢ is really going to make them police anything right? No. All the policing efforts are going to come from a directive fromt the cartel. Apple makes its profits off of iPod which can easily be used to share non-DRMed music.
DRMs suck, yeah so, get over it. Buy music that doesn't have it. I have never "bought" music from iTunes (only free downloads) and I don't plan on it, because 99¢ is still way too much for a song.

Permalink to Comment

7. Scote on March 27, 2005 12:56 PM writes...

"Apple makes its profits off of iPod which can easily be used to share non-DRMed music."

Yes, current iPods will play mp3s. But the Digital Rights Restricted files purchased the iTunes Music Store are locked into a protected format that will only play on an iPod. (Yes, we know their is a tedious, quality loosing work around.) Apple is committed to locking you into your iPod by making your music investment locked to your iPod. The lock down is no longer an RIAA issue, Apple will not sell non DRR'd music because they want to lock you into owning iPods forever.

"DRMs suck, yeah so, get over it."

A fine attitude. Let's think of some other things we can try it on: "Slavery sucks, yeah so, get over it." "Fraud sucks, yeah so, get over" ...and so many more. Why "just get over it" when we can work to make the laws for IP better?

Permalink to Comment

8. Neo on March 29, 2005 3:13 AM writes...

"I would prefer a non-DRMed mp3 at about 192, but I am not going to get it."

Not legally. And this fact is evidence of market failure.

Permalink to Comment


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