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Music Media Government The Courts News

MIT's New Music Sharing Network 214

Posted by Hemos
from the share-the-music dept.
tessaiga writes "The New York Times has an article about a new project at MIT to replace music file sharing over P2P with sharing over cable TV (reg free link). The Library Access To Music Project relies on the more relaxed copyright restrictions on analog transmission formats like cable. From the article: "M.I.T. students, faculty and staff can choose from 16 channels of music and can schedule 80-minute blocks of time to control a channel. The high-tech D.J. can select, rewind or fast-forward the songs via an Internet-based control panel. Mr. Winstein and Mr. Mandel created the collection of CD's after polling students." The article goes on to point out that this is (hopefully) legal under current laws because MIT already has a blanket license to broadcast music over analog media, and recording songs played over this system "would be no different from recording songs from conventional FM broadcasts"."
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MIT's New Music Sharing Network

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  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:02AM (#7318124) Journal
    If MIT students can't find methods to get MP3 off the 'net, nimbly sidestepping the R*AA and other assorted vultures... well; do they really deserve to be at MIT?

    -
    • Umm... I think you're thinking of Harvard Law School there. This is not a *technical* issue, it's a *legal* one, and AFAIK they don't teach law at MIT...
      • Although MIT doesn't have a law school of its own, there are some excellent courses on law.

        Specially, 15.628: Patents, Copyrights, and the Law of Intellectual Property is a half-semester course that provides a great intro to the spectrum of IP law issues. Gosh, it might even provide some insight to the topic at hand... The instructor, Prof. Meldman is a real treasure to the Institute, and if you've seen him lecture, you'll understand why. At MIT, you'd have to bid for it, but it is also offered on OpenC
    • In case anyone else wants to read some of the other coverage....

      MIT Develops Legal Music-Sharing Via Cable TV

      MIT [mit.edu] students have developed a music on demand file-sharing system that uses the analog campus cable TV system to bypass the Internet and digital distribution [nytimes.com] (Google link [nytimes.com]). This takes advantage of the relatively less-restrictive licensing that the recording industry makes available to radio stations and others for analog transmission. The system, called the Libraries Access to Music Project [mit.edu] and

    • Re:God help them! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by glasser (96098)
      Of course it's possible to get MP3s for free here at MIT. But so many music-downloaders spend all their time whining about how the RIAA doesn't give any money to artists and if they just did that and didn't keep huge profits themself they'd support them. Well, LAMP actually involves legally paying the artists (especially the songwriters) involved.

      --dave, actual LAMP user
  • by Sadiq (103621) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:02AM (#7318125) Homepage
    It's all nice and well till the technology takes off and soon they'll find the nice hole in the licensing that allows them to do it gets shut off.

    Maybe i'm just cynical.

    • Maybe i'm just cynical.

      Yes you are cynical. The **AAs are just against anything which says DIGITAL, however if you talk FM, cable, Airwave where the Blasphemous word does not appear, they seem to be pretty okay with it. What MIT is doing is creating a simple cable radio network, and this should not be a problem with RIAA

      • however if you talk FM, cable, Airwave where the Blasphemous word does not appear, they seem to be pretty okay with it.

        They are??? Haven't you heard the words "analog hole?"

        Mind you, that's not the kind of "hole" that comes to mind when I think about the **AA....

        -Rob

      • If anything it will be good for RIAA - just watch Kazaa fill up with poor quality recordings that people make form this.

        Oh, wait, that's already the case...
      • by jandrese (485) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:40AM (#7318276) Homepage Journal
        Don't radio stations have all sorts of restrictions on how much control the users have over the playlists? IIRC, the restrictions range from: the radio station being strictly prohibited from publishing its playlist, request shows requiring at least an hour between when someone calls in a song to when they actually play it, DJs being required to talk over the beginning and end of the songs, and requring the DJ to not tell you the name of the song until after it has played.

        This MIT system seems to put a lot of power in the hands of the students, which is just the sort of thing the RIAA hates.
        • Don't radio stations have all sorts of restrictions on how much control the users have over the playlists?
          Not that I've ever heard, and not as draconian as you describe. Citation, please! Oh, and they're "listeners", not "users".
        • I think that's more of a restriction made by the station management. I break all of those rules. Of course, I'm on college radio, so I don't have to run my playlists past Clear Channel ahead of time like most commercial stations do.
          • I thought college radio stations had additional restrictions because they aren't commercial. I.e. they can't compete with regular radio stations by playing the same songs, etc. I knew a guy who had a radio show and I vaguely remember him talking about it. I dunno. Is that only in Canada or something?

            -a
            • That could very well a Canadian restriction but what is the point of college radio if not to play stuff that's NOT played by a commercial station? The only content restrictions I have are:
              -no slander, libel, etc.
              -no radio station politics on the air
              -no naughty words in songs except between 10pm and 6am and no naughty words outside of an artistic context
              -can't advertise
              -can't say another station's call letters
              -gotta say what station it is once an hour
              -gotta play public service announcements every hour, and t
        • by Oscillatory (455587) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:03AM (#7318399) Homepage

          Don't radio stations have all sorts of restrictions on how much control the users have over the playlists? IIRC, the restrictions range from: the radio station being strictly prohibited from publishing its playlist, request shows requiring at least an hour between when someone calls in a song to when they actually play it, DJs being required to talk over the beginning and end of the songs, and requring the DJ to not tell you the name of the song until after it has played.

          Some of these are the kinds of restrictions that are being imposed on licensed webcasters, including e.g. webcast from a college radio station .. or at least things like can't publish a song on the playlist before it's been played, can't play an entire album, or more than three songs from the same album within 2 hours (something like that).

          Broadcast radio has no such restrictions except as self-imposed by bad corporate radio .. college radio certainly doesn't require any of the above.
        • I worked at a radio station for a year. There were no FCC restrictions on how we created, played, and published our playlists. They were available in the music journals, online, and we would send them by snail mail if you requested.
    • by Davak (526912) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:11AM (#7318434) Homepage
      "Streaming fees" to me always reminded me of "steaming feces." Anyway, I wonder if MIT will be caught by some of the other legal challenges to the analog hole.

      Anybody remember this?
      Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has upheld Copyright Office's earlier decision that traditional radio stations have to pay royalties for streaming their traditional radio broadcasts over the Net (process is called simulcasting).

      Historically, American radio stations have had weird exception from royalties -- they don't have to pay anything for artists or record labels (they pay for songwriters though) for playing their music on radio, unlike most other radio stations in the world. And to complicate this issue, American Net radio stations have to pay such royalties. Now, the court fight was about this exemption rule and about applying it to simulcasting. Radio stations argued that their material that they air through radio-waves, is exempt from royalties even if broadcasted over the Net. This obviously puts smaller, Net-only broadcasters in losing side as they need to cough up to RIAA every time they play music on their station, while benemoths such as Clear Channel (world's largest radio station owner) don't have such costs involved.

      "The DMCA's silence on AM/FM webcasting gives us no affirmative grounds to believe that Congress intended to expand the protections contemplated," the Philadelphia appeals decision reads. "The exemptions the (DMCA) afforded to radio broadcasters were specifically intended to protect only traditional radio broadcasting, and did not contemplate protecting AM/FM webcasting."


    • The RIAA will step right in with current law. They will call the DJ a "Napster" just like the NYT did. "You can order up 80 minutes without adverts to record? Surely thats like killing people", they will say.

      What they will do is make is suck like other comercial broadcasts. They do this so they can shovel a small selection songs they wish to sell at you. Once they have it under control, they will leave it alone, but the loss of control will not be tollerated.

      Back to work, slaves!

    • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:25AM (#7318876)
      It's all nice and well till the technology takes off and soon they'll find the nice hole in the licensing that allows them to do it gets shut off

      However, this may pose a political problem. RIAA's argument is that they are not trying to retract existing privileges, such as recording music off the radio. Rather, they argue, the ability of digital technology to make "perfect" copies is a unique threat that must be combatted with restrictions specifically directed to the digital format. So to go after MIT, they basically have to admit that this argument is basically a load of crap, and that they are trying to impose new restrictions on what people can do with broadcast music. Of course, the reality is that nobody but a minority of audiophiles cares about "perfect" copies, and they aren't interested in trading compressed formats like mp3, anyway. The MIT initiative offers what the average student really wants--the ability to select the music they want.

  • Scratch ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mirko (198274) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:04AM (#7318132) Journal
    The high-tech D.J. can select, rewind or fast-forward the songs via an Internet-based control panel.

    Can he do it fast enough to reproduce the vinyl scratch effect ?
    • Re:Scratch ? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, But, never fear, someone else at MIT built this robotic DJ that can: DJ I Robot [mit.edu]

      DJ I ROBOT uses a PC, several micro-controllers, and an advanced "motion control" system to automatically mix, scratch, and search a pair of custom vinyl records on the robotic phonographs.

  • by the_pooh_experience (596177) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:07AM (#7318143)
    of the evil-doer, and it is the RIAA [riaa.org], who shakes his bony fist and exclaims, "darn you meddling computer scientists!"
  • Microsoft Funded (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Davak (526912) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:08AM (#7318149) Homepage
    Quote at the bottom of the page:
    LAMP is funded by the iCampus Alliance (MIT/Microsoft Research)

    http://lamp.mit.edu [mit.edu]

    Okay, slashdot... does Microsoft get any props here?

    (oh, sh!t, there goes my Karma.)

    Davak
    • Re:Microsoft Funded (Score:4, Informative)

      by maan (21073) * on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:38AM (#7318273)
      BUT...they run it on linux! Check out http://lamp.mit.edu/lamp-aup.pdf where they detail the setup and mention that it runs on linux.

      Maan
    • by kaiidth (104315) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:29AM (#7318538)
      Microsoft are funding a bunch of campus style software and such. iCampus [mit.edu]is one example of this, a large MIT research thingy, which covers funding for all sorts of projects (I seem to recall there being, for example, a student shuttle-bus which reports its location via gps to the web...). It's actually fairly fragmented; like most large lumps of university money it has been taken up by people as and when rather than as part of a Grand Plan.

      Well, no matter how it appears, certainly if you ask MS or MIT they will tell you there is a grand plan - for sure. But relax, Microsoft have been throwing funding at universities for 'wired campus' style projects on a regular basis as far as I know, and as yet it has met with limited success from their perspective. They would love to own the education market, of course. They just haven't got a decent grip on it yet, and not for lack of trying.

      You have to realise that research and industrial funding is an uneasy alliance at best. Good researchers attract funding whilst controlling the conditions under which it is given; bad researchers accept funding that comes with strings. In this case, MIT are, I suspect, in the driver's seat. This makes them relatively unusual; many researchers are rather naive and, on receipt of a few flattering comments and hints of 'long term collaborations', 'special relationships' or similar, will immediately go for it no matter what the conditions. Some even believe that they are the ones doing the 'using'. Having worked for one of these types, I can assure you that these researchers are wrong (do I sound disillusioned? Oh well).

      It's worth keeping your eyes open, anyway; if you see anything using tablet PCs, MS DRM, heavy use of .NET, and 'Learning through [demonstration/play]' with [insert microsoft technologies], then you can more or less assume that the researcher is a Microsoft prostitute of some kind. But this particular project seems too 'free' to be particularly blessed by MS.

      Don't know if that helps.
      • And, er, to annoyingly reply to myself, this [mit.edu] is why 'edutainment' is a good sign of active Microsoft involvement. Randy Hinrichs, Microsoft Research's Group Research Manager for Learning Science and Technology, is a major believer in the use of 'learning through play'. The LAMP project, on the other hand, is just a student project [mit.edu], and therefore supported to the tune of $30,000. I suspect Microsoft had veto power on it, though. Um.

        Off now.
    • Yes, isn't it wonderful that microsoft is supporting easy access to copyrighted works with a linux based server!

      On a separate note, just about all of mit's athena network is based on a customized linux/solaris systems. There are practically no publicly available windows computers on campus. Want to use microsoft office? Great, put it on your own computer because staroffice it is everywhere else. Only microsoft influence I've seen anywhere is a couple of measly tablet pc's sometime last year that I have not
  • they'll use it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Apreche (239272)
    I'm a college student, and I can honestly say that if I had this I would use it.

    I would use it to record all the songs I didn't already have on mp3. And for all the songs I couldn't get through this system, I would still hit the p2p. I don't supposed they have Super Eurobeat [avexnet.or.jp] or garage bands [cdbaby.com] music do they? No? The store doesn't either? Downloads for me.
    • Way to go. Not. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:17AM (#7318186) Journal
      Am I the only one who thinks that, at this very moment, a RIAA lawyer will be drafting notes that use your comment as the centrepiece for a legal motion to get this MIT project shut down?

      The way to combat RIAA, etc isn't by shouting from the rooftops that you'll pirate/whatever you want to call it their music from now till doomsday. The way to combat them is by supporting non-RIAA artists, by supporting innovative legitimate music-buying options such as the Apple iTunes store, by buying second-hand CDs, etc.

      Giving someone the very ammunition that they need to shoot you down is suicide. Perhaps when you graduate to the real world you'll learn that lesson.
      • Yes, way to go. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by leomekenkamp (566309)
        According to your (Score:4, Insightful), no, you are not the only one, but you are incorrect anyway ;-). What if we were talking about FM radio here?

        Reread the original post with FM radio in mind, and then tell me the RIAA will have lawyers drafting notes to have all FM radio stations shutdown because of the comments of people that say they are recording songs from FM...
        • Re:Yes, way to go. (Score:2, Interesting)

          by HardYakka (265884)
          Actually, there are rules that prevent radio stations from


          1. Playing more than 3 songs from a specific album in an hour.
          2. Playing more than 4 songs by a specific artist in an hour.
          2. Announcing their playlist to the public in advance.
          3. Playing entire songs without voiceover/overlap

          These rules are to prevent the exact scenario you are proposing.

        • Realise that if this endeavour is used as a thinly-veiled mass piracy scheme (as the grandfather post suggested), then RIAA will come down on it like a ton of bricks.

          The average FM radio station has to comply with the copyright terms set by RIAA and other copyright holders. If a radio station was set up specifically with the aim of promoting recordings, or if it didn't jump through the relevant legal hoops, then it would be shut down faster than you could say "Britney Spears".
      • Re:Way to go. Not. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by stubear (130454) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:17AM (#7318463)
        Excuse me "Mr. +4 Interesting" but the Apple iTunes store is populated with thousands of artists and songs whose record labels are part of the RIAA. The iTunes store also works with the RIAA to ensure the music is delivered in a way so as to limit widespread illegal distribution of the songs downloaded from the service. iTunes is as much an experiment for Apple as it is for the RIAA.
        • Re:Way to go. Not. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:35AM (#7318564) Journal
          Exactly. But it's a legal alternative to the traditional buy-a-CD-of-twelve-songs-even-though-you-might-onl y-like-two-of-them model. I wasn't suggesting that it was independent of RIAA, only that it was one of the many legal alternatives that challenges RIAA's status quo.

          If in twelve months time, 10, 15 or even 20 percent (to use arbitrary figures off the top of my head) of the music being bought by 10-25 year-olds is through online buy-just-what-you-want stores, then that'll be a very big wake-up call to RIAA and the major labels.

          In that scenario (which most probably happen eventually), the big boys will have to re-evaluate how they package, present and sell music on a wider scale. Right now, they probably look at iTunes as in interesting exercise, just as IBM once looked at PC clones in the same way. But sooner or later, just like IBM and those clones, RIAA et al will have to embrace a future that's not entirely of their making.

          And the less involvement that RIAA has in the music industry of the future, the better for us all, regardless of where we live and/or our musical tastes.

      • Re:Way to go. Not. (Score:4, Informative)

        by ckd (72611) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:22AM (#7318498) Homepage
        Am I the only one who thinks that, at this very moment, a RIAA lawyer will be drafting notes that use your comment as the centrepiece for a legal motion to get this MIT project shut down?

        This is not some random student project. MIT has intellectual property lawyers.

        innovative legitimate music-buying options

        Music need not be purchased to be heard. MIT has paid ASCAP et al for blanket transmission licenses, like radio stations use. (BTW, the campus radio station, WMBR, used to be called the "Tech Broadcasting System" or WTBS, until some guy in Atlanta bought the call letters from them...now it stands for Walker Memorial Basement Radio, for its location.)

        See their FAQ [mit.edu], particularly the questions "Is this really legal? How?" and "Did you have lawyers look at this?"

        • Licenses can be granted and licenses can be taken away. It'll only take a few "hey, now I stick it to RIAA and copy any music I want"-type posts, such as the one that I responded to for RIAA to petition that LAMP and any other similar projects should be shut down.

          MIT may have intellectual property lawyers but don't forget that RIAA and its friends do. And, if it comes down to a major fight, I always put my money on the organisation with the deeper pockets for a legal fight and the stronger resolve. Now, I
  • by kyoko21 (198413) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:11AM (#7318160)
    Nice to see that the boys and girls at MIT likes Britney since "Baby One More Time" was number 4 most request song last week. Just can't get enough of Britney on the LAMP!
  • by paiute (550198) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:13AM (#7318167)
    boston.com [boston.com]
  • by wouterke (653865) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:15AM (#7318178) Homepage
    it's not because this is legal right now, that it will remain legal until the end of times.

    If this becomes popular, my bet is that the RIAA will buy themselves a law which will outlaw this. If it indeed is legal right now, that is...
  • Won't last long (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:21AM (#7318195)
    The loophole is that the data is converted from D to A? How hard is it to capture it back to digital? (and wait for the RIAA stormtroopers to knock on the door?)

    • Not hard at all. If you have quality recording equipment, nothing much is lost. Anyway, the RIAA calls D->A->D converted music 'degraded'.

      Like I care. Playing in a metal band for a couple of years have busted my ears up good enough for me not to notice :)

    • I remember an argument being made at the height of the fight on music sharing was that the only reason today's file sharing is illegal is because you get a perfect digital copy. No degradation of quality. Recording a radio channel on tape, however, gives you a far lesser quality sound. So people (I forgot exactly whom) said that this was OK, but sharing MP3s was bad.

      So under the same arguments, the MIT's system is legal, since they're giving you an analog stream. Even if you redigitize the analog stream, y
    • Hi, have you been to college? Many, many, many colleges around the US that are too small to afford an FCC license and/or transmission equipment for a radio station broadcast over cable today. They have all the media in one place, you schedule blocks to DJ with training for the equipment, and users turn on their TV to listen. MIT *already has* pays royalties to do this. The absolute only thing different between this and a small college station is that they've automated the process so that you can do it from
      • I agree.

        Imagine a radio station that allowed one listener at a time to log into the radio stations website and control the play list for the next 80 minutes. A cool idea, but not anything revolutionary. They just multiply this basic idea by 16 channels and broadcast over cable instead of FM. Why would the RIAA care? Until every user has control over their own playlist, what's the big deal?

        I doubt this threatens the RIAA, and I'd be surprised if the number of Kazaa downloads from the MIT network decrea
    • No more difficult than it is on any of the cable/sat music channels right now, all of which presumably have the blessing of the recording industry right now.

      MIT's system is only marginally different in that someone you know or you might actually get to control what gets played once in a while. For the most part, though, you don't know what's being played and its like taping the radio, albeit with no commercials. Great if you want to put together canned mixes (the commercial variants being more highly ge
  • by yoder (178161) <progressivepenguin@gmail.com> on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:24AM (#7318212) Homepage Journal
    One step forward and two steps back. All in the name of progress and innovation. Instead of using the technology we have now and improving upon that, we have to go back and use previous technologies to bypass roadblocks set up by the multimedia mafiosi. Oh well, hope this pans out.
  • ...there will be new laws in place outlawing this.

    *sigh*

    • ...there will be new laws in place outlawing this.

      I wouldn't bank on it. It sounds like they have simply given end-user control to the same type of cable-tv music channels that practically every digital cable package includes. In essence, they have created a new and improved "Listener Request Show" on said cable music channels.

      I'd think that any law against what MIT is doing would either prohibit broadcast of analog music (fat chance), listeners making requests for songs to play (fat chance), or be so

  • Analogue vs Digital (Score:5, Informative)

    by rbbs (665028) <robbieNOSPAMhugh ... d.com minus poet> on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:30AM (#7318242)
    Would they not have a license problem as they can control the program by rewind and fast forward. In an analogue medium the flow is linear - this way, people can control the order of the music which probably means their analogue license won't cover it...

    (In the uk at least, if you wish to broadcast music, there are controls on how many tracks from one album / label etc you can broadcast in a set period of time. )

    great idea if it's legal though.
  • It's basically a free version of Launch [yahoo.com]. Which is all very well but does it really take MIT to think this up. First time I used Launch I thought "wouldn't it be cool if this was free".
  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:44AM (#7318296)
    They will still have to pay royalties on it, much in the way radio stations and web casters do. Remember the big fight last year over this? I'm sure they will try to argue that it is actually a webcast reguardless of the fact if it is analog or digital. Once they do that then they will have to pay per song played and that will stop it dead in it's tracks. If they do manage to convince the authorities it's more like on demand cable I'm sure their is or soon will be reg's that mandate royalties as well. Private networks are the way to swap music, throw a lan party, set up a wireless, or even run cable down the hall. When all else fails get yourself a portable or a hand full of DVD-RW's/CD-RW's and walk it over to a friends house. There are plenty of ways of sharing data that RIAA can't track/stop.
  • by rudabager (702995) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:44AM (#7318297) Homepage
    What is stopping the students on campus from contributing their "CD's" in mp3 form to LAMP? If they could do this and bump up the channels then this would be exactly the same as p2p file sharing, the only difference is that its analog and the "offending" files arent on your computer. These students are doing the exact same thing as all the people the RIAA calls "theifs," only MIT is doing it in analog. Its stealing in digital but it's a PHD thesis in analog. How stupid are these laws?
    • The laws are stupid because they make a distinction between digital and analog. In the terms of music, an analog performance can be as good, or better quality than a digital one. A live performance is technically an analog performance (supposed to be anyways).

      Wouldn't a pure digital performance be one generated by a computer in the first place? CD's and mp3's are just analog performances recorded on digital media (most of the time).

      What's stopping someone from making a device that makes every possible sou
  • by ebusta (719367)
    Awesome! Now all I need is that ellusive TiVo -> iPod software and cable bundle.
  • by gertsenl (719370) on Monday October 27, 2003 @08:46AM (#7318309)
    From the article, for those who read all the way: "Mr. Winstein said he once received an e-mail message from a fellow student complimenting him on his choice of music (Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8) and telling him "I'd like to get to know you better." She signed the note, "Sex depraved freshman."" This is a freshman girl at MIT... who is looking for loving... wants to get to know a gangly CS grad student... I AM STUPIFIED. Know what this means? This clinches it. The only reason we nerds are not getting any is because we're not looking for it. We're looking up net porn and wondering why we don't have girlfriends, while this girl's crying in her room about why we're not asking her out. Get out of your rooms and face the sun, gentlemen! Take a stand! Make this the day that college dorks around the world get girlfriends! WHO'S WITH ME?!
  • Here [nytimes.com] and here [hindustantimes.com].

    You /. mods should try news.google.com and save our souls from the NY Times registration database. The same goes for you submitters. It takes a couple of seconds and would save /. readers some time.
  • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:03AM (#7318401)
    Whoever came up with this idea is clever. But, he/she similarly totally misunderstands the point of copyright laws by playing "bright lining" games (as do, in my experience, many slashdot readers).

    (the term "bright lining" means doing some activity with a full knowledge of where the law or regulation is and doing something right up to this regulation, this living up to the letter of the law, though, the implication is, not the spirit.)

    Copyright is a socially constructed concept. Basically, copyrightholders are entitled to a monopoly of sorts for a limited time on their work. most people agree that the primary reason for this is to encourage more creation of works.

    When people talk in terms of "it's legally okay to copy a song from the radio" or "it's legally okay to copy three pages, but not the whole book", then they are basically referring to PRAGMATIC copyright interpreations and rulings based on past technological and social circumstance. as technology and social circumstance change, it may become necessary to change (usually tighten) what is allowed in order to best preserve the spirit and intention of copyright, which, again, is to encourage authors.

    here's a really obvious sign of when the spirit of copyright is broken--i call it the "extrapolation" argument. basically, somebody takes an existing interpretation and tries to "scale it up":

    • sharing music with your kid sister is ok, so sharing music with everybody's kid sister is (Napster)
    • photocopying one page is ok, so let's set up a distributed system via amazon's new full-text thing by which everybody downloads one page and somehow they are combined again (slashdot/amazon)
    • MIT has a blanket license for analog music / copying music from existing analog sources of music is ok (radio - unscheduled recordings, includes ads, not complete songs), so let's play a clever trick by which people can get whatever they want in a high quality, but analog format (MIT)
    All three of these will work, in the short term. And all three will generate stricter interpretations and a clamp-down, because they are so clearly against the spirit of the socially beneficial copyright law (oh, shut up already, completely-anti-copyright anarcho-libertarians - go and do a little historical research about every attempt to do away with copyrights and patents completely). The end result of this will be stricted interpretations and more bitching and whining on slashdot. What is the root cause of this? The evil RIAA and MPAA? Yes, they occasionally go overboard (the mickey mouse extension act is pretty egregious), but generally they are in the right.

    The root cause is those who think that they're being clever by bright-lining copyright interpretations without realizing that they are interpretations that are subject to reasonable modification as circumstances warrant, not god-given cast-in-stone truths. or, in other words, more technological sense than social understanding.

    Disagree? reply, not mod down.

    • Interesting points, but you do seem to advocate (or at least, predict) that all of these society-justified (is there a better word?) practices will be righted by legislation. Whether or not it is truly Right in the universal sense, or legal, or nice, our society does largely support the idea of file sharing.

      Would you say it is then misguided for 50 Cent to put golden tickets for diamonds in 4 of his first million CD cases for his latest album? Johnny Cash's "American 4" included a DVD of a single video f

      • You seem to think that these marketing ideas are purely anti-p2p. I have to be honest and say that had I heard about either of these schemes in a different context I wouldn't have even considered them as being anti-copying. People have been using freebies, giveaways and competitions to market products (including CDs) for a very long time, way before Kazaa.

        In the UK the people who compile the weekly pop charts brought rules in about 10 years ago to limit the maximum length of a single. The problem (as they
    • you are a slave. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by twitter (104583)
      here's a really obvious sign of when the spirit of copyright is broken--i call it the "extrapolation" argument. basically, somebody takes an existing interpretation and tries to "scale it up":

      Brilliant. This is why a system of laws that was supposed to enlarge the public domain with excellent works now serves the intersts of the worlds large publishers. We have gone from 28 year copyrights to perpetual copyrights in less than 100 years. If you think things are right, you are a slave and will take any o

      • The result is that big publishers have all the power (rest of cospiratorial rant snipped).

        The internet and related technologies are MASSIVE enablers of self-publishing on a level never seen before. Want to reach potentially billions of listeners? you can do it from your bedroom with zero third party support- when else could this be done before?

        And yet,

        • despite such technological advances
        • despite supposed mass hatred of **AA

        the intermediaries survive. how can this be?

        Proposed Answer 1: Random co

        • mumbles the clown writes:

          The internet and related technologies are MASSIVE enablers of self-publishing on a level never seen before. Want to reach potentially billions of listeners? you can do it from your bedroom with zero third party support-...the intermediaries survive. how can this be?

          That's easy, your first statement is not true. The intermediaries are buying ISPs so that you can't really publish from your bedroom. My ISP, like many others, has a "no servers" clause despite a glut of bandwith.

        • Now that copying is easier / cheaper, it is understandable that terms are longer.. sheesh.. at least keep your logic straight.

          Ah yes, that's what idiots like you keep telling me, but you have it backward. If the point of copyright it to encourage publication, the cheaper publication is the less encouragement it needs and the weaker copyright law can be. Get it yet? If the internet had existed in 1776 the US would have no copyright laws at all.

          • umm, wrong.

            publcation (net) costs nothing if you make money on what you sell. hence, the cost of publication is basically irrelevant.

            next you're going to tell me that the fact that pencils and paint are cheaper now than before, that copyright needs to be abolished.

            If the internet had existed in 1776 the US would have no copyright laws at all. Abject stupidity, that last statement.

            • publcation (net) costs nothing if you make money on what you sell. hence, the cost of publication is basically irrelevant.

              Ah, but morons like you think the purpose of copyright law is to assure publishers a proffit as an end rather than as a means to the spread of ideas. As the costs of publishing goes down, the need for such "protection" goes down proportionally, even under your own twisted logic. Get it yet? It's hard to be more clear.

              • no, i don't get it at all. as the costs of publising goes down, the ease by which somebody *else& can re-publish your stuff goes down similarly, and thus you have no more incentive to create intellectual work thab before.

                i didn't mention nor do i believe anything about an "assured profit".. this is bullshit on your part.

                think that my "republish" argument is not true? I dare you to find a more mocked and flamed academic paper regarding IP and economics in the last few years than boldrin and levine,

        • > This is completely incongruous to your argument. If publishing is expensive / difficult, then short or no copyright is necessary.

          You miss the point. There was a time when "publishers" were the only people who could make player piano rolls. The artists (composers) were afraid to "share" their works because the publishers would sell copies of their music and not pay the composer a dime. The publishers FOUGHT copyright laws at the time because they DID NOT WANT to pay the artists. By offering the art
          • I still miss your argument completely.

            Let's say that universal self-publishing is a reality today. That is to say, something comes out of my brain, and I have the ability to instantly deliver it in retail form to any customer on the face of the planet. Furthermore, I have the ability to instantly and sufficiently market the product without any third party intermediary.

            Explain to me again how tihs makes "copyright ... less of an issue?" Because if *I* can so instantly publish my work, so can *every ot

    • An important point overlooked often is that for a law to be effective it must be be supported by a large majority of the population, at least in a democracy. It must also be seen to be fair. The copyright laws have been seen as unfair since the Disney case, when it became obvious that copyright was no longer a limited time monopoly, as you quote. But became effectivly a monopoly for all time, thus depriving the general population of a right they previously enjoyed and leading to the general contempt in whic
    • What I don't get is this "blanket license."

      Where is my portion of the money? I am an artist!

      Is this "blanket license" something done by the RIAA? I am not affiliated with them, so it won't cover me.
    • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:40AM (#7319023)
      I think you have the right idea, regarding your comments about the spirit of copyright.. but look at this particular comment from the article, I think it sheds some light:

      "It's almost an act of performance art," Mr. Zittrain said. Mr. Winstein, he said, has "arrayed the gerbils under the hood so it appears to meet the statutory requirement" - and has shown how badly the system of copyright needs sensible revamping.

      My interpretation of this is that the system the MIT guys have developed is supposed to demonstrate that you can build a feasible, centralized, (somewhat) random-access music distribution system within the framework of existing law. You can do this using technical slight-of-hand and the particular legal circumstances regarding analog transmissions.

      When people realize that you can have this almost-Napster legally, which provides a similar service, the point is to realize that the new laws are broken. There's a huge distinction, technically, between a P2P network and this project... however to an end-user the effect is much the same - you can dial up some music, when you want, from a big selection, somewhere else. So really - what's the point in making a distinction legally between analog and digital transmission rights, if you can accomplish much the same thing with either?

      Maybe I'm off-base but that's what I got out of it.

      By the way, when you say:

      The evil RIAA and MPAA? Yes, they occasionally go overboard (the mickey mouse extension act is pretty egregious), but generally they are in the right.

      In the right legally, perhaps. Morally and logically, not so much.

    • (the term "bright lining" means doing some activity with a full knowledge of where the law or regulation is and doing something right up to this regulation, this living up to the letter of the law, though, the implication is, not the spirit.)

      Copyright is a socially constructed concept. Basically, copyrightholders are entitled to a monopoly of sorts for a limited time on their work. most people agree that the primary reason for this is to encourage more creation of works.


      Using your very logic, it seems th
    • "When people talk in terms of "it's legally okay to copy a song from the radio" or "it's legally okay to copy three pages, but not the whole book", then they are basically referring to PRAGMATIC copyright interpreations and rulings based on past technological and social circumstance. as technology and social circumstance change, it may become necessary to change (usually tighten) what is allowed in order to best preserve the spirit and intention of copyright, which, again, is to encourage authors."

      False, f
  • "We have measured total signal-to-noise ratio, on a cheap television, at approximately 45 dB, or between 7 and 8 bits of resolution"

    Hmm. I love 8 bit mods, but I doubt this system sounds too hot. It also sounded like it was mono at this point. If that was the case, I'd say the students at MIT would be better off just downloading stuff that is high quality and freely available without restrictions. There's plenty of it.
    On the other hand, I check Kazaa the other day and I noticed that there's still a
  • Soon they'll come up with a way to share music wirelessly. Some day, every living room and automobile will come with a "receiver" for this amazing new technology. Thousands of music broadcasters, calling themselves "stations" will broadcast music freely over the airwaves. "Free Music for All!"

    Of course, if you want digital quality, that will still cost you $10 per month.
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:12AM (#7318440) Homepage
    I'm still at a loss - how is lossy analog via FM radio or television still any different than lossy digital music, such as MP3s? Is it simply an issue of availability that makes MP3s so detestable by the MPAA?
    • "I'm still at a loss - how is lossy analog via FM radio or television still any different than lossy digital music, such as MP3s?"
      • DMCA ... the first letter stands for Digital. I'm sure the RIAA despises both, but they've got carte blanche legal power to prosecute the latter.
  • by hey (83763)
    So Microsoft sponsored LAMP?!
    But LAMP is Linux Apache Mysql {Perl, Python, Php}
    eg http://www.onlamp.com/
  • If they aren't collaborating with a law school to make this a more multi-dimensional project then this doesn't really strike me as a great idea.
  • It's like saying "You're not allowed to walk into this high security area, but if you LIMBO in we can't do anything about it."
  • by shrikel (535309) <hlagfarj.gmail@com> on Monday October 27, 2003 @12:13PM (#7319813)
    Here's the registration-required link [nytimes.com], shamefully omitted from the original post. (For all you anti-privacy zealots)
  • by glazed (122100)
    At least with this sort of system it stands a chance against courts and the RIAA. They can prove that they have all the music legally purchased, and potentially argue that the streaming they're doing is nothing more than playing music at a party.

    If I've got a party with 150 people at it, I'm not required to pay royalties.
  • by 2legit (719406)
    I don't really see what the big idea is with the MIT LAMP system. The N Y Times is touting it as a new creative music 'on demand' system that has the potential to curb the rampant p2p campus file-sharing that has cause numerous legal and bandwidth issues. The central problem with this characterization is that it is largely hype. The system is only marginally more 'on demand' than regular radio. It broadcasts 16 universally accessible channels much in the way that satellite radio works today. The only a
  • Let me get this straight: we already have numerous P2P networks through which people can freely share digital media. These guys have created a system that distributes ANALOG versions of digital songs; only distributes data deigned appropriate by a central authority; only distributes locally, not worldwide; only allows users to hear the music from their TV, and not move it elsewhere.

    And this is supposed to be a good thing?

    No wonder Microsoft is funding the research... creating "innovations" that make peo
  • Mr. Winstein said that the equipment cost about $10,000, and the music, which was bought through a company that provides music on hard drives for the radio industry, for about $25,000.

    Nice job, NY Times.

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