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Archive through May 26, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru June 2002 » Archive Thru May 2002 » Audiogalaxy is being slapped with a lawsuit by RIAA » Archive through May 26, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Bjacques
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 3:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

15 quid? Yikes! That's $21. That really is a lot for a CD. Downloading mp3s isn't the Revolution, of course, and your average blagger certainly doesn't care either way. But you've gotta admit the geeks cracking copy protection schemes and perfecting P2P clients are motivated by a lot more than free downloads. There's nothing like the fierce joy of rubbing Michael Eisner's, Steve Case's and Fritz Hollings's noses in their own arrogance. Such an opportunity doesn't come along often and it certainly won't last. For the Freenet crowd, there's much more to it than free mp3s or the look on Eminem's face. Overall, though, it's geeks whack ing the pinata and the blaggers running to scoop up the candy.

I'd have to see the Rolling Stone article on the impoverishment of indie music store to comment on it. Industry consolidation has done the most harm. RS chose their side 30 years ago, when Wenner sandbagged Mick Jagger & co. after the latter wanted to set up a London bureau of the magazine. but I'll grant that the story has the ring of truth. College students on a LAN *are* probably bad for local music businesses.

But it's gonna be suicide bombers vs. tanks, until the big guys are honestly willing to talk. There's too much at stake--not just mp3s.
Silent_Rich
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 2:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

You know my particular problem with this is that the RIAA is the one doing the work, pretending like they are doing it for the little guys, when they are just making a profit for themselves. The RIAA, the huge record companies, The bands making multibillions are the ones out there suing the P2P software companies, not the indie bands that infact get some free advertising. I have often downloaded a song by a band I had never heard of and gone to buy the album afterwards because it's just too much effort (especially on dial up) to download the album.

I think it needs to be worked out as a way to sell music, mp3.com does a good job of that, advertising through an mp3 sampling and allowing the full album to be purchased on the spot and cdnow has a few artists of which you can buy their particular album tracks on mp3.

I'd be more than willing to pay for a P2P service, although I suppose the problem is how to properly distribute the profits amongst the bands of which tracks were downloaded.

I do know the downfalls of being a struggling musician, in fact it is downfall period, I am particularly big on P2P as a way to get your name out in the crowd build a fan following for free.

By the way Marccampbell I am quite fond of the introductory paragraph to your web page.
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 1:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

robert,

I think we are starting to reach a point at which we agree.

The next couple of years are going to be defining in terms of how music is distributed. Let's hope that the musicians are treated fairly.
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 12:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

If people downloading music for free is contributing to the closing of indie record stores then that is sad. I also walk past tower to go to other music and am quite happy to do so, and if free internet music really is the sole reason these stores are failing, then it should be limited. But I think the recording industry suing the pants off of technology developers who are not going to go away is really counterproductive. What I do think is underhanded is for Audiogalaxy to seek investment and advertiser dollars without contributing any of that money to the artists available on their site. That's pretty low and they should be criminally prosecuted for aiding and abetting copyright violation, but the bottom line is access, and if there's some out of print rare song that I've been looking for forever that my local record store doesn't have, I'm not going to stop myself from downloading it. If I were given an option to buy that song online, I would in a heartbeat as would many many music fans, but the record industry has yet to give us that option and so our only choice is either pay $15.95 for one song or steal it for free off a file sharing program. I personally think napster like programs are a pain in the ass and they slow down your computer and half the songs are incomplete or digitized at a low quality, and thats what you get with piracy. Theres a real opportunity for the labels to create a new form of music distribution here, but they only seem interesting in keeping the status quo of keeping 97% of record sales to pay for their antiquated distribution methods and advertising. Its an ugly world...
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 11:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

robbersmith,

when I was living in New York City, I was in the habit of walking past Tower and going up the block to Other Music to make my cd purchases. It gave me great pleasure to support one of the best cd stores on the planet. Other Music is appropriately named. You can find stuff there that the chainstores would never stock. Let's hope it stays in business.
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 11:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

" I had to help close the doors on Other Music
Harvard Square. As the ex-general manager of this record store, I can tell you a good part of our descent was due to digital hegemony. Many customers justify downloading and global instant trading by hoping to upset or otherwise disrupt the "evil" construct of the corporate music business. But this practice cramps the fragile margins and earnest ideals of the independent label..."
David Day in Rolling Stone.

Stealing music off the internet will result in fewer choices for music fans. It won't be the major labels that collapse, it will be the small independent ones and bands who are enjoying modest financial success. The big music labels and superstar acts will survive all this.

Independent record stores are closing all over the US. There was a recent article (Rolling Stone)
that covered the closings of indie stores near college campuses. College students are downloading music for free and/or buying cds, copying them, and giving them away to their friends. The result: record stores closing their doors. For indie bands this is particularly bad news. Without major label distribution, indie bands need independent record stores in order to make their cds available to the public. When indie
stores close, it only benefits chainstores (Best Buy, Tower etc.) and major labels.
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 11:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh yeah, Marc and I do think the artist should be able to choose how their music is given away, and that's your right as an independent artist, but the problem with the record industry today is that the artists don't even own their own art, the label does, so the labels have basically forced the artist into a position of indentured servitude. And Pere Ubu is a good band and very talented musicians, but I don't like them. because they're just not the style of music I'm into. I honestly haven't heard them in a while though. Maybe I should download one of their songs from audiogalaxy to get reqacquainted with them and maybe I would decide I do like them and would buy one of their CDs, but that would make me a criminal, wouldn't it?
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 11:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Was that really the reason other music closed? They put up signs that said out of business because of Napster? Newbury comics is doing just fine as is Mystery Train and others. The Other Music here in NY is doing just fine too. I buy at least 1 cd a week from them. I also personally don't think film is threatened at all by downloading. Davidlynch.com is a perfect example. He's doing what the record companies should have done a long time ago. I do think piracy is ultimately bad and if taken far enough it can hurt the artist, but at the same time it really is an excellent form of free advertising. I would also argue that film is venue specific enough that a major part of film is going to see it on a huge screen with a digital multi channel sound, and that downloading a movie on the internet isn't going to stop anybody from going to see movies in the theater. If anything limits that it will be the studios driving up ticket prices. I'm always criticizing those who download DIVX films, but at the same time if I'm skeptical about whether or not a movie is worth paying to see, I would download it too. Deuces Wild is a good example. I hated that movie and it was a waste ofmy time and money, and had I been able to actually watch 20 minutes of it on the internet, I would have avoided it, and I would be quite happy that that turd in a punchbowl of a movie was not making as much money because of the internet. To be honest though, my biggest criticism of MP3 is not that it's free, but that it's sound quality sucks. I'm a sound guy for a living so I'm particularly sensitive to that stuff, but I think the difference is pretty audible. I think CDs sound pretty thin though too compared to either high bit/sample rate digital or good ol analog, but thats another debate. Anyway, I don't think they sky is falling because of Napster, I just think the sky looks different.
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

robbersmith,

as someone who works in the film industry, you must realize the threat that internet priracy poses for filmmakers as well. Its not just a music issue. I don't care how you folks justify it, if you download a song of mine from the internet without paying for it, you've stolen it.
I have given away many copies of my new solo cd, some have gone to members of this forum. That is my choice and my pleasure. It is my music and I should be able to choose whether it is given away or not.

One of my favorite music stores, Other Music in Boston, just closed its doors. The reason: they couldn't compete with all the free music being distributed on the net.

This is a real problem.

Pere Ubu is a great band.
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 9:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wow, Marc, you're a perceptive genious, and as usual, your high falootin insults are always welcome. Feel free to call me a wretched piece of shit any time if that makes you feel better, but just so you know when I said "Pere Ubu RIAA", I was referencing the Alfred Jarry play called Ubu Roi (he was an absintheur as well, as you must know) where the main character is a disgusting bloated ruthless monster, and I was comparing Pere Ubu (not the band) to the RIAA and the corrupt industry that has no interest in protecting artists, only profits. I might use Pere Ubus CDs for clay pigeons, but thats about it.
Guess I don't owe you any money because i think Pere Ubu stinks and wouldn't take their songs even if they were free! I do work on 27th street, but live in the east village. I work in the wholesale part of the 'hood though, which is pretty ugly. If you want to come by and teach me a lesson, feel free if that will make you feel better. You're twice my age so you must know so much more than I do. :)
The only artists that make real money off of royalties are top 20 types. Smaller bands are often given the option to be put on a small salary instead which usually ends up being $500 a week or less. Thanks to Napster, I don't have to spend days scanning the radio looking for something I don't hate. Now my friend can say "You've gotta check out Adult". And I'll go and download one of their songs and if it's good, I'll run out and rightly pay for the CD and be happy a little of my money went to the band. However, if I'm just in the mood to rock out, I'll download Crazy Train, and not buy the CD, because I see no reason to pay for the whole CD for one song. All the recording industry has to do is put up sites with all their bands and charge $0.75 per song downloaded and I would happily pay them and the artists. Save the labels tons of dough on CD distribution costs and they'd make even more money than they do now. But right now the recording industry, and a few artists are more interested in having the legal system try and put a bandaid on an artery which Napster thank god severed. Music should not be free, but if the labels were smart they could more directly find their audiences and sell tons more songs if they used the internet constructively, rather than trying to shoot down great new technologies which open lots of possibilities.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 7:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bjacques,

"pay out the nose for what they deign to dish"

Come on, are you really implying that CDs are too expensive? In the UK a CD costs £15. I say that's more than reasonable for an item that will give you many hours of listening. I'd spend that much going out for a few quiet pints in my local pub. CDs are not expensive. Why assume we have a moral right to buy music for next to nothing?

To say people download from Napster because CDs are sold at rip-off prices is rubbish. To portray it as a crusade against capitalism or the likes is nonsense. It's just an excuse people use to justify their greed, to add some moral justification for their reluctance to part with any of their money. Whether you download a track from Pere Ubu or U2 it makes no odds, theft is theft.

Anyway Bjacques most people still choose to buy CDs. Most people are not voting to download for free. Napster and the like do not represent a revolution nor do they spell the death of CD sales or the record companies. The very same things were said when recordable audio cassettes came out and they represented no more than a minor blip.

People will carry on buying CDs. The fuss about Napster etc. is all a load of hype over nothing.

Hobgoblin
Nascentvirion
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 6:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Most of the artists listed in the original post that are filing the lawsuit are fucking multimillionares. They got paid a lump sum to make the album. Besides they only get like 2 or 3 cents off of every album sold. The record company gets the rest. So whats the differance between downloading songs & burning them for a friend or making him/her a tape. That would be exposing someone to the artists music. Then they may or may not go out and get the cd. I feel the liner notes and artwork are just as vaulable to the music itself and I usually go out and buy it. I download music, you can find all sorts of rare obscure remixs, b sides, live tracks etc... Besides why pay 20 dollars for a album when you like only one song and the other 17 songs are garbage.
Bjacques
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 4:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Uh, guys...you've both got a point. Maybe America is the greatest country in the world AND maybe the wheels of capitalism are greased with the blood of the workers!

Pere Ubu still gets paid. People download their tunes but still pay to see them live and buy their T-shirts. I'm not defending the slurping down of music files; I do it too. But I still buy CDs, often at live shows. Marc, if I see your band live, I'll probably buy your CD on the spot.

But to blame Napster users is to miss the point. Right now we're offered two options: pay out the nose for what they deign to dish out or take it for free. No points for guessing which way we voted. There's revenge too. Corporate lawyers bigfooting websites of fans and critics alike. Governments and internet policy bodies siding with companies every time. Laws against defeating bad copy-protection schemes or market zone enforcement. Laws against even telling someone how to do so. Abusive copyright extensions and enforcement. Sanctioned domain name poaching. Self-policing PCs???

Artists are caught in the crossfire. Entertainment companies ruthlessly strip creators of their rights and then jealously guard them against the slightest infringement. Fans visibly rob them of revenue (maybe only anecdotally; the figures are in dispute) via massive downloading.

None of this has to happen. Fans still buy tunes. we know we can't get keep doing this forever. Artists need to walk away from what is obviously an abusive relationship with entertainment companies, even at the risk of being frozen out of the promotion and distribution network. Entertainment execs must learn humility. Fat chance, with the business press toadying more than Glory's minions (we're a year behind on BTVS here). So they can take it easy or take it hard. The status quo is no longer an option for anyone.
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 3:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I will download a track or two in order to find out if I like the music. Nearly all musicians with a presence on the web will put a few tracks online as samples of their work. It helps make up for a lack of radio play. But I agree that it's stupid and arrogant to say "music ought to be free" until we've figured out how artists are going to get paid. It's not Metallica and Iron Maiden who get hurt, it's the smaller acts.

And Pere Ubu really are a terrible band to steal from. Some of the founding members quit because they had to take day jobs to make a living. I'm sure it's heartening to them to know their stuff is being swapped on the Internet.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 3:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Are Napster and the like really going to cause serious harm to the music industry? The same was said of audio cassettes when they first came on the market. They didn't cause long term harm. People didn't really stop buying LPs because of pirate home recording. Will pirate downloading of music really kill CD sales?

I've never downloaded any music in my life but as a teenager I did tape lots of LPs from libraries, friends etc because I had no money. Nowadays I find that CD's really aren't that expensive, I'm not poor but I'm not wealthy either, I earn just a little over average earnings, I'd rather buy a CD than be bothered downloading music. I'm sure I'm not unusual in this regard.

Most of us will keep on paying for music so long as it is reasonably priced, and these days it is reasonably priced.

Hobgoblin
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 2:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

robbersmith,

I used to live on 27th street. I'm looking forward to visiting my old neighborhood.
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 2:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Robertsmith,

you are a wretched piece of shit.

You do fucking owe Pere Ubu money if you've stolen their music. Of all bands to steal from.
They've struggled for 3 decades to sustain their art and a rich cocksucker like you has the nerve to boast about ripping them off!

You had better avoid me motherfucker. I'll be in New York in June. I want to meet you. I want to collect the money you owe David Thomas and the rest of his band.
Marccampbell
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 1:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

you motherfuckers are thieves. I don't want my music being given away for free. As usual, the artists are getting fucked. And you assholes are doing the fucking. This ain't about corporations. This is about music being stolen from the people who make it.
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 12:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm sure next they'll sue the computer manufacturers who licensed out their code for Audiogalaxy to write it's program in, and then the secret police will come take our computers away and put us in debtors prison until we pay back our massive debt to Pere Ubu RIAA. To quote Iron Maiden (which I just stole from Limewire), "run for the hills! run for your life!".
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 12:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I want to give you a hug BJacques!
Robertsmith
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 12:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

k
Bjacques
Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2002 - 12:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Too bad, I like Audiogalaxy. I'm trying to get used to LimeWire and trying gnucleus. The latter is open source, so the RIAA would have to start suing individual "ringleaders." Ditto for Freenet (www.freenetproject.org), worth a look though it has a high overhead because it runs encryption. They would have to start demanding the ISPs police their traffic somehow, like the DEA looks at electrical power profiles to look for basement pot plantations.

We're up against corporations not used to being told "NO," backed by a government that supposes it will never have to hear "NO" ever again, after last September. So the only thing to do is make it expensive for them. In the only war the US ever lost, we spent about $10,000 to kill one of the enemy. The enemy spent about 25c to kill one of ours. They may have the Death Star, but we have Magic Markers and Gummi Bears. They might as well surrender now.
Albertcamus
Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 8:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I dont get it,i have never used naptster in my entire life,and i have downloaded tons of songs.I just use Limewire.I do agree that the music industry has cause to be alarmed,not to mention the musicians,but the way the internet is setup,there is nothing really they can do to stop illegal downloads.
Verawench
Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 8:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It's OK. The music industry is staging its own demise. What a bunch of silly fuckos.
Nascentvirion
Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2002 - 7:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Songwriters, Music Publishers and Recording Industry Take Audiogalaxy.com to Court For Wholesale Copyright Infringement


NEW YORK, May 24, 2002 – Audiogalaxy.com, a Napster-like clone that has facilitated and encouraged the unauthorized trading of millions of copyrighted songs, was taken to court today by songwriters, music publishers, and the recording industry for wholesale copyright infringement.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York on Friday by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA), on behalf of its member labels, and the National Music Publishers Association, Inc. (NMPA), on behalf of the music publisher principals of its licensing affiliate, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. and their thousands of songwriter partners. The complaint specifically accuses Audiogalaxy of "willfully and intentionally" encouraging and facilitating "millions of individual, anonymous users to copy and distribute infringing copyrighted works by the millions, if not billions."

The complaint further states that, "With functions such as the ability to download entire songs and albums, cover artwork, and software, as well as a peer-to-peer file-sharing function, Audiogalaxy's system is even more egregious than that of Napster."

“Litigation is never our preferred course,” said Edward P. Murphy, NMPA’s CEO. “But when a company repeatedly demonstrates its intent, despite repeated warnings, to continue to engage in and facilitate activities it knows are causing grave harm to creators and copyright owners, there is little choice but to defend our rights through the legal system. To do otherwise would be to abandon America’s music community to the pirates.”

Among the numerous recording artists and songwriters whose works are being unlawfully distributed include: Brandy, Boys II Men, Dave Mathews Band, Celine Dion, Shakira, Enya, the Beatles, Shakira, Billy Joel, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keyes, James Brown, Linkin Park, Madonna, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Paula Cole, Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, and countless others.

Matt Oppenheim, Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs of the RIAA, said that the litigation was a last resort after numerous out-of-court warnings to Audiogalaxy were ignored or resulted in half-hearted attempts to fix the problem.

"Audiogalaxy and Napster are cut from the same cloth," said Oppenheim. "Audiogalaxy is profiting by providing its users a library of pirated music, including today's most popular hits. Though claiming fealty to copyrights, Audiogalaxy continues to offer up virtually all of the music we told them should be excluded. The firm's sieve-like filter has been totally ineffective."

Specifically, the suit, which also names Michael Merhej, head of Audiogalaxy as a defendant, charges that:

 Audiogalaxy had ample knowledge of the massive infringements occurring daily on its system, and in fact marketed itself as the next Napster.

 Audiogalaxy clearly had the ability to control the works available on its system and acknowledged the ability to remove users, or alternatively, to exclude certain content.

 Audiogalaxy provided users with a fully integrated, centralized structure and facility, including a hub of central computers to which users connected; a continuously updated database and index of infringing sound recordings; information about file size, popularity and download speed of files; and proprietary software to facilitate efficient identification, copying and distribution of recordings.

 Like Napster, Audiogalaxy seeks to profit from its pirate system by building an extensive user base to attract advertisers and investment dollars.

Audiogalaxy is based in Austin, Texas. A copy of the court submission can be found at www.riaa.com and at www.nmpa.org.

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