Jose G. Perez
jgperez at SPAMnetzero.net
Thu Apr 19 08:00:04 MDT 2001
The bell does not toll for gnutella. It tolls for thee.
The MPAA is trying to cajole the ISP's into launching a McCarthyite
witch-hunt against gnutella users. What the MPAA --the movie front
organization of the same cabal that is behind the monopoly music mafia's
RIAA-- is asking for --without even a scrap of foundation in law-- is that
ISP's turn themselves into cops for the copyright monopolies. They are
turning all sorts of spybots and snitchware lose on the Internet,
identifying users who share files without paying tribute to Case, Levin,
Parsons and Turner, and their ilk, and then demanding the ISP's deny them
internet service. It is particularly effective against broadband home users,
university students, and others who aa a practical matter have only one
possible service provider for a good-quality connection.
Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. What's going on is an
attempt to transform the Internet from anyone's free press into THEIR free
press. And this abomination is being pushed on the image of the poor
starving artists and so on.
Growing numbers of people are getting it, though. I thought it particularly
noteworthy that the "package" -- report -- "turned" by CNN business news on
the recent congressional hearings showed clearly that the folks associated
with reporting on Washington for that network, which had been totally
oblivious to the hypocrisy of what even the HEAD of Bertelsmann (parent of
music monopoly BMG) in now calling "the music mafia" (in the pages of the
Wall Street Journal, no less), finally GET IT.
The report neatly torpedoed Warner Music mouthpiece and AOL-TW token Black
suit Dick Parson's crocodile tears for the poor, starving musicians. It
showed Don Henley (of the Eagles) and Alanis Morrisett explaining that,
from the artists' point of view, music was ALREADY free, and what Napster
was proposing --radio style compulsory licensing-- would be better for THEM,
because they would actually be PAID royalties, whereas under typical record
company contracts the artists never see a penny beyond their initial
advance, which is mostly eaten up by the costs of producing the "master" --
which the artist pays for, but the record company owns.
It also quoted an EMI honcho quite baldly telling Congress that it would
license music for distribution through Napster once Napster had established
"a legitimate business model." But, of course, Napster's "business model"
can never be legitimate from this blood sucking parasite's point of view
without FIRST having a license. In other words, Napster will get a license
when Hell Freezes Over. BTW, that Eagles album is still available on Napster
and all Napster-like services. Just search for Eagles and "album."
Meanwhile, the local judge handling the case in San Francisco has shown
herself to be the willing, pliant tool of the music mafia. Although the
federal appeals court was quite clear --since it is their music, it is the
responsibility of the record companies to identify each and every alleged
infringing file by name-- the judge is putting the onus on Napster --which
is no more than a search engine coupled with a little user-to-user ftp-type
functionality-- to get supposedly "infringing" songs off its system. This
judge is so benightedly STUPID she hasn't yet figured out that there are
absolutely NO songs whatsoever on Napster's servers, copyrighted or
otherwise, not a SINGLE one. There are only names. And names can't be
The attempt is to FORCE search engines to pre-clear search results with
those who claim to "own" this content. This because for the RIAA to have
gone after the people who are REALLY violating what it views as its
copyrights, would have exposed this for what it really is: an attempt to
rape the music-loving public by imposing outrageous pay-by-the-note
AOL Time Warner is in the vanguard of this movement. Someone up
there --probably Steve Case or Pittman, the people who came from the Time
Warner side have shown beyond all reasonable doubt that they are the very
distilled essence of cluelessness-- has figured out that you can't "own"
digitial content on the internet as it is structured today, and even within
a private internet --what AOL hopes to become-- such efforts are likely to
fail. So their big campaign is for subscriptions. That's what they highlight
in their quarterly report yesterday, their subscription income. Pay, and
pay, and pay again for the same "content." Over and over and over.
Not all the news is bad news. After a very drastic decline, Napster usage
has bottomed out and begun to rebound. Moreover, anecdotal reports indicate
this may well be all to the good of music as an art. With pretty-boy-bands
like N'Sync and Backstreet Boys banned, along with their
bubble-gum-and-silicone counterparts like Spears and Aguilera, Napsteristas
are beginning to expand their musical explorations into the non-music mafia
realm, older cuts that the RIAA hasn't got around to delisting, etc.
This means the RIAA efforts to prevent their overproduced, overhyped and
overstuffed "artists" may actually backfire, creating an opening for
independent artists who are not record company created Barbie and Ken dolls
to get a wider hearing and following.
The "press" has now mostly turned AGAINST Napster, and is blacking out most
news about the service, so it is hard to get a good grip on what's going on.
But the number of people logged on to the individual Napster servers (of
which there were about 120 or so last time I counted) has rebounded from
5,000 or so before the RIAA axe fell to 9,000 or so last night. And there's
no way of telling how many are on alternative servers. They're so jammed
that after running all night, my nap-compatible client had only succeeded in
logging onto one -- Music city, which is by far the largest nap-compatible
network with 30 servers.
The irony of all this, as more than one intelligent capitalist marketer has
figured out, is that Napster, *at this stage* is the greatest promotional
tool for music since the invention of the radio, and the greatest
distribution channel ever bar none. With even a very modest $5/month
subscription fee, it would generate nearly $4 billion dollars in top line
sales, and $2 billion even if you assume half the current users don't
subscribe. And that's without dreaming up any revenue enhancement rip-offs
like releasing songs first in copy-protected form in a higher-priced premium
subscription tier or pay-per-download form, etc., etc., etc.
RIAA figures show that the boost to sales that Napster originally provided
has now begun to wear off. Chiefly responsible is a collapse of single
sales --the most profitable music monopoly product-- by nearly 50%. Sales of
music in cassettes, a low-priced "convenience" alternative to pricey CD's
(although they cost much more to make) are also vanishing. Album CD sales
are still up, but they will be next, if they have not begun to be affected
already, because for many people, the computer has become the hi fi of
choice. A small but growing number of Dj's at raves and such are "spinning"
their tracks from MP3 files. MOST American college students now use their
computer as their music system.
Given this reality, which is coming much, much sooner than anyone expected,
the music monopolies are desperate trying to re-establish control over what
people are allowed to hear so they can collect their rents. The extra
pressure is reflected in Congress. Sen. Orrin Hatch who a few weeks ago
showed every sign of "getting it" when he called the hearing on digital
music, at the digital music hearing itself suddenly developed amnesia, or
perhaps Alzheimmer's (I suspect not inconsiderable of legal and illegal
transfers of what is music to any capitalist's ear [$$$] were associated
with his sudden affliction). He's gone from talking about doing a radio-like
mandatory licensing to vague mouthings about some unspecified "incentives"
at taxpayer expense for poor, starving artists like AOL, SONY and Vivendi
But it will also be reflected in a renewed attack on the rights of regular
people, including our "bourgeois" right to establish a contract with an ISP
for an internet connection. That's the central target of the MPAA/gnutella
prong of the copyright cabal's offensive.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Les Schaffer" <schaffer at optonline.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 5:58 PM
Subject: gnutella gnext
last week Jose Perez talked about the benefits of gnutella file
sharing ... and now MPAA is proposing to hunt gnutella users down:
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