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Media Education Music Software Linux

Legal Music Sharing Returns To MIT 118

An anonymous reader writes "Two MIT students relaunched MIT's believed-legal music sharing network today, using a Linux-based consumer audio device that also launches today as a commercial product. The 'Library Access to Music Project' (LAMP) system was first launched a year ago, but shut down after its content supplier encountered legal hurdles. The re-incarnated LAMP is based on StreetFire Sound's RBX1600, which network-enables multiple inexpensive consumer audio jukeboxes. So... what do you think? Does the new version look legal?"
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Legal Music Sharing Returns To MIT

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  • They're always so progressive. I love MIT.
  • by MountainMan101 ( 714389 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @07:53AM (#10619530)
    Do they have an SCO license for their linux :-)
  • Serious potential (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @07:53AM (#10619531) Homepage Journal
    Notwithstanding the rather unfortunate name [onlamp.com] this project has a serious potential.

    "Does the new version look legal?"

    Of course it looks legal, but is it enough to avoid lawsuits? Very unlikely. MIT is the very place where the hacker culture were born, so obviously it is the first place for RIAA to keep an eye on.
    • Re:Serious potential (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How is it any different than libraries? My mother goes and gets 26 CDs every couple of days from the library, rips them into mp3s and then returns them for her next batch. Is that illegal? If so, why do libraries lend out CDs?


      PS: Anyone know of any good deals on hard drives? She filled up her 40 gig drive in the month since I put it in. :-(

      • by GTRacer ( 234395 ) <gtracer308@yah o o . c om> on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:15AM (#10620331) Homepage Journal
        IANAL, but:

        1. She doesn't own the CDs in question and can't claim Fair Use

        2. She doesn't have permission from the copyright holders to make copies

        Now what *I* want to know is:

        If I own a game (like SSX 3 or DDR) that has a soundtrack, but I don't have the means to rip the tunes myself under Fair Use, how does my downloading the tracks from someone else fit into Fair Use/Copyright/DMCA?

        And yes, I understand the person distributing the tracks to me is almost certainly in violation, even if I do have a clear right to receive...

        GTRacer
        - Needs a DVD burner...

      • Re:Serious potential (Score:4, Informative)

        by 3terrabyte ( 693824 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @12:16PM (#10621575) Journal
        Libraries have lots of clauses in the laws pertaining to copyrights, allowing them to do what they do. Forget music for a moment, don't forget they're lending out copyrighted books to people for free!

        Your mom is not allowed to make copies of those CD's. Is it enforcable? No.

        She might like to know that due to the Patriot Act, the government can check her library records whenever they want and not tell anyone about their inquiry. Of course, it's suppose to only be if she's a possible terrorist threat. But that hasn't stopped them busting dope dealers under the 'terrorist threat'.

        Personally, I don't think the RIAA wants to tackle the 'library problem'. First of all, it's not that popular of a practice. It's also quite tedious. But those things aside, I'd say the RIAA would never want to undermine a library. That's just to close to home to voting parents, and would really paint them in a bad picture.

        • Wow, the parent scares me.

          It has always been legal to lend out copyrighted books for free since Bobbs-Merrill v. Strauss. It's called the right of first sale. Copyright does not cover redistributing a legal copy of a work, only making a copy of it. That's why it's called a copy right.
      • Re: good deal on hard drives I just picked up a 250 G WD for $125 @ Sams Club seemed likw a good deal to me....
  • does it MATTER (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @07:54AM (#10619538) Homepage Journal
    ... if it's legal or not? They'll still get mugged by the lawyers. Legality has little to do with issues like this anymore.
    • Re:does it MATTER (Score:5, Interesting)

      by miyako ( 632510 ) <miyako AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:02AM (#10619562) Homepage Journal
      it's really sad how insightful this is. Now days, it doesn't seem to matter if something is legal or not, because a corporation can always stand to throw enough money and lawyers that it doesn't matter how right you are, it's impossible to win.
      Mod parent up +5 insightful but sad.
    • Re:does it MATTER (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not convinced. While the RIAA is a bit trigger-happy, most of the people they have targeted have clearly been in violation of copyright. Even where the the grandmothers and little kids were involved (*wipes away tear*), there was evidence of infringement.

      Yes, it's true that IF you are innocent and the RIAA decides to sue you, you're pretty much screwed. But it's also true that if you are innocent, you have very little reason to fear that this will ever happen to you.

      I suspect that this meme origi

  • Not so sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2$ Crack Whore ( 813937 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:03AM (#10619564) Homepage
    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.
    • Re:Not so sure (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sweetshark ( 696449 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:16AM (#10619607)
      But, he/she similarly totally misunderstands the point of copyright laws by playing "bright lining" games (as do, in my experience, many slashdot readers).
      Are you sure about this? RIAA minions are doing bright lining ever since the topic came up, and were able to promote/force their interpretation of law and its spirit via media to the public by doing this, thus making it easier to lobby laws that in turn better fit the now-common interpretation of the law.
      Bright lining is a Good Thing(tm). It shows that the law is ambiguous and need clarification, and that the public has not one, but more interpretations of the spirit of the law ...
      • Re:Not so sure (Score:4, Insightful)

        by base3 ( 539820 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:21AM (#10619629)
        Thank you. I was going to say the same thing: perhaps if the RIAA hadn't been "bright lining" and wielding copyright law to the point of the absurd (e.g. having said it's illegal to rip CDs for your personal use), perhaps all the smart people at MIT wouldn't be trying to put the screws to them as much as possible within the law.
        • "wielding copyright law to the point of the absurd (e.g. having said it's illegal to rip CDs for your personal use)"

          Interesting... I've never seen them say that. Do you have a citation or a link?

          • The RIAA's propagada website [soundbyting.com] isn't currently answering up, so I don't know if they've disappeared their previous statements. However, the archive.org version [archive.org] contains the following paragraph. While they try to blur the issue a little by mixing it with downloading, the paragraph, particularly the last paragraph, pretty clearly states that they consider making MP3s from one's own CDs is illegal, inasmuch as (in their opinion) the AHRA only covers analog copies and computers don't contain (and none I buy ever
    • Re:Not so sure (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:20AM (#10619620)
      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.

      Like, for example, the bit about copyrights being time-limited, so lets just extend them every twenty years? This "bright-lining" is going on on both sides of the game. Why should one side respect the rules, when the other side is bribing the referees?

      What was once a "socially beneficial copyright law" is now a no-holds-barred money-grab. It's not exactly the *AAs fault though; it was never their mandate to give a stuff about citizens. That's the government's job (and, by extension, the voters), and they seem to be asleep at the wheel.
    • by NigelJohnstone ( 242811 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:36AM (#10619689)
      All fine words, but MIT licensed it and paid for exactly that: Analogue streams played from CDs to their students, so its not a copyright issue.

      No-one, other than you, is claiming that their contract requires "Adverts", "Incomplete songs" & "Unscheduled recordings", "degraded analogue" or any other such condition.

    • No IP (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:46AM (#10619732) Homepage Journal
      ``go and do a little historical research about every attempt to do away with copyrights and patents completely''

      Can you link to some examples? I actually believe that the system could work full well without IP laws. If you want innovation and creativity, you can sponsor them by other means. I would like to see the evidence to the contrary you appear to know about, so I can revise my views.
      • When the idea of copyright came up (invention of the printing press), it was straight forward ... make copies of someone's book and sell it ... and guess what, pirates did it ... today it is not so easy because a 3MB song can be exchanged rather easily and doesn't require any money to stamp them out ... Also, those internet selling web sites (iTunes, etc.) ... why are they selling music in lossy compression format? what happened to giving RAW wave files??? Maybe Guttenburg (sp?) was a bad man for inventi
      • Goodness man! Without IP law we could be as uncreative as they were just after the dark ages. That would be like putting us back to the Renaissance! Who would want that.
        • " Goodness man! Without IP law we could be as uncreative as they were just after the dark ages. That would be like putting us back to the Renaissance! Who would want that."

          I think you're referring to the popular misconception that there were no IP laws during the Renaissance. The common example is "Shakespeare didn't need copyrights." While the terms "copyright" and "intellectual property" were unknown to him, unauthorized performances of his work were a big issue for he and his troupe (and the first

    • (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.)

      who are you to say the spirit isnt on the other side of that line?

      • (s)He isn't saying where the line is. I believe the comment was directed to the point: "if people repeatedly run up to their interpretation of the line, the court tends to dial up the contrast so everyone sees the same line". So the MIT guys playing games with the line is apt to cause more court cases to allow the court to dial up the contrast.
    • Re:Not so sure (Score:3, Interesting)

      by po8 ( 187055 )

      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.

      The interesting thing is that we've run a few little controlled experiments over the years in whether this is needed: the obvious examples are fonts and recipes. Neither fonts nor recipes, for obscure reasons, are copyrightable. (Recipe books and software representations of

    • 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.

      Since copyright now extends longer than the life of an average person and well beyond the death of the author, the term "limited time" has little meaning anymore. It certainly doesn't serve the original purpose of getting the works into the public domain in a reasonable amoun

      • Re:Not so sure (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        There is something yet more dangerous, namely the proliferation of encryption technologies protected by the DMCA. Imagine you are a researcher who wants to read or duplicate a work encrypted in a digital book, or even on a DVD, in hundred and fifty years, after the copyright has expired. Traditionally, publishers gave copies of their works to the Library of Congress to make sure that these works would be preserved. Perhaps we should think about a requirement that for an encrypted work to enjoy copyright pro
    • Thoughtful note, thanks!
      Agree: if it is set up to exceed "fair use" ... which is mainly intended for personal use, ... but instead is then made available for arbitrary numbers of unknown copiers ... it doesn't matter how much legal finesse is thrown at it, it's illegal and, under the view that the original artist has some rights, it's unethical as well.

      Agree: also, that the Mickey Mouse extension industry is nonsensical. HOWEVER, I have never understood why file copying networks should have different ethic
  • by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:07AM (#10619576) Homepage
    The core issue is not if this is legal under current legislation or not.

    The core issue is how long we will have to wait until supply meets demand. There is a demand for technology like this, but thr RIAA and its peers realize stuff like this empowers consumers... thus they feel threatened.

    This will ultimately be legal, regardless of wether it is now. One only has to wonder how much tax money (in god knows how many nations) will have to be spent on pointless lawsuits until we, the consumers, can finally get what we want at a reasonable price.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I want a plasma tv from the back of a semi truck for $50 too. There would be great demand for that. Wouldn't make it right or legal though.
    • Exactly. The RIAA and MPAA really care about money. Consider this, if they were not "losing millions in sales" would they give a hoot about filesharing? No. They would not. They do favour the slippery slope fallacy and they use whatever tools they can to get the powers that be to do whatever benefits the RIAA/MPAA members the most.

      In essence, they are like M$. They want $ and that's all they care about.

      MUSIC 140 at UW explains the history of music and how poorly artists are paid for THEIR work. Ther
  • I'm no lawyer, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevingc ( 824034 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:10AM (#10619585)
    ... but the law doesn't seem to matter that much in this case. It's just like getting a cd player (or a bunch) and extending the headphone wire all the way to your friend's house (or houses) right? That's not illegal is it?
    • This is a public performance, and so it infringes the exclusive right of public performance of musical works in 17 USC 106 unless the appropriate licensing takes place.

      If it were just a friend, then likely it wouldn't be a public performance, but rather a private one. All the students at MIT, however, are pretty certainly outside of the scope of what a non-public performance, as it's defined in 17 USC 101.
      • If you play music on your CD player for only you to hear (headphones), that would be a private performance. As the parent said, if you play the music for a friend, it most likely wouldn't be a public performance. I'm not familiar with the definitions of public versus private performances, but wouldn't a private performance essentially be if an entity puts on a performance for itself or one other entity? But if that entity does the performance for any and all, it would be public?

        So if MIT plays music for
        • I'm not familiar with the definitions of public versus private performances

          Well here you go then. Like most definitions of terms in copyright law, they're at 17 USC 101, which is easily googled for.

          To perform or display a work "publicly" means--

          (1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
          (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display o

  • LAMP? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kaleco ( 801384 )
    Talk about abbreviation collision. Their common linux context makes this a possible source of confusion in the future.
  • Who cares if it looks legal ... RIAA will sue them anyway!!! Don't quit your dayjobs, students. Now gimmie that ketchup! Always remember, a music distribution is legal as long as RIAA gets "mo' money" from it ... everything else is illegal and those people are worse than terrorists, at least according to RIAA ... NOTE: I think that Al Qaeda or whoever can have a "911 times a hundred" if they just distribute MP3s ...
  • by brainburger ( 792239 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:23AM (#10619635)
    In the faq of the LAMP site it says : "* Is this really legal? How? We are transmitting music over the non-digital portion of MIT's internal cable television system. Because it is impossible to record exact copies of CDs from a non-digital cable television system, under the copyright law the licensing requirements are less stringent than for over the Internet: similar to the requirements for radio stations." So since when were MP3s transferred over the internet exact copies of the CDs? I appreciate that LAMP have bulk-licenses, but a while back an idea for p2p sharers and peercasters to get radio-licenses was not accepted (by the p2p communities and advocates) as legal, so what's the difference?
  • read the article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:35AM (#10619684)
    There has been much talk already about how this is questionable, or the RIAA has total say.

    The full article clearly stated that MIT *HAS* a license:
    LAMP distributes music in analog form, over MIT's cable TV network, which enables it to be covered by licenses MIT already has with copyright clearinghouses such as BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, in much the same way that the campus radio station is covered.

    This means that they pay 2 cents or whatever for each song played. The RIAA *is* getting their money. Everything appears to be legal since its an analogue broadcast over the cable network at MIT. It basically is a radio station using wires instead of wireless.

    Since they have a contract, why is this even a question? Why are so many people already claiming that its bordreline or the RIAA will sue even if its legal. The RIAA doesnt go after radio stations, yes they pay to play the music, but they dont do it. Why would they because MIT is doing it on their TV network rather than via RF?

    I am ow wondering how many people read the articles before posting replies to /.

    • by shark72 ( 702619 )

      "This means that they pay 2 cents or whatever for each song played. The RIAA *is* getting their money."

      Your post was spot on, but just one correction: these licenses are with BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. These are performing rights societies run by and for songwriters and composers. BMI and ASCAP are non-profit (not sure about SESAC). They are completely unrelated to the RIAA, and the RIAA does not see this money.

      Of course, BMI and ASCAP are hated just as much by the Slashdot crowd, even though they're ru

    • I am ow wondering how many people read the articles before posting replies to /.

      Many read, few understand. Me thinks.
  • "Fair Use" is NOT a cast-in-stone definition of how many pages it is ok to photocopy or that you can share your Mp3s with your sister but not your aunt. Rather, the idea is a set of INTERPRETED principles intended to balance the interests of varying members of society as a whole, including content producers and content users.

    When idiots like these guys at MIT go about making devices built on the misconception that fair use is a cast in stone notion and that are aimed at circumventing the letter rather tha
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:39AM (#10620563)
      When idiots like you fail to RTFA, you make asses out of yourselves. MIT's original launch of this service before didn't rely on "fair use" either - you think a school with many thousands of students is going to buy one CD, let as many people listen to it as possible, then claim "fair use" as their defense in court? Jeeeesus man.


      I think the question was always the extent of coverage their existing broadcast licenses gave them and how those licenses were to be interpreted in the light of digital vs. analog and wired vs. wireless transmissions.


      Fair use is most often brought up with respect to my rights to do what I want with stuff that I buy within the boundaries of my own home, like format shift to use my favorite devices. No, "fair use" is not a cast-in-stone definition, and it's very weakly protected. We all know that perfectly well be now. But some of us believe that all "use" of copyrighted materials that does not involve redistribution should not fall under copyright legislation at all, and thus should be "unregulated" use. Do we always have to agree with current legislative or jurisprudential standards? And are we idiots if we think the courts and lawyers have mucked things up over the last few years over pure FUD spread by parts of the content industry?

    • "When idiots like these guys at MIT go about making devices built on the misconception that fair use is a cast in stone notion..."

      Forgetting for a moment that this is not a fair use issue, please keep in mind that it is the **AA's of the world enforcing their copyrights. It is the **AA's who have extended (seemingly indefinately) copyright law, stifling innovation and expression.

      And please, don't speak of the 'spirit' of a law. **AA lawyers know no bounds. Laws need definition because there will always be
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:45AM (#10619725)
    It will just make them crack down on existing privileges. For example:

    "LAMP distributes music in analog form, over MIT's cable TV network, which enables it to be covered by licenses MIT already has with copyright clearinghouses such as BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, in much the same way that the campus radio station is covered."

    Bye-bye to the permissve "licenses MIT already has with copyright clearinghouses". Nice knowin' ya.

    Not to mention:

    "Copyright restrictions on analog distribution systems are more permissive than those on digital systems, because the lossy nature of analog-to-digital conversion prevents perfect copies from being made."

    So long "permissive analog distributions", you're now marked for death also.

    This whole MIT thing is a perfect example of the "lalala, I'm not touching you!" approach to the existing laws. These MIT folks are working up to the letter of the law, but raping its spirit. Maybe the laws are too vague, but stunts like this will surely rectify that...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:47AM (#10619735)
    "Winstein's conclusion was based on the high expense of CD jukeboxes with computer interfaces, because at that time, no solution existed for gluing inexpensive consumer audio jukeboxes to computers -- a situation that changed with the advent of the StreetFire Sound RBX1600."

    Guess they never heard of the Slink-e, which has been around for more than 6 years. In fact, it's so old it was just discontinued a couple months ago!

    http://www.nirvis.com/slink-e.htm

    Sure, it doesn't handle the audio side, but that's pretty trivial to do.
    • Yes, the Nirvis Slink-e was an early closed architecture attempt in this area. (We even have one around our lab somewhere.) If you had had the pleasure of meeting the Nirvis folks, I'm sure you'd have agreed that they were good guys. Unfortunately, the company shutdown earlier this year. Here at StreetFire Sound Labs, I can assure you that the RBX1600 music servers used by LAMP are entirely different. Most importantly, our code is open source - nearly 0.5M lines! This made it possible for the LAMP guy
  • Is it OK? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TJ6581 ( 182825 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:52AM (#10619754)
    I don't like the RIAA either but just because you don't like them doesn't give you a reason to steal music.

    Is it OK to steal a loaf of bread to feed my starving family? Should it then be OK to steal music to entertain my boring family?
    • by zogger ( 617870 )
      ..a technological method to easily make a copy of my loaf of bread, so that you could have one and I would still have mine, sure, go ahead and make a copy of my bread--I would still have mine then, it wouldn't have been stolen.

      The "industry" has enthusiastically embraced copying technology-for themselves. They get to "sell" over and over again the same thing. No additional work required. They want to have an exclusive lock on not only content, but on your use of advancing technology. They lobbied and got p
      • if there existed a technological method to easily make a copy of my loaf of bread, so that you could have one and I would still have mine, sure, go ahead and make a copy of my bread--I would still have mine then, it wouldn't have been stolen.
        The person who owns the intellectual property on the process used to create that loaf of bread might have a different opinion on the matter. He loses a potential sale for every copy you make.
        • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @12:33PM (#10621747) Homepage Journal
          we were assuming for the discussion it was my loaf of bread that was created by me in the first place, then wondering how I would feel if it was "stolen", either the process or the actual loaf. Me personally, if you can copy the bread and leave my bread intact, go for it,please do, I encourage you to feed yourself and your family easier, I'll do something else with my time, I have no interest in ripping you off for a cheap or free copy. Never have, never will, just my nature. I can always think up something new to do. For people who can't, well, too bad, not my lookout if they have zero imagination or any drive to do something new with their time, either as a hobby or as a job. I don't believe in getting paid over and over again and over and over for the same work. I think it's counter productive for society in the long run and stifles innovation. I don't want a return to the dark ages where only ultra rich folks had anything remotely new or modern that would make their lives richer, easier, more fulfilling or "better" in many ways. I want *everyone* to have that as much as possible.

          And yes, I have done this, I have "released to the wild" a widely used implementation and customization idea that I made zero on beyond initital cost of development basically, once with a tool (a specialty wrench design) and once with a very common mode of transport used daily by millions,(I built one of the first prototypes of what evolved into the "mountain bike" concept back in the 70s, and I know that one large company copied the design and started selling them, and I am happy so many people found the idea useful and have run with it,and,although I don't claim exclusivity to it,the concept, I do know from research there were only a handful of fellow bike developers doing this at the time I did my own version of it, there certainly weren't any you could buy on the market), and also I released freely quite a lot of "IP" in the form of writings in the past. It doesn't bother me that those things have been copied by others and improved upon/used whatever. None whatsoever. In fact, the tool I developed I have a few example of where others have adapted and made their own versions, they were freely given to me by THOSE developers.

          I share, if you don't want to, that's your business, but if you can copy what I do easily and cheaply, please go for it if that is your interest.

          There's a significant difference between copying and stealing. Theft-stealing- means you've taken something from someone and they no longer have it. Copying is not theft, you still have yours, it's fully intact. The word "copy" is what is in dispute and is contentious now. It used to be that it was illegal to teach serfs/slaves to read, or for anyone other than the monks or royals could have "copies" of writings. Times changed. I want times to keep changing, and I see current US style "copyright" as being little different from the exclusivity laws that existed in the middle ages. If they had kept up with the original US design, and exactly followed technological advances, I wouldn't have a problem with it as much, but they haven't, they want to extend it and go bass-ackwards back to the middle ages concept, and I think that's a bad idea.

          I personally don't download MP3s or movies or whatever, but I don't consider folks who do that to be heinous criminals either, nor do I consider it "theft" either technically or ethically, although I will grant that the current law structure makes no such distinctions and treats the two words as if they were the same.

          I think that law is an ass, a complete absurdity. It is feudalistic in nature now because of our technological advances. It is medieval-level dismal. That is my opinion only of course, and you are welcome to your "me-me-me mine it's all mine" concept, that is your decision to make. I'll make an effort to not touch "your stuff", no problems. If you don't want folks to play with your ball on the playground, that is perfectly all right, I'll find some kids who want to share their stuff to play with. heh.

          Never liked cooties anyway..neener ;)
          • I think a lot of people will come around to the absurdity of intellectual property once it is actually possible to make a copy of a loaf of bread (with cheap molecular manufacturing) with free solar and recycled local material.

            Once we are able to treat matter like data, a lot of the selfish arguments for artificial scarcity will go out the window. Not as often will we hear, "Don't download my bread.molecular.blueprint! Otherwise how will I feed my children?...... oh." :) The mentality can't go away comple

            • ... we can do now is to produce..and share. Ignore the others. Let them put each other into poverty with lawsuits and whatnot.

              sounds OK to me.
      • By that rational, I can just photocopy every page from a book and it would be perfectly legal.

        just because the theft doesn't physically take something from you, doesn't mean it isn't theft all the same
        • no, it's not legal now, that's why I said that I think in my opinion that the law is an ass, and I would like to see it changed, at least back to the point it was before the bono act and before drm schemes and whatnot. And don't worry, I won't copy all your stuff, I only deal with that that is freely shared, and/or I make use of what pitiful remnants remain of "fair use".

          Fair notice, if your stuff is ridiculously expensive compared to what I can get as an alternative for free or much cheaper with less rest
        • doesn't physically take something from you

          Legally, that means that it isn't theft.

          http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=theft [reference.com]

          Theft, n. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

          So, yes, it does mean that it is not theft to photocopy a book.

    • entertain my boring family

      I think you meant "bored", but hey, however honest you wanna be, mate :).

    • by NigelJohnstone ( 242811 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:46AM (#10620107)
      "Is it OK to steal a loaf of bread to feed my starving family? "

      MIT bought and paid for its license, is fully within its license and is not doing anything outside the scope of what its paid for.

      Is it OK for my family to eat the bread I bought?
    • Re:Is it OK? (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have no problem whatsoever in disobeying laws bought by the rich for the rich.

      Cultural heritage belongs to all of us, no matter what those who rape the land, rape the laws, and rape the commons say.

      As Bush said, "If you're not with us, then you're against us." You can side with We The People or with those who hoodwink We The People. Chose.
    • "Is it OK to steal a loaf of bread to feed my starving family?"

      Would I support the prosecution of a man stealing bread for his starving family? No, because I am not an asshole.

      Second. Bread is a physical thing. The owner lossing a bread is an calculable loss, he had 10 loaves before, now he has nine.

      If I were to 'steal' a digital recording, the store owner didn't loss anything. He had 10 songs on his harddrive, I made a copy(stole it) but he still has 10 songs. No harm, no fowl. The only loss, arguably,
  • How can you tell? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xnot ( 824277 )
    The biggest question is, how in the world can you tell if a backup or filesharing service is legal or not? The only way to really be sure is to monitor the network 24x7, which is an invasion of privacy. And even if you monitor for file names, the only way to REALLY be sure that someone isn't changing the name to fool you is to actually read the file. Then I could turn it around and say the file monitors are stealing from me, because if they can read my files, then they can copy them. The biggest problem is
  • by Damiano ( 113039 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:37AM (#10620534)
    I think people are overlooking what is really going on here.

    There are two parts we need to look at:

    1) Is the distribution system legal?
    People keep on commenting on whether this is acceptable under copyright laws. This is a moot point. The real question is whether it is allowed under the MIT contract. Since that isn't posted I don't see how anyone can make an argument either way. If it's not allowed under the contract it is clearly infringement.

    2) Even if it's acceptable, who cares? All this allows you to do is the equivilent to a radio station that you can make requests. The licence doesn't seem to give the students the right to RECORD these broadcasts on their PCs. That would still be infringement.

    Of course as any good Slashdot reader, I only skimmed the article so I could be totally off base here. Oh, IANAL and this isn't legal advice.

    • by dfl ( 808355 )
      Here's the one and only real legal issue, highlighted in the article:

      The songs are streamed from the jukeboxes through the RBX1600s onto the front-end server, where they are compressed and concatenated into tempory files -- legally similar to the "ephemeral copies" of material that radio stations are allowed to make and store for limited periods.

      The reason the first system faced legal trouble is because it relied on a digital archive of music on hard drives -- those were not "ephemeral" copies. Now the

  • by Richard_J_N ( 631241 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @12:22PM (#10621630)
    Something which occurs to me:

    If I buy a CD, I have the right ("first sale") to sell it again, or give it away. [provided that I don't keep a copy] I also have several hundred discs, but I can only listen to one at a time.

    How about a system for buying and selling discs in realtime? Two questions need to be addressed:

    1)If I physically destroy the original CD, am I allowed to sell the backup? Does this apply to an electronic copy if, as soon as I pass it on, I destroy my original?

    2)In order to save bandwidth, is it necessary to destroy the orignal, or is it sufficient to render it unplayable? Obviously, I'd want to re-purchase it at some time, and a 650MB download is a pain. Would some form of cryptographic token suffice?

    As far as I can tell, such a system would work effectively if everyone has at least say 10 CDs that they own at any time, so that the requested track would almost always be available from someone. I know it would be legal if I were to pass on the physical disc, but that requires a personal meeting. Is it possible to automate this?

    • See Cringely for a well thought out idea along the same lines:

      http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20030724. html [pbs.org]
    • So you 'listen' to the cd without actually keeping a copy of it indeffinetly? Excellent... One step further.

      What if instead of physically sharing the cd(too messy, too much latency, etc) we put your cd's on your computer, and allow 1 person to listen to that song at any given time. Without having you or anyone else listen to it.

      If everyone does this, and we each share our libraries in one-at-a-time streaming media, what do we have? Sounds like iTunes to me.

      At the very least, it is singlecasting streaming
      • I don;t think my idea is quite how you described it, nor quite as Cringely suggested. I see it as much more akin to the current method of swapping files, where this discs are not so much streamed as moved. Except that in this case, the files are really "swapped" rather than copied. The legal caveat is: "May a person sell a digital copy of a CD after destroying the original". [The DRM bit might be a nice hack, but its only benefit would be to reduce bandwidth of repeated transfers. The current system could w
  • Those in large universities should check out ourTunes [f00f.com]. You can dl anything off an iTunes share.
  • I love the legal two-steps people have to do nowadays to survive in any business that deals with entertainment content. Check out this defensive buck-pass attempt from Loudeye, when the RIAA was trying to light a fire under their butts:

    "We provided content to MIT," Loudeye publicist Stan Raymond said. "We did not provide licenses for them to issue that content."

    As in, "Yeah we rented them the car, but we didn't know they were gonna drive it." Do real people really say things like that, or will we one da
  • Hooray! Now those 15 channels are actually doing something instead of just being empty and displaying an apology message.

    MIT Cable, channels 63-77.
    http://lamp.mit.edu/ to start playing music if you have MIT certificates.

    Right now it says "You are welcome to use this beta-test before we re-open."

    And it does work beautifully, I've got New World Symphony playing right now on channel 64.

Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

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