RIAA Tells CEA's Shapiro To Do The Impossible And Stop Making Them Look Evil

from the muwahahahah dept

The music industry gathered this weekend in Cannes, France, for the annual MIDEM conference, which is one of its biggest trade shows and generally leans quite heavily towards technology. Following the recent trend, the issue of DRM has been a hot topic, with plenty of stories about how record labels are "rethinking" the restrictions they impose on digital downloads. But it really doesn't look like anything is changing: you've got the requisite quotes from industry groups and progressive labels on both sides of the issue and calls from a major download provider for labels to drop DRM (making us again wonder why, if Real's Rob Glaser feels that way, he doesn't try and do something about it). One major-label executive says that labels must change their focus, and think less about unit sales and more about licensing. This is something of a welcome development, although too often "licensing" encompasses trying to extract money from places labels don't really have a claim for it. The real gem of the weekend, though, appears to have come out of the opening session, which featured talking heads from the MPAA and the RIAA alongside Gary Shapiro of the Consumer Electronics Association, who's the closest thing consumers have to a lobbyist. The MPAA and RIAA shills spouted their usual talking points, in particular the favorite fallacy that DRM is necessary to create new business models (when, of course, the exact opposite is true). The RIAA's Mitch Bainwol took a shot at Shapiro by accusing him of teaching "disrespect for intellectual property" -- which is apparently worse than disrespect for your paying customers, but we digress -- and said Shapiro makes the MPAA and RIAA look evil. Shapiro pointed out the obvious: that the groups don't need his help to look evil, since their penchant for suing kids and grandparents does a pretty good job of that on its own.


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  1.  
    identicon
    theskyrider, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    "disrespect"

    "disrespect for intellectual property"

    I respect the artists enough to want to pay them, that respect should be mutual in the fact that they should let me do what I want with the music after I purchase it. (Personal use includes making mix cds for my car and loading it onto mp3 players.)

    I will not buy DRM protected music. I won't even keep it if it were given to me for free. When I found some DRM protected music pre-loaded on my notebook PC with XP media center, they were deleted faster than you can say "DRM."

     

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  2.  
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    Jason Bateman, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 12:21pm

    Re: "disrespect"

    "When I found some DRM protected music pre-loaded on my notebook PC with XP media center"

    I can agree with you full-heartedly. I had the same stuff on my XP Media Center PC... and because it wasn't connected to the Internet, I couldn't listen to those bundled ("free") tracks - They were then deleted, to make space for something useful.

     

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  3.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:13pm

    "...with plenty of stories about how record labels are "rethinking" the restrictions they impose on digital downloads..."

    ???

    All the stories I've seen are mainstream commentaries reccommending / advising opening up downloads. None [of the sites (iTunes, et'all)] have actually "done" anything to change yet...

     

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  4.  
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    Erv Server, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:27pm

    "...Shapiro pointed out the obvious: that the groups don't need his help to look evil, since their penchant for suing kids and grandparents does a pretty good job of that on its own."

    how funny AND true

     

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  5.  
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    rossky, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:29pm

    Ahhh, i always new the fact that i love my vinyl would come into its own one day - who can copy protect analogue music? Not they, thats for sure...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:29pm

    is the muwahahahah dept hiring by any chance?

     

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  7.  
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    naiora coojure, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:42pm

    "...Shapiro pointed out the obvious: that the groups don't need his help to look evil, since their penchant for suing kids and grandparents does a pretty good job of that on its own.

    Zing! Would love to see the video of this.

     

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  8.  
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    DRMbuster, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:45pm

    RIAA needs an enema!

    "...Shapiro pointed out the obvious: that the groups don't need his help to look evil, since their penchant for suing kids and grandparents does a pretty good job of that on its own."

    OMG!!! that's pure greatness!!! You don't "MAKE" satan look evil. LOL!

     

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  9.  
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    zaneZEROZERO, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:51pm

    :]

    Finally, something positive to read!

    ""...Shapiro pointed out the obvious: that the groups don't need his help to look evil, since their penchant for suing kids and grandparents does a pretty good job of that on its own.""

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    Re:

    Dont jinx yourself.. the vinyl could come in big caddies which would be inserted and unlocked only in response to probing by some mechanical or digital lock installed on your turntable. Selling the keys would be an illegal circumvention of copy protection, and only brand name turntables would have it. Those turntables would have builtin speakers and no audio output jack which would be necessary for ripping the signal at max analog quality.

     

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  11.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    "...the vinyl could come in big caddies which would ..."

    or, more realistically, crapped up with inaudible watermarking. I'll never really be convinced that they can be added w/o degrading/altering the recording - not that I'd be able to hear. just in pure terms...

     

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  12.  
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    misanthropic humanist, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 5:54pm

    Re:

    "I'll never really be convinced that they can be added w/o degrading/altering the recording

    Don't worry Joe. Just as a matter of fact regarding the mathematics of digital signal processing - it is impossible to add a watermarking signal W to a desired signal S such that the W could not be removed from S. The only way to do it would be to make every copy of S actually be different, lets call them {S1, S2...Sn} Each Sx would have to be individually rendered. If that was not a digital process then the best speed at which your could reproduce each Sx would be some significant fraction of real time. You couldn't make a "stamper" plate for vinyl that way for example, each one would have to be cut separately. Not very economical or practical. The whole premise of the digital media businesses profitablility is a near zero reproduction cost.

    In the digital domain it's easy to circumvent. All I have to do is find any two copies, say Sa and Sb and perform an analysis-resynthesis transform on them which would create a new Sc indistinguishable from either for a listner, but destroying any identifying watermark. Neither Sa nor Sb would be tracable as the sources of Sc. This is slightly different from "copying", call it "sloppying" - you use the the very differences intended to watermark the signal to identify and remove it from the generic Sx.

     

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  13.  
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    john, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 5:55pm

    RE: "Do something about it" -- ha

    It's always funny to me to read posts like this from people who are talking straight out of their posterior.

    You want companies like Microsoft and Real to "do something" about the issue of DRM, but I wonder just what it is you would have them do.

    Should Real and Microsoft entirely stop selling music --wrapped in DRM technology that is MANDATED by the labels in order to get a license to offer it in the first place? Would that make you happy?

    If your answer is "yes, they should stop selling DRM'ed music and stick it to The Man," then I would add Apple into your list of companies that should "do something about it." Your cherished Apple sells music in DRMed format, just like Microsoft and Real, with a different DRM (FairPlay) but *exactly* the same set of restrictions imposed on them by the major labels.

    I personally suspect you then write a post about how lame it is that no major label music is available for legal download at all.

    Instead of beating up on the companies who are trying to investing in the space and trying to make lemonade using the only lemons available due to the labels' stupid restrictions, why don't you direct your anger at the labels imposing the restrictions? Cheap shots from Polyannas who bring nothing to the table are useless diversions.

     

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  14.  
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    Frink, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 8:28pm

    Re: RE: "Do something about it" -- ha

    "Should Real and Microsoft entirely stop selling music --wrapped in DRM technology that is MANDATED by the labels in order to get a license to offer it in the first place? Would that make you happy?"

    Was it mandated that Microsoft pay a studio one dollar for each Zune it squirts out to the consumer? I think not.

     

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  15.  
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    bshock, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 8:08am

    Disrespect for "intellectual property?"

    So let's see: you invent a completely unnatural concept, you pump it up with wholesale distortion year after year for decades or centuries, you bribe legislators to give it a legal facade, and then you expect people to bow before it docilely?

    What are you, some sort of religion?

     

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  16.  
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    Inoyun, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 9:18am

    DRM Hooplah

    So I buy a car and it has Sirius only and I want XM....cant do that thanks to the FCC. I buy an iPod and tracks for it through iTunes but cant make an MP3 CD to play in my new car with an MP3 player because the tracks I just bought are 'locked' even though I can convert the tracks of the CD's I own to MP3 and even though the car stereo technology is finally MP3 compatible.

    I tried to shop at allofmp3.com but Visa cut off currency conversions to Russia. Can't stream music at work well because it's work.

    Can't share songs on my Zune. Can't use old music tracks I bought through Microsoft's "Play For Sure" Campaign on the Zune because the DRM is not compatible so I'll have to re-purchase them. Can't play HD movies through Vista and can't get a flash on the iPhone's camera let alone more than a 2 hour battery life for it. But I just payed $600 for a 2 year committment on a phone that can only use one network?

    So tell me why Gary Shapiro is not the best lobbyist for us consumers?

     

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  17.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 24th, 2007 @ 12:23pm

    Digital Rights Mismanagement

    Inoyun,

    Nice compendium. I'm sure it could be expanded if any of us has the time or stomach to do so.

    Isn't it clear to everyone now that DRM stands for " Digital Rights Mismanagement"? That is, the mismanagement of the Fair Use rights legitimate customers have of their digital media.

    I have seen no case where DRM can make a claim to successfully "Managing". But lots of crashes, bugs, problems. Let's put the "Mis" into this acronym and make it honest.

    Until I actually see DRM that successfully manages THE CONSUMERS digital rights, it stands for Mismanagement, as far as I'm concerned.

     

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  18.  
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    Buzz, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 12:43pm

    It hurts to watch...

    To be honest, I am not much of a music-listener. Sure, there are songs I like, but I think all CDs I owned growing up were gifts from friends/family. However, I am a movie-watcher. I do have a substantial DVD collection. From the way I see it, the companies do not fully comprehend the damage that DRM inflicts. They have a one-track mind: "we must combat piracy!" Not only are they losing (pirates overcome DRM restrictions) but the shrapnel from their DRM cannons is harming innocent bystanders.

     

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  19.  
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    Charles Martin, Jan 26th, 2007 @ 8:59am

    Check out www.digitalfreedom.org, it provides a better understanding of why things should not be as black and white as the recording industry paints them to be. Its obvious things will not remain stagnant as the recording industry hopes--they too will have to change with time. Their current actions are merely tactics to maintain as much control of things as possible.

     

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