A Great Way To Discourage Legal Music Downloads

from the make-things-worse dept

Right below this story, we show how the movie industry is misinterpreting results of a new study concerning the (lack of) impact of downloading on movie watching, and now mmrtnt writes in with an example of the recording industry similarly misunderstanding the consequences of their own actions. It’s an article the latest music compression format from The Fraunhofer Institute — which has some features designed to cut down on unauthorized file sharing, but which also have the unintended consequence of making legal music downloads a lot less appealing: “If, for instance, you purchase and download a CD, burn a copy and give it to a friend and that person puts it on a file-sharing network, our system will trace that music back to you and, depending on the legal system of the country you’re in, you could be [hit] with an expensive fine.” In other words, simply sharing some music with a friend (how an awful lot of music gets promoted these days) could get you into a lot of trouble. So, if you actually want to help promote a musical act to your friends, you’re better off getting an unauthorized file that won’t get you fined or thrown in jail. How hard is it for the industry to understand the basic equation that charging more for something that is less valuable doesn’t encourage anyone to buy anything?

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Comments on “A Great Way To Discourage Legal Music Downloads”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Officer, I sold it to my friend joe for cash in hand. I didnt want those lame mp3s anymore, and the online site wasnt offering me a refund. Go talk to joe.

On the other hand, a combination of watching the file offered from your IP, and tracking the watermark back to you, would be a slightly stronger gotcha, although they havent needed the watermark to hassle clueless moms with techsavvy kids.

TIMe (user link) says:

Samples lead to sales

Before it was a prosecutable crime, I would hear a bit of music on the radio while in traffic then go home and download it. In the process I would discover other cuts by the same artist and if it really appealed to me, I’d buy the CD for the superior quality of the recording, discarding the download.
Being the upstanding, law-abiding citizen that I am (ahem!) I no longer download copyrighted files of any kind. I also have purchased 400% fewer CDs over the last 5 years as a result. At retail, that’s about $500 per year or $2500 in lost sales. Not good marketing results by anyone’s standards.
Buying the unknown is for speculators; if I can’t resell it for profit, why would I speculate at all? Further, the industry charges way too much for me to be speculating that there might more than one song on the entire CD that I would listen to more than twice.
The moral is that no samples leads to no sales. Anyone knows that. Anyone but the greed driven music industry.
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
– Hunter S. Thompson

TJ says:

Re: Samples lead to sales

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve got 400+ CDs in my collection, but all but a handful of them were bought five years or more ago. So from 1986 to 2000 I averaged 29 CD purchases a year. I would learn about new music from FM radio, from friends/family, and starting in the mid 90s from Usenet at times.

By 2000 friends/family had either grown up and found less time for music, or moved to indie music I was rarely into. FM radio was overrun with commercials, noxious talk, and hip-hop which I wouldn’t listen to if paid to do so. The music industry consolidated more and more, and focused ever more on ‘buzz’ and less on music. While there is plenty of music readily available on P2P, Usenet, etc., I’m rarely moved to download anything to even sample. The industry has lost it, and while there is probably good but obscure music out there that I could hunt down from small labels, I really don’t have the time.

So now the rare music I buy is almost always from artists I’ve already liked for a decade and basically know I’m going to like. About the only marketing that introduces me to new artists successfully is songs in TV shows or movies, which is how I came across Zero 7 (via Garden State and Grey’s Anatomy).

I could have continued to buy more than $400 per year of CDs, and would have if the industry hadn’t made it so difficult to find good new music. It doesn’t help that due to tactics in recent years (DRM and crippled non-CDs, rootkits, lawsuits, etc.) my view of the industry has changed from being some greedy f*cks who are still a good source for music to some horribly greedy f*cks who are destroying their own industry through incompetence and creation of public ill will.

Happily I already own enough music to enjoy for a lifetime, and will largely give traditional music labels nothing but the finger from now on. Movie industry, you are already on your way to following a disturbingly similar and stupid path. Embrace the future and evolve, or become extinct. If you die, I won’t grief or even miss you.

Paul says:

No Subject Given

They aren’t talking about the CDs you buy at the store, they are talking about the ons you download from iTunes…

With the new format they are working on, iTunes could electronically tag (very easily I might add) every song you download. They would most likely tag it with a serial number corrisponding to your iTunes account.

RIAA downloads a song off of kazaa, sees that it has an iTunes tag, they call up Apple asking for the personal information corisponding with that tag, and voila lawsuit commin your way.

The “downside” being discussed is if you send the file to your friend and they upload it, or if their system is insecure and someone steals it off their computer, or if someone hacks your computer and copies your music and then shares it with the rest of the world.. your personal information is linked with that mp3 even though you had little or nothing to do with its widespread sharing.

Wizard Prang says:

Nice idea but...

While I am totally opposed to DRM in any shape form or fashion, the concept of watermarking does not bother me that much.

This would allow people to give copies to friends to “check out new music”, but would provide an incentive to stop people from sharing that music with the world. This is the best way that I have seen to keep people honest.

What I want is the ability to copy my music for my own personal use as I see fit. I don’t need, want ot intend to give it away, though the ability to share lower-quality samples might be nice.

Whether is not it is feasible I know not, but since anything digital can – given enough time and effort – be edited, hacked or forged, I doubt it.

There are some people out there who want all music to be free. I suggest that they make some and give it away. Some people are trying to make a living, and they deserve their shekels.

I would also like to see…
Downloadable music priced more realistically (25-50c/track is plenty, considering that it is about 99% profit)
Record companies justify their ridiculous “One shared file = 1000 lost sales” claim.
The law changed so that the Artists – not the record companies – own the music.

The RIAA is dead. Long live Magnatune and their ilk.

Agonizing Fury says:

Re: Nice idea but...

Wizard Prang, I do believe you have totally missed te point of the article. You say you can still give copies to you friends to check out the new music? What happens when your friend then gives a copy to one of there less honest friends who thinks alltheir friends on a P2P network would like it? You get slammed with a lawsuit because it was your file that got shared on the internet. Or what happens when you lose your watermarked CD, or it is stolen? I know for one that if someone steals a CD off my desk I don’t bother getting a police report, but that is what you will need to keep the RIAA from suing you when your stolen Watermarked CD gets shared on P2P. All in all this is a bad idea, and if the water marking starts, that’s when I stop buying legal music and go back to Kazaa.

icecow says:

RIAA wants it that way..it's a way to sufficate th

That’s the point.
[The RIAA doesn’t want people to find out about music by personal recommendation, not even if its theirs. The only ‘recommendations’ they want to see are ones that tunnel through the mass media channels, which you, your friend, or neighbor have zero control over.
The RIAA doesn’t want you recommending unsigned bands, or even RIAA bands because you’ve already heard the RIAA bands over and over on the radio. They don’t need you to turn their music on to your friend, they want you to both buy it.

Why do we have to pay more for nextgen hardware to hear crappy RIAA DRM songs? A typical home stereo can’t yet even play indie music that freely offered and freely distributed through the internet.

Erin Ashburn says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

i wish that someone would come up with a way to use the legal system and not pay out the ass….. i use napster and i pay 10 bucks a month but i can’t listen to any songs on my mp3 player just on my computer that isn’t fair to mee if i wna tto music i should be able to listen to it wherever i want i i baught my computer illeterate boyfriend an mp3 player for vlaentines day and for the last week i have been trying to get songs on it for him to listen to butnapster makes that imposible… if i buy music then i should be able to do as i please to it just like if i were to buy a tape 10 years ago if i didn’t like a song i could record over it and make a mixtape it used to be oay for us to do that but now its nothing but a pain in the ass…. i don’t like the idea of paying 25 bucks for a cd that i will only listen to one song on so i like to rip the song onto my PC and play it with others that i have done the same thing to but no oh know i can’t do that either is there anyway to get rid of the scripts put onto purchased music so i can just do with it as i please?

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