Who Are They Calling Music 'Pirates'?

I just posted the article Who Are They Calling Music ‘Pirates’?.

Submitted by: arnesr
Source: Channel2000.com

Who Are They Calling Music ‘Pirates’?

Recording Industry, Claiming It’s Robbed By MP3, Stands
Accused Of Gouging CD Buyers

A well written…

Read the full article here:  [http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/540-Who-Are-They-Calling-Music-Pirates.html](http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/540-Who-Are-They-Calling-Music-Pirates.html)

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My mother always said, “People who live in glass
houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

                             The entertainment industry should listen to my 

             It's been several weeks since I wrote about the entertainment industry's 
             battles against two technologies that ease the duplication of recordings, 
             MP3 and DeCSS (click to read that column). MP3.com, the online 
             vendor of digitized music, was stifled when it lost a lawsuit filed by the 
             Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA, the unified front of 
             the recording industry). 

             In the interim, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has blasted out a 
             few of the recording industry's windows and provided ammunition for a 
             lawsuit that could shatter the recording industry's crystal abode. 

             The FTC ruled that major recording labels -- 
             Universal Music and Video Distribution, 
             Sony Corp. of America, Time-Warner Inc., 
             EMI Music Distribution and Bertelsmann 
             Music Group (BMG) -- had to discontinue a 
             program called minimum advertising pricing 

             What's MAP? Basically, it's a price-fixing scheme that kept CD prices 
             from falling and resulted in consumers paying $480 million more for CDs 
             then they should have. 

             Score One For The Entertainment Biz 

                               The industry's lawsuit against MP3.com alleged 
                               that the company had made unauthorized copies 
                               of 80,000 compact discs and illegally distributed 
                               those copies via its Web site. 

                               MP3.com plays music files over the Internet, but 
                               only if you already own the CD or have just 
                               purchased the CD from MP3.com. The RIAA 
                               disliked that and sued and won, even though 
             MP3.com had offered to consult with the industry beforehand. 

             U.S. law says anyone who owns recorded material can make a copy for 
             his or her own use. MP3.com's service essentially provides that copy for 
             anyone, provided that they already own the CD. 

             The judge's ruling said MP3.com was distributing music for which it didn't 
             hold the rights, a practice that had to stop. 

             Score One For Consumers? 

             By contrast, when the FTC ruled that MAP had to end, the major 
             recording labels had a say in negotiating the resolution. They didn't have 
             to pay a fine -- or repay the nearly half-billion dollars in overcharges. 

             Do consumers have hope that some of that money will come our way? 

             There's a class-action lawsuit pending on recording industry pricing 
             practices, specifically MAP. Filed in 1996, the lawsuit alleges that the 
             actual cost of manufacturing a CD is less than a dollar and that the 
             wholesale prices charged by major U.S. CD distributors "in most cases 
             represent(s) a markup of as much as two thousand percent (2,000 
             percent) over the manufacturing cost." 

             Unfortunately, the class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of record 
             stores and others in the wholesale chain, not consumers. One hopes that 
             between the FTC action and the lawsuit, CD prices will come down, but 
             there's no guarantee. 

             How To Put DVDs Onto CDs 

             Meanwhile, when it comes to duplicating video -- specifically, copying 
             DVD movies and cramming them into other storage formats -- technology 
             is racing ahead, a point on which I have been educated recently. 

             DVD movie files, of course, have already been compressed for compact 
             storage. It turns out that there is cutting-edge technology that can take 
             and further compress them so they'll fit on a CD-R disk, the recordable 
             CD-ROM format. 

             That fact was pointed out to me by alert reader Mike Hicks of 
             Minneapolis, who, after praising the article (thanks!), e-mailed: 

                  "I feel I should point out that a new video 'codec' is 
                  becoming popular. [Codec is a type of software used to 
                  record and play video, or 'code and decode' it]. 

                  "It's called 'DivX ;-)' (Apparently, the smiley is part of the 
                  name) and has high-quality output. It is used for re-encoding 
                  DVD movies [compressing them with software] into 
                  approximately 600 megabytes, which can fit on a CD. This 
                  replaces the codecs for the moderate-quality VideoCD 
                  [another video format with lower video quality]. With 
                  CD-Rs readily available, the storage cost therefore drops to 
                  $1 or less [for storage of a copied DVD movie]. 

                  "DivX can be found at http://divx.ctw.cc. 

                  "This DivX codec sounds pretty cool, as it can do better 
                  compression than the MPEG2 video compression used on 
                  DVDs. It also uses MP3 or Windows Media Audio to do 
                  the soundtrack. However, it appears to be a Windows-only 
                  thing, so I don't care all that much (I have primarily used 
                  Linux since 1997)."  

             Mike makes a really good point about using DivX;-) to copy DVDs. 
             (Not to be confused with just plain Divx DVDs, which was a disk format 
             that some retailers attempted as a competition to DVD; it failed.) 

             Yeah, But Why Would I Do All That Techie Stuff With My 

             There's actually a good reason why someone might want to go through all 
             of that. 

             If you spend a lot of time on the road, but your laptop computer doesn't 
             have a DVD drive or the horsepower to actually play a DVD movie, why 
             shouldn't you be able to make a recordable CD-R disk that you could 
             view on your laptop? 

             It's perfectly legal to make the copy, provided that you already own the 
             DVD. On the other hand, the law also says you cannot use the new 
             DVD-decoding program DeCSS to break the code on DVD data. I 
             believe that that's wrong. 

             Damn The Consequences! 

             If you want to store a movie on a CD-R disk anyway, here's the 

                  Use the DeCSS program to record the disk to your hard drive. 
                  Use DivX;-) to convert the video from MPEG2 compression to 
                  MPEG 4 compression, making the copy smaller to fit on the CD-R 
                  Finally, convert the audio to MP3. 

             This takes a fair amount of time and computer power, and I really can't 
             believe that the quality of the video image would approach that of the 
             original DVD, but it will work. 

             The key to preventing piracy isn't going to be further regulation, but rather 
             common-sense pricing and distribution of DVD material. If there's a 
             market for movies on CDs, why doesn't the industry distribute them in 
             that format as well? The quality probably wouldn't be as good as a DVD, 
             so MPEG4 CDs could be priced correspondingly cheaper. 

             Better to sell to a market than promote piracy. 

             We're Willing To Pay 

             We'll give the last word to reader Tony Hope of Huntington Beach, 
             Calif., who wrote: 

                  "I recently read your online 
                  article 'Why the Music Biz Can't Beat 
                  MP3,' and all I can say is, 'Hear, 
                  hear!' Your arguments and examples 
                  are right on the money. 

                  "Since the MP3 craze broke, I have 
                  long advocated and would 
                  gladly accept a method by 
                  which I could purchase 
                  individual songs online. The 
                  price of CDs is unbearable at 
                  $14-$18 a pop, for which I 
                  may acquire one or two decent 

                  "Until the recording industry 
                  pulls its collective head out of its 
                  arse, services like Napster 
                  (which I shamelessly admit I've 
                  used), Gnutella and others will 
                  continue to thrive. I applaud 
                  your common sense and hope 
                  others will bend an ear to 

             The FTC agrees with you on the "unbearable" cost of CDs, Tony. In light 
             of the markup exposed by the MAP ruling, one has to question whether 
             the recording industry has the moral authority to call anyone a "pirate." 

             Editor's note: Channel 2000 and Internet Broadcasting Systems 
             apologize for the use of the word "arse" in this article.

1 time is enough