[rumori] Well, now that it's back...

Taylor McLaren (pasteATinterlog.com)
Wed, 10 May 2000 00:08:56 -0400

MEEP! steev done wrote:
>you're right, i stand corrected. Napster is not all about bootlegging.
>And you're right it helps people hear stuff and i'm sure many of them
>still go out and buy a copy of what they hear.
>but anyway i do still think it's a shame because it does confuse the
...all of which does bring up an interesting question: what do people
around here use Napster for, if anything?
  I mean, most music snobs (and I number myself among them) will probably
smirk a knowing little smirk at that Ulrich fellow's assertion that
Metallica bleeds for its fans and that Western culture is poorer for their
not being paid for their work. Personally, I take that a little bit further
and tend to think that the vast majority of the people who are downloading
Metallica .MP3s are probably doing so because they're getting some rawking
tunes, man, and they don't even have to pay for them! <devil-sign,
fingers waggling>
  So, fine... under those conditions, the people who genuinely like what
Metallica is recording are, so far as I'm concerned, actually ripping the
band off by buying into only half of a commercial relationship, and I would
tend to agree that the band deserves some sort of compensation for whatever
it is that they can demonstrate that they've lost financially. (Actually
proving anything is another matter, and I really don't care about that
stuff at present.)
  But what about the people who download stuff for other purposes? Getting
a feel for a record before buying it has already been mentioned, and since
I've done that in the past by walking down the street to visit a friend who
has already bought a copy, asking him to play it for me, and then making a
decision as to whether or not I want to break out my wallet, I'd tend to
agree that that's a perfectly fair use for the software. Either that, or
I'm trying to rationalize not having bought four different CDs as a result
of having downloaded a couple of sample tracks and decided that they
weren't worth my fifteen bucks.
  I've also used Napster to find sampling material, though. A couple of
days ago, I found myself wanting to use the big, dumb choral bit from "Mr.
Roboto" as a system noise, but I really couldn't convince myself to go out
and buy a best-of-schlocky-classic-rock CD for the sake of six seconds'
worth of data. And hell, even if I did, what I would be doing with that
disc would be *technically* illegal, so maybe I can tell myself that I'm
going balls-out here and really sticking it to the man! <more
finger-waggling> What do you think: should a body have to pay a nominal
licensing fee for sampling material in the form of buying an album prior to
lifting material from it?
  And what about using Napster as a distribution forum for something other
than music? I haven't tried this yet, but shouldn't it be possible to
rename pretty much anything as an .MP3 and then plop it down in a directory
that is offered up for public inspection? Isn't this an awfully handy
replacement for using IRC as a way of running warez? Or passing off kiddie
porn as a Backstreet Boys song? This sort of thing, assuming that it works,
opens up all sorts of new avenues for mucking with peoples' heads and
abusing technology... which is probably exactly the sort of behaviour that
made the Napster crew willing to consider suspending users in the first
place in spite of their lack of responsibility for the behaviour of those

I'm also sort of curious to see what people think of the licensing
agreement for Voquette's Media Manager one of these nights, but I'm
exhausted right now and I don't really think that anybody wants to see me
type anything more tonight anyway.


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