Re: When is an MP3 like a lighthouse?

From: James Rogers (
Date: Fri Oct 26 2001 - 11:02:54 MDT

On 10/25/01 6:56 AM, "Brian D Williams" <> wrote:
> So what if it's hard?
> First I'd do probably exactly what the copyright holders are doing,
> go after the napsters of the world. Then I'd probably go after
> people who manufacture equipment that assists in this theft.

The first part is possible, the second part isn't. If you can hear it, you
can make a bootleg. Furthermore, even if you did remove the S/PDIF digital
outputs and similar from cheap consumer gear like my Sony CD player (which
allows lossless copies to be made) and don't let computers read .AIFFs off
the CD through hardware enforcement, you've only made it slightly more

The major problem, even with vigorous hardware enforcement, is that pro
audio editing/mixing/mastering/recording gear can't be hardware restricted
without rendering it nigh useless. A tool is a tool, you can't restrict its
function (because it would then be useless) nor can you know ahead of time
what the owner is going to do with it. Due to the price slashing effect of
technological advancement, these devices are available from you local
musicians hangout for only slightly more than consumer gear. A lot of
people buy pro-sumer level audio gear because it is better built than
consumer grade stuff anyway. Audio data handling is extremely versatile
these days, even at the consumer level, and I don't see how hardware
restrictions would limit anyone who intended to distribute music illegally.
It is akin to the gun control laws that limit people from owning certain
types of guns; the only people it really prevents from purchasing them are
people who wouldn't have been inclined towards criminal activity in the
first place. Legal speed bumps are the worst kinds of laws, because they
exist solely to make things difficult for people who follow the law. They
don't actually prevent anything, they just modify the market.

> If I had the political clout, I'd go after the backbone itself,
> filter from the NAPs and you could stop all of this traffic in the
> U.S.

How would you tell the difference between the massive flow of perfectly
legal MP3s and illegal ones, when there is no technical difference? It
sounds like an all or nothing solution. I've downloaded gigabytes of MP3s
from various sources that were intended to be downloaded by the owners.
I've never committed a copyright violation, so how would my legal but
apparently identical traffic be distinguished from the illegal traffic?

-James Rogers

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