[icecast] Re: mp3pro and the mp3 streaming license]

Asymmetric asym at rfnj.org
Sun Jun 10 06:00:07 UTC 2001

At 16:30 6/9/2001 -0600, you wrote:

>broadcasting online.  Nor are they subject to the compulsory license.

Right.. it would be nice to see online broadcasters treated the same way.

>There's still a possibility that the DMCA will be dismantled before the
>arbitration is even finished.  You shouldn't have to pay the RIAA
>anyway, and the fact that they are even involved is astrocious.

I think having the DMCA repealed would be too much to hope for, but one can 
dream right.. :)  I agree that they shouldn't have been involved in this at 
all, but Napster was bound to attract their attention to what was going on 
online.. I think they were pretty clueless before that, and now they see an 
untapped potential revenue stream.

Anyone can say what they want about Napster and the other services of that 
nature, in regard to how the RIAA hasn't lost any money, how it doesn't go 
to the Artist anyway, etc.. but IMHO the truth of the matter was that 90% 
of the users or more were using it just to avoid buying albums and nothing 
else.. breaking the law, attracting attention to themselves, and in so 
doing, to the rest of us.

>Exactly.  All standards should be done thsi way.  Including audio.
>That's what we're here for.

And I'm honestly excited about all of the Ogg stuff.. I really hope to see 
winamp support for it as a built-in, but if that doesn't happen, there are 
always plugins.  I only want to see that because I'm sure everyone agrees.. 
the vast majority of clients that connect are winamp.

>Fraunhofer has 12 patents by my count, that represent the sole
>intellectual property on the MP3 format.  They are all licensed by
>If you build something that is MPEG, you can license the patents from
>MEPG i believe, and MPEG's charter states that these will be fair and
>reasonable.  But time and practice have shown us that they are anything
>but.  And it's only worse with MPEG4, especially since the patent pools
>aren't even done yet, resulting in a similar situation to the lack of a
>compulsory interactive music license.

It's a crummy situation all around using their stuff.. but somehow, some 
people seem to make it work, even if they are just the giants like the 
hardware manufacturers that want to sell DVD players.

>They definately do this as a Patent license + Code license.  While there
>may be other people with intellectual property claims on MP3, afaik,
>Thompson is the only one getting paid.   I'm pretty sure MPEG is charged
>with distributing money, but if you pay thompson directly, thompson (and
>fraunhofer) keeps the money.

Huh.. I wouldn't have guessed that, but it could be true.  What is MPEG 
going to do, go after Thompson?

>You make it sound as if this is a done deal?  Remember, these royalties
>didn't exist yesterday :)  Who knows what the future brings, or whether
>the rates will go higher.

Well "for now" it's a done deal.. yeah the licensing could evolve into 
something alot uglier.. I just hope you guys are a ways past beta when that 
happens so I never have to look at mp3s again.  Honestly I pretty much hate 
them myself, and can't stand listening to them if I have a choice.. I'm 
just forced to so I can monitor my stream. :)  Other people don't seem to 
have as discerning tastes, or they just have crummy PC sound setups I guess.

>I would also claim that Thompson can't get away with as much murder
>these days, because of Vorbis.  They know that if the rates are super
>super high, people will move to vorbis, if only for financial reasons.

I'm not sure if they're afraid, or even know.. best from a "war" standpoint 
to both assume that they've never heard of it from a fear standpoint, while 
at the same time assuming they've already come up with a strategy for 
dealing with it.. never take anything for granted in a war.

>I will also claim that this will happen anyway.  There's no advantage to
>MP3, and it's expensive.  Vorbis wins.

If the consumer mind were that simple.. FreeBSD would've long ago replaced 
windows and the linux-based oses a long time ago.. there is a lot to be 
said for entrenchment and peoples desire to not 'relearn' things they're 
already familiar with.

>works?  I can't think of any example of this off the top of my head.
>Usually when you buy something, the stuff you create with it is free.
>Compilers are another good example.  You pay Microsoft for Visual C++,
>but you don't pay them royalties on programs you create.

Sometimes yeah.. I can think of some examples in the realm not of the 
actual development environment, but of using tools or third party 
components that compile into your executable.  There are some out there 
that charge on a "sliding scale," although they are not as numerous as the 
pay-once style.

>Oh really?  So since icecast does niether encoding nor decoding, why is
>a person using icecast getting charged?  See my point here?

icecast is getting charged?  I think the person using it is getting 
charged, usually they are the same person.  If you just set up a repeater 
on port 8000 that allowed an authorized user to connect and just send raw 
data, and then others to connect and have that data copied to them.. could 
they charge you?  I don't think they could, especially if you didn't 
directly present the data.  If they could.. could they start charging 
anonymous ftp sites because they -could- be a transport for mp3?  What 
about the admins of any random http server?  Maybe they could start 
charging the people that create INN as well.

>Not true.  The streaming royalties are on transmission.  streaming has
>nothing to do with encoding or decoding.

What is streaming except sending data that is used as it is received, 
instead of waiting for a completed transmission?

>I don't see were streaming royalties can be applied to any intellectual
>property that Thompson or Fhg owns.  There's no decoding.  There's no
>encoding.  I'm taking files, spitting them out over the network, and who
>cares what happens.  Now I have to pay for that?

That's what I'm saying.. I don't think it would hold water in court.

>You don't think Fraunhofer will try this? :)  Live365 pays ASCAP, BMI,
>and is signed up for the compulsory RIAA license.  Even though you'd
>think they wouldnt' have to.  I guess they do it on behalf of their
>users.  I think shoutcast pays this as well.

FhG might try it.. until they butt heads with someone with the resources to 
say "ok, enough of this nonsense out of you."  In one sense this is why 
it's good to have a few large corporations around (like Microsoft) that 
don't compete directly or indirectly.. I doubt Mr. Gates would take any 
crap from Fraunhofer saying "Hey, you know that nifty IIS thing?  You 
better start paying us, because people could copy MP3s with it."  I don't 
think it would work with the Apache people either, or Sun, or Cisco.

>Recordable CDs are taxed.  People are proposing media taxes on general
>computers, because they can play mp3s which could be pirated.
>Don't underestimate the lengths to which these corporations will go.

I don't.. I'm just somewhat comforted by there being other big corporations 
who will eventually fight them, by choice or by force.  I've heard the only 
reason the CD-R drives have escaped this so far is because they can be used 
(and their primary market target is) for normal data archival.. they are 
mostly not designed or marketed as "mp3 burners."

>But these corporations are also putting money into the hands of the
>judges and the politicians.  Campaign finance is a huge issue, and to
>ignore it and say the politicians are atonomous is downright ignorant.

No I don't agree with this.  They are autonomous, but they are also human, 
and as many of them are as corruptable as in the general public.

The simple fact is they and they alone have the power and the charter to 
stop this sort of abuse.  If they don't, then they and they alone hold 
responsibility for it happening.

>Corporations do exert political influence, otherwise, why do you think
>that the MEGA HUGE computer industry is beholden to the lousy $50b a
>year music industry?  It doesn't make sense.  The media industries have
>far better lobbying and influence than any of the new tech industries.
>And it shows, because we are losing on every front, because we didn't
>help make any of hte laws we are being prosecuted and sued under.  Where
>were companies like napster when the DMCA was enacted?  There was barely
>time for DiMA to get organized to at least participate in those days.

I'd rather not discuss Napster in great detail.. they basically drew a huge 
bullseye on their chest and then taunted the music industry.  "I dare you 
to try anything.  You can't stop us.  We're going to keep doing this for as 
long as we like, and since we ourselves don't do anything illegal, you 
can't stop it."  It's one thing with believing that and being prepared to 
actually defend it; It's quite another to yell at the top of your lungs and 
then not have a plan besides "we have faith that our voice, no matter how 
small or underfunded, will be heard."

I will say something is really whacked with the DMCA though in the DeCSS 
case..  There is a clause in the DMCA that gives expressed -permission- to 
reverse engineer and then reinvent software if the purpose is to provide 
support for some media or device on a platform that currently lacks that 
support.  I don't see how, having demonstrated that clause, the MPAA has a 
foot to stand on vs. DeCSS at large.. yet they seem to wrap enough 
doublespeak and buzzwords and money around their lawsuits to actually get 
them to trial.

>Or rather, the people who elected them are to blame.  But since we're
>given only a few choices, and the rest can't afford to stand out without
>selling out, you can't really blame the people either can you?  The
>system is as fault.  It's been corrupted by greed and coporate interest.

Perhaps that is true.. but then, that still goes back to the people in 
power.  Perhaps they just lacked foresight when the first whittles were 
taken, and said "yes mister corporation, this sounds reasonable."  Perhaps 
there was a back alley deal where BigCorp said "listen mister senator, help 
us out here or we're moving our shops and jobs to the next state over that 
has promised to help."

I think the bottom line is that the humans are flawed creatures.. there 
isn't a system around that is going to make up for the flaws in those that 
designed it, or those that desire to exploit it.  So what's left?  Educate 
the people, try and raise a higher percentage of decent ones, and hope that 
in a few generations, we'll have weeded out all the corrupt crooks that 
currently run things.:)

>We all have to pick the battles we're passionate about and that we're
>willing to fight for, because we can't fight for them all :)
>I agree that there are far nastier things afoot, but I think personally
>I can make the most difference in this one.  It may not save lives, but
>I think it will make the world a better place.

I can respect that much at least, and I'm appreciative for what you guys 
are doing over there.. if for no other reason than I'd like to have gotten 
out from underfoot of FhG before they come smashing down on me.. getting 
out of the way or the RIAA on the other hand is going to be a bigger 
problem.. but I'll face that battle when it comes, and just maybe i'll have 
made a couple million I can use to defend myself with. ;)

Take it easy.. this discussion has been pretty interesting so far.

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