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Do-It-Yourself Sue Napster Software

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the but-how-does-it-know? dept.

Music 336

drix writes "I ran across a rather disturbing piece of software called Media Enforcer. Basically, it does the same thing that Metallica and Dr. Dre paid NetPD to do a few weeks ago: it lurks around on Napster, gathering the names of any files matching a certain pattern that are offered on the service. Thus, type in "Backstreet Boys" and it will log every person offering Backstreet Boys files on Napster for as long as you want to leave it running. What's scarier - it's next version will add support for doing the same thing simultaneously on the CuteMX, iMesh, and Scour.net filesharing networks. Zeropaid.com is running an interview with the creator of this program, who, not surprisingly, wishes to remain anonymous. " I guess the problem with all this is that a file named Metallica isn't necessary a Metallica song. If the software downloaded the data and actually checked it, I'd feel better about it.

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Oh Great (2)

zpengo (99887) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033342)

Oh great, now all the indie bands, DJs, and garage artists who are actually benefitting from MP3 distribution can get on the bandwagon and be just like Dr. Dre.

People will be people... (3)

gowdy (135717) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033343)

..and now name all their files Metalica....

hmm... (2)

dkscully (42850) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033344)

Disclaimer: I have used Napster. I do have mp3s of songs I don't own.

This is really sad if you're going to collect the information to use against people...

...on the other hand, it could be subverted to find stuff you want, without having to watch Napster all day.

Neat! (2)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033345)

Let's all put decoy files named after litigious articles on our systems!!!!

Here's my mirror [respublica.fr]

What did we expect? (3)

deanc (2214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033346)

This is just a normal, legitimate use of Napster. What were we expecting to happen? While Napster allows for easy indexing of files, it also allows for easy indexing of file ownership.

I wouldn't call it scary, just a normal and expected use of the technology.


Napster File Aliasing (3)

Nik Picker (40521) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033347)

Then its official, what we need to do is create a method where in Files dont actually contain the content they are labelled as such that a more thorough checking by the requester would ensure that contents = required file.

Tricky .. as it would invalidate searching.

Maybe a bridge removing/anonmysing the user would be better.

Or better yet
MIRCOPAYMENTS [ insert crap MS Wallet gag here]
I still say im happy to 'resell' by tracks where the receiver pays a central source a mini amount for the benefit of receiving the whole track.

Heck Napster could then enforce Track sharing against a registered list of pay per download files.

The premium here being that files in this category are checked and validated and payments can goto the Musicians.

I dunno the whole above maybe too idealistic

If napster had balls... (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033348)

If napster had any sac, they could just throw all of this out because it does NOT prove that there is a Metallica song being shared. That bot doesn't actually DOWNLOAD 300,000 songs and LISTEN to them. It's simply not proven to be piracy at that point. They could be short clips.

And now a song like Run DMC vs. Metallica [remix] or whatever now gets them booted off too! fuck that, Napster should do to these idiots what Slashdot did to Microsoft -- Send back a letter from the lawyer that is just lawyeresque for "fuck off". This bullshit isn't good enough proof.

Mike Roberto (roberto@soul.apk.net [mailto] ) -GAIM: MicroBerto

What's even worse (1)

BMIComp (87596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033349)

NetPD will claim to own the patent. Then we'll have a whole new patent war.

How about we starts to share faked Metallica files (1)

LittleStone (18310) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033350)

Copy any file around 4MB in your harddisk to a file with "Metallica" in it's name (make sure there's no copyright attached to the original file) and share it on your Napster.

Snapping a faked MP3 header on the file is even better.

Disturbing, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1033351)

If you go to the page linked you'll see that he wrote this software because he feels that the Internet dissasociates people from the feel of stealing.
He is completely wrong. The use of Napster is neither legally nor morally theft. It is copyright infringement, something that I believe is wrong, but it is not theft.
We need to get the word out that Napster is neither piracy nor theft, it is copyright infringement. A speciic legal term with a specific legal meaning, just like the others which have nothing to do with copyright.

Another Unsurprising Development. (1)

Alarmist (180744) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033352)

With online services offering any citizen's credit report for 39.95 USD, I cannot say that this is an especially surprising development. Alarming, certainly, and upsetting, but not surprising.

I expect that something like this will be available before long for Gnutella.

If any of you have samizdat to distribute, you'd better do it now or find alternate communication channels. The day when we will be issued microphones to be worn at all times cannot be far off.

Maybe I missed something... (5)

Johnath (85825) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033353)

Perhaps this was already answered in the original discussions about NetPD, but how do programs like this get around Napster's use policy which, iirc, explicitly bans bots like this, or really, bots of any kind?

Are they just counting on the term 'bot' being too vague to hold up in court? Is napster just not entitled to make this restriction on their service? I would think violating the usage policy amounts to unlawful use of computing resources. Can Napster file counter-suit? Or even just have the names thrown out in any court proceedings?

Hmmm... (1)

Frijoles (16015) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033354)

Why did I write this application? I have a very clear interest in the success of the entertainment industry in the digital age. While many people try to argue their theft with variants of "information should be free" it is simply not true.

I hate to admit it, but I understand his point. I think someone said it best, if you own the CD, why let Napster have access to it? You really have no reason to share your music with other people.

Same old (Pirated) Song and Dance (2)

omarius (52253) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033355)

So? One of the old OPERs on the VAX at school did this to us, too. He would generate lists of people using the TINT client to access MU*s during the daytime hours (during which games were forbidden). He even saw through our ruse of renaming TINT as WP500.COM. ;)

Oh yeah, it pissed us off, too. But hey, we were breaking the rules. It was just embarrassing to have one's name up on a public list like that, as if we'd cashed a bad check at El Charro or something (JDC, I know you're out there. . .).

Folks who are sharing Metallica songs are more than likely breaking the rules, too. Their ruse is up, too. So, if you wanna break the rules, you'd better find a better way to hide your tracks.


Metallica != Metallica (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033356)

I was recently banned when the MetalliBot ran
across my bait, a track I created.
I renamed the file so it included the words
'Metallica' and 'One', but was obviously not a
Metallicrap song.
Had they even checked the ID3 tag, it would have
shown that this file was not really Metallica at all.

I wonder how much Lars is paying NetPD for a simple keyword search...



It can't be used to automate searches (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033357)

Until the software starts downloading what you're watching for, there's no benefit whatsoever. Napster clients can only download after they search.

You'd have to search again to actually download.

How to make it more compilcated. (2)

jmv (93421) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033358)

I guess the problem with all this is that a file named Metallica isn't necessary a Metallica song. If the software downloaded the data and actually checked it, I'd feel better about it.

Well, this may be part of the "solution" against it. If people start sharing empty files with Metallica as a name, it makes finding the real Metallica songs harder. All there is to do is the same as e-mail: files like "Metallica - enpty - One.mpg" for the false files and "Metallica - One.mp3" for the real one... just my $.02.

If metallica were the back street boys (1)

hardaker (32597) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033359)

Boy would I be pissed if I downloaded a Metallica song and it turned out to be some current teen-age pop song...

Seriously though, I've thought we should rename a bunch of freely-distributable MP3s so that they contained the name Metallica.

Hmm. We have all those slashdot "Geeks in Space" episodes just sitting around....

bring it on (2)

matticus (93537) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033360)

dd if=/dev/zero of=metallicasnewrecord.mp3 bs=50000000 count=1
just try it...

they out to get us! (1)

crazy_speeder (155626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033361)

this is terrible. if some anonymous character can log user activities on napster, scour, whatever services, what is stopping large organizations with plenty of resources (e.g. government) to watch anything they want? all they need to do is listen and log packets. the term "big brother" is really beginning to hit home.

Re:If napster had balls... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033362)

This is something I thought of a few weeks back. How can they have possibly verified that EVERY person was actually distributing their songs?

If I sang a song called "metalica sucks" and distributed it on napster...would I be banned?

That would be very silly....and probably not very probable...but hey...its possible.

All they can really say is "It seems as if every person on this list might be distributing songs we made", which is not a very strong argument for banning them.

Wow! Cool! (1)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033363)

Anyone know where I can download an illegal version of that software?


Here's my Microsoft Parody, [lostbrain.com] where's yours?

Re:It can't be used to automate searches (1)

dkscully (42850) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033364)

The idea is taht you could leave it there all the time to see if someone has the hard-to-find, or whatever, file that you're looking for.

There are a number of things that I've searched for on Napster that no one seems to have an mp3 of, but I can't watch all the time, whereas this program does just that.

Once you know it's there you can look out for the user who has it.

Of course, you could probably write a perl script, or the like, to watch the log and alert you when the file you want, or something with a similar name appears.

Or am I totally off-base?

Re:Furst Post (1)

DGregory (74435) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033365)

What do you do, lurk around on /., keeping reloading the front page for new articles every 15 seconds just so you can have the first post and get lowered karma from being moderated down? Wow what a privilege to have no life, I bow down to your greatness. I think I will get real work done and only check /. once in awhile...

Wait a second? (2)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033366)

Napster explicitly bans the use of bots.

If you're breaking the usage agreement of Napster by running this bot, then doesn't that make you as bad as the people ripping off music?


It's called new wave but it's just the same (1)

Linus H. (11865) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033367)

Well this has happend before. When something happen that makes the old way of doing things obsolote things just have to change.
Now that it exists software that can enable people to simply exchange their music/movies/u.s.w./ it will happen. If it is for the better or for the worse I can't say. The age of Britney's may be over which would really be a shame now wouldn't it? If the records companys want to make money they have to adapt. Soon. Very soon.

It's would be nice to know what the hole in FreeNet is ( besides that the hubs are illegall).

Re:If napster had balls... (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033368)

If I sang a song called "metalica sucks" and distributed it on napster...would I be banned?

The unfortunate answer to your question is yes. That's all it looks for. And that is why this method should not be accepted, no questions asked. oh. but only IF napster had balls. Seems like they're gonna go down anyway, they might as well go down fighting harder than what they are.

Mike Roberto (roberto@soul.apk.net [mailto] ) -GAIM: MicroBerto

Outside the box... (1)

dasspunk (173846) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033369)

This service could be used to keep track of the people who offer/download mp3s by "artists" like Enya or Backstreet Boys and report them to their sister company who would then hand out polite mercy killings. I think it could be done tastefully and in such a way as to be considered humane. Either that or kill all the people who listen to Tom Waits and then I'd be out of my misery.


Exactly! (2)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033370)

I couln't agree more. It's a very sensible thing to do and entirely in the spirit of the net.

As for the re-naming of files, that's a complete red herring. People find songs on Napster because the songs are filed under sensible names - i.e. the name of the song. Whatever filing mechanism you decide to use, if you don't want to use names, then software such as this will always be able to access that filing mechanism just as easily as the official client software.

Seems pretty reasonable to me - no better or worse than grepping usenet to see if people are sayig good or bad things about your company's products - which is itself no better or worse than kibo.

It's what you do in the real world next, that matters. Software is just software..

Inevitable (2)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033371)

The creation of this type of software was inevitable. In order to facilitate the transfer, these file-sharing programs need to know the IP address of the sender and the recipient. In addition, services like Napster that identify users by a unique username have yet another field that allows for the identification of this user.

All that is required to create a program like this is to set it to request all file names that contain a substring. When the software receives the username/IP from which the file is being sent, it logs it instead of merely downloading the file.

In order to prevent this "spying," the file-sharing utility would need to obscure the identity of the users by acting as an intermediary. Either the server could contact the computer offering the file, download it to the server, and then send it from the server to the second client (waste of bandwidth and forces the company hosting the main server to commit copyright violation by temporarily hosting potentially pirated files), or it could somehow encrypt the identifiable information so that only a secret routine in the program could decrypt it for use (which is against the principle of open source).

I think that, at least for the near future, we will have to accept the possibility of spying on file-sharing networks as a given.

02-Jun-2000-Death_Threat_From_Edward_Bronfman.mp3 (1)

divec (48748) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033372)

Anybody fancy "finding" a copy of this and putting it up next time Seagram are using this program?

Look around (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033373)

It's every other week some guy faxes a radio station complaining that they don't support local bands.

Ask an artist what he/she thinks not a front stage media puppet.

Re:People will be people... (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033374)

Time to make a bunch of 5MB text files dissing all over these bands, rename them to .MP3s, and make them available for download on Napster.

Hopefully it'll waste someone's time.

That's the answer right there.... (1)

Ignant (149684) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033375)

I'm renaming every file to "Metallica1.mp3","Metallica2.mp3", etc. regardless of content.

The name in the song is already a mistake ... (2)

P_Simm (97858) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033376)

You might not be transmitting an actual Metallica song, perhaps you just uploaded your own metal single with the title "My Rockin' Tune (soundz like Metallica and Pantera)".

Metallica runs their search, they spot your song along with the millions of actual Metallica singles being passed around, they mark you to be removed by Napster. You complain, naturally, since you haven't actually been distributing their music.

Oops, but you just used their copyrighted (oand probably trademarked) name, "Metallica", on your distribution. Guess what, they've now got reason to send the legal spawn after your Napster account anyway.

It might not be as real an offence as actually distributing their music, but don't expect that to slow them down when they decide to step on pirate distribution. You don't have a legal leg to stand on.

You know what to do with the HELLO.

Re:Oh Great (5)

Wah (30840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033377)

Why would they want to? This tool is ACTUALLY, IMHO, the first one that could be used to calculate ratings and "#1 Hits", i.e. "The Most Downloaded Song." As media becomes more free and it becomes trivial (and legal) for me to download last weeks X-Files, a system like this would be an excellent replacement for the VERY screwed up ratings systems we have for both TV and radio.

ps. IANAL (no text) (1)

P_Simm (97858) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033378)


You know what to do with the HELLO.

How to check for "valid" music? (1)

zvesda (91186) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033379)

As many have pointed out; all the software can do is say 'person x has a file with the string y in it' but it was suggested the software simply needs to download and check the file - the question is, how? I'm sure with a reasonably trained neural net (for each different song) or stats coupled with filtering, a fast machine could do the job but is it worth it? Basically, does this software have much point other than to encourage people to place bait on the Napster 'network'? Anti-spam measured in usenet posts isn't hard, and defeating this software won't be either. On the other hand, I do agree with the principle (and I'm a poor student so could easily be considered one of those who'd benefit from illegal mp3's) that if you've signed up with a certain set of laws (e.g. by living volountarily in the USA/UK/etc..) then you ought to abide by them. "I will not agree with all that you say but I will die for your right to say it" - Voltaire (sort of)

Re:Napster File Aliasing (2)

kramer (19951) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033380)

Maybe a bridge removing/anonmysing the user would be better.

Check out Freenet [slashdot.org] it's a file sharing system that shows some promise in the anonymity area.

It allows for encryption, and implicity hides from the user what server a file is coming from. I could go into more details, but the fellows there can probably do a much better job.

Re:a common occurance indeed (1)

Ranger Rick (197) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033381)

Guess you haven't gotten curious and looked around Napster lately. Do a search on 'metallica' and see how many "Metallica_Sucks.mp3" (and similar) files you find, that are actually Britney Spears or something else as aweful. They're doing it on purpose, foo'! :)


Re:This is boarding on illegial... (5)

generic-man (33649) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033382)

Napster is a public forum, not your house. You put a list of your MP3's on Napster _expecting_ people to search it. If you don't like it, set your share directory to /dev/null.

What you're saying about "illegal search" is like me dumping out a box of 100 CD's in the middle of the sidewalk, walking away to go do some shopping or chat with friends, and then run back and say "Hey! Don't look at those! They're mine! This is illegal search!"

I'd be really impressed... (1)

barooo (72078) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033383)

What the world really needs is a B2C eLawsuit service. This program could automatically create an eLawsuit suing the person hosting the file, possibly naming some other defendants (napster, whoever).

Actually I should probably shut up becuase this might be a profitable idea. *shudder*.

I see that suesombody.com [suesomebody.com] is already taken....

distributed.doubleclick.net (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033384)

just imagine:
distributed# mediaenforcer *.napserver.* > stats.doubleclick.net > /dev/spy&; cat /dev/spy >RIAA &; cat /dev/spy > BMG; cat /dev/spy > CDnow.


Re:Disturbing, (2)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033385)

You raise a good point. It's not theft. That's akin to the BSA assuming that every piece of software that gets pirated would have been bought if it wasn't pirated. Granted some of it would have been, but not nearly all of it. I don't believe that if Napster didn't exist these people would be buying the CDs from which they've gotten their gigabyte MP3 collections.

Just like with Napster. If you downloaded a song, you may have broken the law by infringing on someone's copyright but you haven't stolen anything.

Stealing is when person A has object X. Person B comes along, and without permission from the rightful owner of object X, takes object X. Person B now has posession of object X and person A no longer has object X.


Re:Napster File Aliasing (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033386)

While playing cards with friends, my friend asked if he should now delete his Metallica mp3's, because Napster shares everything on his hard drive and doesn't care WHAT folder its in, it finds them all! I then went on a rant and just said to name them Metalli.mp3 or something, which should work.

I then realized that my friends were laughing at me, not because of what I was saying, but because we were playing Egyptian Ratscrew and they stole a ton of my cards that I would have won.

But the point sticks, we should announce a leadership where all the "e"s can just be switched to 3's (31337 style! haha), and then stay safe and people could search for m3tallica.

Mike Roberto (roberto@soul.apk.net [mailto] ) -GAIM: MicroBerto

Re:Metallica != Metallica (1)

Mojojojo Monkey Inc. (174471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033387)

wow, you sure showed them with that trick man!

If people could get over the... (3)

Wah (30840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033388)

..."Arr, matey" side of file-sharing, they might realize that the system he is creating is the digital equivalent of the Neilsons. A ratings system for distributed media. Or at least the basis of one.

That's what I think this should be used for. Sueing 300,000 people for listening to your music might make great headlines, and make the lawyers tons of cash, but it is hardly the way to run a civilized society. Or an entertainment business. It's time to see the future and embrace it.

It's fair game (2)

Hasdi Hashim (17383) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033389)

If you are not downloading illegal media off napster, THEN you should have nothing to worry about right?

Re:Look around (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033390)

Nice non-sequitor. Sharing, say, Metallica songs does nothing to support local bands.

For that matter, the fact that doing so without Metallica's consent appears to be illegal does not prevent a local band from putting up and publicizing a web page with all the .mp3s for free distribution if they choose. THAT is perfectly legal unless they've signed a contract prohibiting this; it's their choice.

Re:What did we expect? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1033391)

Actually Napster's Terms of Service doesn't allow the use of automated software and the DMCA doesn't allow you to put undo stress on a network while attempting to find copyright infringers.

Make sure it really is a Metallica Song! (2)

klyX (116477) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033392)

My friend got "Metallicaed" as he put it from napster due to one song -- this song was a rare remix of a Metallica song by one of his favorite bands - KMFDM... Now thats lame.

How long have you been listening to the world's famous?
'Bout six weeks.
Six weeks!

Re:How about we starts to share faked Metallica fi (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033393)

Why? So you can just get booted like another 500,000 people and no one will care?

Mike Roberto (roberto@soul.apk.net [mailto] ) -GAIM: MicroBerto

Re:Wait a second? (1)

Wah (30840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033394)

Just collect a list of all bots and submit it to them in writing. They'll take it from there.


How to get sued for the wrong reason (1)

elgardo (117823) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033395)

All you need to do is to make your own MP3 of yourself reading your own Slashdot article about Metallica, then make it available on Napster as What_I_Think_Of_Metallica.mp3. You'll soon have Metallica on your tail for a copyright infringement that you didn't do.

Re:How to make it more compilcated. (1)

PhoboS (21600) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033396)

Is it really a problem that the software doesn't download the files? If they never check the contents of the file they can't possibly have a case against the users, can they?

Re:Exactly! (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033397)

It's a very sensible thing to do and entirely in the spirit of the net.

It is a sensible thing to do, but I beg to disagree on the "spirit of the net" issue. I am quite sure that assembling databases of who owns which files is not in the spirit of the net. Sniffing packets -- yeah, sure. Assembling hit lists for corporations' legal departments -- not really.

As for the re-naming of files, that's a complete red herring. People find songs on Napster because the songs are filed under sensible names - i.e. the name of the song. Whatever filing mechanism you decide to use, if you don't want to use names, then software such as this will always be able to access that filing mechanism just as easily as the official client software.

Bullshit. This is completely equivalent to spam-proofing email addresses. If I have two files, one of which is called "Metallica -- track 13" and the other is called "Metallica -- RIAA bait", a human will be able to know what's happening perfectly well. Software is likely to have severe problems.

Remember -- we are not really talking about 'hiding' files from RIAA, though it's doable, too. We are talking about spamming their search engines with bogus data which is trivial.


Re:If metallica were the back street boys (1)

Antipop (180137) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033398)

Hmm. We have all those slashdot "Geeks in Space" episodes just sitting around....

Heh, I'm going to go rename all my GiS episodes right now...

Micropayments (1)

Sits (117492) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033399)

Read what Jacob Neilson has to say about Micropayment [useit.com] . I reckon Nik is spot on this point, but it could be open to abuse - do you pay per listen or per track? What happens when you trade it to someone else? Can you sell it on etc?

Re:Metallica != Metallica (1)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033400)

It's not about 'showing' anyone, stupid. I was curious
as to whether they were even cheking ID3s.



This sounds exactly what is needed (5)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033401)

You people only want to use Napster to listen to music by artists who want their music on Napster, right?

This way, they can prevent people from sharing music from artists who want nothing to do with Napster.

This way you are happy, the RIAA is happy, Metallica is happy, Everyone's happy.

BTW: Anyone who calls a non-Metallica song, Metallica is an idiot. It is just a rouse to subvert the system. Just like: the next time you go to download sourcecode to some program, you get to decide between Metallica1.c Metallica2.c, etc. That is just dumb and defeats the purpose of filenames!

Unles you don't care what Metallica or any other artist wants; only that you want to listen to their music for free. *gasp* Could it be?

talk about asking to get your ip banned... (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033402)

Hello! Isn't this (gasp) considered... a bot? Grouds to get your IP banned? Although, I suppose they wouldn't care about that, seeing as by the time they were found out, they'd have gotten all the info they need.

Also, why is /. reporting this... are they TRYING to give ammo to the RIAA and their goons?

-- Dr. Eldarion --
It's not what it is, it's something else.

"Metallica" file copyright protection... (1)

ChiaBen (160517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033403)

Couldn't someone create a file called "Metallica" (as was previously suggested) and then to expand upon it, add a copyright info area, which in essence would hove some sort of non-disclosure agreement, and then bind the viewer to do something like... oh, perhaps NOT sue Napster?
It just seems like you could find a way to use this technology against these corporations, and get them stuck between a rock and a hard place...
Slashdot users (as a whole) are smarter than a friggin' lawyer, aren't we?

Ben Carlson

Bots (1)

_SIGKILL_ (170600) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033404)

Doesn't this violate Napster's policy of no bots? If not, how do they get around it?

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Stary (151493) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033405)

Except that I, as a musician, love it when others hear and like my music! Musicians get almost nothing for each CD sold anyway. The same argument could be held for software... if you made a program, you really have no reason to share it with other people. The whole free software movement shows how wrong that is.

As a final note, this is not about theft. Copyright infringement != theft.

Scary? Nah. (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033406)

I don't see what's so scary about this. I'd say it's necessary. What's wrong with accountability? Maybe this sort of thing will cause that accountability to land upon the actual thieves rather than the tool makers.

And if the first generation of these tools, with their crude pattern-matching, generates some false positives, that's no big deal. If you're going to prosecute someone for piracy, you're obviously going to have to manually confirm the offenses. Nobody's suggesting that something like this should be used to automatically generate arrest warrants.

For samizdat and whistle-blowing, I don't see a problem either. The goal there is for someone to be able to speak anonymously, and getting an anonymous message out will always be possible. Once it's out, it doesn't need to be mirrored and distributed anonymously.


Anyone interested in a Linux clone of this? (1)

bconway (63464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033407)

I feel that this software would greatly benefit anyone that is losing money to piracy every day. I've started work on a GTK+ clone, and it's coming along quite well, actually. Are there any other efforts out there under way?

Banned from Napster (1)

DigitalDragon (194314) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033408)

I've been banned from Napster and can not do anything about this. I tried deleting registry info and creating a new user, but I still get this error. Does anyone know the workaround? Please help. dmitry@estation.com

Paaa-lees! (1)

Fyndlorn (88381) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033409)

Don't argue semantics, we all know what theft is. Don't try to hide behind legal-ese. You want the music, you can get it without paying, so you do it. That's theft. Whether or not you feel justified, for whatever reason, is a whole different story. (and by you, i mean the general you, as in whoever uses the service, not you specifically)

Re:Oh Great (1)

Mr_SpICEz (179547) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033410)

This guy is right, I hadnt though of that, but moderate this last post UP, UP, UP!!!

Re:Hmmm... (1)

pegiron (149344) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033411)

It's not so much why share, as why not? Ownership of music is a pretty new idea, and one that's never caused anything but trouble. Music by nature is a process of sharing, and it all worked perfectly well, until a middleman stepped in, and asked for his cut. All the record companies have ever done is open up channels so more sharing could occur ( with a slight fee of course ). Now their day is done, sharing is easier, and more convenient without them. The artists will survive, they'll have to rely more heavily on live shows, but I personally think thats great. Artists will _ALWAYS_ be taken care of by a community, maybe they won't get to flash Millions of bills in their videos, but they'll be able to eat.

Don't go on debating wether "Sharing" is good or bad, it's the nature of the beast, and music has always been stronger than law.

Re:If napster had balls... (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033412)

They gave banned people the option of getting their account back. All they had to do was submit a legally binding document claiming that they were not sharing copyrighted material, and were willing to be sued in a court of law if this was disputed.

So, the misnaming is fine from THAT point of view.

Of course, since it's an outright conspiracy to provide false information in order to facilitate the commission of crime, it may be quite illegal from another point of view.

Re:Wait a second? (1)

jpowers (32595) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033413)

It's only a problem if the software uses an account on Napster to search. They should change their EULA to include a seven figure fine for it. That would be an interesting lawsuit.

doesn't that make you as bad as the people ripping off music?

Not really. Though both could be termed "theft" in the most forgiving of rationales, neither is "bad" by the purest definiton. Sharing mp3s and using someone else's bandwith/hardware in an unauthorized fashion are both, in the grand shceme of things, no more that mild nuisances.

Now, if someone wrote software to help kidnap 400 UN peacekeepers in a foreign land, that might be worth getting worked up over. The guy above who wrote about getting busted for MUDs at school probably has the most accurate assessment of the situation: you had your fun, and now you have to stop.


Bots (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033414)

how do programs like this get around Napster's use policy which, iirc, explicitly bans bots like this, or really, bots of any kind?

Usage policies about bots are bullshit. If a server can dictate how I retrieve and process information, then MPAA can dictate how I watch a DVD. Fuck that.


Re:Napster File Aliasing (1)

CodeMonky (10675) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033415)

I think we need to just do an echelon type thing where we name all MP3's Metallica-Unforgiven.mp3.

Anyone know if it is illegal to name a file a trademarked (or copyrighted) name?

Why is is bad? (1)

Frodo (1221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033416)

Actually, this thing is nothing more than search engine. So I see nothing bad (or even too interesting) in it. So mp3-warez d00dz would name their files M3T4LL1C4.mp3, and go on. Or just name them after the song title and put a [M] before, and everybody will just know [M] means metallica. That's an old and ethernal shield-sword game.

BTW, I'm not sure you can name your music "Metallica" without Metallica's permission. Don't they have a sort of TM over the name?

The Leet Shall Lead Us To Babylon... (1)

CabanaBoy (33592) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033417)

I hate to say this... I reeeeeally do... But 1337 speak may be the solution to all this.

Sure, this package can find out who's offering "Metallica", but what about "M377A1iCA"? It's a temporary solution at best, but it's just obfuscated enough to defeat corporate chowderheads.

I feel like I just ate my young...

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Fyndlorn (88381) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033418)

Yeah but it should be the choice of the individual musisian as to whether or not they want to share THIER music for free; you can't decide for me, thats MY god damn right.

Re:Isn't this a violation of the Napster license? (1)

DigitalDragon (194314) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033419)

Very good. 100% agree

Re:still illegal (1)

klyX (116477) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033420)

I believe the remix was released on a KMFDM album, if it was released at all ...

How long have you been listening to the world's famous?
'Bout six weeks.
Six weeks!

Useless (1)

alleria (144919) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033421)

The same technique that we use to avoid automatic mail address kleebers will work:

insert slightly misspelled artist names, song names, and obvious things like REMOVEME, extra letters, etc.

Not hard.

Re:It can't be used to automate searches (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033422)

You search, I search, media enforcer searches.

It's not a post tracking system. It's a search tracking system. It's no different than any other napster client.

Why sue Napster? (1)

Frodo (1221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033423)

Why should you sue napstaer on this? Do you sue phone company when someone calls you and says something bad? Do you sue roadbuilders if someone steals your car? Sue whoever trading wares, if you like - why Napster is at blame? They are media carrier.

On Mispreseneting File Names (2)

VAXman (96870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033424)

The masses see the achille's heel of Napster enforcement is that a filename containing a certain text may not actually be by that artist. The MP3 format does indeed have a field for artist. It is unambiguous whether the text "metallica" refers to the name of the artist, or part of the name of the song.

But here's the gotcha: most artists will probably be _more_ furious if you misrepresent music and wrongly attribute it to them, or away from them. If you package up a Backstreet Boys song, and attribute it to Metallica, Metallica may even have _more_ ground to sue you (for libel, for example). If you attribute it away from them, if you claim that a Metallica song was by somebody _besides_ Metallica, that is even a larger crime (identity theft!). But this case is considerably more difficult to detect.

Re:Bots (1)

jrcamp (150032) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033425)

There is a little difference here. Napster is free. We don't pay them to use their service. We pay the MPAA to watch DVDs. Don't bitch about terms of free services. If you don't like it, use Gnutella or something.

Re:hmm... (2)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033426)

If you're going to use Napster illegally to collect songs that you have no right to, why would you complain that someone might collect your information to use against you? At least what they're doing is legal.

I guess information wants to be free only when it helps you "get some free kewl stuff."


Re:Paaa-lees! (1)

Ozzy (119339) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033427)

This entire topic is semantics, Law has no provisions for anything but semantics.

And whether or not you feel it's wrong has no bearing on aything. The Law is what decides, not morals.

And it's not legally theft, it's legally Copyright Infringement.

Harken back to Anti-DeCSS tactics (1)

fridgepimp (136338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033428)

If you don't use napster now, but you don't like what's going on, you can help.

D/L Napster and install on a machine you don't use (or one that can handle the increased net trafic) and then grab RMS singing from here [gnu.org]

work magic (to convert to MP3...some pls post if there is a way to do this) and rename the file numerous times to the name of various copyrighted works. Do this as many times as you can (don't we all have a couple of 2 gig drives lying around?)

That way...if the use this search, their results will be skewed. No I realize that there are some problems with this for the intelligent, but I figure if the rest of the ppl suing napster are half as clueless as Lars proved he was [slashdot.org] , then we're home free.


I need to write some new songs! (1)

spankenstein (35130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033429)

I think the first one will be titled "Metallica" Then "Dr Dre." That would be really nice. Then they could sue me and my band would get a lot of press and they would look like fools!


Rares Marian (83629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033430)

How's that a troll?

Re:Hmmm... (1)

pegiron (149344) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033431)

nope, it's not your right, that's your greedy inner child refusing to share, and play nice with the people (not wallets) you're supposedly making music for.

Copyright police catching up (1)

VAXman (96870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033432)

What the pirates need to understand is, although they may be somewhat computer savvy, the people playing on the other side aren't marching much before. The very concept of Napster was considered revolutionary when it debuted the pirates said, "See, we can do anything with the internet", and didn't think twice about the consequences. It is ironic that the copyright police are slowly but surely doing the same thing. The disgusting thing is that the pirates believe that somehow the police should be stopped even though their merits lie precisely where police's lie ("it's just bits over a wire").

Other side of the coin (2)

twdorris (29395) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033433)

I've been fighting with this issue for a while. Let's consider the flip side to all this for a change. I've written an application that represents SEVERAL *months* of my time and effort. I've given that application to a set of friends for testing under an agreed upon "licensing" arrangement that they will not distribute that application. This is an obvious desire of mine because I want to distribute the application myself in order to ensure I'm properly reimbursed. If those people decided on their own to start swapping that application with a bunch of other people, I would be furious. That's *my* application that *I* worked for months on and now *they're* distributing it freely without *my* involvement whatsoever.

That's the side of this issue that 99% of the people swapping files via Napster are not (perhaps can not) adequately considering. It may not be possible to fully appreciate that side of things unless you've been in that position yourself. So it may be difficult to convey to someone that has never really had the feel of ownership and pride associated with having created something like that how an author of a piece of work (music, art, software, whatever) really feels when his work is being freely distributed without his involvement.

That being said, I admit to having swapped music via Napster. I admit to having downloaded a song that I do not own a legitimate license for. I do so because I tell myself that I would never have purchased that song under any other circumstance. I only grabbed it because it was free and available. If it were not so easily accessible, I would never have bought it. So the author of the work in this case didn't loose a penny. I would not have bought it anyway. In fact, the author is getting free exposure because I may decide after listening to some number of songs for free that I really like his work and I would, as a result, go buy a CD or two that I would not have otherwise. That's the same ol' argument that's been used to justify software swapping for YEARS (I remember making that comparison as many as 15 years ago).

So I find myself wondering how I can see both sides of this coin and come to a happy median. How could someone else convince me as an author that swapping my work freely is a good thing? I think it boils down to what TYPE of work is being swapped. In my case, I might crank out a useful, market-able application *once* every *two* years! Someone swapping my work probably does not encourage them to buy anything else of mine because there just isn't anything else of mine available. In the case of songs, it's a little different. While creating a song involves a great deal of work by a large number of people, the bottom line is that a particular artist has many, many songs available on the market. It's also true that the "consumers" of these songs have a large number of choices available to them. They could listen to your song or they could listen to someone elses, so getting a little free exposure might help a song artist while it probably doesn't help me at all (there aren't likely to be all that many alternatives to the applications I write).

What do other "authors" think about this issue? We're hearing GOBS and GOBS from users, but very little from authors.

Re:If napster had balls... (2)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033434)

And how much money are you contributing to Napster? It's so easy for you nerds to talk tough with someone else's money.


What is theft? (1)

nhw (30623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033435)

Stealing is when person A has object X. Person B comes along, and without permission from the rightful owner of object X, takes object X. Person B now has posession of object X and person A no longer has object X.

You might think that, and it certainly might not be an unreasonable position for a layman, but in many jurisdictions, theft is considerably more broadly defined than that.

For example, in the UK, theft has been interpreted to mean something along the lines of 'appropriating any of the bundle of rights of the legal owner of a thing, with intent permanently to deprive', in a decision based on the Theft Act 1968. Now the right to copy a work resides solely in the owner of a copyright, unless that right is otherwise given away/sold/whatever, according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

So, there's a reasonable argument that copyright theft really is theft, at least in the UK; at least insofar as the actus reus (that is to say, the actual wrong action).

As to the substance of your point about 'what stealing is', consider this small Gedankenexperiment, consider the man who breaks into your car whilst its parked outside the office, and takes it for a drive around the city, kindly returning it to the car park after he's finished with it, and before you come out of work. Theft, or not theft?

Re:Oh Great (1)

VAXman (96870) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033436)

Please provide proof that indie bands are benefitting from online delivery.

Please demonstrate how the low volume/high margin business model of the independent music business will survive when piracy ultimately plans to a high volume/low margin business.

Lessig is right (1)

cicho (45472) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033437)

This shows how code really _is_ law, for better or, in this case, for worse.

Whoever wrote the Enforcer has all the right to do so and distribute it for free or otherwise, but I find the guy's attitude simply despicable - especially in his glib remarks about the alleged hole in Freenet's security. He has the priorities all wrong.

(I wonder if this is going to start a new pattern. So far, lots of good coders have made a name for themselves by writing, say, "alternative" applications that went against the mainstream - e.g. PGP. Now, as a means of self-promotion, one can do better by sucking up to the corporate world: "look at this, I think it's going to help you nab all those pesky teenagers!")

Re:Wait a second? (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033438)

If you're breaking the usage agreement of Napster by running this bot, then doesn't that make you as bad as the people ripping off music?

No, because Napster's bot ban is unreasonable. It smells suspiciously to me, like an attempt to couple their client software with their service, and I'm rather surprised that people here on Slashdot would defend such a practice.

What if www.microsoft.com had a "usage agreement" that you're not allowed to use anything from their site for criticism or to make a compatable competing product? What if DVDs were sold with a "usage agreement" that you're only allowed to watch them on a DVD-CCA licensed player? What if you bought music from a musician, and it had a "usage agreement" that you're not allowed to convert the music data to other formats?

Do you really want to go there? Fair Use is our friend.


Re:Bots (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033439)

Napster can make rules like that because they have the right to say how their computers are used. The MPAA shouldn't be able to tell me how to use the DVD that I own. Apples and Oranges.


I cated my kernel do /dev/dsp, and heard God. (2)

Zibby (94201) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033440)

cat /vmlinuz | lame SomeMetalicaSong.mp3

After blowing their ear drums listening to Metalica full volume, most fans won't notice the difference.

Re:Same old (Pirated) Song and Dance (1)

Phearless Phred (67414) | more than 14 years ago | (#1033441)

VAX? El Charro?!? I love the smell of cat food and dead skunk in the morning! :) phred@akazaphod @who.misses.bb.chatter.and.jmu.general.misc
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