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ATPM 14.05
May 2008




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by Mark Tennent,

CD-ripping Rip-off

Not content with the hullabaloo created by their colonial cousins, the RIAA, the British-based Music Business Group (MBG) have their sight firmly set on iPod users. The MBG cartel, err, trade association which represents music publishers, songwriters, performers, and their numerous hangers-on, have decided they want a cut of the profits from the sales of iPods. Their reasoning is that most of the music on MP3 players is illegal because it has been copied from CDs. According to the Gowers report (see below) in 2005 over 20 million MP3 players were sold in the UK, and 90% of the music on them had been copied.

It is still technically illegal in the UK to transfer the music you legitimately bought and own from one media to another. Andrew Gowers, whose claims to fame are a biography of Yasser Arafat and a stint editing the Financial Times, was asked to conduct an independent review of the UK intellectual property system, and in 2006 Gowers’ report recommended that the law be changed to allow strictly limited, private copying, format-shifting from one media to another.

Cassette Kickbacks

For years the music industry enjoyed a kick-back from the sales of blank compact cassettes because they convinced the powers-that-be that the tapes would be used to copy music from LPs. In some parts of the world, blank CDs also carried a surcharge which went directly to the music business to cover their “losses” from piracy. Gowers recommended extra safeguards and easier anti-piracy legislation for the music industry to ensure the correct balance between users and creators.

But this isn’t good enough for the MBG, who reject Gowers’ findings and want their snouts in the trough as well. As less use is made of “traditional” media such as CDs, tapes, and vinyl, and more music is stored and played on computers and MP3 players, the MBG is liable to lose control of their income stream. End users, their customers, will choose to purchase downloads rather than go to the bother of ripping music to disk and storing the source CDs. The MBG will be at the mercy of the download libraries. If they want to sell music, MBG members will have to accept the terms and conditions of the library owners.

Of course, they could always set up their own download sources and refuse to sell music to the likes of Apple, but then there is the danger that artists will strike their own agreements and bypass the music studios altogether. Which is exactly what a lot of them are doing already.

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Reader Comments (6)

anonymous · May 2, 2008 - 00:53 EST #1
OK, here it is, when i buy something, the moment the vendor accepts that cash is the moment i own what i buy.
i can choose to burn it, use it as a slave, damage it, play with it, or anything.
Absolutely no authoritative idiot will ever have any right whatsoever over what i do with it, because for the simple fact that i bought it.
Off course, it would be a different story if they bought it and gave it to me for a specific reason but in which case, i would really doubt that i would ever accept it in the first place.
I don't know about your country but in this country of the rising sun, i have many friends in the music bussiness but they have not received anything whatsoever from the dudes that control the rights, the right control in this country obviously receives some sort of cut but does not reach the artists at all.
I have checked a few of there contracts with a label and there are nothing mentioned about it, therefore the income they receive is absolutely from CD sales, etc marketing done by the label alone.
them right people, what do they really do ?
just rape customers maybe
Grover Watson · May 2, 2008 - 05:06 EST #2
I make it a point to own a legit CD or legally download a copy of every song in my iTunes Library. I want the Artist who created it to benefit from the fact that I own a copy of his or her music. Like the previous poster said, once I buy it, it's MINE. If I want to use the disc for $15 Frisbee, that's my choice. All of my CDs are ripped for my 3 iPods.
If you want to save a buck or two, Music Lovers, buy a recycled or discounted CD from Amazon or you favorite local used CD store.
If the Arists don't get paid, they may quit making music and get a job @ the local Wal-Mart selling other Artist's Music. What a waste of talent THAT would be.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 2, 2008 - 09:59 EST #3
Grover - seems a little silly to me. Why buy an iTunes download if you own the CD? Just rip track from the CD. The quality (assuming you match iTMS' bitrate and use AAC) is identical. The only different between iTMS purchases and the tracks you rip are that the iTMS tracks have DRM embedded. If this isn't what you were talking about, then I'm sorry, but the way you worded your comment sort of seems like it.

Also, clarification, artists don't get a single cent from re-sold/used CDs.
Mark Brierley · May 6, 2008 - 14:54 EST #4
I thought iTunes went DRM free or did that not happen? Anyway, to take this to the logical extension ... if I ripped CDs or made illegal downloads and put them on my iPod I would have to also have them on my HD in iTunes. Consequently, shouldn't the BMG bloodsuckers go after all Computer makers, Hard Disk producers, HD DVD player manufacturers and again by their own lunacy try to take a cut from the ISPs, cable manufacturers (I mean connecting cables), wireless router companies (eek! I mean Airport Express is designed for streaming audio), circuit board manufacturers, headphone suppliers ....
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 6, 2008 - 17:18 EST #5
Mark - *some* of iTunes stuff went DRM free. Definitely not everything.
Andy · June 1, 2008 - 16:18 EST #6
If this goes ahead, the only thing to do will be to download music illegally.

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