wStoned Out Loud
As the Rolling Stones began their tour while welching on the more than quarter of a million dollar deal they made with my Friend, I started this e-Blogazine journal to document some of my experience of the fallout, and to create a forum for discussion and resources to reform the Music Industry. May Artists, Musicians, and Free People everywhere find it useful.

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wArticles of Note

-- John Perry Barlow: Slouching Towards Hollywood --

-- John Perry Barlow: Napster and the Death of the Music Industry --

-- Delene Garafano: "Working" for the Rolling Stones --

-- Janis Ian: The Internet Debacle --

-- Janis Ian: Fallout --

-- Steve Albini: The Problem with Music --

-- Evan Coyne Maloney: Why the Music Industry Wants To Trash Your Computer --

-- Courtney Love: Courtney Love Does the Math --

-- Courtney Love: Courtney Love Does the Math
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-- Doug Chick: Don't Legalize Hacking by Record Companies --

-- Dave Manchester: We're Goin' BoomBoomBoom --

-- Dan Gillmor: We must engage in copyright debate --

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wSunday, August 25, 2002

Bad MP3's : Music Industry Spams Servers with Spoofs

Clog the Servers and Subvert the Network
Damn the Constitution: Full speed ahead!

The Music industry is now set on spamming file sharing services with damaged, munged, polluted, or otherwise deflicted mp3 files in an effort to discourage, if not thwart potential file sharing. The Washington Post did a pretty good article about it August 20. Here's an excerpt: recent weeks, scads of "spoof" files have been anonymously posted to the hugely popular sites where music fans illegally trade songs online. Spoofs are typically nothing more than repetitive loops or snippets filled with crackle and hiss, and thousands are now unwittingly downloaded every day from file-sharing services, like Kazaa and Morpheus, that sprang up after Napster's demise.

Record labels are reluctant to discuss spoofing, but their trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America, has called it a legitimate way to combat piracy. And at least one company acknowledges that it has been hired to distribute spoofs, although it won't say by whom.

All of this suggests that the dummy files are part of a second front in the record industry's war against illegal music copying...

... labels are racing to develop uncopyable CDs and -- if indeed they're behind the spoofs -- employing guerrilla tactics that complicate the unlawful uploading and downloading of songs. The labels are also supporting a bill, now under consideration in Congress, that would make it legal to "impair the operation of peer-to-peer" networks, such as LimeWire. That could be done, for example, by overloading file-sharing services with so many requests that they slow to a crawl...

...The strategy has generated plenty of skepticism, however, and not just among those who regard music thievery as a sacred mission. Some executives in the online music world say the majors -- Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., BMG and EMI -- are wasting their time.

"All this smacks of desperation," says Eric Garland, president of BigChampagne, a company hired by major labels to measure online file-sharing traffic. "When you've got a consumer movement of this magnitude, when tens of millions of people say, 'I think CD copying is cool and I'm within my rights to do it,' it gets to the point where you have to say uncle and build a business model around it rather than fight it." ...

The RIAA wants to break new CD's, too. By rigging them so they won't play if the CD player is attached to Your PC.

Thus far, only halting, low-key steps have been taken to thwart mass copying. Just four titles ...have been released in the United States with reconfigured coding intended to render them unplayable in computer hard drives...these tentative moves proved controversial, however, because buyers who merely wanted to play the CDs on their computers couldn't do so. And one congressman said the labels warning consumers that the discs didn't play on PCs were so small that he threatened legislation.

... this first stab at safeguarding had an even greater liability: It didn't work very well. Hackers gleefully reported that they could defeat the security encryption with a felt-tip pen, and artists declined to release copy-protected albums, figuring that the discs would annoy fans without plumping their royalty checks. "It just doesn't work," said David Bowie... "I mean, what's the point?"

...[The major labels] say they're back in the lab, hoping to devise software that allows legal copying (for personal use, such as a copy for the car), while blocking illegal activity (like sharing a song with millions of other fans on Napster-like services).

Kill the Standard. Kill the Specification.

...The ultimate goal is to retire the so-called "Red Book" CD standard that was developed in 1980 by Sony and Phillips, and which is embedded in nearly every recorded compact disc sold today. The Red Book CD was one of the most successful entertainment products in history, but unlike the DVD, it was designed without virtual security bolts. Labels won't abandon the good old five-inch plastic disc -- it's a medium that consumers clearly love -- but in the coming two or three years, they'll phase in new and more secure audio standards.

The Post's David Segal, who wrote the article, talks about it in a video stream, at

There's some other good stuff in the article, too. Take a look. (printer-friendly...all on 1 page)

P2P Virus Protection

Btw, Kazaa recommends a product called Bullguard. Here's a link to Bullguard's site map. The image above links to their "respect" page, a page of tribute to People the founders of the company respect. What a cool idea. It's a nicely designed page, a pleasure to look at, and there's a nice picture of the company Founders at the bottom. Take a peek!

posted by gathering moss at 6:51 AM

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Stoned Out Loud