Luca Lampo & Marina Serina [epidemiC]A MP3-Chronology. Part 4: January 2002 to nowadays
KaZaA temporarily suspends its service. It is sold to Sharman Networks, an Australian company, but the ownership of the FastTrack protocol remains unchanged.
The Dutch Court of Appeal rewrites the sentence: KaZaA is not guilty. Responsibility lies solely with the users, i.e the file-swappers.
Morpheus, the FastTrack client belonging to MusicCity, ceases to function and advises that it has had an attack of Denial of Service (DoS) by an unknown party.
Denial of Service (DoS)
Denial of Service is a class of computer attacks which can be carried out via a computer network. The aim of a DoS is to cause disruption to a net service. Using particular techniques, the “target service” is subjected to more requests than it is able to supply.
Morpheus decides to abandon the proprietary protocol FastTrack for an Open Source system based on Gnutella.
But this was not a DoS, FastTrack admits it closed Morpheus, because: “They weren’t paying their bills”.
Many Colleges in the USA decide to abandon their over-repressive line against file-swapping by their students: “Students are essentially our customers, and we need to try to make them happy,” (Russell Taylor, Lees-McRae College).
On the basis of arrests and guilty verdicts by the Courts, the RIAA states that piracy is strongly on the increase.
The RIAA requests opening of a fund to create a program called Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) and that it become part of action by the Department of Justice in the fight against digital crime.
At the ceremony of the Grammy Awards, considered the music business version of the Oscars, Michael Greene, president of the Recording Academy organizing the event, focuses his opening address on internet and attempts to rally opinion against free swapping, stating that “without a doubt, the most insidious virus is illegal music downloading from the net (...) Its defenders offer myriad excuses. This exchange of music files is pervasive, out of control and really criminal.” He then introduces three students, stating that in two days they downloaded 6.000 tracks and are the proof that the entire music system is at risk.(2)
A study by market research company Ipsos-Reid, states that only 8% (per cent) of Americans over the age of twelve downloading music from the internet have paid to get it. Further, 84% (per cent) of the same sample (some four/fifths) state that they would not pay for music downloaded from the net even if the technical means to exchange it free did not exist. Together with these results, however, there are others countering the trend re: CD purchases. 81% (per cent) of those interviewed state that their compact disc purchases have remained the same or have gone up since they began downloading music from the net. Further, 84% (per cent) use internet not only to download files but to listen to previews in streaming, read song lyrics or information on tours by their favourite artists and use search engines to find bands’ sites and how to purchase their CDs. Half of them purchased a CD on the basis of information only obtained on the net (text or sound). Finally, a third of those interviewed changed their favourite genre since starting to download music and a slightly smaller percentage consequently changed radio listening habits. (2)
FastTrack registers 20 million users, from 1 to 2 million swappers connected to each other simultaneously.
KaZaA forms an alliance with Verizon. The aim is to create a strategy to get round the RIAA and pay royalties directly to the artists.
The RIAA takes action against Audiogalaxy. The centralized structure of the service, similar to Napster, makes it very vulnerable legally speaking. It is closed down within a few weeks. MP3 swappers remember it with regret as one of the most effective services devoted to song-sharing.
The Representatives of the Districts of California and North Carolina, Howard Berman and Howard Coble, present Congress in Washington with what is soon to be called “Berman's Bill”. In short, it is intended to regulate and legalize attacks such as Denial of Service and other types against computers and data belonging to single Peer-to-Peers, if carried out by a person or company defending their own copyright. The copyright owner can take the law into their own hands.
The bill raises many doubts and arguments: the legal consumer of music and the swapper are often the same person. Is a company that punishes its own customers a good model for the market?
The RIAA congratulates Berman on the bill.
An American company, MediaForce, begins offering a service (MediaDecoy) to companies wishing to defend the copyright of their own works.
In July, the website of the RIAA is attacked and knocked out(DoS) by unknown hackers.
Many Internet Service Providers (ISP) state their disagreement with “Berman's Bill” and announce that they will protect their own clients.
High Fidelity MP3
In 2000, Texas Instruments purchase Burr-Brown, an American company manufacturing DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) for high quality reading of Audio CDs.
The result of the collaboration between the two companies is a new generation of DSP (Digital signal processing)chips. The excellent performance of these chips in reading MP3 formats persuade many Hi-Fi enthusiasts of their quality.
”Imagine never buying another music CD or cassette. No hissing, no skipping, no matter what. One of the hottest new uses for the Internet is downloading music. MP3 files are populating the web by the hundreds of thousands. Manufacturers are building the devices. The whole music world is changing. And this is creating tremendous growth opportunities for the companies that get there first.” (Texas Instruments. Internet audio: Overview).
These chips cost around 4 dollars each.
The problem of conflict between protecting Copyright and the phenomenon of song-swapping begins to appear without a solution. The approaches of "digital safety" (SDMI) and repression (legal action, changes to the law) have proved ineffective, costly and unpopular.
The RIAA decides to appeal to the sentiments of song-swappers with an anti-piracy campaign appearing in the major national daily press:
“Who Really Cares About Illegal Downloading? Artists and songwriters of every style and genre speaking out against illegal copying…” musicunited.org
”Piracy deprives songwriters, producers and artists acknowledgement for sharing the gift of music.” Trisha Yearwood
”Our industry must take a very strong position against the stealing of our writing and music or else those writings and music will become as cheap as the garbage in the streets.” Stevie Wonder
”Artists and composers - particularly the younger ones - will not stand a chance of creating music in the future if their recordings are simply stolen in this way.” Luciano Pavarotti
”Turning your back on the bootleggers helps us pave the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs.” Missy Elliott
”You might as well walk into a record store, put the CD’s in your pocket and walk out without paying for them.” Mark Knopfler
”Would you go into a CD store and steal a CD? It's the same thing, people going into the computers and logging on and stealing our music.” Britney Spears
”It may seem innocent enough, but every time you illegally download music a songwriter doesn't get paid. And, every time you swap that music with your friends a new artist doesn't get a chance. Respect the artists you love by not stealing their music. You're in control. Support music, don't steal it.” Dixie Chicks
”Making an album is a team effort, so when somebody pirates a record, that not only affects the artist, but also the people who worked on it like co-producers, co-writers and musicians. Say no to piracy.” Shakira
”I love music. I also love the internet. Unfortunately with the internet has come piracy. Piracy is very bad for music. what can you do to stop piracy? Refuse to participate, it's as simple as that.” Joshua Bell
”We really look at it as stealing, because to us it's black and white, either you pay for it or you don't. And, you're not paying for it.” Nelly
There follow the signatures of 79 other musicians and authors.
Only two months earlier, David Bowie said in an interview with the New York Times:
“I don't even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don't think it's going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way, (...) The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it's not going to happen. I'm fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing. (...) Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity, (…) So it's like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You'd better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that's really the only unique situation that's going to be left. It's terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn't matter if you think it's exciting or not; it's what's going to happen.”
Two years earlier, David Bowie had already declared he was in favour of MP3 and Napster. In the same way, other artists from different genres, generations and with varying degrees of fame, had judged song-swapping as an opening towards new possibilities of getting their own works out and as a more direct channel of communication with their fans: John Flansburgh of They Might Be G iants (TMBG), Chuck D of Public Enemy, Colin Greenwood of Radiohead and Princess Superstar to name but a few.
On the site of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in January 2002, Negativland publishes a long statement entitled: “In Support of Peer-to-Peer File Sharing”.
Gnutella 2 starts life. G2 is a new beginning for the Gnutella network : an open, scalable and flexible protocol designed to support current and future P2P technologies. Full specifications will be available soon. Until then, preview G2 technology at shareaza.com.