The KidNapsters - Here's What They Want
Advance Notes: Napster is software
that allows music-lovers to capture and store music on their computer's
hard drive, and then, using the Internet, exchange the music with other persons.
Since there is no commerce involved (it's like sharing videotapes with neighbors
and friends), the persons feel they are doing nothing illegal. The label companies
don't agree. And other industries, including computer games and photography,
concur with the label companies. They want to outlaw Napster-like software that
they feel could put them out of business.
Your son or daughter, neighbor, or cousin, may be stealing
music. Not from the shelves of the shopping mall, but directly from the
Internet. Or that's the way the record companies would like you to view
Napster, the free software that allows the sharing of
music in MP3 format on the Internet, has attracted not only kids, but
music-loving adults as well. This could spell financial disaster for both
the artists and the label companies, unless some restraints are put on
"Why shouldn't we share music?" the next door neighbor's
kid will ask. "We share games, tapes, magazines and books all the time.
Is that a crime? Or is it a crime because with this, we are sharing with
people we don't know or don't see?"
They've got a point and it's one where the free flow
of information crashes headlong into something coming the other way: commerce.
Without commercial development of these products, there would be no incentive
for the artists or developers or distributors to produce them.
With future micropayment techniques and online protection
for credit card numbers, the payment form would certainly work.
Would record companies and individual artists benefit? The
Internet e-commerce model is introducing us to mass volume sales. You
might not want to pay $6.25 for a song, but 50 of your friends might venture
25 cents to buy it.
The beauty of this peer-to-peer marketing is that it
offers the opportunity for a new marketing freedom for artists. No longer
would they be tied to the tight-knit music production process of the past.
The upcoming Napster trial has the interest of three
other areas of commerce. The original judge's interpretation (Hon. Marilyn
Patel) could discourage the development of innovative devices and services
that could be abused by pirates, yes, but could have other potential uses.
Secondly, Internet Service providers fear that Judge Patel's ruling could
increase the ISP's limits of liability. Finally, Internet industry organizations
are concerned that Patel's earlier interpretation could set a precedent
requiring search engines to more carefully evaluate sites to which they
link, creative perhaps prohibitive costs.
Record companies have expressed their displeasure with these events
by bringing suit against MP3 and Napster and attempting to dismantle similar
shareware software, such Gnuella.
On the other hand, this type of software
allows emerging artists to go directly to their audience without the usual
hype and control that label companies are famous for exerting over musicians
What of the future? No doubt, the two extremes can be
joined by a royalty scheme that will say, "Want to download a song? Make
one of three choices: 25 cents, 50 cents, or $1.50."
Here's what kidNAPSTERS say about music file sharing on the
"This is quite possibly the most amazing phenomenon
for independent artists ever. And for those of us who love independent,
new music, it's a divine gift! Just go to any section, and get any
kind of music you want, almost all of which you've never heard before.
"Wow! I was knocked out by this great sound. What
a great set of rhythms by the drummer! Totally unreal! This has
to be the wave of the future." -LL
"The fact that an artist can click a few buttons, upload
a few files and have a music CD ready in 48 hours to share or sell
if they wish, in 48 hours is one of the great wonders of the internet."
"It's a wonderful way to introduce new recording
artists worldwide." -MM
"Anyone who loves music should find this site to be
an opportunity to discover new artists, sounds, and possibly explore
a genre that has escaped them. I am new to this kind of music-sharing
and recording, but I have found some simply entertaining listening.
In stock photography, the RF (Royalty-Free) model is already
showing us that generic pictures can be sold at very low prices in volume
-enough to bring a new stream of revenue to photographers and agencies.
In the process, the system expands the range of possibilities for designers,
art directors, and graphic houses.
Keep an eye on this new way to distribute your stock
photos. It may be the best way for emerging stock photographers, as well
as established ones, to sell their work.
Rohn Engh is publisher of the directory:
Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource
International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes.
(Note: for more information on pricing of a photo for re-use,
check out the Kracker Barrel http://www.photosource.com/board
and search for "re-use.")
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