Category: Digital Music

September 09, 2003

RIAA to Force ISPs Nationwide to Adopt Color-Code System

New System Will Scrutinize Each Internet User, Rating Their Risk Level for Music File Sharing

Washington, DC /DenounceNewswire/ -- 9 September 2003 -- In the most aggressive -- and, some say, invasive -- step yet to protect record companies, the federal government and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will phase in a computer system next year to measure the risk posed by every Internet user every time they connect to the Internet.

Backed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which pressured the federal government to adopt this new legislation, the new system will identify each Internet user the moment they connect to the Internet, comparing personal information against criminal records, driver records, and other intelligence information, much of it gathered from Echelon, the secret U.S. government system which monitors and records worldwide all emails, web use, instant messages, as well as faxes and phone calls. The RIAA has exclusive use to browse and search through Echelon data, in a deal struck last year with the government.

Internet users will be assigned a color code -- green, yellow, or red -- based in part on the contents of the file or data being transferred at any particular moment while a user is using the Internet.

Most people will be coded green and sail through, but up to 30 percent of Internet users will be coded "yellow" and will undergo additional screening. An estimated 5 to 6 percent will be labeled "red" and will have their Internet connections cut, their homes raided within an hour, all computer equipment seized, dogs shot, and themselves arrested and sent to the RIAA's massive detention facility in Mojave, CA.

The system "will provide protections for the Internet-using public," said RIAA president Cary Sherman. "This system will keep Internet users honest, and protect the interests of the content-producing industries such as music and film."

The new system, called the Computerized RIAA American Protection System II (CRAPS II), has sparked so much controversy that the government had to issue warnings to media outlets to stop reporting on the controversy or face stiff penalties, jail time, or exile.

"This system is going to be replete with errors," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program. "You could be falsely arrested. You could be delayed. You could lose your ability to listen to music. You could---" but at that moment Mr. Steinhardt's telephone line was cut.

Posted by denounce at 11:54 AM | Comments

September 03, 2003

Tower Records to Sell $13 Universal CDs for Under $18

Announcement Comes Same Day As Universal Music Group Announces Huge Price Cut On New CDs

West Sacramento, CA /DenounceNewswire/ -- 3 September 2003 -- Tower Records, the national record store chain known for its pierced, blue-haired salesclerks and equally scruffy clientele, announced today a plan to aggressively cut its prices for CDs published by the Universal Music Group to under $18. Tower's move comes in response to Universal's same-day announcement that it would lower the list prices of its CDs to under $12.98 in an effort to boost sales that have been stymied by free Internet music downloading services.

"Our research shows that the sweet spot is to sell Universal's records below $18," said, Louise Solomon, a Tower Records spokesperson.

Historically, large retailers like Tower have sold new CDs at considerably less than the so-called MSRP, or manufacturer suggested retail price. Tower's move signals a reversal of that trend. "We're confident we can sell CDs for under $18 that are widely priced elsewhere at under $13," said Solomon.

Solomon declined to comment on the company's widely-reported preparations for bankruptcy proceedings in a West Sacramento court.

Posted by denounce at 04:30 PM | Comments

August 29, 2003

RIAA Reveals It Caused Recent Blackout, Biggest in U.S. History

Organization Claims Act Turned Out to Be "Surprisingly Effective" Way To Combat War on Digital Music Piracy

Washington, DC /DenounceNewswire/ -- 29 August 2003 -- The recording industry is providing its most detailed glimpse into some of the techniques it has employed as part of its campaign against online music swappers.

The disclosures were included in court papers filed against a Brooklyn woman fighting efforts to identify her for allegedly sharing nearly 1,000 songs over the Internet.

According to the documents, the Recording Industry Association of America determined that the most effective way to stop this woman from pirating music was to shut down her power and the power of everyone in her neighborhood. Indeed, everyone in her state, neighborhing states, and even neighboring country, just for good measure. In so doing, the RIAA created the biggest power black out in North American history.

The documents further reveal that the RIAA, stung by civil-liberties backlashes after opening its massive detention facility in Mojave, CA last month, decided to try a different approach to its ongoing war on digital music piracy, by shutting down the Internet altogether. When it discovered it could not do that, it decided to shut down power to the personal computers of tens of millions of consumers, effectively denying them access to the Internet.

"We accept responsibility for this action," said RIAA President Cary Sherman. "We're proud to say we found a very effective way to deter music piracy and we will not hesitate to use our power to shut down your power anywhere, anytime we choose."

Posted by denounce at 04:58 PM | Comments

July 30, 2003

eBay Launches Music Downloading Auction Site

Overnight, Consumers Flock to Service in Record Numbers

San Jose, CA /DenounceNewswire/ -- 30 July 2003 -- In a stunning move that has other industry players immediately reconsidering their strategies, eBay, Inc. today announced the release of eBay Music, a new marketplace for music downloading. The service, which allows consumers to bid on rights to download any of over 18 million songs, has consumers cheering and competitors including Apple, eMusic,, and Roxio scratching their heads. The eBay Music site offers more songs than all of the other music download services combined.

"Today marks a turning point in the history of music," said Meg Whitman, eBay CEO. "With the launch of eBay Music, consumers finally have a way of acquiring all of the recorded music ever created, and artists now have a way to sell their creations directly to a global audience of over 65 million and counting."

After a year of secret development, eBay Music is launching as a new wave of post-Napster music services takes off. Earlier this year, Apple's iTunes Music Store grabbed the headlines with its slick, easy-to-use service offering some 300,000 songs for 99 cents each. Later this year, Roxio is launching a "legal" version of Napster, and MusicMatch has announced it too is launching a competitor music-downloading service. None offer anywhere near the number of songs of eBay, nor do they have the size and dominance of the web's largest marketplace.

About the eBay Music Service
eBay Music operates similarly to the rest of the eBay site, except consumers who "win" items can immediately download them rather than having to wait for a package to be shipped. Users can use the site by browsing artist names or genres, or by searching directly for an artist, song, album, or genre. Once an item is found, users can then place bids on the right to download a copy of the song.

Rather than charging a flat rate of 99 cents per download like Apple's iTunes Music Store, eBay Music is letting the market decide how to place a value on any artist's work. "We think the market is a lot smarter than the record industry, or even the artists," says Whitman. Within the eBay Music marketplace, songs by popular artists such as Eminem, Britney Spears, and Beyonce may actually be worth less than obscure independent artists who have yet to be commoditized.

A minimum bid is determined by the owner of the recording, in most but not all cases, a record company. The minimum bid may be 1 cent, 1 dollar, or 100 dollars. However, if the seller charges too high a price, no-one may buy it. Sellers may also use eBay's "Buy it Now" feature enabling buyers to skip the auction altogether and buy the item immediately. Unlike conventional eBay auctions, eBay Music auctions immediately start over as soon as anyone "wins", but the minimum bid price becomes the previous "win" price. Thus, prices may rise or fall as the market determines the true value of the song. "Songs that suck, even if performed by world-famous artists, are bound to stay cheap," says Whitman.

Potential Litigation from RIAA
Not surprisingly, the Recording Industry Assocation of America (RIAA) is up in arms over eBay's announcement. "They never consulted with us or got our permission," says Cary Sherman, the beleaguered president of RIAA. "What do they think they're doing, all over again?"

Sherman vows to fight eBay's new venture with a slew of lawsuits.

"Bring 'em on," says Whitman, whose company has a market cap larger than all of the record companies combined plus General Motors.

Posted by denounce at 08:44 PM | Comments

July 25, 2003


Huge Compound Can Handle 3 Million File Sharing Suspects and Their Supporters

Mojave, CA /DenounceNewswire/ -- 25 July 2003 -- Citing lackluster results in its aggressive Subpoena-the-Family campaign, The Recording Industry Assocation of America, or RIAA, announced today it was escalating the war against music file sharing even higher by opening its massive detention facility in the high desert of Movaje, CA. The facility, designed to indefinitely detain up to three million people suspected of illegally or even legally sharing music files on the Internet, consumes 4,000 acres of the desert region some 70 miles north of Los Angeles.

"Our goal is to eliminate the threat these thieves represent to our industry," said RIAA President Cary Sherman. "We don't care if the person is eight, eighteen, or eighty or unaware of the law. If we catch 'em sharing files, we're sending them to jail. Not just any jail. Our jail. We don't even care if they're legally sharing their own personal music files with a family member. We don't care if they're simply transferring their own peronal music from their desktop machine to their iPod. If we catch 'em doing it, we'll be there to take them away. But let me be perfectly clear: even if we don't catch 'em doing it, we'll be there to take them away if we so much as suspect they're sharing files, or might like to one day."

Human rights advocates and the ACLU are criticizing both the RIAA for opening the facilily and the Justice Department for not stepping in to stop the RIAA from proceeding. "What the RIAA is doing is patently unconstitutional," said Anthony Romero, ACLU's Executive Director. "We will not stop until these people are freed and this facility is shut down forever."

"Try anything and we'll lock you up as well," countered Sherman, when asked about the threats of lawsuits from the ACLU. "We mean business. Anyone trying to free our detainees will be considered criminals as well, and will be sent to the facility with no plans for release."

Asked how the RIAA was able to afford to provide food, clothing, and medical care for up to three million detainees, he told reporters: "We can't. But hey, they knew the risks. We assume these criminals bring their own food, clothing, and medicine with them. They're on their own."

Children, parents, and the elderly are not the only ones being rounded up for incarceration at the facility. Several well-known industry figures are already being detained as well, including Ann Winblad, co-founder of a venture capital firm which invested heavily in Napster; Larry Lessig, a Stanford Law professor who was captured by RIAA stormtroopers right in the middle of a speech he was giving at a recent O'Reilly technology conference; and Michael Robertson, founder of, who is not even active in the digital music world anymore, having gone off to launch a Linux software company. "Robertson we nailed just on general principles," said Sherman.

Ellen Murray, head of Mothers Against the RIAA (MARIAA), was herself captured and brought to the facility. "Murray was a target of opportunity," Sherman said. "Go up against us, go to jail."

Residents of Mojave and the surrounding area are also outraged, citing claims from the RIAA that opening of the facility would mean more jobs and economic activity for the area. So far, that hasn't happened, town officials argue. "We were sold a bill of goods, and the RIAA has let us down," said one official who refused to be identified for fear of being sent to the facility for criticizing the RIAA.

Asked about the legality, indeed the morality, of this new detention facility and the mass capture of music enthusiasts now underway, Sherman was unapologetic. "These are not nice people," he said. "Several have publicly stated here their intent to copy a music file before they leave Mojave. We will not give them that satisfaction."

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Posted by denounce at 10:45 PM

November 30, 1996


Recording Industry Once Again Outraged By Second Music 'Theft' In As Many Weeks

Los Diablos, CA /DenounceNewswire/ November 33, 1996 -- Noted singer-songwriter Kenny G was at home quietly surfing the World Wide Web recently when he discovered two unreleased recordings, both originally scheduled to be included in his upcoming "Dentist Office Waiting Room Melodies, Vol. 2" album, had been stolen from his recording studio and posted on the Net for downloading by consumers for free. Mr. G says he immediately contacted his record company studio, which discovered the songs had been removed from a computer in the control room.

"This is the second time in as many weeks we've seen this kind of criminal behavior," said Iwana Yamani, head of the Recording Industry of America. Earlier this month, the popular rock band U2 also discovered two of its songs were being spread across the Net. Approximately 20 million copies of the two U2 songs have been distributed, sources close to Mr. Yamani indicated.

In the U2 case, dozens of Internet users have been arrested or detained for questioning, after their Internet "addresses" had been traced by an internal industry strike force which carries out its duties in dark vans parked innocently along quiet streets across America.

Originally planning to indict any Internet user who had illegally downloaded the songs, Mr. G's lawyers have now backed off, after the same industry strike force, this time hired by Mr. G's record company, discovered no-one has yet actually downloaded Mr. G's recordings, even though they've been available free for the taking for over a month.

Mr. G's attorneys had no comment.

Posted by denounce at 10:19 AM | Comments

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