attention deficit economy

spunkanado (
Mon, 4 Aug 1997 17:41:14 -0400 (EDT)

One good place to look to at the real time implications of the
copyrighting and copywronging aspects of all this is in the mp3 sceen.

To wit i post here

MP3 Music Pirates Lurk in Chat Zones

By Rishab Aiyer Ghosh

Even as public Web sites offering MP3 songs decline due to the threat of
legal action, music pirates have redirected their efforts through Internet
Relay Chat to create a thriving underground trade in CD-quality song
files.A former MP3 library operator dubbed Sid said he
was surprised at how much music is out there - his library saw about 1 GB
of data, 15 CDs worth, arriving each day. At any given time, he said,
there are at least 50 file libraries on the Internet with stores of MP3
audio files where people can upload converted tracks they've copied
directly from CD. "Piracy is what it's [MP3] about, isn't it?" he said.

MP3 - short for MPEG-1 audio layer 3- was developed by the Motion Picture
Expert Group as part of its effort to make movies easier to store and play
on computers. Unlike other compression techniques - such as RealAudio, or
older versions of MPEG audio - MP3 reproduces sound indistinguishable from
a good CD, and uses about 1/12 the bandwidth. German electronics giant
Siemens plans to release the MP3-based MultiMediaCard later this year,
capable of storing 10 minutes of CD-quality sound on a device half the
size of a credit card. By 1999, a new version will store 40 minutes of
music on a chip.

MP3 manages to produce such good sound by fooling its listeners. It does
this usingperceptual audio coding, whereby the music's component
frequencies are extracted (psychoacoustic masking) and frequencies you
can't really hear are removed. Extensive listening tests were conducted
under controlled conditions, and the results used to tailor MP3 to the
tastes of human ears.

MP3 has quickly become the audio standard of choice on the Internet. And
although protocols have been developed to prevent illicit copying, it
appears that MP3's leading application online is piracy.

Sid had more than 200 CDs uploaded to his site in two weeks. Like many
underground sites, his was a "personal project" that briefly went public.
MP3 songs that his site once offered quickly propagated to other sites,
also temporary. With a highly redundant network of temporary sites, it is
difficult to pin any one site down for prosecution. Although a library's
physical location and Internet address may change from hour to hour - as
sites get activated and shut down - it still maintains a virtual presence
advertising on IRC channels through its bots.

And, unlike the sites shut down by legal action, piracy on Internet Relay
Chat is difficult to detect or control. Neophytes can use friendly
interfaces on the Web to keep track of the FTP sites where each live for a
very short time. Sites like "THE" MP3 Archive don't themselves break the
law - there are no files there, just well indexed pointers to current
active FTP sites.