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back to article RIAA abandons iTuneski suit

The Recording Industry Ass. of America has dropped its copyright infringement suit against the Russian online music seller AllofM3.com - aka iTuneski. Early last week, as reported by Bloomberg, the RIAA dismissed its 18-month-old suit without explanation, giving up on claims that AllofMP3 illegally sold millions of copyrighted …

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Good riddance

"We wouldn't be surprised if iTuneski rides again"

Good good good! I really want to side with the RIAA over this, but they prove themselves to be a-holes time and time again (please see pretty much any article ever written about them), and the clients they represent, the record companies (as opposed to the artists themselves), show themselves to be clueless when it comes to technology and tyrants over their realms.

If they were truly offering a competitive, straightforward, open-format service, then I'd be right with them, but they treat everyone but their shareholders like s***.

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Paris Hilton

Parallel Worlds

Who is kidding who? There are are still plenty of Russian mp3 sites plying their trade and Visa and Mastercard are happily taking their roubles.

Only in some parallel universe (the one in which George Bush is a hero, Indiana Jones 4 isn't a turd and music industry is beloved) could anyone believe that the RIAA has won anything other than a custard pie.

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Pirate

Yes! The AC is so right!

Clearly the MPAA are more DANGEROUS than the Mafia, Yakuza, and all the other criminal groups from GTA. The death toll from the war on copyright is only "low" because we don't count the death of innocence that comes from being propelled into a cold uncaring world where no-one cares about your right to free music and where you're expected to get a JOB if you want to have STUFF.

And yes, when artists sign contracts, that's not an agreement with benefits on both sides, it's STEALING. Whereas, of course, taking stuff that doesn't belong to you is not STEALING as long as there is an "infinite" supply.

FREETARDS FTW!!!

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Why no competition?

So far, we don't have the usual troll replies on, 'why would anyone use dodgy Russian websites when you can use the wonderful iTunes?'

I'll tell you why: choice

I've used allofmp3 and mp3sparks. I can get the music I want in any format I want. FLAC, OGG Vorbis, MP3, WMA, ... The list goes on. Oh, and no DRM.

Do any of the 'legitimate' sites offer this flexability? No they bloody don't. How pathetic.

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Anonymous Coward

@Anon

I don't agree that $3/$5 is what this stuff is really worth. Once the singer has sung, the songs mixed, and uploaded to itunes, the cost of maintaining the product is practically 0. Even if it cost in real terms $10k per song, 10 songs per "album", another outdated concept, then the $3/$5 seems expensive.

The whole model is still broken. Back to patronage we go.

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Service Level

I used AllofMp3 when it was around and not because it was ludicriously cheap but rather because of the service they offer. I'm more than happy to pay for my music, I have no problem with that at all. But when you compare the AllofMP3 product to iTunes theres only one winner. If AllofMp3 cost the same as iTunes I would used it happily. I dont have time to trawl through torrents and mess about trying to find the correct version. As a consumer I want what AllofMp3 offered, any format, any bitrate, instant download.

I still dont understand why no comparable services have sprung up.

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Paris Hilton

Mmmmmm

I had no idea about these sites. With the onset of uncontrolled inflation and rocketing fuel prices, I must do like the banks and go overseas to find goods and services cheaper than the mainland.

/me grins somewhat with an uncanny resemblence to that green character in Home Alone 2 - the one that is compared to that Hotel Clerk's smile noting the savings to be made... and the fact that it is as legal as Itunes.

And even Paris can see a bargain!

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Anonymous Coward

@Steven Dick

Chill Dude.

Nice attempt at a straw man by the way, you almost got away with it, but then I realised I wasn't a 3 year old retard so I saw straight through it.

In future, how about you wait until statements are actually made by real people rather than just the voices in your head before you spout off about how wrong they are.

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iTuneskov

If it relaunches can you call it iTuneskov instead? iTuneski would seem to indicate that it was based in Poland???

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b

The most dangerous criminal cartel(s) in the world:

Riiiiight.

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Anonymous Coward

@steven dick

What do you mean there are no drm free legitimate sites?

Use the search option on the register to check out drm free articles.

and while it may be specialist music, www.trackitdown.net is perfectly legitimate, and DRM free.

The world doesnt revolve around iTunes. Just keep watching there's already plenty of competition.

I do disagree with any fight against a legitimate foreign site, however, it wont be long before they want to charge a levy/tax on anything bought through eastern block.

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@ Eddie Edwards

"And yes, when artists sign contracts, that's not an agreement with benefits on both sides, it's STEALING."

Ever read a recording contract? They're usually daylight robbery for the artist. And while the RIAA may not have actually killed anyone, that doesn't excuse all levels of criminality up to murder.

What they *are* doing is killing music as an art. Each generation of musicians is influenced by the music around them. As the labels artificially restrict the music available, they restrict the musicians of each successive generation to producing more and more homogenised music.

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Happy

@Rod Marsh

Spoken like a true Chelskov supporter.

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Coat

@Rod Marsh

I'm quite sure it is not from Poland - do not judge things by name only.

Mine is the one hanging on a Pole.

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Just copy it

I would love to see a legitimate western site that just copied the allofmp3 site, prices and all. Maybe then we'd see that cheap and easy with a good product beats free. The only way I think we'll get there is if Amazon and others really put competitive pressure on iTunes. But then the Music biz has to also accept that you just can't charge $1per track for music any more.

alltunes.com and mp3sparks.com may still be running but there's really no way to give them money. hey ho. And although there are competitors, they just don't match Allofmp3 for ease of use and convenience.

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Stop

I'd care if I bought many CD's

But I only buy rarely and no before you say it I'm not a downloader, there's just nothing I really want to buy. If I buy at all it's a few select artists but more usually back catalogue stuff that comes from a used trader, and usually I'm upgrading old taped copies to proper legit CD's.

I'd love to say this is supporting the record industry but buying used means neither the artist or record label get any more money from the sale.

My wife occasionally buys chart CD's and we get them from who is the cheapest, usually a supermarket, and then she rips them to her Ipod and plays the tracks she wants. We could use iTunes but it's a real media thing, we have a library of MP3's that can play anywhere, heck even our phones do MP3, not AAC's that are limited to her ipod, and subject to Apples whim at a later date.

The model was broken by mp3 players and supermarkets many years ago.

The rise of the hi capacity MP3 player means you can carry and listen to your entire existing library when you want, and your only likely to buy new music occasionally. Cassette or CD players meant you had to make and carry mix tape / cd's that took time and effort, now the MP3 player can just hold everything to play on demand. You may miss out on a great new artist, but then again most people have more music on the MP3 player than they can listen to anyway without adding more.

The supermarkets broke the model by being cheaper although they only do chart stuff, but for the majority of people that's all they need, to buy the occasional new release by their favourite artist. How often to people go into music stores now? I go in occasionally for games and usually leave without anything as they tend to stick to charge RRP and supermarkets and the Internet doesn't. Lets face it the buying power is with 25-45 year olds they buy music for themselves or the kids, and they are more likely to buy music, videos or games on a whim in a supermarket whilst doing the shopping than go into a HMV or Zavvi.

The only response the musico's seem to have is re-releasing best of discs, the current top fourty album chart has seven best of albums in it, and how much longer can they go on like this? Unlike artists of the 70's and 80's does any one really think that any of the current crop of talent show entrants will be still selling (on any media format) in 30/40 years time?

Artists have realised the models broke and they make music from concerts and merchandise, Prince giving away his CD with a paper probably got him more new listeners than any amount of media advertising these days. And if just a few buy more of his music or attend a concert it's done it's job.

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RIAA & ROMS

Why is it the RIAA think they should collect royalties in Russia if ROMS don't collect royalties in the USA?

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Who's running the USA?

"AllofMP3 was closed by the Russian authorities last July, after US President George W. Bush threatened to bar Russia from the World Trade Organization."

If an association can leverage so much power that they can get one president to intimidate another then a few things come to mind.

That president is too weak. The association has some rather interesting dirt on that president. The association is paying some back handers somewhere. That president has nothing more important to do.

With repect to the latter, seems like the Palestinians are going about things the wrong way, they simply need a hand from the RIAA. Maybe they can lean on Dubbya to get Israel to obey the numerous UN resolutions against them. Peace in the Middle East, the USA saves hell of a lot of money and the RIAA gets some good publicity.

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*sigh*

Never been one for buying music online, and I bought all the CDs I've ever wanted.

AllOfMp3.com was the Holy Grail. i could download my favorite tracks and only pay for them. If I was downloading for an MP3 player, I could download low quality - for my computer, high quality.

There was a huge mix of tunes and I could try downloading a classical just for a laugh.

The prices were low enough that I didn't mind pumping in another £10 of credit each month.

If a western company bought the company/idea - I wonder how much the prices would go up by to satisfy the RIAA/MPA? Probably too much.

Keep the prices low, and people will keep coming back. If their harddisk crashes, hell they'll even pay to re-download.

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Yawn ....

That's all .... bored bored bored with this ....

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Black Helicopters

@RIAA & ROMS

RIAA a wannabe gangster cartel with friends in big business and government.

ROMS a part of a true gangster organisation that runs most of russia and is not afraid of anyone.

Its just funny that the RIAA thought they could go and boss the russians around. Good to see them taken down a peg or two.

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@Jeremy re RIAA & ROMS

"ROMS a part of a true gangster organisation that runs most of russia and is not afraid of anyone."

You are seriously overestimating the size and importance of Intellectual Property market in Russia....

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Anonymous Coward

collection societies only deal with performance rights

The russian courts are either ignorant or they don't care. Collection societies only collect royalties for authors and composers. If you want to sell recordings, you have to pay royalties to whoever owns the right to the recordings. Those are two different things.

Consider this: if you work for a large company, chance is that your company's telephone system plays music when callers are put on hold. For this, your company pays an annual fee to the national collection society. Does this mean your company is allowed to make CDs with recordings of the music and sell them? No. Your company only paid for the right to play the music in a public setting. It did not pay for the right to make copies.

In other words, the fact that AllOfMP3 paid the Russian collection society does not mean they have the right to sell copies of the music. They only paid for the right to publicly perform the music in Russia, for example via internet broadcast. Legally, downloadable files for delayed playback are not performances, they are copies and thus outside of the jurisdiction of collection societies.

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Dan
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Allofmp3 et al isn't illegal in Russia

They are not breaking any Russian laws. The fact that MAFIAA demands their criminal prosecution just exposes them as the arrogant bigots they are.

If I buy a song from a mp3sparks, it's just like buying a CD on a trip to Russia. What I'm doing is fully legal (except for the fact that I may not be paying import duty).

Whether it's morally right is a different question, but that's not the point. The point is that allofmp3 was in the right all along and the MAFIAA was in the wrong, and still they refuse to accept this. The MAFIAA have no respect for the rule of law, except when it suits them.

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Anonymous Coward

All the trouble is due to copyrights lasting too long

The effect of everlasting copyright on the music industry is showing. They have a virtual monopoly and consequently they don't feel they have to compete like all other businesses do. As a result they sell crap all the time, expecting that customers will just buy whatever they put out. There is no incentive anymore to come up with good products that people will actually want to pay for.

Their mentality has become like that of utility companies, selling water, gas or electricity. Usually, utilities are the only ones in the territory, so the customers can't easily go elsewhere and the utility they sell is generally essential, so people will buy it no matter how lousy the service. As a result utility companies think they get paid for reading meters and they also think they deserve it, no matter how bad their service may be.

The trouble with the recording industry is however that their customers don't have to buy the music if it gets too bad. You can't easily do without water, gas and electricity, but you can do without music, especially if you have already got a large collection of music. You just stop buying new stuff. Or you buy second hand. Either way, the recording industry's business will decline.

The worst thing about recording companies is that they don't even want to sell the stuff they have. They want to sell you what they think we should buy, they don't want to sell what we want to buy, even if they are sitting on it. For that alone they deserve to go out of business. Before the change from vinyl to CDs I had a very large collection of music from the 60s, 70s and early 80s which I have sought to replace over time with CDs. It took a long time for many of the LPs I had to be released on CD in the first place and when they finally appeared, many didn't last all that long, they are now "out of print".

Half of the music I would like to buy I can't buy, they are not selling it. If they don't want to make CDs, why don't they release it online at least? Well, they think that this will stop us from buying their new crap that they put out these days. But I am not going to buy that crap. I might have bought a total of 10 new CDs with new music over the last 10 years. I had almost a thousand LPs though, half of which I was unable to get on CD. I know many others my age who have a similar story to tell. The recording industry lost us as customers. We ain't buying unless they release the music we want. We have more money to spend on music than those kids who buy the modern crap and they don't seem to like to pay anyway.

Where I live I found several large second hand CD stores which are far better stocked than any store which sells new music. So, I guess, the recording companies will continue to not earn any money from my generation. I wonder how their shareholders can be so stupid as to letting them get away with such a silly business policy. I guess those shareholders deserve to lose their shirts, just as much as the recording companies deserve to go out of business.

On the other hand, if somebody had the guts to change copyright duration and give 10 or 20 years copyright without any possibility to extend (like it is with patents), it would revive the industry. They would need to rerecord all the oldies/classics in order to get a new copyright term on the new recording, or at least they'd have to remaster and rerelease as that may also count as a new release which would again get a new copyright term. It would cause them to actually have to compete. The law would say: "You have ten years to earn a return on your investment, the clock is ticking NOW, don't waste your time, go to work!" They would no longer be sitting on their laurels. With new attention to their customers, illegal downloads and piracy would still be a nuisance but not a serious problem. But, that's not going to happen. Oh well.

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Happy

Molodetz!

great! my balance is zero now and i want to buy some tracks!

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@ AC

what about fair use? I could record 'on hold' music or music from the radio. Really we're just skipping the analog step. Artists should get paid... but 20$ for a CD is dumb. Then add the stupidity of DRM. When I see Metallica buying commuter cars because they can't afford gas I'll feel sorry for them. The struggling artists out there making money from actual performances are giving away their recordings so you'll go to the show. The media is cheap... near zero. Charge for the art.

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Flame

I wonder..

if all these people would moan if they lost there job as they were moved abroad?

After all, why pay UK / USA rate when I can get your job for 10th the cost in South Africa / India / China.

I don't want to pay you for your work, your not worth it.

@Bounty, yes Metalica may drive nice fancy cars, but 99.9% of artist proberbly have a day job as well as making music.

Why don't you just chuck a brick through a shop window and take what you want, after all the evil corps deserve it.

I'm currently ripping my backlog of CD's and picked up Brother In Arms, it has a £19.99 price tag on, and that was from 1986 ish!

So really CD's should be costing about £50 each.

Still enjoy your pay packets at the end of the month, you never know, you may get outsourced in order to save a few pence.

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iTuneski

It is AllOfMP3 the main reason I just stopped doing p2p downloading. It cut off the hassle of searching all that stuff using crappy p2p apps like Morpheus/Kazaa, totally spyware/trojan free, and also giving me a choice for the actual format, for a competitive price. At $1-$2 bucks/album, they could easily compete with the actual pirates over here in Mexico (std. pirated CD price: $1, some are mp3 compilations of 300+ songs though) and its a price tag anyone would pay over here.

The RIAA was used to the gringos buying crap at the $20 price tag, because there was no other option on that; ever since the home user has been able to do personal recordings, they've been fighting it (remember "home taping is killing music"?) and instead of lowering prices, they keep the price tag, and add retarded DRM on the CDs such that they aren't playable anymore.

Instead of fighting the allofmp3 business, they should embrace it, and release one similar service themselves. I'm pretty sure it would succeed as long as it retains the DRM-free, any format stance. Hell, they might even be able to market it as "we do pay royalties".

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Anonymous Coward

@ Bounty

NO, there is no fair use allowance for performances. Unless the music is royalty free you will need to pay for a performance license (available from your national collection society). Recording from the radio and then playing that on the telephone constitutes a rebroadcast and that, too requires a performance license.

The only way to get around a performance license is to use royalty free music. You could play the music yourself but then you would have to pick music from a composer who has died before 1920 (when the collection societies were first formed). Or you could purchase royalty free music from companies which specialise in that. You only pay a one time fee but no ongoing royalties. However, the music is typically from composers who have died before 1920 or from composers who specifically avoid becoming members of a collection society because they specialise in writing royalty free (one-time fee) music for use as background music (TV shows, multimedia, commercials, telephone on hold).

If a composer becomes a member of a collection society, he will not even be able to play his own music on his telephone to callers without paying for a performance license. Silly it may seem, but that is the way it is.

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Anonymous Coward

recording companies == no longer needed as middlemen

Why do recording companies need to own the rights to the music/recordings anyway? That makes no sense. An author of a book keeps the rights to his book, the publisher is just what the name says: a publisher, they print the books and distribute them, the author keeps all the rights. That's the way it should be with music, too.

After all it is called *recording* industry, not copyright-hogging industry. Recording companies should be nothing more than technical expertise for hire while the musicians call all the shots, have the last word on everything and most importantly keep the rights to their works and the recordings. With digital distribution models, the cost of distribution can be reduced. iTunes doesn't own the copyrights of the music they sell, they don't need to, they are like book publishers, only there to distribute the stuff. It is about time that the recording companies get their butts kicked back to where they belong: technicians for hire by musicians. Let the musicians keep the rights to their works and recordings. Everything that is wrong with the system as it is would be fixed that way.

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Anonymous Coward

Downloading from the net is absolutely NOT illegal

Anything on the internet is free-for-all, check out youtube for instance.

If you want free music switch on the radio, plenty there. If you want music video put on freeview, plenty there too. Everywhere you go its free. Internet is the land of the free!.... Free phone calls and free everything. Why barge into the free market like the music industry and expect to charge and 'be paid'. Haha how utterly ridiculous!

Published figures clearly show NOBODY wants to PAY for music no matter how enticing the deal. Its just not something we need to pay for since it is given away freely so often on purpose.

If I have a mp3/dvd recorder I can record the radio and record the tv and store it on my discs/whatever, quite legally, So I build a collection off the radio and tv and thats not at all illegal, but some morons in the United Dictatorship of Great Britain are trying to write their own perverse laws along the lines of "if you download anything not from our cartel of websites then it's illegal"

How can you justify free media everywhere but then wanting to charge for it on one instance? Not going to happen. And it isn't.

Why sell 80 Gb Ipods when these cost £30,000 UKP to fill ($60,000 USD)

Are you following this? Common Sense tells you their business model is utterly wrong and ill thought.

It makes me laugh my stomach into twists at the do-gooders on The Register who publicly strongly disagree with torrent and p2p downloads etc

These people are nothing more than the Politically Correct Brigade... you never see them, but they are ever present, Yet, in my lifetime, no individual ever openly admits being "politically correct" Its true. They don't. This is exactly the same as downloading from the net, no one admits it but we all do it. Why do so many of you need 20Meg possibly 50Meg? Yeah youre downloading just like every other Internet user. Period.

You will not admit to secretly downloading the same as you wont admit to being Politically Correct.

Music should be free for personal use and that is that. If you want to pay for it nobodys stopping you. Instead, the music industry should focus on business sales, make revenue from advertising from promotion and business things.

If you let the music industry bullies lobby and slip our government ministers any more brown envelopes full of dirty bribe money in return for setting the agenda then there might be no point in having broadband in this country.

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Pirate

Legal or not...

The arguments over whether AllofMP3 was legal are pretty boring so I won't bother adding my twopennorth to them.

Given that legit music download services are moving towards DRM-free files, it's disappointing that they haven't emulated another feature of the Russian site: the ability to choose from a wide range of file formats and bitrates.

Until the sites emulate this feature, and adopt pricing that reflects the fact that they don't have the costs of manufacturing, storing, and transporting a physical product, as well as not having to worry about disposing of and discounting unsold items, I'll continue to buy CDs.

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Anonymous Coward

@ NOT illegal

You are either a troll or you are a fool.

Just because something is available on the internet doesn't mean it is *legally* available. You may not like the law the way it is, but that doesn't make the law go away. You may not abide by the law the way it is, but that doesn't make it legal. The ONLY WAY to legalise something illegal is to have the parliament change the law.

Until that happens, downloading files, be it music, videos, photos, software or text documents, is NOT legal UNLESS the copyright has either expired (50-70 years after the death of the author) or the holder of the intellectual property in the file EXPLICITLY gave permission for the file to be made available in this way. If the rights have not yet expired and you do not have such permission by the holder of the copyright then it is not legal to copy it. Period.

No amount of trolling nor lamenting by fools ignorant of the law will change this fact.

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Anonymous Coward

Copyrights

The first thing that should be changed about copyright law is to decouple the duration of copyright from the lifetime of the creator/author/composer the moment they lose control over their rights.

It is OK to let copyright be valid for as long as they author is alive IF AND ONLY IF the author keeps the copyright. But if the author transfers the intellectual property to another party, like a recording company, then the copyright should expire within 10 or 20 years (like patents).

This would discourage the recording companies to steal the rights from the artists. They'd only get a limited time of protection for the product if they do so. They get a chance to sell the product for a much longer time if they let the artist keep the rights and license it for resale instead. They still face the risk that the artist terminates the agreement and licenses his art to another publisher but that can only mean that recording companies/publishers will treat the artists better in order to keep them as business partners, as it should be.

This is also why we see more and more dummy artists these days. Recording companies prefer to have noname artists who can be replaced before they get too self confident and powerful to demand to keep their intellectual property to themselves. We'd get better artists if the recording companies would be strongly encouraged to let the artists keep their copyrights.

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Stop

It's all about the album art...

...I prefer vinyl records, large cardboard covers, gatefolds, doubles, inserts, art, design.

I'll stick with my LPs thanks!

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Anonymous Coward

Politically correct???

What has abiding by the law to stay out of jail to do with political correctness?

If I tell you "Better not do crime X because you can go to jail if you do" and you then ignore my advice and end up in court facing a jail sentence, will you argue with the court that I was only politically correct when I told you not to do the crime? Will that help you stay out of jail? No it won't. The only thing that will matter then is whether or not you did the crime. Political correctness has as much to do with this as a sack of rice somewhere in a warehouse in China has to do with your presumably low IQ.

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Anonymous Coward

Free lunch for everybody! YAY!

"Music should be free for personal use and that is that."

And why is that? I guess you are not a musician. What is it that you do for a living? What if I say whatever it is *you* do for a living should be free for personal use? Are you willing to work for my personal use enjoyment even if I don't pay you, every time, all the time?

What kind of logic is this anyway? Why not demand that bakery products should be free for personal use. Everybody should just be able to walk into a bakery, pick anything they like for personal consumption and not pay for it, how about that?

Why stop there then? Why not demand that all food items should be free for personal consumption? Why not demand that electricity, gas and water should be free for personal consumption? Why not demand that anything you fancy in any shop should be yours for free as long as it is for personal use?

What is it about musicians that they should give their work away to everyone without getting paid? So what if the world of commerce doesn't pick up the bill for the rest of us and musicians go out of business, what if then nobody wants to become a musician anymore? I guess we'll all be listening to computer generated music played by computers. If that is your thing, fine. I personally prefer music made by real people, played by real people, and if I like the music I am willing to pay for it, personal use or otherwise, not because I am politically correct but simply because I know that if I don't pay, and everybody else also doesn't pay, then the music will stop coming, eventually.

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