Napster different from radio taping?

I remember as a teenager listening to the radio taping songs off the radio so I could listen to them later whenever I wanted. I would listen to them in my car or with my friends, I would even trade them with my friends. My question is, how is Napster so different from taping songs off the radio? I never paid the artist or record companies for the songs I taped off the radio, no one ever even mentioned it. If I was able to listen to the song over and over and liked it I bought the cd. It’s the same thing with Napster, I download it, listen to it several times then if I really like it I go buy the cd, if not I erase it and go on about my life.
So can anyone explain this to me? How this differs and violates copyrights? Thanks in advance.

While you didn’t pay anything for the song on the radio, the radio station certainly did. You must pay ASCAP (?) if you broadcast a song, so the artists were paid.

Also, it’s OK (IIRC) to tape something off the radio or TV for your own use (timeshifting) but you cannot legally trade those tapes with others, or especially sell them.

It is pretty much the same thing except no one really cared about people taping from the radio because you ended up with a pretty poor copy and it would likely have the DJ talking over portions of it. Not enough people would do this to make a noticeable dent in sales, so it wasn’t worth mentioning.

With napster you can download a CD quality (or close) copy of a song, then burn it on a CD and have the same thing you would have to buy in the store. You take something without paying for it against the will of the owner, this is stealing. It is no different from stealing software, cable, etc. Just because it is not a physical object does not make it OK to steal.

IIRC radio stations must pay every time they use a song, right?

The main difference as far as the music industry’s vigor in attacking it is that taping something off the radio (or even taping a CD from a friend) does not give you an exact CD-quality copy of the record. Burn a CD od MP3s and you have (in theory) a CD virtually indistinguishable from a store-bought CD. Which is a hell of a lot different than a tape with a DJ speaking right up to the first verse.

In addition, while the music industry always frowned upon “home taping” (I have older vinyl LPs with sleeves and stickers that say “Home Taping Is Killing The Music Business!” on them), it’s not easy to go around the world and try and find people lending CDs to their pals to tape.

Whereas Napster has 61 million or so subscribers, and is shutting the server-down-away easy from getting rid of it.

I do not necessarily agree that Napster is the end of the music business, but those are the arguments and motivations behind their actiojns with regard to Napster.

Yer pal,

Telemark hit the highlights, but there are a couple different issues going on here.

For any given piece of recorded music, there are two different copyrights going on: the copyrights on the songs, and the copyright on the physical recording. The first is held by the publisher, with royalties going to the publisher/songwriter; the second is held by the record companies, with royalties going to the record company and artist.

Record companies supply material to most radio stations for free–it’s considered promotion. Now, back in the day, getting paid if you were a musician was simple: You went out and performed and got paid. With the advent of recording, organizations were set up to ensure that artists were paid for “public performances” of their work, which include radio broadcasts. The big three performing rights organizations today are BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. Radio stations fill out programming logs for and pay fees to these organizations, who then disburse them to the artists whose rights they administer. If you download from Napster, nobody is paying those fees.

The copyright violation comes from the second copyright. A copyright is exactly what it says: The absolute right, for a limited period of time, to make, distribute, and profit from creative works. When you download a song off of (or upload a song to) Napster, if it is under copyright, you have violated that copyright. You do not have the legal permissions to make copies of or distribute that work.

It seemed like record co’s didn’t care about tapes but the $#!+ hit the fan when digital audio tape came out (DAT) where excat copies of the CD can be made - security was quickly added to prevent DAT to DAT copying and it never caught on

You’re missing one point – you DO pay to record cassettes off the air (or from a CD). A part of the price of any cassette goes to pay for royalties. You just don’t see it, so you think it’s free.

No such royalty is paid for Napster, or for a computer hard drive. That makes them a violation.

Actually, any recording is still technically a violation. The basic rule is that no one has the right to make a copy of anything without the copyright holder’s permission. But you are granted immunity if you record on an “approved medium” – one paying royalties.

CDs might very likely become approved at some point, but not computer hard drives.

IIRC, the recording industry has attacked every new recording and distribution medium ever to be developed. Napster, while different in some ways, is in many ways just another means of distribution to be attacked. In time, they will either learn to profit from it or will kill it (or, less likely, IMHO, Napster and its ilk will fundamentally change the way intellectual property is perceived)).

Also, the real problem with internet music distribution is not any setup like Napster. It is the combination of an efficient compression algorithm (mp3), a bandwidth boom, and a very affordable recordable medium (CDR). If Napster were set up to distribute WAV’s, and CDR’s still cost a few dollars apiece, there would be precious little for Big Recording to worry about.

The difference between the audio recordable CDs and data recordables CDs is the fee on them like cassette tapes. The audio CDs are about $1 a piece where the data CDs are $0.30.

I remember back in the old days of computing you used a cassette tape to store data. I had a TRS80. The cassettes that you purchased at radio shack for the computer were cheaper than the ones for music because they did not have the fee attached.

I’d never heard this. How do “they” decide how to distribute the royalties when I buy a blank cassette tape?

How do “they” decide to distribute the royalties collected from concert venues and bars with live DJs where there is not a “playlist” to go over and figure out who monies collected should go to?

The publishing companies have their own ways of deciding how to get royalties out there to artists. Some of this is black & white (an artists music being played in a commercial that is tracked exactly how often it is used), some of it is not. Each company comes up with their own criteria and, in fact, one of the reasons an artist mwould choose BMI over ASCAP or SESAC (or the other ways around) is whether their procedure for distributing monies is to their liking.

Yer pal,

I wish Aha would write something about this. He gets a penny everytime someone plays one of his songs on the radio. The Five Americans.

Of course with Napster he doesn’t get anything.