p2pnet.net News:- Commercial p2p file sharing companies have moved their efforts to gain hands-on access to software the RIAA is promoting as a p2p network filter, and to bring the music industry to the negotiating table, up several significant notches, including an approach to the Big Five record labels.
They’re also asking RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) chairman and ceo Mitch Bainwol if the music industry plans to use the software on email and instant messaging, "the other principal means of distributing copyrighted material without authorization".
The RIAA has been marketing RepliCheck ‘song-recognition software,’ owned by a company in which it has a virtual commercial interest, as a product able to filter and/or block material from distribution on p2p networks.
The, "RIAA uses it to help identify musical evidence," boasts sales blurb on the site of Audible Magic, the company that makes it.
It also quotes Frank Creighton, RIAA svp of anti-piracy, as saying, "We have joined forces with trade associations and rights holders to combat the theft of intellectual property" and "Audible Magic’s RepliCheck helps protect artists and our business from copyright infringement, and it takes a huge burden off our employees."
The ‘rights holders’ are the Big Five record labels, which own the RIAA, and the ‘trade associations,’ other RIAA-like enforcement bodies, also owned by Big Music.
Efforts by the p2p operators to get copies of the software so they can test the claims made by Audible Magic and the RIAA have been consistently stymied.
On January 24 trade group P2P United hand-delivered a letter to RIAA boss Bainwol demanding access to the Audible Magic software.
More than a week later, and the letter notwithstanding, Bainwol said he’d be "delighted" for the p2p operators to test the software his association had been touting around Capitol Hill and to the media.
Audible Magic technology
Now P2P United is trying again to get its hands on the contentious software with hand-delivered letters to the Big Five labels, typified by this example, addressed to Roger Ames, chairman and ceo of the Warner Music Group. It reads in part:
"First, we urge you to arrange for the immediate technological scrutiny by appropriate private and governmental experts of technology developed by Audible Magic and widely promoted by the RIAA. (Similar disclosure and testing, we believe, also must include any comparable software in development for your industry by other vendors.)
"As detailed in the attached letter to Audible Magic CEO Vance Ikezoye, the RIAA has disclaimed through its General Counsel the right and ability to facilitate an examination of this kind. Moreover, Mr. Ikezoye did not respond to our first request for access to Audible Magic software and associated databases faxed to him and hand carried to Mr. Bainwol of the RIAA on February 24, 2004 (letter also attached). As the chief executive of one of the five companies that collectively comprise RIAA’s total membership, and which presumably would promote the use of or employ Audible Magic or similar software, P2P United is hopeful that you may succeed where it thus far has failed to facilitate the fair and robust independent examination of Audible Magic’s technology.
"P2P United believes that – absent such review – no such technology can or should be taken seriously, particularly given the profound negative impact that Audible Magic’s surveillance system (if functional ) could well have upon peer-to-peer architecture and efficiency, and clearly would have on the public’s privacy and right to make fair use of copyrighted material."
It also says to "monetize" the "tens of millions of downloads that will continue indefinitely despite all of our best copyright education efforts," new thinking and creative adjustments to existing law will be required – "just as it recently was, for example, to facilitate the webcasting of music".
Similar letters went to Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, chairman and ceo, BMG Entertainment; Andrew Lack, chairman and ceo, Sony Music Entertainment; Doug Morris, chairman and ceo, Universal Music Group; and, Alain Levy, chairman and ceo, EMI Recorded Music.
In a second letter to Bainwol, "We would … appreciate the opportunity to evaluate the product that you have widely mischaracterized as ‘filtering’ software, particularly given that an integral part of its intended application appears to require the redesign of the software developed by the members of P2P United," says P2P united excutive director Adam Eisgrau.
"Please consider this a formal request for immediate access to the program and to all appropriate demonstration databases so that we may arrange for it to be independently evaluated by both governmental and private experts," he says, adding:
"P2P United also wishes to take this opportunity to renew its offer to meet at any mutually convenient place and time with your member companies (and other rightsholder representatives) to discuss how a new marketplace – one that particularly permits new artists to prosper – may be built may upon the enormous and apparently permanent popularity and power of peer-to-peer communications."