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Universal Wants a Slice of Apple's iPod Pie 555

vought writes "According to a Reuters report, Universal is now taking the precendent set by Microsoft's Zune and moving to force Apple to include a royalty payment with each iPod. In the words of Universal Music's Doug Morris, 'These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it's time to get paid for it.' Does Microsoft's precedent mean the start of a slippery slope that will add a 'pirate tax' to every piece of hardware that touches digital music?"
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Universal Wants a Slice of Apple's iPod Pie

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  • To Doug Morris... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:37PM (#17042564) Homepage Journal
    Doug Morris,

    In the regretful, embarrassing, yet immortal words of Dick Cheney...... " Go F$@% yourself ".

    I personally take offense at the allegation that there is *any* stolen music on my iPod or any of my computers. All of my music has been purchased on CD or the iTunes Music store as it is on most of the peoples iPods and computers that I know of. Your allegation suggests that you actually do not know about your potential customers, their desires, technology or most disturbingly, the music industry itself. Apparently, you also don't seem to be able to understand that you need to out-compete the piracy industry by offering a quality product at a reasonable price and in a manner that is easy for people to pay for. Marketing 101 tells us that the way to make money is to create a product people want and then remove any barriers that will prevent people from *willingly* giving their money to you in exchange for those goods or services. The iTMS has shown you how it is done, yet you get in bed with Microsoft who apparently cannot design a device that will compete in the same arena with the iPod, then you force people to buy points that they can then exchange for music *and* you want a slice of the hardware market. If you want into that market, why not create your own hardware? To do anything else is leveraging your monopoly to extort money from another industry and the last time I checked, that behavior is illegal.

    So, quit whining about all the pirates and do something constructive that adds to your product or services rather than placing restrictions on your product that makes it less appealing to the end user or customer. Oh, and while you are at it, you might want to put more energy on finding good musical talent for the music industry. Its out there, but you need to stop focusing on engineered pretty boy and girl acts and put more effort into finding and promoting real talent.

    • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) * on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:51PM (#17042754) Homepage
      There isn't a single unlicensed track anywhere on my iPod. Not even one unauthorized sample. If the music cartels start charging me for music that I haven't downloaded, ripped, or otherwise pirated, then I'm going to have to stop spending money at iTMS and my local funky CD shop, and treat that "royalty charge" as a blanket license to their entire library. I've never waded into the content-piracy cesspool so far, but I sure as heck can't afford to pay for music twice, so that may be where I have to go.
      • Fuckin' A Right! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:57PM (#17042856) Homepage Journal
        They have this shit up in Canada for recordable media...but the Canadians seemed to have kept the cost and scope reasonable.

        I have too easy a time imagining this 'fee' increasing every year, every time you buy a new music-related device.

        So yeah...they pull this off and I will have ZERO ethical issues about copying every bit of music I can find. Greedy fucks.
        • by Aadain2001 ( 684036 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:07PM (#17042986) Journal
          Offtopic: anything more than $0 (even Canadian dollars) is too much to be 'reasonable' for a 'pirate tax'. You are right though, if they start charging for the pirated songs, we all better go out and get some pirated songs, else the RIAA is simply stealing our money.
          • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:20PM (#17043126) Journal
            Might this not be a good thing in disguise?
            They charge a piracy tax, so we pirate.
            They sue, we move to dismiss: "We've already paid for the licence to do this your honour"

            • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:45PM (#17043384)

              No, it's not a good thing in disguise. Why? Because that music tax would only go to RIAA-owned artists. Every other musician would get entirely fucked over.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by shark72 ( 702619 )

              "They sue, we move to dismiss: "We've already paid for the licence to do this your honour"

              Bad logic. The next iPod you buy will likely be priced at $299 or $249 or some other round number; if Apple pays a buck in licensing fees to Universal or some other outfit, they won't add a buck to the retail price.

              Apple recently paid Creative $100MM to license the Zen patent; that's likely paid for in one way or another by future iPod sales; and I'm sure that there are other licensing fees that Apple must pay pe

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                The difference here is that the license fee they are charging here is explicitly to reimburse the RIAA for music which is pirated by iPod users.
              • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@xoxy. n e t> on Thursday November 30, 2006 @12:18AM (#17044734) Homepage Journal
                No, you're constructing a straw man.

                When Apple paid Creative, it was for the use of Creative's patents. I don't necessarily agree with the judgment, but that's what it was about. So you're right, that certainly doesn't give me any moral or ethical -- much less legal -- right to go out and steal stuff from Creative, at least not unless you espouse a somewhat extreme form of IP anarchism.

                Anyway, the difference between that deal, and the Zune deal (or the Canadian 'media tax') is that Creative's deal with Apple doesn't make any comment about the actions of the users. It's purely between Apple and Creative. What Universal is saying in demanding its pound of flesh, is that users are criminals, and therefore the users should be made to pay for their criminal behavior, before they even do it. That's fundamentally different from a patent licensing deal.

                In short, Universal is engaging in collective punishment -- trying to extort money from everyone who buys an Apple product, because they assume they will all be used for piracy. Since I'm going to get punished in that case either way, whether I pirate or not, then I might as well pirate.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by hey! ( 33014 )

              Might this not be a good thing in disguise?
              They charge a piracy tax, so we pirate.
              They sue, we move to dismiss: "We've already paid for the licence to do this your honour"

              It would be interesting to see what the courts would make of this. Normally, you can't be held responsible for the crimes of a third party, except where your voluntary actions create an easily forseeable harm. They'd have to show the court that copyrighted tracks are commonly held on iPods. The thing is, while this is true for most MP3

          • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:26PM (#17043196) Homepage
            Offtopic: anything more than $0 (even Canadian dollars) is too much to be 'reasonable' for a 'pirate tax'.

            Would it be too much if it meant that, having already paid the price of your piracy, that you could not be sued for subsequent pirate activity?

            I believe this is the situation in Canada. They pay the tax, yes, but then the Canadian music industry cannot go after any of the Canadian pirates. So in theory, you could just go out and download every song they ever published. I bet it's the recording industry who would think they got the short end of the stick on that one!

            It won't work that way in the U.S. of course. In the U.S., we will end up paying the tax on anything even remotely capable of pirating music (which is soon going to be everything in your house from your computer to your door mat), and you will be emminently sueable (soon to be jailable) if you actually do pirate anything. They'll charge you coming and going, even if you never touch anything they make, and imprison you if you dare not pay them. Because here in the U.S., we hate the idea of government-owned business, but we love the idea of business-owned government.
        • Re:Fuckin' A Right! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:12PM (#17043044)
          Yes, we do, and thanks to it the courts told the CRIA (RIAA of Canada) to screw off when they tried to start the same litigation idiocy that is going on in the states right now. It's funny, the industry lobbied really hard to get the levy passed in the 1990's when no one had yet realised how the internet would change things. Now they are lobbying as hard as they can to get it removed so they can start suing people. Not having any luck so far from what I can tell.
        • Re:Fuckin' A Right! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by obeythefist ( 719316 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:34PM (#17043274) Journal
          No no, the Canadian recordable media levy is *not* related to copyright infringement at all.

          The levy is a fee paid to the recording industry to subsidise the industry for the loss of revenue taken from duplicate media sales to compensate the industry for *fair-use* backups of media for personal use. Really a coup for the music industry because they're getting paid every time you exercise your rights, and they still get to take you to court if they can fake enough evidence about your downloading.

          But this new one is fantastic, because if Apple accedes to the music industry's wish (and I personally hope they will as quickly as possible), it hopefully (IANAL) creates an circumstance where you have already paid damages to the music industry, and hopefully double jeopardy means they can now not take you to court and say "well you took our music but we weren't compensated" because they will have been (for any music published by Universal at least). Thus making their entire catalog free for download by anyone, anywhere, who owns an iPod.

          This is different from the Zune, which pays money to the publisher simply as a gratuity for the favour of their songs being available on the Zune music purchasing outlet. The establishment in this case is not being compensated for copyright infringement.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by phookz ( 944746 )
            I don't think double jeopardy would apply here at all. If this went in place, even if the levy meant that you could not be sued for illegal music on your iPod (which I'm not convinced it would, but IANAL), it certainly would not absolve you from copyright infringement on your computer.
            This is not a good thing in disguise. It's presumptuos and arrogant of Universal to assume that they are entitled to a percentage of iPod sales. What's next? Will they ask for a portion of headphone sales, since headphon
          • I'm not an expert, but what you describe sounds like a perfect example of public goods theory applied to taxation. Something (in this case mp3s) with zero marginal cost requires only that the cost of production be covered in order for it to be permissible (in fact, obligatory?) to provide the thing to everyone.

            The normal way of doing this for other public goods (e.g. defense) is through taxation. How is music different?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Yartrebo ( 690383 )
              Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Society pays a modest sum to cover the cost of production (perhaps 10% of current sales for music, movies, and video games) and then everybody owns everything. Buying full non-exclusive rights to well over 100,000 movies for maybe $10/year in taxes seems like a pretty good deal to me.

              Too bad Senator Disney would never even listen to this proposal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Doppler00 ( 534739 )
          Hey, we'll import your prescription drugs and you can import our tax free CDRs/DVDRs and we'll call it even :)
      • Re:To Doug Morris... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Basehart ( 633304 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:50PM (#17043444)
        "If the music cartels start charging me for music that I haven't downloaded, ripped, or otherwise pirated, then I'm going to have to stop spending money at iTMS and my local funky CD shop, and treat that "royalty charge" as a blanket license to their entire library."

        FWIW I was in a band signed to a UK indie label during the 80's which was had licensing deals with pretty much every major label around the World. Then came the 90's and slowly but surely the CD's started disappearing off Tower Records' shelves. Then came the 00's and we get our own section on iTunes.

        Needless to say if I'd bought my first MP3 player in the 00's I would have gone straight to iTunes and bought my albums from there, but instead I bought my first MP3 player in the late 90's and had to resort to grabbing un-licensed MP3's of my songs from wherever I could find them, basically because I didn't have the orginal CD's (my entire record collection is just that, records, and stored back in the UK) and I couldn't find CD's in used record stores.

        If the record labels had got their shit together to build their own kickass online record store, and made their own kickass players so people could listen to them, Apple wouldn't have seen an opportunity and created iTunes and the iPod.

        So FUCK YOU Universal, and every other label that starts crying about lost revenue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      Sounds like a great basis for a class action law suit. Calling all users of portable music players thieves sounds like a court case in the making.
      • Re:To Doug Morris... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by geobeck ( 924637 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @10:29PM (#17043800) Homepage

        Sounds like a great basis for a class action law suit. Calling all users of portable music players thieves...

        And who's going to lead the lawsuit?

        Actually, Apple should lead it. After all...

        "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it..."

        That sounds more like he's defaming Apple than he's defaming iPod owners, although that comment leaves plenty of room for both. And, of course, Apple makes a pretty stupid target for this kind of statement, having developed the most successful legal music download service there is. (I'm putting iTMS ahead of eMusic, AllofMP3 and the like because iTMS successfully charges more per song, has better selection (than eMusic), and is of unquestioned legality (compared to AllofMP3).)

        Or maybe, instead of a lawsuit, Apple should just reconsider whether they want iTMS to sell music released by a record company that defames them and their customers. How much does Universal make from iTMS, I wonder?

    • Re:To Doug Morris... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AcidArrow ( 912947 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:02PM (#17042920)
      Actually I have no problem with paying a small extra "tax" with the purchase of an ipod. BUT only if that means I can then fill my ipod 100% with pirated music...

      If I'm paying the "pirate tax" to help them recover the "losses" they have from piracy, there's no problem then, right? If they are still going to sue my guts if I have pirated mp3s on my ipod, then why I am paying extra money with the purchase of an ipod? I'm paying them protection money and they still come after me? If they are going to act like the mob, they should at least do it properly...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        If you think you're entitled to any indemnity by paying this extortion, you're sadly mistaken.

        Personally I restrict my custom to companies who show some modicum of ethics and decency in their dealings, and I am willing to pay a premium for those principles if needs be. That's why I'll never buy (or allow anyone I know to buy) a Sony product again. I was never going to buy a Zune anyway, largely because it is just not worth it for the features. Hearing that it comes bundled with an extortion payment to the *
    • Mr. Morris is right! As he said, we all know it. We don't need any proof or anything like that, and we don't care about exceptions. You need to pay!

      Likewise, are just a bunch of criminals and scum. We all know it. So why don't we just lock them all up and gas them? Or at least force them to pay a "criminal fee" since we all know they're criminals.

      (BTW, this post is sarcasm in case it's not obvious to some of you.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by catwh0re ( 540371 )
      As my stance to his attitude, I'm simply not going to buy anything from Universal or it's parent company. It's simple enough to implement and will make almost no difference to my life. Somehow media execs seem to believe that we -need- to buy music/video clips like it's food, water, clothing or shelter. FFS it's an audio track and with recent releases probably a bad audio track at that. The music biz is so arrogant that they don't even bother to remove the ~15-16KHz whine from their CD titles which were rec
  • Pirate Tax (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:38PM (#17042570)
    God, I hope they do this. Because if I have to pay a Pirate Tax, then doesn't that mean I can pirate all the Universal Stuff I want... since I've already paid the tax?
    • God, I hope they do this. Because if I have to pay a Pirate Tax, then doesn't that mean I can pirate all the Universal Stuff I want... since I've already paid the tax?

      Seriously, if we're paying a surcharge because "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,. So it's time to get paid for it.", then using their own logic, it almost seems like a pre-paid license to pirate. I don't know how these vultures can't see it that way. (That is, assuming they have a concept of logic)
      • by AcidArrow ( 912947 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:17PM (#17043090)
        If they are going to legalize piracy, I can see them putting "pirate taxes" to a lot more things...

        "ADSL modems! They all know they are being used to download illegal mp3s (well, and porn)"
        "Monitors! Everybody knows people use them to find songs to download illegally"
        "Mice! Everyone knows that they are mainly used to download songs illegally"
        "And don't even get me started on chairs, food and houses. They are only being used to maintain themselves so they can download more music!"
    • by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:09PM (#17043012)
      This is like requiring shoppers at Walmart to pay a fee for stolen merchandise. That's only going to encourage further theft (gee, I already paid for's not like I'm getting a five finger discount), and it's ridiculous from the start.

      Wow, I had no idea that Microsoft cut that shady deal. Now the Universal seems to have quite literally declared they should have a right to both have their cake and eat it, too. They want you to both pay for the music and pay for not paying for it.

      I don't own a media player, but now I know that if I ever get one, it won't be a Zune.
      • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @10:11PM (#17043646) Homepage
        This is like requiring shoppers at Walmart to pay a fee for stolen merchandise.

        Uh, shoppers do pay for stolen merchandise. It is part of the retail markup. Like returns and warranty work, the accountants probably have an account for losses due to theft, a percentage of sales based on historical averages goes into the account, actual losses are charged against the account, and there are probably tax deductions. So shoplifters are not stealing from the CEOs pockets, they are stealing from the taxpayers who partially subsidize the losses via tax deductions and the shoppers who pay slightly inflated prices.
  • by raitchison ( 734047 ) <> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:39PM (#17042584) Homepage Journal
    IIRC Canada has a system like this, where part of the purchase price of blank media goes to royalties for stuff that is assumed to be copied to it.

    If they charged a fee for each device and let us have free, legal file sharing (since we paid for the content with our device fee) it sounds semi reasonable.

    Of course that's not what they are talking about so...
    • by wirefarm ( 18470 ) <> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:48PM (#17042704) Homepage
      What happened in Canada is exactly what could happen here.
      They started charging a pirate tax on media, so some clever people figured out that as long as they were paying the tax and being branded a pirate, that gave them a legal right to download. The courts apparently agreed.
      Amazing that the idiot proposing this doesn't know it.
    • by wass ( 72082 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:49PM (#17042716)
      Where do you draw the line? Does Apple have to pay every existing recording studio for potential thefts, including little Jimmy running a studio in his parent's basement?

      The iPod is a media player, so look at how it relates to other media players. When you buy a TV, does part of the purchase price go to Paramount just in case someone watches a pirated version of Indiana Jones on it? Does every movie theater built in the USA have to pay construction fees to movie companies (I'm not talking proceeds of ticket sales, I'm talking about a fee just to build the damn theater) because it's possible a future owner might show a pirated film there?

      If this Universal casehas any merit, it should extend to everything just to point out how ridiculous it is. Eg, every hammer sold should include a fee to De Beers because that hammer can be used to break a window and steal one of their diamonds. Likewise every diamond purchased should include a fee to Home Depot, because that diamond can be ground to make diamond dust, which can be used to saw through locking gates and bars and to steal hammers. Rinse lather repeat.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by demonbug ( 309515 )
        When you buy a TV, does part of the purchase price go to Paramount just in case someone watches a pirated version of Indiana Jones on it?

        Essentially, yes. If you are buying a newer TV (or laptop, or video card, etc.) with HDMI, you are basically paying content companies for extra crap because it is assumed you will watch pirated material otherwise. Not exactly the same, but pretty damn close. You want to be able to watch anything at 1080p? You gotta pay up - even though your DVI connection can technica

    • According to Wiki, as of Dec 2004, it no longer applies to mp3 devices and such (ref: d a [] ).

      However, there's one in Finland....of all things, based on the "per min" capacity with a max of 15euros per device. (ref: nd [] ).
  • just say no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:39PM (#17042588) Homepage Journal
    I hope Apple tells them where they can take their Zune and stick it where the sun won't shine. This is just one more reason not to buy a piece of crap Zune. I certainly won't be trading in my iPod for a Zune EVER.
  • Well ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:40PM (#17042596) Journal
    Does Microsoft's precedent mean the start of a slippery slope that will add a "pirate tax" to every piece of hardware that touches digital music?"

    That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as I get to download as many songs as I want in exchange for said tax. If you're forcing me to pay you money to legitimize my iPod, then it should also legitimize any illegal music I might have on there.

    Also, I resent the implication that my iPod has stolen music on it. It doesn't.
  • by KaiserSoze ( 154044 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:41PM (#17042620) Homepage
    Fuck you. I've spent hundreds of dollars at the iTunes Store, and thousands buying CDs at retail over the past 15 years. Again, fuck you.
  • by Kabuthunk ( 972557 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <knuhtubak>> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:42PM (#17042626) Homepage
    "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,. So it's time to get paid for it."

    Riiiight. So umm... despite the fact that there's absolutely zero proof, a general assumption is being made... which spreads to ALL digital-music listeners... and say that they want money.

    So... going by this theory, cable companies should charge everyone who watches TV because they all steal satellite signals?

    YES! Everyone on earth is a digital thief, so let's make a profit off of it!
  • Does that mean that they won't be able to sue you for copyright infringement if you do? I mean - fair's fair you know.

    Plus, I think that's how the law might interpret it. "I'm not infringing - I paid. See my receipt?"

  • What's next, are we going to convict KitchenAid for assault with a deadly weapon?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you think that aggressively prosecuting KitchenAid is a bad idea, then you haven't sampled my wife's baking.
  • by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:42PM (#17042632)
    A car can hold stolen merchandise, so can a handbag. A gun can be used in a hold up. You're telling me we all have to pay, they'll have to up the price of iPods, because some one might abuse them? I'm a firm defender of copyrights but this is just nuts. Making everyone pay is no answer. DRM away but don't make me pay because of what some one else might do. That crosses a massive line and makes me want to boycott Universal products. Not that they have anything I want in the first place which makes it doubly insulting.
    • Not that they have anything I want in the first place which makes it doubly insulting.

      Yeah, but that insult there is exactly the point.

      The point is that right now you are providing no revenue for Universal.

      If they get this license fee in place, then you will. Even though you do not consume and have no desire to consume Universal product.

      Don't mistake their retarded rhetoric for their true intentions.

      They know that most people use their iPods legitimately to hold music they purchased on CD or through iTunes
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The insanity of taxing a piece of hardware for what a small portion of its users could possibly use it for aside
    (Has this guy even heard of iTunes? People are paying for this stuff), if he wants a tax on the ipod to cover stolen music which it could be used to play, then I think implicit in that is the allowance that, after paying this tax, you can use an ipod to play all the stolen music you want, legally. I belive the recordable digital media tax in Canada works something like this. But what you can't
  • Bite me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:43PM (#17042638) Homepage
    I really haven't had enough interest in an iPod to buy one. But if this goes through, I may buy one just to join in the classs action suit. I'd love to own a small piece of Universal, and especially a small piece of this jackass's skin. It would make a great bullseye on my dartboard.
  • teach them a lesson (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If I was Apple, I'd purposely stop selling music recorded on the universal label for a month just as a show of "F@#$ with us and get slapped". The artists on that label would rip Doug Morris to shreds as soon as they lost their itunes sales...

    direct quote from wikipedia - "As of September 2006, the Store has sold more than 1.5 billion songs"...
    • by shawnce ( 146129 )
      direct quote from wikipedia - "As of September 2006, the Store has sold more than 1.5 billion songs"...
      Which translates into about 975 million dollars feed to the music industry since the iTMS opened.
  • I really don't pirate music -- honestly. I've downloaded a few mp3s and if I like them, I buy the album. Now if they add a pirate tax to my mp3 player, that's a green light for me to turn pirate. I've paid my tax.
  • Braindamage? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Goeland86 ( 741690 ) <> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:45PM (#17042668) Homepage
    What kind of logic is this???
    Either you fight the pirates and try to sell your music via the iTMS or you get a royalty payment and let your music be available for free.
    I'm fed up with the *AAs trying to tell me that I owe them money. I don't. I go see the GOOD movies in theater (there's one coming out every eon or so, maybe you need to check that?) and when I want to watch something, well I have Blockbuster and NetFlix.
    Music-wise? Most of the bands they produce suck, and I'd much rather go to a concert, and find the occasional song playing on a radio station than buy a CD or DRM files, because they just want a constant money stream. My wallet says no, and I live just fine without music. Ever walk outside without an iPod plugged into your ears? Sometimes a good hike without music does you good.
    The *AAs are beyond a pain in the ass, they're thieving not just people, but businesses as well, and I sure hope that Apple takes them to court for diffamation on that one.
  • by dingDaShan ( 818817 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:48PM (#17042696)
    I think Mr. Morris should be modded down for his obviously riotous and hateful flamebait of a statement.
  • Let's face it, there is a large amount of pirated music available on the various p2p networks. Regardless of whether the copyright owner would have sold a copy of the track to the consumer had it not been for p2p, the fact remains that by downloading the track and listening to it the owner has provided the consumer entertainment that the owner offered for a cost elsewhere. If the levy could be offered and hooks to the p2p networks added such that it could track which produces should get what proportion of t
  • I don't steal music and I don't steal movies. I still buy CDs, but immediately place them in my computer and never touch them again. I also buy from the iTunes store. ALL of the music in my library was purchased by me and me alone. I don't have receipts for all of it, but I own it.

    The idea that I should be taxed because someone MIGHT steal products with a device is offensive. In that case, why not tax electrical sockets? Everyone knows that everyone that uses electricity steals movies and music. And what el
  • Tag: Asinine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:51PM (#17042750) Homepage Journal
    Wow. Just... Wow.

    What kind of environment do you have to be raised in that instills a sense of entitlement so absolute that it reduces onlookers to standing agape in stunned silence?

    These people need to be kept away from sharp objects and heavy machinery until they grow up.


  • by LaughingElk ( 139664 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:52PM (#17042766)
    Doug Morris: Steve, I think we should get $1 for every iPod you sell.
    Steve Jobs: No.
    Doug Morris: We asked Microsoft for $1 for each Zune sold, and they said "Yes".
    Steve Jobs: They were desperate. We're not. By the way, how has the Zune deal been working out for you?
    Doug Morris: So far, we've gotten $52.

  • Strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:52PM (#17042768)
    Microsoft knew it won't make wonders with the first iteration of their product. Much like with their other attempts at entering a new market, they sell at loss, taking experiments just to see the outcome and trying to damage the competition as much as possible.

    Hence the "precedent" with Universal. I personally don't see how the deal with Zune obligates or pressures Apple into signing a deal as well.

    Especially since iTunes is already a loss leader for them, hence they won't just agree Universal eating even more of their hardware profit for something as vague and abstract as "stolen music" tax. Apple isn't selling stolen music on their iPods. End of story.

    You can expect Apple making few announcements about banning Universal from their store or something like that and that'd be the end of the story, if it even goes that far.
  • iTMS Sales (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mandos ( 8379 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:55PM (#17042822) Homepage
    So wasn't it in September that Steve Jobs got on a stage and pointed out that iTMS is now in the top five music sellers in the world? I.E. They were competing and gaining significantly on Walmart and such? And that they were the ONLY digital service that could claim this? I'm confused where these iPods with all this pirated music comes from if one of the top five music sellers in the world sells music that can only be listened to on iPods (and iTunes). Perhaps he would like to sue Apple and have to explain his logic to a judge?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by j-beda ( 85386 )
      ...sells music that can only be listened to on iPods (and iTunes)
      To be fair, you can burn purchased music to a standard music CD.
  • by VidEdit ( 703021 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:55PM (#17042828)
    Doug Morris has said that he thinks all iPod owner's are thieves who owe him money but it isn't clear why he specifically thinks he's owed a dollar for every Zune--a dollar he'd make if he sold a little more than one song. He is not offering **anything** back to the end user--no indemnity, nothin'. Based on Doug Morris' guilty until proven innocent view of iPod owners, I don't see why he doesn't simply ask the police to arrest all iPod owners on sight or, at the very least, demand a list of all iPod owners from Apple so UMG can file lawsuits against all of them since they are all known thieves and that is the natural progression of Doug Morris' claims combined with the RIAA's sue anything that moves stance.

    What seems likely is that Morris is demanding an approximation 3% tariff on the sales price like the 3% tariff the industry **already** receives from the sale of all recordable CDs marked "for music." As with Morris proposed "iPod" tax, the public receives nothing in return for music CD-R tax which was supposed to compensate the recording industry in return for not suing equipment manufacturers over Home Recording. As history shows, The Audio Home Recording Act did nothing to squelch the industries thirst for litigation, so there is no reason to think that giving in to an "iPod" tax will do anything along those lines.

    If UMG wants to "tax" iPods, they need to give something up in return--like submitting to compulsory licensing for download as they have to for radio station playback and Jukeboxes.
  • Tax Free? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rufty_tufty ( 888596 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:02PM (#17042916) Homepage
    A lot of people are saying 'great a a tax, now I can download for free and not worry about being sued'

    Not going to argue with that, but what I will say is I can't but think of the precident in the UK with the BBC. Theoretically I have already paid for all the content the BBC produces. Therefore I should own the copyright to it? Then why the hell are the BBC DVDs I buy copyright BBC Worldwide? Why don't I own the copyright to the BBC DVDs I bought? Is anyone aware of a case of the BBC suing someone for copyright infringement who has a TV license*?

    Times like this I try to forget what the law says and ask what is fair. I also remember that the copyright holder has the right to do whatever they like with their product** - I have no need to use it if I am not happy with their terms. i.e. am I actually that worse of because Joe Blogs has released XYZ piece of music under terms that I feel are unacceptable, than I would be if Joe Blogs had never produced that piece of music at all?

    Can we have the next slashdot poll as what encourages you to buy music - be it hearing a song on the radio, from an mp3 copied from a friend, from a CD borrowed from a collegue etc. I know I have never bought Music without listening to it via some free method first. To shut down all avenues of free music would stop me dead.

    * Yes there were a few cases a while ago, but this was before the BBC had the whole lost Dr Who episode debacle.
    ** Your own definition of Fair rights of course must stand up in court.
    • Theoretically I have already paid for all the content the BBC produces. Therefore I should own the copyright to it?

      Your incorrect on your wording. The BBC owns the copyright, or "right to copy (distribute)", the content they produce. If you buy a DVD published by the BBC, you own that DVD. You have property rights to the DVD (meaning you can buy the DVD, own and watch the DVD, and sell the DVD), but you have no rights to distribute the contents of said DVD.

      I think what you're trying to get at, and I wan
  • PSA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elmCitySlim ( 957476 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:10PM (#17043026) Homepage
    This PSA is played on a local College Radio station in my area ( The ext was taken from the creator's website (

    PSA #1: Hypocrites
    (Approximately 80 seconds)

    According to the major record labels, everyone who downloads a song off the internet is a thief. But there's a lot they aren't telling you.

    For example:

    Did you know that when you buy a major label CD virtually none of your money makes it to the musician? It's true: When you pay $15 for a CD, the artist royalty is about 75 cents.

    But most major label artists don't even get that--musicians don't get any royalties until they pay back all the costs of recording and promotion. That means they don't get anything until they sell at least 500,000 or a million CDs! Here's another way to look at it: for most CDs at the record store, NONE of the money goes to the musician.

    So when the major label CEOs tell you that sharing music is "stealing from musicians", they're

    A) Lying through their teeth


    B) Hypocrites

    The real thieves are the corporate record labels, and giving them your money just perpetuates a system where musicians get screwed and independent music gets locked out of the mainstream.

    The best part of all this is that--thanks to filesharing--the corporate record companies are dying off, while independent labels are thriving. Musicians, radio DJs, everybody. We finally have a chance to change the music business.

    Don't buy major label CDs. Support independent musicians. Take back music.
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:11PM (#17043032)
    Does Microsoft's precedent mean the start of a slippery slope that will add a "pirate tax" to every piece of hardware that touches digital music?

    Supply and demand applies here:

    85% of all MP3 players are iPods.

    After briefly debuting as the 7th most popular MP3 player, the Zune dropped to 13th most popular.

    Universal gets three choices here:

    Put up (only sell music through the Zune store as that is, let's face it, the only influence they have) and deal with only having the 13th most popular MP3 player market to go after... Not going to happen.

    Shut up... Also not likely to happen.

    Neither... They'll whine loudly, whilst sensibly not daring to cut their noses off to spite their faces, and occasionally create hype inducing headlines.

    The previous MP3 taxes on hardware got through five plus years ago when MP3s were something weird the kids do. Passing laws to fine people who don't get a vote is really easy. In the half decade since, huge numbers of middle Americans have bought iPods and they're a part of mainstream society. The ignorance and "aren't l33t pirates bad!" claim doesn't work so well when middle American voters realize it suddenly applies to them and they'd be voting to make their toys more expensive.

    So, Zune is such an embarassing joke it can hardly be called a trend setter, Universal won't dare actually boycot iTunes in order to make a point and MP3 players are so popular that the laws that got snuck through in the past now get soccer moms outraged. They can't affect it through business models or laws... Game over.

    In much the same way, I want endless women. However, I control such a small part of the dating market that even if I boycot women, I doubt it'll bother them half as much as it'll bother me. I can't get a law passed that forces women to like me because it'd be political suicide for politicians. So, much like universal, that leaves me whining loudly about how things should be and yet nothing actually changing.
  • Evolve or Die (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zekt ( 252634 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:20PM (#17043124)
    The record industry is interesting. It is so powerful, that it can make change and introduce new products and formats (like CD), yet ultimately it has a product that people can do without.

    And they are 'doing without' in droves. People are buying Wiis and DVDs and getting cable TV and video off YouTube. They are loosing market share and blaming piracy. Blaming the unnameable is truly the last bastion of an industry that is dying. It means that, at AGMs, the directors will have an excuse for bad
    profitability, when inaction is their only excuse. If you hold shares in a large music company, time to ask them what product they plan on releasing when they have become irrelevant due to their inaction.

    Years ago, they could have made a cheap, effective, simple service. Instead - everyone copied music, found what they like and bought CDs because they felt like they should support the artist. Record sales went up. Then Napster got a sued, Audiogalaxy got shutdown, and the punters should no longer try before they buy.
    RIAA continues to sue... people continue not to buy.

    It's time to wake up record companies. It's not too difficult. iTunes will save your ass. If you leave it 2 more years - iTunes will own you ass. You will have to bend over and lick Apple's boots. Do you realise that you are 1 freakin step away from having someone like Apple set up a service to post produce 100000 punters Garage Band files and then release them? The only thing you have is radio stations who you collaborate with. The advertising revenues for these are not going too well. Do you feel you owe it to them to ensure they join you in a symbiotic slide into oblivion?

    I have bought my last 2 years worth of music though iTunes. I don't need a CD. I don't need all
    the wasted plastic and paper. I don't need to waste resources to have music. I don't need the stores,
    the transport, the manufacturers. Sound only needs to be touched and felt in 1 way - through bass
    pounding in your chest... not through yet another breaking CD container.
  • by logicnazi ( 169418 ) <> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:25PM (#17043182) Homepage
    This demand has legal trouble stamped all over it.

    For starters this seems like a violation of the anti-trust statutes. Universal knows they have no legal means to compel apple to pay them money for every iPod sold so instead they are trying to blackmail them into doing so by threatening to stop selling apple their songs. Whether or not the iPod is used to play/possess illegal songs is totally irrelevant. Refusing to let apple sell their songs on iTunes won't stop ipods from being used for illegal music, in fact it would likely increase it. This is nothing but a clear cut case of a company using it's monopolistic practices to extort money, exactly the sort of thing the anti-trust laws were designed to prevent. At least MS could come up with a non-laughable (just a bit of a snicker) claim that their bundling practices were for the consumer's benefit, Universal has no such case.

    More interestingly what happens when the RIAA sues someone who had illegal music on their ipod and they argue in court that the ipod surcharge gives them the right to do so? While I'm skeptical that such a claim could succeed one never knows. Also, even if the poor victim of the lawsuit loses this point it puts Universal in an interesting position. In order to successfully sue people using their ipods to play illegal music they must admit apple wasn't purchasing *anything* with the surcharge. That makes it even harder to claim that the surcharge was part of a valid business deal rather than something they coerced using monopolistic power.


    I know one thing for sure though. The second I find myself paying a surcharge on a device I purchase to the RIAA I will make a point of not purchasing music for that device. At the moment I buy songs from itunes not too infrequently but if I've already paid $5 to the RIAA I will always search for an illegal copy first. Maybe in the long run they will realize people have an innate sense of fair play. If you don't insist on DRM and sell songs for a reasonable price people will choose to pay money so the artists are compensated but the second you pick someone's pocket claiming you need to be paid for what you were going to steal people will stop feeling bad about stealing from you.
  • by twifosp ( 532320 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:43PM (#17043360)
    I hate frivolous lawsuits as much as the next honest bloke, but having all ipod owners unite and sue Doug Morris for defamation would be worth the trouble. He just called us all thieves without proof.
  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:59PM (#17043526) Journal
    There's no way that what Doug Morris is suggesting would ever be fair. (well, what is in the record industry?...)

    Many people put indie label stuff on their iPods, and much other unclassifiable music, why should Universal get some $$ and not other labels?
    What will happen at this point is anyone's guess, but I would consider that Apple's dominance of the market makes it such that it could fight back.
    Otherwise there will be no end to this slippery slope. Warner Bros, Sony/BMG, EMI and all the others will claim the same.
    Then it'll be the turn of major indies to hit Apple for a piece of the pie.

    Therefore I pray that Steve Jobs and Apple's board of directors will have the sanity and foresight to resist what could be a very sad precedent
    for the nascent digital music marketplace.

    Just as in the SCO / Linux case, this may be a watermark moment, one that will help forever define our future with regards to recorded music.

    Doug Morris is only projecting his own frustrations and those of his company's shareholders, and barely clinging to his job due to the lackluster corporate
    earning results for the last 3 quarters at Universal certainly gives him far more motivation to do the saber-rattling act to show what a tough negotiator he is.
    (well, that and what evil plotters Micro$oft are for pursuing what some call a 'scorched-earth' policy, so that if Zune fails, they'll make sure everyone else
    fails, or at least truly suffers along with them...)

    In the current picture of the digital marketplace today, Universal stands to lose out far more than Apple by refusing to renew the license on the existing terms.
    Actually, if you retrace Doug Morris' steps and read some recent quotes, (and unless I am mistaken) he was also the most vociferous one behind the concept
    that one-size-fits-all pricing had to end, and that his top-tier new artists should get more per download than his deep catalog titles.

    Therefore, an interpretation of this would be that this is posturing well in advance of Apple's contract renewal to establish that he will not settle for 'One Price - One Rate',
    which Apple has so far been steadfast about. This particular point appears to be one which Apple will have to concede to keep their rights to the Universal catalog,
    and wil lead to an inevitable industry-wide restructuring of how downloads are priced.

    All joking aside, I really could care less if J-Lo and Britney Spears' downloads jump to $1.49, that in itself is a bit of a joke, but an acceptable one...

    Some days I do feel extremely ahsamed and embarrassed for still being a part of what's left of the record business, and likely to be summarily judged as being in
    cahoots with the rest of the vultures....Today is just one of those days.
    Z. :(
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:59PM (#17043534) Homepage Journal

    It's not apple's job to help the riaa and their artists recoup their losses due to piracy. That's like placing a tax on crowbars because people break into cars with them.

    Why must people be so stupid?
  • Letter to Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by billsoxs ( 637329 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @10:12PM (#17043652) Journal
    Dear Steve:

    Re: The iPOD tax

    I have purchased Apple products for years and I currently have 6 Macs in my house. I do not pirate (steal) music and in fact have bought a number of complete CDs from iTunes - as well as physical CDs from elsewhere. If you cave into the RIAA, I will take my business elsewhere.


  • by dircha ( 893383 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @10:40PM (#17043894)
    I've paid for all the music on my iPod. It's all on the up and up. I've purchased a good portion of it through the iTunes Store.

    If I had known that instead of valuing me as a customer they would treat me as just another "pirate", I wouldn't have paid for any of this shit.

    And now they want to tax good paying customers like me for migrating to the latest platform?

    Fuck you. Why don't I just pirate it from now on if it's all the same to you?
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @11:07PM (#17044154) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome this tax, but after paying it I'll fire up eMule AND BitTorrent and download 80GB of music, since I've already paid for my sins. See, you can't have it both ways. Either you don't charge this tax or I don't pay for music. It's that simple. For the record, my 4GB nano doesn't have a single illegal tune on it. I buy CDs and rip them into 192kbps VBR AAC files. Oh, and if Universal goes titsup tomorrow - I don't give a shit. I don't listen to any of their artists.
    • ...because that never is going to happen. This article is specific to the iPod, but in Europe plans are already made to introduce a generic tax for all devices that include storage, whether that's an iPod or a DVD-recorder or a generic mp3-player : the tax would go to the likes of RIAA and the MPAA in Europe.

      It would be very naive to think that once this tax is introduced, you can freely copy stuff. It's a simple game : he who has the most marbles at the end wins, and that's that.

      Just to take away the su
  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @01:13AM (#17045276)

    These are the same people who've been saying "Apple must raise prices. The current prices are unsustainable" for years, and yet they aren't getting paid more. Apple's in the driver's seat for these kinds of negotiations unless Zune really takes off, so I wouldn't worry about it. In the article he says it would be "nice to have". Well, sure, we'd all love a raise.

    This is a business negotiation between two companies. I don't really care if Apple agrees to split the profit on iPods or not, but it won't change what I'm willing to pay for an iPod.

  • by scottsk ( 781208 ) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @05:01PM (#17055720) Homepage


    If this trend continues, what the world needs is a kit. Flash memory / small embedded OS / amplifier / earphone plug / etc. Just like we build PCs from parts to avoid the Microsoft Tax on the preinstalled OS, we can build our own OGG and MP3 players from a kit.

    If someone wants to make money, this would be good...

    (I don't personally want a hard-drive based player - I'd rather have an almost indestructible flash memory player. But, it's a kit, and you can have whichever you want.)

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