The Fish
for 18 July 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff
[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor
Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director
Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor
[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor
Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text
Prank, and File

Here's to hoping that your just
trying to fill your word count
and not actually listening to
any of the artists [sic] listed
in your column.


My taste in music, as it is
in so many other things, is
pretty elastic and surprisingly

Fish With Letter Icon

one more thought about the
Metallica lawsuit - when the
band identified all of the
people who were trading in
Metallica MP3s, do you think
the attorneys determined that
all of those were actually
Metallica songs? Can you
imagine the legal fees at
$250 an hour?


That's a good point, and it's
no doubt one of the reasons
why Metallica has gone after
Napster rather than
individual users. It seems
like their strategy has
always been to vilify by
bulk, rather than to
specifically prove individual

Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Sainted One:

You know, I thought I was
being cleverly cynical when I
predicted that within a year
or two there would be some
remarkably hi-tech viruses
circulating around that
looked a lot like MP3 files.
Certainly any system that
gives access to one's
computer, even if very
limited access, struck me as
inherently risky, so given
the well known morality of
the music business, I thought
the prediction was a slam

Who would have predicted that
simple human egotism would
have the same effect? And
faster, cheaper, and with far
more interesting side
effects. Wonderful. Was it
Dirac who said the universe
isn't simply more complicated
that we understand, it's more
complicated than we can
understand? Probably not.

Nice job. Thanks.

Alan S Kornheiser

Well, many people believe
that the pollution of the MP3
landscape won't really happen
to the extent I suggest, so
maybe a concerted effort on
the record industry's part
will be what it takes to
reach that state. But it's
still very early in the
peer-to-peer revolution. As
more applications allow you
to distribute a greater range
of file types (i.e.,
executables), the kind of
scenario i imagine may become
more likely without any
choreographed corporate
conspiracy at all...

Fish With Letter Icon

I agree to most of that in
principle but I still think
you're overstating the
problem. Maybe I am just not
downloading the right (fake)
stuff but my experience is
that, with a cable
connection, it takes me 15
sec to get a song and about
10 seconds into it I can tell
if its legit. If not I trash
it and get another. With live
stuff this would of course be
difficult but I contend that
the fraction of the market
interested in (and willing to
pay for) live, import, or
otherwise esoteric versions
of their favorite artists
material is pretty small.
Hell, I own about 20 rare
live or import CDs acquired
in my college days that I
rarely/never listen to
because, with rare
exceptions, live recordings
tend to suck ass anyway.
Would I pay a quarter/song
for the assurance that what I
was downloading was legit?
Probably not. A dime? Maybe,
but not until there is the
equivalent of a coin slot on
the screen that doesn't
require my credit card.


Well, overstating the
problem, and overstating the
solution, is sort of my modus
operandi at Suck.

While I agree that the
portion of listeners
currently interested in
material that goes beyond an
artist's "official releases"
is currently small, I think a
lot of that is the result of
what's available, easy to
find, etc. To me, the premise
of Napster and digital music
in general is that we all
become much more rabid fans
than ever before, because
it's so much easier to do.
And artists start releasing
material on much more fluid,
less orchestrated schedule,
because the infrastructure
supports that much better. So
in that scenario, the
possibilities I talk about
seem much more likely...

Fish With Letter Icon

I can't tell you how many
emails I have sent to authors
of pieces about eBay where
the subject of bootleg items
comes into play. I have
written eBay countless times
about everything form bootleg
mouse pads to videos and
everything in between and all
I get is "well if you are not
the copyright holder than we
can't do anything."

One day I saw someone with an
8 million feedback rating (or
something close to it) and
noticed this guy was pumping
out shirts, photos, key
chains, anything and
everything with other people
content on it. I happened to
write to eBay and complain
about an item in his auction,
some Bob Dylan key chain,
trying to be a smartass and
say " hey, what are the odds
this guy has a license to
make Dylan merchandise?" and
eBay fires back, "if you are
not Bob Dylan, we can't do
anything about it!"

Believe me, they know about
the illegal goods, its just
that if they eliminated all
of them, there would be
nothing left to sell on eBay.


Well, the thing is, George,
if eBay implemented the sort
of intrusive, top-down
government that cracking down
on rampant counterfeiting
would necessitate, that would
violate those cherished
eBaysian community values.
Lucky for them...


Fish With Letter Icon

Why do I read Suck? Not just
to laugh, but because for
years it also provides us
with some of the more

Thanks for keeping that
tradition alive.


Come on, Todd, admit it. What
you really read Suck for is
the pictures...


Fish With Letter Icon

Your article is right on. As
a nap user I can tell you
that Napster is not as easy
as it seems.that is most of
the people who share mp3's do
so with a slow connection
rate. A slow connection rate
means partical downloads,long
waits and constant
errors.I've tried to slove
that problem by only trading
with cabel or above
connections.This helps a
little but since my new v.90
modem is on a 2 8 8 line,I'm
lucky to get 3 complete songs
in one night.Also, most of
the succesful downloads are
usually not complete. I
beleave in napster I couldn'd
tell you how many times I've
shared cassttes with freinds
so that they could make
copyies.As far as metallica
is concered in the eighties I
bought all of their albums
not to mention the 3 copies
of "And Justice For All" I'
ve bought of the years.

Ther are many other file
sharing programs that alow
much more than mp3's to be
traded how do you think
Napster's problem's will
effect them?

chris clary

Luckily for the record and
movie industries, it seems
that other programs like
gnutella and freenet will
create even more demand for
the reliable service a
company can offer. As you
imply in your letter, the
problem with the peer-to-peer
file exchange model is that
the other users don't really
care that much if you get
your complete song or not, or
how fast you get it. instead
of worrying about getting
ripped off and creating
proprietary standards,
companies should be embracing
the wide-open nature of
Napster and other services,
because they actually create
a demand for reliable branded

Fish With Letter Icon

Since you wrote an essay that
seemed to be about this I
thought I would tell
you...Napster was created and
is almost solely used for
piracy. Ebay was and is not.

I don't know where you got
the idea that anyone thinks
Napster bootlegging is making
people money. I guess it
could be if you were going to
sell a Beatles CD that had
241 songs in MP3 format but
that's an extreme case. The
piracy on ebay is nothing
like you've made it out to

For some reason you mention
software for a second. Did
you read that Software &
Information Industry
Association "survey"? It said
they found only 138
legitimate auctions! 138.
Think about that. 138!
Incredibly, the next sentence
says, "
almost no illegitimate
software". Hmmm...out of, eBay, Excite and
Yahoo! there was only 138
legitimate Software auctions?
Did you actually read and
then quote this ridiculous
article? You're writing for, you're suppose to
have common sense.

It seems like you wrote this
because ebay makes a dollar
or so on every item sold. Do
you really think that with
four million listings at any
given time ebay would risk
the huge lawsuits Napster is
having to deal with? Ebay
does not need bootlegs. All
they care about is money. I
would bet anything that they
would monitor every CD
auction if the recording
industry wanted them to. But
they don't. Because Napster
is a much better piracy tool.
It's free, instantaneous, and
there are no risks. Ebay is
not free, far from
instantaneous, and you have a
very large chance of being
ripped off.

Write all the ebay or Napster
or on-line piracy essays you
want. They are necessary and,
despite what you >might
think, I love to read them.
But only if they're honest,
fair, and use some common

At least you gave me the
phrase, "vaguely Christian


You are misunderstanding the
piece because you are looking
at it from the perspective of
a Napster user, rather than a
traditional bootlegger, i.e.,
someone who rips off someone
else's property and makes
money off it.

Read it again from that
perspective and maybe it will
make more sense to you.

Re: The idea that "anyone
thinks that Napster
bootlegging is making money."
From my perspective, the
statements of many artists
and many recording industry
people definitely imply that
Napster bootlegging is making
someone money. When Lars
Ulrich dropped off his boxes
to Napster, he repeatedly
talked about how companies
like Napster were making
money off this bootlegging.
And many other artists (Dr.
Dre, etc.) have talked about
how money is being taken out
of their pockets by Napster
and similar products. And if
actual money is being lost by
someone, the implication of
course is that it's being
gained by someone else.
Obviously, this isn't
happening, and i don't state
that it is. Instead, my essay
satirizes the fallacies
behind such statements, and
the tendency by the record
industry to conflate
file-exchanging with
traditional music piracy,
where someone actually is
stealing something and then
selling it for a profit.

Re: Your comments about the
SIIA survey - I can't figure
out what point you're trying
to make. Are you saying you
don't believe the survey
because they only found 138
legitimate auctions and you
think there must be more than

Re: Your comments about
napster being a much better
piracy tool - again, you're
looking at it from the
perspective of a consumer/fan
rather than an
entrepreneurial bootlegger.

Anyway, write all the letters
you want. I love to read
them, even if i do find
answering them kind of a

Fish With Letter Icon

Decent article, mildly
humorous. However, I have to
wonder if you have ever
actually used Napster or are
instead pulling a Lars and
speaking about the topic
based on secondhand
knowledge. If you look at the
file sizes of the search
results for "Bawitdaba" you
quickly notice those that are
aberrant and can stay away
from them. Of course this
would not work if the parody
out populated the original
but in that case the parody
is probably better anyway.

Bradley Messmer

Decent letter, mildly
humorous. But I have to
wonder how much you've really
thought this out. Even for an
"official copy" of a song,
there could be many different
file sizes, because of
different bit rates, people
chopping off a few seconds,
etc. Plus, if you really want
to "consumerize" the process,
you really can't depend on
people to compare file sizes.
Remember that the average
person is stupid, and my
guess is that the average Kid
Rock fan is even more stupid
than that...

And of course, your
authentication method doesn't
take into account songs that
are complete fakes, or
supposedly official remixes,
or live versions, or what
have you. At the moment, you
probably get the song you
really want over 95% of the
time. and maybe it will
remain that way. but what if
it that slips to 80% or 70%?
And then, of course, the next
question is: at what point
would you start paying to
have 100%
Obviously, the answer is
contingent upon how much you
have to pay, and what level
of accuracy/satisfaction
completely free services like
Napster are delivering. But
while a lot of people have
jumped to the conclusion that
Napster's success means
people won't pay for music
online, all it's really
proven is that if you give
people a big selection of
songs, and fast delivery, and
reasonable service, they will
download digital music. but
there are so many ways
napster could be improved,
and many people would
probably be willing to pay
something for those
improvements. and the
potential for unreliabilty in
napster and other
peer-to-peer system's, where
it's not someone's job to
make sure you have a good
experience, will contribute
to that.

Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Krushchev Remembers, by Nikita Krushchev (authorship disputed), translated by Strobe Talbott
Five-Star Day Cafe
Athens, Ga.
Salon's "Action Figures"
TV ad
Donna's Famous "Long and Short of It," by Donna Anderson and friends
Two-Lane Blacktop, directed by Monte Hellman (The Anchor Bay/Universal letterboxed edition)
George Bush, Dark Prince of Love: A Presidential Romance, by Lydia Millet (Scribner)
King Kong: The Complete 1933 Film Score, by Max Steiner Moscow Symphony Orchestra, William J. Stromberg conductor (Marco Polo)
Eightball #20, by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics Books)
The ECW's Little Spike Dudley
Stan Kenton, City of Glass, featuring arrangements by legendary weirdo Bob Graettinger (EMD/Blue Note)
Comix 2000, Edited and published by L'Association, 2000
Star Dudes
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.

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