My Archives: May 2003

Friday, May 23, 2003

The RIAA and the record companies have been deceiving the public and the law makers. They claim that making MP3 versions of the songs on a CD is "Making a Perfect Digital Copy". They have to make that claim in order to distinguish MP3s from copies made to tape cartridges or other tape media. The taping of songs from ones own CDs is no longer disputed as an illegal act.

The MPEG (Motion Picture Entertainment Group) is an industry supported and maintained engineering and design lab. They invent and develop ways to digitize and electronically store images, motion pictures and music. The process of converting a cut from a CD into a MP3 is called 'lossy compression'. By who? The MPEG people who developed the MPEG encoding software. The idea behind their compression scheme is that "CDs contain some musical sounds that listeners cannot hear", and the method they use is to remove the digital information that represents that inaudible sound. They use the term "psycho-acoustics" to describe the art of determining just what information is contained in a CD track that the MP3 encoding process can remove. There are disputes among the pros as to just what is an accurate psycho-acoustical profile of what we can and cannot hear.

So let your Congress-critters and your state Reps know that the RIAA is shading the truth again when they claim that MP3s make "Perfect Digital Copies".

Posted by PeterB @ 12:57 PM CDT [Link] [Karma: 0 (+/-)] [No Comments]

This spring the Illinois Legislature is debating authorizing more casinos for Illinois and Chicago. One Chicago commentator was asked what he thought about more casinos. He said "If they can't keep the Chicago Mob out of Las Vegas, how do they expect to keep them out of Chicago gambling?". Indeed.

Legalized gambling is a punitive tax on the in-numerate (the arithmetically illiterate). Many regular gamblers become a burden on society; when they cause damage to society their actions become an indirect tax on the rest of us. Few are immune to the attractiveness of the glamour and glitter of legalized gambling. Noted conservative author William Bennet has just admitted publicly that he has gambled away huge sums at casinos during the last few years. Fortunately he is a wealthy man. Equally fortunately he is famous enough that his plight has become a 'cautionary tale' to millions of Americans. Probably not enough though.

Posted by PeterB @ 12:54 PM CDT [Link] [Karma: 0 (+/-)] [No Comments]