Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Nintendo Businesses Entertainment Games

Nintendo Promotes Music Piracy? 74

Posted by Zonk
from the such-a-cute-dog dept.
f-matic writes "A New York Times article discusses an amusing character in a popular virtual world: K.K. Slider, a travelling canine musician in Nintendo's Animal Crossing: Wild World, apparently promotes music piracy." From the article: "... it's a bit disorienting to find an 'information wants to be free' message embedded in a video game - particularly one aimed at young children and teenagers. After all, video game industry representatives, along with their brethren in the music, film and computer software industries, have long complained that this is precisely the kind of thinking that is eating away at their business models - and maybe civilization itself. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nintendo Promotes Music Piracy?

Comments Filter:
  • Yams (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    From TFA:
    A user called Yams also added "Yams yams yams yams yams."
    ... Yeah .... (FP?)
    • Wow...I've seen odd things in the Times, but this (which, if you haven't RTFA, is in fact in the article!) is just weird and scary. I mean Daily WTF [thedailywtf.com]-type weird, and transit-strike [google.com]-type scary. WOW.
      • Wow...I've seen odd things in the Times, but this (which, if you haven't RTFA, is in fact in the article!) is just weird and scary.

        It's called humor, dude. The writer was just having a little fun with the article, which, if you hadn't noticed, is pretty ridiculous all the way around. The whole point of it is using humor to shed light on a serious subject, which is something the Times does frequently.

        There's more to the Times than just the front page headlines...
        • Re:Yams (Score:3, Funny)

          by BushCheney08 (917605)
          There's more to the Times than just the front page headlines...

          You're right. There's also the back-page escort ads...
    • by Hitto (913085)
      YAMS = Yet Another Music Swapper?
    • I think LiveJournal should be used more often as a source for the NY Times. Wow.
      • by unitron (5733)
        "I think LiveJournal should be used more often as a source for the NY Times."

        And as the NYT's reputation goes to hell in a handbasket, the reverse is true less and less often.

  • Piracy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrismcdirty (677039) on Monday December 19, 2005 @05:57PM (#14294455) Homepage
    I didn't take this message as supporting piracy, so much as artists don't want to be screwed. I suppose DMB, Phish, Grateful Dead, Bela Fleck, and tons of other artists who allow live recordings to be redistributed for free among their fans also support piracy?
    • I suppose DMB, Phish, Grateful Dead, Bela Fleck, and tons of other artists who allow live recordings to be redistributed for free among their fans also support piracy?

      No they're just dirty communists!
    • Re:Piracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by secolactico (519805)
      I suppose DMB, Phish, Grateful Dead, Bela Fleck, and tons of other artists who allow live recordings to be redistributed for free among their fans also support piracy?

      If they own the right to the songs they sing and their performance, then no. If they already sold those rights off to someone else, then yes they are.

      Besides, everybody knows K.K. Slider, like most artists, has a too high opinion of himself and no record exec will touch his music with a 10 foot pole which is why he goes from town to town givi
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday December 19, 2005 @05:59PM (#14294482)
    '"Those industry fat cats try to put a price on my music, but it wants to be free," the canine bard says in a dialogue bubble at the bottom of the screen, after performing and giving away "copies" of a tune.'

    The article comments this as: "A Nintendo video game includes a character that seems to advocate an illegal form of music file-sharing."

    When was giving your OWN music away for free illegal?

    Also: 'That last insight and its implications for the young people in Professor Brown's vision of the future notwithstanding, it's a bit disorienting to find an "information wants to be free" message embedded in a video game - particularly one aimed at young children and teenagers.'

    Why? Good values should be taught in childhood. Sharing is good! Openness is good! Those are the values you want to teach children, not greed.

    The last straw: "After all, video game industry representatives, along with their brethren in the music, film and computer software industries, have long complained that this is precisely the kind of thinking that is eating away at their business models - and maybe civilization itself. "

    In other words, if you don't sell us your soul, you're going to hell! Where did we hear this already?

    The article mixes nonsensical stuff in the writeup, like: 'A user called Yams also added "Yams yams yams yams yams."'

    Seriously, who cares? The article is a mess mixed with propaganda. It reads the end of the world into probably an innocent thing.
    • by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:15PM (#14294618) Homepage Journal
      When was giving your OWN music away for free illegal?

      As soon as the RIAA can lobby for it!
    • When was giving your OWN music away for free illegal?

      Since you've signed over your profits to those industry fat cats. The RIAA's deals with music artists have a clause that prevents Microsoft from doing what it did to Spyglass: promise a percentage of the profit, and then give Internet Explorer away for free. Music artists have to follow their publisher's demands about, uh, publishing.

      Not that it's a good thing. It shouldn't be possible to sign away your "moral rights" to the music. But that's the current
      • Where does it really mention that this character signed over [his] profits to those industry fat cats?

        As far as I can tell, he never officially signed with any labels and if true, can do whatever he pleases with his music.
      • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:35PM (#14294776)
        "Not that it's a good thing. It shouldn't be possible to sign away your "moral rights" to the music. But that's the current legal situation in the US."

        I disagree with that completely. You see, in Hungary exactly such is the situation: You cannot sign away the "rights" to your music. There is also an added measure, that you cannot not ask payment for your music, which conveniently a civilian agency called Artisjus enforces after deducting a certain percentage for their "efforts", want it or not, according to the current legislation.

        That situation results in this nonsense: Let's suppose that you want to give music away for free on your homepage. Artisjus demands from you around 50 cents for each download. They then deduce around 10% of the total you payed to be able to put your own music for free on the website and make some trickery with charts etc, and in a lucky case you get around 10 cents back from Artisjus as your "profit". That is all in the name of protecting the artist using early 20th century legislation which was supposed to prevent artists being pressured into signing their rights away over music they made.

        This stupid law killed my favorite amateur music compilation which was housed on some popular hungarian IT magazine's CD back in 1998.

        Trust me, you don't want the government to protect you. In the end it will be perverted and used against you.
        • I disagree with that completely. You see, in Hungary exactly such is the situation: You cannot sign away the "rights" to your music.

          What you talk about aren't "moral rights", which is a very specific subset of traditional copyright rights. See here [intellectu...rty.gov.uk], for instance, for a UK take on the term, though it looks familiar to me in the French context as well. The moral rights are:
          • to be identified as the author of the work or director of the film in certain circumstances, e.g. when copies are issued to the public
          • to
        • Trust me, you don't want the government to protect you. In the end it will be perverted and used against you.

          Yeah, because we'd all be so much better off without all those stupid traffic laws, drug regulations and public roads.

          Okay, I understand your point, and I agree to a point. But try not to be so blinded by ideology: there are some things that government does well. It's also arguable that there's plenty more it could do, and it is not obvious that it would be a bad thing. Whether it is or not may no
          • Ah, another "-1 Overrated" mod.

            Doesn't this guy, like, have better uses for his mod points? I know when I get 'em, I usually run out too soon. In contrast, probably all this guy does with 'em is mod people down, anonymously, using the metamod-immune method.

            Ah well, I suppose we all need a hobby. Mine? It's whining.
      • It depends on what you call the "moral rights".

        In Dutch copyright law (which shouldn't be too different from most other western countries), these moral rights mostly deal with the work of art itself (i.e. the context in which it may be used, modification), reproduction rights and pretty much everything that has no influence on the artistic expressions of the work can be sold.
    • Well it shows that the rest of the world does not have a clue and has been succesfully brainwashed. What next? A woman who has sex with a man for free is charged with not being a hooker?

      This really is to weird for words. I suppose next those people who stand at the sideline of marathons with free water for the participants are going to be taken to court by SPA? People who pick up hitchhiker sued by Public Transport?

      If I create something I can do with it as I please. I know this is a radical thought but no

    • missed the point (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tsaot (859424)
      Half the point of this article is nonsense. It is written as a farce on the entire idea that the big N is promoting piracy. The fact that an artist giving away free copies of his music is illegal is ridiculous, just a ridiculous as a poster making the post of "Yams yams yams yams yams." That's why Yams's comment was included in the story, to point out the farce. If you need help with that, imagine it's Jon Stewart reading the article out loud.
    • That's a good point. As long as the song is either original or in the public domain and they didn't sign away their rights with a label, any performer can give away their own music.
    • When was giving your OWN music away for free illegal?

      Why wouldn't it be illegal ? After all, the most often heard reason for the claim that copyright infringement is bad is that it "hurts the artists", that is, lessens the potential profits to be made for licensing copyrighted works. Now, if you give away your copyrighted material for free, it directly competes with for-profit licensing of other material, and therefore has the same effect that copyright violation is claimed to have, and should consequen

  • by tktk (540564)
    From TFA : "People can read a lot into a little," Ms. Kaplan said, "but musician K.K. Slider - a guitar-playing cartoon dog - is saying only that he's a free spirit who cannot be bought and sold for any amount of money."

    Someguy on some random blog posts a screenshot of K.K. Slider saying "Those industry fat cats try to put a price on my music, but it wants to be free," and then assumes Nintendo Supports Music Piracy.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Is0m0rph (819726) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:04PM (#14294525)
    Ridiculous. The dog wants to give away HIS music for free and doesn't want it to be sold by industry fat cats and that somehow is stretched into Nintendo is promoting illegal music file sharing? I have a few albums on some record labels if I want to give them away free I'll damn well do it. It's MY music.
    • Re:Wow (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But if you give away your music how will Sony install a rootkit on other people's computers?
      • But if you give away your music how will Sony install a rootkit on other people's computers?

        By convincing a federal judge that you plagiarized your music from a work controlled by Sony.

  • Ms. Kaplan also said that K.K. wanted his music to be free in the sense of being "freed from his guitar, free from any constraints." She added, "as a dog, it's understandable that he would not want to deal with any 'fat cats.' "

    Bullsh*t... the dog specifically mentionned the industry fat cats, I don't think it can be any clearer than this that what is meant is the music industry...

    By lying, Ms. Kaplan is also chipping away at the foundations of civilization itself too, and she her car should be the tar

  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by vertinox (846076) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:19PM (#14294648)
    FTFA: After all, video game industry representatives, along with their brethren in the music, film and computer software industries, have long complained that this is precisely the kind of thinking that is eating away at their business models - and maybe civilization itself.

    You know the Romans said the same thing about their business model and their civilization. Unfortunatley, they didn't think that maybe they should actually find a new model that works instead of fighting tooth and nail to make it fit to a fast changing world that made them obsolete...

    Emperor MPAA: "Huns and visigoths be damned! I won't tolerate such barbaric behavior! They think they can just steal our wares without behaving."
    Reasonable person: "But your highness! Maybe we should make it that we offer our treasures for a reasonable price to the barbarians! Then they wouldn't steal!"
    Senator RIAA: "But they'll reverse engineer our fine artisan wares and make their own!"
    Reasonable person: "But... If we don't offer our wares at a reasonable price in the online market place the barbarians will sack our cities and steal the wares !"
    Emperor MPAA: "In that case... Summon the imperial army of lawyers we will crush them under our mighty sandals of justice...
    (Two months later)
    Emperor MPAA: "What do you mean they wiped out our army of lawyers. I thought we could sue every last person on the planet. Oh wait is that Rome burning! Oh noes the barbarians have broken down the gate! So much for that idea..."
    Pope Apple the II: "If its any consolation my organization I'll be converting them to true way over 2,000 years after you guys are collecting dust in some forgotten crypt. Maybe you guys should have listed to the Reasonable person."
    • You know the Romans said the same thing about their business model and their civilization.

      And people nowadays say the same thing about their jobs being outsourced, wanting laws passed to protect them.
      Revolutionary change is frightening to those who have something to lose; It's human nature to try and maintain the status quo in those cases.
      • There are real problems with outsourcing. It involves labor, which unlike everything else "traded" on the global market, isn't a true commodity. Different countries have different labor laws, there are barriers to the free exchange of it in the form of immigration laws, etc. It's not like ball-bearings for example.
  • by jazman_777 (44742)
    Information, not being sentient, doesn't _want_ anything. People, on the other hand, do want something--for nothing, when possible.
    • Well, information 'wants' to be free in the same way that nature 'abhors' a vacuum and temperatures 'try' to equalize; it's an expressive way of describing a phenomenon. Information is by nature easy to duplicate and difficult to destroy, especially in the digital era. Whether or not information 'should' be free is another question, really. It is true, though, that many people say the former meaning the latter.

      • Information is by nature easy to duplicate and difficult to destroy, especially in the digital era. Whether or not information 'should' be free is another question, really.

        I'd paraphrase it so that information, inherently, is free. People often want to make it less free, which in many cases can be considered a good thing. The information doesn't mind if you distribute a movie to everyone without the creators' permission, but the creators probably do mind.

        • I'd paraphrase it so that information, inherently, is free.

          Information can't be "inherently free," because freedom is just an idea, not a natural property. It's an abstract concept that people use to describe a situation in a particular way. Two people could see the same situation completely differently, because they have different ideas about freedom.

          Statements like "information should be free," or "information wants to be free," or "information is free" are meaningless because they have no context. Freedo
  • Work at NY Times. It's quite obvious their reports have a lot of goddamn time on their hands.
  • I just don't get how could they get piracy and filesharing from a guitar-playing dog that just wants people to hear his music without having to pay for it.
    This just shows how much do they want to criminalize anything they can.
    The next step: Cartoon bird sings. "This is an unapproved performance that hurts our interests!" they'll say.
  • by TychoCelchuuu (835690) on Monday December 19, 2005 @07:27PM (#14295124) Journal
    Nintendo doesn't support piracy any more than the people who make GTA support carjacking and indiscriminate violence against innocents. It's just some character in a game, not a thinly veiled message the the top corporate echelon inserted into the game to warp impressionable children.
    • by sl3xd (111641) *
      The difference is auto owners realize that GTA is a game. The ??AA and their cronies are so detatched from reality they can't see the difference.

      I don't want to know what the ??AA thinks about the idea that a person using their right of free speech to express their political/economic views, in a copyrighted, reproduced, and marketed way, is a valuable thing (in a monetary sense).

      This is exactly how pundits make their living; they excersize their free speech, people pay to hear it, and the circle of life co
      • TychoCelchuuu wrote: Nintendo doesn't support piracy any more than the people who make GTA support carjacking and indiscriminate violence against innocents.

        sl3xd wrote: The difference is auto owners realize that GTA is a game.

        How is that in any way a difference, unless you contend that Animal Crossing: Wild World players cannot distinguish fantasy from reality?

        • How is that in any way a difference, unless you contend that Animal Crossing: Wild World players cannot distinguish fantasy from reality?

          Right problem, wrong group.

          GP said it was the ??AA that can't distinguish fantasy from reality. Of course, we knew that the first time they quoted "losses to piracy" numbers.
  • by Ndkchk (893797)
    Is this supposed to be a bad thing?
    • Good question. The game or at least the Animal Crossing I'm familiar with, involves a single player virtual community. It's sad that it shocks us to see what could, possibly, be different opinions offered in a community setting. Anything out of lock step and it deserves writeup in the NYT.

      I'm not making a judgement on the right and wrong of piracy either. Breaking the law is breaking the law, but there are gray areas and abundant idiocy is rampant in IP laws. The point is that intellectual propert

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Monday December 19, 2005 @08:52PM (#14295624)
    Saying "information wants to be free", even if they actually did so, would not promote music piracy. Music is not information, it is art, and art usually does not want to be free. Price reflects quality (in an ideal world, at least), and good artists are always going to be in demand, and consequently, in money.
  • A long time ago, computer games were hip and counterculture in a lot of ways. Now they're mainstream, and now big media is controlling that media too.

    The internet seems to be the last point of free expression remaining today. How long will that last?
    • Computer games have been protected since the beginning. And bill gates has been whinging about people copying his overpriced development tools since the beginning. This is the natural order of things
  • K.K.'s Name (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 10Neon (932006) on Monday December 19, 2005 @09:46PM (#14295916)
    "The initials "K.K." themselves are the equivalent of "Inc." or "Corp." in Japan, where Nintendo is based, which suggests that the company may have wryly co-opted the digital age's equivalent of the "Steal This Book" mantra, repackaged it as a puppy and inserted it into a happy video game village. The company did not confirm that this was the genesis of the name, however."
    Since "K.K" is short for "Totakeke" It seems more reasonable to assume that he was named after Kazumi Totaka, the game's composer. ...At least, that was the GCN Animal Crossing's composer (K.K. existed there too). I have not played Wild World.
  • Quick reality check (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ahaldra (534852) on Monday December 19, 2005 @09:53PM (#14295948) Homepage
    Wait a sec - is Mr. Zeller actually saying, in his own words, that excercising your freedom to market your own artistic works is equal to murder, rape and robbery on the seven seas? And he really publishes in the NY friggin Times?
    *blinks*
    I wonder if this guy wrote the article with a straight face. And I smell cat pee.

    • Piracy is actually any attack on a civil ship or aircraft over international waters. Shooting a 767 with a stinger missile from a canoo ruddered 5 miles away from land is piracy.

      Besides, it's a huge conspiracy to cause global cooling, everybody knows that pirates are cool and global temperature is inversely proportional to the number of pirates, making millions of unsuspecting people pirates will freeze the planet down to near absolute zero.
  • At least it is becoming more clear who the good guys are in the Sony vs Nintendo vs Microsoft battle. (Hint: Its not Sony or Microsoft).

    Vote with your dollars.

  • I suppose sites like purevolume support music piracy then?

    what a load of BS
  • I haven't played the game, but it seems that the dog is talking about giving away his own music. The RIAA hasn't patented "musical composition" yet (that patent belongs to someone else, actually), so I don't see how this is any sort of IP infringement.
  • Conflicting theory: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rohlfinator (888775) on Monday December 19, 2005 @11:42PM (#14296387)
    "It's also just good marketing, and K.K. is, after all, the offspring of a huge gaming juggernaut, developed behind layers of boardrooms and P.R. machines and demographic analyses. The initials "K.K." themselves are the equivalent of "Inc." or "Corp." in Japan, where Nintendo is based, which suggests that the company may have wryly co-opted the digital age's equivalent of the "Steal This Book" mantra, repackaged it as a puppy and inserted it into a happy video game village."
    From what I understand, the initials K.K. were derived from the Japanese name of the character, Totokeke. It has also been suggested that they were a reference to Koji Kondo, a well-known composer at Nintendo and author of the Mario and Zelda themes. In fact, one of K.K.'s "secret tracks", K.K. Song, is believed to be a song composed by Koji Kondo, which was featured only as a hidden track in a few other games. Nobody even hinted at this corporation theory a few years ago, when the original Animal Crossing was released.

    Also, even though K.K. is apparently supporting piracy, there's no in-game way for players to duplicate K.K. Slider's "airchecks" and share them with other players. Nor is there any indication that these "bootlegs" are pirated copies of published work. His songs are, for all intents and purposes, bound to their distribution media. Some people are reading way too much into this. ;P
  • by RyoShin (610051) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [orakut]> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @01:43AM (#14296806) Homepage Journal
    Considering the backlash Nintendo's had on the ROM scene, I doubt you could call them supportors of anything illegal, even if they don't lose profit from it.

    However, I wish they would make something that inadvertently allowed music piracy. Like allowing voice clips to be sent over NiFi to other users to be saved for other times.

    Suppose they made some music game. You could play the piano using the touchpad on the DS. Someone decides to do a bit of the latest Nickelback/Britney Spears/$RIAA_GLAMOR_WHORE song (say, a minute or so,) and sends it to a friend to show off his or her skills. Said friend likes it so much that it is then sent to even more friends. Because the snippet shows the original author, the RIAA is able to track down the person who originally made the snippet.

    Not only do they sue the person who made the snippet, but they go after Nintendo for a 'piracy distribution service'. Despite Nintendo's tied-for-second-but-somewhat-third place in the console race in America (and second place in Japan,) they have a rather large pile of cash to lean back on, thanks in part to the success that is Gameboy.

    If this happened, I think it would be a turning point. Nintendo has the money and clout to defend themselves against the Princes of the Sixth Circle of Hell, and would do so, even if only to keep from having a black mark on any of their games or systems. Plus, looking at Slashdot as a whole, Nintendo is the "company to love" for video games (where the XBox is made by "M$", and Sony hates our ownership rights,) so the /. crowd, seeing their good steed battle the bad one, would rise up behind Nintendo, causing some sort of internet backwave that would eventually lead to either the downfall of the RIAA or a drastic change in their business model.

    Of course, I've been taking some pain medication, and now I may just be fantasizing.
  • I seem to remember Totakeke (K.K. Slider) talking about this stuff in the Gamecube version, which was released three years ago.
    Why wasn't it an issue then?

    Conclusion: slow news day. Article = flamebait.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

Working...