Majority of Americans Oppose Music Industry Lawsuits Against Internet Music Downloaders, Says New FindLaw Survey

A majority of Americans say the music industry should not sue people who illegally download music off the Internet, according to a new poll by the legal Web site FindLaw. Still, legal experts say the industry’s suits have legal merit and urge consumers to be aware of copyright laws and their legal rights before downloading from any Web site.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the major recording companies, filed copyright infringement suits last week against 482 people in St. Louis, Denver, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., who allegedly downloaded music illegally from the Internet. Since last September, more than 3,400 people have been sued by the recording industry for damages of up to half a million dollars each. At least 600 of those cases have been settled for approximately $3,000 each. None of the cases has yet gone to trial.

According to the national survey by FindLaw, 56 percent of American adults oppose the lawsuits. Thirty-seven percent support the industry’s legal actions. Seven percent of those surveyed had no opinion. One thousand adults were surveyed, with results accurate plus or minus three percent.

“Although the RIAA’s lawsuits are unsettling to many, they are based upon sound law because it is a clear violation of copyright law to make a verbatim copy of a protected sound recording,” says Prof. Sharon Sandeen, who teaches intellectual property law at the Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn. “The underlying public policy at work is the notion that without copyright laws, musical artists would be less inclined to create music and, as a result, there would be fewer sound recordings. So the individuals who complain about the lawsuits should ask themselves: ‘Would I rather live in a world with freely distributed but less music, or pay for the music I enjoy so that there will be more of it?'”

“I suspect that many people, when educated about the purpose of copyright law, support the law,” Sandeen continued. “Public opposition to the lawsuits may be due, in part, to what some people consider hard-handed tactics by the RIAA.”

The survey found that opposition to music industry lawsuits was much higher among younger people. Nearly two-thirds of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said the music industry should not sue people who illegally download music. Many of the people who have been sued are college or high school students and their parents. The RIAA has been pressuring colleges and universities to limit students’ ability to download large files through campus computer networks. Opposition to the lawsuits was also higher among people with lower incomes.

Legal actions to combat illegal music downloading may increase. Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently introduced legislation that would allow artists to sue the makers of file-sharing software used to illegally download music.

“In the end, there is no such thing as cost-free music downloading,” says Professor Marci Hamilton at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “The freewheeling early years of the Internet led adults and teenagers alike to believe that whatever came across their computer screen could be and ought to be downloaded cost-free. In many ways, downloading is like shoplifting: an exciting and slightly risky diversion, a seemingly petty vice in an otherwise law-abiding life. But like shoplifting, illegal music downloading violates the law and exacts a cost on society.”

Consumers concerned about their rights can find the latest music industry lawsuits, copyright laws, analysis by legal experts and a searchable directory on lawyers specializing in the Internet and copyright law at a special section of FindLaw, the leading legal Web site.

FindLaw Web Site

TerraTec Delivers Aureon 5.1 Surround Audio USB Interface for PCs and Laptops

Creative Labs has had the market for 5.1 surround audio add-ons for Windows computers to itself for a while now, with its Audigy 2 series of cards and interfaces. No longer: rival developer TerraTec has come up with a competing product that will be especially appealing to laptop users.

TerraTec‘s new Aureon 5.1 USB audio interface will be available early in September. According to TerraTec, the Aureon 5.1 USB doesn’t require complicated installation or configuration – no special drivers or separate power supply: just plug the compact device into a USB port on your PC, and you’re ready to go with multichannel audio.

The Aureon supports “genuine” surround sound over 5.1 channels (with 6 analog outputs and 2 inputs). It has gold-plated connections, digital inputs/outputs, as well as a microphone input and headphones output. This little sound machine also offers everything else you expect from a good audio card. For pure listening pleasure, particularly for your DVD software, current standards such as Dolby Digital, AC3, DTS and Dolby Pro-Logic II are supported (but not built in).

TerraTec bundles the Aureon 5.1 USB with a couple of useful software packages. Remix your MP3 and audio CD collection like a professional DJ with Native Instruments Traktor DJ, and convert your PC into a genuine home theater with InterVideo WinDVD.

Key Features

  • 6 analog outputs (cinch)
  • 2 analog inputs (cinch)
  • Combination microphone / optical digital input
  • Combination headphone / optical digital output
  • 16 bit/48 kHz signal processing of the analog and digital inputs and outputs
  • USB 1.1 port Plug&Play support without driver installation

TerraTec Web Site

Dolby Labs Offers Free Downloadable Guide to 5.1 Surround Music Production Techniques

Three years after the launch of the new multichannel music delivery formats, many artists, engineers, and producers are still looking for fundamental information on how to best mix and manage music in the multichannel environment.

To assist the professional music production community with the transition to surround, Dolby Laboratories has authored a primer detailing best practices for this rapidly-developing market.

Dolby 5.1-Channel Music Production Guidelines is available immediately as a free PDF download from the Dolby Laboratories Web site. Dolby says its guide is the first such document to clearly present a technical blueprint for creating music in 5.1 channels.

The free publication covers a range of topics such as:

  • proper equipment and speaker placement
  • calibration for proper monitoring
  • metadata planning and implementation
  • program interchange guidelines
  • explanation of new terminology associated with 5.1-channel production

Of particular interest to mix engineers approaching surround mixdown for the first time, the Dolby publication also provides accurate information that dispels myths concerning both center-channel and LFE-channel usage.

Mix and mastering data sheet templates for 5.1-channel projects are also included.

“This document gives a well-rounded technical overview for those producing music for 5.1-channel delivery to consumers,” comments John Kellogg, General Manager for Multichannel Music, Dolby Laboratories.

“Dolby will update it regularly as new and better techniques for creating surround music mixes evolve.”

Dolby Labs Web Site

MartinLogan Announces Mosaic Floor Standing Main/Surround Hybrid Electrostatic Loudspeaker

Electrostatic loudspeaker technology company MartinLogan® has announced the introduction of its compact new Mosaic™ floor standing loudspeaker.

The new model offers key MartinLogan technology and features, including ATF (advanced thin film) transducers, ultimate crossover design, high-excursion, high-resolution woofers, curvilinear wood cabinetry, and dipole radiation, in a small package (40 inches tall) and at an affordable price. The Mosaic falls at the low-cost end of the MartinLogan product spectrum, available immediately at a retail price of $1,995 per pair (US).

The Mosaic is designed for use as a stereo main loudspeaker, home theater main or effects channel speaker, in a wide range of room sizes and configurations. Compact and décor-friendly, the Mosaic is supplied with tool-less binding posts for effortless cable attachment and management.

In addition to ATF transducer technology, MartinLogan’s design team developed the Mosaic utilizing a new woofer and cabinet based on the MartinLogan Clarity loudspeaker (released January 2003).

ATF™ (Advanced Thin Film) Transducers Provide Clarity, Detail and Resolution

In order to achieve the rigorous MartinLogan standards for detail, clarity and resolution, and yet permit a compact cabinet, high-resolution ATF transducers became the first building block for the new Mosaic.

The MartinLogan ATF transducer consists of a micro-thin, low mass diaphragm with an ultra-light, etched conductive aluminum surface suspended between two high field strength neodymium super magnet arrays. When an electrical current (music signal) passes through the etched aluminum on the diaphragm’s surface it is simultaneously pulled towards one of the neodymium arrays and pushed away from the opposing. When the direction of current is reversed the diaphragm is simultaneously pushed and pulled in the opposite direction, thus producing sound. This concept is called push-pull, and is a major contributor to the linearity and sonic superiority of both ATF and electrostatic MartinLogan thin film transducers.

ATF diaphragms are constructed of extremely low mass Dupont Kaladex® PEN (polyethylene naphthalate), a material chemically similar to the low-mass PET (polyethylene terathylate) film used in MartinLogan’s generation 2 electrostatic transducers, yet capable of handling the high thermal requirements needed for stable magnetic thin film operation. Full surface drive capabilities allow this durable, low mass diaphragm to remain discretely sized, yet achieve extremely low-distortion levels with superior resolution.

Mosaic Shares Key Technologies from MartinLogan Ultimate Speaker Models

Mosaic’s state-of-the-art, 8-inch, high-resolution woofer uses the same motor, cone and chassis structure as the innovative Clarity loudspeaker to deliver a precise low-end with accuracy and authority.

Mosaic’s state-of-the-art Vojtko™ crossover is designed and manufactured with the same meticulous attention, care and precision as those found in MartinLogan’s ultimate loudspeaker products.

Mosaic’s cabinet consists of multiple laminates sonically welded for extreme rigidity. This acoustically inert curvilinear wood cabinet, provides not only audiophile grade high-performance, but also enhances visual integration with any home environment. It is available in three distinctive cabinet finishes (natural cherry, dark mahogany and black).

Dipole Design For A Realistic, Open Sound Stage

The audio industry has long recognized that late arrival reflective information significantly enhances the ambient nature of sound reproduction. This ambient reflective information dramatically contributes to a realistic, “you are there” listening experience. MartinLogan’s dipole radiation pattern (radiating out of phase information from both the front and back) ideally interacts with your listening environment to create this realistic sound stage. We have contoured Mosaic’s radiation pattern to emulate the same dipole characteristics as our world standard setting electrostatic technology, resulting in the same outstanding sound staging and 3-dimensionality.

MartinLogan Web Site

Also see: MartinLogan Grotto Subwoofer

Key Features And Benefits

  • ATF Transducers: efficient output with detail, clarity and resolution
  • Bass Reflex Aluminum Woofer: delivers an extended, accurate low-end
  • Cabinet Finish Options: Mosaic matches any decor
  • Dipole Radiation: outstanding sound staging and 3-dimensionality


Frequency response: 46-20,000 Hz, +- 3 dB
Sensitivity: 90 dB/2.83 volts/meter
Impedance: 5 ohms
Crossover Frequency:
450 Hz, 3200 Hz
Components: Air core coils, metal film and low dissipation electrolytic capacitors
High-frequency driver: 1.5″ x 2.25″ (3.8cm x 5.7cm) ATF Transducer
Mid-range driver: 1.5″ x 6″ (3.8cm x 15.2cm) ATF Transducer
Bass drivers: 8″ (20.3cm) high excursion, high rigidity aluminum cone with extended throw drive assembly, non-resonance asymmetrical chamber format; bass reflex
Power Handling: 175 watts/channel
Weight: 30 lbs. each (13.6 kg)
Size (without bracket): 9.44″ W × 11.69″ D × 40″ H (24cm W × 29.7cm D × 102cm H)

New AKM Chip Simplifies Programming and Support for Consumer and Professional Audio Systems

Chipmaker Asahi Kasei Microsystems Semiconductor (AKM) has introduced the AK4122, a 2-channel, 96 kHz asynchronous sample rate converter with a built-in Digital Audio Interface (S/PDIF Receiver).

The new chip is destined for DVD, car Audio/Video, digital TV, and PC audio applications. It provides a combination of standard audio input ports, plus a digital audio interface for DVD recorders and other audio/video equipment.

The AK4122 asynchronous sample rate converter can accept digital audio via standard DSP/I2S interfaces or S/PDIF or AES/EBU interfaces. The integration of the AES/EBU interface saves circuit board space and reduces system cost.

The AES/EBU section of the AK4122 offers the same high performance as the currently-marketed AK4112B, 96kHz 24-Bit DIR including a four-input (4:1) Selector. The AK4122 can also detect non-PCM data streams like DTS and AC-3, while a CD Q subcode buffer allows the chip to easily read CD data.

The AK4122’s built-in PLL eliminates the need to provide an external master clock, and the SRC section provides two audio input ports and one output port.

Price and Availability

Engineering samples of the AK4122 are available now, in an extremely small 48-pin LQFP package. The part is priced at $4.21 in 1K quantities. Evaluation boards and samples are available directly from AKM