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Archive for August, 2004

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Friday, August 13th, 2004

Downhill Battle Labs

Our software development group makes free, open-source software for online organizing and strategic filesharing. We’re just getting started but we have a talented lead developer and focused projects that will have an impact. Programmers wanted.

Outreach Tools

The Sandbox

Downhill Battle banners, buttons, and graphics for your website.

Radio PSAs

Public service announcements about the music industry and music activism– get ’em on the air.


Postal Department

Stickers, t-shirts, stencils, buttons, and bumperstickers to spread the word and look good.


Friday, August 13th, 2004

Who’s getting the job done

Activists and Non-Profits

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
ACLU for the internet. Canada has CIPIC.

Public Knowledge
Tech policy public interest group.

Free Press
The number one force in media reform.

Click the Vote
Electoral activism for P2P.

Prometheus Radio Project
Tireless low power radio (LPFM) advocates.

Copyright and Culture

Creative Commons
Using copyright to change copyright.

Student movement for free culture.

Illegal Art
Repository of artwork outlawed by copyright.

Absolute best copyright news / analysis.

Lawrence Lessig
Leading public intellectual for free culture.

Jessica Litman
Copyright intellectual and activist.

Key Technologies

Anonymous filesharing, free

Dynamic websites for activists + NGOs.

Community Wireless Networks
A clear guide to
public WiFi.

RIAA Radar
Tells you what music not to pay for.

Distributed web-based p2p.

Torrent sites
What to do with Bittorrent

Torrents+RSS+Myth= Democratized TV.

Tags your mp3s, builds public metadata.

Music Projects and Organizations

Future of Music Coalition
Music policy coalition-builders.

Moses Avalon
Music industry gadfly and educator.

CD Baby
Innovative online CD / digital distribution.

Music for America
Politicizing young people through music.

The Pho List
A debate forum for digital music issues.

Finding New Music

Independent music reviews.

Dusted Magazine
More music reviews.

Gold standard of label-run music stores.

Smarter than A&R, uses Creative Commons.

Like the late mp3.com, but better.

Punk / hardcore band space and mp3 host.

Sharing Music

Leading P2P news site.

Another P2P news site.

Filesharing news & software portal.

Great open-source Windows filesharing.

Flawless Mac p2p app. Also see Poisoned.

p2p radio: free and fully authorized.

Best p2p for indy music (mac version).

Flash music player and mp3 search spot.


Project Gallery

Friday, August 13th, 2004


Project Gallery

Grey Tuesday

When the copyright cartel attacked the Grey Album (a critically acclaimed unauthorized remix), we organized “Grey Tuesday.” For 24 hours, over 170 sites made the album available in protest, defying legal threats. Also see our more recent, 3 Notes and Runnin’ project.


Interviews Section

Friday, August 13th, 2004



‘title’ => ”,
‘link’ => ”,
‘body’ => ”,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ”, ‘alt’ => ”)

Make sure that the text doesn’t have any apostrophes “‘” in it or all hell wll break loose!
Use ' instead since it’s proper XML anyway; or escape them with \’.
$interviews[‘M.I.A.’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘July 20, 2005 ‘,
‘title’ => ‘M.I.A.’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/mia.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"You know‚ I get to stick my fingers up at every single person in the music industry and go — pssht, I didn‘t need your fucking play on the radio so fuck you and no‚ I‘m not going to edit Sunshowers."’,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/mia.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘DJ Neil Armstrong’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘April 17, 2004 ‘,
‘title’ => ‘DJ Neil Armstrong, 5th Platoon’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/neil_armstrong.php’,
‘body’ => ‘”When I made the tapes I made, besides hoping that they would be an enjoyable listen, I was hoping that they would be educational.’,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/neil_armstrong.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)

$interviews[‘TV On the Radio’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘May 12th, 2004’,
‘title’ => ‘TV On the Radio’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/tvotr.php’,
‘body’ => ‘”Before CD-Rs and file sharing, think of how many mix tapes you made that no one is ever going to see a dollar on.”‘,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/tvotr.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)

$interviews[‘Emm Gryner’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘January 24, 2003’,
‘title’ => ‘Emm Gryner, Dead Daisy’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/emm_gryner.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"There‘s been such a spread between what the record companies are trying to do and what artists are trying to do. I‘m sure those goals were aligned originally, but now they aren‘t and it was bound to implode."’,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘../interviews/165×126/emm.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘Ian MacKaye’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘January 20, 2003’,
‘title’ => ‘Ian MacKaye, Fugazi / Dischord’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/ian_mackaye.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"When people who are songwriters say 'That's my property and if you give it away for free then I'll lose my incentive,' then, well, good riddance."’,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/ian.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘Mirah’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘January 16, 2003’,
‘title’ => ‘Mirah’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/mirah.php’,
‘body’ => ‘Mirah is a singer-songwriter extraordinaire, and she is part of the K Records family– a great example of how a record label should work.’,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/mirah.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘Robb Nansel’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘December 17, 2003’,
‘title’ => ‘Robb Nansel, Saddle Creek’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/robb_nansel.php’,
‘body’ => ‘Saddle Creek Records is one of the most artistically important record labels in the country. Rob Nansel talks about their relationship to fame and corporate media.’,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/robb.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘Greg Ross’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘November 6, 2003’,
‘title’ => ‘Greg Ross, Go-Kart Records’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/gokart.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"I was sick of the perception that the RIAA represented the opinion of all record labels, and I didn't want to be lumped in with the ones they do."‘,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/gokart.gif’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘Sage Francis’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘February 8, 2004’,
‘title’ => ‘Sage Francis’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/sage_francis.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"My main gripe with Clear Channel is that they are homogenizing the music scene of America… It is not acceptable that ONE company owns so many media outlets."‘,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/sage.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘DJ Quixotic’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘March 23, 2004’,
‘title’ => ‘DJ Quixotic, Trooperz’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/quixotic.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"I don't see why people can't treat what we do on the turntables the same way they treat a band covering another band's songs for an album…"‘,
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/quixotic.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)
$interviews[‘Thievery Corporation’] = array(
‘date’ => ‘April 2, 2004’,
‘title’ => ‘Thievery Corporation’,
‘link’ => ‘interviews/thievery_corporation.php’,
‘body’ => ‘"I mean, we look back at some of the opportunities we had to sign to majors, and our career would probably be over now if we did."
‘image’ => array(‘src’ => ‘interviews/165×126/thievery.jpg’, ‘alt’ => ”)

// Random interview code
// – For random interviews,
// uncomment the next 2 lines and comment the line before the foreach

$intKeys = array_keys($interviews);
$thisInt = $intKeys[rand(0, count($interviews)-1)];

// Featured interview code
// – To feature a particular interview,
// uncomment the following single line of code and
// set $thisInt to the name of the interview, for example:
// $thisInt = ‘Ian MacKaye’;

foreach ($interviews as $key => $interview) {

” alt=”” />

Main Content

Friday, August 13th, 2004

Flyer in Your City

Help build our street presence. Download flyers and hit streets and concerts in your area.

Sticker CDs

The major labels and the RIAA knew they’d be revealed on the internet. They didn’t know we’d take the fight into record stores. See the photos and get stickers.

Tell 20,000 People

Most people don’t know what to think about music sharing. Write a letter to the editor and help shift the debate– it takes about 2 mins.
First, enter your zip code:

Flyer at Concerts

Sign up to flyer concerts and events in your area and get free DB stickers. Check out our targetted shows.


Downhill Battle Store

Check out our t-shirts, stickers, and more goodness. Go to the store >>


Friday, August 13th, 2004

Crucial Readings


The Reasons

Why is it so important to break the major label monopoly? These are the reasons.

Rescuing Music Diversity

The drop in major label record sales isn’t the cause of homogenization in mainstream music, it’s the solution.

Civil Disobedience p2p

For decades, the major labels manipulated musicians and fans. Now millions of people refuse to support a corrupt industry.

Sony’s Porn Hypocrisy

An attempt to smear p2p.

Press Release: Grey Tuesday

Announcing the protest.

2004 1st Quarter Report

Fighting music censorship.

2003 4th Quarter Report

A fast start for DHB.


The Problem with Music

Rock superproducer Steve Albini explains exploitative major label record contracts.

Share the Music

Kembrew Mcleod’s NYTimes op-ed explains legalized filesharing with a flat-fee collective licensing system.

A Better Way Forward

A simple, practical way to compensate musicians and record labels for music sharing. Everyone should read this.

Micropayments Don’t Work

99 cents per song won’t last.

Free Culture

How copyright is stiffling culture.

Creative Commons Video

Creativity builds on the past.

The Tyranny of Copyright?

A movement to reform copyright.



Friday, August 13th, 2004

As we’ve noted on SP2Torrent.com, Microsoft has sent takedown notices to stop us from distributing their service pack. At this point I think we’ve made a pretty good case for the helpful role p2p can play in distributing major software releases, and so, for the moment, we’ve taken down the BitTorrent links. The site has been a huge success in demonstrating p2p technology– we’ve had over 100,000 visitors in the past few days and some good press coverage. The site has also helped us attract some excellent programming talent for our Battle Torrent project and development is well underway. When that thing is done, it’s going to be hot.

We’ve also been hearing positive rumors about the likely demise of the INDUCE Act, the bill that would essentially ban filesharing and also put many other technologies at risk. A huge thanks to everyone who’s taken a moment to fax their Senators, and if you haven’t yet, you should— this isn’t over yet.

All these technology games and legislation can get a little tedious at times, and for you die-hard fans and musicians out there, don’t worry, we’re still absolutely focused on what this is ultimately about: building a better, fairer music industry, and a decentralized, participatory culture. Right now technology is changing the landscape quickly and it’s crucial that we stay involved with that side of things. But this fall we’re going to be gearing up for some serious outreach to independent radio stations, at concerts, and on college campuses. As major corporations lose control of music, it’s ultimately up to all of us to decide where things are headed. The decentralization that’s still happening is amazing– and it means that each individual suddenly has a level of direct influence that never existed before. And that means that reaching out to people in your town or city actually matters. (So why not flyer at a concert this weekend?)

Summer Fundraiser

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

Today we’re starting a one-week summer fundraiser to keep Downhill Battle alive. If you like what we do here, we could really, really use your help right now to keep things rolling. In the past 11 months, Downhill Battle has gone from being a hobby of a couple people to being the near full-time focus of 4 of us. We’ve had a lot of success so far, and we have a lot more planned for the next few months, but we completely rely on contributions from supporters to make this happen. If you can manage a donation, you can use the box above to send one with a credit card or paypal account– it makes a big difference to our ability to continue and we are good at making every dollar we get go far. Thanks.

SP2Torrent.com Coverage

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

SP2Torrent.com got a big boost yesterday with a mention on slashdot. This morning BBC News ran this article and CNet has also contacted us about a story that they’re working on.

Windows SP2 on Bittorrent

Monday, August 9th, 2004

Today Microsoft released Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. Everybody wants it, but even Microsoft itself is limiting downloads to 2.5 million a day. So here’s another attempt at demonstrating–to Congress, the press, and the public at large–the usefulness of p2p networks for providing a public service. You can download SP2 via bittorrent here:


We’re using bittorrent to distribute the file that nearly every computer user in the world wants. The faster this gets out, the more secure everyones’ computers will be. Like p2pcongress.org (see the previous post below) this project shows how filesharing technlogy gives people without budgets or huge server space the power to solve problems themselves, without waiting for the government or some corporation to do it for them. Demonstrations like these are vitally necessary, since Congress is just now considering legislation that would make p2p networks (and many other innovations) illegal– before they even come into their own.

Of course, our primary interest at Downhill Battle is in how we can use technology like this as a tool to change our music culture. But because an intense lobbying effort by the RIAA has completely blinded most legislators (and much of the press) to the immense public value of p2p networks as a music library (bigger than any ever built), we need to get out ahead of the lobbyists and demonstrate the usefulness of p2p in areas not yet covered by the RIAA’s propaganda blitz.

And since we’re fervent advocates of open source software around here, sp2torrent.com wouldn’t be complete without a link to Knoppix, the zero-commitment linux live CD. Download it today.