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$5 Per Month Fee Proposed For Legal Music P2P 528

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-nice-to-have-somebody-do-my-budget-for-me dept.
sneakyimp writes "Both Wired and Ars Technica have reports on Jim Griffin's proposal that ISPs charge each broadband customer $5 per month to subsidize the ailing music industry. The resulting fund would ostensibly 'compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels.' Although no specific version of the proposal has been referenced, a number of controversies are inherent to the plan: How is the money really divided? What happens when the MPAA, the Business Software Alliance, and various other industry groups want their own surcharge added? What about the supposed majority of broadband customers who never download illegal music? Griffin discussed the plan further at SXSW . We've previously discussed a similar proposal from the Songwriters Association of Canada.
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$5 Per Month Fee Proposed For Legal Music P2P

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  • Stupid. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by n6kuy (172098) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:00PM (#22746498)
    Presumes you're a criminal otherwise.
    And by paying it, you admit it.
    • Re:Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omeomi (675045) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:08PM (#22746588) Homepage
      They've pulled this BS before. It's why there's a surcharge on "Music" CDRs. It's not actually legalizing it, it's just their way getting more money. And any time you see a list regarding compensation in this order: "songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels", you know for sure it's exactly the other way around. Music labels will take almost all of the money, then the publishers, then the performers, and last but not least, the songwriters.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Music labels will take almost all of the money, then the publishers, then the performers, and last but not least, the songwriters.
        In this case I think it's safe to say "last AND least".
        • Re:Stupid. (Score:5, Informative)

          by RodgerDodger (575834) on Friday March 14, 2008 @12:36AM (#22748058)
          No the performers tend to be screwed more than the songwriters (with the exception of the celebrity performers like Britney).

          In a typical band, for example, the songwriter would get a lot more than the rest.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by loganrapp (975327)
            Because, they, y'know, write the music.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Of course, one could always wonder if Bob Dylan would have been so famous had he been the only performer of his songs. When a majority of the music that you write is 'known' as works by other performers (Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, etc) you have to admit that there is more than a minor amount of credit due the performer.

              Though in contrast, most historical works are known by the writer (Mozart, Bach, etc)

              Perhaps the only thing that changed now is how we are introduced to the music. Before recorded sound, the
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Joce640k (829181)
            I don't think there a fair way to divide up the money.

            I download mostly obscure/old music. I'd hate to think that Britney was getting my money instead of the actual performers.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by maxume (22995)
            I don't think Britney's celebrity status has a whole lot to do with how much she gets screwed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by icebike (68054)
        > It's why there's a surcharge on "Music" CDRs. It's not actually legalizing it, it's just their way getting more money.

        It is my understanding that the surcharge DID legalize duplicating music CDs in Canada.

        But you are right of course, its just a money grab.
        • by inTheLoo (1255256) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:00PM (#22747042) Journal

          You say that as if duplicating your CDs was ever against the law, here or in Canada. Copyright is supposed to be a civil matter between private parties about the right to commercially publish works. Applying that to personal coppies has always been a stretch.

          I recall some controversy about artists never got their cut of the digital media tax, not even RIAA signed artists, and it hurt local artists [www.cbc.ca]. Looks like it never got better [slashdot.org].

          I expect ISP fees to be exactly like that. In effect, they will outlaw what's already allowed and steer yet more money to an industry that has long ago ceased to perform a useful function.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13, 2008 @11:09PM (#22747528)
            Let p2p run rampant. Don't sue anybody. Then watch and see if the music/movie industries up and die. If they do, then consider whether or not legislation is needed to revivify them. If they do not die, then admit that the legislation was never needed in the first place, and just don't bother with it.

            Personally, I am tired of this zero-evidence notion that file sharing will kill the industry. Every time we have heard this line in the past (for video cassettes, cassette tapes, CD-R, etc.), it has been proven false. Let's try it and find out. Once the real evidence is in, then I will be interested in discussing responses.
             
            • by poopdeville (841677) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @11:19PM (#22747610)
              Let p2p run rampant. Don't sue anybody. Then watch and see if the music/movie industries up and die. If they do, then consider whether or not legislation is needed to revivify them. If they do not die, then admit that the legislation was never needed in the first place, and just don't bother with it.

              They won't. This was the biggest year for the MPAA ever.
        • by symbolset (646467) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:39PM (#22747302) Journal

          RIAA wants the government to mandate payments to them from essentially everybody?

          That would be like insurance companies wanting auto insurance to be mandatory.

          Or hospitals being in favor of mandatory medical insurance.

          Or Microsoft insisting on Windows installed on every PC

          Or sports teams wanting every citizen to subsidize their business.

          or... wait... what were we talking about again?

          • Or sports teams wanting every citizen to subsidize their business.

            Oh, I hate this one. Also, the others.

            They really get the communities riled up every few years, "we need a new stadium or we'll move." "if you build us this new stadium, and give us some free money, we'll move to your town instead of that other town. That sounds like a deal, right?"

            Argh. And the stupid city management keeps building them the damn stadiums, instead of saying, "look, we'll help you find a site for it, but you're on your own

            • by budgenator (254554) on Friday March 14, 2008 @07:10AM (#22749422) Journal
              If the team moves so far away that the local fans can't support it, that just opens up an opportunity for someone to start a new team.
              except the team needs other teams to play and the leagues survive on artificial scarcity of teams and the teams often have trouble obtaining the services of talented players. Our city is Hockey town, we are the permanent home of the International Silver Stick hockey tournament, 65,000 players and coaches participate in the international amature hockey tournament. I doubt there is more than a handfull of NHL hockey players who haven't played hockey in Port Huron, we'll probably loose our third minor-league Hockey team real soon.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Keith_Beef (166050)

            I don't believe the RIAA "broadband tax" is comparable to the other mechanisms you mention.

            • insurance companies wanting auto insurance to be mandatory

            Auto insurance of some kind is usually mandatory, in order to protect the victims of accidents.

            • hospitals being in favor of mandatory medical insurance

            In many parts of the world, the government runs or requires citizens to have medical insurance coverage. Managing the health of the country's citizens can be compared to managing the education of those s

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by symbolset (646467)

              The ultimate in marketing is to make your product compulsory.

              All of the examples given and the subject of the fine article are about making products compulsory, therefore they are all related in this way.

              There is no reason why a free citizen should be compelled to purchase the product of a private company in order to get or do some unrelated thing. It's just wrong. If I were to propose some constitutional amendments, one of them would prohibit this.

              If auto insurance and health insurance are that import

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        and last but not least, the songwriters.
        Surely you mean 'last and also least'
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        And I thought the Mafia's "protection" money was a sweet deal. Now we don't even get to be protected for our dime. Maybe the SCO should add this to their business model...
      • by big_paul76 (1123489) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:52PM (#22747394)
        How about this: First of all, I don't think this is "fair" in any sense, but to end all the copyright nonsense these days I'd be willing to entertain this.

        First of all, let's get a reasonable amount. Like, say, 25 cents a month. Maybe as much as a buck. The BSA and the MPAA can have the same. So can anybody else who feels their Imaginary Property rights are being violated. But in exchange, two conditions:
        1) they accept that they can never again object to any form of private, non-commercial copyright infringement in any way, shape, or form, in any jurisdiction this side of the outer rings of Jupiter.

        (2)that they are expressly prohibited from producing, distributing, or employing any form of DRM technology in any way shape or form, in any jurisdiction.

        Violation of either of these two conditions will result in them having to repay the amount of money they have received from this "statutory license" (or whatever we decide to call it) X 100.

        Let me repeat myself. I don't think this is 'fair', but politics, like life, is compromise. I don't think the RIAA deserves this money any more than a mobster "deserves" his protection money. But to be 100% sure that we'd never again have a single case of grandmother being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars over a dozen top 40 tracks that'll be forgotten in 10 years, and be able to back up my box set of "Band of Brothers" that I paid $150 for, it'd be worth it.

        But not at $5/month. I haven't averaged spending $5/month on CDs since about 1993.
        • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @11:19PM (#22747612)

          An excellent idea. But let's add opt-in to it. Not everyone pays the protection money automatically - only those who want it. If you don't pay then you aren't covered. Like...insurance, maybe. If you don't download music you don't need it. Just like if you don't drive a car, you don't need car insurance. If you do, then you buy in.

          • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Friday March 14, 2008 @02:41AM (#22748578)
            Unfortunately, paying the $5 fee won't protect you from legal threats. It'll be there to 'compensate the labels for their losses from piracy'. I.E. you and I end up paying for the exec's hookers and blow, and get nothing back for it whether we download infringing music or not. Just like the blank media taxes, or the zune fee.

            The idea of us paying something voluntarily, and getting something in fair exchange from the music labels? Completely alien to them, no matter how many reasonable ways we come up with.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jason Levine (196982)
            I first thought that an opt-in model along with protections against copyright infringement lawsuits would help repair an otherwise stupid idea, but then I realized: The RIAA members aren't the entire recording industry. There are lots of artists out there who are members of indie labels or self publish. Let's say I sign up for this Hypothetical Blanket License To Copy and then download some Marina V [amiestreet.com] songs illegally from a P2P network (i.e. without properly paying for them). She's not part of a major lab
      • who gets the money? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by afxgrin (208686)
        Another problem is determining which song writers/performers/publishers/labels should get the money to begin with. Do they pay people more who get their music pirated more? Do they pay people as a ratio of radio air time? Do they just evenly distribute the money? Like - if that's the case - I'm going to start putting random samples into a synth that just chops them up and spits them out, use every computer controlled sequencing feature, and then demand my fuckin' cut.
    • Right, but the simple idea of doing this presumes that the ISPs would go along. I think that if the cost of internet went up by much my Mother would cancel her ISP and do without. Add to that people who cancel because it is offensive, and then multiply each by thousands, and you have ISPs loosing tons of money.

      This just isn't a political reality.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So now they expect us to buy our freedom and pay off the bullies. Seems like a terrible plan to me. How about they produce music worth paying for, and I'll cough up the $5 on my own accord.
    • Re:Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dbIII (701233) on Friday March 14, 2008 @12:08AM (#22747884)
      I presume all media companies are criminal tax evaders and should pay $5 of the tax bill of each citizen to even things out.

      They certainly get a lot of representation without taxation, for example the blockbuster movie "Forest Gump" made a loss as far as the IRS was told.

  • ISPs sell different broadband packages, why not have a media package?

    normal price +$5 for music downloads
    maybe +$20 for tv & movies?

    Its definitely a step in the right direction.
  • Distribution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EEPROMS (889169) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:01PM (#22746520)
    Or the record industry could stop living in the past and have modern cost effective (fair) distribution model that makes sense to modern internet users.
  • by Dice (109560) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:03PM (#22746538)
    So, if I'm charged this $5/mo fee does that mean they can no longer prosecute me if I download music? Or are they going to do that as well?

    Now, if we were talking about a $5/mo (or even $10/mo) fee to be able to download and listen to, burn, copy, whatever as much high quality DRM-free music as I want.... well, suffice to say that I'd be too busy clicking links and breaking out my credit card to make this post.
    • by desenz (687520)
      Totally agree. Right now I don't spend near $5 a month on recorded music(unless satellite radio counts), but I'd be glad to to know that I could grab what I wanted to without getting sued.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:37PM (#22746876) Journal

        Totally agree. Right now I don't spend near $5 a month on recorded music(unless satellite radio counts), but I'd be glad to to know that I could grab what I wanted to without getting sued.
        Would you be willing to spend $5 a month to join a Copyright Infringement insurance pool? You pay up front (less than $60) and in return the insurance will cover negotiation & settlement for 1 year.

        If you know how many people the **AA has sued so far, it shouldn't be that hard to figure out how many people would need to sign up (and which would need to be excluded) to make the running of such an insurance pool a profitable venture.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JonathanR (852748)

          Would you be willing to spend $5 a month to join a Copyright Infringement insurance pool? You pay up front (less than $60) and in return the insurance will cover negotiation & settlement for 1 year.
          Better still, use the money to buy some more reasonable copyright legislation from Congress.
  • $4.99 for RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eightball01 (646950) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:04PM (#22746546)
    $0.01 for everyone else.
    • Actually, it will be the botnet operators that will get the cash. They will become music artists and publishers. They will generate some absolute trash and call it music. Then their botnet of millions of r3-0wn3d computers will be downloading this trash en masse. Their crap will skyrocket to the top ten. They rake in millions. On the bright side, they might give up filling our mailboxes with trash.

  • So... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:05PM (#22746560) Journal
    Basically the same amount our northern neighbors pay (as taxes) to keep their MAFIAA on a leash? Maybe we should just copy their entire section of IP laws.
  • Again? (Score:3, Funny)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:05PM (#22746568)
    Didn't they do this with blank CDs a few years ago? Then the indemnification ended, but the tax that's passed back to the RIAA remained.

    Maybe if the $5/mo was a voluntary "add on" fee granting immunity from copyright suits it might work.

    Oh, almost forgot to include the obligatory Fuck The RIAA line.
  • Like a tax... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lastomega7 (1060398)
    ...to support illegally download music?
  • by psychodelicacy (1170611) <bstcbn@gmail.com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:06PM (#22746574)
    Who'll pay extra for iTunes if they're already paying to use P2P whether they like it or not?

    This is an utterly ridiculous idea. It taxes those who don't download copyright-infringing files to pay for those who do - and who will probably continue to download much more than $5-worth of tracks, subsidised by others.

    Illegal downloaders need to stop freeloading off the rest of us and pay for the things they want.
    • by Khyber (864651)
      "Illegal downloaders need to stop freeloading off the rest of us and pay for the things they want."

      Sorry, you shouldn't blame the downloaders, blame the uploaders, as they are the enablers of the whole thing.

      Did you just arrive from Digg?
      • by caerwyn (38056)
        Err, that's really a completely false statement. That's the sort of thing that leads to banning things because they could potentially be used for something bad. Downloaders are just as in the wrong as uploaders are. I'm as anti-**AA as anyone here, but claiming that uploaders are somehow to blame while downloaders somehow aren't is really silly- either they're both wrong or neither is.
        • by skeeto (1138903) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:44PM (#22747352)

          Downloaders are just as in the wrong as uploaders are.

          Or maybe breaking the law has nothing to do with right and wrong. Copyright, in its current form, is a corrupt and unjust law that actually causes the opposite of its original purpose as defined by the constitution. No one should feel any qualms about breaking it.

    • by jcgf (688310) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:00PM (#22747048)

      Illegal downloaders need to stop freeloading off the rest of us and pay for the things they want.

      I'm gonna head on over to the pirate bay and download shit right now, just to piss you off.

  • How about. . .? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MistaE (776169) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:06PM (#22746576) Homepage
    Give everyone that doesn't download music a $5 discount? They already charge most of us up the ass and throttle d/l and u/l speeds as it is. Why should we pay anything additional?
  • If they assume I'm a criminal, then I feel pretty good about actually being one. That $5 would morally open the floodgates to me downloading everything my cable modem can gobble.

    IT's like the "We think you are a pirate" tax on the Zune.

    Treat me like a criminal and I'm much more likely to actually turn into one.

    Sheldon
  • I spend considerably more than 5 bucks on music a month. If I'm paying to download music off the net, I suspect that I may be less motivated to pay more than 5 bucks a month for music.
  • Ridiculous idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:11PM (#22746618) Homepage
    It may sound like a noble and interesting idea to some, but there are other issues besides the fact that it will be nearly impossible to divide the money correctly.

    The real issue here is the morality of the fee. Those who are pirates download content worth significantly more than $5. This fee would be no problem to a person who downloads hundreds of songs per month, but a technologically impaired senior who wants to communicate with his children who live in another state/country will also have to pay.

    If such fee would pass, then I say we should pay $1 to reimburse victims of pedophilia, who were victimized over the internet. And many other types of victims, of course.

    My point is obviously that the music industry should have no say in this matter, nor any other industry or company. Or we could flip the coin and make the music industry pay for the rehabilitation of all drug users who snorted coke while listening to Kurt Cobain, or small girls who cannot handle the pressure of looking like Christina Aguilera.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by klapaucjusz (1167407)

      The real issue here is the morality of the fee. Those who are pirates download content worth significantly more than $5.

      What you are raising is the issue of the morality of taxation. We pay taxes for education, whether we have children or not, because we believe that society as a whole benefits from schools.

      a technologically impaired senior who wants to communicate with his children who live in another state/country will also have to pay.

      That's why taxation is usually progressive.

      • Re:Ridiculous idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:26PM (#22746754) Homepage

        What you are raising is the issue of the morality of taxation. We pay taxes for education, whether we have children or not, because we believe that society as a whole benefits from schools.
        Except for the vital point that your government taxes you, not corporations.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sempernoctis (1229258)

        What you are raising is the issue of the morality of taxation. We pay taxes for education, whether we have children or not, because we believe that society as a whole benefits from schools.

        And look how the public education system has turned out. If this were to happen, not only would consumers not be paying according to how much they consume, but the artists (and record labels and everyone else on that side of the equation) can't be compensated based on the value of their product. The MAFIAA and its memb

      • by Khaed (544779)
        Schools are not (yet) private corporations.

        Society as a whole does not benefit in any way from the RIAA labels. Society could run along just fine without them. This is for the benefit of private corporations, not the benefit of society as a whole. The money will go to relatively few already-rich people, after being taken from very many people of varying income levels. These corporations are not, in fact, running in any sort of deficit of funds. They're currently profitable. This is simply an attempt t
    • The real issue here is the morality of the fee. Those who are pirates download content worth significantly more than $5. This fee would be no problem to a person who downloads hundreds of songs per month, but a technologically impaired senior who wants to communicate with his children who live in another state/country will also have to pay.

      So... it's like school tax.
      • by samkass (174571)
        Yes, because you don't benefit whatsoever by having a reasonably educated community.

  • yes! (Score:2, Funny)

    by kometes (64603)
    This is outstanding. Pay the $5, dissolve the RIAA, wait a month, and drop the fee.
  • Surcharge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:11PM (#22746628) Homepage

    The "what if I don't want to" argument is a little weak in my opinion. If you are forced to pay it, I'm guessing you would end up using it (since you are already paying). If I had access to all of the songs on the iTunes Music Store, you can bet I would take advantage of it. I don't now because I don't want to pay for the tracks.

    The "what about other groups" argument is fantastic. I don't know how someone could reasonably question how something like this become a precedent, causing every group under the sun to suddenly jump out and demand the same thing.

    What I worry about is what happens if this goes into effect and gets challenged. I think it's safe to say that someone could mount a good challenge here in the US based on some law. So if I "take advantage" of this forced fee then it gets ruled illegal, do they get to come after me for all the music I "stole"? Do I have to give up everything I downloaded under the plan?

    The "how do we divvy up the loot" question is the worst one. Do we put one group in charge (like the RIAA)? Do we really expect them to be fair to all the artists who aren't a member of their group? Or do only they get paid, thus effectively making the a de-facto monopoly? Does that mean there are "good" artists (who my fee pays for) and "bad" artists (who my fee doesn't, thus I can't download their stuff)? Should we let the government run it, thus making it an entitlement bureaucracy? Does every artist get an even share (good for little guys), or do the big artists get more (they are more popular... after all). Does the medium matter? Does my fee pay for me to have the rights to get free sheet music? Why not? If I'm an artist, can I opt out of this saying "no one downloads my music, despite the fee"?

    There are so many unanswered/unanswerable questions for this. I don't know how they can push this with a straight face. I'm guessing most of their answers would be something along the lines of "don't worry about it".

    The Canadian media tax doesn't seem to have helped much, or solved any of these questions. Why would the US be any different... just because it's a different medium being taxed?

    They see $$$, they want in. They could build a subscription MP3 store (real MP3s), band together, and create a de facto (optional) "music tax" that people could pay and use. They don't need to force it through regulation... unless they aren't really looking out for our interests. That can't be true...

  • For anyone who's interested, I've posted my correspondence [jaith.net] with Jim. He definitely seems to be a lobbyist of some kind. He doesn't address the issues, he just doles out some rhetoric.
  • If this fee is forced on you, then you are entitled to download the crap out of your connection from P2P.

    Why ? Because you are charged for the music.

    Even though I never burnt a song onto CD back 10 years ago in Europe, I had to pay extra for each writable CD to cover the piracy fees of the poor music industry. Well, that system was also an introduction into warez and music downloads. Even though I exclusively used CDs for backups, learning about this stupidity quickly made me discover how much stuff is avai
  • Make a good product and it will sell. Don't charge me when I avoid your product.
  • The industry is ailing because customers are fleeing them. Ppl are tired of the fleecing. It is not because ppl are stealing the music that they claim. My bet is that RIAA and the majority of the labels will be gone within 7 years.
  • by zentec (204030) * <zentec@gmailPERIOD.com minus punct> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:25PM (#22746742)
    I'm not surprised that the proponents of the music industry would come up with concepts such as these. I'm sure they rationalize that people already subsidize shoplifters through higher prices at the store, so since broadband is used to pilfer their product, every one who uses broadband should pay. While it's true, we all pay higher costs due to shoplifters, the store has an incentive to reduce losses or the prices will become prohibitive and customers won't shop there any longer. This surcharge does nothing to cause music producers to change their ways to prevent losses, it forces the liability of bad business decisions upon non-customers.

    Those who think this is a good idea should take note that nowhere in this Jim person's argument does it stipulate that the $5 per month surcharge is blanket authorization to download everything and anything. Your $5 gets you the privilege of still paying $.99 at iTunes, or a $12 per month Rhapsody account or running out to Wal-Mart and plunking down $20 for a CD. The music industry will continue to label the internet the tool of choice for music "thieves", because doing so is necessary to justify the $5 per month stipend.

    I'm hopeful that the ISPs will tell these people to go get bent. There is a very real possibility of a consumer boycott over this issue, especially from the honest customers who do not download music. If my ISP proudly proclaimed they were collecting this fee, I'd go without broadband.

    As far as seeking legislative relief, I don't think too many legislators are going to want to be seen with the hot potato of asking consumers to fork over $5 to help the music industry. It's an election year and a down economy, what fool would suggest...aside from Ted Stevens, Pelosi...well, maybe seeking legislative relief isn't such an idle threat. Get ready to write a lot of letters.

  • Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuickFox (311231) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:25PM (#22746746)
    The solution:

    -- There should be a license that you pay for only if you're interested, and if you pay this license you're allowed to download music.

    By subscribing to the license, you make a legally binding promise to follow certain simple rules that apply for this license.

    -- If you also want to make music available for others to download, you indicate this when you subscribe to the license. This again involves a legally binding promise to follow rules that apply for this kind of license.

    -- When you make music available for others to download, you must use software that is approved for this purpose. Getting such software approved should be very easy, because the requirements are simple.

    One requirement is that this software record and report statistics about how many times each song is downloaded. The money from the license fees gets distributed to artists and music companies based on these statistics.

    Another requirement on this software is that it make an automatic check that the software that requests the download displays a currently valid license.

    With this scheme, regular Joes who provide music for others have no economic incentive to trick the system. That's important. It means that lots of software can be easily approved.

    Music companies do have an incentive to trick the system, so as to inflate their own statistics. Checks against this will be needed. In addition, because of this, the statistics should probably be arranged in such a way that any number of downloads from the same license counts as a single download.
  • From the summary:

    How is the money really divided?

    From TFA:

    A collecting agency would divvy up the money according to artists' popularity on P2P sites, just as ASCAP and BMI pay songwriters for broadcasts and live performances of their work.
    • by icebike (68054)
      Did you read between the lines?

      This means they will demand the right to monitor (or own) all p2p sites.

      That "answer" poses more questions than it answers.
  • Why all this fascination with music? All this effort put into creating it and stealing it and breaking DRM and trying to protect it? I finally figured it out. It is to allow a very large number of people to make money by doing something that adds absolutely nothing to this world. It is all fluff and does not make anything better. It simply wastes a lot of time and effort and money that could be put to better use.

    People need to realize this and just give it up.
  • Sounds Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onkelonkel (560274) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:31PM (#22746796)
    I pay my 5 bucks, and now Steve Jobs will let me download as much as I want from iTunes for free!!! Same with Amazon. Right?

    Or do you expect me to pay twicT?
    • by Z34107 (925136)

      I pay my 5 bucks, and now Steve Jobs will let me download as much as I want from iTunes for free!!! Same with Amazon. Right? Or do you expect me to pay twice?

      I think you may be on to something. Online stores - especially iTunes - have increasing leverage with record labels. They have millions of customers, and they're taking away business from traditional CD sales.

      Makes the whole one-hour-of-crap-plus-one-good-song-on-a-shiny-piece-of-plastic model harder to sell for $10 a pop when you can get the

  • $5? I'd go for it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:32PM (#22746820)

    If the music I wanted was freely and legally available for download from the internet in lossless un-DRMed form I'd be perfectly willing to sell out $5 per month for access to this music. I currently spend about 10 times that per month for my music acquisitions.

  • Now I'm expected to pay for the illegal downloaders? It's not exactly making me happy with either side since I don't download.
  • Minority/Majority (Score:5, Insightful)

    by techstar25 (556988) <techstar25 AT cfl DOT rr DOT com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:34PM (#22746848) Homepage Journal
    They've been repeatedly telling us that the minority of users use the majority of the bandwidth (for P2P). So why would they tax the majority of users then? Of course it makes no sense.
  • by techmuse (160085) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:34PM (#22746854)
    The sports rebroadcasting fee, to compensate sports networks for their broadcasts that you retransmit

    The politicians opponents fee, to compensate them for money that you don't give to their campaigns

    The tapped powergrid fee, because you might tap into the power grid at some point

    The Emperor's club fee, because you might use the services of an illegal prostitution ring and not get caught (and not be the governor of a large state).

    What? You don't do any of these things? Then why should you pay for it? Instead, you should pay a fee to ME, for no particular reason, other than I think you should give me your money whether I've given you anything in return or not! :-)
  • by urbanriot (924981) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:40PM (#22746896)
    None of the bands I listen to and download are RIAA members. How will my money get to them?
  • The music industry is moved by a few major labels, and those labels hate variety which is exactly what p2p provides (and for free). If people are given a free run of the artist they can listen to their choices will expand a lot, and to be competitive major labels would need to sign a wider variety of acts thus cutting in on the corporate profit. Not to mention all the other problems with how reimbursement is going to work with this system. Personally I think artist will give up trying to sell the music,
  • I don't infringe copyright (I refuse to say "steal music"), therefore I shouldn't have to pay for those that do.

    This is a totally stupid proposal, unless the understanding is that 100% of Americans *do* infringe copyrights. In which case: why is this a crime?

    -J
  • I don't pirate music. In fact, I pay for music downloads.

    Who else gets subsidized later? The MPAA? Movies cost more than music to make. Are they getting a $10 fee? What about authors? A very good PDF is about the same size as an MP3, and OCR is getting pretty good. They get $5 too? I'm sure video games are pirated. That's another $5. Who am I missing? Software companies... hey, Free Software, too! Let's double US Broadband prices in case users infringe on someone's copyrights!
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:45PM (#22746938) Homepage
    Everyone who wants legal music pays $5/month, and the money is pooled, with the entire pot allocated to artists proportional to downloads. It would bring the underground P2P industry "above the radar" and the artists would get a tiny share of a huge pie instead of a big share of nothing. Honestly, I spend even LESS on music now, but $60/yr is about as much as this is worth to me.

    Even by the most conservative estimates, it would produce hundreds of millions of dollars per year in royalties. Or they can maintain the status quo and get nearly nothing. If it were me, I would take the money. But what do I know?

    Back when the original Napster was under attack, I suggested this as a reasonable plan. Nobody thought the music industry would accept an "all you can eat" plan at such a low price. But today's P2P reality is exactly that at a price of $0. When the music industry finished overplaying their hand, $0 was the only price left on the table. It's like playing "Deal or No Deal", turning down all the offers, holding out for the $1M prize, only to watch the entire board clear, leaving the $.01 prize. Considering where the music industry is today, $5/month from a huge population is no longer a lowball offer.

    If it were ridiculously cheap, I would have no problem with throwing some coffee money into music. It would probably renew my interest in the product. As it stands today, I have an Ipod full of ripped CDs I bought over the last 20 years, and I can listen to the classics indefinitely. At $18.95 per disc, I won't be seen in the music store anytime soon.
  • by Wildclaw (15718) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:48PM (#22746954)
    How many dollars per month for

    Movies
    Games
    Software Applications
    TV
    Books
    Comics
    Anime
    Audiobooks
    Pictures

    It adds up. And how are they going to determine who gets how much? Oh I guess I know the answer to that. The collector agency gets the bigger part, and the rest is distributed based on some kind of algorithm that favors the current big coorporations.
  • Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:15PM (#22747148)
    I do use my broadband connection every day to get the news, read scientific journals, waste time on /., what-have-you.

    I don't listen to RIAA music any more, much less download their crappy tracks, buy them from iTunes, or heaven forbid buy CDs, because I want nothing to do with them whatsoever.

    Assessing a $5/mo. fee to every broadband user is the last thing that should happen. 10 years ago, OK, that was something we could have talked about. And did talk about. But the music industry wanted no part of it.

    Now it's too late. The world and its musicians and its fans have all moved on.

    Let the RIAA die, and rot.
  • NOW they get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrvergnugen (228539) <fahrv AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:35PM (#22747282) Homepage
    Seven years ago, Napster offered to partner up with the music companies, charge a monthly fee, and go legit. They had a beautiful, efficient 'walled garden' infrastructure, selection surpassing the iTunes store, nearly 15 million active users, and even though there was openNap and Gnutella, these were fringe tools. Napster had no *real* competition, they were a de facto standard. The market was sewn up.

    Napster offered multiple times to partner up with the RIAA labels to create a subscription-based model. If they'd have kept just 1/3 of their userbase at $10 a month (highly reasonable) and growth had remained flat (highly unlikely), they'd have pulled in $600mil in the first year, without ever having spent a dime on marketing or distribution. $600mil a year in free money with incredible growth potential, and the RIAA wouldn't have had to lift a finger.

    $600mil in revenue in just the first year, for doing nothing. And they said no, shut down Napster, and unleashed the unkillable hydra of gnutella/bittorrent/FastTrack/etc.

    NOW the RIAA wants a surcharge? No. You had your chance at the golden egg, and relevancy in the future of music, and you chose instead to cut the goose's throat. We're not going to subsidize you now.

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