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  1. Yes, I Know Roundabout's Avatar
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    From Wired:

    The Answer to Piracy: Five Bucks?

    02:00 AM Feb. 26, 2004 PT

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Can $5 a month solve the file-sharing problem?

    Perhaps, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital-rights group recently proposed the idea of having file sharers pay a monthly surcharge in exchange for the right to share away. The charge would be voluntary and could be levied through the sharers' Internet service provider, software client or university dorm fee. And the money would go to the artists.

    The idea sparked a spirited debate Wednesday at a music law conference at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, an event that brought together lawyers, musicians and students, among others.

    File sharing is still a rampant problem. The millions who use services like Kazaa and Grokster to share music run the risk of getting sued for copyright violations by the Recording Industry Association of America, and the record labels still complain of lost sales.

    EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann, speaking as part of a panel on peer-to-peer music sharing, proposed that music fans pay a small monthly fee -- perhaps $5 -- to share files with impunity, using whatever software they like. The money could be collected by a central organization and then distributed among those who own the rights to the songs, based on popularity.

    The idea has worked before. Broadcast radio stations paid a similar flat fee to ASCAP and BMI -- organizations representing songwriters, composers and music publishers -- to play their music as much as they wanted, he said.

    David Sutphen, vice president of government relations for the RIAA, immediately pooh-poohed the idea. File sharers still would search out a way to download music for free, he said, and under the proposed system, all music would have the same value, which doesn't make sense. One-hit wonder Vanilla's Ice's "Ice Ice Baby," for example, would have the same value as The Beatles catalog.

    He said these types of compulsory licenses are "not a wise or logical thing to do."

    Sutphen's opinion was in the minority on the panel.

    "I think file sharing is one of the most positive things to happen to music in a long time," said Madigan Shive, a musician and composer. "I say share away. That really is our best hope," she said.

    Hastings law professor Margreth Barrett said the proposal is a good one. She dismissed the RIAA's objection that all music would be valued equally because those musicians whose songs are downloaded most would receive a larger chunk of money. To make up for money lost by those who still share music illegally, a small surcharge could be tacked onto music products like CD burners, which would be put into a fund divided among copyright owners.

    Canada already has imposed such a fee.

    Sutphen called the idea of a levy "pie in the sky" and said technology companies would never go for it.

    Peer-to-peer sharing continues to be the best way to distribute music to the greatest number of fans, von Lohmann said, and using voluntary collective licensing would spark investment in P2P services. It also would eliminate the RIAA's need to discourage file sharing using methods of interdiction, like spoofing tracks on P2P networks.

    What won't solve the problem is the continued suing of music fans. The RIAA is harboring false hope if it thinks legal threats will "drive them into the arms of Steve Jobs," von Lohmann said, referring to Apple Computer's legal music service, iTunes.

    "There's nothing novel about suing people for breaking the law," the RIAA's Sutphen said. "Enforcement will always be part of the equation."

    However, Sutphen said the RIAA realizes that suing people will not solve the piracy problem completely. He admitted that "record labels will have to change the role that they play," but said there will always be the need for someone to invest in artists, promote them, make the videos and distribute the music.

    Sutphen called the EFF proposal a "step in the right direction."
    Ethernet (n): something used to catch the etherbunny
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  2. So long as none of the money goes to the RIAA, I'd buy into this.

    In fact, why not setup a system where ALL of the money goes to the arists? Take the RIAA completely out of the picture.
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  3. Member
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    "I think file sharing is one of the most positive things to happen to music in a long time," said Madigan Shive, a musician and composer. "I say share away. That really is our best hope," she said.
    if only there were more people like that...
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  4. Yeah this'll happen..in 10 years when the RIAA finally realizes they can't win the online war. The answer to the final solution will either be let us win and start using online technology in their best interest to cut the prices (reasonably this time), or to do what theyre still doing now, suing kids and not really cutting prices on their product, figuring "Well theres three types of people out there now: The honest ones who will pay whatever just because they do and have done so all along, The ones who we scared by the law suits, and the dishonest pirates..Theres no loss there..We are simply hoping to make everyone the first two types mentioned. We can't stop all piracy just like we cant stop underage drinking or rape..Its simply not worth the effort to drop prices YET and let them win, we're gonna keep suing hoping for the best. Oh, and our new FBI labels' are coming along nicely. Perhaps that will make these pesky pirates think twice before turning their 16.00 cd into an 47 megabyte download. Yeah..Now its time to do some coke off the blade of a knife"

    Ok.
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  5. Originally Posted by Roundabout
    according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation
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    Just think of all the people who would pay for a month or two and then quit after they download all the old stuff worth getting. For me the only good thing about online music is getting back the old songs I use to have before my tape deck ate them or my records/cds got scratched.
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    Fudamentally flawed and totally without merrit.

    "to the artist", BS. How? How do they intend to track who transfered what to whom? They can't, not possible with most P2P's. That means 'they' would have to institute P2P programs that can track what you share and d/l. That will go over like an old fashioned divx player from Circuit City.

    What it means is the record companies will get a lump sum of $$$ every month and 'distribute it to the artists'. Most likely in proportion to CD sales for the same month. Hardly seems fair does it? I don't think I've ever downloaded any song that wasn't at least 5 years old.

    Besides, for the whole idea to work, the RIAA and MPAA have to acknowledge your fundamental right to 'own' a license to a song or video. They will die before they let that happen. All the old men that run the companies simply can't concieve of any other business model. All you have to do is look at N-Sync so see that talent isn't required to make millions of dollars for a record company (and why do we still use the term record company???).
    To Be, Or, Not To Be, That, Is The Gazorgan Plan
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    I'd gone about 3 years without buying/downloading/ripping a song. About a month ago I did a little ripping from some streaming radio station. Guess what, I've bought 2 CDs in the past month because I liked what a heard and wanted the best recording possible. I'm sure I'm not alone.

    btw is file sharing still well and alive?
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  9. Greetings Supreme2k's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BobV
    btw is file sharing still well and alive?
    Is that a rhetorical/trick question?
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  10. Going Mad TheFamilyMan's Avatar
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    I can't believe that anyone would think that recording companies could go for this. If $5 buys everyone a license to get legally as much music as they wanted, who would bother buying 'legitimate' recordings? Talk about disappearing bandwidth and recording company profits.....

    Of course, this means nothing to those who only want high fidelity.
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