Tuesday, February 24, 2004

New EFF Whitepaper on Filesharing: Voluntary Collective Licensing
EFF just published a new whitepaper recommending voluntary collective licensing as a solution to the filesharing issue; they recommend a flat $5 a month fee with money distributed to aritsts in a way somewhat similar to what ASCAP, etc. does with radio. The paper is clear, cogent, and convincing (to me, anyway). I doubt that the RIAA will listen, but maybe someone will.

The concept is simple: the music industry forms a collecting society, which then offers file-sharing music fans the opportunity to "get legit" in exchange for a reasonable regular payment, say $5 per month. So long as they pay, the fans are free to keep doing what they are going to do anyway -- share the music they love using whatever software they like on whatever computer platform they prefer -- without fear of lawsuits. The money collected gets divided among rights-holders based on the popularity of their music.

In exchange, file-sharing music fans will be free to download whatever they like, using whatever software works best for them. The more people share, the more money goes to rights-holders. The more competition in applications, the more rapid the innovation and improvement. The more freedom to fans to publish what they care about, the deeper the catalog.

EFF: A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing (via Derek Slater )


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