Technology and Business Law Blog

Out of RIAA’s Clutches

Lawyers and other activists who have been fighting RIAA’s litigation tactics to threaten and fleece music lovers have been advocating a voluntary blanket licensing which will be a small payment each month (about $5.00) collected by the Internet service provider for which in turn any amount of music can be downloaded without being accused of indulging in piracy of music. RIAA seems to thawing to this suggestion, this will enable anyone who wants to enjoy all the music they want and there will be no one watching over their shoulder. This payment enforcement is a double edged sword since, even though it frees up courts and saves time and money, it is a burden on people who don’t download music and it is a form of compulsory tax.

I think the better solution will be a slightly higher payment by people who want to download music and not force everyone to pay. Here is an another solution suggested in this article, at

“What plan will work best for music lovers and artists? Instead of a fake music tax, the best solution might be—sorry, libertarians—for the government to step in with a real music tax. In the book Promises To Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment, Harvard Law School professor William Fisher devised an ingenious reward system that levels the playing field for artists. At first glance, it looks a lot like the music biz extortion scheme. The feds would levy a small tax on all broadband subscribers. Musicians, signed and unsigned, would register their creations with the U.S. Copyright Office, who would then set up a massive Nielsen-style sample of music listeners to track the popularity of different songs. The more your song is played, the more you get paid. The revenue from the tax would be parceled out to the copyright holders.

The beauty of this approach is that it has the potential to cut out middlemen like Steve Jobs and the fat-cat record execs. My a cappella version of “Chocolate Rain” would have as much chance of making it as “Purple Rain,” at least in theory. When the costs of discovering new music are zero and artists are paid on the basis of how often songs are played, listeners are more adventurous and bands with dedicated followers can make as much scratch as bands that record big hits. Bands get paid, music lovers can listen to their hearts’ delight, and the record companies will slowly turn to dust. What’s not to like?”

April 27, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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