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Warner Music Pushing Music Tax For Universities

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the randian-villains dept.

Education 375

An anonymous reader writes "Warner Music is pitching the idea of a 'music tax' for various top universities. The idea is that students would be free to file share, but the university needs to monitor and track everything, create a pool of money, hand it over to a recording industry entity that promises to distribute the proceeds fairly. In exchange, the university gets a 'covenant not to sue' from the music labels. It's not a full license, just a basic promise that they won't sue. It's also claimed that this is 'voluntary' but the Warner Music guy says that they need to include all universities and all ISPs to really make it work. It's basically a music tax, where the recording industry gets to sit back and collect money."

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Indie (5, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997863)

I'll allow it only if I can sign up as an indie artists and get some of the money, too.

(read: this is ludicrous and will never happen)

Re:Indie (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25997905)

No Taxation without representation!

Re:Indie (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998141)

If you think 'No Taxation without representation!' is bad, wait til you see taxation with representation!

Re:Indie (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998543)

"It's basically a music tax, where the recording industry gets to sit back and collect money."

No change there....

Re:Indie (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997945)

Well, according to one of the slides, "an indie association" is one of the members. However, slide 7 also claims that this approach is supported by the EFF and Public Knowledge. Is this true?

Furthermore, why should anyone trust a "covenant" not to sue? I'd sure want more assurance than Jim Griffin's word.

Re:Indie (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998363)

However, slide 7 also claims that this approach is supported by the EFF and Public Knowledge. Is this true?

Sort of.

There was a white paper [] put out suggesting a superficially similar scheme. Unsurprisingly, the key word the RIAA have missed from the EFF proposal is "voluntary", which makes their claim that their tax is EFF supported highly misleading.

The EFF have published a clarification titled Collective Licensing Good, ISP Tax Bad [] in case anyone is still uncertain.

Re:Indie (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998371)

slide 7 also claims that this approach is supported by the EFF and Public Knowledge. Is this true?

Perhaps. The argument is that the average American spends something like $50/yr on copies of movies/music so if we funded that indirectly through taxes then downloads would be legal. (I'm not an American, I'm a New Zealander, but I believe that's what they say).

Richard Stallman advocates for a similar thing, a music tax on ISP connections or blank media. Like a radio station that pays an annual fee and and just reports back what they played so that the artists who were broadcasted get their cut.

The problem of course is that these music companies are the middlemen (they're not the artists themselves) and yet they want the majority of the money. In most cases these music companies expect artists to turn up with premastered CDs, so basically these companies are just advertisers and distribution channels. The internet can do some of that.

Any agreement that goes via these middlemen will probably mean that artists will continue to get the same bum deal except now it's institutionalized. And you just know that the amount will increase every year. And what if the university wants to leave the agreement after 5 years... now what? they get sued because they don't have legal safe harbour? Fuck that. These universities are just conduits or common carriers for what the students do. They can't monitor every bit of traffic. If they sign up to this Warner scheme they're taking responsibility for piracy and that threat will never end. I don't see why the university needs to do this as a whole... why not optionally, per-student?

More to the point, Madonna showed that the big money is in touring (she ditched her record label and went with a touring company, and the touring company now release her CD). Madonna doesn't like piracy (presumably) but for her the CD is a promotional tool for the concerts so piracy can actually work for her. Until these music companies turn into touring companies (which is where they should be going) they'll continue to try and force their outdated business model on the world.

So while I'm generally in support for an artistic tax (of perhaps $50/yr on an internet connection) this is more like a ongoing threat. This Warner scheme seems to be quite different.

I would hope that the EFF and Public Knowledge would support a scheme that gives artists a fair share, not one that propagates this music industry.

[*] there are some musicians who don't tour, sure, but for the majority it's where they currently earn their money.

Re:Indie (4, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998035)

Your argument doesn't make sense...

Note that I don't think that the RIAA's proposal here makes sense.. no more than do the levies on CDs and DVDs (and tapes, etc) in most European countries and I believe in Canada.. at least; both assume that you will be making copies of music/video that they hold the copyright 'policing' rights to -onto- those media. If you don't.. you only put, say, your own photos onto them.. tough luck, you're still paying the levy. You can get exemption, but.. you guessed it.. to get exemption status you need to pay a yearly fee. Ho-hum.

But back to your argument, and it ties into something I said above... the RIAA looks after the copyrights and whatnot (yeah, I know, they look after their own wallet, blabla) of -their- members. If you are an indie artist, they don't much care about you (other than your diluting the market and such) or rather your copyrights.. as you are not a member.

So if you have a problem with students (potentially) copying your works... hey, that's great... but it's not the RIAA's task to deal with it.. it is your own.. or whoever you signed with (unless you're truly indie and just do your own pressing/burning, distribution, etc.).. it falls onto you/them to have a similar 'I won't sue you' agreement with the university/ties in question.

So yes.. it will never happen.. but the biggest reason why that wouldn't happen is because you are independent artist and simply don't deserve - technically, legally, etc. - any slice of such an agreement.

Just to make this absolutely clear.. I don't think the RIAA deserves any slice of.. well.. whatever - a university's budget, I suppose - for hypothetical / assumed copyright infringing activities where copyrights they govern come into play. I firmly believe they should have to prove it.. of course the laws, regulations and technical aspects make it very difficult to prove who violated what copyright, while at the same time it's clear copyright violation -does- occur.. so if the RIAA wants to get this sort of agreement in action and a university agrees to it... then so be it. I'd frown upon the university but if they figure it's less of hassle / moneysink than is battling RIAA lawyers all the time, then I can't blame them for being pragmatic at least until the laws are more firmly on their side (which is slowly happening, so I wouldn't sign such an agreement just yet).

Re:Indie (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998285)

Except for the part where the RIAA has never shown much of a tendency to not correct for ALL music as if they owned the idea.

Re:Indie (5, Interesting)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998425)

And what about people like me who don't listen to music? Why the hell should I (indirectly through the university) pay their stupid "tax" (it's not a tax... I don't think anyone but governments can create a tax)?

Re:Indie (1)

LeadLine (1278328) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998651)

I imagine you would have to file a tax return.

Re:Indie (4, Insightful)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998675)

That's no tax.... that's extortion.

Re:Indie (5, Insightful)

malv (882285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998697)

It's basically a mob "protection" fee. Rather than break your legs and burn your business down they do the economic equivalent, sue you with high priced lawyers.

Re:Indie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998453)

Your argument is moot.

Will my band get payed too? We are not an ANY label, but sell CD's, and tracks online. Are we going to get compensation for OUR music being distributed across the Universities networks? Something I know for a fact has taken place.....


This is a protection racket. Period. If you don't see that, YOU are part of the problem.

Re:Indie (3, Interesting)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998515)

the RIAA looks after the copyrights and whatnot (yeah, I know, they look after their own wallet, blabla) of -their- members. If you are an indie artist, they don't much care about you (other than your diluting the market and such) or rather your copyrights.. as you are not a member.

Yes, but they already tried (succeeded?) in collecting tax on indie tracks played by internet radio stations, and the indie artists have to write them and ask them for the money, or they never get it.

You can say pretty much anything you want--and i done skeet-shot your granmamma as proof--and it makes more sense than anything the RIAA does.

Re:Indie (3, Insightful)

evilsofa (947078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998149)

The indie artists will get exactly as much as the non-indie artists (what do you call those, anyway?) You don't really think any musician would ever see a penny of this tax go in their checking account, do you?

Re:Indie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998197)

How about ending payola so that we can have our public airwaves back? If the airwaves were dominated by the best music instead of the most profitable music, then the pirate-loss to the big labels would be much less.

But they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

I say, we can pirate as long as they can payola. Seems quite fair to me.

Yes, indies can be included (3, Informative)

phr00t2000 (1424287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998311)

I spoke with Warner this morning.

Yes, they specifically said indie artists and labels could sign-on for this and get paid.

/I work at UMass Amherst and I'm trying to get this implemented

Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25997873)

Fuck the MPAA

Re:Obligatory (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998509)

Actually this was about the RIAA but yeah, fuck them too!

This is nothimg more than a mafia style "protection" (hint: extortion) racket. The only difference is you have legit businessmen doing the... oh, nevermind.

Geez...just like 47th street in Brooklyn (5, Insightful)

cybscryb (530482) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997875)

Ya see...ya just pay us a little somethin' each week and nothin' bad'll happen to ya. It's extortion and I imagine lots of universities will sign up in hopes they won't get sued. And they won't, as long as they pay the yearly protection money. The worst part is that even after the music business finally goes out of business from their horrific management, these protection scams will remain viable assets for legal firms to purchase and manage.

Re:Geez...just like 47th street in Brooklyn (2, Funny)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998171)

Here's an idea.

Have a student vote, with a quorum of 40%. So, if less than 40% of the students vote, it doesn't count. Then have a student vote. I'd say simple majority, but if half the students don't want it, it may be infringing. Requiring a 3/5th majority. And perhaps limit it to no more than 3 years per vote.

If students really, really want to do it, fine.

By the way, how would this affect off-campus students? Since it's an Internet-based thing, those who live off-campus aren't necessarily under the thumb of the university, so they shouldn't be subject to it.

And, why stop at universities? (sarcastic comment to come) Why not just do it at the ISP level? It seems arbitrary to just subject students to the "tax". Perhaps we should subject everyone to this "tax".

Re:Geez...just like 47th street in Brooklyn (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998313)

That's great. But from my memory of university there were a lot of things that we students wanted (and I am sure that if we voted most would have been in support of). Unfortunately this isn't always a good thing. In the real word universities are not run by the majority spoken students (nor should they be). I'm not supporting the RIAA or anyone else, I am just saying that a student vote, which might sound all nice and cozy and demacratic, is probably not the right way to go.

Music tax? (4, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997877)

I hate these people. They're already getting a chunk of change from blank disc sales, and now they want Universities to hand over millions of dollars with the (ahem) "promise" that it will be fairly distributed. And it will ... amongst various record company executives and their cronies. Oh, and we probably won't sue you, either. But no guarantees.

We need to stop taking them at their word when they say their going to give money to artists. They generally don't (unless the artist had a good lawyer, I suppose.) Actually, we need to stop taking them at their word.

Re:Music tax? (2, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998087)

I actually don't think that this general idea is the stupidest idea in the world. It would be much more reflective of the way music is produced and distributed now for there to be a more generalised licensing system, rather than a pay-per-track/album system like we have now.

However, the obvious problems with this proposal are:

- why should the RIAA get to operate the scheme?
- who decides which artists are able (or have) to participate?
- why should the RIAA set the price (and not, say, the market)?

It's extremely unfashionable, but setting up social systems where the rights and interests of some are protected in a way which adequately protects the rights and interests of the whole is basically the whole point of government...

Re:Music tax? (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998163)

- why should the RIAA set the price (and not, say, the market)?
RIAA is one entity in the market. They (on behalf of their members) have a monopoly on licensing replication of certain artworks. This is called copyright.

RIAA's suggestion is bad for many reasons. But saying "let the market sort it out" is just plain stupid, sorry. If you abolish copyright, there will be nothing for the market to sort out. And if you don't, well, the marked created the RIAA.

Re:Music tax? (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998387)

I'm not necessarily arguing with you in principle. But remember: we're talking the music industry here, and the industry-fueled RIAA. There's no possibility whatsoever that this will be administered in anything resembling a fair and equitable manner, and the artists (who, after all, are the class of individuals who are supposedly being protected) will receive nothing. That's the way the music business works, it's the way it has always worked. And even if the RIAA does not end up operating this scheme (or rather, scam) whoever does will end up under music industry control. There's no way around that: they are, after all, the rightsholders. They also have all the money and Congressmen.

In other words, business as usual for these bloodsuckers.

CD levy (2, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998303)

only blank "music" CD-R's, data discs do not have the levy on them.

Re:CD levy (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998561)

Whats the difference, until you put something on it.

Remember Kosher Tax? (0, Troll)

lbane (1329209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998701)

Yes I smell the Jew are behind this. Remind you, They controlled most **AA members.

They already doing it on our food. It is called Kosher Tax. []

The Kosher Food Tax is a fraud on the American consumer. Take a look at the items in your cupboard and you'll find either the (U) or (K) labels on almost every one of them. These symbols represent a Jewish "blessing", which means that you have unwittingly paid a tax to a Jewish religious group. These symbols could be anywhere on the package, so look carefully.

The circled "U," sometimes with the word "Parve", stands for Union of Orthodox Jews (UOJCA), the "K" stands for Kosher (KOV K). These symbols mean that the product's producer paid the Jews a kind of "tax" to have some rabbi "bless" it. Don't confuse these letters with the letter "R" which stands for 'registered trade mark' or a letter "C" which stands for 'copyright'.

In 1959, the Wall Street Journal estimated this "tax" at about $20 million and it is thought to be in the hundreds of millions today. The Jewish Post of July 30, 1976 reported that Rabbi Harvey Sentor admitted that Kov K was a "profit-making concern." The UOJCA extracts exactly the same levy as Kov K.

This "tax" is not an option for the Gentile, he has to pay it to the Jews. If this was nothing more than a religious ceremony, giving rabbinical approval to food and food products prepared in a specific way, then why are steel wool and kitchen utensils also included?

Here is how the scheme works. An Orthodox Rabbi warns a company that unless their product is certified as Kosher they will face a boycott by every Jew in America. Once the company agrees, it must keep the amount paid a strict secret!

In 1960, 225 food products paid the Kosher tax, 476 in 1966, 1000 in 1974, and today 17,500 companies are paying this multi-level tax. Listed below are National Kosher Agencies and their symbols - you might want to give them a call to see what they say. Regional listings and their symbols will follow soon.

Kof-K Kosher Supervision

1444 Queen Anne Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Fax: 201-837-0126
Rabbi Aharon Felder, Director of Kosher Standards
Rabbi Ari Moshe Senter, Halachic Research
Rabbi Dovid Senter, Rabbi Yehuda Rosenbaum,
Rabbi Daniel Senter, Administration
Rabbi Dr. H. Zecharia Senter, Executive Administrator
Publication: Kosher Outlook Supplement

The Organized Kashruth Laboratories

1372 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY 11213
Fax: 718-756-7500
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashruth Administrator
Rabbi Leizer Teitelbaum, Rabbi Dovid Steigman,
Rabbi Chaim Fogelman, Rabbi Levi Garelik,
Rabbi Avraham Juravel, Rabbi Mendel Raitzes, Rabbinical Coordinators
Publication: The Jewish Homemaker

Star-K Kosher Certification

11 Warren Road
Baltimore, MD 21208-5234
Fax: 410-653-9294
Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, Rabbinic Administrator
Dr. Avrom Pollak, President
Rabbi Eliyahu Shuman, Director of Supervision
Publication: Kashrus Kurrents

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations

333 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Fax: 212-564-9058
Rabbi Menachem Genack, Rabbinic Administrator
Publications: the "OU" Kashrus Directory, Jewish Action, Mesorah Journal of Halacha, Daf Hakashrus

What (1)

Lucky7 (777665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997883)

I have a bunch of music that i have downloaded. Most of it I do not listen to as I have my favorites and thus would not want to pay for it. That said... it does make sense that if someone is going to enjoy the music then some sort of remuneration should follow. Perhaps the balance is... just how much per track?

Re:What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998259)

Is it so bad? Paying $5 per month isn't so bad of a deal to get all the music you want.

ok ok I know the RIAA wouldn't accept $5 per month. They keep dreaming of the thought of a 'pay per play' tax but eventually that idea will pass.
I think its a reasonable amount (especially considering I never listen to music) and I'd be willing to pay it. The MPAA will eventually realise that
their former method of fleecing their customers is disappearing. People dont want to pay for a whole album of shite to hear 1 or 2 not-shite tracks.
People will still be able to buy records and CDs if they want the physical media and if the music is good enough i'm sure they will.
They'd get more money from a tax on broadband connection (I believe someone calculated it at around their 2002 revenue) and the big question then would
be how to share the money.

This might even help the MPAA realize that they should do the same. If they made good movies, people would go to cinemas (well if they werent trying to
charge $20 a ticket) and people would buy DVDs. Instead they re-image the same old crap and expect people to buy it again and again. I'd pay $10 per
month to be able to download movies, the same for TV shows.

I realize that I live in a dream world, I dont believe in region coding (created to make it easier to fleece customers) but then I live in the UK and almost
everything costs more here.

i'm off to drink more.. seeya

Re:What (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998351)

Why should I pay a monthly fee, for something I already legally own, so that I can play it on the device of my choice?

Re:What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998483)

Ideally the scheme would be voluntary. If you dont pay then the RIAA is free to try to sue your ass if you infringe their copyright. If you do pay you're covered.

great timing! (5, Informative)

theodicey (662941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997889)

Now that the cost of higher education is falling [] and endowments are growing [] , universities will have lots of money to spend on music taxes!

Alternatively, they could just give every student a free copy of PeerGuardian.

Re:great timing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998225)

Not to discredit what you said at all, just an interesting tidbit: from what I head, a lot of Universities are seeing their endowments drop a lot because of the current economic situation.
I doubt this will have an effect on the overall trend of increasing endowments though.

Re:great timing! (5, Informative)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998459)

Check his links. The one linked from "growing" has the title "Harvard's Endowment Plunges 8 Billion." I think you've just restated his point.

Grasping at Straws (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997891)

What they are afraid of is the growing momentum against the RIAA at the university administration level. This is a weak and desperate attempt, a grasping at far away sticks by an arm who's body is quickly sinking below the quick sand surface.

Re:Grasping at Straws (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998065)

My hope is that this was in their plan all along, but they intended to drop this one after a bunch of successful suits against students so as to scare everyone into submission. Only now with the growing legal backlash against them by unversities they are having to throw this out there in the hope that it will stick because they see the end is nigh for their little scam.

Re:Grasping at Straws (2, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998175)

too many... metaphors... can't... breath...

Where do I sign up? (3, Insightful)

carterhawk001 (681941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997897)

I would be willing to pay a monthly "download insurance" fee in exchange for immunity from prosecution for downloading to my heart's content. Music, Movies, Games, Software, set up a separate fund for each and let folks opt-in.

What do they really want? (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997901)

Seriously. They know this isn't going to fly. The Universities and ISPs know it's not going to fly. This whole ridiculous thing looks an awful lot like the sort of gesture you see followed by 'we tried to play nice, but...'

Wrong (2, Interesting)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997911)

A proposal like this should include all the stake holders. All the record and movie companies and should provide actual licenses. This should be a flat internet tax on everyone, not just universities.

I doubt that anything like this will work now though, they should have done this in 1997. It's pretty hard to compete with free.

Re:Wrong (2, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998463)

Lucky there isn't a camera tax. I use my camera all the time in libraries making "illegal" copies of pages of books. Of course, it's not illegal is it... it's fair use. But I bet if the RIAA were representing books they'd want a camera tax as well. And why isn't there a pen/pencil tax? I can sit in a library and write down, verbatim, the text from a book.

Re:Wrong (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998533)

And why isn't there a pen/pencil tax? I can sit in a library and write down, verbatim, the text from a book.

Yeah, well I got back at you by downloading the original text you uploaded to slashdot.


Death rattles (1)

Xs1t0ry (1247414) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997913)

Sounds like a desperate act to try and keep making money off the very demographic that has been getting their music for free for many years now - which I don't see changing

Morality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25997965)

is immoral, unethical, or against the beliefs of some religion.
Make it illegal.
But its going to happen anyway.
Tax it.

Hm (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25997969)

What happens when you graduate and later get busted p2p'ing and then they find your stash from the college days?

a recording industry entity? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997971)

the kicker for me is the "a recording industry entity" part.

there's been plenty of articles and such (even on /.) about how recording industry entities for distributing royalties is...well....distributing to themselves and not to the artists.
What was that organization that the RIAA made....SonicExchange? or SoundExchange? whatever it wasn't distributing funds to where it was truly due.

Even if they change it to be an independent, non-profit collection organization/entity, I still won't bite.
What about privacy issues?
What about misuse/abuse by the authorities?
Is there an opt-out clause?
A "covenant" isn't as binding as I would like.

The RIAA and the automotive industry is starting to look like they are using same guiding principle....continue to use a failing business model in favor of short term profits but long term losses and ask for a bailout while they don't actually do any work.

Or better yet (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997973)

the universities lawyers fight the labels hard and keep draining them of money. At the same time, the indie world needs to create easier access to BOUGHT AND PAID FOR music. IOW, make it possible for the artists to make more money by getting rid of the blood and money sucking labels.

Just thinking about, I can not see much difference between the labels or the detroit 3. All have had greedy management that is worthless.

This is a good thing (0, Troll)

phr00t2000 (1424287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998409)

This collective licensing scheme could create an option to get paid WITHOUT labels. indie artists and labels could get part of the pool. I know this, because I spoke with Warner this morning since we *approached them* because we are very interested in this proposal.

Re:This is a good thing (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998711)

And you believe what Time-Warner or any Label says? Get it in writing. And then have it checked by about 6 different lawyers. Personally, I think that everybody ought to wait about 2 more years. At that time, the labels will collapse and all the artists will make out better for it.

Dear Warner Music (5, Funny)

mwbay (167813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25997987)

You and your fellow record labels are dying dinosaurs. Someday, people will dig up your bones and declare that you used to rule the world. And then it all came to a sudden, catastrophic end. All caused by a comet called the Internet.

Goodbye, so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Re:Dear Warner Music (1) (913902) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998317)

Goodbye, so long, and thanks for all the Phish.

Fixed that for you.

extorting protection money... (4, Funny)

ameline (771895) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998013)

"That's a nice university you have there -- shame if anything were to happen to it..."

The Italians have a word for it -- Pizzo -- []

They can kiss my ass (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998025)

I'm one of the minority on Slashdot who actually thinks that file sharers who trade in thousands of dollars of goods deserve to be charged (criminally) as thieves, and even I have to say "fuck you" on this. If they do this, I'll have no problem ripping every DVD and CD that was made by Warner and giving copies to every friend and family member that wants them.

Tax me and spy on me to preserve your business model? That's going way too far and enough to make me say it's time to let slip the dogs of war on them.

Re:They can kiss my ass (5, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998095)

"who trade in thousands of dollars of goods deserve to be charged (criminally) as thieves"

wrong. there aren't any goods being stolen or traded. bits are not goods, they are a copy of other bits, which means they are infringing on a copyright. that is a civil matter not criminal. so unless you really believe government money,your tax money, should be spent fighting someone elses private court battles you are serioulsy misunderstanding the situtation.

Re:They can kiss my ass (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998549)

I think if you copy stuff and sell it, you're a fucking bastard, though. I think that's what GP was saying.

Re:They can kiss my ass (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998571)

Yeah, this conflation of 'criminal theft' with 'copyright infringement' has been fostered by all those stupid ads the industry has been putting out like 'you wouldn't steal a car and piracy is the exact same thing!'

I don't get all the hate (1)

phr00t2000 (1424287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998377)

Warner is finally doing something the EFF wanted all along... collective licensing. Shouldn't we be supporting this?

Finally they will let us share the music however we want, how much we want. No DRM, no worries of lawsuits or copyright infringement...

I hated the RIAA when they were suing people and putting DRM on everything. Now they want to stop that.. I say it's about time!

Re:I don't get all the hate (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998581)

That's just classic:

The capitalist pigs want me to pay for the stuff they keep pushing on me.
The socialist assholes want me pay for the stuff they keep taking for themselves.

little symp for pirates, but NO $ FOR RECRD COs!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998505)

I agree that those file sharers of commercial material should be fined and maybe a low level misdemeanor around that of a parking ticket.

However, I am opposed to this on the principle that these producers of horrible music shall not get a cent of my money! MILLIONS FOR LAWYERS, BUT NOT A CENT FOR PRODUCERS OF CRAPPY MUSIC!

End of the gravy train (2, Insightful)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998039)

It's real simple. The RIAA can see that it will soon be common place for Law Students to fight for the victims of the music industry's suits. They are looking to replace that lucrative revenue stream.

Actually kind of scary (4, Insightful)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998041)

As a career college student, I've seen many new fees introduced over the years that simply weren't there before. The curriculum hasn't changed enough to warrant the fees. If the price is right, I bet lots of universities would be more than happy to pass the fee along to students with a nice helping of obfuscation.

Just what we need (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998045)

This will go great with the current economic disaster and out of control college tuition rates. Good thing the current Congress isn't influenced by the music industry. Oh wait...

I've seen this before (0, Redundant)

CPNABEND (742114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998049)

"Nice college you have here - It would be a shame if something bad should happen here..."

I promise not to sue... (1)

arthurh3535 (447288) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998053)

...with all this detailed, logged and tracked information on our over-priced and bloated money laundering scheme!

M$music (0, Flamebait)

ITEric (1392795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998059)

I'm reminded of the Windows strategy...

Convince the manufacturer to pay for and install Windows - the manufacturer charges customers for Windows who would otherwise never use it - customers figure "I paid for it, why not use it?"

Convince the college to pay for unlimited access to the music - the college collects money from students who would otherwise never download the music - students figure "I paid for it, why not download it!"

Does M$ not have a patent on this business model?:P

Definition of extortion (4, Insightful)

iphayd (170761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998073)

Umm, so the record industry doesn't actually make it legal for the students to share the music, they just require their cut and they promise not to sue.

I hope someone more qualified than myself takes this up because they are trying to extort money from the universities in what appears to me to be a very literal definition of the term.

Extort Much? (1)

Tman158 (1395541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998083)

The mob use a business model similar to this. Make people pay them money or they cost you far more in damages. Worked really well for the mob, not so great for the people they extorted. [] "Making a threat of violence or a lawsuit which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence or lawsuit is sufficient to commit the offense."

What about after University / What about Ruckus (3, Insightful)

averyfisher (1062070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998097)

What happens to the file-swapper after they graduate? Their identity is compromised, their activities documented, and they would be ripe for a lawsuit after graduation, no?

Why not allow service providers to perform this service and actually grant a license? I have unfettered access to through my university e-mail, and that works just fine more me.

Re:What about after University / What about Ruckus (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998585)

Well for one thing, Ruckus only works on Windoze. I tried to sign up last year only to discover that they only have a Windoze client and, IIRC, everything's got DRM.

The mafia does something like this. (3, Interesting)

detox.method() (1413497) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998179)

Only it's called "Paying protection money," and it is illegal.

Not such a horrible idea... (1)

technienerd (1121385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998205)

but I'd rather have universities host a music service for their students. I live in Canada so I'm immune to the RIAA (for now, the equivalent Canadian entity make come to bite us soon enough), but I wouldn't mind an extra $100 fee on top of tuition for unlimited access to legal 256kbps+ DRM free music. That comes out to be $25/month, which is less than what I pay for music per month anyway.

Re:Not such a horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998737)

I sure hope you're not a math major.

Wouldn't it be easier to just sell music? (4, Funny)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998235)

Seriously...why don't they just sell music online for *reasonable* prices, and screwing around with licenses/DRM. Standard copyright issues would apply (i.e., if you want to make money off someone else's work, you need to cut a deal with the copyright owner), but otherwise, just make it really easy and cheap to buy music.

If they could just do that, I'd actually be buying music - right now I only bother with stuff I can download (legally) for free. Buying mainstream music online these days is generally expensive and/or involves too much hassle/DRM - and the music isn't convincing enough for me to go through all that. I guess I'm just too poor and lazy.

Pipe Dream (1)

Not_A_Jew (1363015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998245)

I took a look at the slides on the full story. This ought to be good for a chuckle. One of the stated goals of the program is to "Avoid technological requirements that might impact our networks or hinder innovation." Isn't that nice, an industry which has crusaded against the Internet suddenly taking an interest in our connection speeds?
How do they propose to accomplish this? Lotsa fun ways:
"* Institutions make a reasonable effort to estimate the number of downloads per song
o Might monitor traffic through a cache"
Hold the phone. What about not impeding technology? It gets better, gang.
"o Determined by the campus
o Experimentation encouraged"
Doesn't that sound like a fun way to lose your geek card -- shilling for Warner Media Group? I thought so.
Last comment from me, on the remarks from WMG slide: "* We've started a non-profit company to be clear we intend to operate with good intentions and not profit as a motive." He also has a bridge to sell us.

Not a Jew

This is a good thing! (1)

phr00t2000 (1424287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998273)

I work at the University of Massachusetts.

I had a conference call with Warner today about this very subject.

This is a good thing. This is just what the EFF wanted: []

Now we have a chance to make this a reality, and you guys are shooting it down?

This "music tax" is a fair way for artists and distributors to get paid while letting people listen and share music however they want. No DRM. You get to keep the music after you leave the university. Use any file sharing network you want.

It would only cost $2 to $10 a month (still in the works, they want our input)... what more do you guys want? This is a huge improvement over the current choice of DRM vs. a lawsuit.

Warner wants to work with the Universities to help implement this... I spoke with them directly this morning, and I really believe Warner is trying to do good with this system. Please, let us give them a chance to do something right. This isn't just Warner pressing some evil tax on the Universities, it is just a pilot to let file sharing thrive without limitations.

I hope this program succeeds, I truly do.

Affordable and yet... (4, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998553)

It would only cost $2 to $10 a month (still in the works, they want our input)... what more do you guys want?

I have to say this sounds a lot to me like a person who is very frugal going out to dinner with a bunch of other people who order extravagant food options and then having someone want to split the bill at the end.

I mostly don't listen to music. $2 to $10 per month is $25-$125/yr or $100-$500 over the course of a four year college. That's about $90 to $490 more than I would have paid if buying a la carte every piece of music I wanted to buy. That's money I could have spent on things that matter to me.

Will you be as excited about anteing up $2 to $10 per month to cover some routine cost that I pay for and that bores you to tears, just to bring my price down?

To employ a musical reference, does the phrase "tyrrany of the majority" ring any bells?

Tell me why it isn't just fair that people should pay for what they use?

Re:Affordable and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998645)

When I get coffee at Tully's (a better Starbucks clone) I noticed they have a BMI ASCAP SESAC sticker on their window which means they give a percentage of their revenue to those agencies because they play music. Now I just walk in or drive in and grab my coffee and go. I don't want to hear music playing at Tully's. What should I do? Ask for a discount on my coffee since a percentage of revenue is going to something I could care less about?

Re:Affordable and yet... (1)

phr00t2000 (1424287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998653)

There exists something called an "Activities Fee" at our university: []

e.g. "various agencies providing services and activities for students"

When you go to college, you pay fees for a ton of things you probably don't use already. Do you think you will use 200 of those RSOs? Probably not. Adding the (very small) collective licensing fee would probably be used much more often than RSOs #78-126.

Bottom line is, you already pay for a ton of things you don't use. Collective licensing -- everyone who wants music could benefit from.

Re:This is a good thing! (1)

registrar (1220876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998745)

This is a good thing.

No it isn't and if the EFF wanted it, the EFF were wrong too.

The EFF proposal is pretty thin on details: it skates over the crucial issue of how monopoly abuses would be avoided. It is theoretically possible to have such an arrangement, but why would anyone trust Warner to administer it, when they are busy abusing their oligopoly position at the moment?

If I see evidence of Warner speaking out against the abuses of the RIAA then I might consider trusting them.

Oh, and nothing personal, but your story doesn't fill me with trust... Big Business ABC persuading one university IT admin that XYZ is a good idea? Sounds like a recipe for a disaster. You need to show a /lot/ of your working or I assume you're either a sock puppet or yet another lousy administrator. Unfortunately those hypotheses are rather more consistent with the observed facts than is the notion that Warner has started being fair-minded!

This isn't a music 'tax' (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998281)

Any sensible person would see this as extortion.

Yeah, your cheque's in the mail (5, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998283)

The last time somebody did a full-scale audit on one of the record companies, they found that they'd underpaid royalties to over 90% of the artists under contract to them. The idea that this pack of thieves could be trusted within a hundred miles of anybody's money is ludicrous.

The difference between a license and covenant... (1)

MunchMunch (670504) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998293)

It's a very odd stance for Warner to take to say they can have a "covenant not to sue" and not have a license. Any such covenant, if a university were to take it seriously, would have to be in contract form. And any contract signed that quid pro quo allowed sharing in exchange for a binding promise not to sue for a definite period is essentially a license in every relevant respect. (Well, almost--there would be some chance that after the "covenant" ends, Warner could theoretically sue for the infringement that had been taking place that whole time, since it wasn't technically licensed, but I doubt a court would allow such a thing, or Universities would agree to such a covenant if the language made that a possibility.)


I think Warner's odd choice of words might have something to do with the fact that the RIAA has consistently refused to even consider seriously a flat ISP tax system. I just wonder if calling it a "covenant not to sue" will be a two-way street, and by not just calling it a license, Warner may just make it too unappealing and uncertain of an arrangement for universities.

No taxation without representation. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998295)

Time for the colonies to revolt

Any university with a law school.... (3, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998343)

Should be able to draft an epic "get bent" letter in response to this proposal.


Blank Tape Tax (1) (745855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998347)

Not unlike the blank tape tax of the 80's.

I laugh at the whole debate. When you stop investing in crafting the artists of tomorrow and instead center your model around being a distribution machine, don't be shocked when the internet figures out a better way to distribute your property.

Music labels are dead. They don't control the artists. They don't control access to the masses. They have no traits that would let them survive in the future.

[For the youngsters reading this, yes, there was a blank tape tax that the music industry was able to get passed that did the same thing on cassette tapes. Cassette tapes were after 8-tracks and before CD's. The were around vinyl, but you could play them in your car.]

Re:Blank Tape Tax (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998397)

Music labels are dead. They don't control the artists. They don't control access to the masses.

I don't think we're quite there yet. If the labels were dead, would we even know who brittany spears or kanye west are?

They have no traits that would let them survive in the future.

I hope you're right, but I'm not going to bet on it.


On a related note: College Tuition unaffordable (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998355)

Study: College Tuition Increasingly Unaffordable []

Back in the United States, a new report shows college tuition is becoming increasingly unaffordable for most Americans. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education says college tuition and fees have increased by 439 percent since 1982. The cost of attending a four-year public university now amounts to 28 percent of the median family income, while a four-year private university would account for 76 percent. The Centerâ(TM)s president, Patrick Callan, said, âoeIf we go on this way for another twenty-five years, we wonâ(TM)t have an affordable system of higher education.â

Re:On a related note: College Tuition unaffordable (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998597)

Funny thing. That article says that poor college students get lesser grants than rich ones. In my experience the opposite is true: those universities that have money to give give it all away in need-based grants instead of nepotism or merit scholarships.

Warners will owe the money, not the unis..... (1)

scurvyj (1158787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998373)

Can the uni's not band together and sue Warners into the ground and wipe them out?

The uni's have a guaranteed eternal revenue stream - Warners et al are on borrowed time and haemmoraging slowly to death.

Haven't they got enough? (1)

rmcnam (828833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998405)

They say they "promise to distribute the proceeds fairly", but they haven't been doing that with royalties from other digital sources (the Youtube deal etc). Why should we give them more?

Re:Haven't they got enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998527)

"Fairly": half to the LEFT pocket, half to the RIGHT Pocket; ( or do I mean half to the DEMICANS and half to the REPUBLICRATS?!)

CAPTCHA == "privies"

mafiaa (3, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998477)

"Nice university you got there. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it."

I'm not in college but maybe I need friends there? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998545)

I needs to get me some free musik, two! [sic]

hey, since they are proposing that college kids get a free ride on pirating, hey, I want in on that, too! but I'm not in school anymore ;( maybe its ok that I can do a disk copy of their 'legal' mp3's? do you think that would be ok? I won't tell anyone, I promise. scouts honor.

getting serious - this is absurd that anyone would even consider 'hush money' at the university level.

a new low in the mafiaa's tactics.

Safe harbor (1)

davburns (49244) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998635)

The DMCA already has a "Safe Harbor" clause. So... the RIAA is only promising to not sue Universities that capitulate, when the law already explicitly says they have no case? Or, did they mean they won't sue the students? (But would require spying on them, which would seem to be a violation of FERPA.)

Even if it were a blanket license to share (which isn't clear in the summary or TFA), that would only seem to help the universities not have to deal with as many DMCA requests -- but they still have to deal with a lot more record-keeping and money-shuffling.

For students, it would seem to be nice to have the option of getting a blanket license (or get-out-of-DMCA-free card); but as many have entertainment budgets in the single-$/week range, that might not be what most would want. (And... just how much does this cost, anyway? cheaper than 1 CD/month for each student? I doubt it...)

Who the hell are these Warner clowns (1)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998687)

and when did they get the arrogance to dictate Tax policy? BTW instead of "sharing" music, isn't it easier to just go to a site like and get it for free?

Great Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25998717)

Sounds like a great idea as long as everyone is fair. You know the money goes to the artist. The system is not abused. There is a viable way to prove how much p2p goes on in the university. The music industry should also make all of their music available for easy downloading since that will get paid for in the end anyway.

Yep probably not going to happen.

How about a giant pool of death? (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25998723)

And every time the recording industry proposes something like this, they can take a nice bath in in it.

Every single one of those fuckers needs to be put to death. They're wasting oxygen, fuel, and food the valuable parts of the species could be consuming.

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