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EFF Proposes Simple Alternative for RIAA and P2P

Damon Tog (245418) writes | more than 6 years ago

Digital 2

Damon Tog (245418) writes "EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) proposes a $5/month, Non-DRM, all-you-can eat, digital buffet.

  • It's cheap.
  • It's easy.
  • Artists get paid.

Why not?"

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My views (1)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892063)

I actually read this plan a few days ago. I am not quite to fond of it. It will create an unshakable monopoly (where do all these $5 payments go to get processed?) without doing any good (paying the artists). The recording companies will still absorb all the profits and leave the artists with pocket change.

Instead of addressing the broken copyright system, this plan will ensure that the RIAA will have a steady income for an indefinite future (which, at the moment, I certainly don't think they deserve). What we need is for reform of copyright laws, not a plug for the leak - as this is no leak, it's a flood. Untill this happens, we need as many artists as possible to NOT deal with recording companies - especially the ones involved in the RIAA's slimy campaign against the innocent public. A good idea is to make sure that you own the copyright on your works. NEVER surrender your copyright to someone else.

Me and a few of my friends have started a band. We're excited about where we'll end up a year from now (or 5 years from now). We're always joking about being rich and famous, but whenever the news of the RIAA's latest atrocities against humanity rolls around, it is a slap of reality. I would much rather be overdue on my rent payments and living meal-to-meal then force someone else to be in the same situation - especially as a consequence of simply listening to music.

Not workable as-is, but still interesting (1)

OSPolicy (1154923) | more than 6 years ago | (#20894273)

>The money collected gets divided among rights-holders based on the popularity of their music.

So all I have to do is use an army of bots to appear to share my music and I get a big cut of this money? I can do that.

>A collective licensing regime for file-sharing can promise $3 billion in annual profits to the record labels--more than they've ever made.

No, that's $3B before payments to artists. Still good money, but it's not $3B profit.

>How do we get filesharers to pay up? That's where the market comes in -- those who today are under legal threat will have ample incentive to opt for a simple $5 per month fee.

Not likely. Right now, RIAA shoots anything that moves. If it downloads, it's a pirate. However, under the proposed model, they aren't going to be able to distinguish legit users from the pirates. Knowing that, existing pirates will continue pirating; and people for whom the threat of legal action is currently a deterrent will realize that RIAA can no longer tell friend from foe so they will become pirates. So the market forces in play here will increase piracy, not decrease it.

>Broadband deployment gets a real boost as the "killer app"--music file sharing--is made legitimate.

No, broadband *demand* gets a boost. This proposal does not channel any new money to broadband providers, so their budget for broadband *deployment* remains static. And to the extent that this makes things worse in the "last mile," which is where it will hit hardest and where it is most difficult to mitigate, broadband actually gets worse.

>a collective licensing solution will depend on a single collecting society... The entity... should strive to keep its administrative costs to a minimum.

Uh-huh. So the idea is to grant a monopoly and then rely on what to give them incentive to hold down admin costs? Competition? their intrinsic sense of fair play? the Tooth Fairy? That third thing seems the most workable of the three suggestions, I think.

>Artists and rights holders would have the choice to join the collecting society, and thereby collect their portion of the fees collected, or to remain outside the society and have no practical way to receive compensation for the file sharing that will inevitably continue.

This probably means that, if such a system were adopted, almost everyone would join. If this is the perfect solution then that's the right answer. It's worth noting, however, that if almost everyone buys into the system then this will have the effect of terminating innovation in the regulatory space. In fairness, there has been basically no such innovation so it's not clear that foreclosing future (possibly never-to-arrive) innovation is a big cost. However, we're in this situation because regulation did not anticipate and properly handle p2p and it would be ironic if we responded by setting in stone a system that failed to anticipate the Next Big Thing.

>The complexity of music industry contracts and history make it very difficult for record labels and music publishers to be sure what rights they control.

That complexity also makes the division of money very difficult or perhaps impossible. For each work, there are several rights in play. Given two rights X and Y, is X always equal in value to Y? Is it sometimes the case that 10X=Y and other times that X=10Y? And EFF is saying that the various stakeholders don't even know for sure "what rights they control." So who gets paid when two parties both claim a particular right?

>As for file sharers in other countries, there is every reason to believe that if a collective licensing approach is successful in the U.S., it will receive a warm welcome and enthusiastic imitation abroad.

"Every reason to believe"?? Start by naming one reason to believe. In Canada, for example, there is a legal theory gaining traction with regulators and the courts that file downloading is legal as long as the file is burned onto a CD. (Basic idea: CD manufacturers pay the Canadian version of RIAA a share of every blank disk sold to compensate them for presumed use of CD blanks to steal songs; now courts are starting to regard that as payment for the songs and saying that if downloaded songs are stored on CD then they've been paid for and there is no theft. We'll see how far they can ride that pony.) So there is a legal school of thought among Canadians that they're already allowed to download for some purposes. So try saying this out loud without laughing: "There is every reason to believe that Canadians will give a warm welcome to the opportunity to pay again for something for which they have already paid."

EFF is a bunch of smart guys and their proposal has some merit. It's a fine place to begin a wider discussion. But it's not yet ready for prime time.
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