This is from Gerd Leonhard's 2009 book The End of Control. Leonhard is a media futurist and writer. He discusses how the record industry has attempted to control their product but ultimately failed. The music industry must admit to what is happening and let go of there old economy business models and belief that content is king. They must accept it fast as the longer the wait the more they have to lose. Advances in technology such as memory sticks, iPhones, wireless hard drives / music players have made file sharing easier and easier and its popularity will grow exponentially. Record companies must embrace the end of distribution control and stop harassing their customers with lawsuits and threats. They must move to a service based model.
Leonhard proposes blanket licensing as the best solution. Existing public performance blanket licenses given by collectives are easy to get and make economic sense. The system is straightforward and benefits performers and artists but a new method will be needed for the internet. A blanket scenario would work best and he likens music to commodities such as water or electricity in that everyone should be a legal user. However, it is important to recognize in any discussion that music can be consumed unlimitedly, thus in determining the appropriate fee, TV is provided as an example. Flat rates could be connected to service or other methods.
The article's most interesting topic is its emphasis placed on control. Music companies still hope to maintain control of their product which does not make sense considering how uncontrollable it is. The movement of data has become so commonplace that controlling it seems almost ridiculous. Record companies have no other choice; they should strongly consider the prospects of blanket licenses. Flat rate licensing would work better as it would get money to creators who are not being served properly by the groups trying to represent them. I think this is probably the reason voluntary collective licensing has still not hit the mainstream. Middlemen like record companies realize their role will be diminished in a world where artists can provide their product directly to their fans.
tagged blanket_licensing choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing fisher free_music isp_licensing leonhard licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09
This is a New York Times article written by Eric Pfanner in January 2009. It discusses a proposal by the Isle Of Man to test voluntary collective licensing. For $1.38 a month, the eighty thousand residents, who all have broadband access, would be able to download unlimited amounts of music. A fee would be collected by the ISP. The music industry estimates that currently 95% of tracks distributed online are pirated and this is a potential solution offered by the Isle.
The article discusses European perspectives on the issue and they do appear to be farther along than the U.S. A similar proposal made it Parliament in France, but it was eventually rejected after a fierce battle by copyright holders. Currently European countries seem more interested in the idea of holding ISPs responsible for illegal downloading on their networks. They have also proposed ideas including a 3 strikes your out rule and the banning of individuals from broadband access. While these idea are taking shape in the U.S., it seems unreasonable to hold ISPs responsible for reporting their customers actions. It also could create competitive advantages for those ISPs who refuse to participate and also distrust in them in general. Similar to phone tapping under the Patriot Act, it impedes on individuals freedom without the concerns of national security. It seems to be another example of the record companies alienating their own customers and building ill will and holding onto their past control ideals vs. adjusting to the future and the fact that file sharing is here to stay.
tagged blanket_licensing choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing fisher free_music isle_of_man isp_licensing licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09
This is Chapter 6: An Alternative Compensation System from William Fisher III's 2004 book Promises to Keep. Mr. Fisher is the Hale and Dorr Professor of IP Law at Harvard and Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. This is a very comprehensive discussion of the creation of a governmentally administered reward system for music and movie file sharing. Its basic premise is musicians or filmmakers would register their work with the copyright office and be given a unique identifier that would be used to track downloads of their work. The government would enact taxes which would be used to create a central fund. Using techniques created by television rating agencies, performing rights organizations, etc. the government would determine what frequency the work was used. The artist would then receive their royalty payment. The benefits would be consumers would pay less for more entertainment and artist would receive their fair share. Distribution companies would largely become obsolete over the long run. Society at large would benefit with less litigation and transaction costs.
The chapter goes on in detail to explain the various components of the plan. It also performs a deep analysis into revenue sources to determine the financial impact of the system. In the end, Mr. Fisher determines a tax of approximately $27 per year per household would make the system work. Concerns with this do exist such as consumers potentially supporting music they are morally or ethically opposed to. Another funding source could be taxes on the goods and services that are used to gain access to the media. Items such as ISPs, mp3 players, etc. are all explored and in the end an approximately tax of 12% is calculated as being appropriate. This is very deep and thoughtful analysis on what the actual numbers are that is helpful in pushing the discussion of voluntary collective licensing forward.
The chapter raises very important issues about voluntary collective licensing including derivative works, artists gaming the system, the inadequacy of the current copyright office, and how to create an appropriate sampling system. This is deep dive is essential to my research project as it peels back the surface to explore further ideas that will have to be confronted as the method moves forward. While a required government tax may face strong opposition, the idea of taxing devices is logical. My other concern with this strategy is the involvement of the government as the EFF plan to have non-profit collectives seems more in-line with letting the market do its work in maintaining innovation and efficiency.
tagged choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing fisher free_music isp_licensing licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09