Pro vs. Con On File Sharing And Compulsory Licensing

from the good-or-bad dept

Salon has decided to set up a little debate between someone who says that file sharing is bad and the EFF’s compulsory licensing plan is worse and (of course) someone from the EFF who repeats their pro compulsory licensing response. The first piece has its problems. It’s not as bad articles that just call everyone thieves, but it’s not great either. It says that anyone who thinks file sharing should be legal needs to lay out an alternative so that we can “collectively” decide which system “we” prefer. Except the world doesn’t work that way. It’s not an either/or sort of decision. The markets decide as we go – and markets are constantly changing. In this case, the market is speaking volumes about wanting free, unrestricted music. However, his specific complaints with compulsory licensing do make sense. I’m not a fan of compulsory licensing as I think it’s the wrong approach, and is something that sounds good on paper, but will be dreadful in practice. Any time you make something “compulsory” there are going to be huge problems associated with “fairness”. I still think that the market is going to solve this problem by itself, when people begin to realize that free music is one of the greatest promotional tools around. The only issue, really, is how complicated is the established music industry going to make life for all of us while this plays itself out. They would have been the perfect ones to embrace this vision, but now it will be up to others.

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