EFF's Plan For File Sharing

from the a-step-closer-to-nowhere dept

There’s been lots of coverage on the EFF’s plan for a business model around file sharing, so I’ve been waiting a bit before commenting. The plan has certainly worked out some of the problems with their earlier proposals. Basically, they’re advocating a set up where file sharing is allowed at a reasonable ($5) per month fee, perhaps paid directly to the ISP. The money then gets divided up based on what songs are most popular. It certainly does not answer all questions, and you can be sure that people would try to game such a system if it did catch on. However, it is a lot more reasonable than many other proposals out there. It would leverage the benefits of file sharing (distributed files, letting everyone participate), and focuses on having the fee for the service of connecting everyone – not the content itself. It’s a perfectly reasonable business model, but the RIAA will have none of it. They’re still insisting (despite plenty of evidence to the contrary) that they’re winning the war, and the future of music is $1/track downloads – which shows just how much they misunderstand this market. In the meantime, though, they run the risk of looking bad not just to consumers (who already are upset with the industry), but with policy makers. Here comes a proposal that’s at least worth talking about (and, in fact, they’re being told to go talk about it), but they’re basically refusing to even discuss it. Instead, their responses to the plan show that they’d rather shoot themselves in the foot than adopt a model that will take them much farther. Not really a surprise. It just would be nice if they would stop congratulating themselves for suing kids who want to listen to music and start looking at what’s really happening. It’s like a really bad horror movie with all of us out in the audience yelling at them not to open that door, but there they go, smiling all the way…

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