RIAA Now Open To 'You Must Be A Criminal' Tax On ISP Fees

from the not-the-answer dept

This certainly isn't the first time it's been proposed, but it appears that the RIAA is potentially warming up to the idea of a "music surcharge" that would have ISPs pay $5/month in order to allow anyone to share music online. Just a month ago, we were discussing why this is a bad idea. First, it's effectively treating everyone as a criminal, and forcing those who don't download or share music to subsidize everyone who does. Second, and much more importantly, it's not necessary. If there's anything that the past five years (and the past year especially) has taught us, it's that there are many different ways for musicians to make money without requiring the government to step in and set up a business model for them. In other words, there's no compelling need for such a mandated system. Third, once you do this, it opens up additional questions from other industries. Will the government need to set up laws that prop up their business models as well?

Some people are comparing this new RIAA proposal to the one that the EFF proposed four years ago. However, that one was quite different, in that it was a voluntary licensing system, rather than a mandatory one. In that system, anyone who wanted to could voluntarily pay $5/month to have free reign to share and download music. This new proposal would mandate that ISPs pay the fee (meaning that ISPs would quickly pass the costs on to everyone). That's quite different. It also might be a different story if ISPs voluntarily offered this as a feature for customers -- where they would license the music so anyone could freely share it. That's a case where the ISP would effectively be paying for the creation of music and using its free nature as a promotional good for its service. However, that rationale goes away if it's mandatory. So, while it's nice that the RIAA has woken up (about a decade too late) to the idea that new business models are needed, this proposal isn't a very good idea.

Filed Under: copyright, isps, levy, mandatory, music, riaa
Companies: riaa


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  1. identicon
    jersey, 16 Mar 2008 @ 11:37pm

    RIAA and ISP's

    i always thought that a monthly fee of $5 or $10 bucks a month to each customer would be a reasonable price to pay for the right to trade and download music. but now i am not so sure. it looks like the RIAA has another trick up their sleeves and $5 bucks would be the entry level for higher fees once the whole deal became popular. what about movies? even though most people probably don't want to download movies, the movie industry would want to get their pound of flesh(cash)too as many here have mentioned. eventually, the price of an ISP might become very high. since ISP's don't offer ala carte choices, a serious problem with cost to the customers would occur, pricing many many people out. this is definitely a sticky issue.

    what it all boils down to is that the RIAA is finally paying for their stupidity and greed after overcharging for their crappy CD's all of these years. file sharing will get easier with time and the RIAA knows it. they just don't have enough good artists under contract anymore to keep making music people actually want. what a shame. and the more the RIAA sues the little guys out there, the worse the RIAA looks. the RIAA is probably the most hated organization in the USA and even the judges who get the cases from these leaches hate the RIAA for their evil way of suing the average american.

    it will be interesting to see where downloading music files goes, but one thing is certain, file sharing is here to stay and as ISP speeds get faster and faster, it will be harder and harder to track "illegal" downloading. the system will eventually overwhelm the RIAA and they will collapse as the artists leave the record labels and go independant which is what is happening big time right now. too bad, the RIAA will be gone and we won't even knwo it as they fade into nothingness. asta la vista RIAA. jersey

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