News You Could Do Without

by Mike Masnick

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


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.

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  1. icon
    MadJo (profile), 14 Mar 2008 @ 2:45am

    You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    shoplifters causes prices in stores to increase.

    But indeed, copyright infringement is not theft. :) The RIAA should just see these shared music tracks as promotion for the bands of their members.

    In the past, I have thought that this would be a good idea, but I'm not so sure any more. What you are saying makes perfect sense to me. A voluntary system sounds indeed better.

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  2. identicon
    SteveD, 14 Mar 2008 @ 3:46am

    Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    That’s not a tax, it’s just an added distribution cost no different from lost CDs being lost or damaged before they reach the store.

    There can be any number of distribution issues that can drive up the cost to the customer, but those sorts of costs revolve around recovering costs from wasted production or investment. It comes back to the differences between normal property and intellectual property; when you steal physical property from a store they loose money because they can't sell that property to someone else. When you steal intellectual property you’re instead denying them a potential sale, which is different.

    A better comparison might be the VCR in France, which (I think) had an extra tax on the cassettes to compensate production companies for home-recording.

    But it seems that the worlds recording industry seems intent on forcing ISPs to regulate the internet in some manner. How will Governments respond with powerful corporate lobbies on one side and public liberty on the other?

    The IP war looms…

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  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 3:55am

    FINE, Just allow them to raise their prices like everyone does - Ah, But then that means more will be less likly to buy CDs, If My ISP charges me this tax, I'll disco my internet, Plain and simple - This is BULLSHIT

    FU RIAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Twinrova, 14 Mar 2008 @ 3:57am

    Hold on just a second...

    If the MPAA gets on board with this, the idea may not be that bad, actually. Of course, the objections would come from pay-per-song download sites, like Apple's iTunes.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but what I'm seeing is "Pay $5/mo and download as many songs (movies?) as you'd like!" as opposed to "I'm suing your children for file sharing" and that's something to really think about.

    IF (big one here) these funds go to the artists as RIAA says it does, I'm actually open to having my cable bill go up $5/mo.

    Because the next step would be to download a P2P program and start hogging up tons of songs I've been wanting.

    It sure as hell beats paying $0.99 per song!!! And EVERY consumer would see this as an advantage and wouldn't mind a $5 charge (especially if it gets people like me to download when we usually don't).

    But I've a feeling this isn't what RIAA's intentions are. Given how idiotic these people are, it seems the $5/mo will be in addition to charges at online stores and the lawsuits will continue.

    I fully understand that artists need to be compensated for their works but I absolutely abhor the music industry for screwing up the "math" for these artists.

    Back in the CD days, it was believed that artists received less than 20% per CD sale. I don't believe the 80% should have gone to the industry simply because they need to spend on advertising and push crap artists to the radio.

    I've found more artists I enjoy online that I have on the radio these days. Thanks to many free mp3 websites, it's amazing the music people do make.

    Which brings me to one more point: How in the world can the music industry try to sustain EVERY SINGLE ARTIST out there? It can't! Especially with the prices they're charging consumers for songs!

    I guess it's more important to support a drunk, child-ignoring, crotch-shot showing, SUV beating singer than it is to support a group no one's ever heard of because they lack radio play.


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  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:09am

    ok, charge this to me and I start downloading all my music online and consider the Fee my payment - Dumb arsse fawkers!

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  6. identicon
    eleete, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:36am

    For Poor Artists

    I'm sure that that tax goes straight to the artists right ? and when MPAA gets on board the tax will be even higher as it costs more to produce a movie, and of course the majority will go to the artists not the associations right? Riiiiiighttt.

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  7. identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:40am

    Re: For Poor Artists

    Apparently the RIAA is bad at distributing it's booty to the artists. It would be interesting to see the artists sue them from the other end for their cut.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    mediaempyre, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:53am

    None of that $5 per month will go to any artist ever! It will only go directly to the coffers of the music companies and by that I mean the executives at the top.

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  9. identicon
    Astrid, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:01am

    The biggest problem with this idiotic plan is that once the government steps in, they never leave, and it would take the strong arm of government to get this $5 a head booty call tax initiated on behalf of the RIAA.

    Remember that when the government comes to visit, they never stay in a hotel, offer to chip in for gas or bother to pay for any of those porno movies they downloaded to your DVR. And forget about the international phone calls they rang up in your name, on your calling card. IMHO the RIAA is slurping up slop out of the same pig trough as any government agency with the ability to order and collect taxes and fees. I say it's time for another tea party in Boston.

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  10. identicon
    dag, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:18am


    When Napster came out, I thought it was a really cool thing. I was at a start-up company at the time. The big attraction wasn't that you could get free music. It was that you could get any song you could think of. We would come up with all kinds of songs, trying to find one that would not be there. The Angel's second album, 'Down in the Boondocks', Andy Griffiths football routine. I use to buy 3-10 cd's a check, but quit that when they forced Napster to go buy buy. I still enjoy music, but I have not downloaded a single song, except one free one from iTunes. I use to go to the library, check out 15 cd's and take them home and rip them. Now most libraries have wifi, so I take my laptop there a couple times a year, and just rip everything. I do buy used CD's still. Last xmas, I was given a giftcard to borders, and there was no new books I wanted, so I picked up a ramones DVD and a gene Krupa CD, so I had that little slip too.

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  11. identicon
    Astrid, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:19am

    Another point

    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?

    Your comment reminded me of the travel industry reps who were bawling in front of Congress after 911, demanding the same kind of taxpayer prop-ups and bailouts that the airline industry was asking for.

    I remember thinking about how these travel agency bitches wouldn't give me the time of day to process a $400 airline voucher in the months before 911. It took about 2 minutes for the Delta employee at the airport to print out what I wanted, which was an airline ticket, with an itinerary and flight numbers I'd already chosen online.

    All I heard from all the travel nazis I called was whining about how I would have to make an appointment, and it would take a couple of hours, and I'd have to pay a service fee of at least $50. Yeah. Asta la vista, unnecessary travel agents. You're about as useful as the RIAA and their demand to be subsidized at the tune of $5 a month at the expense of every internet user in America.

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  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:26am

    Hey Grandma - I know you only use your internet to check email and it already costs you more than you can afford to do that - We're going to charge you more money for downloading music you never have and never will download - I am so damn sick and tired of exec and corps in this world RIPPING EVERYONE OFF! If I see this turd in the street, I'll land one where it hurts and stuff a $5 bill down his throat - Here, This is your kick in the balls Fee fucktard!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    MadJo (profile), 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    I was talking about actual shoplifting, shops hike prices for that. But that's getting beside the point now.

    Here in many European countries we pay an extra levy on blank media. On CDs, cassettes, DVDs, video tapes, MiniDV tapes etc. On all of those we pay a levy, and for us downloading is legal (though BREIN in NL does try to make it seem not to be that way). It's the uploading that's illegal here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Jeffry Houser (profile), 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:38am

    You often make the mistake...

    You often make the mistake of confusing the "record industry / RIAA" with "musicians". Yes, there are plenty of ways for musicians to create a profitable business by giving away music for free. ( One could argue that major label contracts have forced musicians to give away music for free long before the original Napster was conceived ).

    However, the recording industry is in the business of making and selling records. They don't usually get a piece of the band's concerts, T-shirt, songwriting royalties, or other related merchandise. I'm not surprised they are scared by giving away their only product.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:50am

    Beware 'voluntary'

    Mike, I'd look closely wherever you've seen the term 'voluntary' used. This usually means that musicians aren't forced to have their music licenced this way. It doens't mean that the poor ISP using punter isn't forced to cough up the levy/license fee, i.e. in such schemes it's usually compulsory for all ISPs to apply this levy (otherwise the system ain't going to fly).

    I suggest people pick wisely from the following ways artists can be compensated:
    1) Suspension of liberty and natural IP rights to privilege publishers.
    2) Taxation or compulsory levy to compensate publishers for free public use.
    3) Exchange of art for money from the artist's audience in a free and fair market (without compulsion or monopolies such as copyright).

    The people who really know how to exchange digital works in a free market (software engineers) are way ahead of everyone else. Free as in speech, not as in beer. You want more and better GPL software? Pay for it. Feel free to sell your own improvements. No-one has a monopoly on GPL software.

    The idea that suspending the public's liberty to free cultural exchange was a great way to promote culture is just the sort of unenlightened claptrap people would be persuaded to tolerate 300 years ago when slavery was fashionable.

    The alternative of taxing the people for the benefit of poor publishers who've realised their monopolies are dissolving before their eyes, is similarly unenlightened and grievously corrupt.

    Follow the money. In whose houses do marble floors get laid?

    Let audience and artist deal direct, just as in any other equitable trading relationship since time immemorial.

    Art for money, money for art.

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  16. identicon
    Hellsvilla, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:51am

    None of it can be accepted

    No single industry is going to forgo their "rights" to tax consumers as long as another industry is non-competitively taxing consumers.

    For instance: RIAA manages to get ISP's to pay 5$/month "protection" money for each account. What's the MPAA getting? Well, here comes another 10$/month charge for that.

    Now, that's just entertainment. What about the BSA? They have even more ridiculous claims of lost profits, so of course, they'll be wanting 25$/month.

    Who'd come after that? Who knows, but someone will. Look at the prospective "entitlement" you'd be setting up for them with such a "protection" scam. It must be made clear that this is not an appropriate direction to head into.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Paul, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:57am

    in the wake of NIN...

    In the wake of NIN grossing over 1.6 million dollars in revenue from his music, I'm a bit surprised by this. How can the RIAA justify this? Why can't someone point out to the government how useless they are and that they aren't needed? I mean, its a blatant fact at this point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Derek (profile), 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:04am


    So, my ISP pays 5/month for me to subsidize music that I have stolen(and that cost is passed to me). Therefore I have subsidized the industry and can steal all I would ever want without having to worry about being caught? Now, I am sure they would not let that fly, but honestly, what are people going to think? If I was a heavy downloader, I would feel "well, i guess i can download heavily, cause I'm paying for it now".

    If the record industry wants to see its profits drop into the single digits (Billions), then it should enact this plan.

    Plus, i am no legal expert, but the record label has accepted a subsidy for the stolen music, so case closed. After you accept a subsidy are you going to go back and sue because you say it was not enough? Highly unlikely, you will raise the rates, so $10/month... then $20/month...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:18am

    The $5 a month is actually $3.00 a month AT&T Monitoring fees, $2 a month to the artists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Jordan, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:19am

    I would pay $5 per month

    If this ends up as a voluntary thing, I would gladly pay $5 per month to protect my ass from the MAFIAA. However, if it only allows for sharing through a specific, ISP sponsored program or site, I would be opposed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Jean, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    About VCR's, I think you must be referring to the measure taken by the socialists by 1981, when they decided to reroute imported VCR's to Poitiers, under some administrative pretext, really in order to increase their cost. But that was just industrial protectionnism, it didn't have much to do with intellectual "property".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:29am

    Re: I would pay $5 per month

    For some reason that sounds like RICCO.

    If you pay us $5 a month for the rest of your life, we won't sue you for $250,000.

    Those guys in Los Angeles. Funny. And every time I go there, it's almost as if no one has a job. This is why.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:30am

    "license globale"

    That sounds like the "license globale", which was introduced by the French parliament as an amendment in 2006 before being repelled.
    In my view, it is far from perfect, exactly for the reasons mentionned by Mike, but it is probably the best that can be done by now, in the current political context.
    Think of the whole problem as a political one. Of course, there is a course of action better than any other in theory, but in practice, there is an old business model which simply won't be able to adapt and remains influent enough to force the government into very stupid things.
    In my view, the most important thing right now is that people are not put into jail for illegal downloading (as could legally happen in France), nor even fined absurd sums of money. Not that I support RIAA's new position, I just see it as an opportunity for compromise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Haywood, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:33am

    How long before value/$ is exceeded

    I pay roughly $50 for internet & local phone. I feel it to be worth that, and another $5 wouldn't change that. Another $25 would. I could go back to free dial-up, it would suck, but I could and would. The alternative would be to cut back elsewhere, it isn't as though there is a giant pile of money left over at the end of the month that this increase could come from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:39am

    I'm a musician who sells my own music (yes, I'm a poor musician). Is the RIAA going to give me a cut?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:41am


    >I'm a musician who sells my own music (yes, I'm a poor
    > musician). Is the RIAA going to give me a cut?

    No. They have trouble paying artists as it is!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    They also build into the cost of cds $2.00 for a disposal fee if it doesn't sell.

    It's the most absurd, and expensive CD Shredder that exists. I imagine it's made of gold.

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  28. identicon
    William Johnson, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:48am

    U2's own manager is for this?

    Did anyone pick up on the U2 Manager Paul McGuinness quote in the article?

    "If ISPs do not cooperate voluntarily," McGuinness declared, "there will need to be legislation to force them to cooperate," McGuinness said.

    Time to burn the U2 Albums!

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  29. identicon
    Dan G, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:50am

    What about indie artists?

    I don't see how this tax thing makes any sense what so ever. For one thing, not every artist belongs to the labels who will be getting this money. If this is a "$5 all music is OK to download" tax, then how do indie artists get paid? If it's not all-encompassing, then what the heck is it good for?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Larissa Herda, 14 Mar 2008 @ 6:55am


    The $5 a month is actually $3.00 a month AT&T Monitoring fees, $2 a month to the artists.

    I wonder if Comcast said NO to the RIAA, and AT&T said YES and if that's why Comcast is now getting hit with Net Neutrality claims that AT&T was peddling.

    It changes the game if you can pay for your filtering system through a universal "music sharing tax".

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  31. identicon
    korrupt9187, 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:03am

    Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    I agree completely with your first statement, the record companies are finding new ways to make people pay for stealing music. The whole idea of thinking that P2P music sharing is okay and legitimate is ridiculous, it is common thievery, and you are an ignorant, conceited fool to try and convince yourself otherwise. Quit complaining when the record companies call you on it, and come up with ways to make up for their lost revenue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Wake up and smell the coffee, comrade, 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:11am


    I love it. "We're going to charge you $60.00 a year, (at least initally) for nothing extra than what you have right now."

    If the pizza delivery guy did that, I'd tell them to go fly a kite.

    But something leads me to believe that they are having no luck in suing people.. Maybe because the tactics are UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

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  33. identicon
    Canucklehead, 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:15am

    Who else wants $5 ?

    The movie industry would want $5, business software (esp. microsoft), video game industry. Why stop there? How about the casinos who lose visitors to online gaming?

    Where does it end ?

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  34. identicon
    John White, 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:22am

    Verizon optimzes P2P, sees 60% speed boost

    Verizon press release: Optimized P2P network? Throttles up P2P speeds? What?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Haywood, 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:36am

    Re: Verizon optimzes P2P, sees 60% speed boost

    Cool!! Don't forget, Verizon was the ISP that refused to give up users IDs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Overcast, 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:37am

    If they did - it would more or less be saying, "Ok, we're getting some money out of this, so download at will".

    But why do they even have to do that? Why don't they simply offer a service for a monthly fee for unlimited downloads? That model has proven to work - AOL proved it with internet users, cable has long proven that with movies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    David Griffin (profile), 14 Mar 2008 @ 7:56am

    Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    A better analogy would be "you pay more in a newsagent because of all the people who come in and read the newspapers then walk out without buying them".

    Except I don't think it would be true.

    Shoplifting costs real money - actual goods go missing (though the cost should be evaluated at replacent cost, not at selling price, which in the case of illegal downloads comes down to just the bit the artist would have got since no actual CD manuf or distribution were incurred)

    Illegal downloading only costs anyone a cent if you can prove that a real paid for music sale would have happened otherwise.

    It is a bit like a motorist accusing me of queue jumping when I cycle inside him in the rush hour. It's just sour grapes, because I didn't actually take his place or force him to arrive in work any later than he would have done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Hellsvilla, 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:10am

    Re: Verizon optimzes P2P, sees 60% speed boost

    Wrong. They are not "optimizing" P2P, they are attempting to "gain control" of P2P.

    P4P is not needed in any way shape or form. They will give all sorts of false pretenses in an attempt to control this P2P. And once they have this control...

    P4P is akin to BitTorrent, except it gives the ISP the ability to become the tracker to all clients. If the ISP is the tracker, then the ISP controls all, including rather "intimate" information about every clients activities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Lyons, 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:15am

    Now lets take it to the next step.

    As a creator of media and content, I am an artist whose work is often on a website or is a website itself. This gives be the ability to apply a surcharge to everyone in the nation.
    The RIAA is under the notion that no one uses the internet except for music sharing. This is the same thing as my saying my websites and artwork are the only reason people use the internet. I want a $1 surcharge on everyone in the nation. Now i understand that you may not know who i am but that is irrelevant.

    This would completely destroy individual rights and make the interests of a single entity the primary beneficiary of public good. This would be similar to passing a law for Bob. Who is Bob? Bob is a guy who wants the tax payers to buy him a pool.

    Who are the lawmakers in the pocket of the RIAA?

    Welcome to socialism folks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Careysub, 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:49am

    Business as Usual: RIAA Is Accustomed to Special T

    This proposal should be no surprise to anyone. The recording industry has become accustomed to having the government impose special taxes to provide it with revenue under the theory that these taxes compensate it for lost sales through piracy.

    See: USC Title 17, 1008 "Royalty Payments". This is a tax imposed on music CD-Rs, digital audio tapes, stand-alone CD recorders, and digital audio recorders. In 1998 the RIAA tried, but failed, to get special taxes imposed on MP3 players.

    Notice that these are taxes on *digital* devices. Analog technology (blank vinyl disks and vinyl recording devices, analog tape and recorders) never had these levies, and yet the industry survived.

    At the same time the industry has been obtaining access to tax revenues (originally under the theory that this was a trade-off for more liberal copyright restrictions) it has also been seeking, and getting, increasingly draconian revisions of copyright law.

    In all, the recording industry has had some success in using computer technology as a scare tactic to stampede congress into granting it immense new assets at the public's expense. Despite its great success in this copyright land rush, it is still crying proverty, hoping for even greater gains. Its lots easier than running a successful, adaptable business. The MP3 episode shows though, that these attempts can be resisted.

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  41. identicon
    Darryl, 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:49am

    Who else should get some "tax" money

    $5/m to the RIAA
    $5/m to the MPAA
    $5/m to NBC for the TV shows you download
    $5/m to ABC
    $5/m to CBS
    $5/m to FOX
    $5/m to Microsoft because you pirate Vista
    $5/m to Adobe for that extra copy of Photoshop
    $5/m to Google for using their search engine.
    $5/m to the newspapers because you are killing print.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    music non-DLer, 14 Mar 2008 @ 8:51am


    If they start adding this charge won't it then give those of us who don't DL music a reason to start doing so? If I am going to be forced to pay a music download fee I am sure as hell going to start loading up as much music as my drives can hold.

    The ISPs are not going to eat that cost they are going to pass it off the the end users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:10am

    Re: Impetus

    "I am sure as hell going to start loading up as much music as my drives can hold. "

    I was going to say the same exact thing. I don't presently download now (at least any more) but if this passes than I'm going to see just how much music fits into 255G.

    Plus I'll be telling everyone to download all they want. (even grandma) It's not like the RIAA will be coming after them any more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Rick Sarvas, 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:17am

    So, where would you get the music from?

    My question for this is: download from who? I don't recall seeing that this would allow you to share music, just download it, so where would you get it from? Would the record companies give up and allow people to download whatever content they want for any source, like P2P? I think not. That would be giving up way too much control. Besides, how could you tell what P2P user paid the tax and who did not? How do you think the music distributors and retailers would react to this?

    What I think would happen if this were made a requirement is that the "tax" would allow you to use some poorly designed service offering a limited selection of DRMed music - much like the music service forced on some universities today. In this way if you stop paying the tax, you will be given the option of either "buying" the music you downloaded (rented) or having your music collection stop working. Some deal that is. Besides, even if you were allowed to do an "unlimited" amount of music downloads and they never did expire, I'm sure there would be some sort small print in the service TOS as to just how limited "unlimited" really is.

    Sorry, but I just don't see this ever working in a way that wouldn't end up screwing the consumer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Jake, 14 Mar 2008 @ 10:09am

    Another Angle

    I'm starting to wonder if this is a holdover from the days when the music industry had well-nigh organic links to organised crime, and screwing people over was a perk of the job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    CVPunk, 14 Mar 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: Now lets take it to the next step.

    I love when people who know nothing about Socialism try to use it as something horrible. Must be a product of U.S. schooling. Once you have read a book on Socialism written by actual "Socialists", then make your comments. How would you know what Socialism is when there has never been a truly "Socialist" government?
    Anyways... I say just buy music made by independents. Most artists on major labels suck anyways. Support DIY music.
    Works for me. Most DIY labels offer free samples in the form of compilation discs or by free sample downloads on their website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Michael Meiser, 14 Mar 2008 @ 12:15pm

    you're missing the biggest issue of all

    The biggest of all with this... well maybe the second behind making everyone including the poor pay for this... thus making internet access that much more inaccessible... the big problem with this is it socializes music and art. That's just bullsh*t. Who determine's who and how much an artist should get paid? What about book writers? What about movies... what about short films? What is there value, how do we track it all... why don't we just invent ourselves a great beuracracy to track it all and dole out the credits... a nice central planning commission... oh yeah.. that works well.

    Luckily this insanity would never happen... oh wait... it already has... taxes on recordable media... snowcap... there's dozens of example of this stupidity and lunacy.

    It stifles true innovation and creativity and encourages creativity and innovation in gaming of the system.

    Who'll be the first to start 5 bands and put out a bunch of crap so I can collect their share of the royealties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    mike allen, 14 Mar 2008 @ 3:48pm


    mike i ask you if you are right and anyone can upload and download from and to anywhere then as the IRAA and others look on internet radio as file sharers then with this tax any station can say we payed once through the ISP stick your bill for 600 dollers a month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 3:58pm

    People still listen to music? When do they find the time? Between my wife, mistress, girlfriend and hookers, I don't have the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Stop Fucking Around

    Just lobby to compel employers to withhold 5% of employee earnings for Entertainment Security.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Tofu, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:07pm

    Random Observations

    - So, for $5/month everyone with an internet connection will get a worldwide, non-exclusive, unrestricted license to download and distribute any music, in a any form? That sounds like a good deal to me.
    - The RIAA is not there to defend the poor and starving artists. It is there to serve the interest of the industry. Industry which, incidentally, is not shy about sucking artists dry, banking on their talent, forcing them abandon their rights, being charged an arm and a leg for studio, etc...
    - The Industry knows that the only way to sell a record is to push it down people's ear. Why they have to pay the radio to do that while they would go after the people who download the songs is beyond me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Mike T., 14 Mar 2008 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Now lets take it to the next step.

    Socialism: socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. Community being equatable to bills and laws past by the government which is expect to act in the interests of the community. This control may be either directly, exercised through popular collectives or indirectly, exercised on behalf of the people by the state.
    The laws which are often passed in the United States are often passed on the behalf of lobbyists and not the public's interests at large. So when you accept that posture then it does meet the grounds for socialism, at least in this case.

    So the previous commenter would be correct in saying this is socialism, when you approach it in this context. This would lead to a more exaggerated corporate welfare system then the U.S. has already. This is likely a "feeling the waters" for something like this down the road.

    Personally, I find it arrogant on the side of the RIAA to assume that music downloading is the only thing that the "inter-web" or the "world wide AOL" are good for. Let us not forget Lars needs his solid-gold Ferarri.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Mar 2008 @ 10:10pm

    I hardly ever download music, so I don't see why I should have to pay $5 a month extra.

    And does anyone really think it would stay at $5 for more than a year at most? Companies will charge whatever they think they can get away with. I already pay almost $20 a month in BS taxes for my AT&T U-Verse, DSL and phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    Daz, 16 Mar 2008 @ 11:00pm

    RIAA never pass the money on to artists anyway

    so it wont help much in creating music

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    greg, 16 Mar 2008 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Hold on just a second...

    great post on the wsj about the $5 a month charge the riaa wants to implement. keep posting. greg

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. 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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), 17 Mar 2008 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: You pay a similar tax in regular stores

    Plus, to make the analogy more complete with shoplifting, this proposal would be like charging people for walking into the store because of shoplifting, regardless of whether or not they buy anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Glenn.Isaac, 28 Mar 2008 @ 11:29am


    Everyday, I work with two organizations: a record label and an Internet start up service. They both think this idea is formed in a bad mold. Me too. I think I may be preaching to the choir here, but this tax is obviously a very bad idea. Raising barriers to trade will not solve problems derived from simple supply/demand economics. As the marginal cost of distributing (note: [unfortunately] not producing!) a product approaches zero, the price of that product will, too. Artificially increasing the price via added tax is inconsiderate and poorly thought out. Peace -

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. identicon
    Glenn.Isaac, 28 Mar 2008 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Now lets take it to the next step.

    Most artists on majors do suck. I think its the appeal to the common denominator.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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