EFF proposes $5 monthly fee for song swapping


— 3:19 AM on February 27, 2004

Wired pointed me to a collective licensing proposal published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that suggests giving song swappers amnesty in exchange for a $5 monthly fee. Payees would be free to share and download as much content as they want on a peer-to-peer network of their choice, and all proceeds would be distributed back to artists and copyright holders:

The concept is simple: the music industry forms a collecting society, which then offers file-sharing music fans the opportunity to "get legit" in exchange for a reasonable regular payment, say $5 per month. So long as they pay, the fans are free to keep doing what they are going to do anyway -- share the music they love using whatever software they like on whatever computer platform they prefer -- without fear of lawsuits. The money collected gets divided among rights-holders based on the popularity of their music.
It's a clever idea, in theory. However, it should come as no surprise that the RIAA isn't interested, and perhaps rightly so. $5/month for unlimited access to DRM-less music may be a great deal for song swappers, but the incentives aren't quite as clear cut for copyright holders.
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