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Plan would have students pay flat fee for unlimited access to P2P

A number of U.S. universities expressed interest in plans for a “music tax,” where students would pay a flat fee as part of their tuition in return for the promise of no lawsuits from the RIAA.

The plan, spearheaded by Warner Music’s Jim Griffin, would essentially free up copyright enforcement resources in place at the RIAA and universities in favor of a “blanket license” of sorts – even though the actual language of the plan simply grants a promise not to sue.

Money collected will be dispersed to artists through a means that has yet to be determined.

Griffin, a long-time cheerleader of “music surcharge” proposals, says the plan is still in its early stages. Despite that, however, he tells TechDirt that he is “actively engaged with universities and other parties to seek a constructive resolution to a complex issue,” and that his plan is “exactly the type of solution that several universities and their associations have been asking for.”

The anonymous tipster reports that interested schools include Columbia, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Washington, MIT, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, Cornell, Penn State, University of California at Berkeley and the University of Virginia. Further supporting his claims is a PowerPoint presentation pitched to universities and signed by Mark Luker of EDUCAUSE .

The presentation, which Griffin says “belongs to someone outside [Warner Music] and represents that individual's interpretation of… meetings held several months ago,” says the plan is designed to:

  • Allow students access and the use of any music they want.
  • Avoid DMCA issues and lawsuits.
  • Avoid technological regulations that might hinder university networks.
  • Provide “fair” returns for copyright holders.

TechDirt notes that the idea is an adaptation of a larger surcharge suggested for all U.S. ISPs, where they would simply “add an additional fee to everyone's internet access, have that money go into a pool that the recording industry would be responsible for paying out.”

“This is a bad idea for a variety of reasons,” writes TechDirt’s Mike Massnick. “It's basically a music tax – allowing the record industry to be lazy. Someone else gets to go out and collect all this money and hand it over to the industry to distribute … It effectively sets the business model of the recording industry in stone, and harms better, more innovative business models by inserting the recording industry (and not the musicians) into a role where they don't belong.”

“We recognize that there are many different potential solutions to this issue, and we are determined to continue to think creatively and cooperatively with other parties in order to find the best ones,” replies Griffin. “At this early stage, many ideas may be discussed and discarded, but efforts to prematurely label or criticize the process only hinder achievement of constructive solutions.”



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By psychobriggsy on 12/8/2008 9:22:28 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't the music companies set up something for students of any type that provides the following:

1) A place to access all the music for the labels on the scheme

2a) Free music, 5 year lifetime via DRM (i.e., once you leave university, you'll eventually have to pay for it properly.
OR
2b) Yearly fee that is reasonable for a student to pay, no expiration of music.

3) Fair redistribution of gained funds to artists based upon how popular that artist is for downloads.

Point (3) is the biggie here, I cannot support any form of taxation on media, internet access and so on, where the money collection will go to a music body to 'give to the artists', unless the money is shown to go to the artists, and that it won't only go to a select few artists meaning that the vast majority get nothing. Also I am strongly opposed to a blanket tax that you don't have a choice in paying whether you download or not.

When music costs so much (for a student), and you have very little spare, what are you going to spend it on? Food, or a CD? I don't think many sales are lost to student P2P copying, and I'm sure that extra sales are made as a result of it - but not of the label's big name signings, the stuff that it played on repeat on the radio stations.




By Spivonious on 12/8/2008 9:57:14 AM , Rating: 4
You mean like Rhapsody's subscription service? I think that's the best idea yet. Unlimited and unrestricted downloads as long as you keep paying the monthly fee.


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