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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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Legitimizing p2p file sharing
By ccmfreak2 on 12/8/2008 1:25:38 PM , Rating: 3
I may gain some heat for saying this, but I have been against p2p networks for years due to the basic ethics of not paying for the music/programs/movies you are downloading. I have, to some extent, stood with the music industry as they tried to make sure they can actually make a profit.

However, this just ticks me off. Now, since little progress has been made in preventing p2p file sharing, you are going to charge all college students for use of p2p software that the music industries don't own, whether or not the student use it? As a college student, I am completely outraged. I am being charged for one more thing that I may or may not use. But probably the most staggering thing about this attempt is that this move will ultimately legitimize the act of file sharing.

Being a college student, I understand that most college students don't look at their breakdown. If they did, they would realize that the average university charges you about $250 a month to eat PER PERSON! My point is that students will pay this, not realizing they are paying for it, and be told it is now ok to use the software. When they graduate, the habit has been set in place, and the music industry is continually screwed.

This doesn't even begin to assess the damage that this will do to bandwidth across universities and the increase in viruses/malware this will open up to these networks. I see this as a bad move for everyone.




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