Thursday, March 13, 2008

ArsTechnia: $5 a month for legal P2P, Or Mandatory Piracy Surcharge?

The great folks over at Ars Technia published this article this afternoon, "$5 a month for legal P2P could happen sooner than you think". The article is related to the wired story "Music Industry Proposes a Piracy Surcharge on ISPs", however after reading the ARS article it would seem (to me at least) that ARS missed Jim Griffins key points.

He is not advocating a voluntary system, whereas users could pay $5/mo to their ISP and have unlimited P2P downloads. From reading the wired article it looks as though he is in fact suggesting a mandatory collection of $5/mo per user from ISPs regardless of P2P usage. And we know any fees imposed upon them will be handed down to the consumer, P2P user or not.

Griffin's idea is to collect a fee from internet service providers -- something like $5 per user per month -- and put it into a pool that would be used to compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels. A collecting agency would divvy up the money according to artists' popularity on P2P sites, just as ASCAP and BMI pay songwriters for broadcasts and live performances of their work.

Maybe I'm misreading the article but that would be my take on. I see nothing mentioning voluntary action, the way I read it the "Piracy Surcharge" would be mandatory for the ISPs thus becoming mandatory for subscribers. I for one do not need a higher bill from my ISP!

The article has sparked some interesting debate over at the Ars Technia forums.

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