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The Almighty Buck United States

Post-copyright: Digital Cash and Compulsory Licensing? 213

gojomo writes "AaronSw offers a compelling idea: use anonymous transferable digital cash to allocate the monies collected for creators in a compulsory licensing scheme, to avoid some of the potential problems outlined by other compulsory critiques. LawMeme calls it a "Proto Whuffie" but expects fake artists to sign up for the loot. I might call it "voucher socialism" -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing."
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Post-copyright: Digital Cash and Compulsory Licensing?

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  • Article Text (Score:2, Informative)

    by Brahmastra ( 685988 )
    Fixing Compulsory Licensing
    In a previous post I dashed the world's hopes for a viable compulsory licensing system, no matter how attractive one might seem. Luckily for the world, I'm back to explain how to make a compulsory licensing system that doesn't run into any of those problems using... cryptography!

    (To review, the idea for our compulsory licensing system is this: we tax Internet connections and CD/DVD burners a small amount and send the money to the artists. In exchange, they let us download their s
    • by ThosLives ( 686517 )
      That has to be one of the most complicated things I have ever read. Of course, it has the advantages of creating jobs to handle all the infrastructure that will require.

      Anyway, I think people are forgetting the real issue here. Here in America we have a market economy, and currently people are "paying" ISPs and CD burner companies rather than record labels to get access to music. There is a moral issue here in that ISPs and CD burner mfgs don't give money to artists, but Record Labels do.

      We live in a soci

    • This falls down on

      (To review, the idea for our compulsory licensing system is this: we tax Internet connections and CD/DVD burners a small amount and send the money to the artists. In exchange, they let us download their songs and movies off the Internet. The problem is how to decide which artists should get the money without losing privacy, accuracy, or security.)

      since the whole argument from artists right now is that they are not seeing any of the tax money being attached to CD burners and CD-Rs.

  • by The Human Cow ( 646609 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:19PM (#6978312) Homepage
    ...Who things that "Proto Whuffie" would make a great party drug?
  • by Future Man 3000 ( 706329 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:20PM (#6978323) Homepage
    It is only becoming clearer that it is impossible to find a better way to compensate artists.

    Paying them directly ignores the fact that they need marketing to be viable. This scheme could allow 'fake' artists and other undesirables to leech off the public. Ultimately, and perhaps ironically, the very scheme we've been railing against might be what we've been searching for all along: pay the middleman, who ensures the artists are promoted and paid in the end. The only damaging aspect to this are downloaders who compulse artists to let their music go for free, which helps nobody.

    • Indeed, the problem, in and of itself, is not the licensing scheme. Its the licensors. The artists get screwed by crappy deals and low royalties, the consumers get screwed by not only being force fed crap, but being told how they have to eat it tartare. As usual the middle man is eating the money.
    • No, paying them directly does not ignore the fact that they need marketing to be viable. They can hire an advertising agency.

      I still think it's braindead, but that's not the reason why:

      You're allowed to choose which artists get your $$? Um... I choose me. If you think there should be some barrier of entry to getting on the list of artists that can get $$, then you've outlined a system worse than the current one.
      • So you pay yourself. Okay, fine, that's no better than the current situation. The point is that most people DO want to support the artist in some way. But in the current situation they fell that doing this by paying for CDs is either unreansonable or is not benefiting the artist at all. In the proposed scheme, the user has a guarantee that the money is making it directly to the artist. And since it's rolled in with other purchases, it's much easier to justify "doing the right thing."

        In other words, th
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @04:17PM (#6978863) Homepage
      Paying them directly ignores the fact that they need marketing to be viable.

      that is a bold faced lie.

      When I buy Pepsi I dont pay their marketing firm, I also dont send Checks to the marketing companies when I buy Mobil Gas.

      Companies that are marketing themselves PAY THEIR OWN DAMNED BILLS.

      why is it that a bunch of whiney "artists" are expected to be treated any different?

      pay the bands directly. Then they can pay for their marketing just like every onther business on the planet.

      I am so tired of people trying to make it sound like the RIAA is important to the artists... they are NOT. same as the record companies. all they are is High Risk loan officers that charge horrible rates and tack on overpriced fees that happen to have high priced Marketing people available.

      pay the artists... THEY can pay their marketing and operating costs.

    • As long as the middle men aren't greedy thugs, it's fine with me. The problem is when the middle men take almost all of the money and only pass on a fraction of the money to the artist. If I pay $20 for a CD, why should the artist only get like $1 of that (made up off the top of my head, FYI)? I don't mind the middle men doing their job, when it doesn't cause ME problems (like not being able to play my so called "cd" in a cd player because it's "copy proof"). When the middle men decide to insinuate that the
    • actually, I dealt with this in a rough outline of models in a September 2000 presentation I gave at the Digital Commerce Society of Boston.

      Making money in a post Napster world [inguide.com]

    • It is only becoming clearer that it is impossible to find a better way to compensate artists.

      To me, the reason that this proposal won't fly isn't really because of technical difficulties, but because of what it leaves out: The record company.

      With the whole RIAA-suing-my-12-year-old-neighbor hooplah going around, many people are getting the mistaken impression that the record companies oppose the notion of listeners not paying artists.

      The record companies don't care at all about that. They care a

    • "Paying them directly ignores the fact that they need marketing to be viable"

      Paying them for a live performance works just fine, and ticket price can cover ad costs. No one says song writing has to be a viable way to earn a living (except song writers). In fact, many "artists" don't even write their own stuff, they just perform it once (or mix the best parts of several takes) and expect to make big money from it. A crappy performer that requires hours in a studio to get a good recording of a song someone

      • Anyone who can produce a sound that sufficient numbers of people like 'deserves' to be able to make some money out of it and if enough people like it, a living, and if millions like it become rich.

        The fact is I am prepared to pay someone $1 because I like a record and I don't care if 10 , 100,000 or 10,000,000 people do the same. I'm paying for what I enjoy.

        Contrary to your 'kneejerk reaction' comment, you have stated quite strongly elsewhere that you don't respect 'artists' who perform music that was wri

  • follow up to (Score:3, Interesting)

    by millette ( 56354 ) <robin AT millette DOT info> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:21PM (#6978326) Homepage Journal

    This idea is a follow-up [aaronsw.com] yet it's something we should be following very seriously. Right now, a country station gets to pay Madonna/Celine Dion because they sell the most albums. This could change all that!

    Yeah, Madonna and Celine aren't what sell today, but what do I know...

  • Just one problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TopShelf ( 92521 ) * on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:21PM (#6978328) Homepage Journal
    This only pays based on CD/DVD burning - whereas most usage would occur when downloaded MP3's are played on the computer itself. I know I haven't burned more than a handful of CD's, instead using my PC as jukebox...
    • You will be charged for your harddrive as well proportionally to its size AND to the statistical chance how many time per HDD life the diskspace has been reused by removing old MP3 files.

      For 70GB HDD, which is essentially equal to 100 CDs, and the statistical chance that the space has been reused 100 times per HDD lifetime (quite reasonable for let's say 3 years) you will be charged 10,000 times of what you would be charged per CD.

      Not bad.

  • by bs_02_06_02 ( 670476 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:21PM (#6978331)
    The next virus/malicious web script will repeatedly play artists' music on your PC, artificially influencing your "vote" for where the money goes.
  • by ScottSpeaks! ( 707844 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:22PM (#6978336) Homepage Journal
    I've got a socialist streak this wide {holds arms out as far as they reach}, but as soon as I read "a tax on IP addresses and hard drives" I flinched like an anarcho libertarian. The idea's a non-starter
    • Which is not to mention that not everyone uses internet connections for steal^H^H^H^H^Hdownloading music and movies. Why should those of us who use ours for (for example) publishing our own material, exchanging e-mail, and browsing freely-available content pay to subsidise the entertainment industry?
      • Nobody said you had to pay artists. I'm sure there would be some way to direct your coupon towards some charity or some organization, or even back to yourself. The point is that people -want- to drop a penny in the tip jar, but they just can't at the moment. If you don't want to support an artist or artists you can send your coupon along to whoever you want (yourself included), but the point is that most people DO INDEED want to support artists, and this makes it very easy to do that directly.
    • Technically, libertarians, minarchists, and many anarchists are right-wing. They simply don't share the social agenda we associate with the right. The most simple and least inflamatory way I can think of to characterize the difference is to say that leftists want fairness, rightists want freedom. Of course, that's a gross oversimplification, so please don't flame me... I know that both ends of the spectrum want both things. In fact, it might be better to say that leftists think fairness leads to freedo
      • Oversimplification, yes, but one that seems to be reasonable and probably unbiased. Nice work.
    • So we're going to allow the govt, nay we ask the govt, to institute a new tax on computer stuff.

      We trust them to keep it at the initial more or less fair levels

      We trust them not to take a slice of money, as an admin fee.

      We trust them to remunerate the artists in the first place.

      We trust them not to privatise the agency overseeing the whole shebang and sell it off to the RIAA.

      We extend this trust to them, I can only assume, based upon the high moral standards recently demonstrated by our elected of

      • Take all of those arguments and apply them to any public thing: roads, parks, libraries, etc.

        "We should have private roads where you purchase the rights to use whatever freeways you frequent from whoever built them. I don't trust that fat government issuing a gas tax to pay for things we all use like roads. I only use a few different routes anyway, why should I help pay for all those other suckers to use the roads I don't?"

        "I don't want public parks, I'd rather sign up for private memberships to closed,
    • The idea's a non-starter

      Agreed, because music and media are distinct. The fees tacked onto blank cassette tapes and CD-Rs is disgusting. Doing so to hard drives and pretty much anything else "for the artists" is just as evil.

      The artists and their distributers will need to continue wearing their thinking caps until they can come up with a business model that doesn't infringe on our rights while protecting theirs.

      • "The fees tacked onto blank cassette tapes and CD-Rs is disgusting. Doing so to hard drives and pretty much anything else "for the artists" is just as evil."

        Well, it wouldn't be if that meant people could share, burn and copy music with impunity.

        That Mac web site iTunes seems to do pretty well. It would be pretty straight forward to make something for PC. Heck, my wife bought $100 worth of songs off it in one weekend. That's way more than she would have in the same period if it were CDs.

        If it's availa
  • by smd4985 ( 203677 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:23PM (#6978359) Homepage
    i definitely think this system is a little clunky (any system needs to be as transparent to the consumer as possible) and prone to cheatery, but i like the general sentiment. instead of acting like the RIAA or the fierce P2P pirates, at least this is some constructive thinking that may aid in the end result of creating a workable and fair system.
  • What this guy really wants a secure digital vote..

    Each cd is assigned a single vote. Each vote carries a value. You want a system with the following constraints:

    • You want it to be impossible to stuff the ballot box
    • You want it to be impossible for someone other than the voter to work out who the voter voted for.
    • You want to be sure that the votes are counted correctly

    His scheme is too simple to securely implement these requirements...

    It's a good idea but I think it'd cost too much to imp

  • RIAA dollars?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by soren42 ( 700305 ) * <jNO@SPAMson-kay.com> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:29PM (#6978433) Homepage Journal
    This is an excellent opportunity for the RIAA to leverage a private currency [everything2.com]. They could control the cost per unit in US$, and actually charge sub 1 cent prices for certain independant artists, to encourage sales.

    There was a good bit [kuro5hin.org] on Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] about this a little while back.

    • Or, the "independent" (does it strike anyone else that's not an accurate term?) artists could go on EMusic [emusic.com], and get paid more than a fraction of a cent per track while their customers pay a very reasonable $10/month flat fee.

      Oh, wait, that already happens.

      (Disclosure: I'm an EMusic addict.)

  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:29PM (#6978434)
    Why should I pay any tax on DVD drives, writable media, ISP service, etc. if I never have and never will download any artists material? All of these items which might have this proposed compulsory licensing fee have legal uses unrelated to the theft, use, or enjoyment of "artists" copyrighted material. For example, most of my HD space, DVD backups, and internet bandwidth is consumed by my own digital pictures.

    If people want music, then they should pay for music. Hidden taxes that penalize all for the misbehavior of some seem like a very bad idea.

    I guess if this goes through, I will have to sign up as a licensed creator of digital photographs and then assign all these "artists" tax dollars to myself.
    • I guess if this goes through, I will have to sign up as a licensed creator of digital photographs and then assign all these "artists" tax dollars to myself.

      Nope, won't work:

      There is a chance that everyone will give all their money to themselves, but this can be prevented by only paying out to accounts that meet some higher threshold of cash.
    • You are absolutely right. This guy assumes that every CD/DVD burner and Internet connection is used for "stealing" music. Nonsense! I don't "steal" any music, and I don't want to have anything to do with RIAA's or some others' licensing (read ripoff) schemes that they come up with. There are a lot of artists who let me sample their work for free and I'll buy their stuff if I end up liking it.

      It's obvious that RIAA and so-called "musicians" and "artists" want a contract with the public and Congress that wil
  • Once your computer has the string, it looks at all the songs you've listened to and decides what songs to spend your gift certificate money on. (It knows what you listen to because it's built in to your MP3 player.) If you've listened to one Britney Spears song day and night for the past month and nothing else, it will give all your money to Britney. If you listen to a variety of independent bands, it will split your money among them. (Advanced users can of course customize how their money will be spent, bu

  • Ummm...No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 )
    1. How does this differ significantly from a buck a song at iTunes? You see something you like, authorize the payment, you d/l it.
    Or, a monthly sub as in emusic.com for (almost) all you can eat.

    2. Overly complex.

    oh wait...

    3. Once your computer has the string, it looks at all the songs you've listened to and decides what songs to spend your gift certificate money on. (It knows what you listen to because it's built in to your MP3 player.) If you've listened to one Britney Spears song day and night for t
    • That's how it differs. Pay per listen. No thanks.

      Not exactly--each time you listen to a song, an incremental amount of what you paid shifts from the seller (the label) to the artist.

      Of course, all this does is encourage distributors to carry really shitty music. The better the music they sell, the worse their profits.

      • Not exactly--each time you listen to a song, an incremental amount of what you paid shifts from the seller (the label) to the artist.

        If I buy a CD burner, and pay $5 'music tax' on that...that $5 is worth X number of 'gift certificates'. When I have used up all my 'gift certificates' downloading and listening to music, somehow I must obtain (buy) more votes to be able to listen to more music.

        As I see it...it is pay per listen. The pay part is just one step removed.
        And with yet another layer of adminis
    • Did you read the article or just rush to post a comment? The amount of money that your coupon is worth has nothing to do with how many times you listen to something. The use of tracking the number of times you play a song is so that the artist that you get the most out of gets a corresponding part of your coupon -- but you can donate your coupon to whomever you want in any proportion if you so desire. You can listen to as many or as few artists as many times as you want, the tax is a small and constant a
  • Uh..... (Score:4, Informative)

    by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:31PM (#6978456) Homepage
    "the idea for our compulsory licensing system is this: we tax Internet connections and CD/DVD burners a small amount and send the money to the artists. In exchange, they let us download their songs and movies off the Internet. The problem is how to decide which artists should get the money without losing privacy, accuracy, or security."

    For this to work, you'd be sending your money to the RIAA/MPAA member companies, not the artists (since artists certainly don't hold any copyrights anymore).

    This scheme is essentially another take on the Canadian CD Levy process (presume guilt, put a levy on blank CDs, give levy money to copyright holders). Given that the $70+ million collected so far for the Canadian CD Levy has yet to be distributed [wired.com] because distribution isn't clear cut, I can't imagine an even more complex system working.
    • I absolutely reject the entire idea. I buy blank CDs, certainly, but I simply do not burn music. I do not listen to music on my PC, nor do I watch movies on my PC. I have a nice stereo and DVD player connected to nice TV for that stuff. My computer is for games and doing "computer stuff" (writing documents, web browsing, prepping presentations, etc) and I burn files and software backups on my CDs. I will NOT pay money to RIAA/MPAA for something I don't do/use. Blank CDs are NOT automatically substrate

  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:33PM (#6978470) Homepage
    I stopped reading right here:

    If you've listened to one Britney Spears song day and night for the past month and nothing else...

    Any human being that would subject themselves to this kind of torture can't be anything but clinically insane. As such, his plan has to be almost as looney. :P

  • Don't get this part (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:34PM (#6978479) Journal
    I'll leave it to others to argue the big picture but I didn't get this part:
    (Advanced users can of course customize how their money will be spent, but it's simpler to have the computer choose automatically by default.)... The money goes to the artists that the people like and want to support, as chosen by the people themselves. There are a few edge cases. For example, if everyone listens to but hates Jerry Falwell, they might choose not to give him any money, even though they've taken advantage of his work. I think this is an acceptable problem -- the majority of people won't bother to change the defaults and even if they do, hey, it's their money.

    Why on earth would you want to implement it that way? The idea is to compensate artists for their work, not to force J-Lo to to subsidize whoever it is that posers like to tell themselves they're fans of. I mean, I can't watch Temptation Island and then tell their advertisers to give their money to C-Span.

    • I can't watch Temptation Island and then tell their advertisers to give their money to C-Span.

      I'd be willing to watch Temptation Island, DC, where all the participants were members of Congress.

      I wouldn't be very tempted myself, however.
  • by spearway ( 169040 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:34PM (#6978486) Homepage
    Why do we need all this. Centralized system, government intervention.

    Copyright is no an absolute given god right. It is a temporary monopoly granted by all the people to an individual so that he can make a living doing what he does (music, software, books...). At no point was the copyright intended to prevent people from viewing or listening to the material. The purpose is to give the author some mean of profiting from his work.

    In this sense the current situation is not that bad. If you are a scrooge and do not want to pay anything you try to download for free and you get what you get. Quality is pot shot and you do not give anything to the artist. If you are a bit more reasonable don't want to spend hour downloading and want a bit better quality you use a service like Apple iTune Music Store and the artist get something. No need to change anything expect to send the RIAA packing.
  • The conclusion of the paper:

    This proposal isn't the simplest, and probably not the most elegant, but unlike the others it will work without cheating the public. I hope the people building these compulsory licensing systems see the value in that.

    Excellent! The RIAA and MPAA will finally have the technological means to realize their ultimate goal--standing up for the rights of the little guy!

  • So complicated (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:39PM (#6978527) Homepage Journal
    Any potential mass-market technology is going to have to be at least as easy to use as the current standard.

    In the case of music purchases, which is more likely to catch on - something like iTunes, or a Rube Goldberg contraption based around voting and serial numbers?

    I'm a systems engineer, but that doesn't mean I'm interested in complicated systems for getting the music I like. I buy CDs at stores or through the mail, because it's easy, the audio quality is perfect, and I can play the discs anywhere.

    Is the average consumer going to be willing to put up with a more complex system like the one this article describes? I doubt it.

    Like many other schemes I've seen, this one also reduces professional musicians to the equivalent of street buskers: putting their music out and hoping they make a couple of bucks off of it from the generous. If the world suddenly turned into a radically left-wing place overnight, I predict that the quality of music would go way down, very quickly. Professional musicians right now can spend months polishing up their tracks before release, because they can make a living at it. If they're just getting tips, few or none of them could. A lot of them wouldn't even bother to release music at all. I know I wouldn't.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @03:41PM (#6978548)
    but expects fake artists to sign up for the loot

    Fake artists is either an oxymoron or a largely all encompasing group noun. If I were to record myself banging trash cans together I would be just as much of an artist as most of the crap out there. I figure if they have any right to sign up for the loot then I certainly do too. Particularly when by legal standards the non-fake artists are recording silence [slashdot.org] and claiming they own it.

    If I can help this lame scheeme fall apart by announcing my intention to sign up, let me record that announcement and call it art.

  • Use anonymous transferable digital cash to host offshore services where the RIAA can touch or even identify you.

  • A large fraction of computers, writable DVD drives, media, and ISP service is bought and used by companies for everyday business purposes. Under the proposed system it would seem that businesses would be doubly screwed. First, the business suffers from the lost productivity incurred when employees download music for personal use. Second, the business has to pay a tax on this activity as well.

    It's no wonder business people vote Republican.
    • You blew any chances at all o9f having a compelling post with that last moronic line. You think "republicans" aren't going to help protect all those businessmen in Hollywood? You think Republicans care any more about your privacy than the Democrats who followed Shrub over the hill like a buncha lemmings?


      • I have no idea of the political leanings of the supporters of the proposed taxes being discussed in this thread, but my bet is they are less likely to be Republicans. As a tax, I would suspect that Republicans would generally be against it. As a means of supporting artists that may have non-family values, I would suspect that Republicans would generally be against it. And given the entertainment industry's general love of Clinton & Democrats, I would suspect that Republicans would generaly be agains
        • You need to stop citing outdated periodicals and look at who's doing whom in the industry. Is hilary Rosen's successor a democrat? How about the Utah representative [senate.gov] who seems to spearhead half the new Hollywood-centric protectionist legislation? Including openly advocating a system that would physically disable the computers of people who participate in file sharing?

          Neither party gives a shit about anyone's rights or liberties. All that varies ar their motives. And if you believe anything else given the he

  • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @04:01PM (#6978739)

    Socialism: Armed men pass around a bucket and you have to put in everything that you have. The armed men take out what they want and then give what they want to whome they want and everybody is happy or else someone is randomly shot. Sometimes you get to vote on who gets the guns and the 'choice' is given to you by those with the guns.

    Socialism is Slavery.

  • Any solution that involves me paying any type or amount of money is a bad one. Any solution that gives me free shit is a good one. Any solution that makes me pay for everything is hellish. Any solution that gives me all the free shit I could ever want is utopian.
  • by computerlady ( 707043 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @04:02PM (#6978748) Journal

    I think we should re-think the whole idea of "art" and "intellectual property" from the ground up.

    Once upon a time, rich people subsidized art. Everyone got to enjoy some of it - Italian fountains come to mind, and the Sistine ceiling, etc. Some was enjoyed only by the owner and his friends - Mona Lisa et al. (Can you tell I'm of Italian origin?)

    The patron paid the artist, often subsidizing his entire existence. There was no charge to the public for public art - the masses enjoyed it freely.

    Why would it be impossible for wealthy people or masses of poor people like me pooling their resources to again subsize the very creation of art?

    When enough of us are hungry for a new song from Norah Jones, we pool our resources and negotiate with Norah, her band, and the techs necessary. They make the music, we pay them, we enjoy the music, we share with the rest of the world. Same for visual arts, literature, etc.

    Or, even better, artists support themselves (as most do anyway) by working at other jobs until they demonstrate that they create something a lot of people want. Along the way some patron or patron-group might subsidize some things. Eventually, they are creating and giving away their art - BUT making money by private engagement, much like ex-politicos make their money speaking at a half-million a pop.

    You'd get all the music, art, drama, literature, etc. you want - free. But if you want to see/hear the person perform live, you pay for it. Can't make a living that way? Nonsensense. Bill Clinton is making money for the first time in his life (he claims) just from opening his mouth and posing for pics at group gatherings. Already it's claimed that musicians make their money, not from CD sales, but from concerts.

    The internet makes most of the middlemen unecessary. The internet makes much of the marketing cheaper. Let's start all over with an internet-based art model and stop trying to fit it all into old paradigms.

    Disclaimer: I know this idea is chock-full-a-holes, but my point is that we don't have to "tweak" the old system. It's time for a totally new system. And not just a new system of "payment" but a totally new way of thinking about the relationship among artist/patron/public and about how artists can profit.

    • I walk the line... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poptones ( 653660 )
      According to Sixty Minutes, about a decade ago JC was making a minimum of $35,000 a night playing shows. These were not huge shows, either - cretainly not stadium shows. He played 200 nights a year and made about 5 Million dollars - enough to pay a pretty hefty crew and live a nice life (when he wasn't on the road, I suppose).

      Funny, I don't remember any talk at all about how much he paid to ticketmaster, or to the RIAA, or to anyone else besides his employees. And certainly he would not be able to play "gu

    • ...wealthy people...

      People, or possibly companies. Hrm, companies. They have lots of money. Perhaps they can subsidize music by paying somebody else to broadcast it for the masses to listen to at no cost. We could call it "radio," and the patrons "advertisers." Nah, it'd never work.

      ...masses of poor people like me pooling their resources...

      So, how much, exactly, would these poor people pay to subsidize this music? Does a dollar a song sound fair? I kinda think so.

      Hrm. iTunes music store. $12

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @04:08PM (#6978788) Homepage
    it basically outlaws any open source.

    If my mp3' player must talk to my cd drive to the outside servers about my special "string" then me writing my own mp3 player that doesnt do this inane dance makes me an instant felon.

    Or how about My OS that doesnt do this BS they dream up? It also would be illegal?

    How about telling the artists and money grabbers to simply shut the hell up?

    if you aren't writing music and performing to entertain then you are in it for the wrong reasons.

    Cripes ,there have been "artists", "Mages", Actors, writers, painters, etc... forever. and 99% of the human history on this planet there has been no copyrights and no tight controls over your "intellectual property" and it did not hurt the human races artistic development at all.

    All of this is just the loud whining of the greedy no talent types.

  • sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! ( 589963 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @04:14PM (#6978838)
    Why isn't there just the simple argument for limited term, non-transferable copyrights? The artists would be able to profit from their artistry for 10 years, and then we can all trade their music like crazy after that. The RIAA couldn't bilk the money from the artists because the artists couldn't give up their copyrights to the publishers, and instead the labels would serve their rightful place as marketers and distributors.

    10 years is about right. (I work hard on a song, from a couple of months to even 2 years to get it just right.) Record it, sell copies of it. 10 years later the copyright expires and I stop collecting royalties on a song I wrote a decade earlier.

    The two main problems with the current system are that (1) the labels control the musicians through indentured servitude by copyright transfer and (2) the labels control the music choices through narrow distribution channels.

    Limited term, non-transferable copyright. It just makes sense.
  • I dunno, it still seems a lot easier to just illegally copy music than to go through the elaborate generation, signing, negotiation, verification, encrypting, dancing, singing, hulahooping proposed in that scheme.

    And what if I don't have a computer? Or maybe I bought a used one...then what?
  • As I said over on my blog [uchicago.edu],

    I don't see the problems that Mr. Miller raises at LawMeme coming to fruition. I think that Aaron went too far in suggesting that users should be able to determine where their money is spent. They made that decision when they decided what to listen to. The system should be automated to pay the users whose work was played most. Your vote was clicking play.

  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @04:43PM (#6979181)
    1. I pay a tax on "media products".
    2. The government gives me a coupon for this tax.
    3. I tell the government who to give my tax money to.
    How is this complicated, inefficient scenario any better than me directly giving the money to the people I want to? There is no garrentee that this tax money will get to "artists" as I could give all the money to myself. So it is in effect nothing more than a cumbersome charity program. Even if this system worked like he claimed it would with everyone dutifully entering in all their coupons to be reported by their mp3 player, it still has problems (many of which are shared my other compulsory licencing schemes).
    1. Everyone has to pay the tax regardless of whether they use the media to listen to music or not. Most notably, businesses, who would have to pay since they use the internet and backup media just like everyone else.
    2. Everyone has has the same amount of money to give out. Therefore an avid music fan would end up splitting his coupons between hundreds of good bands. Those more complacent about music (the majority) would still have the same amount of money to give out, an it would likely go to someone who sounded good on the radio. Therefore, independant bands would likely get even less money than they do now, while mass marketed music would get even more.
    3. What if I listen to music in differnent places. Say I mostly listen to techo on my main computer while I'm coding, but listen to completely different music in my car and in the mp3 player in my living room. Now I am back to manually divying up my coupons, lest all my money go to techo.
    4. It has a central weakness in the government database system. Anything with that much money at stake would be under heavy attack.
    5. The government, not individuals decides how much money people should devote to music. This opens more doors for lobbying by the RIAA to increase the music tax.
    I have been sceptical about all of the compulsory licencing ideas floating around, but this one has got to be the worst yet. All we need are good internet resources for the discovery and purchase of music, and there would be no need for illegal music sharing. We are starting to the latter with iTunes and what not, but the former needs more work.
  • This is an ingenious solution, but it presumes that all the parties involved will want to cooperate on standards and information. And that information can be freely exchanged between consumers and businesses and content owners and musicians.

    First, I doubt musicians or labels will be happy will this arrangement. It will assure listeners that they are "paying for music" when in fact all you are doing is distributing the proceeds from an arbitary tax. Maybe they aren't as greedy as the RIAA, but they will be
    • Artists don't want listeners to think that this share/tax is the only payment that listeners should have to make. Suppose the tax is $30 added to the cost of a mp3 player. YOu have to understand that right now incumbents want consumers to pay that much just for two or three CD's by a single artist. There's no way that they'll be content with that.

      A previous poster asked the question of different devices. It assumes that all media playing devices are equipped with the means to measure anonymously frequency

  • The current RIAA System:
    1. Person 1-9 buys Britney Spears.
    2. For their work in getting 9 out of 10 people to buy her cd and making her so popular, record companies get paid.
    3. Person 10 buys a little known independent cd direct from artist.
    4. Person 1-9 never heard of 10's artist, but 10 has heard of Britney Spears.

    The new System:
    1. Person 1-9 gives all their digital gift to Britney Spears (including YOU!).
    2. For their work in getting 9 out of 10 people to give her all their digital cash and making
  • by ahg ( 134088 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @05:10PM (#6979464)

    In the authors previous post [aaronsw.com], he states that such Compulsory Tax would run the average family about $50/year and basiclly give them unlimited access to music, video and other artistic productions online.

    Now, of that $50 he's allowing 20% to go to "bueracratic overhead" for this knew govt. agency to oversee this monstrosity. So, that leaves $40 to go towards the artists. If we assume that at present the average family's artistic download comprises of 75% music and 25% for all other media then _Music Artists_ would recieve about $30 per family in the US.

    Now my point: If this $30/family tax is supposed to be sufficient to fairly compensate the Music Industry artists for their work, then why doesn't the RIAA open shop and allow unlimited downloads for $30/year for all their artists big and small?

    What parent wouldn't pay $30/year to give their kids unlimited legal access to their favorite tunes? Certainly $30/year is worth not risking your kid making you the subject of a $$$ lawsuit!

    Who needs another bueracratic govt. agency that will be subject to abuse, fraud, and internal waste? This also will not penalise those of us who do not download music and other art from the net, and don't want to be taxed for the behavior of others.

    Please, can someone explain why we need to force this down the throat of every American - to give music fans unfettered access to their music - when the music industry, if they choose, can make their works available at rates cheap enough that most people will not steal?

  • Fellas? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Post-copyright? Hey, why not just try and get the copyright laws repealed? What's the point of all this half-assed sort-of-licensing bullshit?

    Either authors own their work or they don't. You repeal copyright, economic value and production will drop 30%, and about two dozen entire industries will stop completely. That's the deal.
  • On first reading, it looks like an excellent scheme. Unfortunately, there are so many reasons why it wouldn't work in real life.

    In order for it to work, society would have to be more perfect than it is now; but if society was perfect enough for such a system to be able to work, it wouldn't be needed anyway.

    What about this?
    A group of unsigned artists get together and rent a managed, secure server. The server puts out signed digital audio files and value added extras - but you have to pay a fee to dow

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.