I can't help but sigh when someone else comes out with a one-point item that is supposed to save creative copyright. To suggest that a lower price point will fix things is so incredibly naive, you wonder where these folks have been spending the last 10 years. Piracy has motives that run the gamut from folks wanting to make money to folks who just want more music to fill up their 2 tb disk drive. While an extremely low price point may force out those pirates trying to make a buck, it won't have a bit of an effect upon those who are happily increasing their music/movie collection for free.
While the movie world hasn't really changed all that much, the music world has been flooded with choice...so much so that there is just no way for a music aficionado to be able to keep up financially with the possible options. There is nothing the music business can do about this as it is now the nature of the industry. They must devise other revenue streams and scale back their expectations with the current streams since there is no going back. I guarantee, no lowering of the price of their goods is going to significantly slow the tide of piracy.
"Scenario 1: unlikely. I'm a tutor, have been for years, the number of people that have low test grades, but can actually do the stuff I've run into? none."
If this is the case, then why as an employer do I consistently run into first class honours graduates incapable of doing the job to which their degree is suited to? Why is it of all the graduates I've had, despite a handful being from Oxford and Cambridge the best employees I've had have been a 3rd class, two 2:2s and a single 2:1 as well as rather amusingly, a guy who did't even go to uni at all (he went straight into IT support, then moved into dev from there)? Keep in mind that I've had enough 1st class candidates to fill every post and have even got some in a couple of posts, so it's not as if there has even been a shortage that has led to this pattern. Surely probability would dictate that whilst you might run into the odd case where a lower grade is better than a higher grade, it's unlikely that not one of the 1st class graduates would be anywhere near as good as even 2:2 students? There are plenty of good 1st class students out there, but it's pretty clear that university grade is a useless indictator of real world ability, which you somewhat recognise yourself later on in your post.
The 3rd class student in particularly clearly got low grades, but he's the type of guy I could throw a language and a set of frameworks/APIs at and in a short time he'd be able to bang out a well engineered prototype with those tools. In contrast, I've had 1st class students who just sit gazing at the API documentation, they seem to get the documentation, but seem to struggle with where to begin with it, how to use it, how to write code with it.
Maybe this is a particularly British problem, I'll admit I've not really had any overseas candidates (I say really, because I've had a couple, but they weren't even worth taking to interview stage), but I'd be suprised if that's the case when we're one of the only countries that manages to hold a handful of universities up against the US in the global rankings.
As a performing artist, I know all too well how ASCAP and BMI work. They are actually artist organizations (they don't represent the labels) that pay the artist directly for "performances" of their music. Any public performance of an ASCAP or BMI artist's music is supposed to be supplemented by payment, usually in the form of a contract between the venue and ASCAP/BMI. The money the venue pays to the organization goes into a pot - and then this money is distributed to the artists. Nice idea, in theory. The problem begins when one looks at how these organizations pay the artists. It is almost entirely based upon radio airplay, so the system doesn't work particularly well except for the big players in the game.
ASCAP is well-known in cities for cracking-down on places like coffee houses that have live music - they send in what are essentially thugs to scare the venue into paying what works out to be "protection money" to keep ASCAP from suing them in the event someone plays an ASCAP-artist song during an open mic or live music event. Rather than trying to come off on a more positive marketing angle of trying to help out the music business and the artist, which ASCAP could easily create a pretty compelling argument for, they instead use strongarm legal language and intimidation. I know many coffee houses who simply won't allow live music due to a scary visit from ASCAP or BMI thugs.
Much like the RIAA, these "artist" companies, due to their plainly nasty way of dealing with their clients and the public, are simply in the business of making money off other people's work. This is why I am not a member of any of these organizations and work hard to support venues who don't cave-in to the pressures these organizations place on them. Original live music, owned by the performer - that cannot be touched by these cads.
"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll