this article at Wired talks about a new RIAA plan to support their failing industry. The gist of it is that they will make ISPs charge customers $5/month as a tax to pay artists for piracy. Sweet deal for the RIAA and ISPs, and has the supposed side benefit of eliminating a lot of lawsuits. Great, right?
As a person that doesn’t fileshare or pirate music, this sucks. I have made a point of purchasing any music that I listen to in order to stay legal. I support the artists and think they should get paid for their efforts. That is the point of the copyright and patent systems in this country. The current efforts are a little broken, but I still think that there is merit to keeping the system.
What this would do is penalize the law abiding citizens. I no longer have an incentive to pay for music outright, I can just take it because I’m paying my monthly fine anyway.
What the RIAA doesn’t seem to understand is that their model is broken. Apple seems to have gotten it right with the iTunes store. The RIAA and labels took too long to catch up, and now they are trying to save a sinking ship. If they put out good music instead of making you pay full CD price for a single then sales probably wouldn’t be down like they are.
The other problem they seem to have is treating everyone like a criminal. Between them and the MPAA, the message they send is regardless of what you do you are a criminal. You are stealing. They don’t seem to recognize fair use. I have gotten CDs of music from friends to listen to them. If I like it, I buy it; If I don’t, I get rid of it. I don’t view this as any different from hearing the song on the radio, except that I get a wider variety of music that is probably more tuned to my tastes because my friends know what I like, or might like. This usage, which they consider theft, actually drives sales because I wouldn’t have heard the music otherwise.
We all need to let our elected officials know that this is not okay, and we do not support this type of subsidy on failing industries.