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Manx P2P for 'one Euro a year'?

Minister floats blanket music tax

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It's just a publicity stunt, says one Manx voter:

Oh god no! Please for the love of god stop giving Manx Politicians a sounding board. Theres a long history over here of them throwing out proposals which have absoloutely no chance of working anywhere in a wider society purely for the purpose of getting themselves noticed off island. And at a time when the UK government is constantly throwing out comments about taking on the tax havens such as the Isle of Man, generating big ripples like this is moronicity of the highest order. €1 P2P on a broadband subscription on the Isle of Man would raise the princely sum of €80,000 a year. Assuming every single man, woman and child on the Island had a broadband connection (so realistically its only 1/3 of that amount based on an average of 2.8 people per house). Craines proposals are also based on the "much admired" manx telecoms system. This would be the system which island wide goes down in a heavy storm or strong wind, and currently costs 2-3 times the average cost of similar broadband packages in the UK.

Here's another unchuffed voter:


As a Manx resident who doesn't download pirated games/music/video, I object to the proposed tax (as an ISP end user, my fees will go up no doubt). If they do pass the bill, then I guess I'll have to change my ways and get my VFM.

My ISP is Manx Telecom, and they already throttle P2P, BitTorrent especially, making it useless for downloading Linux DVD ISOs, OpenOffice.org etc). So FTP or Jigdo/WGET the only way to get them.

Here's an intriguing view from the labels, challenging the fatalism of the idea that we have to "compete with free". Bollocks, says our friend:

You often see this line spouted by futurists and so called visionaries that the music industry has to ‘wake up’ and compete with free. But that’s a pretty ambiguous statement – often made from a cozy chair on the sidelines and with no understanding of what it takes to run a music company. The reality is that everyone I’ve spoken to in the record business does understand that they are competing with free, and has been for some time. Where the industry is trying to compete is in value-added, and by trying to maintain investment in new bands and innovation in digital marketing and distribution as consumption patterns change. But clearly it cannot compete on price – because no amount of online advertising will compensate for the massive costs and risks associated with developing an artist, especially when the licensees launching legit services know they too are competing against free content.

If the Manx experiment ever gets off the ground it might be good for beta testing consumer reaction to a bundled ISP download service, but it’s not a business model - certainly not at 1 euro a year.

Anyone with a fairly rudimentary understanding of how to use the internet can currently opt out of paying for digital music, knowing that – for the time being – absolutely nothing is being done to stop them. While the labels are hopeful that ISPs will launch services that charge subscribers at the point of access, that’s ultimately up to the ISP, who may not see a commercial incentive when most of their customers are happy with the free music already on offer, thank you very much. Not an easy situation to be in, but the business has been doing – all things considered – a pretty good job of it, if the IFPI’s figures of 20 per cent of global revenues coming from digital are anything to go by, even if market leader iTunes is (as I suspect) making a bigger dent in CD purchasing than in p2p use.

What would make the most difference is legislation to force the ISPs to turn off the free music tap, because everyone knows they can – they just won’t, not on a voluntary basis, anyway. Whatever happens, the major labels will be fine – they’ll just cream revenues off the (vast) catalogues they already own from whatever digital models emerge, and make their models less reliant on the future value of recorded copyrights. Right now, they’re still pumping money into new bands. But this is unsustainable long-term. With no credible alternative investors on the horizon (I hear the banks are in a spot of bother) it’ll be alternative acts and developing acts that rely on the investment and services of labels that will suffer worst.

Keep them coming. ®

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