Feeds

Free Ride: Disney, Fela Kuti and Google's war on copyright

Lawrence Lessig's work 'isn't worthy of a Harvard prof'

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

So how are you going to fix this, then?

Q: You spend a chapter on blanket licenses in the book. And the reaction from creative industry people who have liked the book has been mostly critical of this idea. Doesn't a blanket jar with your advocacy of markets?

Levine: The ideal is we have a market. People will pay for Spotify or downloads or new services, but if we can't get that a blanket is an option.

When you signed up to an ISP you could choose if you wanted the music add-on. The government creates a situation where you can get such a deal. With your ISP you'd tick a box: "Yes, I want $5 for all the music I want." If you don't tick a box, then you'll get check at random and there'll be a substantial penalty. Not $500,000, but say $500 – like a speeding ticket.

Q: I really liked this idea for a while, but eventually I couldn't get around some problems. It's a tax that penalises people who doesn't do online music, and it undersells the value of the music. And everyone else will want a piece.

It also sets the limit for the amount of money the market is worth.

Levine: I wouldn't call it a tax: it's not a tax. A tax is imposed. It's a levy. When Jim Griffin launched his Choruss plan everyone called it a music tax and said you have to pay for music. Well, guess what – you already have to pay for music. Jim wasn't trying to get people to pay for something they're not doing. If you want to listen to music in a restaurant, you're already paying. You always have to pay for music. It's just that it is a levy, it is part of the bill, and the collecting society makes it easy.

'A blanket licence is terrible for everybody compared to an ideal world. But you have to compare it to what's happening now'

You'd have to do it so it added up. By mobile device not by ISP for example. So you could get a little more that way. You could create add-ons. You could offer people the right to upload their own stuff. Or play it in their living room stereo as well as on their computer. I don't think £7 or £8 a month for all-you-can-eat music is so terrible.

Q: Not exactly a market solution is it?

Levine: A blanket licence is terrible for everybody compared to an ideal world. But you have to compare it to what's happening now.

When YouTube goes to the culture industry and says, "We have all your video: do you want to get something, or nothing?", are they not in effect setting a price? Some of this is already happening. It's really bad, but it's happening. You can't turn the clock back. It might be an idea to think about it before a blanket is imposed.

To fix things, you need to do two things. You need to make illegal commerce harder, but your success is going to be based on legal commerce: don't choose one or the other. You need to make Rapidshare a pain in the ass to get to and inconvenient, and also make something like UltraViolet as easy to use as possible. ®

Robert Levine's Free Ride blog is here.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.