[d@DCC] Lawrence Lesig advocates blank media tax
john.lange at bighostbox.com
Tue Aug 17 14:47:13 EDT 2004
I've always believed the blank media tax was wrong. Taxing blank media
and then giving the proceeds directly to corporations seems ludicrous to
me. In effect it gives a group of corporations (in this case the
recording industry) the power of taxation.
My current objections to the blank media tax are largely dependent on
the way the current levy works and its extensive flaws.
That being said, I might be in favour of such a concept if we could fix
the problems. These idea's are actually touch on some of Lessig's other
- Copyright registration and a reliable marking system.
Can we foresee a P2P type system where content creators can easily
register and mark their content and then add it to the P2P network all
in one step?
Wow, think of the possibilities. The Tragically Hip record their next
album. Of course they release it to stores in the traditional way (most
people still like to own hard-copies) but at the same time its released
they add it to the p2p system which automatically watermarks the work
and registers it as copyright with the various governments (for a
nominal fee) and then (optionally) makes it available for download.
Because the downloading of files can be accurately tracked copyright
holders receive proceeds in exact proportion to the number of downloads.
Free and other forms of non-copyright work can also be added in the same
Content can be added by anyone so copyright holders should monitor the
network for appearances of their work and these files could be tracked
However, the instances of non-watermarked files appearing would be low
since there would be little incentive to "rip" files for distribution.
In fact an incentive to preserve copyright marks could be added by
actually paying people to share files. If someone downloads a file from
your system you would be given a small credit for providing that
service. If you remove the watermark then the download can not be
tracked and you do not receive a credit.
Because transferring of files is accurately monitored we can assure that
all content creators are rewarded accordingly, not just the music
The tax would have to be applied as a flat rate tax on internet access.
If people understand they are paying the tax in EXCHANGE for access to
copyrighted works (unlike the current blank media tax) they just might
be in favour of it.
On Tue, 2004-08-17 at 12:32, Russell McOrmond wrote:
> On Tue, 17 Aug 2004, John Lange wrote:
> > So how do the people on this list feel about this concept?
> Lessig is not alone. Many in the legal community consider this to be
> the best solution, including Canada's Michael Geist who also supports the
> statutory licensing solution. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/
> If it were optional (to both copyright holders and audiences, IE: not
> statutory), and subject to the Competition Act, I would support the
> proposal. This alternative is what EFF supports. See the "Music
> File-sharing" section of http://www.digital-copyright.ca/node/view/428
> Exceptions to copyright via statutory licensing is often seen as an easy
> way out of a very complex situation. Most people outside of the
> extremists from the "content industries" recognize that suing your major
> customer base is not sustainable, and will cause far more harm than good.
> This is a non-option that the recording and motion picture industries will
> not be able to continue.
> Statutory licensing is what legitimized the "piracy" of the recording
> industry as well as the cable (and later satellite) companies. Lawyers
> look at this as a way to solve the current complex problem with music
> distribution in a world where near-free non-mechanical distribution of
> content is a reality that cannot be stopped (regardless of legislation).
> From the perspective of the audience, this solution works well as it
> legalizes existing activities that were not going to go away. From the
> perspective of the actual creators (not the industry associations) the
> solution isn't so great.
> In a world where there was only one business model and cartel of
> industry associations for a given type of work, statutory licensing is an
> appropriate solution. I believe that the fact that there are multiple
> business model choices available (including royalty free peer production
> and peer distribution that skip the legacy intermediaries) that the
> statutory licensing quick-fix will cause more harm than good for creators.
> Older article at: http://www.flora.ca/cnm20030207.shtml
> Statutory licensing is a win,win,lose situation for the audience,
> intermediaries and creators. I know that some in this forum will want to
> flame me for thinking of the creator, but that's what I am ;-)
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