The idea is to introduce a kind of licensing scheme whereby punters pay $5 a month for their music.
TechDirt‘s Mike Masnick yesterday labelled the plan a “bait-and-switch” operation.
Jim Griffin (right) was hired to, “spearhead” the “controversial plan to bundle a monthly fee into consumers’ internet-service bills for unlimited access to music,” is the way Portfolio.com described it.
Masnick’s report is “factually incorrect in every respect,” Griffin told p2pnet.
Behind closed doors and in backrooms
The idea is far from original.
On Wednesday, “After months of silence on what he was working on behind closed doors and in backrooms, Griffin recently gave a prepared speech supposedly revealing some ‘details’ on the plan,” says Masnick.
As, “IP attorney Bennett Lincoff points out, what Griffin and Choruss are proposing is to pull the wool over universities and the public`s eyes,”he states, going on:
“The plan, as we originally pointed out, isn’t a license: it’s merely a covenant not to sue â and that leads to all sorts of problems.”
But, “Choruss works with all steps in the publishing and music value chains in a manner that represents real value to both musicians and students; the goals are learning and doing the right thing,” Griffin told us, continuing »»»
That is why the schools have requested this voluntary arrangement and why Choruss works to meet them halfway.
Choruss is a test, an experiment, and cannot credibly be claimed a money grab — the costs will exceed the fees. The time for learning is past due.
As for the suggestion that Choruss is avoiding public discussion, the calendar is a clear refutation: The coming week has Choruss at SXSW, a music conference in Nashville and the music educator’s conference in Boston.
We’ve done appearances and podcasts with Educause, dozens of public meetings at colleges and a keynote at Digital Music Forum.
The real challenges in testing new ideas are sufficient without addressing falsehoods that responsible professionals would’ve and could’ve fact-checked before publication.
Said p2pnet contributor Henry Emrich in a Reader’s Write »»»
What’s really actually kinda encouraging is that the MAFIAA are now so desperate that they’re pawning off ‘fake’ versions of their opponents’ ideas. This is basically the offline equivalent of the ‘fake torrents’ MediaDefender used to put out, and the thinking behind it is obviously something along the lines of ‘Well, if we make this LOOK enough like the (good) idea everybody ELSE is proposing, hopefully people will be dumb enough to believe it!’
Like I’ve been saying for a long time now: the only REAL solution is drastically scaling back copyright terms, repealing the DMCA, and REQUIRING registration to even get the privilege of the new, shorter copy’right’ monopolies: if you want privileges from the State (like, say, incorporating a business so your `personal’ assets are protected), then you wade through the bureaucracy. Copy’right’ monopolies should require exactly the same thing.
1. Explicit registration would mean that if you DIDN’T bother to register, you’re not permitted to to take advantage of the State-granted privileges involved. Thus, if you REALLY want to be a money-hungry jackass, and the idea of being `infringed’ makes the dollar-signs light up in your eyes, you put the effort into letting the State WHICH GRANTS YOU THE MONOPOLY PRIVILEGE know exactly who the hell you are, and where the hell you are.
Good aspect of this is, of course, that the vast majority of stuff will probably revert to the Public domain (where it SHOULD be, anyway) simply due to the fact that while people are sometimes extremely greedy, they are also notoriously lazy about paperwork, and adverse to ‘bureaucracy’. (Those buying the law know this: else why make the law so torturously complex that nobody except specialists can understand it?)
2. Shorter copy’right’ terms even if you DO register will ‘act as an incentive’ for rights-holders to keep producing. (That is, assuming that their ONLY motivation for such production was financial in the first place, rather than, say, a genuine commitment to artistic vision, needing a good piece of software, etc.)
3. Roll the ‘collecting agencies’ into the copyright office: make it a State function. Copy’right’ is already a State-granted privilege, and â if registration were explicitly required â who better to distribute the revenue from such ‘blanket licensing’ than the organization in charge of administering the State privilege which REQUIRE such ‘licenses’ in the first place? (This also acts as an incentive for even the most money-hungry foe of ‘Red Tape’ â read: corporate conservative â to ‘play nice’, in that if you don’t register, you don’t get to cash in.
Of course, this â and so many other â GOOD ideas just mysteriously never seem to get to the ‘right’ people in Government (but copyright term extensions always do!) Hmmm the other alternative is to keep increasing the amount of so-called ‘piracy’ to the point where large segments of the society are by default ‘criminals’, but the sheer ubiquity of such activity renders enforcement-efforts moot. (Oh wait, that’s happening already. My Bad.)
Stated Masnick yesterday »»»
First, considering that the RIAA has been cutting back on lawsuits, that`s not particularly meaningful. It`ll still pushing for 3 strikes policies that will cut users off from the internet, even if they`ve paid up through Choruss. Furthermore, as was made clear in the speech, the RIAA won`t stop trying to shut down file sharing systems. So, people who think this is a good idea because it will let them use The Pirate Bay or Limewire may discover after getting locked into this program that the lawsuits continue and those services keep getting shut down. Next, since it`s just a covenant for the labels not to sue, rather than a license, it doesn`t cover all of the other rightsholders, such as songwriters and the music publishers â meaning that those who file share will still be wide open to lawsuits from those parties.
This is quite a scheme that the record labels and Griffin may pull off:
- Convince universities to buy into the program with no input from students. Universities will buy into it because they think they`re helping deal with the problem of file sharing and to avoid Congress forcing them into such agreements
- Universities pass the cost on to students (of course), so students are forced to pay for this
- Record labels get a big chunk of money for no good reason
- New expensive bureaucracy (Choruss) gets set up to siphon more middleman cash away from musicians
- Record labels don`t do anything different, since they already have started moving away from suing individuals (sorta)
- The public thinks that file sharing is now legal
- Record labels continue to sue and shut down favorite file sharing networks, leaving only crappy, limited and expensive approved systems
- Individuals who paid up start getting sued by other rightsholders not covered by this agreement and not getting any money from it
punters pay $5 a month – Preaching to the Choruss, March 18, 2009
similar idea – Canadian musicians` file sharing plan, December 5, 2007
Portfolio.com – Fee for All, March 27, 2008
TechDirt – Choruss` Music Tax Plan: Bait-And-Switch, March 18, 2009
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