Songwriters Association of Canada Calls for Legalized P2P File Sharing

The Songwriters Association of Canada has released an important new proposal calling for the legalization of peer-to-peer file sharing.  The SAC has proposed the creation of a new right – the Right to Equitable Remuneration for Music File Sharing.  The new right would make it legal to share music on peer-to-peer networks.  In return, the SAC is proposing a license fee of $5.00 per Internet subscription per month.  The songwriters argue that this approach would legalize peer-to-peer file sharing (both uploading and downloading), while generating significant new revenue for creators and the music industry.  Distributions of the revenue generated through this new fee would be allocated by sampling file sharing activities. The SAC addresses digital rights management and the legal protection for digital locks, noting that it is not opposed to legal protection (as distinguished from the Canadian Music Creators Coalition) but that it believes its proposal renders DRM "obsolete."  Moreover, "given the consumer aversion to TPMs, we believe their use will inhibit the success of recordings in which they are embedded, and that they will simply fall out of use."

While the SAC could have taken a stronger stand against DRM, this proposal should (though likely won't) cause the government to rethink its decision to import the DMCA into Canada.  Even if you disagree with portions of this proposal, it is great to see Canadian songwriters, musicians, and music labels now singing the same song, promoting ways to make money from P2P rather than engage in failed attempt to stop it.


  1. Vincent Clement says:

    It’s not really making money from P2P. It’s coercing internet subscribers to subsidize a business they may never utilize. Taxation without representation?

  2. A bunch of Information Superhighway Tollbooth Collectors. It’s the Canadian way. Don’t bother selling your garbage to unwilling customers; ram it down their throats instead. Weather Channel and other pay TV stations get onto “basic cable”, and pick your pockets when you pay your cable/satellite bill. Artists get a tax imposed on CDs that I use for backing up my computer, and the SD cards in my camera. And now another bunch of freeloading-enterprisers wanting their pound of flesh.

  3. I can’t help but agree with the other posters. It’s bad enough we have to subsidize the music industry when we buy blank CDs, but now they want another tariff for over-compressed digital files? No thanks. I’ll gladly pay for what I *choose* to buy, thank you.

  4. while i’m not pleased about paying a tariff on my internet line just for music (where do software developers jilted by p2p come in) – i think these models are the only way to distribute music anymore. if it’s not a tariff and not adverts embedded into the song’s file – what will fund the production and creation of new music or new software or new television shows or new movies, etc. merch and tours only really make it doable for the same monster artists as before, leaving the indies (really supported by p2p) out

  5. Sure – The Songwriters Association of Canada want their $5. Then the movie people will want THEIR $5. Then the gaming people will want THEIR $5. The recipe people will want their $5. ETC, ETC.

    The Songwriters Association of Canada can’t have their $5 **AND** have the levy on blank CDRs. One or the other, or preferably none.

    Why must we prop up the music industry in the first place? Does it have a right to exist simply because it exists? Businesses fail all the time and if all four majors were to go out of business, well, I’d not care much as I but from labels outside the major 4.

  6. already paid 4
    We already pay a tax on blank media. Somewhere in Dr. Geists’ blog its stated that we pay about 40-million (or was it billion?) annualy and the majority of that goes to the states.

    One of the arguements I’ve heard is that the ISP’s are the “stocking and shipping” agents of the music companies. The ISP in the end pays for the content and delivery of the good to the end user. Hence the unbalanced and unfair cost put onto them for the delivery.

    Why can’t 10 million of that 40-million be given to the ISP’s instead of being sent off to the states?

  7. Not even original
    It isn’t even an original idea. Wasn’t this idea proposed in the UK a month or so ago? I have to agree with the other posters, however. A tax on people, even if they don’t do P2P downloading of music. You’d still end up paying $0.99 per song through iTunes or what have you. And money to burn it to a CD.

    Rather than try to impose an easy model for them to collect money on, actually put in some effort and earn the money.

  8. I doubt the CRIA or any arts-related association of members has ever opened their books to public scrutiny in order to convince the public they distribute funds equitably to their members. Why would anyone want to legitimize them by paying them for anything, let alone for the privilege of connecting to the Internet? If they can’t show they do what they say they do, why are they even given the time of day? Isn’t there another topic more suited to our attention?

    Personally, my support goes to folks like the songwriter from Ghana that needs help getting his music created, produced, and distributed, even though he has nothing more than an email account accessed through whatever cybercafe he’s near. There are tons of such songwriters using as their repository. It makes no sense to continue doing “business” the obsolete way the CRIA thinks is good.

  9. Dylan McCall says:

    This is a much better idea than the copying levies, to which we also pay piles of money with the difference being that we earn absolutely nothing in return. However, like those existing levies, this makes a dangerous assumption: That everyone uses the Internet to share music.

    I, for one, do not; I use the Internet to help with legitimate open projects, to manage my own content and to communicate with people. I have used P2P (and I’m including torrents) to download music a total of 8 times.

    As one who is firmly opposed to governments making misguided assumptions about me, I must say I disagree with this idea. Okay, one could argue that health care is similar, but the difference with Canadian health care is that it actually is benefiting everyone – even those who are not ill or injured. Those taxes are helping me right now, because I know that my own health is reasonably safe.

    Now, if this idea was not specifically tailored for music but instead going to a money pot distributed to any qualifying group, I would be interested.
    For example, competition is difficult on the web because most successful sites are free, propped up by advertising. Trouble comes from the fact that advertising is only profitable when there are a lot of visitors, but most web hosts charge a single fee without taking note of resource use.

    On the other hand, free software projects so far have no direct means of support from the government, which is a shame.

    That 5 dollars a month could go to a lot more than just music; it could go to every free Internet-based service that we take for granted.

  10. Neil Leyton says:

    This idea was discussed last year at the Transatlantic Consumer’s Dialogue I attended in Paris, where the Association des Audionautes proposed a similar set-up in France. What many of the folks posting comments on here have to understand is that this is a FAR better option that allowing Canadians to be sued for sharing what should be legally shared anyways. My prime concern is to protect the fans.

    Think of the $5 a month, like Gerd Leonhard suggested in “The Future of Music”, as “music-as-water”… we all pay our water bills.

    The only real problem/criticism of these blanket license models, in my view as an independent artist, is the way the funds / usage would be tracked and disbursed. You leave it up to Socan (or worse, a new Sound Exchange style muck-up) and forget about any long-tail artists getting paid… the way the copy levy gets divided is downright shameful (commercial sales charts and commercial radio play stats).

    Anyways, overall, this sort of thinking is much more positive than DMCA style stone-age rhetoric.


  11. I don’t have stats nor am I claiming to be an expert, but I’m guessing that 40 – 50% of internet users aren’t interested in aquiring music through digital means. Conversely, I’m guessing 50 – 60% of internet users would jump at a chance to pay a license fee if it meant unlimited downloading with 0 risk of prosecution. I’d even pay $10 to compensate for another person who didn’t want to participate.

    I would think if the license was $10 the ISPs could justify different packaging (I loathe to say tiers) for participating and not (one package $10 more a month).

    Like Neil above me, I would also worry about the methodology of distribution to the industry.

  12. As someone who doesn’t even listen to music, I’m not eager to pay. Yet I think this is an alternative worth pursuing. It’s far better than a legal assault on a generation for doing what their parents did before them. It’s better than Prince threatening a mother for a short clip of her child dancing. It’s better than suing people out of their savings. It’s better than making it illegal for people to control their computers and their cell phones.

    This could open the door to an explosion of creativity, if amateurs could mix music and use it in their videos without fear. If only a fraction of these ordinary people turned out to be extraordinary, it could be a great boon for Canadian culture and the Canadian economy. And the rest of us would still find value in videos of our children dancing.

    Of course there are a number of difficulties that would have to be worked through, including derivative works and the danger that the fee could limit access to the Internet. But I think these pale beside the complexity and cost of the legal, economic, and technical infrastructure that fences in music today. We pay a high price for that system of control, but those costs are invisible (and the money often disappears, going anywhere but to creators). With this scheme, the cost would be more transparent, making it difficult for the industry to increase the fee – and the benefits would be more obvious too.

  13. An interesting tidbit of information… the claim is that there are approximately 79 million songs available on the internet (source was Gracenote), but that there are only 3 million available through the 360 or so legal online services. But what constitutes a legal online service? Are the songs provided by artists through their own web sites considered to be part of the 360?

    The problem that I continue to have with this proposal is twofold. First of all, it assumes that I will be doing downloading, AND that I have the available bandwidth to do it (which can be a problem for folks with dial-up access). Imagine the brou-ha-ha if the government were to decide that, since everyone speeds, they were to just total the speeding tickets issued per year and add a “speeding ticket levy” onto the cost of your driver’s license, instead of actually enforcing the speeding laws.

    The second issue is that it targets not the folks that are actually making the copyrighted material available, but rather primarily targets the folks that download the copyrighted material. The fact is that download is already legal, the upload isn’t.

  14. Bill Henderson and Eddie Schwa says:


  15. Bill Henderson and Eddie Schwa says:

    Thanks for all the comments on our proposal. We are grateful for everyone’s thoughts as they help us to improve and fine tune our work on this very difficult issue. We are trying very hard to balance the interests of consumers and creators, but there is no perfect solution and we do not profess to have found one. Here are some points we think need to made:
    1) As creators it is key to us that the money goes to the right songwriters and artists and that creators get there fair share whether they are in Ghana or Gander. This is crucial and ultimately we are trying to build an international system to compensate creators and rights owners no matter where they are.
    2) The “long tail” is critical to us. This is about paying independent artists and struggling songwriters as well as those with major success. After all, many of the SAC’s members fall into the independent category.
    3) This monthly fee (about the cost of a cup of a single latte at Starbucks) would cover P2P and all other forms of music file sharing. So no matter how you got the music, you could share it with others legally. So emailing songs, burning CDs for friends etc would all be covered.
    4) The exact amount of the fee is up for discussion. It may be that a lesser amount is appropriate. We are working with economists and consumer groups to make sure the amount is reasonable and fair to all parties
    The above cannot address all concerns but we sincerely hope it helps and please keep the feedback coming.

  16. But I don’t download music
    I would have to pay $5/month for permission to do something I don’t want to do. How much will I have to have to pay for movies I don’t watch and books I don’t read?

  17. Arif
    The fee would mean that we admit that internet subscription comes with this benefit of a limitless music library with vast potential for enhancing our cultural life, since we cannot nor would not want to manage the web in such a way that it does not, or in a fair way where this feature only appears when people pay more. When we go to university, our fees contribute to library services, some use the library all the time, others don\’t, but is always there when you need it or want it! This proposal would creat a vast legal music library. Because of the reality of a university, it cannot be separated from its library. Because of the reality of the internet, it cannot be separated from its music content.

    That said, I think it is unfair to have a flat rate. I also wonder if the license fee suggested includes litigation that the industry would reap, if not, perhaps it should be clawed back to reflect those savings.

    In terms of the flat rate, I think that both because of digital culture, practicality and differences in what users can avoid, the rate should be indexed against the nature of the subscription. Clearly, Rogers Extreme are getting a service that enables them to download vast amounts of internet content. Those with dial-up will have a hard time downloading anything. In terms of digital culture, people choose the highest bandwith services often for the very reason that they like to download content such as music. Those getting in at the basic high-speed internet don\’t have the same capacity, and they may be infrequent downloaders, doing it once in awhile.

    Why not create a license fee that is indexed as a percentage of the download speed included in the subscription. What we need is data on the patterns of music downloading amongst subscribers to the premium highest-bandwith subscriptions such as Rogers Extreme, and the various levels in between. I am convinced the patterns will show that as an aspect practicality, digital culture and affordability, people with the premium services are downloaded far more than those at the lowest high-speed, and those with dial-up are downloading next to nothing.

    Dial-up should be not be subject to licensing, and this would ensure that the poor can get at least the very basic. The slower high-speed users have less capacity and download less, they should pay less of a license fee.

    Perhaps providers can even create packages where people not interested in downloading can get moderate bandwith and still high surfing speeds. The license fee again would be indexed against the bandwith. I think moderate bandwith still allows decent speeds for the more regular document-type files.

    Would it be fairer then, if we say to those at the $20 basic high-speed account, look, now you will always have available to you any music that is on the internet and for that we will charge you $1.00 per month extra. Maybe you never downloaded music before, but now you might do it occassionally and without fear of it being illegal. It won\’t be that fast, but you\’re not one of those rabid downloaders in the first place, and you can always move up if you like downloading. We say to the Extreme users, you guys can now download anything you want legally and will never be sued, and you\’ll know that creators are compensated, plus you can look forward to a Golden Age of creativity, which you\’ll like since you\’re crazy about downloading. For this you\’ll pay an extra $6.50 a month, way less than the cheapest subscription service.

    Technology costs are usually falling, and rates charged by Rogers may reflect market value rather than true cost. So, they may just bring down their rates for Extreme high-speed and the other rate levels to where they were before the license fee.

    And we all benefit from the end of litigation.

    I think the Songwriters group should think about the indexed license as it may be far fairer to users, and not add to the digital divide but eliminating any fee for dial-up users (many in rural areas have no other option), and having minimal fees for basic users who are less part of the digital culture and can\’t download as fast.

    It\’s difficult to imagine someone with extreme high-speed internet not benefiting, even if they don\’t download music now, nearly everyone listens to music and music is a great gift for friends. It presents an opportunity for virtually everyone to save money legally, and benefit more culturally. The index rate would reflect both relative use and inherent potential for benefit across users of basic high-speed to the premium highest bandwith services.

    thank you for listening!


  18. LuKNq
    Sorry about the many writing errors and terrible length of the above post. It was written late at night in a state of excitement over the prospect of ending illegality of using music.

    My basic argument is that the idea is good but a flat rate is not fair.

    Dial-up users have great difficulty downloading, they don’t do it much, and shouldn’t pay any fees.

    Basic internet users don’t download as much compared to premium highest-bandwith users, so the fee should be indexed against relative download speed provided by subscription.

    We should look at data on the patterns of use among different subscribers, and create, monitor and adjust an index-based license-fee that reflects use and capacity of different users, with minimal fees for those entering high-speed with basic services.

    The indexed fee would reflect both the relative potential availability of limitless legal music as well as the reality of use and the privilege of use that subscriptions confer today. Whether that privilege is legal or not can’t be controlled nor enforced fairly today. The situation now is an ethical/legal murky water. It’s horrible to make sharing and listening to music illegal in the first place.

    The internet cannot be managed fairly now where the music is there without technical obstruction and, and where some people pay for it and others don’t, where some don’t use it but could, and others get sued. The solution isn’t perfect, but deserves better than rejecting it for the status quo without an effort at improving the proposal.

    Let’s not be too miserly, and let’s not overlook the notion that this could end the criminalization of sharing and listening to music.

    thankyou for listening to the remix!

  19. I have yet to download music from the web – or anywhere else. (And \”yes\”, I have had high-speed internet access for the past half-dozen years). Why? I\’m one of those cultural throwbacks that looks at most pop \”music\” published since the days of the Beatles as \”background noise\” – to be tuned out if possible. It\’s boring, repetitious, and sometimes utterly tasteless stuff.
    If and when I finally hear something on the web that I like, I\’ll be quite willing to pay a reasonable fee for it.
    Why should I pay \”a fine\” for something illegal that I have never done and have no intention of doing in the future?

  20. Regarding higher fees for faster internet connections — Most people I know with the fastest internet connections subscribe in such a way because they are avid WoW players and despise having any sort of lag in their game, not because they want to download stuff.

  21. Greedy Bachelors
    Catharine wrote on 2007-12-06 17:20:50

    I would have to pay $5/month for permission to do something I don’t want to do. How much will I have to have to pay for movies I don’t watch and books I don’t read?

    Much the same argument once made and discredited about how unjust it is for bachelors to pay property taxes that go to fund schools for other people’s children.

    Suck it up … in case you haven’t noticed, you live in a SOCIETY.

  22. I don’t have any kids, but I don’t mind paying taxes to the school board since that betters society. How does my paying $60 a year so you can listen to music better society? What about my elderly parents on a fixed income?
    Suck it up… in case you haven’t noticed, you don’t live in a communist county.

  23. if an imposed fee is something the public balks at, why not have people who sign up for basic-p2p-free internet, get put through one switch at their isp that gives them their email,web,ftp,WoW(all MMORPGS should have a standard port for stuff like this but thats another story) all at the full speed, throttling all other ports to 1-2kbps and effectivly filter all p2p, and if they want the extra bonus of p2p, they get on a switch that doesnt have the port filters in place.
    I realize that encryption foils the filters, but seriously, done properly, a pay-per-month subscription to legal p2p???, people will go for that, WHERE DO I SIGN UP!!!

  24. I have several problems with this proposal:

    1) It creates an artificial absolute monopoly on music for the SAC.

    2) It allows the SAC to decide the value that society places on music rather than the marketplace, which should decide the value of luxuries.

    3) It sets a precedent for a cascade of other levies from other groups.

  25. Carmen Branje says:

    Allowed files don’t included itunes or
    The worst thing about this idiotic organization ridiculous plan is the permission to share files doesn’t include file on Itunes of Puretracks.

    So basically we’ll be paying $5 for NOTHING.

    A quote from their garbage proposal:

    “Since the new right is limited to activities that take place without motive of financial gain, parties who receive compensation for file sharing would not be covered by this right. Therefore, this new right is distinct from rights licensed by legal music sites like iTunes and PureTracks.”

  26. >So basically we’ll be paying $5 for NOTHING.

    You don’t have to pay ANYTHING.

    They are proposing a license to whoever wants to purchase one. If you pay for your music downloads then keep doing so and don’t buy a license. If you don’t download anything then don’t buy the license.

    If and when Canada brings in the DMCA you can then be sued if you are caught illegally sharing music, this proposal would basically buy you an immunity license from downloading music from file sharing. In return the money collected would go towards compensating the copyright holders.

    Having the DMCA along with a file sharing compensation plan (license) totally makes sense.

  27. No, Andre, they’re proposing a mandatory license “from each Internet and wireless account in Canada”.

    Here’s some quotes from their proposal:

  28. Here are the quotes:
    6. In exchange for this sharing of their work, Creators and rights holders would be entitled to receive a monthly license fee from each internet and wireless account in Canada.

    7. We propose a licence fee of $5.00 per internet subscription, per month. Payment of this fee would remove the stigma of illegality from file sharing. In addition, it would represent excellent value to the consumer, since this fee would grant access to the majority of the world’s repertoire of music. Existing download subscription services generally charge considerably more than $5.00 per month, while offering a mere fraction of the file-sharing repertoire. 6

    8. In addition, this would present a major financial improvement for the music industry. Since the license fee would be paid by all internet and wireless accounts, the amount of income generated annually could adequately compensate the industry for years of declining sales and lost revenues, and would dramatically enhance current legal digital music income. Sales of physical product would continue to earn substantial amounts, albeit gradually decreasing. Masters would continue to be licensed to movies and television. Radio would continue to sell advertising and pay royalties on music. 7

    What are the ramifications of “wireless accounts” to cell phone users?

  29. I download music, but I only do so through sites that that have proper licensing and pay the people they get the music from.

    So, now I have to pay for other people to download music for free, as well as my own legal subscriptions, and in addition, I’m only paying the songwriter’s. What happens when the performers who aren’t writing their own tunes want some as well, will that be a separate fee? Will there be another one for the Director’s Guild, and then the SAG, and then the Writer’s Union for movies? Hey wait, what about all the digital artists who make pictures for the web? Guess we better put another surcharge on for them as well. Oh noes, now there’s all the authors as well, whose books are illegally copied and distributed. Looks like we need yet another surcharge. Wait.. what about smaller authors, like the one of this post? You’re all bringing a copy of this post on to your computers without compensating me for my sage words of wisdom. I demand the government and ISPs apply surcharges to every one of you (and all the people who don’t read them either) to compensate me for my loss.

    And this is all without taking into consideration any of the stats that demonstrate that the downloading of music _enhances_ sales.

    This is crap. People who download music illegally should be sued for doing so. It’s a copyright violation, and we already have laws in place to deal with that, use those. If you want to get compensated, release a low-quality version or demo-cut and make purchasing the full higher quality versions convenient and reasonably priced.

    I happily pay for music I listen to, it’s the best way to encourage more of it, I get that. Don’t make me pay for the music other people listen to, I don’t want to be encouraging their crap.

  30. East Coast
    I have not read all of the above comments; however from a personal standpoint I do NOT agree in paying for something I don’t use. I am quite willing to pay on an individual basis for some service that I use or may use. This just seems like an easy way out. To charge every subscriber $5.00 per month for something most won’t use is not realistic. Do something with the illegal activity = get agressiver and prosecute internationally. Don’t say it is impossible – it is just not easy and requires co-operation.

  31. well-intentioned but wrongheaded plan
    As others have already noted – it’s not an equitable plan that forces people (internet subscribers) to pay for something they don’t want or use. Even those online who share music files, under this scheme, will not end up supporting many of the artists whose music they share.

    The internet is far less homogenous than is the world of computerized radio programmming. It’s claimed that funds collected under such a scheme will “be allocated by sampling file sharing activities”.

    There is no way to properly and fairly identify those artists whose music forms the broad internet listening reality. Anyone who believes otherwise is not in touch with the world of music online.

    Ultimately, this idea would become a boondoggle – just as the levy on blank media has been for years. Who can we lobby to scrap THAT payoff to the mainstream industry?

    Let the revolution continue. This is a new age for recording artists, and old-world ideas simply try to preserve an order than no longer exists.

  32. Why doesn’t SAC, on behalf of “its members”, create, on their own web site, a music downloading option, and charge $60 per year for as many tunes you can load in one year? I doubt SAC would say it wouldn’t “pay” – so why should we?

  33. To Bill Henderson and Eddie Schwa:

    I can’t afford a latte at Starbuck’s, even monthly. But then, I don’t drink coffee. I don’t download music, either. Period. I purchase CDs, when I can afford to. I more often listen to radio (broadcast, not satellite or Internet) for my music fix.

    I use a dial-up ISP because that’s what I can afford, and that became more difficult when my provider raised its monthly fee $2 (before taxes).

    You see, my annual income is about the same as 80% of Canadian songwriters. (It’s in the stats package. Look it up.)

    Your proposal talks about equitibility, but what is equitible about charging a consumer of one service for the use of another service which may or may not be of interest? That’s like paying extra for a Hockey News subscription so I can attend any Junior A League game I want to.

    I blame myself. I should have spoken out when recordable media became subject to this kind of tax/surcharge. I haven’t recorded copyright material in anyway that was disallowed by Canadian copyright law. Ever. I felt the same then as I do now. This time I will speak, loudly.

    I use the Internet to look for information, to read articles, to participate in on-line forums, for e-mail. For this I pay access through an ISP. Where in my activities can you see it as equitible to charge me $5 (or some amount to be decided as “fair”) for a service I do not use, simply because I might, or because others do so?

    This time, no sale! If any version of this proposal becomes law, it’ll be time to unplug. I can live with that.

  34. Greedy Bachelors

    Randy wrote on 2007-12-18:

    “Much the same argument [about paying for movies not watched or books not read] once made and discredited about how unjust it is for bachelors to pay property taxes that go to fund schools for other people’s children.

    “Suck it up … in case you haven’t noticed, you live in a SOCIETY.”

    Yup, which is why paying for services that serve that society (education, health care, social services) is equitable.

    This proposed tax/surcharge/license fee is not in the same league, since it does not benefit society in general, but only a certain subset: songwriters (or maybe performers, too, because that’s still be worked out).

    A bachelor may benefit from paying for public education by becoming a patient of a doctor educated in this country, where we have open access to health care paid for by all though taxation. To elevate this proposed tax/surcharge/license fee to that level is simply wrong.

    Note: I’m playing catch-up here.

  35. I like the idea.

    First off, I agree with the posters who basically say it’s the best of a number of options. If nobody took music without artists’ and rightsholders’ permission, we wouldn’t need it, but they do. How many of the posters who love free music would put up with it if they were the ones being ripped off? It’s fine to say, go out and earn it (and musicians do, believe me) but if people take your work without paying, how can you earn it?

    Second, I think the objections can be met when you think about how it would have to be implemented. People should have a look at the system built by NOANK media, which meets all the objections I’ve read here. It’s transparent in its accounting so everyone (long tail included) gets paid – better than the blank media levy in that respect. And it has some benefits for the ISPs in traffic management, so they’ll be more willing to implement. Other forms of content could be monitored and paid for, too. It would benefit all performers and rights holders, including the labels, not just songwriters.

    Third, I think the idea does benefit society as a whole. Copyright rules benefit users as much as providers, by establishing what they legally can do. And it lets the music get made.

    But it’s true that some people would pay who have no interest in using the Internet for music, and for them, ISPs could implement a no-music option. Dial-up customers would seem to fit that bill. But the price would have to be higher for the ones who do use – maybe $10-15 instead of 5.

    But this is a bit like the economics of cable – I pay for lots of channels I’ll never watch, and each channel gets a fairly low per-subscriber monthly fee. If we all paid a la carte – just for the ones we do watch – we’d wind up paying $5-10 a month per channel, and our total bills would be the same or more. Alternatively, all the channels except the very most popular (Canadian and US) would go out of business and I’d lose the programming I do watch. The funny thing is, for all the noise from a small number of people about a la carte cable options, most people prefer to buy a big package.

    This idea is much the same. The ISPs could implement software to make us all pay on a per use basis for P2P music, but they know their customers would hate it (they’re cable companies, yes?) and do anything to avoid it. This idea may still have some problems, but it’s better than anything else I’ve heard.

    Lastly, people should think about what they pay for already. Everyone who buys a product that’s advertised on radio is paying the rights fees that radio pays for music – whether or not they listen to radio. And when the providers decide to increase our cable and ISP bills by $2 or $3, just because they want higher margins, where is the weeping and moaning then? OK, they provide value and we pay for it – but the recorded music industry provides value too – otherwise there wouldn’t be any P2P – and we need to find a way to pay for it. This one looks pretty good, and a lot better than being sued by Sony.

  36. canadastar says:

    I agree
    The above post is bang on and I couldn’t have said it any better. I get the whole ‘Taxation without representation’ argument, but what’s the alternative? Having the p2p police runing around and sueing your average low-medium income Joe for more money than he’ll ever realistically see in his life, like they do in that great nation they call the United States? Our systems in Canada are a far cry from perfect, but at least we can enjoy far more freedoms here. This proposal is definitely the way to go. The future of the recording industry is (in case you haven’t already noticed) not in CD sales, but venues and shows will be how the big bucks are made with a larger piece of the pie ending up in the hands of greedy music execs. The music itself is just a promotional item. This is a step in the right direction towards ‘free music’.
    As they do with EVERYTHING else, the American agencies will continue to engage in fights they possibly cannot win. It’s the American way. Do we really want that here?

  37. This sounds great and I’m all for it, but…
    What’s a “TPM”? For the life of me, I can’t recall ever seeing such an acronym before.