Dutch Artists Groups Propose Full Legalization of P2P

Two Dutch artists groups have proposed full legalization of peer-to-peer activity in return for an expansion of their private copying levy from CDs and DVDs to devices that can play and record movies and music.


  1. I don’t see how logistics, or fairness, of device levies is workable. On the other hand file sharing is going to happen wither it’s legal or not. But how do you apply a blanket levy on everyone to compensate for the behavior of a minority? If you make a blanket levy then where is the incentive to buy over file sharing? I don’t think there is a solution that is fair to BOTH the creator and consumer, so some compromise will have to be hammered out.

    Now there is a difference between a levy to compensate for fair use (format shift, back up, mashup etc.) and one to compensate for file sharing. In the first case I think the solution is to add a small percentage [possibly absorbed by the distributors] to the purchase price of the media at the point of sale which will be passed directly onto the creator. This way there is no question to the division and distribution of the funds.

    In the second case I must admit I do not have so simple a solution. The cost of a point of sale levy to compensate for file sharing would likely skew the price too much to be acceptable. In this case it is likely going to be a scourge that must be tolerated but also countered by greatly improved service and value from the distributors, leading to improved customer loyalty and lower rates of infringement. In no way should a punitive campaign be waged against customers as this will only continue to disenfranchise them further.

  2. In economic terms, a levy is useless. All it causes is a drop in quantity demanded. It creates a deadweight loss.

  3. Neither the levy nor the lawsuit are fair
    But the levy is still more fair than the lawsuit. We’ve got artists AND their consumers on the same side here, now if they can only get the government to agree to give up the spying and censoring capabilities that follow from TPMs.

  4. Ah, heck…
    Why not just go whole hog and levy being a person. A flat rate per person for the privilege of being alive ought to cover it…

    I love the line “The proposal does not apply to other digital files such as games, software and books.” Why not? Do they not want these people skimming off a portion of their levy? With all of the levies that are being proposed, before long people won’t have any money left to to buy food after they pay income taxes and levies.

    We need to figure out exactly what it is the consumer gets when they purchase something. Do we get the right to play it back on a device of the manufacturer’s choosing? Or do we get the right to play back a single instance of the material at a time (not simultaneously on multiple devices, say an MP3 player and a computer), as well as ownership of the physical media it was purchased on? In this latter case format shifting would be allowed without the payment of compensation to the rights holder, since it is part of the license and hence purchase price. In general the more vocal parts of the music and video industry, in particular, seem to want the former. Once that is hammered out then we should look at the need for levies.

  5. Yeah, but…
    Um, not ALL artists are in favour of blanket P2P use, even with a levy. If so, why would anyone release their CDs commercially? Maybe a teaser track is put out to entice people to spend their $9.99 to download a whole album, or more single tracks, but I doubt many artists, deeply in debt after recording, mastering, printing and promoting their new disc want some kid in Nebraska to give it away to the world and never see a penny from it.

    Besides, how would royalties from the levy be tracked and distributed? Based on radio play? Concert revenues? Would every artist get their share? Seems fishy.

    I am a musician myself, and value the revenue that selling CDs/downloads gives the band, so that we can record another one, or pay for the one we just did without having to take out loans. Maybe we can even earn enough to tour, since live shows aren’t the cash cow many assume them to be (other than for Dave Matthews Band, apparently). In fact, music promoters/venues also frequently have little interest in treating bands with respect (even “name bands”), and will find any excuse to rip them off. Now you go into debt just putting gas in the tank to get to the net show. Full house, great show, no money. No CD sales, since everyone already stole your disc. Maybe sell a t-shirt or two. I don’t have rich parents paying my bills.

    The thing consumers forget is that it isn’t just an anonymous collection of ones and zeros they want to get for free, it is someone’s product, their creative work, the thing they do to earn a living. If you try to be a professional and want to actually pay your rent AND do music seriously, people have to stop stealing your stuff.

    People come in and take the coffee you make them without paying, soon your coffee shop/employer is out of business and you’re out of work. See how that works?

    And not everyone has access to an Apple commercial to license their stuff. Sure, you have to think creatively in the new music industry, but it shouldn’t be because a generation of entitled consumers think nothing of stealing your stuff.

    Consumers can say “well, if it’s so tough out there, just stay home and do something else for work.” Fine. But consumers claim to love music, and WANT new bands to emerge. Then they turn around and deny them the chance to actually succeed, just because they don’t feel like paying for their music. Odd.