Alternative Copyright System

07th September 2009
By gracie in Copyright & Trademark
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The music industry is getting all frustrated with the current crisis, as well as the failing copyright system that is slowly drowning the entertainment industry. Seeing this situation, a legal scholar in Cambridge Massachusetts proposed a radical plan for a system that he claims would pay artists fairly and bring more digital media to the people who desire for it. But persuading both the music industry and the movie industry in liking the idea seems far fetched, or at least in the near future.
Rather than adapting with the current and failing copyright system, Harvard Law School professor Terry Fisher talked more about his proposal at the Internet Law Program, a three day event sponsored by the school’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Fisher favors an alternate compensation system which could pay artists based on the popularity of their music. For this system to work, artists must register with the copyright office first, which would help them in tracking the times whenever work is downloaded. The revenue coming from the taxes such as for the Internet access and the sale of MP3 players would generate money that would eventually be used to pay for the artists.

The RIAA, or Recording Industry Association of America, which stands for the labels, has been using the copyright law to sue thousands of music enthusiasts for infringement since September. But according to Fisher, more than 60 million people still continue to share music via peer to peer networks. In accordance with this, Fisher said that his substitute model would allow music enthusiasts to get more music for less money, without the fear of any legal action against them from the RIAA. Therefore, all artists would get paid better than they are under the accustomed system.

While record industry executives did not show any particular interest in the idea, Fisher said that there are much more significant prospects for producing this system in other countries. To back this up, Fisher said that Brazil is interested on the idea and is already building a data base of digital music, an act supported by the country’s minister of culture, musician Gilberto Gil. If this system works successfully in Brazil for a few years, with the music industry in the US continue to suffer then an alternative compensation system may be more alluring.

But according to Fisher, the U.S. would more likely be embracing the idea on a voluntary version, which would require the participation of both musicians and music fans to be successful, and can provide funds through subscription revenues.

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