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Canadian Songwriters Propose $10/mo Internet Fee 407

Posted by timothy
from the let's-just-call-it-rent-shall-we? dept.
BitterOak points out this Windsor Star story, according to which "Canadian songwriters are proposing a $10 fee to be added to monthly ISP bills, giving users a license to download music using peer-to-peer file sharing technologies for free, without fear of reprisal. The money collected would be distributed to members of a Canadian association of songwriters (SOCAN). The story doesn't make clear whether the license would apply only to Canadian music, or how musicians in other nations would be compensated otherwise."
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Canadian Songwriters Propose $10/mo Internet Fee

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  • Re:Hmmmmm...... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @06:09PM (#35392006)
    Actually, I would not have a problem with this...if it meant that nobody could be sued for downloading. Paying a tax that goes to artists (or recording companies, but at least there is some path toward music production there) and being allowed to download music as I see fit sure sounds like a good deal to me.

    Of course, we know that is not what is going to happen (now you are going to pay and still get sued), so yeah, no deal.
  • by pronobozo (794672) <pronobozo@prSLAC ... com minus distro> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @07:54PM (#35392890) Homepage
    Canada has 28 million users, over 80% of the population(wikipedia). Also, it doesn't get divided amoungst everyone evenly, last time I checked you get "popularity credits" and based on the amount of credits, you get a higher percentage.

    Anyways, this is the exact reason why I didn't sign up to SOCAN, I had a gut feeling they'd end up being some type of "voice" for all the songwriters, when really they should just act as the hub for collecting the royalties and getting them to me.

    Even if I was signed up to SOCAN, how would they decide how many credits I'd get. From proven downloads? That'd be great cause I've had over 820,000 downloaded. But that wouldn't work because then it'd dilute the big winners, they wouldn't like that. What if my music was for free(because it is)? Would I still get credits?

    First the UBB and now this... geesh.

    Not all canadian artists are disgruntled and thinking they are "owed" something and feel the need to enforce a tax. With that said, feel free to download my music from my site pronobozo.com, maybe it'll help calm the nerves a little.
  • by Rei (128717) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:19PM (#35393084) Homepage

    There are lots of ways you can deal with this equitably. The simplest would be to distribute it proportional to their conventional music sales. There are other approaches that could be done, however -- for example, they could create opt-out or opt-in add-ons to be shipped with popular music players that collect statistics about who listens to what, and use that to weigh receipts. I think most listeners would opt-in, wanting the artists they like to be rewarded.

    One neat thing that could be done which you can't do with conventional sales is that you could use a non-linear distribution formula -- that is, support small artists to a greater degree than big artists proportional to their audience (something like, "SharesOfRevenue = FansWho'veRecentlyListenedToThem ^ 0.5". To greatly oversimplify, if there were two artists, A and B, and A has 1 million recent fans and B has 10 thousand recent fans, and there's $1m to go around, a linear distribution would say that A gets $999,010, and B gets $9,990. Under the above formula, A gets 1000 shares and B gets 100 shares, meaning A gets $909,090 and B gets $90,909.. Artist A hardly suffers, but artist B can now live on their work.

    I've long supported ideas like this, so I really hope it comes into practice. It's a way for new to allow new artists to truly make a living without having to contractually give away the overwhelming majority of what they earn to leaching record labels. Take the labels out of the equation, and it takes a lot total less money to give equal compensation to the artists. Also, it's a way to stop people who actually pay for and compensate artists for their work from having to pick up the slack for those who leach.

  • by sodul (833177) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @10:43PM (#35393852) Homepage

    I spend less than $10 a year on music and I do not 'download' it illegally either, why should I pay monthly fine ?

  • by Rei (128717) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @01:53AM (#35394640) Homepage

    I know this is about Canada, but in typical American fashion, I'll pretend it's about us.

    A third of America opposed the Iraq war. We still had to pay ten thousand dollars per-person for it (via the WP's estimate of direct costs and economic damage of $3T). And you're complaining about ten dollars because you're one of an extreme minority of people who don't like music?

    There's no way everyone will agree on every tax or expenditure levied by the government. But when it saves the majority of law-abiding citizens money while increasing individual freedoms AND encouraging content creation, I'd call that win/win/win.

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