It's Saturday night, I know. But I'm working on the 25-page paper on Grokster (gotta present on it on Tuesday). Luckily I checked EFF's site (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and felt relief that someone has completely solved the P2P file-sharing problem. Eventually I will recover from the marvelousness of it and try to pick out some flaws, but for now I'm blinded by the light:
Charge people $5 a month to download as much DRM-free music as they want, using any P2P apps or websites they want. EFF suggests that broadband providers could tack the $5 onto monthly payments. As long as the price is low, people will pay for the peace of mind and convenience. They note that the film industry first sold VHS movies for $90 until learning that a lower price cuts down on piracy. The juicy details: Voluntary Collective Licensing.
Five dollars looks right too, considering that Peter Jenner said $50 per year is "how much each music fan who buys music would have to pay in order for access to every song ever recorded while maintaining or increasing music sales." Full entry from Wired. I wonder how much I spend on iTunes a month...
Couldn't the film industry do the same thing? $10 a month... Software? $15 a month... Full text books online? $20 a month... A class-based online world, where only the wealthy can afford total information access? As long as you can pick-n-choose your services, or choose to pay for a single product, the price would remain reasonable. People could still burn CDs, but I think the convenience might outweigh it. Anything's better than what copyright holders are getting now, right?
Thoughts on this? What would the collective licensing future look like?