We’ve heard this before – the more often we hear it the better. William Fisher with a royalties plan for file sharing:
- The creator of a recording would register it with the U.S. Copyright Office and would receive, in return, a unique file name, which would be used to track Internet transmissions of the work. The government would tax devices and services used to gain access to digital entertainment. The primary target of such a tax would be ISP access.
Secondary targets would include CD burners, blank CDs, MP3 players, etc. Using techniques pioneered by American and European performing-rights organizations, a government agency would estimate the frequency with which each song was enjoyed by consumers. Revenue collected from the tax would then be distributed by the government agency to creators in proportion to the rates with which their songs were being consumed.
Once this alternative mechanism for compensating creators was in place, the old one would be dismantled. In other words, copyright law would be reformed to eliminate the current prohibitions on the reproduction, distribution, public performance, adaptation, and encryption circumvention of published music recordings.
The social advantages of such a system would be large. Consumers would pay much less for much more music. Creators would be fairly compensated–indeed, would earn more than under the current regime. The set of musicians who could earn a livelihood by making their work available to the public would increase sharply. And litigation costs would decline dramatically. [CNET]